What is Australis ?
Australis is a visual redesign of Firefox that is going to land in Firefox 29 or later. The main changes are :
- A curved tab shape
- A new customizable (a bit chrome-like) menu (and removal of the old Firefox menu)
- A new customizing UI
- Some new kinds of widgets
You can get a preview on the nightly channel : nightly.mozilla.org
A better overall design
For now, the design still remains unfinished and quite ugly. But that should get fixed soon.
Here's how it's supposed to look like (view the 2 first mockups in Firefox for best quality) :
- Windows 8 : people.mozilla.org/~shorlander…
- Windows 7 : people.mozilla.org/~shorlander…
- Mac : people.mozilla.org/~shorlander…
(This mockups can be viewed in any browsers)
New toolbar buttons
Some new toolbar buttons have been added to compensate the removal of the old menu.
Addon compatibility and hard coded customization
With australis new hardcoded-customization, many addons are broken. The addons that add a new toolbar require to be updated. Some other addons are also broken due to the new customization.
Not much addons were broken with the release of Firefox 4, themes were, but addons were less affected.
Also, with their new subview widgets thing, mozilla didn't think of converting automatically the menus to subviews.
Some toolbar button stylings are broken too in the panel menu.
When an addon doesn't provide a big icon (which is the case of 90% of current addons), it will show an horribly resized icon when it's in the panel menu instead of adding a container and putting the icon in it.
An unfinished UI
As I said before, the new UI is quite unfinished since some old UI bits are still there, but that should be fixed.
And they are also using some placeholder styles and graphics which is also horrible.
Removal of some customization options
With the arrival of Australis, the "Add new toolbar", "Small icons mode", "Icons and text", "Text only" settings are gone. This is not a bug, Firefox designers meant to remove them. But those features weren't widely used so I understand their removal. But still, some users are really mad about those removals.
Bye bye addon bar
Yes the addon bar is gone
Firefox designers wanted people to put their addons into the navbar, like chrome
Some features are unfinished, and Firefox developers do not want to fix it "by design".
For example, the download button in the panel menu should open a subview with downloads, not an extra popup.
The new Panel menu
It's good because it's customizable but it lacks some stuff compared to the old menu.
The new subview design has some disadvantages because it cannot nest submenus or other subviews, which is quite bad. For example, the bookmarks subview will show the bookmarks, but the folders in it cannot open extra subviews by design and have to open an extra popup.
Australis still lacks many features, but the worse parts are :
- the hard coded customization
- the unfinished UI
Another bad sign is the release of an addon restoring the old UI, if Australis was good, there would be no need to do this.
Here's the addon : forums.mozillazine.org/viewtop…
As a firefox user, I'm quite deceived of the Firefox team for making this redesign happen.