Firefox 3 Quick Review and Setup Guide

After a few library dependency checks and a Firefox beta 5 build later, my update is 1.0 final, six day later and… phew! It’s good though since I haven’t touched my system with an update for six months.

Those that are regular viewers of this blog know that I’m a regular Epiphany user. Firefox 2 is a good browser but on my older laptop, I just found it too sluggish and resource greedy. Epiphany took alot of the fat that is the Firefox 2 frontend and put it in a lightweight GTK interface. Firefox 3 beta 5 would really need a good show for me to replace it, and it did and more. This is more of a setup guide than a review though I tossed in some pretty pictures. I’ll let the viewers decided how good Firefox 3 is.

Setting fonts

A good way to setup fonts is to use the css font value “medium” tag. The default font size set in the browser will reflect this value. I like to look at an array of font sizes to get an understanding of what font size to set. Take a look at these css samples to get a good idea of font and minimum font sizes to set.

For LCDs below 100 dpi I pretty much forget about setting a serif font. Serif fonts have many details and just aren’t easily readable unless there are enough dpi available.

Preferred Applications

I prefer to open new windows in tabs. As long as this is set in Firefox and the Preffered Applications control panel is set to use Firefox’s default, other applications opening a web page in Firefox will also use a new tab. I prefer to have the behavior of all new tabs open in the same manner though – in the background. This can be done in “about:config”(type in location bar), use the filter to find “browser.tabs.loadDivertedInBackground” and set this to true.

“about:config” yarn. I thought was pretty funny. :)

Epiphany Bookmarks Import

Firefox 3 won’t understand Epiphany’s bookmark file if imported directly. Therefore the rdf (bookmarks.rdf in ~/.gnome2/epiphany/) file will need to be converted. Thankfully the good people at Epiphany have created a translator.

Then I had select Bookmarks > Organize Bookmarks in the menu and then click the import-button. It may take a minute for the information to enter the database and may even need a restart before the bookmarks are recognized.

New Bookmarks and Location Bar

It’s going to be interesting to see just what people think of Firefox’s new location/bookmark/tag bar. The folks at Firefox are calling it the “Amazing Bar” and it is pretty cool. The tagging feature of Firefox three looks like it would be beneficial though I have no idea how to use it. I also like this idea of quick bookmarks:

Firefox 3 Quick Review and Setup Guide

Clicking the star on the right side of the location bar will bookmark the site. Unfortunately, the bookmark will not show up in the drop-down Bookmarks Menu, it’s put in a different category and isn’t seen unless the bookmarks are reorganized. I wonder if Firefox 3 is complicating bookmarking by adding this extra level.

Already a few posts I have seen had say that they don’t like the expanded all-in-one location bar. No problem and easy enough to disable: in “about:config” preference name “browser.urlbar.maxRichResults”. Also an original location bar plugin is available.

GTK Scrolling… Held back a year

Firefox developers did a good deed and implemented a scrolling system into Firefox. Mousewheel scrolling can be adjusted in “about:config”. First flip “mousewheel.withnokey.sysnumlines” to false and then tell “mousewheel.withnokey.numlines” how many lines to scroll with each click.


I turn fetching off because it uses fewer resources. Flip “network.prefetch-next” to false.

Final Thoughts

“Parting is such sweet sorrow”
– Shakespeare Romeo And Juliet Act 2, scene 2, 176–185

Bye-bye Epiphany, at least for… now. Sounds funny but I’m going to miss it. Epiphany is a good browser but in almost every area Firefox 3 bests it. Firefox 3 looks to be a heck of a browser: it’s fast, uses less resources, and I do like it location bar function. Though, I am going to miss Epiphany’s integrated location bar/search bar. Why there are different bars for location and search I’m just not sure. Otherwise, I think I’m good for awhile.

  • + fast, and light
  • + very very compatible on all the websites I tested
  • + location location location – location bar rocks
  • – bookmark layout
  • ? Is run my the president of Firefox’s nephew?
  • Related Links

About Gen2ly

<3's linux

Posted on 2008-04-18, in Gentoo, GNOME, Linux. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Benedikt Böhm

    > Though, I am going to miss Epiphany’s integrated
    > location bar/search bar.

    maybe is the right tool for you

  2. Benedikt Böhm

    it seems serchilo provides a search plugin now, and does not document this way anymore, which is a lot faster to use:

    in about:config set keyword.URL to

    this will enable all serchilo commands directly through the location bar

  3. Nice! Looks like a pretty good way to lookup definitions, keywords, this is a really good idea. Thing is with applications like this, I’m not sure if its a well-grounded business prospect or if it’s a hobbyist’s project that will be gone in a few weeks.

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