Review: Firefox 3 Beta 1

Firefox 3 Beta 1 is available now. I downloaded the package yesterday morning and started using it right away. While using, I figured out some of the good things and at the same time there are some bad things about this test release. Here is what I feel about Firefox 3 Beta 1.

BTW, you can get beta 1 for Firefox 3 here. I am not going to tell, how to install firefox :)

Positives:

1.Nice Default Font:

Well someone may argue that you can configure any font in any version of Firefox, so whats the good thing about this default font in Firefox 3 Beta1. Well, I’ll say that configuration is always available but nobody gives a damn to configure the font in browser. I am liking this default font in FF3 Beta1 and everything now seems interesting to read. I have Read more than 40 wiki pages since last two days.

2.New FTP Listing Style:

The FTP listings in Firefox 3 Beta 1 has got new stylesheet. Its not dirty any more. It feels good while browsing ftp now. See the screen-shot below.

FTP Listing In Firefox

3.Website Identity:

This is new feature, but I couldn’t find it useful. When you click on favicon in the location bar, a pop-up kinda thing comes up, which tells about the identity of the site you are visiting. Check out the snapshot below.

Website Identity in Firefox

4.Drag n Drop:

You can now hold any thing in Firefox 3 Beta 1 and drag it anywhere you want. Though I could not drop the images to gimp or anywhere else, it looks good. I think its in the development stage right now.

Drag and Drop in Firefox Drag and Drop in Firefox

5.Bookmarks:

Bookmarking a website or editing your bookmarks is far easier now. You can edit a bookmarked site while its loading or can bookmark the site by just clicking a button. A new star-shaped button has been added in the location bar before the go button. If a site is not bookmarked, clicking the button will just bookmark it without asking for anything. If you again click on the button, now you can edit or delete the site you just bookmarked.

Bookmark Editing in Firefox

6.Adding Search Engine:

In firefox 3 beta 1, you can add the site you are browsing in you search engine list just like google, imdb, wikipedia, yahoo or whatever. But this is not valid for every website. Every website in this world can’t be a search engine 😛 Checkout the snapshot or KDE.

Adding Search Engine in Firefox

7.Link sorting/searching in location bar:

Firefox 3 beta 1 implements a new searching/sorting mechanism for links in location bar. As you type some letters, those are now searched in the link as well as the title of the page and then the links are sorted and displayed as list. In drop down list, you can also see the sites on your bookmarks.

8.Places Folder:

A new bookmark folder named ‘Places’ has been added. It has 6 sub-folders which contains links to different site based on a particular criterion. Some of them are ‘Recently Starred Pages’, ‘Recently Visited Starred Pages’, ‘Most Visited Starred Pages’ etc. I was looking for something like this since a long time. Because every time I login into my PC and fire up my firefox, first of all, I visit 8-10 sites (students mail, slashdot, iiit blogroll, yahoo mail, gmail, forum, orkut etc.). Now, I can open all of them in just one click. I click on ‘Most Visited Starred Pages’ and done.

9.Low Memory:

Well, a review of Firefox 3 Beta 1 on zdnet, say that Firefox 3 beta 1 is consuming low memory than Firefox 2 and IE 7. That review is for Firefox in windows. But in Fedora 7, I didn’t experience any reduction in memory usage.

10.Faster:

I don’t know how to justify this, but Firefox 3 Beta 1 seems to load pages faster. What I could think was that, when you click go, it loads the page in the background for some-time and then suddenly flushes the page to the screen and it appears that the entire page has been loaded in one go. I may be wrong though.

11.Improved GUI:

The rendering of buttons, input fields, images in the pages have improved a lot and buttons and drop down menus look better now.

Negatives:

1.Extensions:

Life is a bit or I should say a byte difficult with Firefox extensions. Now, I am too much used to use these extensions that I can’t live without them. I’ll crash if I don’t have ‘Undo Closed Tab’ extension. I keep making stupid mistakes. All the extensions are not yet available for Firefox 3, so its a problem.

2.Multiple Tabs:

Firefox 3 Beta 1 immediately dies if I open more than 20 tabs. I opened my wiki saved session (39 tabs) and after sometime I was searching for Firefox. Where the hell firefox window has gone?

3.Crashes:

I don’t know what exactly is the problem, but I think Firefox 3 revolts against Yahoo Mail and GMail. Whenever I open Yahoo Mail or GMail, Firefox 3 Beta 1 crashes. Either there is some problem with the heavily loaded mail pages or it doesn’t want me to use GMail or Yahoo.

Well, there may be lot more positives and negatives. These are the things I noticed about Firefox 3 Beta 1 in last two days. As the positives list is ruling the negatives, I am using Firefox 3 Beta 1 full time these days.

PS : @Paresh I think FF3 is better than FF2 in many ways. But you may want to wait for all the extensions to be compatible with FF3.

 

How To: Configure Secure FTP Server (VSFTPD)

This post is totally dedicated to vsftpd configuration with uploads enabled. vsftpd stands for Very Secure FTP Daemon. It is shipped with almost all the latest Red Hat based OS. vsftpd for rpm based Linux distros can be downloaded from here. Also, one can install vsftpd by issuing ‘yum install vsftpd’ or ‘apt-get install vsftpd’ command. After installing vsftpd, you just need to start the vsftpd service.

[root@bordeaux saini]$ service vsftpd start [Enter]

And you are done. Your computer is now a FTP server. You can browse your ftp server by pointing your favourite browser to ftp://localhost/ or ftp://127.0.0.1/ or ftp://<IP_ADDRESS_OF_YOUR_MACHINE> .

If you see access denied or some error related to access. Issue ‘iptables –flush’ and ‘setenforce 0′ commands.

By default the files and directories in /var/ftp/ directory will be shown at ftp://localhost/ . Now, there are two ways to share your files on ftp.

1. Copy/move files that you want to share to /var/ftp/ directory.

2. Mount directories you want to share to /var/ftp/SharedDirName. Suppose you want to share /home/saini/Movies/ folder on your ftp, then follow the following steps:

Step 1

Login as root.

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[saini@bordeaux saini]$ su [Enter]
Enter Password for root.

Step 2

Go to /var/ftp/ and create the directory that you want to share.

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[root@bordeaux saini]$ cd /var/ftp/ [Enter]
[root@bordeaux ftp]$ mkdir SharedMovies [Enter]

Step 3

Bind the original directory to SharedMovies.

[root@bordeaux ftp]$ mount --bind /home/saini/Movies/ /var/ftp/SharedMovies/ [Enter]

If you browse your ftp now, you’ll see SharedMovies folder as well. You can remove default pub directory if you don’t like it.

The current ftp server will be a very basic one and will allow only downloads. Below we will see how to configure it so that others are allowed to upload files/directories to your server.

Step 1

Create a directory say ‘Upload’.

[root@bordeaux saini]$ mkdir Upload [Enter]

Note that this Upload directory can be anywhere either in your home directory or in /var/ftp/ or even on some other partitions.

Step 2

Change the ownership of Upload to ftp and change the permissions to 777.

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[root@bordeaux saini]$ chown ftp:ftp Upload [Enter]
[root@bordeaux saini]$ chmod 777 Upload [Enter]

Step 3

If you created Upload at any place other than /var/ftp/ , then bind it to a dir in /var/ftp/ .

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[root@bordeaux saini]$ mkdir /var/ftp/Uploads [Enter]
[root@bordeaux saini]$ mount --bind /home/saini/Upload/ /var/ftp/Uploads/ [Enter]

Step 4

Configure vsftpd.conf . The default configuration files for vsftpd lives in /etc/vsftpd/ . vsftpd.conf is configuration file for vsftpd.
Open /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf in any editor and add/uncomment the following lines :

Lines to be added or uncomments in /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf

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anonymous_enable=YES
write_enable=YES
write_enable=YES
anon_upload_enable=YES
anon_mkdir_write_enable=YES
anon_other_write_enable=YES
dirmessage_enable=YES
dirlist_enable=YES
no_anon_password=YES
file_open_mode=0777
guest_enable=YES

Save vsftpd.conf file and restart the vsftpd service with the command ‘service vsftpd restart’. Now anyone can upload files to your ftp server, but only to Upload folder.

There are certain more configurations which are related to restricting bandwidth, upload/download speed, connections etc.

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max_per_ip=2 # Max no. of allowed connections per IP Address.
max_clients=3 # Max no. of different IP Addressed which are allowed to connect.
anon_max_rate=1097152 # Max bytes/sec a user can upload/download to/from your ftp server.
banner_file=/etc/vsftpd/ftp_banner # The file containing the welcome message to be displayed to the clients.

For more configuration options, refer man pages for vsftpd.conf and vsftpd.

Note :

  • Whenever you restart your computer, you have to bind the directories everytime, so that they are shown on the ftp server. To skip binding every time, write everything (all commands for binding) in a mount.sh file and run it whenever you restart your computer.
  • You can view my vsftpd.conf file here.
  • Sometime, uploaded files doesn’t have 777 permissions. You can run this shell script in background forever.

PS0 : Absence of compat-libstdc++-33(libstdc++.so.5) is breaking a large no. of applications in Fedora 7. Here’s a solution anyway.