Mozilla plans for Firefox theme update is two-staged. As announced last week, the first stop will be Firefox 3.7, targeted for next year, but there is also some planning for the release after that one, tentatively called Firefox 4, with more incremental changes over 3.7.
As we can see, it keeps the new Page and Tools buttons introduced in the Firefox 3.7 mockups to replace most menu bar options, but introduces a more dramatic change by moving the tab bar to the very top of the window, adding home and tab preview buttons to it as well.
This is just a mockup, and there is even another one showing the tabs below the navigation toolbar, and most likely this would be customizable, but I am pretty sure this will annoy long time users a lot. I think this is the logical place to put it as every command and action applies to the current tab, but I think people has managed to understand how it all works pretty well for the last five years.
The stop and reload buttons are merged with the Go button and located at the end of the location bar. The button changes depending on whether you are editing a web address, loading, or reading a web page. (Remember you can merge the stop and reload buttons with no extensions, pretty easily)
You may also note the Google search command in the location bar, as part of Taskfox, the uplift of Ubiquity features into Firefox.
The bookmarks, title and status bar are also gone (it’s not mentioned if users will be able to add them back). As shown in this other mockups, extension icons would be added to the area previously occupied by the title bar.
Other proposals for Firefox 4 themes include a tab sidebar, and download notifications overlay.
I really hope some of these change can make it for Firefox 3.6, although nothing is targeted earlier than 3.7. It all looks as a welcomed effort to modernize Firefox look and feel, and I am pretty sure I won’t have a problem adapting to all the changes, but of course it would be best if Mozilla could produce a theme/extension that implements these changes in the near future in order to test it thoroughly aside of the current trunk (Minefield) or the forthcoming Namoroka branch.