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Firefox 20: enhancing the experience!

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Firefox has released another non-LTS version that brings two amazing new features along with the usual bug fixing, performance improvements and developer tools evolution.

I personally used Chromium for a long time now snobing every new Firefox release, although I always give the latest version of the popular open source browser of the Mozilla foundation a chance.

New download experience

What seemed to annoy me in every release of the past is the way downloads are showed and managed. This time I am very happy to see that the download experience has been greatly enhanced!

What you see in the above video is a completely new way of managing your downloads on Firefox, that truly exceeded my expectations! You now get a button on the top right that will flash to inform you when a download begins and will transform itself into a progress bar for as long as you are downloading.

Clicking the button will provide the usual remaining time and downloaded size info, as well as options like “Show in folder” for the three latest downloads of yours. If you want to access the download library in order to see previous downloads you will have to press the “Show all downloads” and you will get a comprehensive manageable list.

Private Browsing

The second thing that arrives on Firefox through this version is the Private Browsing mode that is basically the corresponding incognito mode in Chrome. Private Browsing allows you to browse the Internet without saving any information about which sites and pages you’ve visited, meaning that no cookies will be saved, no files will be stored in the downloaded files library, no visited pages history will be saved, no search autocomplete data will enriched by what you typed and no passwords will be saved.

The best part is that Private Browsing doesn’t open a new window like Chrome does with incognito mode. You can switch from and to Private Browsing mode whenever you like from the same window.

The rest of the changes include 11 bug fixes, performance improvements for page loading, downloading and the shutting down of the application, ability to close hanging plugins without the browser hanging and so much more

I am very pleased with what version 20 brings and willing to give Firefox another chance to become my main browser application (again). I will definitely not judge harsh until I see all these new technologies along with those that will come working like a charm on the next LTS version that will be the 24. Firefox FTW!

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  • Luis Palomo

    a better gui on linux is still missing.

    • Brandon Watkins

      ironically, at the moment fx actually looks better under linux then it does in windows 8. in windows 8 the toolbar is the wrong color, and the menu highlights in the firefox menu are totally inconsistant, it looks pretty much native under linux as long as you having a matching gtk2/3 theme.

      • alex285

        The second irony is that FF20 renders this site normal under Win, while FF 20 in Fedora doesn’t ;)

        • THAC0

          In what way is it not normal on Fedora?

          • alex285

            Doesn’t render awesome fonts. I noticed that yesterday, and I didn’t find a fix.

          • Luya Tshimbalanga

            It sounds like a bug related to Pango, a texte layout engine.

          • alex285

            Yeap, you are right!

      • IsacDaavid

        For people using the stock Adwaita gtk theme this Firefox theme called “GNOME 3” comes very handy:

        • Luis Palomo

          Thanks!, I’ll give Firefox another try :)

  • Michael Heyns

    I’m confused, Private Browsing was introduced in Firefox 3.1. Why the mention?

    • Brian Robles

      The video and info posted is outdated. This should be the right one:

      Now private browsing opens in a new window, instead of in the same window, so exactly like Chrome. It used to be, firefox unloaded all your normal tabs when you opened a private browsing window, but now you can have both side by side.

      • Michael Heyns

        Ah! Thank you very much for the clarification. :)

      • alex285

        Oops! Thanks!

      • billtoulas


  • Remjg

    At last! Firefox download’s manager had always annoyed me… I was always grumbling about it : what is this “popup windows” that shows up all the time when I don’t care and that I don’t find when I need to have a glance at it?
    Great news that it’s finally changing! I must say I would love to see such a feature in Web ;-)

    On a completely different matter, this reminds me of the gnome 2 applet that could hide the transfer progress dialog. That was really convenient since you don’t find this little windows when you need it and the rest of the time you prefer hiding it to avoid closing it by mistake!
    Any chance of seeing this in GNOME Shell ?

  • IsacDaavid

    Apart from the private browsing mode not being a new feature, I’m very overwhelmed by the new download manager. I guess extensions like download statusbar will become kinda obsolete.