Mozilla 1.4

What a way to start a day! Waking up this morning and greeted with the message that everyone's favourite web browser, Mozilla, has achieved another milestone. Mozilla 1.4 has been released on the 30th of June, right after Netscape 7.1 has been released. In fact, Netscape 7.1 was based on Mozilla 1.4, plus all the proprietary features and mandatory pop-up windows, and Mozilla 1.4 was in fact exactly the same built as 1.4RC3 which was released a few days ago. Mozilla team is probably waiting for the Netscape to integrate all its extra features, and then perform a synchronised release on the last day of the first half of 2003.

MozillaI quickly downloaded it. Uninstall by current Mozilla 1.3.1 installation, and then install Mozilla 1.4 on top of the same directory. It is important to uninstall Mozilla 1.3 otherwise you might expect crashes pretty often. Anyway, the new version installed pretty smoothly, and I am up and running straight away after it has been installed. The first impression - fast. Yes, 1.4 actually feels faster than 1.3. It might be rare in today's software, but apparently it is the case I found in Mozilla - it just gets faster and faster. I guess they might have finally came back to optimisation after they hit 1.0, and the effort so far is certainly impressive.

Here's some of the new features that are listed on the release webpage:

  • NTLM authentication. Not very important for me as we all use Squid here. But it is a blessing for those jailed inside a MS shop.
  • Overhauled bookmark management. Well, I have lots of bookmarks, but I don't usually manage them. Maybe I should give it a try.
  • Drag 'n' drop in Composer. I don't use composer - Vim for raw HTML editing!
  • Junk mail control improvement. I don't use the junk mail feature in Mozilla Mail either. I have Spam Assassin doing that on the server side.
  • Streamlined pop-up blocking. I haven't checked this feature, but is it like the new Google Toolbar for MSIE?
  • "Blank page", "Home page", "Last visited page" preference for new windows.
  • Default font size and colour for HTML mail. I don't use HTML mail.
  • PAC fail-over. I don't use PAC to configure proxy either.
  • Lots of little features and bug fixes.

Well. One of my favourite feature for 1.4 is the "incremental search". When you are viewing a webpage, press '/' (forward slash), and then just start typing. It will do incremental search for you just like Vim and Emacs! This is so "unix-like" and I don't see myself going back to Ctrl-F, type in the text, and then Ctrl-G until you find it.

Mozilla is going to head down to modularised Firebird and Thunderbird after the 1.4 release, and it is going to be exciting, as it usually has the reputation of being a kitchen sink. However, with today's computing power and the improvements release after release, I find it a much better browser than Microsoft's ageing Internet Explorer 6. Thank you Mozilla team.