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Australis is landing in Firefox Nightly (blog.mozilla.org)
288 points by bpierre on Nov 18, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 193 comments

Looks pretty wasteful. I prefer how it currently looks on my machine:


My tabs can get as small as the pinned ones on the left (which is the default behavior of every other browser).

There used to be a about:config setting for minimum tab width, but one(!) Firefox developer decided to remove it, because:

"Users can override this using userChrome.css if they absolutely want it. I don't think the prefs are worth it."[1]

Now I have to use a custom user chrome CSS file and disable the tab animations to get the same effect.

I really hope this pointless update won't make me jump through a dozen hoops again. I'm tired of it.

[1] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=574654

Going to have to concur here. Unfortunately it appears that Australis presently isn't targeting those who change their userchrome whether by addon or directly.

I think the design looks good, I just hope that it will be given the same amount of customization freedom Firefox enjoys pre-Australis.

My Nightly: http://i.imgur.com/1oPRtU2.png

I expect significant breakage tomorrow / later today.

Australis displays at least 17 tabs before expanding into the tab-scroll view when full screen, which is more than I'd typically have open at a time anyway.


Tab-scoll, to me, makes a lot of sense as it prevents any confusion over the content of the tabs, especially when those tabs lack favicons: in Chrome, you simply get a blank page icon when the scroll bar overflows.

The only downside to Australis for me so far has been the removal of the "thin" address bars/small icon sets, there is no longer an option within Firefox to enable them, as far as I know.

> the removal of the "thin" address bars/small icon sets

Oh, man. :/

To be honest, I prefer having a scrolling tab pane, instead of tabs getting so small you can't read their text (I have quite a few tabs open). It should definitely be a user config option though.

You might also want to look into Stylish, this is a firefox addon that allows you to add custom CSS, and apply it without restarting.

I also use a very minimal setup (http://imgur.com/NoCafoH).

On OSX, Australis will actually be thinner (once they fix https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=938985) because the window buttons are now on the same level as the tabs.

Firefox 25 is currently quite good (with Pentadactyl I hide the address and search bar altogether) http://imgur.com/pSzvcAi

This update will make it worse it seems and waste more vertical space (apart from the really ugly aliased curved tabs).

I could never get used to not having an address bar. I'm jealous.

The good news is that if you don't like the new look of firefox, you don't need to see it: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/classicthemer...

You still have "an address" bar. You type `o` and start typing to search for history, bookmarks or enter new URL all in unified list. Usually a few chars + TAB is enough. This unified list pops from the bottom of the browser window and it respects your color scheme as well.

Of course there is `s` command to search any of your installed search providers and you can do all of this in new tab, window etc.

Pentadactyl is what keeps me using Firefox. When that stops working, it will take me back to stone age when it comes to speed of navigating and researching content online.

Checkout the pentadactyl plugin "buftabs" for maximum vertical space and a friendly tab bar: http://www.leighbicknell.com/pentadactyl-setup/

Thanks. I don't know this existed. Can you control the width of the tabs? Right now the URL in the tab is clipped, which can be dangerous and makes you susceptible to fishing attacks when you browse casually.

I agree on this old UI failure...I thought for a moment it had been reverted, but then realized I had installed the Custom Tab Width add-on. The realization brought me back to my own extreme frustration with coming back to Firefox and finding this behavior being the default and not easily changed.

I'm generally OK with a lot of stuff being in add-ons. But, this one is not one of those things. I really don't think I should have to install a plugin to decide not to have a scrolling tab bar (I hate the scrolling tab bar).

And I don't mind it! Truly, I don't really care about a scrolling tab bar or not. I do hate how Safari handles it though... My point is that Firefox is great in that you can at least fix that! I've yet to find a way in Safari :'(

Well, I have tiny tabs and I just updated. The active tab obscures the favicons of the ones next to it, and the lines between tabs are in the wrong spot. But it works.

Hooray! Been waiting for this for a long time. I'll be especially happy if Mozilla can manage to improve the default look of Firefox on Linux, where it's just absolutely dreadful (and where I'm usually forced to resort to https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/fxchrome/ to preserve my sanity).

Hmmm...I like the look of current Firefox more than Chrome on Linux. Looks more native.

Agree. Chrome looks totally out of place when running with Evilwm.

BTW: it is annoying the web browsers don't seem to support the -geometry switch under xorg.

well firefox uses window manager decorations, chrome doesn't

Firefox UX branch on Linux (Gnome) http://i4.minus.com/i3HfXuN32bRDe.png

Firefox Nightly on Linux (KDE) http://i.imgur.com/OySdVCX.png.

That actually looks pretty decent. Thanks for posting.

It looks like every other app. What is wrong with that?

Assuming we are talking about ubuntu - a lot.

For example I'd like to have the Firefox button at top left orange, not gray. And slimmer (not as tall as a tab). It's clearly less polished than the Windows version. And yet I thanks them everyday for the browser

I only hope they're also getting rid of GTK icons on the main chrome. They make (unthemed) Firefox on a high-DPI screen completely unusable.

(Why? Scaling up page content (via layout.css.devPixelsPerPx) also scales up chrome, including the (already properly sized) icons­— so every icon in Fx ends up being four times larger than it should.)

We are replacing the GTK icons with custom icons.

Are you manually changing layout.css.devPixelsPerPx to support a hidpi display?

Excellent! I'm glad to hear it.

Yeah— is there a better way I should be doing it?

(Also, as an aside, I've been a huge fan of your work with Firefox for years, so, uh, thanks for everything you've done on it).

Huge agreement from a regular Chrome user on Linux here. I watched the video and the design is great. I'm really looking forward to this landing in a stable release.

Agreed, and thanks for sharing that addon -- I have been using chrome honestly ONLY because it looks just SLIGHTLY better.

Australis looks like it's going to solve all of my problems

That looks much better than Australis (I _really_ don't like rounded tabs).

Mine looks great on Ubuntu, what are your issues?

So nitpickers might point out differences but you cannot deny that the basic tab looks just like Chrome's. When Chrome came out with this it was new and innovative. Now it looks like a copy.

When this blatant copying happens (and it happens in many places; it's no wonder all phones look like a variation of the original iphone) I always wonder if the designers really did convince themselves that their design is different or they tried but just couldn't come up with anything better than their inspiration.


I recommend you take another look. They're not really the same at all.

Firefox's designers were not going for the angular and mechanical chrome look at all. They were designing something softer, rounder and more human.

That's exactly the nitpicking I was referring to. If the corners are round or not makes little difference. The main thing here is the general outline of the tab and it's position in the window. If we can expand further we can also include the main menu which is in exactly the same spot with the same icon (maybe it's a standard icon, I've never seen it before Chrome and in earlier versions Chrome had, if I recall correctly, a wrench and screwdriver icon).

I don't know. I see the new tabs as an extension of the existing tabs [0]. All that's different is the curve flares are bigger. As someone who doesn't use Chrome much anymore, I thought these changes in Firefox seemed like natural extensions and refinements of existing designs.

Now, the elimination of the options bar ("File Edit View History ...") on Linux does seem more in line with Chrome, but on Windows it's been that way for a while.

I think this is a classic case of converging designs, not copying. A good idea is a good idea, no matter how you reach it.

[0] - http://i.imgur.com/m2ozMz3.png

I think that once you've used the two side by side, you'll change your tune. Australis is actually a much larger departure from looking like Chrome in the tab strip. Seriously, use it for a couple of weeks, then open the two side by side in the middle of a browsing session and it'll be clear to you that the visual experience is not at all alike in practice.

Well if you go that way, firefox tabs from the previous release look also the same as chrome and australis.. so uhm, you saying Chrome copied firefox tabs? (in fact, yes it did, but then again, everyone uses tabs, obviously)

Personally, I like the rounded edges but just adding a corner radius isn't exactly falling far from the Chrome tree.

Good thing that's not all they are doing.

Bad thing there's not much other changes.

There are a LOT of changes to the UI. They did far more than just change the tab location.

> I recommend you take another look.

Actually, I recommend you take another look. Chrome's tabs are significantly more rounded than in your illustration.

There's a bit of an optical illusion. Next to a curvy tab, Chrome's tab looks angular.

Here's an actual side-by-side snapshot: <http://i.imgur.com/sUGCX5I.png>

Oh, well. That's obviously a huge difference.

if you put any other app tabs next to it, including current firefox.. its a "huge" difference as well. So yeah. pointless argument is pointless...

My illustration is based on the images in Chrome's retina mac image source files.

They're also pretty much the next evolution of the FF tab design as things go "minimalist". The current tabs are curvy as well.

Tabs are a design idea that predates the web. You'll find them on physical file folders, binders, and address books, for example. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that tabs were invented hundreds of years ago.

I think OP was talking about Chrome’s tabs specifically. Their appearance and the way they function. Firefox had tabs well before Chrome (and IIRC Opera had tabs well before Firefox).

Chrome's tab shape didn't exactly originate in a vacuum, though.


It seems slightly disingenuous to claim that every use of non-square tabs is copying Chrome.

Putting the tab bar on the very top was introduced in Chrome. It was the first browser that did that, the others followed soon.

Chrome didn't even exist when firefox had tabs, but I don't think there was ever a version of Chrome without tabs.

> it's no wonder all phones look like a variation of the original iphone

There is only so many way you can make a phone that consists of a big screen with a few buttons along the bottom look. Since the big screen is the main feature, and big screens look like big screens, this is a limit of the function of the phone.

The buttons are what the non-iPhones get wrong.

If I'm not mistaken Chrome's bar is just a copy from Opera also (witch i'm sure didn't came up with the concept).

The thing is: there are UX patterns that are better than others. That's not copying, it's just common sense.

I have heard people argue that this design was done first in Firefox mockups many years ago, the Chrome team implemented it, now Firefox is implementing it too.

Sounds to me like focusing on the slight shift in tab location, as pioneered by Chrome, is exactly the kind of nitpicking you're complaining about. It's not like moving the tabs up a couple pixels fundamentally changed the browser.

When Opera first pioneered tabs they were found on the bottom. It was Firefox that made the drastic (though unsurprising) change of moving them above the page contents. One could argue maybe Chrome should not have employed this "tired" design choice and perhaps placed their tabs on the left (a la Ubuntu Unity). But this whole line of argumentation sounds ridiculous when someone has already figured out a pretty optimal place for those tabs.

It's not just any "couple of pixels" that can make a crucial difference in the UX. It's not about the number of pixels, it's about moving the tab bar to the edge of the screen that matters. See http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2006/08/fitts-law-and-infin...

Yes obviously Google was not the first one to put that principle to some use, but their browser was the first one among web browsers.

Personally I hated how Opera left a few pixels gap between the tabs and the screen edge (I have no idea if they still do).

A few pixels was just enough to make sure that I had to move the mouse cursor a little bit back every time I wanted to click on a tab.

How can you say FF copied the tab design from Chrome when neither one of them created the concept of tabbed browsing in the first place? They are both using the conceptual model of tabbed folders, which have been around for ages. Curved-corner tabs and sharp-corner tabs are both variants of the same thing. Nobody even cares how the tabs look.

Clearly, both Firefox and Chrome are copying Avery. They are literally killing innovation.

The only thing that I'd label as being inspired by chrome is their proximity to the top, which is what people saw as new and innovative at the time. If they'd just stopped there, you might have a point. But they didn't.

Naw, I am pretty sure they know they are copying. Did they ever say otherwise?

They just say "hmm, that was a good idea, I think I can do even better" repeatedly, and so UX improves.

Do not want.

I'm happy with the tabs provided with my OS theme and do not want each app to have tabs with a custom shape and wasted space. Do not want a rainbow in my title bar and have not met anyone > 12 that does.

What is it with these people and their obsession with skinz! and constant rearranging of buttons?

Do not want a rainbow in my title bar and have not met anyone > 12 that does.

You do realise that's an add-on skin, right? The entire point of that system is that people can do whatever the hell they like and you aren't affected by it.


The design people in Firefox lost me as a user when they decided to re-arrange an interface that had looked the same for the better part of a decade. Re-arrange, not improve. Apparently years of users' visual + muscle memory means nothing to these UX guys.

I persevered with it for a while but eventually I just gave up and switched browsers. Shame, since I'd been using Firefox since its first release (called Phoenix back then, later Firebird, finally Firefox).

FWIW, here's the "original" user interface: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/Mozilla_F...

Well design is always subjective. I think before Firefox 4, the browser looked really stale and old (as does your screenshot)

And I don't think they really changed it much anyways. Many of the GUI elements are in the same position as before, there's nothing new to learn. A lot of them have been integrated, which is nice and reduces the unnecessary chrome.

I like Australis. To me, it looks more modern, even if it does look like Chrome. It feels like a step in the right direction.

I also don't mind them changing the UI of Firefox because most of the time, this is what I look at: http://d.pr/i/iEtP

FWIW, here's my user interface: http://imgur.com/ABi2XVO

which is to say, damn near identical modulo the GTK theme emulation. AND importantly the nightly build linked in the article completely respected my changes.

How were you able to keep the toolbar at the bottom of the window (with the status and add-ons) with the new nightly? I lost mine when I tried the nightly and see no way to add a toolbar at the bottom of the window.

Well SHIT.

Apparently I went off and downloaded the nightly just before the australis drop because trying it again today fucked everything up. I'm pissed too now.

To be honest a lot of the changes from the new UI make sense to me. Specially the dreaded status bar. I much prefer the new tooltip style that doesn't take precious screen space. I also like the contextual forward button, most of the time you don't need it. And the smaller icons ;-)

The rainbow is a Persona theme that you can optionally add. It's not the default.

I'm over 12 and I have a rainbow in my title bar.

Design is extremely subjective.

Agreed. I'm praying this wont break my userchrome

"Modern, clean, and comfortable."

Design terms like these, when juxtaposed with the "curvy tab" language, get way under my skin.

What is a "comfortable" design, exactly? I suppose a better question would be, what made the other design "uncomfortable"?

What is a clean design? Do you really mean "modern" instead of "clean"? Wouldn't it be better to say the interface elements are more defined, or there are less textures, or whatever?

Perhaps this is Janet Murray speaking through me (GaTech), but using vague terms to describe minuscule changes is somewhat bombastic. Instead, use appropriately narrow and descriptive terms.

I guess the rant is here because the changes aren't really that big of a deal. It's pretty much a nod to Chrome, run through a few iterations, am I right? Or maybe I'm being short sighted.

They're still keeping the search and address boxes separate? :\

A Mozilla coder gave an explanation for this several months ago:

"In case you wonder, the reason for which Firefox doesn't merge url and search bar is to protect user's privacy. If you prefer a Chrome-style UI, there are a couple of add-ons that provide just that."


It's interesting. The address bar currently doubles as a search input, but doesn't autocomplete. The search bar does autocomplete, but won't take you to an address if you put one in it. (it takes you to a search for the address)

In my opinion, they need to think this through a bit more. Each input bar is crippled in some way (one won't autocomplete, the other won't go to addresses), and it's all driven by wanting to keep incomplete searches private (until Enter gets hit). Do users realize that the search bar in Firefox is not private, whereas the address bar is? I'm betting not. Do users expect them to be? Chrome assumes not.

In my opinion, if the privacy thing is so important, they'd still be better off having just one input with autocomplete off by default, and easily toggled to on. I doubt that users understand the current setup as "address bar is private, search bar is not".

Well, I'm a Firefox user, and I understand the difference, and I use the input fields differently depending on whether I mind particular information leaking to a search company. So, I personally strongly prefer leaving things the way they are.

I'd actually vote for one change, though: I'd prefer the URL field didn't default to falling back to querying a search engine. One of my pet peeves is mistyping a URL and having my input sent by my system to Google. (That's easy enough for me to change, though, and the Firefox developers seem to be concerned enough about privacy and security to leave the ability to change it intact.)

I'm not suggesting no Firefox users understand the difference, just that a lot might not. I'm sure something close to 99% of the Firefox users on HN do understand the difference.

Essentially, I'm suggesting that they either merge the two fields or make them more distinct. At the moment, it doesn't seem accurate for one to be called "address" and the other to be called "search". The actual function is closer to "private" and "not private". Your suggestion is a good one for one of the directions they could go in, because it increases the distinctness of the fields.

Thanks for that. Any idea on how exactly this protects privacy though? The moz dev didn't clarify.

I assume the location bar only auto-completes previously visited URLs, while the search bar auto-completes search queries by hitting google with every key you press. So in chrome's unified case, google knows how many times you type http://news.y..*, not just every potential search query you make.

I prefer it this way...The address box works as a search bar but the search is persistent (ie. I can search for something, close the tab and come back later in two key presses)

I also prefer them separate, but rather for ease of navigation. I use the address box as a form of "search my browsing history" to jump to pages that I've visited before, and it's convenient to keep that separate from the search box's own history and automatic suggestions. The fact that Chrome conflates these two concepts is its biggest turn-off to me.

If you're living in your awesomebar and don't already know them, you might want to check out our filters:


You can restrict location bar matches to bookmarks only, urls only, open tabs only, &c.

I don't know if it counts as an easter egg, but it makes my own life a lot easier.

My problem with conflating search and URL is

1) 1-word searches/domains or searches involving a domain-looking piece of text throw it off.

2) cluttering my typed-URL history with search keywords.

> 1) 1-word searches/domains or searches involving a domain-looking piece of text throw it off.

Example I always run into:

  site:news.ycombinator.com foo bar baz
"site" is an unknown protocol now, because it looks like a URL. I have to remember to put the search terms first.

... I never even thought of that. I always start with naive searches and then remember to add "site" refinements later as I mangle the search from the Google page, so I never actually try the "site:" qualifier right in the URL bar. That's a nasty one.

You can also press the down arrow button and press return as usual that gives the option to search even if what you type looks like a url to the browser. Also I just tried it and the default selection for what you quote is search not the url.

Just tried that (Firefox 25 on OSX). It didn't work. Down arrow does nothing, and there are no AwesomeBar matches, so there is no drop-down. Maybe you have some configuration option set?

Nope. When you type anything in the omnibox that chrome thinks is a url, it shows atleast 2 items in the dropdown one is go to url and other a search google for url. I can upload a screenshot when I am back home in a couple of hours.

Just put a question mark in front, and you shouldn't have an issue. I used to run into that problem all the time.

Not sure how it would work if you wanted to search Amazon or something...

Your example worked fine for me, and returned a list of search results from HN for me with the words 'foo' 'bar' and 'baz'.

Firefox 25 on OSX gives me:

  The address wasn't understood

  Firefox doesn't know how to open this address, because
  the protocol (site) isn't associated with any program.

  You might need to install other software to open this
Firefox 21 on Ubuntu was giving me the same thing, I don't think I've tried it on Firefox 25 on my Ubuntu install.

Ctrl-K will put a ? in front to indicate a search term.

I've never experienced this behavior in Firefox. The Ctrl-K (or Cmd-K on OSX) combination this this:

- If the Search Box is in the toolbar, it puts the focus in the Search Box.

- If the Search Box is not in the toolbar, it navigates to Google.com (at least when Google is selected as the default search).

Are you sure you're not getting this from an addon?

> 1) 1-word searches/domains or searches involving a domain-looking piece of text throw it off.

With DuckDuckGo, it's easy to prepend/append "!ddg" onto the offending text to force a search. I sometimes have to do this for arithmetic operations, the first operand of which the bar interprets as an address. For me, the small amount of extra time this takes is worth it. A unified search/URL bar, particularly with DDG's bang functionality, feels like a command line. And a command line feels like home.

!ddg is quite a few extra keystrokes though. Isn't it easier to just keep a shortcut key bound to that search? For example, I have 'g' bound for Google. The result:

  "blah blah"  -> Google: blah blah
  "blahblah"   -> attempts to find a host named blahblah
  "g blahblah" -> Google: blahblah

Depends whether you are a vi fan or not.

1) My feelings as well

2) Bothers me to an extent but since FF ranks by usage + weights naked domains higher in the awesomebar it isn't too big an issue.

On (2), that's good. I have a WP7 phone and it's terrible about typed URLs in the history... search words obliterate your typed URLs 90% of the time.

I've recently tried to switch back from chrome to Firefox but the persistent search thing really bugs me, as well as the fact that it doesn't always search when typing into the url bar.

If you want to get back so quickly there are recently closed, bookmarks, history and plenty of other ways. Always persisting the search term I find very visually distracting.

Edit: On the other hand, the current tab behaviour is more of an irritation. Middle clicking the tab closes the tab unless it's the last tab when it does nothing. This is irritating. Dragging a tab doesn't work well when that tab is maximised. In chrome if you have 2 windows both maximised it's easy to drag a tab from one window to the other. In firefox you have to make one window smaller first to do this.

I'm quite excited to find out if this new interface fixes this.

There is a not-so-well-known trick. Type % into the url bar and you can quickly navigate tabs opened. :)

To be specific, starting a search with a % searches only in open tabs. + searches tagged pages, * searches bookmarks, and ^ searches frequently-visited pages that aren't bookmarked.

If you type a word into the address box, it tries to look it up in DNS. If you put a word in the search bar, it goes straight to search.

You can type a ? before the one word in the url bar to go straight to search

I created keyword search bookmarks for all my frequently used search engines. For example, I often look up music releases on musicbrainz: http://musicbrainz.org/search?query=%s&type=release I bookmarked this URL and assigned a keyword (You can also right-click input fields and select 'Add a keyword for this search'). Now, everytime I enter "mb-r <name of the release I'm looking up>" into the url bar, it goes straight to musicbrainz and inserts my search string into the %s-placeholder.

by default. the address box still works as a search box, if you don't want the separate search box just get rid of it.

I like having them separate too, you can use the Omnibar add-on https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/omnibar/ to have Chrome-like functionality.

I just get rid of the search bar and use the URL bar for search too, don't think there are any downsides to doing that.

It's handy unless you accidentally start searching for anything that could be mistaken for an IP address or domain. Typing in `0x10c` to find the site for the game, or `minimal-library.js`, or whatever, won't take you to a search results page.

Works alright for most things though, and I think it's still better than Google's default to Google approach, which is frustrating when you're working on a locally hosted site and keep getting sent to a search page.

Persistent. You type into the search bar and it stays there until you clear it out. Whereas url bar search you lose it. You have to click on your search engine's search bar on the page.

Well in firefox you can't do searches like cache:news.ycombinator.com or site:news.ycombinator.com (Edit: in the address bar)

I also prefer the way firefox acts with suggestions in the search and address bar being separate, I often find myself messing up where I meant to go because I thought pressing enter would take me to a site but instead goes to a search.

Firefox is easy for me because the address bar acts differently.

Well, when searching from the address bar, I can't get the search suggestions to work.

Or maybe there's a setting that I missed.

Still, I don't use the search bar and leave it off since I only like to keep the the address bar + the download button to minimize complexity.

I wish they would remove all search functionality from the address bar.

I think they have some data showing that when they're separate, people search more. Since Mozilla gets almost all of their money from searches, it seems like a good idea to keep it that way.

I hate this tab design so much. I hate it with a passion since the first release of Chrome. And I don't even know why :)

So I'm quite sad to see it landing in Firefox.

So use a complete theme. May take a bit for some to get updated as they need to overlay the current UI elements. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/complete-themes/

I try to use softwares as vanilla as possible (especially with multiple computers not all synced) but thanks for pointing that out, we'll see.

It looks even more like chrome now.

DISCLAIMER: I don't like chrome.

I agree. It's still more beautiful in my opinion though.

I don't like Chrome either, but a few parts of it are nice.

The thing I dislike most about recent Firefox releases is that the selected search engine influences URL bar search, which is rather annoying in my opinion, but then I removed the search feature from the URL bar, making them at least somewhat distinct again.

But there is a reason why Chrome looks like Chrome. Ironically, it's the lack of Chrome - the UI is unobtrusive and gets out of the way. I see the new Firefox UI in the same way.

I don't understand how curved tabs are supposed to get "out of the way". The new design seems to use less standard UI elements to push it's own (WinXP / Fisher-Price) agenda: I don't see any gains here and I reckon they just want to appeal to the chrome crowd.

And I can't fathom why you'd focus in on curved tabs in this UI redesign. It's one of the smallest details.

Which is the big one then?

The removal of most UI customization.

I really wish browsers were like emacs and that one could replace the whole UI on a dull rainy day.

uh, with firefox you pretty much can.

Try removing the button on the top left. The one with the three horizontal bars.

Looks like Australis "borrows" a lot from Chrome UI. It has pinned tabs with an icon, chrome like tab shape, chrome like options (3 horizontal bar) icon, chrome like simple settings and even chrome like icons (incognito, bookmarks).

shrug. Firefox already had pinned tabs with an icon, and the icons for incognito/private and bookmarks aren't much different from the current ones either.

I'll grant you the tab shape and the option icon.


But I won't grant you the tab shape, unless you're the kid that couldn't figure out square pegs and round holes.

Been using this on the UX branch for a while now, loving it. Been very stable, excited to see this is finally merged.

I really, really dislike that the bookmark button has been taken out of the address bar, that's my biggest pet peeve, along with the slightly less customisable look.

Why is Mozilla trying so hard to make Firefox exactly like Chrome? I have been using Firefox since like 1.5, if I wanted it to be like Chrome I would use Chrome.

I think it's because afterall style matters, the chrome-ish UI is more appealing to most people in comparison to the old-classic firefox's.

Agreed. Not sure why they think it's necessary to move the menu to the right hand side (just like Chrome).

Have you tried using today's Firefox's menu on Windows 8? It's much better relocated out of the way of Windows 8's hot corners.

pro-tip: firefox and chrome UI might be what you see most, but they're like 5% of the whole product.

Because Chrome is superior.

The look of it, certainly.

The look _and_ the performance. I used to be a die-hard Firefox fan. Then I moved to Opera because it was faster. Then I moved to Chrome because Opera was buggy.

I tried using Firefox again a while ago and I went right back to Chrome. Overall, Firefox feels more sluggish than Chrome. In part, whenever pages are loading in Firefox, it seems to make the whole browser feel sluggish -- something which doesn't happen in Chrome.

And, as always with browser wars. This is your anecdotal opinion.

Different users and configs have different experiences and the memory or speed issues are something from the past even if the features were comparable (You can't beat the amount and quality of FF's addons).

A concerning issue about FF is that it might be drifting away from one of the things that makes it great. The ability to customize.

Disclaimer: Chrome, Firefox, Opera are all great browsers and people should use whatever they like but if you start pushing a case for your subjective choice, be prepared to deal with arguments.

I was prepared to deal with arguments, but all I got instead were downvotes.

I've compared Firefox with Chrome on different systems, and my perception of the performance was the same in all cases. Chrome is a memory hog, but it does not lag as Firefox does when it's loading pages.

I have not noticed this. I'm using the Nightly version of Firefox though. For me, since Firefox 23/24, it has performed comparably to Chrome.

And believe me I have LOTS of tabs (sometimes > 50) open. Firefox handles them much more nicely than Chrome, uses less memory and doesn't crash, EVER.

Chrome is just too happy to show me the sad face randomly during page loads.

So is this the death of the browser.tabs.onTop setting? Everybody has to use tabs on top now?

Firefox has looked awful on Linux for a long time. I'm excited to see a consistent design on every OS, and I've been primarily using the UX build for months.

A lot of people say this looks a lot like Chromium, but I don't find that to be the case at all. The background tabs aren't rounded at all, while tabs are shown to be rounded on mouse-over. It's a significant improvement over Chromium's approach. I'm not a tremendous fan of the rounded design, but it's certainly an improvement over the previous design.

Maybe I'm blind, but it looks basically the same on Linux as it does now except the tabs are curved (and possibly take up more space!)

I notice the tabs aren't sitting up in to the window manager in their Linux screenshot (understandable). I've already hidden the menu bar, then killed the window decorations for FF in KWin, so my tabs touch the top of the screen. In fact, Chrome actually uses a few more pixels than FF for me.

Maybe it's your OS? They look very different to me on Windows. The orange Firefox top menu is gone, the tabs have gained an "x" button, the "+" no longer has a border, the padding above the tabs is reduced, there are 3 new buttons on the search bar which is now larger and lost its colored background, and the forward button is gone.

It looks more like Chrome than it does old Firefox.


Yes, It has always looked different on Linux. Here's how Firefox 25 looks on KDE for me right now (entire screen).


with the exception of adblock on the right, that's the default layout.

Fyi, I also liked the orange button on Windows :(

The OSX version also looks closer to that than the Windows version. There is no orange "Firefox" bar, and tabs already have x's on them.

I much prefer how it looks for me currently (Firefox 26.0b5 on XFCE, Greybird/Numix styles): http://i.imgur.com/XXzCFQZ.png

It seems like change for the sake of making things "glossier". That inactive tabs have no top border bothers me. As does the fact it seems to completely ignore my native window toolkit tab/widget styles.

Very similar configuration as mine: http://imgur.com/PiehG1V

I have simplified and totally removed the search bar.

Some tweaks to get just an icon for the menu in the top left and also remove the close buttons in each tab. Probably something else I don't remember.

I thought this australis revision would make firefox look better integrated in the environment, not less, it seems they want to make it look the same in all plataforms...

I'm not a huge fan of that, but I'll wait to see if it can be integrated better of not.

I love Firefox and I tried the Australis build for a few weeks, I found myself not very keen ultimately, it is OK but not mind blowing. The rounded corner thing is inefficient, I think they have only done this so it doesn't look too much like Chrome. The most annoying thing though is that Linux has the full menu bar stuck on top, wish they could integrate it better like on Windows/Mac.

Is this Mozilla's responsive to Chrome's Aura? I'm a little confused with what benefit this offers over the previous one.

One interesting feature is the ability to customize the layout of the UI. Opera had some really great features for customization of UI and it's nice to see another browser doing it.

One thing I still haven't seen except in Opera: Tabs on the left or right. With widescreen monitors, I prefer my tabs on the left. Even better, tabs with thumbnails.

I hope they don't make it harder for add-ons to have the tabs on the left / right side. It's such a no-brainer to have the tabs there. Viewport is still big enough, and you can see the tab content mor easily.

I don't care if they've taken heavy inspiration from Chrome. I love the UI of Chrome and I am glad Firefox aren't embarrassed or afraid to take such obvious inspiration from a great looking browser and build upon it. This is exactly what Firefox has needed, a properly designed UI.

It's live :)

My knee-jerk reaction is that I like the old UI better... I do feel that the tab layout is preferable to Chrome's tab layout because the inactive tabs are faded and not round.


When I look at your screenshot, it really doesn't look like Chrome at all. Well as much as any browser looks the same with url bar, etc.

This is awesome news. One thing that I'm still hoping the Firefox team would integrate is the ability to clear all downloads from the dropdown menu once they're finished instead of having to open the downloads window.

Try right-clicking any download from the dropdown menu. There should be a "Clear List" option.

I had no idea that existed - thanks!

When is this curved tab experiment going to end already. I hated it in every peace of software that ever used it, and it always forces me to find ways to get rid of it.

Why not just stick with native tab implementation?

It's great that you use pentadactyl and you don't have to worry about these changes :v Btw, I don't find that the menu list looks nice. The way it shows history just doesn't fit.

So I just updated from the nightly PPA, but for some reason, I still haven't gotten the UX changes... Anyone know why this is?

Building tarball right now to see if the changes are there

NVM, posted too fast -- UX is working in the tarball but not in the PPA-updated version for some reason...

Unselected tabs blend into the chrome? No border?

Eugh. That seems silly.

i got a border, on windows and linux. i kinda found it odd still,then after 5min i decided i actually like it more.

Hmm, maybe the screenshots I have seen are incorrect. I shall keep my mouth shut until I have the thing in front of me.

So Australis means "more Chrome like"? Why?

So Firefox is now Chrome plus IE's back button? Doesn't seem like the most inspired way to differentiate your product.

Firefox has had that back button since 3. http://www.megaleecher.net/uploads/firefox3_beta3.jpg

Is it merged in today's build? It seems not to be available in the 28.0a1 (2013-11-18) OS X build/update.

It will either be in tomorrow's Nightly or we will do an extra build of Nightly in the afternoon.

Ok, great.

edit: a new update is now available with the new changes, I _like_ it!

edit': a minor quibble though, I preferred the star button when it was directly integrated in the url bar. I find it too excentred from the url for my eyes, I often give a quick look to check if an url is already starred or not.

Running Firefox Nightly on Ubuntu (with Unity), Australis looks great. Big improvement on the old interface.

Can it be disabled? Not everyone is going to like it or it may break a useful extension.

Technically speaking, the Nightly Build is only for testing purposes and is the most unstable version of FF available.

Here's a brief explanation:

In order of development - some new features may come and go from channel to channel.

Nightly - Under heavy development. Least stable/secure. First tests of new changes/features; some changes/features introduced in Nightly may be removed before Release and other versions. Only for testing. Should only be used by very experienced users/testers.

Aurora - Still under development. More stable/secure than Nightly. Some bugs may still be present that need resolution. Should be used by experienced users only who can post/report reproducible problems and work around issues.

Beta - Final development stage before Release. Usually good stability/security. Major bugs resolved. Working out final bugs. Preview of what Release version will most likely contain in the way of changes/features, though some changes/features can still disappear before Release.

Release - Final channel released to public for everyday use.


I think so, haven't tried to be honest, but this article http://winaero.com/blog/how-to-disable-australis-in-firefox-...

Also this only affects the nightly and add-on developers should be testing nightly anyway so they should prepare to update their add-ons in the future to adopt to the new UI.

And still no mention of shrinking tab headers...Jesus christ.

That's a feature, not a bug. Yay! (Chrome) I have 40 tiny tabs and I don't know what any of them are! At least Firefox + tabs provides real tab management options: scroll bar, Tree Style Tabs, Panorama, etc.

I hope they preserve the addon-bar.

They haven't. It's been removed, and as far as I can tell, there's now no way to add a bar to the bottom of the window.

As long as the themes I use keep working, great. One of the best parts of Firefox (which Chrome seems incapable of picking up) is that themes work: You can change the whole look and feel to what you want, as opposed to it being what some self-styled UI expert thinks you should want.

How about we get a Firefox that doesn't use a gig of RAM for 10 tabs? Or perhaps isn't slower than IE9 in jscript?

Firefox has consistently been shown to use less RAM than all other browsers:


Not only that, it's faster as well. Try closing a session of Chrome with 20 tabs open and then reopening it. On both Windows and Linux, Chrome can be extremely unresponsive in this scenario. FF lazy loads tabs so doesn't care to reload everything in the background when you restart your session.

I've noticed the reverse with Firefox, closing an instance with 20 tabs takes quite some time. However I've yet to notice Chrome take any time in opening 20 tabs.

People still seem to make the statement that Firefox uses more RAM, when in fact, since Firefox 20, it has consistently used LESS ram than all the other browsers.

I have 40 tabs open now, and it's using 1.16 GB which is awesome. I actually want it to take up more because I have 6GB of free RAM not being used, which is a waste.

Compare that to chrome. Using the same number of tabs and it can easily take up more than 3GB of ram on my system, which is expected since each tab is a different process.

I wonder when Firefox's tabs will run on their own separate process. I'm looking forward to that. I think I saw some updates a month ago but I can't find that now.

(fwiw, I have 16GB of RAM)

Here is a link to the project https://wiki.mozilla.org/Electrolysis.

The only thing about using separate processes is that you increase memory usage, since every tab has overhead, and tabs can't share resources (chrome tends to go process per domain).

i think electrolysis currently does something like grouping tabs like 10 per process or something. In nightly: about:config => browser.tabs.remote set to true restart firefox.

bang, you have multiprocess firefox.

a word of warning: it doesn't work so well, so i guess it's experimetal. you'll probably want to revert to false ;-)

Yeah. Chrome has been consistently using more RAM, CPU, and power for me than firefox over the last year or so.

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