A deep look to Firefox 3 Beta 3

Tomorrow, Mozilla will release Firefox 3 Beta 3, the eleventh milestone in the longest development time for a Firefox revision since the initial Firefox 1.0 on 2004. The eight alphas and trio of betas (so far), if anything, are a reflection of the long list of enhancements it (Firefox) and the underlying Gecko rendering engine, are bringing along.

Visual Refresh

Without a doubt the most visible change introduced in this beta are the theme updates in all platforms. On Windows XP and Vista, a large part of the planned new XP icons has been added to the main toolbar, the Options window, the Download Manager, here and there.

Reception hasn’t been warm precisely as was to be expected: just the same happened when Firefox dropped the Qute theme for Winstripe around version 0.9, again with the updates just before 1.0 and yet again when Radiant Core updated Firefox 2.0 icons to its current washed out aspect.

I haven’t been a big fan of any Firefox default theme so far and it doesn’t seem Firefox 3′s will be an exception. But we’ll see. There are still theme updates pending, as well as small icons, and Vista icons.

Firefox on Windows XP

The Options window on Windows XP with the new icons.

Firefox 3 Beta 3 Options

On the other hand, Mac OS X users seem to be more satisfied with the landing of Proto, a Safari-like theme introduced along with Beta 2. Linux users also get a very well integrated theme that uses native icons.

Firefox 3 Beta 3 on Ubuntu

Firefox keyhole on MacOS XThe back and forward buttons have been combined in a single keyhole-shaped widget featuring a single history menu. So far just Windows XP and Vista feature it but Mac OS X versions are ready and waiting to get in. An option to split the combined icons in the customize toolbar dialog is being considered.

We can also expect a revised throbber (the connection activity indicator) coming soon.

Toolbar splitterThe Home button has been moved to the Bookmarks toolbar by default (but can be easily moved back) and the splitter that allows to resize the search and location bars when placed next to each other has become invisible.

Developers are aiming to deliver better operating system integration in Firefox 3. This will be most notorious for Mac OS X and Linux users who will now get native widgets like text boxes, menus, check boxes, icons, button order and orientation following each OS guidelines.

On Linux, Beta 3 adds native file open and print dialogs that provide image thumbnails and more printing options.

Firefox 3 Beta 3 print dialog on Ubuntu

Mac OS X users get integration with Growl, a popular centralized notification system, while Windows Vista gets native looking menus and new icons that should be added for the next beta.

Firefox 3 with native menus

The Page Information dialog has been reviewed to become more organized and informative and allows to set all site specific preference from a single location.

Page Information dialog


  1. Deepak February 29, 2008 6:43 am 

    This Beta version doesn’t allow for an interface with Windows Live Mail for my hotmail account. I have to use the classic version of hotmail. Slightly irritating. Ditto when accessing Live Footy, Sopcast does not upload. Please help.

  2. renato mendoza February 29, 2008 11:06 am 

    its beatiful its great firefox

  3. Piet Geldof February 29, 2008 2:34 pm 

    FF3b3 – “Places” have not enough posibilities. I wanted to import only a part (sub-map) of the I.E.-bookmarks. How ?..
    Bug..: In I.E. sometime’s there are a few bookmarks without a url.(Only a name). When importing from I.E: Firefox does not import all bookmarks in this folder comming after this faulty I.E.-bookmark. !! :-(
    In a Firefox-bookmark-search, you can not see in witch map (folder) the bookmark (favorite) belongs. :-(
    >> I miss “zoom-buttons” << !!!
    I miss a posibility to block unwanted urls…

    Greetings, Piet Geldof piet_in_2007@yahoo.com

  4. PietGeldof February 29, 2008 2:59 pm 

    Left bookmark-window to narrow… :-(
    I want to make the left-bookmark-window wider.
    You can not see long name’s / many folders.
    “This is 2008!”
    Now we have a wide-screen with much space!
    In the (older?) I.E.6, you can drag the bookmark-window much further to the midle of the screen!!!

  5. Jorge March 3, 2008 8:21 am 

    Hi… And thanks for this great browser. It is hard to believe that such a great product is FREE! I wish I could do more, but for the time being I have installed Beta 3 in all my PCs to help test it.

    So far, the interface looks fantastic! Great job guys… And thanks again! :)

  6. Tom Wright March 5, 2008 12:24 pm 

    great beta, great review

    it looks great in ubuntu, although like most programs not made by microsoft it doesn’t really fit in with vista

  7. fela March 6, 2008 9:41 am 

    is there any way of getting the original firefox 2 theme on OS X again?

  8. Michael March 6, 2008 11:39 pm 

    GREAT review! But… you spelled “February” wrong… ;)

  9. noushin March 7, 2008 8:31 am 

    thank you for Mozilla Firefox very cod i love so much Mozilla.

  10. laverne buys March 8, 2008 10:08 am 

    please change the feature that saves passwords and fills them in to have more than one account with the same site, as in 3 direct tv accounts like the feature that netscape had in there browser. this feature is very valuable for old peaple like me. thank you

  11. deb March 8, 2008 5:18 pm 

    ooops , correction to above you need to right click on the top toolbar in order to get the customize option. Sorry about that

  12. kay March 9, 2008 4:54 am 

    I just have a minor opinion about the button when bookmarking a page. the box that pops up when I bookmark something has got the “cancel” button on the left and “Done” on the right. which is quite unusual as in most of the situation, the affirmation option would be on the left and negative on on the right… this unusual arrangement has caused by a little bit trouble on successfully bookmarking a page with just one go.

  13. The Location Bar is dumb. March 11, 2008 9:38 am 

    The Location Bar us horrible, i keep a tight list of sites i go to, what used to be just click on the down arrow go to one of 8 sites, is now a complete mess with this new system.

  14. Mozilla Firefox 3 Beta 3 Review | KodeeXII.Net March 11, 2008 8:17 pm 

    [...] notes to familiarize yourselves with all the features and functions of the Beta. There is also an in depth look at Beta 3 for those interested to read [...]

  15. DJ HaKa March 13, 2008 10:54 am 

    this new firefox is like butta! the fastest browser on the block. As soon as I click it on a college pc in class, it opens in less than half a second! now when u want internetz, you get internetz!

  16. Krister Nystrom March 14, 2008 6:50 pm 

    My opinion is that Firefox 3 is very very very UGLY
    Please do something to the Back and Forward buttons!
    Put the Home button back to its own place, PLEASE!

  17. steve chuang March 20, 2008 8:44 am 

    After i updated firefox 3 beta 4, my old bookmarks are gone.

    is there anyway to get my bookmark back? i did not have any backup in my system.


  18. Todd March 20, 2008 4:57 pm 

    “The Home button has been moved to the Bookmarks toolbar by default (but can be easily moved back)”

    Oh ya. How? If it ain’t draggin’ and dropping it ain’t that easy.

  19. Milind Hegde March 21, 2008 9:23 am 

    For some reason, I can’t open these two Yahoo sports pages. Firefox will instatntly stop responding and close. I’m running Vista Home Premium, and the latest version of FF3. When I restore the session, I have to close the Yahoo sports tab before it loads or else it will stop responding again.

    Should I report this to Mozilla?

    The sites which caused this problem. (there were more, but I didn’t think of copying the url until later).



  20. Marcis Gasuns March 21, 2008 10:15 am 

    The 4th version crashes all the time on my XP.

  21. VIki Smithburg March 22, 2008 4:49 pm 

    Why don’t any of the greasemonkey scripts or the flickr helps work anymore?

  22. VIki Smithburg March 22, 2008 4:52 pm 

    By the way, this version looks great and works fast. Thanks for those positive changes!

  23. Firefox 3 Beta 3 Now Available at Softsaurus March 27, 2008 9:44 pm 

    [...] previously posted Firefox 3 Beta 1 screenshot tour doesn’t include Beta 3 changes, but this in-depth review of Beta 3 does show off Firefox 3’s newest look, buttons, dialogs, and features. Update: Here’s a [...]

  24. armand April 2, 2008 5:45 am 

    Ho can i get rid if “confirm setting cookie”?

  25. armand April 2, 2008 5:48 am 

    Hi!,will you please tell me how to get rid of “confirm setting cookie ? thanks Armand.

  26. safa April 14, 2008 11:22 am 

    Its excellent. Really like it.

  27. Nit_picker_geeks_kicker May 31, 2008 12:42 pm 

    Who the hell uses the home button anyway? I’m online 18hrs a day and I haven’t touched the home button in years. Nitpicking geeks need to STFU.

    • twright May 31, 2008 7:56 pm 

      it all depends what you homepage is,

      as mine is google i rarely use it (though i am a heavy user of the bookmarks toolbar and the awesome bar)

  28. Twila June 1, 2008 2:07 am 

    anything new link or software wat better than firefox3 beta ?

  29. Jesse June 12, 2008 12:21 pm 

    will the firefox 2.x versions still be maintained?

  30. Deepak June 16, 2008 2:28 am 

    A profiled browsing for different users will be a very useful feature to see in FireFox.

  31. TB June 17, 2008 6:22 pm 

    Thanks for the nice in depth review. But I can’t stand the new location/search bar at all. =[

  32. carter June 17, 2008 8:10 pm 




  33. Tel July 16, 2008 11:59 am 

    I love Firefox, I have only been a user for a little over a month but already I am liking it.

  34. M25 September 2, 2008 9:06 pm 

    The URL history drop down is messed up. What a pain in the @#$. How much is it to ask that when you check the URL history drop down, it actually shows the history of the websites you’ve entered? I have been trying to figure out how to turn off the goofy “well here is what we think you need to see” history bar. Went to Firefox’s broken help page on the subject and performed their procedure. Result? Now there is no history of any kind in the drop down. I wish I hadn’t upgraded. I just wanted Firefox 2 to stop crashing all the time. How nice would that be? Getting software that actually works. This must be one of the few industries where the norm is that you constantly buy hardware and software and nobody ever has to actually sell something that fully functions without breaking when you buy it. Good think Boeing doesn’t build airplanes like that.

  35. bazgray September 5, 2008 10:26 am 

    Much better that Firefox I have on WIN2000, for I could never find the ‘back’ button.

  36. JULIO MILLA September 15, 2008 1:39 am 


  37. Gilmar October 15, 2008 12:33 am 

    new version of firefox but … you keep the VERY POOR support for proxy´s, authentication is not implemented yet, com´on, lets make the right thing, PLEEEEEEAAASE …..

  38. jeff November 13, 2008 1:22 pm 

    “Firefox 3.0 is a great browser and a huge improvement over previous versions.”

    What improvement?
    Tonns of problems: just see here:
    for starters.

    Or try to download partial database using phpMyAdmin, when whole database is bigger than 2 MB.
    It downloads unusable garbage and it is always 2.32MB

    Do not say that problem is on phpNyAdmin side, because FF2 has no problems with it … and all other browsers do not have any problems (tested with Safari, Opera, IE, Chrome, Netscape)

    IE3 is a big flop – and this opinion comes from a big fan of this browser.
    I just tried to install ff3 for the second time, hoping that they fixed that problem, but they did not.
    On top of above it refused to import html file with bookmarks (exported by previous FF2 version – but thats minor problem, I got around it)

    I guess that all positive reviews are done like this:
    “Ohhh its neeew Firefox … so it must be gooood!”
    Unfortunately this one is not!!

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