Firefox 0.9 is out!

Firefox 0.9 has been released. This new version includes a lot of great features and optimizations as well as a new default theme.

Mac users will allso notice that the default theme also gets a set of Aqua icons to replace the previous “button” icons. The new icons are more consistent with the Aqua icon guidelines and are easier to hit with the mouse. They also work with the Windows default theme to create a unified look across platforms.

I will create a Graphite version soon. Oh, and before you ask me to put the old icons back, please turn on “small icons” and live with the new ones for a week. Then we’ll talk šŸ™‚


90 thoughts on “Firefox 0.9 is out!

  1. I love the new WinXP Firefox default look and
    I hope Thunderbird will get the same look for its next release!

    keep up the great work!

  2. I think the new UI is great. White on White with some grey never really seemed right- and if you think that is more visually appealing chances are you have no idea what you are talking about.

    The new theme is great, it is simple, consistent and visually appealing.

    If all you bitchers and moaners in here don’t like the new theme so much… why don’t you write your own? Chances are most of you have no talent, no eye for the asthetically appealing, and couldn’t put together two complementary colours if your life depended on it.

    …Kevin, keep up the good work.

  3. Count me in as a disliker. I actually dislike it enough to seek out this website in an effort to change it back. Since it seems I can’t, I’m going back to 0.8, and I think I’ll be staying there.

    Mono. Please. This crazed crayon colour clash is ridiculous. As is trying to make the application look the same across platforms.

    Care to compare IE for windows with IE for Mac?

    What’s that? Oh: (from screenshots it seems like) IE for Windows has garish colour calamity, while IE on Mac has a soothing all-colours-the-same icon set. And you can even make them all gray.

    I don’t own any Windows PCs, I don’t use them at work. Why should my browser suffer just for the sake of some esoteric cross-platform dream?

    And yet: why should my page controls clash with the page. Jesus: Blue, red, the home and a host of other options for up there. It’s nonsense. Nice try, but please go back to improving pinstripe.

  4. “Firefox for Mac has lost it’s mac-ness. It now looks like a Windows app ported for the Mac.”

    …and here’s Winstripe being accused of looking too Mac-y and not at all Windows-y. Can’t win šŸ™‚

  5. By the way, through using the theme you’ve won me over – especially when compared to the Mac theme. I like the consistency and I’m looking forward to tweaks tailored to each specific OS.

    My suggestion is that the basic devices of the icons be kept identical across platforms, but the use of colour and texture be tailored to each OS.

    The screenshot of 0.9 Mac shows Aqua-like textures on (for example) the Bookmarks icon. It’d be excellent to see Luna-like (Qute-like) gradients and bright colours for Windows. Gnome could use their more subdued colours for the same icons.

  6. I love the new icons. I also like the old icons. The new icons give us a browser that is identifiably Firefox on all of the platforms that we run. (Apple took this a step further by making iTunes even appear Aqua-like on Windows – and guess what – I don’t care, because the app works as advertised – desecration of “sacred Windows GUI principles” (which change with every major Windows release or release of MS Office) aside…)

    I don’t see anything stopping anyone from taking the old toolbar set from an old build and creating and maintaining a “Pinstripe Retro” of sorts.

  7. Kevin–
    Thanks much for this new theme. As a long-time Mac user I feel that Firefox “looks and feels” like a application built for use on a Mac!

    While I also liked the previous Pinstripe theme, this new theme blends in more with the colors and textures of OS X. Your efforts have greatly improved the usability of Firefox for everyday use.

    Firefox is now my primary browser.

    I also agree completely with Ben and the team–when I use XP or Linux in other environments it is so great to use a browser with the same features, structure, and design.

    Firefox has fast become perhaps the premier example of open source success–Great work!

  8. Thanks eff for the guide to bring the old pinstripe back. I don’t have the right to complain about a heavily work-in-progress theme, but I’m glad the more polished theme is “available” as an option.

  9. Downloading the last build from 5-31-04 so I can get my pinstripe theme back, I have always liked it since I downloaded the original.

  10. The elitist snobbery on display here by some in the winstripe dev. team is quite revealing, but not terribly surprising.

    The problem with elitists is that they think that they’re the only ones smart enough to understand what people really need.

    Unfortunately, it just feeds their supeiority complexes when people say things like UGLY when listing their complaints.

    The problem is, an elitist snot can’t bring himself to admit that just because a person can’t communicate the reason WHY they dislike something does not INVALIDATE their dislike.

    If a bunch of people say your art looks like crap, then it does. These people aren’t whiners, they just can’t quite explain WHY your art is crap.

    Let me help you understand why Winstripe is crap and everyone hates it.

    It breaks usability. It really is that simple. Winstripe makes Firefox LESS usable than it was before.

    How? Simple. Garish color. The human eye is very sensitive to color. It will be the first thing the eye is drawn to in any environment.

    This can be used to positive effect in good UI. You want to make PRIMIARY UI elements that you want quickly locatable have color. You also want to make them smaller, because the eye will spot the color, and the size doesn’t need to be so pronounced.

    OS X uses this trait of the human eye effectively with scroll bars, window controls and dialog buttons. They are colored to allow for quick location because they are the most important elements on the window.

    This is precisely the same reason why the winstripe icons suck. They declare themselves through their bright colors to be primary window elements, yet that IS NOT THEIR FUNCTION. They are secondary elements, therefore they should be more muted. Instead of drawing primary attention to themselves, they should be easily locatable ONLY WHEN DELIBERATELY SOUGHT OUT BY THE USER.

    The old pinstripe theme did this perfectly. The monochromatic icons were locatable without being distracting. The subtle button look advertised the icon function without overwhelming the user. The SHAPES, which is the PRIMARY way humans identify objects (it is NOT color) were well-thought out to effectively communicate each widget’s function.

    The new theme throws all this good UI out the window and instead uses the crappy Windows interface convention of: Let’s see how much crap I can put in a window to distract the user.

    This is a common problem among interface designers, especially in the Linux crowd, where they incorrectly equate “oooh pretty” with good usability.

    The very fact that the first recommendation the author of Winstripe makes is to REDCUCE THE SIZE OF THE ICONS points out the primary flaw: Overwhelming the user. He’s trying to overcome this fundamental flaw with a kludge workaround: make them smaller (the “you idiot user” is implied).

    Now, the interesting thing about usability is that most people will not be able to explain this to you. Instead, they’ll just look at your product and say: Man, this sucks.

    So, get off your snotty elitist horse and realize that when people say a UI sucks, THEY are right, and YOU made a mistake.

  11. People may not be able to articulate themselves in terms of design or usability, but I EXPECT readers of this blog to comment in a way that is not insulting. That’s it. Those are my terms. Basic decency. Basic communication skills.

    When someone says that things like “your theme SUCKS” or “your art is crap”, it makes me less likely to take them seriously – even though a good point might be buried in there somewhere.

    I read every word of feedback here, on other blogs and on the MozillaZine forums. I have posted here and in the forums to engage the community, but have chosen not to do a point-by-point response to every post because of the large volume. If you want to insult, please do not waste my time or bandwidth.

  12. I think Fred Goff has touched on a really good point: the sheer amount of dislike from average users, UI amateurs, and mozilla freaks should tell you something. Despite what I’ve been hearing from pundits lately, a good UI expert listens to his users. You might not do what they say…but you do take their criticisms to heart. So when you hear a lot of the “hey, this sucks” type statements, don’t cry me a handful of tears or spit out a witty repartee…do something about it.

  13. Kevin,

    Let me first say your approach to the over-the-top criticism of both the new Pinstripe and Winstripe has been admirable. Don’t let the flamers get to you. Constructive criticism is one thing (and very useful it is too), but some of the comments I’ve read here and at Mozillazine are inexcusable. This should not ever get personal.

    Any major change involving Mozilla creates uproar, it’s an inevitability. You only need recall what happened with the last name change – not to mention the turbulence caused by the initial plan to drop the suite and switch development solely to the separate apps.

    I’m sure you have already taken heart from the fact that you could have come up with the best theme humanly possible and there would still be people would still bitch, whinge, moan and whine.

    It seems Mozilla enthusiasts, more than most, resist change of this type. Why this should be, I don’t know. It may be because name and theme changes have a direct affect on the brand. Although I must say that Iā€™m surprised so many are interested in branding ā€“ I thought I was in the minority in that respect.

    What the enthusiasts need to recognise is that this theme isn’t being created for them. It’s being created for the masses that don’t yet use Firebird, or the minority of current users who aren’t savvy enough to know how to change their theme. I’d guess that amounts to no more than 10% of existing users. For the remaining 90% (including everyone that has posted here and at Mozillazine) the actual choice of default theme should be a moot point.

    It’s that last point which leads me to question the need to get so uptight about changing the default theme – particularly when the standard of the new theme is so high (an opinion, I know – but it is at least an educated one from a fellow designer). It is likely because people generally think they have good taste – and that what they like the majority like (or at least should like: “if they don’t, they’re wrong”). This usually doesn’t follow – especially in the computer world. I’d rather have someone skilled and trained developing the theme than someone who merely carries an opinion they assume is shared by the majority.

    I appreciate the quality of work you are producing. I know I’m not the only one – it’s just that those who dislike it are louder at present.

    Having said all that, I’d like to add a note of constructive criticism if I may…

    One thing that has bugged me about Pinstripe since the beginning is the size of the toolbar ‘Space’. Why does it need to be so wide? Could it not be half the width? That way you could still have gaps on the toolbar of the current size (by using two), but also smaller gaps for those (like me!) that prefer them?

    Also, do you have any plans to release the previous version of Pinstripe as a standalone? Although I do like the current theme, I’d like the option of using the old one too – mainly because there are so very few themes that actually work in OS X.

    Once again, keep up the good work!

  14. It never ceases to amaze me at how rude people are to those that pour hundreds and thousands of hours into providing a /free/ service to the world. I’m percolating a blog about this subject, probably not to be published this quarter, but it’s coming.

    How about the rude, obnoxious whiners get off *their* high horses and realize that Mozilla is an open source project, if you don’t like it, feel free to do better! Mozilla has never been based on random commenter X having absolute power over those that have write access – it has been based on those who put their money where their mouth is.

    If you don’t like my attitude, feel free to see the Complaints Dept. ™. [If you need an explanation of what this is, please read the archive on my personal blog]

  15. Just a quick point – I run ShapeShifter on OS X because I find the BBXMercury theme much more soothing than Aqua to stare at all day. This theme makes toolbars a light grey instead of white. Winstripe’s colors look kind of strange over that, while Pinstripe looks even better than on Aqua as the grey background gives the white buttons more contrast.

    eff’s suggestion above worked fine for me. I think Winstripe is a good start and will improve, but I’d like to see a complete Pinstripe for OS X as well. Perhaps both OSX and Win versions could come with Winstripe as a default, but packaged with Pinstripe or Qute respectively (like Mozilla’s old Classic/Modern).

    Overall very pleased with Firefox 0.9. Only major complaint is that I still don’t understand why the cookie manager is hidden two menus deep in preferences. I’m constantly deleting cookies while testing sites and it seems to me it would make more sense next to Themes and Extensions in the tools menu.

  16. I have been a big fan of Pinstripe and Kevin’s work for a long time. Without it, I might not be using Mozilla, cuz yes I am that shallow. But really, I do think that the look of software effects your experience with it enormously, and even a wonderfully featured thing gets grating when you hate to look at it. That said, I think that Mozilla is about as wonderfully featured and just plain wonderful as software gets, I mean it’s up there with like my top 3 apps out there, I love it to death, and so this is all a preface to saying: I adore Mozilla, and it’s important to me how it looks, and I have admired Kevin’s theme work.

    Having said all of that, I was pretty taken aback when I installed Firefox 0.9. I thought that something had gone wrong, that some other theme accidentally got mixed into the release build, because the toolbar icons were hideous. I tried to live with it, but finally I decided to search the web to see if this was a bug that others had encountered, then found this page indicating that the icon change was intentional. Now learning more about it, I see that really only 5 icons have changed: the forward, back, reload, stop, and home icons. But given that the only icons I have in my toolbar setup are those first 4, that’s all I see. I love the other icons. I like the home icon, too, obviously very Mac OS X looking. I love everything else about the theme. But it’s those 4 icons that I just can’t stand. And that’s what I see all the time when I use Mozilla. So I really hope that they are reconsidered.

    I liked the old icons for those 4 things. But I also see that they don’t really match the rest of the icons, which have color. So I’m not against them being redesigned, I just think it could be way better than the latest. For one thing, the shades of blue and red that were chosen I think are very ugly. More-over, I think that having primary blue and primary red as the main icon colors is a really ugly scheme. I can understand the stop being red, but I would recommend something other than blue for the forward, back, and reload buttons. I’m not good with graphics stuff, so I am better at saying what I don’t like than what I like. I know it’s not as useful to say “not blue” than it is to say what I would like it to be, but that’s the best I can do with attempting to provide constructive criticism. Also, I think that those icons could have more colors, they don’t just need to be mono-color. The other problem with them is that, as others have said, they’re very flat. They’re very geometrically uninteresting, too. I think that the shapes could be more stylized in interesting ways. And I totally think that Kevin is more than capable to make these changes and make an amazing theme again. I hope that these criticisms and suggestions help.

    In the meantime, I dipped into the 0.8 chrome, took out the toolbar icons, and integrated them into the 0.9 chrome. You can see it if you like. For anyone interested, I have put up my 0.9/0.8 hybrid classic.jar for download. To install it, go into the package and put it in (replacing the original one, or maybe you want to back up the original one first).

  17. Just wondering, is the idea of creating one theme for all platforms set in stone or could you go back to seperate themes? Reason I’m asking is that there are a lot of posts giving negative feedback on this and I’m wondering if it’s a waste of time complaining.

  18. Ben, Kevin, Stephen: I can understand your frustration with some of the flames and insults, but I can’t understand why you only seem to be responding to those same flames and insults. Why don’t you guys just ignore the trolls and start providing some response to all the constructive feedback, and the fundamental questions about the decision to pursue a uniform look across different platforms? Now it seems you are not only ignoring insensible whiners, but also the people who are genuinely trying to help you.

  19. These are the things we are trying to balance: cross-platform identity, unique personality, OS-specific look and feel. OS-specific look and feel is most important, followed by the others.

    Pinstripe and Winstripe don’t necessarily have to share all the same icons and shapes. They are that way in the first version because of the time constraint that we were under. We’ll see what happens in the next iteration šŸ™‚

    Feedback is welcome here if you have something to add to the discussion. If you want to give us negative feedback, that’s fine, but please be constructive.

  20. Will the Mozilla Suite theme be updated as well, with these new buttons?

    I’m not quite happy with the direction that the theme is taking, visually, but I’m really into the idea of having themes that are essentially similar but that fit into their respective graphical OS environment, so I’m anxious to see where this is going.

  21. I do think that the Winstripe theme is better than Qute when it first started, but that clearly has some way to go to really mesh with Windows XP’s default look and feel. (And it is Luna that the users Firefox is hoping to attract will probably be using.) It’s clearly possible to use the same basic symbols (triangles for navigation, similar reload shapes, etc.) yet tailor them to the look of the OS.

    On the new Pinstripe, I was quite surprised to see the new forward/back, reload and stop buttons. They’re not particularly bad, but I’m not really sure about them fitting into OS X themselves. They seem to me to lack the detail that an icon button usually has (more like the home, which is great – very close to the home directory one). I did like the use of symbol shapes on bevel buttons in the last Pinstripe – that way there was less need for the visually inviting look of Apple’s own toolbar icons. I think that those four buttons (the rest look amazing) might need some more Aqua-fying, just as the beta mentioned above became more Apple HIG-oriented (to my eyes).

    Of course, the theme could eventually move more to the brushed metal look, but then it wouldn’t really be Pinstripe :o) Thanks for all the hard work on the themes.

  22. I must say, I really don’t like this new theme. The colors just seem too garish, as if they’re targeted at little kids. Or maybe Netscape 4: Now, with 20% more shiny!

    I know you’ve put a lot of hard work into this, but I’m just glad that eff found a way to switch back to pinstripe.

  23. i use the new default theme now about a week. and what should i say? It would not be better. Horrible colours. maybe a nice thing for Windows XP Users, but on a Mac? sorry its a grously view.
    i go to install smoke theme (or anything small, fine and decent theme else) now.

  24. How do you people even think that the colors are “garish”? Those colors are used in OS X. Look at the default icons scroll bars for example. You can see the reds and blues there. This style is similar to Omniweb, a browser that most Mac users say has the best and most OS X-like theme.

    What do you all want an monotone and sterile look to the whole browser? Some of you act as if the icons were neon lights burning your eyes.

    “So, get off your snotty elitist horse and realize that when people say a UI sucks, THEY are right, and YOU made a mistake.” Elitist my ass, people always find a reason to bitch no matter what, especially Mozilla fans.

    I’m glad that Firefox has a more unique look rather than something that was similar to Safari.

  25. Bring back the old icons! At least make a separate theme available so those of us that hate the new ones can be happy.

  26. You stated “I will create a Graphite version soon. Oh, and before you ask me to put the old icons back, please turn on “small icons” and live with the new ones for a week.”

    Its now over a month, and I’m sure your busy working on Winstrip and Pinstrip for RC1… but… please… please…. I can’t wait much longer… please… please….

  27. I hope you are still reading the comments after all this time.

    The reason that the new icons do not work has to do with consistancy of the OSX GUI: the symbol of the isocoles triangle pointing right or left is reserved for an expansion widget: where one item expands a hierarchy of items under it…

    Please refer to the use of the triangle in the OSX sidebar for instance… or anywhere else in the GUI. That symbol should not be used for another meaning; its meaning is diluted as a result.

    Honestly, I liked the milky-white scheme of 0.8 much better… It was very classy-looking. I’m sorry to say that the current theme looks almost cheap in comparison.

    Please provide the milky theme as a seperate download? Please?

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