I was out of the loop for a while on the beta release of Firefox. I like using the latest browsers but for some reason this release escaped me until Beta 4 was out. My first impression: it’s faster, renders pages better and uses less memory than Firefox 2.
I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and love the speed improvements. When I finally heard about it I held off on switching for two reasons. One, beta 4 crashed a fair amount (Beta 5 seems to have that mostly fixed) and two, many extensions (including the ones I use regularly) didn’t work.
If you think an extension will work, you can open up about:config and create a new boolean entry named extensions.checkCompatibility. Setting it to false will tell Firefox to let you install whatever extension you want, even if it causes Firefox to royally screw up (Oh the irony! Firefox just crashed on me as I was typing “royally screw up”). Of course you run the risk of causing yourself problems.
The full release of Firefox 3 is expected in June 2008. At this stage, even with the ironic crash in the previous paragraph, I consider it stable enough to use as my main browser. You’ll benefit more from the speed improvements than you’ll suffer from the crashes.
To test it out without affecting your existing Firefox profile, install the portable version. Copy your profile from Firefox 2 to avoid having to reset all your preferences.