Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Lack of willpower

I was determined not to install Mozilla 1.4 alpha, and instead wait for the beta. Which does not explain why I just downloaded and installed it. Ooops… 😮

Anyway, it looks good. P3P support has returned (it was in 0.9.9 but has been gone since 1.0), so that you can now accept cookies based on the privacy policy of the site, like in IE (so you can block sites that have no policy or openly admit to collecting personally identifiable information about you without your permission). Popup blacklisting has been removed, so now only whitelisting remains, like in Phoenix (so you have to opt-in to seeing specific popups, rather than blocking out ones you don’t want). I personally think giving the choice is best, but I could never see myself using blacklisting. Having a whitelist, and then only allowing ‘safe’ popups is the best method for me personally.

Find as you Type (aka Type Ahead Find) now has items on the Edit menu, and you can now start it by pressing ‘ for link searching and / for text searching, or just type as normal for the default behaviour (set using the preferences panel).

Smooth scrolling also made it into this build, again seemingly borrowed from IE. IE has a better implementation, in my opinion – the scrolling, while certainly being smooth, is a little too slow, although you can accelerate it with the SHIFT key held down. It’s disabled by default, and can only be accessed by editing the preference file manually, however MozillaZine has the details.

Bookmarks have been overhauled such that you can now move them around by clicking and dragging (like in IE and Phoenix), along with several other enhancements, including the ability to use site icons.

Composer has seen some enhancements; image resizing has been improved (and now looks very cool) and you can use the Preferences panel to configure which buttons appear on the toolbar.

The Windows builds now have NTLM support. I’m not actually sure what this is but I gather it’s some kind of authentication system for intranets. Again, IE has it already.

There’s been a couple of tweaks to the tab system. When you open a new tab, it goes to your home page, instead of a blank one. I’d prefer a blank one, personally. And the focus doesn’t return to the address bar automatically either – you have to press F6 to do it; again, this annoys me slightly. There is, however, a new context menu item on the tabs that lets you bookmark the group of tabs currently open.

In Mozilla Mail, there’s now a ‘Delete Mail marked as Junk’ item on the Tools menu, which does as you’d expect it to. And finally, Mac OS X users can install themes and extensions again, after the functionality got messed up in 1.3.

So what do I think overall? Some of the new features are good (like the Find as you Type and Bookmarks improvements), and will help Mozilla catch up with IE, but I’m not happy with some of the changes. I hope this will become configurable to help those of us used to the old behaviour. If you like living on the edge, feel free to download it; you can keep a stable installation in another folder if necessary and go back to that if you don’t like this.

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