Mozilla 1.4 Beta Released
Thursday May 8th, 2003
Mozilla 1.4 Beta was released yesterday. This release allows you to separately specify whether a blank page, your home page or the last page you visited loads when you initially start Navigator, open a new window or open a new tab. It's also now possible to specify the default font, size and colour of text when composing HTML mail and Mail & Newsgroups now has support for CRAM-MD5 authentication. Image blocking and disabling is now more flexible, allowing you to optionally view images that have not been loaded, and the 'Launch File' button in the download dialogue or Download Manager now works after downloading an executable. Proxy auto-config failover has also been implemented and Mozilla can now be built using GCC on Windows. Read the Mozilla 1.4 Beta Release Notes for more information and download the new version from the mozilla.org Releases page or the mozilla1.4b directory on mozilla.org's FTP site.
> Why is XFT not built into the standard binaries?
Because up until 1.4b it was incredibly buggy? For example, almost all non-English text had issues with rendering. I _think_ this is fixed. If 1.4b is better, perhaps we can try to build XFT by default in 1.5a. Of course if having half the text on the page not show up is a good thing, we should have been building XFT in all along....
Also, there is currently no way that I know of to turn off the XFT rendering in XFT builds; since XFT is ridiculously slow (an order of magnitude slower than normal rendering at least) over remote X connections with no RENDER extension there needs to be a way to turn it off if we make this the default -- the alternative is to make Mozilla completely unusable on anything that's not a desktop Linux machine (eg on X terminals).
Finally, Mozilla runs on a rather wide range of Linux systems, many of which do not have XFT. We can drop support for these, of course, but that requires some thinking before it's decided on. Not sure how much of an issue this is now that we've moved to requiring glibc 2.2.