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Choose Firefox Now, or Later You Won't Get a Choice (2014) (ocallahan.org)
484 points by jonotime on Sept 26, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 295 comments

What always strikes me about these pleas is how familiar they sound. They're reminiscent of all the things we "should" -- eat better, exercise more, lower our carbon footprint -- and I suspect they all see just about the same level of long term success.

Firefox did well when their only real competitor (MS) was actively trying to make their own browser bad in order to preserve the relevance of the desktop OS and their dominance in that area.

Now that they have a competitor (Google) which is actively trying to make their own browser good in order to increase the relevance of online services and their dominance in that area, Firefox hasn't fared so well.

I don't necessarily disagree with the author of this post, but it doesn't seem like moral high ground alone is going to make Firefox any more successful than the other things we "should."

What I wonder about is what larger systemic or structural shifts would have to occur for Firefox and the other "shoulds" of the world to have a chance.

The public at large will never be swayed to use less convenient alternatives for ethical reasons. But even so, if a small, dedicated group of people are convinced, they can keep the ethical alternative just alive enough that it remains a somewhat viable alternative.

I don't think vegetarianism will ever be the norm, but there are enough vegetarians to create a market for vegetarian food. This creates options for people who don't want to eat meat for ethical reasons, increasing their freedom to live life the way they want without it being prohibitively inconvenient. A similar argument can be made for desktop Linux or using Firefox.

Vegetarianism can be the norm, but for that to happen one of two things must happen: either the cost of meat has to be prohibitively expensive ("the stick") or vegetarian dishes have to be more appealing to the public at large ("the carrot"). Neither of those things have happened yet.

For Firefox to gain market share, either the perceived "cost" of using Chrome has to skyrocket or Firefox has to be superior for a common use case. Ethical arguments attempt to do the former, but imho nothing short of google charging for chrome will increase the cost.

Mozilla needs a killer web app that people want to use. Something like gmail that attracts millions of people, with features added to Firefox (new APIs or whatever) to make the app much more effective.

Firefox for Android allows you to install extensions. Most notably, it allows you to install an adblocker like uBlock Origin.

Chrome for Android does not.

I'd consider that a killer feature.

Also Firefox on mobile is already much better.

> vegetarian dishes have to be more appealing to the public at large

That is just a question of habit and education. If you are used to veggie food, the meat is not appealing to you. Tastes are things we build, not stuff we are born with.

Vegetarianism will not become a norm, if it does, because of one factor only. For such a strong cultural habit, you need several factors. It may happen under a combination of the following:

- meat production is costing too much ressources (land, water, energy, etc) compared to the food it produce - meat production does manage to feed the growing propulation; - mass meat production will revealed to be more and more unhealthy, either by nature, because of the artificial products we use for it, or because of the pollution it causes; - it's effect on global warming will trigger a similar reaction as the one we had about CFC.

I doubt it though. I see more and more people consumming less meat around me, I'm a vegetarian myself, but I can't see a shift happening any time soon.

BTW, morality is a very weak factor. It never stopped people to drink and do something stupid, it never stopped people from bying iphones built by children, and it never made them choose a proper president.

>it never made them choose a proper president.

The election system in the US prevents that from ever happening.

> For Firefox to gain market share, either the perceived "cost" of using Chrome has to skyrocket or Firefox has to be superior for a common use case.

It wouldn't hurt either if we nerds, pros, superusers etc etc stopped spreading FUD like "Chrome is way better".

It's not FUD since Firefox does have many flaws. While I don't like Google and Chrome, for an average user it is better to use.

Just curious, why is Chrome better for you? I switched back to Firefox after e10s landed, and tbh they are now functionally equivalent (for me, at least). I now choose Firefox because I find myself more aligned with Mozilla's philosophy, and to promote cross-browser consistency.

Is e10s the default now? I thought you had to enable it yourself, and some extensions weren't huge fans.

I had been using beta/etc. versions. Yeah I've also heard that some extensions don't work within a sandbox, but I'm not really an extensions-type person.

People are far removed from seeing the actual results of their decisions.

Humans are also very good at self deception. Even if you sort of know your beef is butchered, it carries little meaning since you never have to see it happen.

Same goes for Google stealing your data or Apple making pretty phones with slave labor.

Basically pretty much everybody needs to be smacked hard with a stick now and then and told what kind of picture they are really painting.

Humans are also very good at self deception. Even if you sort of know your beef is butchered, it carries little meaning since you never have to see it happen.

I never understood this argument vis-a-vis butchering, since it implies pastoral farmers are particularly immoral people, unlike "regular" people who would stop their behaviour if only they'd see the results. Is that really your view?

In my opinion, the opposite is true: growing up ignorant of how it works is the only reason why they may be shocked when they find out. If it was a common sight, people would be OK with it just like most people growing up in farms are.

The argument does not imply that killing animals for food is wrong, but that it is wrong to disconnect people from that reality and expect them to make moral decisions.

I've always been conflicted on the "don't know how it's made" argument. On one hand, I've known people who learned about farming practices and butchery and were horrified (but most went back to meat after a brief stretch of dissonance). On the other hand, I grew up knowing what butchering an animal involves. It never turned me (or a lot of other people) off of eating those animals.

I think you're right - it's not that ignorance is required, just that the moment of discovery is a bit shocking.

You're right about self deception but this is a tricky subject. Would you consider worldwide milk production and its products on the same level as your two examples with Google and Apple? Difficult to see how you can get milk without having to handle the question of what to do with male calves. As to butchering, we can know about it and if the 'how' is unacceptable (often is) then we can ensure the law is applied and modified when better solutions are found. Some kind of public access to slaughter houses should be encouraged and people should indeed be acquainted with the raw facts while ensuring they are able to appreciate the consequences of decisions which may be merely emotive feelings decoupled from fact. Both are needed!

One argument that has good traction lately around me is data privacy. It remains the killer argument of Firefox against Chrome.

What's old is new again.

>Vegetarianism can be the norm, but for that to happen one of two things must happen: either the cost of meat has to be prohibitively expensive ("the stick") or vegetarian dishes have to be more appealing to the public at large ("the carrot"). Neither of those things have happened yet.

That's not really true, about them being appealing. There's several Italian pasta dishes that are quite tasty which I frequently make for myself because they're super-cheap: spaghetti, penne, etc. Pasta plus a tomato-based sauce is totally vegetarian AFAIK, and what kind of weirdo doesn't like spaghetti? (Of course, a lot of people eat it with meat sauce or meatballs, but that's not necessary for the dish.)

There's also macaroni & cheese; lots of people like that.

Of course, the problem with these dishes is that 1) personally I don't want to eat spaghetti or pasta every single night, and I'm probably not alone there, and 2)you don't get much protein this way.

The problem with vegetarianism is that there just aren't a lot of good plant-based protein sources that are actually appealing, and you need this for a balanced diet. Meat is a simple and easy way to get lots of high-quality protein into your diet.

I believe vegetarianism is going to die out in the next century, as artificially-grown meats are developed and commercialized. If you can eat filet-minion-quality beef cheaply and without having to kill a cow to get it, why bother being a vegetarian?

>Mozilla needs a killer web app that people want to use. Something like gmail that attracts millions of people, with features added to Firefox (new APIs or whatever) to make the app much more effective.

The problem with this idea is that it breaks the whole idea of the web, which rests on open standards. Web browsers aren't supposed to be walled gardens that are incompatible with each other, they're all supposed to show web content the same way. We should not be going back to the bad old days of site X needing browser A to work.

The main thing that differentiates browsers is features and extensions. Edge, for instance, is a mostly unusable browser because it doesn't support all the ad-blocking extensions that Chrome and Firefox do. Performance is also a big feature, and Firefox has been lagging there for some time by sticking to having a single process.

Personally I think that Firefox would be fine if they'd stop wasting time and effort on bullshit features like Pocket and work on making it the fastest, most memory-efficient browser possible, which also best supports uBlock Origin and other advanced features. It'd probably also be a good idea if they could support Netflix viewing out-of-the-box the way Chrome does. If they got all that right and working really well, and touted themselves as being "spyware-free", they'd have sufficient marketshare to be relevant and hold their position, which is all they really need to do. They don't need to be #1, they just need to be large and influential enough to keep the others in line and prevent fragmentation of the web like we had in the IE6 days. If 40% of the market wants to be suckers and use Edge and look at copious ads, let them; they don't matter as long as they're not a clear majority.

In regards to the meat eating arguments:

1. There are no special chemicals or compounds (protein, iron, etc) in meat that can not be found elsewhere.

2. The protein myth is strong in the US, but it is hard to find almost any food that lacks it. Have you ever known someone who was protein deficient, anywhere? It is estimated that 6% of the US is veg and 40% of India is vegetarian. And these people are typically healthier then the rest, not deficient.

3. Speaking of India. You think vegetarian food cant be made to taste good, or is too bland? They have had it mastered for thousands of years. The point is not that Indian food is good, but that vegetarian food is not necessarily bad. Just because you had one bad veggie burger, does not mean there is not great veggie food out there that would appease most of the world.

4. And speaking of taste, taste is not a static condition. Yes, there are some things we have evolved to like, but your taste buds themselves are malleable - not fixed as most people will tell you if you go on a diet for a couple weeks.

>1. There are no special chemicals or compounds (protein, iron, etc) in meat that can not be found elsewhere.

I never said there were. The problem is that they are not easily found elsewhere, in an appealing form, in sufficient density, like they are in meats. If you really love lentils or some crap like that, more power to you. The rest of us think a lot of that stuff is nasty.

>2. The protein myth is strong in the US, but it is hard to find almost any food that lacks it. Have you ever known someone who was protein deficient, anywhere? It is estimated that 6% of the US is veg and 40% of India is vegetarian. And these people are typically healthier then the rest, not deficient.

Wrong. Look at the average height of people from India. Now look at the height of children of Indian parents who immigrate to the US. Compare it to their own families back in India, to eliminate the effects of socioeconomic differences between groups/castes there. There's a huge height difference, and it's because of the readily-available protein in the diet. The kids end up growing much taller than the parents even, and much taller than their cousins back home. I've seen it myself up close. It's not genetics, it's diet: childhood nutrition has a huge effect on height.

So no, it's not a "myth", and yes, lots of people are protein-deficient, it's just not as readily-apparent as people who are visibly malnourished as in truly impoverished places where they're literally starving to death.

And as for American vegetarians, they fall into at least one of two groups (there's a big overlap): 1) people who are already adults, and probably aren't extremely physically active/athletic, so they don't have the high protein needs that growing children do and can take advantage of, and 2) people who are basically religious about their vegetarianism, so they're extremely well educated about what foods contain what, and go to a LOT of trouble to make a balanced diet out of it (whereas the rest of us just throw a little meat into our diet and avoid excess and otherwise don't have to spend a lot of effort or attention on our diets).

>3. Speaking of India. You think vegetarian food cant be made to taste good, or is too bland? They have had it mastered for thousands of years.

Yeah, if you like Indian food. People who didn't grow up with it frequently don't. At least it's not nearly as bad as some southeast Asian foods, like Indonesian, but it's pretty much inedible to western people unless they tone down the spices.

>Just because you had one bad veggie burger, does not mean there is not great veggie food out there that would appease most of the world.

No one's made a good veggie burger, and that's because it's impossible. If they could do it, they would do it, because there'd be a lot of money in such an invention. They all taste like cardboard. The only way you're going to make something taste like real beef is to either use real beef, or chemically or biologically replicate the beef somehow. You're not going to achieve that by growing some readily-available plants and mixing them up somehow; that's like thinking you're going to build a Ferrari out of typical bicycle parts.

>4. And speaking of taste, taste is not a static condition. Yes, there are some things we have evolved to like, but your taste buds themselves are malleable - not fixed as most people will tell you if you go on a diet for a couple weeks.

Basically you're advocating somehow either forcing or convincing entire societies of people to suddenly change their taste preferences. That's not likely to happen. And don't forget, here in many western nations (esp. the US and UK probably), we are exposed to the cuisines of other nations a lot (though sometimes they're heavily modified to sell to Americans--Chinese food is infamous for this). It's not like Americans have never tasted Indian food; we have. There's lots of Indian restaurants here, plus various other exotic cuisines (middles eastern, Ethiopian, etc.). It hasn't caused Americans to all suddenly switch.

I was not specifically addressing you. I was just laying out some of the dated arguments about why humans need meat. But anyway, you are saying in many ways how YOU personally dont like lentils and veggie burgers. I already addressed this in 4.

I am not mandating that Indian food replace everything else. I am saying there is plenty of good cuisine out there that does not include flesh. Like you said we are brought up eating meat in the US. This is nothing more then a cultural tradition, not a requirement. While vegetarianism is not necessarily free or easy for everyone, it is very accessible. It is lazy to continually blindly support an industry based on violence (or argue for it in your case).

You like its "easily packed density", but somehow hundreds of millions of vegetarians manage to survive. Hm.

And, like you said there are more people eating less meat which is an indication of this cultural change. Speaking of impossible vegetarian burgers, what you say cannot exist already does. In fact it is even called Impossible. I have tasted one. To me they are disgusting. But that is because they actually taste like flesh. These were designed for meat eaters, not vegetarians. Of the people I tried it with, only the meat eaters had any appreciation for it. http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/06/21/482322571/sil...

Me, I hate spaghetti.

I won't eat white pasta (or white rice/bread) in general.

> what kind of weirdo doesn't like spaghetti?

Type 2 Diabetics?

"the carrot"

I see what you did there.

> The public at large will never be swayed to use less convenient alternatives for ethical reasons.

There have been countless practices which were once the convenient norm but are now seen as archaic or barbaric, at least in some parts of the world;

Slavery, serfdom, monarchies, dowry, arranged marriage, virgin sacrifices, involuntary circumcision, blood feuds, war crimes, excessive pollution... I'm sure the transition period in each of those cases was anything but convenient, and in some places it's still nigh impossible to convince people to stop these practices.

I think it's not so much "swaying" the public at large but continuing to provide sufficient education to them, and the technology to ease the transition, then at some point the transition just happens on its own. Of course the inverse is also possible and people sometimes revert to old and worse practices.

> Slavery, serfdom, monarchies, dowry, arranged marriage, virgin sacrifices, involuntary circumcision, blood feuds, war crimes, excessive pollution...

To be clear, we are comparing all this to using chrome and having browser homogeny?

I found that amusing while writing it too :P but the comment I replied to brought up vegetarianism and seemed to be making a general point about ethics vs. convenience.

I think it illustrates that people can disagree with what constitutes unethical actions - the higher the requirement that everybody agree on what is unethical, the more heinous the crime has to be. So most of us will agree on the items in your list, but eating meat or using Chrome will be harder to get consensus on.

> involuntary circumcision

I'm a theological non-cognitivist, coming from a Muslim family. Putting involuntary at the front does not make circumcisions which had the consent of an underage kid OK. I'm very sensitive about this, and while I love my parents, I still feel violated because of their decision.

Just wanted to share. No offense or anything taken from your comment of course.

OP here.

Funny how this conversation sided into vegetarianism. Because I am one who sides with the moral issues - as a vegan, Firefox, Linux user. I represent the ones mentioned here who will go the extra mile, which is typically the harder route to do what is right, not what is easiest.

However, I dont think this route is for everyone. And I think legitimate competition between browser features is key. I do use both browsers, but only when necessary with Chrome (Chromecast and Netflix, some Google products like Photos). However I think there is not a concrete answer which browser is a better user experience. And these things change over time. Yes, when Chrome came out it was a great fast experience (mostly because there were no addons and there was no cruft in the beginning), but Firefox overtook it in the benchmarks several times since. Its been back and forth.

These reputations are strong, but dangerous. I'm a developer and still come up against the "Java is slow" argument. I'm no fan of Java, but I find it to be anything but slow these days. Yes, back in the early applet days it had a bad name and decades later it cant shake that reputation. This is technology! Things change fast. Dont get stuck in the fud.

googlers need more kale in their diet

This is a misleading comparison. You imply that firefox is far behind chrome in terms of general quality. Although I use chrome a lot, I also use firefox daily. And the quality difference is essentially nil(1). In many relevant ways firefox was at times better; but the details shift from release to release. I certainly isn't true that typical users would run into huge problems by using firefox.

1: on a desktop. I also regularly use FF/chrome/edge on a laptop, where FF's slowness+ power usage is possibly slightly noticeable (not very), and I also use multiple browsers on mobile, where FF clearly is behind (though it's not clear how much of that is due to FF+chrome, and how much is due to websites simply only ever testing on mobile chrome and possibly iOS - not that it does the end-user any good)

The difference between the browsers is overstated. If it weren't for vendor lock-in effects, you could use FF today and barely notice the difference.

In my experience, while Firefox does lose with Chromium when it comes to slowness (e10s and APZ helps a lot, but still doesn't win), it definitely wins when it comes to power usage and leaves Chromium in dust.

For starters, Firefox lacks in speed, security and stability compared to Chromium and this is not a matter of opinion, but hard facts. Sandboxing is not fully implemented, there's no process/tab separation and Webkit renders most pages faster than Gecko.

The developer tools are slow, lacking in features and can reproducibly be crashed. FF is relying on broken extensions for things that should be core functionality. The "Awesome bar" is so mediocre, I wonder how it got its name.

I've been using FF for about 10 years and tried to stick with it, but there are so many quantifiable things that it's worse at that I recently switched to Chromium and it did make my life and work faster and easier.

If your statement was true, I'd still be using Firefox.

I suspect you're using many extensions. Most users do not, at least according to FF's stats.

Process sandboxing is not a user-visible feature; it's (1) a largely hypothetical security feature (hypothetical in the sense that it's not empirically obvious that complete sandboxing is better than alternatives), (2) a means to discourage locking and make the browser snappier.

Note that by now, firefox does use process sandboxing, and indeed has used process sandboxing for the most critical bits (plugins-i.e. flash) for years. Benchmarks do not back up your claim that Firefox is a lot slower than chromium; nor is that my experience. For a long time, scrolling was smoother on firefox than on chrome - I often read long webpages in auto-scroll, and chrome was janky on some pages firefox was not - and the reverse was true too (although to this day, when it works, it never works as well on chrome as it does on FF, for some reason).

The FF developer tools have at times lacked some features, but there have also been features they've had before chrome, e.g. the rendered font display. I can't right now think of a devtools feature in chrome that I'm missing in FF. I certainly debug in both all the time.

For a very long time, font rendering on windows was better, and hi-dpi worked while it didn't on chrome.

Chrome's a good browser, and it's still snappier today. But the difference is really splitting hairs at this point. There are much larger differences in day-to-day usability that people put up with all the time. I don't buy that chrome's undeniable strengths are sufficient to be noticeable unless you're actively looking for them; and chrome also has bugs and issues other browsers don't; it's not a pure win.

Firefox is unusually slow on my low-end Windows tablet, while Opera/Chrome is grand. My desktop will power through anything, so Firefox on there.

My phone, however... Firefox on Android with uBlock Origin is the best mobile browsing experience I've ever had.

Yep. For people who run Android and don't have superuser privileges for system-wide ad blocking, I typically recommend Firefox and uBlock Origin for a simple way to at least improve web browsing. On mobile it's even more important than desktop I find. On your larger screen and faster machine with a broadband connection, ads are an annoyance. On mobile, they tax the relatively weaker hardware, use up more data, and can pop over/fill the whole screen without much effort and ruin any attempt at productive browsing. It's no wonder people don't bother leaving the silos of Facebook and friends where at least their ads are just inline with the "content" instead of popping over and constantly getting in the way of what you're trying to read.

I want to use Firefox on mobile... but it sucks at video.

It's largely a problem of Web sites making mobile Web pages not follow the Standards but rather use browser specific code.

On mobile the most I use (if not the only one) is Firefox for the simple reason of allowing me to add ad-blockers as extensions.

It's not quality of Firefox.

On desktop it's google having (almost) monopoly on search and abusing it market its other products.

On mobile, it's Google abusing its power over the platform to make OEMs use Chrome in the same way MS pushes OEMs to ship Windows and Secure Boot and various other shit.

Firefox could be perfect (and it isn't, because what do you know, developing good software takes insane amount of money) and it wouldn't help.

Yes, Google has market leverage. However, when IE was Firefox's competitor, MS was in just as powerful of a position, and Firefox was a success. They were a success because they clearly had the better browser.

These days, that's no longer the case. I know that I certainly did not switch from Firefox because of Google's marketing efforts or underhanded tactics.

But what if you're right? In a world where, I agree, it takes an insane amount of money to develop good software, where Google has more of that money than Firefox does, and where Google has really effective market leverage, do the "shoulds" have a chance? Is the future we want even a possibility?

I don't personally think that it is, which is why I wonder what larger changes we would need to see for that to become true.

What did cause you to switch?

What follows here are my observations on what are the advantages/disadvantages of the two browsers:

The biggest advantage to Chrome that I can think of is it has its own implementation of Flash in it, rather than using the Flash plugin. This allows Chrome to not have another container process, unlike in Firefox which does spawn a container process for Flash, which uses a ton more CPU cycles for the inter-process communication. This makes some sites crawl because of all the junk that is added to them, probably for advertisement networks.

Other than that, Firefox seems to give you more freedom with what extensions can be installed on it and allows a larger variety of addons that is available at the main addons site, third party sites can be used, although that is going to get more difficult in the future. But it is better than Chrome with from what I understand is going to disallow extensions from anywhere other than the Chrome store. An example of what will not be on the Chrome store is 'Cleaner for Facebook', which I remember because the story was so recent. Here is the story 'How Google obliterated my 4 year old Chrome extension featuring 24k+ users' at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12442048 .

Also not the GP, but at the time: process isolation. The process sandboxing Chrome did that allowed only a subset of it to crash was novel and compensated for their relatively young browser engine gagging and dying from time-to-time. Once I could develop and use plugins without bringing down the entire browser session, I never looked back.

Nowadays: inertia and familiarity. Firefox is sometimes faster and sometimes slower, but there's not enough of a difference to tip my hand, and I already have Chrome configured the way I want (including extensions, multiple sessions, and the keyboard accelerators and widget positions that have burned themselves into my brain). And the cross-platform sync works great; I don't know if Firefox's is better or worse, but it would take more than 0 time to set it up, so I don't care yet.

It's also completely integrated with Chromecast, which I use and enjoy.

> What did cause you to switch?

I'm not GP, but I switched because Chrome had better dev tools. For a while, I was using Firefox for browsing and Chrome for dev, but I ended up using just Chrome. It also didn't help that Firefox dropped its 1st party browser sync (Weave) and Chrome had bookmark & history syncing natively

Firefox dropped its 1st party browser sync (Weave)

No, it didn't. It was renamed to Sync and incorporated into Firefox itself. It works great, it's end-to-end encrypted and it supports nifty features like Send Tab To Device[1] (unlike in Chrome, where you have to either bookmark or keep the tab open on the origin device and then trawl for it on the destination).

[1] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/send-tab-to-d...

I love Firefox and use it heavily every day as main browser for 99% of web browsing, which is a big reason why I also donate money to Mozilla.

However, Sync has a dissappointing property: Despite the (simplified) claims on the most readable user facing pages about it, it will not sync your open tabs across devices. It will only sync your last 100 (?) active open tabs on each device.

I will happily admit to being an outlier with >100 tabs per device, and I'm very grateful to Mozilla for this free service they're providing me. I also understand that any such service may need an upper limit.

However, had there been any mention of this fact anywhere other than the bugzilla issues I found while trying to figure out why Sync was (in my perception) not working properly, I wouldn't have tried it. I'd love it if they were just accurate about this in their feature description.

In my opinion, that is exactly what made Chrome popular. Focussing on Dev-Tools, but that's a very expensive undertaking (it took firefox an extension to make this possible -> Firebug ftw). However, market success from other companies e.g. Stripe have shown that optimizing for developers today is by far the most effective way to get into market.

MS did the same thing, although back then they used ActiveX extensions or certain proprietary IE implementations that simplified the transition from old fat-client development to web-development.

Now that this is gone, focussing on debugging and open-sourcing is a better choice for a web-browser to win dominance. Chrome did just that: Opensourcing the core - attacking one of Mozilla's core promises - and adding proprietary google eco-sytem add-ons on top of that.

So imho what made you change to Chrome is similar to what made everyone of us developers back then adopt IE (i.e. simplifying development). And when Chrome started gaining traction, the google-lead team started implementing proprietary APIs that we now struggle with when we consider an open non-proprietary web.

I use firefox everyday, for dev and regular, and I'm happy to be a user. But I also see a lot of sites that just start breaking because they have been implemented with Chrome in mind. For where I am standing, I try to encourage our team to develop for FF first, test in Chrome and then EDGE/IE, that way it's most likely that anyone can access the site without breakage. And yes, this also means that sometimes it takes some overhead, but I'm willing to take that for the sake of an open web ;-)

Firebug is better than chrome dev tools mostly.

The problem is stability especially for development, a rogue JS script can still kill a browser, chrome loses a page, Firefox loses its mind.

Indeed, I love Firebug and have been an avid user since it first came out.

For the rogue JS, that is indeed a problem. From a development perspective though, I even think this is a good thing: stuff that bricks your browser needs to be optimized first. the moment we'd allow a more easy grip in terms of development, a lot of slow stuff will find its way into the codebase.

Firefox has had browser sync for ages and continues to have it as far as I know.

Thanks for the reply.

So it seems people have switched because of:

* Process Isolation

* Dev Tools

* Bookmark and History Syncing

* Chromecast

Also some people have mentioned performance, but this is unclear.

> MS was in just as powerful of a position, and Firefox was a success.

But the success parameters were very different. At the time, gaining a 5% to 10% market share for non-MS browsers on the desktop was considered raging success. Firefox never gained a majority market share, they likely never even reached 25%.

Nowadays, "success" requires 30% of a much larger market including gazillions of mobile devices, fighting not 1 incumbent but 3 on a multitude of different hardware and software platforms, in a scenario (web standards) evolving faster than ever before. The posts have moved quite dramatically.

> what larger changes we would need to see for that to become true.

Mozilla could flip the bird at Javascript and implement something that the hordes of desktop-orphan developers might adopt enthusiastically. More, I think Mozilla should partner with Microsoft, which is the only way to break the Apple-Google "axis of webkit".

I think people think Chrome is a best browser is because it performs better on Google products than any other browser. And as people are using GMail, Youtube or other, they see Chrome as the best browser.

Actually GMail and YouTube are the only tolerable experiences using FF.

Try watching random FB video, Twitch streams, etc. on a Linux FF and you'll get greeted with a nice "please download Adobe Flash" or some such nonsense.

With Chrome it just works, it bundles Flash, I don't have to care which version it is, how to get it for my system, etc.

I would like to use FF because the theme makes it match my Gnome theme (silly but it would make me switch browsers) but it just breaks on multimedia.

Many distros manage to actually bundle flash which then just works out of the box. This isn't a Firefox issue its your distro.

Again blaming the "user" would get you no where.

You have something that works out of the box, and something that doesn't.

Doesn't matter why it's your fault, you are using it wrong, it's your operating system, you aren't holding it properly these are the excuses of poorly designed products.

Web developers continue to use an inferior solution to deliver rich content on the web.

Adobe offers such technology under a nonfree license.

Open source browser Firefox can't include flash because of the license.

Purely open source distros also cant include this.

Oems can and should ensure end users don't have to worry about this.

Distros less concerned about purity may choose to set this up for their users.

Not only is this not mozillas problem it's a wholly imaginary one. The set of people who CAN install their OS but are incapable of installing an additional package is very nearly the empty set or at least it will be when said user doesn't learn to install software on their shiny new OS.

If that's too hard tell the people that work on the package manager gui and tell them how they ought to do better. The answer however isn't making it easier to go to the vendors website and download an exe.

The ficticious grandma that people want to cater to will experience Linux when it comes preinstalled on the pc she bought at Walmart and if flash doesn't work out of the box tell dell.

Sorry but that is just not true, Firefox has miserable DOM performance that results in laggyness, freezes on pages that work fine with Chrome. Until the Firefox people accept that their browser sucks can they finally try to make it better.

There is no sandboxing (in the works for how many years now?), their pdfjs is not as fast as the chrome native plugin, they force me to use the insecure and terribe flash plugin that crashes every time, one frozen tab still freezes the entire browser.

No I don't want to use Chrom{e,ium}. I wasn't tricked into choosing google. I just want something that works.

Maybe it works best on Chrome, just because more and more web developpers test and optimize their app/site for... Chrome? (I've really saw this). Is this the return of the "IE era"?

Yeah Chrome is starting to snowball, it is easier to tell users to use Chrome instead of fixing Firefox quirks.

> they force me to use the insecure and terribe flash plugin that crashes every time

You mean Adobe's terrible plugin. It's a totally black box. Mozilla has nothing to do with the plugin development.

If pages lag or freeze it might be the developers fault. I realize some are providing complex app like experiences but most web sites are just text and images artfully arranged. Making this simple thing slow requires dedicated stupidity.

Users can't fix websites, they can fix their experience by switching to a browser that works.

They can use competitors sites. I'm going to assume that you don't regularly go to physical locations receive terrible service and blame Honda and Ford.

This is right for me at least. I spend a big chunk of my day in Google Docs. I'd rather use Safari or Firefox, but I just can't deal with the janky Google Docs performance in those browsers.

Although occasionally a Docs tab in Chrome will go crazy and gobble up RAM and max the CPU.

Agree with everything you said but you are blaming everything on google, mozilla dropped the ball with mobile, they were too late.

They didn't drop the ball. They tripped on it and fell on their face. Remember FirefoxOS?

iOS not allowing competitors also stuck a knife in their back.

I rather have people write such texts to encourage people to switch to Firefox then have Chrome installed accidentally because they again bundled it like some crappy AntiVirus software in the installer of another program (together with the google updater service and god knows what).

One of those things I only realized recently: Google CEO Sundar Pichai's claim to fame at Google was the Google Toolbar. Under him, how can we expect Google to do anything but push pack-in bloatware?

Dark patterns like prechecked bloatware install boxes aren't going anywhere under him.

Ugh. Nice find. Even more reasons to keep away.

From my own experiences, Firefox is a better product than Chrome in a lot of ways. For my daily needs, Firefox can easily survive 150 tabs, while Chrome nearly chokes my machine in 30. Firefox on Android has a quaint reader mode, which I use to read at night. Firefox on Android supports extensions. It stays the most standard implementation of web standards that I know. I have been using it for over 5 years, and though I am forced to use Chrome occasionally (for Chromecast related work), it remains my primary browser. I will use it as long as I can.

>(MS) was actively trying to make their own browser bad

Is this conspiracy or fact?

The fact is, after releasing IE6 around the year 2000, MS dissolved the IE team. Only around 2006 a new team was formed to create IE7 (which wasn't much better).

Conspiracy mixed with facts is... At the end of the nineties, Netscape was pushing to make the browser the platform, instead of the desktop. MS was quite worried about that, they had a monopoly on the desktop and used that to create a monopoly with their browser, so Netscape had no chance to do what they wanted. MS succeeded, as in delayed the process, it took maybe 15 years, after the death of Netscape and the rise of Google, to have Google and others make a platform out of the browser. Having the web stagnate and locked in to a browser like IE6 was for MS a desirable situation.

So it's conjecture. Going by Occam's razor, Microsoft just had no need to innovate because it had no competition.

And they had no competition because they had it destroyed with illegal practices. And all they got fined with was a slap on the wrist while earning billions.

More ontopic... IE6 was slightly better than Netscape 4, so almost everyone switched to IE6. Just as now Chrome is only slightly better than Firefox to a lot of people (not to me though). And a lot of people are switching to Chrome. If you trust Google (an advertising company) to not play the same tricks as MS did, then good luck with your Google Chrome :). Once Google has a lock on the browser market, who knows what will happen. Another lock-in, and more years of stagnation. Yes, more conspiracy :).

Stagnation like Chromecast?

Google has market incentive to improve on the browser's capabilities that Microsoft did not.

I think Chromecast would fall under the "lock in" category.

I don't know why it would.


Limiting features such as Google Docs offline access to only Chrome is bad. I don't see that as Google is making efforts to make chrome good. I see it as Google is trying to promote Chrome browser through the demand it has generated for its core products. That kind of exclusivity is what worries me most. Especially when Google built chrome on open source Chromium.

I do agree with you. It's difficult to convince anyone with those kind of arguments. As I've written on The Unshut, I'd say the problem is the perception of value:


When I switched to Chrome I did because it felt better. The decision would be tougher today because Firefox, Chrome and Opera (Edge has to mature) are great options and not that different in performance and features. Change is tougher now because the perceived value isn't really there in most cases.

This article convinced me personally to switch back to Firefox, but I'm disheartened by seeing a number of comments here which amount to "Firefox is fine," "Firefox is just as good," "The Foundation is fine," and so on.

That attitude is a recipe for shrinking market share. FF is competing against extremely well funded, extremely aggressive and competent competitors. You don't get to stop listening to the market in an environment like this. It will run you out.

Firefox is good. It has support for modern standards, is performant, has tracking protection built in and plenty of extensions.

Google is winning because it's bundling its browser just like Microsoft used to and is aggressively advertising it on all of its web properties, which might have a reach of close to 100% of the web-using population. Firefox also has a reputation for being slow, gotten probably from people doing ridiculous things as keeping tens of tabs open and not restarting it for days - learn to use bookmarks!

Silly Mozilla thought they were fighting hand in hand with Google for web standards when Google was fighing for ad money all along.

Firefox can cope with hundreds of tabs just fine. Way better than Chrome can cope with a similar workload, both in terms of memory usage and UI (Chrome winds up with tabs only a few pixels wide, with no information visible!).

Firefox’s reputation is because of its history: when Chrome was new it did perform really well and Firefox did have serious performance issues. Chrome has been marvellous for Firefox. The sad thing about it is that these past several years Firefox has been better than Chrome in those departments than Chrome, but people aren’t aware of it.

Hundreds? No way. It runs like crap with a few dozen tabs and I always have to restart it so it doesn't start slowing down and behaving badly.

I am a chronic tabber. Chrome can barely handle 20 tabs at a time on my machine (A T410 - nearly 5 years old). Firefox can chug along fine with more than a hundred tabs may be a 200. it starts to show problems only when the session restore file reaches 300mb or more. (Yes that is as far as I have pushed firefox.)

Firefox is much much better than Chrome. Only chrome can put it's foot in the door and sneak in anywhere due to Google peddling it on all its webapps as the best browser for optimal performance for google apps. Just the search and gmail page is enough to convert the unsuspecting population to think Chrome is better than Firefox.

How many of the common masses are actually aware that Firefox exists? How many of them would actually try out both browsers on their systems and evaluate and decide which is best?

There are still people who are swayed by endorsements by huge corporations as signals of quality. In their eyes, Google, which is their window/gateway to the internet, saying Chrome is good would just seal the deal.

I've pushed Firefox over to 650+ tabs before, and it has performed well enough (It has been a while since I've actually had that many tabs actually open.)

Yes way. Now I'm using Tab Center experiment from Test Pilot, which makes it easier for me to clean up unused tabs, so now I'm keeping it around 100, but earlier it was very common for me to have around 600-700 tabs open.

Once I got to 1200. It started to feel a bit sluggish during the usage and I had to restart it daily. Restarting took about 3-4 minutes, but it was fine for some time after restart. Eventually got tired of it and reseted the whole session.

On the other hand, Chromium becomes almost unusable with around 50 tabs. I cannot imagine having more than 200 tabs open in it, both from UI and CPU/RAM perspective.

I have 34 tabs open in a tab group which only has blogs, about 30 for Mozilla and GNOME projects, 17 for my minor project, 14 for reddit, imgur and chan, 23 for placements interview and coding stuff plus a lot of miscellaneous stuff puts the total at 143 tabs with ONLY 1.5GB of RAM and almost idle CPU (2 to 3%). I exported the bookmarks and opened them all on chrome and it died!!!

It feels like I have hundreds more often than not and days between reboots. (W10 mostly now)

Firefox performance has been miserable on Linux and still is.

Here's what I find interesting about that: I tend to run Linux on a bunch of older hardware for various purposes. One of those devices is a netbook with an Atom N450 CPU, in other words a single core dog of a processor that struggles with the lightest of loads. With it running Slackware (which actually makes the netbook usable as a mobile daily driver) Firefox runs circles around Chromium. Granted, neither browser is nowhere near as fast as it is on my daily workstation, but on such an underpowered machine Firefox surprisingly outperforms Chromium by a measurable margin.

Typically it takes about three seconds for Firefox to open on a fresh boot, whereas Chromium takes nearly 20 seconds. This is with the same extensions installed on both browsers, so that's not the issue. Having about five tabs open in either browser, with Firefox switching tabs is nearly instant, whereas in Chromium it takes several seconds to redraw the canvas for the newly selected tab.

Then there's multimedia performance. Firefox can play videos (both webm and Youtube HTML5) without stuttering at 480p and lower resolution, while Chromium chokes on even 360p content in either format.

For these reasons, even though Chrome/Chromium is my normal daily browser in Windows, I happily use Firefox on Linux and other OSes as it just performs better for me.

On my machine there is no hardware acceleration, there is a noticeable lag with rendering and input response in Firefox. Pages load slower, scrolling is not smooth.

I'm curious then, which GPU do you have and if it's AMD or Nvidia, are you using the proprietary driver or the open source driver? I ask because I've had lag and rendering issues under the Nouveau driver that disappeared on the proprietary driver. This is on a modern workstation with a GTX 960 and both Firefox and Chromium were affected.

On my very old laptop with Via graphics chipset and Debian, Firefox works much smoother, but it might just be that CPU is too old for Chrome.


On my other machine with Catalyst it isn't much better either, it is worse with the open source AMD driver.

I've found the Intel Linux driver to be generally slower than the Windows counterpart, and on post-Haswell machines there are still numerous bugs in the Intel driver, so I'm not surprised. It's sad too, given that Intel tries to position themselves as friendly to the Linux community, yet they keep losing Linux devs[1].

[1] https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Chad-Ver...

My issue with firefox is mainly it's startup time. It's horrible. Edge and Chrome start instantly while firefox takes 20-30 seconds. Maybe its because I have pinned tabs only in firefox since its my main browser and that I have more plugins there but it's still unresponsive and feels sluggish.

> My issue with firefox is mainly it's startup time.

I'm 'll try not to argue the details too much here, but at least I'll outline how I experience it:

Firefox's start time may not be instant, but its quick enough and more importantly is consistent no matter how many windows and tabs I have. Starting Firefox does not impair the overall performance of my machine.

Chrome presents an initial window pretty quickly, but its not done loading, and from there on it's slow until everything is loaded, and its startup gets progressively slower the more tabs and windows you have. And due to Chrome's multi-process implementation, this can lock up your machine because Chrome uses it 100% across all cores. That's bad IMO.

The closest analogy I can think of is how Windows 95 booted and seemed to be "ready" back in the days, but then you had tons of background-processing slowing the machine down for another minute or so before things stabilised and the machine was actually ready. That's how I perceive Chrome's "quick" loading, and I find it genuinely annoying.

Personally I much prefer the predictability of Firefox here.

That aside: How often do you honestly restart web-browsers? Not questioning your answer or anything, I just find it a weird problem to have, so I'm genuinely curious :)

Personally I only restart browsers when I reboot my machine. So for me, the metric that matters is time from reboot to having ready to use browser session. If that takes 20 seconds, or 25, I really don't care.

That's 5 seconds once a month which I definitely wont worry over. How's your usage pattern since you think this is a big thing?

Recent versions of Firefox also have tabs as seperate processes but is just as slow to start as before. Chrome might take equal time to load (it does not on my machine) but it presents the user with a smoother experience. It doesn't feel laggy at all.

I game a lot so I use to close down Firefox since it drains so much memeory and CPU. So I restart my browser a bit too often to not suffer from it. This has basically led me to start Edge more and more since it is the quickest of the three and drains the least performance of my computer.

I honestly care about start time and if it's not going to improve I will leave firefox for chrome sooner or later (even if I do not wish to). But that is honestly not either the only issue Firefox has, it is laggy in rendering web stuff that actually surprises me. Agar.io for example, is laggy for me in Firefox but not in Chrome or Edge.

I use exactly 3 extensions and hardly EVER have more than 2 or 3 tabs opened. In this scenario, using Firefox over Chrome, at least on Linux, is gruesome. The startup time is terrible, the constant stuttering and delays opening things is terrible. I wish I was able to use Firefox, I tried many times, but the performance nowadays is just subpar.

> Firefox also has a reputation for being slow, gotten probably from people doing ridiculous things as keeping tens of tabs open and not restarting it for dayes

Do you mean it has the reputation from people doing this 5 or 10 years ago and it's stuck? Or is this still a problem for Firefox?

Firefox developers did a lot of work in the recent years to reduce memory use and leaks (MemShrink) and visual stutter (jank), and e10s will improve the latter even further (while regressing memory use a bit).

However, Firefox will not magically better itself; developers - paid and volunteer - will need to fix issues as they are discovered, and that means that if you run into performance problems, you should file a good bug.

I use both Chrome and Firefox on my Windows 7 box, simultaneously for various reasons.

The Chrome (vanilla install except for uBlock Origin) performance is... not great for me, at least once I get more than 10-15 tabs open, mostly when switching and/or opening tabs. A lot of it seems to be swap-thrashing.

Firefox performance on the other hand is OK to great, even tho it being my main browser with usually 50+ tabs open (with tons of overlap with those Chrome tabs) and rather add-on laden. I am using Nightly since forever, with e10s off at the moment because of one or two add-ons that would fail otherwise; tho I also have Firefox Stable installed and when I use that it behaves the same.

Sure, webgl and/or js benchmarks might be a little behind on Firefox (tho not by a large margin). So that nifty html5/webgl 3D ego shooter might perform a little worse, but that is nothing I personally really care about. Firefox excels for me for regular browsing performance, and that is what I want.

Chrome on OSX always performed abysmal for some reason, so I am using Firefox (Nightly) exclusively on a recent MacBook Pro, which runs fine (sans the occasional memory swap/uncompress stutter when switching back to really old tab that got paged out).

I cannot comment much about startup performance as I usually have long-running sessions in the order of days or weeks, but it seems OK for both browsers.

In my use case, it's still a problem if you have a bunch of tabs loaded, but I think the class of problem is somewhat different than it is in, say, Chrome. Sure, Firefox gets a bit sluggish with 500-700 tabs open, but since I don't have a habit of keeping a single session open for days (then it IS a problem), the net effect is relatively small since restarting Firefox generally behaves as if the inactive tabs from the last session weren't open. Obviously, if you click through tabs you opened previously, then it'll load them but otherwise it's fine. So there's some truth to it, but as with most things, it depends.

I use Firefox mostly because I have a terrible habit of clicking any link that looks remotely interesting with the intent to come back to it for later reading. Granted, it rarely works quite like that, but Chrome became a bear after 150-200 tabs (and often started capping my RAM). For all its faults, Firefox (again, in my use case) still manages to stay around ~2GiB unless I do something stupid or watch a bunch of YouTube videos (under Linux). Chrome does well, but the UI became unusable since you couldn't scroll through opened tabs without having specialized addons and such. I'm not sure if this is still the case, and even if it's changed, I don't think I'd go back. The RAM usage was too much, but I fully understand Chrome was probably never designed with my browsing habits in mind. Whereas I've seen claims that allege a handful of Firefox developers are tabholics. I'd believe it.

Somewhat off-topic: One thing I really like about Firefox is the profile manager. I've started creating separate profiles for general browsing, documentation, and videos sometimes with extensions tailored for each. It was a slight pain to change my habits around to accommodate that, but I've noticed if one instance hangs, it's not much of a problem. With multiprocesses on the horizon, maybe this will cause me to change my browsing habits again, but I think I like the profile isolation for enough reasons unrelated to performance to continue as is. Perhaps this is abusing it somewhat, but it works for me. If you keep a relatively clean profile with few tabs open, Firefox stays pretty snappy.

> Google is winning because it's bundling its browser just like Microsoft used to and is aggressively advertising it on all of its web properties, which might have a reach of close to 100% of the web-using population

Not because Chrome is a better browser. All these sheep ( like me ) which get hoodwinked into using Chrome by Google's marketing blitzkrieg. Silly us. But wait,

> Firefox also has a reputation for being slow, gotten probably from people doing ridiculous things as keeping tens of tabs open and not restarting it for days - learn to use bookmarks!

What a bunch of dummies, amirite ? Firefox is obviously the best browser. If you find that it is not 'Teh Awesome', you are using it wrongly and there must be something wrong with you.

PS: I am trying to use Yandex browser. So far, so good.

Chrome being better or not is irrelevant as long as Firefox is good enough - and it is.

From my perspective there is something wrong with people using and supporting google: they gave up on their privacy and dignity.

If one has principles and cares for something they will fight for it. If not they give up and make sarcastic comments, so that they can at least feel better about themselves.

Don't make the mistake to think that I'm trying to convince you of something, use whatever browser you want.

Actually, the tab argument is very poor. Chrome does not cope well with more than low tens of tabs open, while Firefox handles it very well (from my experience up to around 1000).

No, I at least just say stop spreading FUD (Firefox is way behind, unusable in 2016 etc)

Saying: I prefer Chrome for reasons x, y and z is fine with me.

I maintain a copy of Firefox Developer Edition on my system and I make a concerted effort to open it every few days so it can update itself and so I can test any new sites or blog posts I'm working on. I've tried to switch back to Firefox cold turkey in the past and it never works for me, but I might introduce a personal policy of one week on, one week off, alternating between Firefox and Chrome.

A lot of it is just familiarity. I get the same thing moving from FF to Chrome - I find the Chrome UI annoying and it doesn't work for me as well as FF.

Perhaps a nod to how much google wants to own your experience is how the chrome browser doesn't use your desktop's windowing decorators, instead spludging down its own horror. I prefer my own horror, thankyouverymuch!

> it never works for me

Why not? What are the factors that convinced you to stay with Chrome? (genuine questions)

I think it's just that the UI feels laggy when switching tabs, especially if another page is loading. This might be getting better, though: today I just randomly stumbled on this Mozilla wiki page discussing their plan for dealing with this UI lag: increasing the number of content threads.


The setting defaults to 1, but will be moving to 2, and then 5 eventually. I'm testing Firefox Developer Edition 51.0a2 (2016-09-26) with this set at 4 right now. I only ever have ~10 tabs open, uBlock Origin + Privacy Badger addon, and my machine is fast and has lots of RAM.

This is the problem. You value your convenience more than your freedom, and the future of privacy.

You can make people change their behavior by shifting the weights, but it is pointless to tell them what their value should be. Make FF more convenient, or show how bad competitors are regarding to privacy.

Do you honestly believe that switching to firefox will be the change? Its purely symbolic considering firefox has been heavilly funded by google in the past [0] and likely still influences their decisions. A few developers doesnt account for the millions of people that use chrome, widescale change requires influencers and those willing to stand up, not a bunch of upset introverts with a distaste for authority.

Honestly, Im not sure what will help future and privacy considering your information is the number 1 comodity. But Im getting the impression that escape is impossible and we all should get used to being less "anti coorperation" and more "pro happiness"

[0] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozilla_Foundation

I used to think like that when I was a CS student back in 2000; “You can't beat Microsoft; their stuff is the best and you would be mad not to join their camp.”, all the while scoffing at those who used alternative OSes and browsers. At some point though I started to grasp the bigger context of software and the social impact it has, and started doubting my youthful sycophantic zeal. Then I switched to Phoenix (Firefox's forefather) and started delving into that Linux thing people were talking about soon after. Now as an adult software developer I do take the ethical side of the equation into account, and I can't imagine ever relinquishing what little control I have over my data and my computers to mega-corporations without a fight.

I don't know what the best way forward is, but as long as Firefox is a decent browser (and it is) I'm doing my part by simply using it, recommending it to those who would benefit from it, and helping out here and there by submitting bugs and helping people fix their websites. I do know that giving in is not constructive.

I use linux as well, though ubuntu which is the mcdonalds of linux. And I often look at software through an ethical lense. But I don't view Mozilla as this nice sweet company because ultimately their power is not decentralized. They use free labor to build cool stuff but there are owners and managers that get paid way more than the people in the gutters believing in some great "vision". Open source is a ver novel concept, but the idea that mozilla wouldn't sell your data or is the 'safe' option is absolutely absurd. They have gotten caught numerous times red handed doing shady things such as the pocket drama [0]. Once theres some sort of git/bitcoin algorithm to create truely open source / uncontrolled / decentralized software, then we are in a different scenario.

I will be using servo once its out though. I am very intrigued by all the work they've put into it.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10679519

One good sales pitch: Firefox for Android has extensions (read: ad blockers), while Chrome doesn't. Faster page loads, less data quota used, less battery consumed, better privacy.

I'd recommend against this line of reasoning because it makes people feel like they are sacrificing something when they switch, I always argue that IMO and for reasons x, y and z FF is the better choice for power users.

As someone who manages a 450-user IT department (academic), supporting roughly 50/50 BYOD/supplied computers, and staring at my stats, Firefox is the most reliable browser. We see %300 more problems with Chrome than Firefox.

Reading the comments my suspicion is that what shortcomings it does have affects the hacker news crowd a disproportionate amount more than usual, or affects the academic crowd disproportionately less

I prefer Firefox over Chrome for several reasons, including usability, flexibility and freedom. Could you list down a few things that are problematic, in your experience, with Chrome but are not so in Firefox? Although it could be construed as purely anecdotal, it may provide some insight and understanding into the strengths and weaknesses of the two browsers.

Printing and PDF viewing are the most common issues we see with Chrome, doing either often crashes the whole browser. Windows 10 seems to be the most problematic OS for Chrome, we see quite a few unresolved cases where Chrome crashes before it can print on this platform. Fillable PDFs with Chrome, fuhgeddaboudit!

Those are the top 2 issues by far, with legacy web app issues as a semi-distant third. This is our fault for using legacy php 3/4 apps that still work, but firefox doesn't produce any issues and is reliable for this purpose.

I generally agree with the sentiment here, but somewhat similar to using Linux over macOS, my experience has been that it's just a worse user experience in exchange for "doing the right thing." In the end, it's about how much you're willing to sacrifice convenience and user experience for an ethical ideal.

For me, the last time I attempted to switch from Chrome to Firefox, it drove me nuts after a few days because of one behavior: When you click a web link in another application, it opens it in your non-incognito (or whatever that's called in Firefox) window, even if the incognito window is the one on top. Instead, you have to copy the link from the other app, tab over to Firefox, and manually paste it into the incognito window. This is a flow I use many times a day, and having to do this workaround was really annoying. I found a thread about it on Firefox's issue tracker, but it was closed with a response that basically amounted to the developer telling the user that reported it, "this isn't a valid use case."

I may be able to switch back to Firefox when they implement that feature where each browser tab is essentially an isolated "incognito" context, which is really what I want. The distinction between "incognito" and "not incognito" windows has really just been a proving ground for the idea of concurrent browser sessions isolated from each other, which is a much overall solution to controlling your privacy on the web.

If this is your only or main issue with FF, it can't be that bad.

I tried Chrome from time to time and the endless processes eating up an immense sum of RAM (I had to add together first to realize) as well as the missing addons drove me away.

I never considered myself a participant in the ideological browser war and whenever I have to fix a computer somewhere around my friends and family (besides my parents) I left Chrome on their computers. It somehow always is there. Installed through Avast or similar. This annoying and disgusting behavior and the fact that Chrome wasn't anywhere faster or better led me to the conclusion that there is no better browser for me then FF.

I've never experienced ram issues with chrome. Is it a tangible problem that noticeably hurts experience or do you kind of have to be looking at the RAM stats to perceive that there's a problem?

I wonder if I'm missing something or am just not the exceptional case where chromes use of memory matters.

I too switched from chromium to firefox a few years ago when my system ran out of its 8GB RAM regularly.

Chromium was using about 7.5GB, it was quite noticable. I then reopened the exact same tabs in firefox, made sure they are all loaded to make a fair comparison and it came out to less than 1.5GB RAM usage. I've been a happy firefox user since then and never looked back.

Same here. Chromium with more than just a few tabs open is almost unbearable on 8GB RAM, while Firefox works well with hundreds.

I only open the process overview if something doesn't work as it should (like most people I guess). Every time I tested it I came to a point where I had issues. Maybe too many tabs, maybe wrong content, I don't know. It wasn't possible to find the "right process" there to kill too. I would just go and kill them from big to small and this is also the moment where I realize: I shouldn't have to care about which tab caused that or why. I don't have this problem on FF and if I have there is exactly one process I'd have to kill and I didn't have to do that for some versions already. Even with it being cramped with Addons. Old and new ones. I barely had Ublock on Chrome...

It might be that the processes are genuinely eating your RAM, but on most unix-like OSs, RAM usage doesn't work quite the way people expect and it may be you're misunderstanding. Many pages of forked or threaded processes can be copy-on-write, so it actually costs the OS nothing to have multiple processes sharing them. They only actually become separate pages when the process actually writes to them.

What this means is that you can't get a true picture of the ram usage just by adding as you will in fact be double-counting any read-only pages that are shared using COW.

The true picture is that I have a performance issue that forces me to look at the RAM usage in the first place.

As I've wrote below: I had one addon (ublock) on Chrome while my FF is so full with addons that I have to look up what they actually do from time to time ;)

A thousand times this. Ironically Firefox had this feature in the past ( I don't remember the exact version). My workaround is to start Firefox in anonymous mode always (Settings->Privacy->History->"Never remember history). But it's a workaround and I wish Firefox would be able to open links in an incognito window.

It's so interesting to see how workflows differ between different people. You say "a thousand times this", but I for one never have this issue because I never (have to) click on an external link to be opened in my browser.

I find it scary when a browser window appears from nowhere.

My neutral (?) view on firefox/chrome:

- Firefox uses way less RAM

- Chrome is usually faster/smoother, even if not by much. For very odd or intensive sites. And for things like dragging a tab into another window and how long it takes until inspect element loaded.

- Firefox has Tree Style Tab, Chrome doesn't and will never have. This alone makes FF the only usable browser for me

- I find the non-optional non-native and childish look of chrome silly

- Some google sites like the play store and youtube just work better on chrome

For me, I use FF because of the memory, the styling and Tree Style Tabs. And I hope they keep on fighting. I understand the chrome users though.

Also using Firefox (Developer Edition) as my primary browser.

But my observations are quite different:

- On my machine, Firefox uses more RAM than Chrome (Canary) for the same workloads and is slower

- Chrome is way faster. As a web application developer I notice that all the time. Chrome renders faster and the JavaScript engine also processes faster. Firefox likes to crash when reloading a page that uses WebSockets.

- I don't know your platform, but on OS X the default UI of Firefox is awful. That's the primary reason why I use the Developer Edition.

Another thing people don't seem to understand is that Chrome uses as much memory as it sanely can for the task provided. There are situations where it will use more, or less than Firefox, but I guarantee you in 99% of those situations, Chrome will be the one performing faster.

Not true in my case. Chromium often makes the system start feeling unresponsive by causing a lot of swapping, while Firefox deals well with way more tabs open and still keeps some RAM free for other apps to use. When Firefox catches some memory leak and also starts to swap, restarting it fixes the issue (but I have to say that it has become very rare nowadays), but when I restart Chromium, I have to quickly clean up unused tabs to prevent them from eating whole RAM again.

On my 8GB RAM machines, Chromium performs faster when there are up to 10 tabs open, but otherwise Firefox easily beats it.

My opposite viewpoint as a web developer:

Chrome is faster and renders better than Firefox is pretty much every way. Safari delivers faithful color reproduction and speed. I spent 10x as much time fixing Firefox rendering issues compared to every other browser, including Microsoft Edge.

Firefox has lost its edge. I do miss tree style tabs, though.

Firefox has been my primary browser since 0.93, so I am naturally biased, but here is my anecdotal position.

I develop sites in Firefox and then go for compatibility checking in other browsers.

Edge is normally fine.

Chrome is horrible. Atrocious. Abysmal. It implements lots of new features, but they are just so regularly buggy or badly implemented. To select the example I remember the clearest (there have been many more over the years): I went to use flexbox on one site and Firefox agreed with the spec (and what was obvious) on the treatment of some major item sizing issue while Chrome did something altogether different which I really couldn’t think of any justification for and which made flexbox a non-starter in that case. A year or two later they had fixed it in Chrome, but I’ve ever found it like that: Firefox has a slower rate of implementation, but normally implements things well; WebKit/Blink has a faster rate of implementation, but breaks things often (even with a handful of serious bugs in production releases that broke entire websites completely) and has always felt like a toy, rather than a serious, stable browser engine.

I really can't agree - one major area is CSS 3D transforms. Firefox recently broke stacking order (again) context in 3D in the 49 release, and continues to have very poor aliasing artifacts. Chrome/Safari/Edge have pretty solid implementations.

Here's just one of the many bugs filed on the topic: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1187209. Firefox can have major (breaking) paint bugs filed and have "Status: NEW" for basically an entire year.

Try doing flex structures within flex structures in Firefox. Now tell me that Chrome is the buggy one.

Chromium is actually a good browser. Until Servo picks up the technical slack, Mozilla will not have a browser I can afford to waste my time running. Firefox is completely unusable for me. The UI is slow, ugly, clunky, and complex. The rendering performance is abysmal. The extensions ecosystem has collapsed from a decade of API breakage, and now total deprecation. The organization is hostile and political because Mozilla lets people push their personal ideological agendas on foundation dollar.

Compared to Chromium, Firefox is a slow, confusing, incompatible security liability with no consistent wins. Even when they do uniquely good things (like the WebGL live shader editor) they are held back by the general inadequacy of the product.

No amount of pleading will change any of this.

Yep, Firefox cannot play the moral superiority card when it pushes good people like Brendan Eich out for political reasons.

Unfortunately Chrome/ium has the best security story at the moment. Mainly due to good separation/sandbox. Firefox is only now catching up, slowly. So while I'd like to use FF, it's simply not a reasonable choice for me.

What makes you believe Chromium has better sandboxing than Firefox? That may have been true in the past, I doubt it has much truth to it today. Furthermore, if you use GNU/Linux it should be trivial to give your web browser better sandboxing than what it does by itself. (You can use AppArmor or SELinux, you can run it in a systemd-nspawn container, you can use Firejail…)

> What makes you believe Chromium has better sandboxing than Firefox?

https://wiki.mozilla.org/Security/Sandbox#Linux and https://chromium.googlesource.com/chromium/src/+/master/docs...

There's more details than I can easily describe in a HN post, but in general read those links to learn why

> if you use GNU/Linux it should be trivial to give your web browser better sandboxing than what it does by itself

There's a difference between sandbox separating it from the system (what apparmor/selinux can do) and sandbox of each content and plugin (what browser itself can do, mostly with seccomp). Or in a practical example - why do I care that a website can't write to my home directory, if it still has full access to my bank in another tab.

e10s helps a bit, but it's still in early stages. It wasn't even enabled for everybody until 12th Sept this year. Even now, I believe (please correct me if untrue) that there's only one child for all web content, not one per tab.

Chrome has a process for each tab that's sandboxed so that most exploits would be trapped and unable to escalate out of the sandbox. Firefox has nothing like that yet, but it's coming eventually with the new multiprocess architecture that they're ramping up.

Firefox has sandboxing for tabs as well, and has had it before e10s.

What sandbox are you referring to?

that's not how processes works...

Processes don't imply sandboxing, but once you have things split up into multiple processes there are powerful process-sandboxing tools that are available for Firefox to use in the coming future.

Not something that the average joe and jane can do.

Neither the article nor Hacker News are intended for the average Joe.

You right, average Joe only uses Chrome, Edge and Safari on their mobile phones and desktop computers.

But the issue itself is one that both affects and is caused by the "average Joe".

All of that is only marginally helpful without X sandboxing.

I agree, but the same applies to Chrome on X11.

No, I mean that even if you add additional layers of sandboxing, the chrome process can still access the X socket. A process with the ability to read and write to the X socket can record keypresses, issue mouse and key events, etc etc.

(There's not a well-supported way to avoid this, but there are some tools that use Xpra for it.)

I know. My point was that Chrome does not have a security advantage over Firefox on X11, since the discussion was about the security advantages of Chrome/Chromium over Firefox.

We are in full agreement. On X11, the security model is: every application can see/do everything. You should only run an application in X11 when you fully trust it.

Do people really get viruses through their browsers still? Can't think of that happening to anyone I know

Yes it's still a major vector. The sheer size of the code base needed for a modern browser makes for a significant surface to attack.


I've flip flopped on this over the years.

I've finally settled on this:

Why are dev tools 1-size-fits-all? What is that? I should be able to say, turn on all the tools, or just give me simple mode.

For a lot of websites I create, I would love to have:

1) Console for errors and debugging output.

2) A way to edit the source of the page I'm looking at, and any connected CSS/JS pages in a regular notepad-like editor to make real-time changes to what I'm looking at (and reload with those changes in place)

That's it. Then I can transfer my changes to my dev files and upload to the FTP server.

Then, when I'm working on some huge bloated website with all kinds of craziness, I can turn on all the tools in an advanced mode.

> Unfortunately Chrome/ium has the best security story at the moment.

And the worst privacy story and resource handling.

I love the Firefox extensions! (I hope they will stay for a while, using tons of quite old extensions)

Extensions that have no even chrome extension:

- tree style tab: nested tabs on the side of the screen

- Imagus: elaborate image preview on mouse-over

- FF Rocker: click right+left for history back and the other way around for forward (there is a chrome extension, but it's no fun)

- grab and drag: I hold right click to scroll as if I was dragging the scroll bar handle (only works for single-core FF :/) (there is a chrome extension, but it's no fun)

- All-in-Sidebar: bookmarks, downloads etc in a sidebar

- tab grenade: store all open tabs in a link list and close them (might have a chrome equivalent)

- Link Alert: hover to see if you are going to an external page or pdf or image (might have a chrome equivalent)

- Vimperator/Pentadactyl: vim style shortcuts for everything, no more clicking. Currently both projects struggle to stay compatible with recent FF versions, can't recommend to switch to it now :/

What vi-mode extension would you recommend? Vimperator always seemed worse than Vimium (on Chrome), mainly because the scrolling is jittery.

I scroll full pages or with the mouse. But I'd really like to have a scroll marker. My not quite working attempt at one: https://greasyfork.org/en/scripts/20937-red-read-line

With that in working I wouldn't need smoothing much anymore and could scroll half pages without confusion.

I'm currently stuck to pentadactyl, would try vimperator again, but don't want to set it up. Would have to see how to port my pocket script and such.

Try giving VimFx a go. It's a Firefox port of Vimium. Has less features than Vimperator but doesn't alter the browser UI as much. It's also compatible with multiprocess Firefox.

Keeping choices open for the future is one good reason to use Firefox. My main reason to use Firefox on all my devices is because it is much better than Chrome. It has more predictable behavior, it does not require to be connected to a major cloud, I can tweak it to my liking and I do, I can backup the configuration, and I can do advanced but necessary things such as "text reflow" on my phone.

I have switched back to Firefox one year ago, and never looked back.

The only reason chromium is my primary browser is the developer tools (it's a pain to use Firefox for normal browsing, but Chromium for debugging.)

I can only hope for chrome's devtools to be ported to firefox. (firebug is close but slow).

For every person who says Chromium's developer tools are better than Firefox's, you can find another person who will say exactly the reverse. It's possible one of the two positions is correct and the other is not, but I find it more likely that people are just used to particular developer tools and that there is no significant difference between the two. People get work done with Firefox and Chromium's developer tools equally, you just have to learn to use them.

No, he shouldn't have to learn to use them. When open source fails this type of thinking is often why. Firefox makes a product and therefore should improve that product so that more people want to use it.

Vendors in a market are rarely in a position to tell the customers in that market what they should and shouldn't do. We don't want them to be in that position either, even Mozilla. They have to improve their offering.

I for one also think that Chrome's dev tools are better and am 100% in the camp of wanting to see Firefox gain market share.

I think you missed the point. I for one can't stand the chrome dev tools. I use Firefox largely because i prefer the dev tools there.

So, the point is, it's possible there is no real difference and it just comes down to personal preference or what you're used to. At least, that was the commenter's point which you didn't address.

You could say the same about Coke vs Pepsi, but that doesn't stop either one from trying to maximize their market share.

I think the dev tools in Firefox and Chrome are much more distinct from each other than Coke vs Pepsi, though. The last time I used the FF dev tools (which was admittedly over a year ago) they were much slower and their support for changing attributes on HTML tags inline was more limited. I think the Net tab had fewer features too but this is going back a while so my memory is fuzzy.

Even if the only difference is personal preference, what's wrong with Firefox trying to accommodate more users' preferences?

Even if the only difference is personal preference, what's wrong with Firefox trying to accommodate more users' preferences?

Neither of the comments you replied to said anything about 'Firefox trying to accommodate more users' preferences'. So I don't think they had anything against Firefox accommodating more users preferences. They were just saying what people prefer is different, some people like Chrome's web developer tools more, some people like the web developer tools in Firefox more.

If the open source tools are worse than the other ones, then sure, they should be improved. But I have no reason to believe this is the case here.

Depends what you are building. Chrome seems to handle ionic and cordova better but I use Firefox for everything else

Nonsense! Firefox Developer Edition [0] is the best browser for web development and it doesn't need Firebug as it has better built-in tools! Not to mention the lovely dark theme!

[0]: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/developer/

Do you know if there is an option to auto-reload the CSS on change? Love that in chrome.

You might want to use wepack dev server or the live reload addon. That's what I use together with Firefox (Developer Edition).

Sadly reload changes the state of SPAs, that's why the sneaky CSS-only reload is so useful.

Is this feature natively built into the devtools of chrome or a chrome extension?

yes, quite hidden and complicated to set up though, because it needs to map the server stuff to the local file system.

ok, I think that's not available with firefox devtools, but in case your SPA is react based, I think that the react devtools addon has hot (and state preserving) reloading: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/react-devtool...

btw, do you have a link? I wonder if this works with sass/less and uglify transpilers...

Mozilla is currently working on this: https://hacks.mozilla.org/2016/09/introducing-debugger-html/

I use Chrome for developing and Firefox for normal browsing. That way, I know when I'm wasting my time ;-)

Simply, I just couldn't switch to Chrome for normal browsing. One thing I couldn't do without is the bookmark tagging in FF. I also like the fact that the address bar behaves much more predictably, like when I type something and it shows me links only from my recent history.

Youtube does play better in Chrome, FF uses a lot more CPU and it is a known issue. So now I use Chrome for playing Youtube and FF for everything else! It's a mess.

I do the same. But my rationale for normal browsing with firefox is not about tooling, it's really about what OP says in the article. Agreed on the adress bar though.

> firebug is close but slow

Hasn't Firebug been mostly replaced, long ago, by Firefox' built-in tools?

Press Ctl+Shift+i, or click Tools > Web Developer.

I found it impossible to debug very large scripts on Firefox. Searching for a string in the script is next to impossible, it would hang the interface for minutes. In Chrome it take seconds to do something similar, you can tell that the script is too big but at least it's debuggable.

Also as a user I cannot bear to use Firefox. I recently retried it (can't recall the version, IIRC it's the first version they introduced multiprocessing) and it still underperforms: I experienced (sub second) lag on UI interactions whereas I wouldn't using Chrome.

never had slow search on Firefox. also Firefox can search a string on all source files, while chrome you have to know the file beforehand

You might want to point out this is from 2014.

This shows that the story behind is still even more relevant today. Looking at what rubber-stamping is happening with "web standards" ....

Android is winning but the percentage that still use Apple is significant. Thank "the sheep" I guess...

The winners mentioned are the ones that require the most resources, so I guess they'll keep being that even with Bing, etc

I do use Firefox, sometimes it seems Chrome has more issues, sometimes it's FF, but I'd say they're pretty comparable (though FF has better dev tools builtin and it is easier to configure a proxy, because Chrome depends on a system config, which is not what I want to change usually)

Not offended, but I don't consider myself a sheep. While some see no difference between mega-corps, there are a few key things that I value Apple for over Google.

1. The seamlessness of the ecosystem.

2. The low rate at which products are introduced only to be unceremoniously knifed when you least expect it.

3. The fact that I'm the customer not the product.

4. The public stance they've taken on their customers' security & privacy, backed by concrete design decisions.

I still remember switching to Google from Altavista. I'm currently midway through disentangling my online presence from Google.

That's a false dichotomy. You can use Android together with any degree of Google integration that you find comfortable, with one extreme being the stock Nexus ROM, and the other being AOSP or derivative ROM, with no Google apps (such as Play Store / Gmail / Maps). There are open-source / self-hosted alternatives to many of those.

Great point. You can also engineer your own cell phone if you want.

But I've got enough to do. Apple phones just work.

Yes, I like Apple products as well

My point is that while there are a lot of people that buy it for aesthetic reasons only, they do a lot of things right and a lot of tech savvy people use their products as well

(Hence the usage of "the sheep" was a jab at those who consider Apple customers sheep, it was not a critique of the users themselves)

I never understood why Mozilla has allowed their main product and their only money maker to fall so far behind.

They have a lot of income.

I don't mind them going of on various edgy projects.

But FF has been inferior to Chrome for many years. They should really refocus their efforts to concentrate on delivering the best browser again, as it was before Chrome came along.

> But FF has been inferior to Chrome for many years.

Can we please stop fueling this myth?

Maybe for some of you Firefox lacks something you actually need.

For others, like me and a bunch of others it is completely the other way, -if I was forced to use any other browser it would annoy me to no end (not tree tabs, etc etc).

So while I think it is totally fine to point out where other does better, telling everyone that Chrome is better isn't even true except for very specific cases.

Edit: clarify need

Once accustomed to browsers with more comprehensive customization it does feels rather limiting using anything else. It's the customization aspect that keeps me with Firefox coming from Opera Presto, in addition to a host of other functionality that thanks to its far more moddable nature is possible.

One of the things I love about Chromium though is the responsive and device modes of the web inspector. Top quality.

I don't responsive or mobile at the moment but I guess there is some kind of extension for that.

Remember FF extensions can be quite a bit more powerful than other extensions.

It's not a myth.

FF was my main browser, and would be to this date if it provided the best experience.

Chrome is faster, snappier, more fluid. Faster time to render, fastes JS engine.

There's a reason most of the geeks switched to Chrome on their own, before Google began it's aggressive approach of converting everyone to it with ads and bundling.

This doesn't help.

For any of the reasons you mention we can pull another reason why FF is better.

It is almost as though different people has tastes that stray from yours.

That is exactly what I point out.

But unlike others I hope that I don't tell everyone that my taste is better.

Because capitalism and technological progress (unlike science or art) is about greed and money, and a non-profit is not a competitive vehicle for it.

And still, Linux outperformed most commercial competitors in the embedded and server spaces without being a single commercial entity. Apache was the most successful webserver for a long time, despite coming from a non-profit organisation, etc.

I also believe that Firefox should look to exploit Google/Chrome's weaknesses more: Google relies fully on ad income. Firefox relies on sending users to someone's search engine/default page. Why not offer a version that shows the web as most of us see it: ad-free and with less tracking.

Very good point. Linux and Apache however are not consumer products, and the for profit companies that are using them are heavily contributing to the projects. The end users of Firefox are not contributing to its code, all development is done by Mozilla foundation.

Linux did not outperform anyone. Companies did. Companies used and abused linux in such a way that the other simply followed the trend. Mainly because of the costs. And btw this is what Facebook and Google will be doing to most of other competitors as well. This is pure / chinese style capitalism. We give you something good enough for free but forget about normal wealth distribution only a single entity / group of people will get rich and the others will have to pay a hefty price of loosing their privacy.

Linux and Apache and the others succeeded because they spawned a lot of other businesses that were just cheaper than the offerings from Microsoft or Oracle.

Linux did not outperform anyone. Companies did. Companies used and abused linux in such a way that the other simply followed the trend.

That's a unfair caricature of what really happened. There were competing systems with business-friendlier licenses. Obviously, Linux wouldn't be what it is without corporate contributions. But it also wouldn't be what it is without Linus' management and extreme pragmatism. That combined with the momentum introduced by the distribution ecosystem and advocacy that sprung up in the nineties.

Don't forget that by the time that IBM started pouring money into Linux (Peace, Love, Linux was in 2001 IIRC), Linux already had a large following among the tech crowd, which was stealthily replacing commercial UNIX installations with Linux.

Chromium is free software too, but that does not justify any usage of Chrome. If you use Chrome, you can't justify it on Chromium being open source. As for Chromium itself, it is very obvious that it is not actually meant to be used by anyone: it has no stable releases, no binary downloads (except the nightlies published by the build system), and its website is hosted on nothing else than… Google Sites.

Chromium does have stable releases, they are the same as for chrome. And about every linux distribution out there ships chromium binaries, so what's your point?

His point is that nobady uses chromium, google never promotes it, and on windows you can't install a chromium binary. His point is that if chromium is that good why google is pushing chrome down peoples throat? (hint: its the ads-game).

The only reason chromium is "open-source" is that google attracts lots of talent, saying users have a choice between chromium and chrome, when in reality this isn't true.

I think the most effective way to get people to change browser habits, is through something compelling over a period of time. So far I don't find Firefox compelling enough nor this post. (Keep trying please, we really do need competition here)

As much as I like Firefox, it’s not usable on my “eco” PC (Celeron N3150, 8 GB RAM). Chrome is.

It’s really unfortunate that developers of many interesting products (or websites!) seem to be forgetting about CPU efficiency. The Atom editor is another example.

I absolutely believe that there is no way around the described future of Alphabet dominating the web sooner or later.

But I also believe that this is not going to be the end but instead will make it desirable again to create something new - there will be a new breed of hackers and power users creating new and alternative web based on P2P- and blockchain-technologies, meshed-networks ... I think it's going to be cool :)

(Though I'd be in favor of simply reducing Google's power - but that is simply not going to happen - no matter what browser I use and how many people I convince to use FireFox.)

I will switch back when it has what I need. Currently my biggest need that Firefox doesn't support is MIDI access (i.e. hook a digital "piano" to it and Javascript in a page can talk to it). It's been in development for who knows how long in Firefox, I'm not holding my breath.

This thread on reddit captures many of the reasons why I stopped using firefox - https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/3hugul/the_future_... . Extensions are what made firefox great for me, with the constantly evolving story for extensions over the years the community around building extensions appears to have dissipated.

They're implementing WebExtensions though, which is 99% compatible with FF! There's a solution coming in that regard :)

To quote Linus - "WE DO NOT BREAK USERSPACE!".

I'm really scared they might shut off the old extensions at some point.

The only thing I miss after switching Safari->FF (moved away from OSX) for regular browsing is that all 'incognito' tabs in safari are completely isolated from each other and share no cache, cookies, bla. This seems like a small thing and I barely noticed it at the time I switched TO safari for all non-devtools related tasks (battery and perf was better on my lappy) but now, I do miss it.

Otherwise, I've no probs with FF these days. 49 seems solid on BSD, at least.

If money can help Firefox, I think the community needs to rethink crowdfunding. A crowdfunding system should be implemented and taken to a new level. I imagine a system where features/issues are organized and funded case by case in a way a simple person can "vote with the wallet" for the desired FireFox.

This is an idea for open source in generally. I know BountySource try to do it.

Interesting that this blog post is hosted on googles 'blogger' domain. Not that it means much, just that it's slightly ironic.

Firefox lost me when they conspired to kill WebSQL. They were the ones used the vast marked share they had to push the trendy thing of the day, namely nosql and IndexeDB, a technology which is bemoaned by web developers today.

I think the fact that there is another post about SQLite on the front page right now, attests that it would have been better to just standardise that. But then all those greenfield "spec hackers" wouldn't have had the fun of building cloud castles.

As a web developer and a browser user I'm tired of things not working. And if that means less options in terms of browsers I don't care as long as the browsers that are there give me a solid foundation to work with.

I'd rather have less options with more freedom of choice because all the different options are compatible and interchangeable, than many options but little choice, because their features sets are all disjoint and nothing is compatible.

WebSQL was never a spec. It was literally implemented as ‘be bug compatible with this specific version of SQLite’. There was no way that that was going to be accepted by Mozilla and Microsoft.

There was actually an offer to turn SQlite3 into a spec under the condition that Firefox agreed to implement it. Firefox declined since they didn't want to "confuse" developers with too many options.

I wish Mozilla would refocus efforts on making Firefox best in class again. It's been at least 5 years since Firefox was truly relevant.

Interest started to wane when Chrome's JavaScript execution blew it out of the water on release but continues to erode mindshare as the development tools languish.

The devtools were just overhauled recently, and Firefox is finally adopting a multiprocess architecture which will eventually lead to major performance and security improvements.

My interest waned when Mozilla fired Brenand Eich over a political donation.

Can we please just let this conspiracy theory die? Mozilla did not fire Brendan Eich, he resigned of his own volition.

If you want further evidence, a very prominent Mozilla employee posted on his blog, syndicated on the Mozilla blog feed, an active solicitation for people to donate to a UK initiative to ban gay marriage. What followed was a massive shitstorm [1], including calls that said person be fired from the project. He remains employed to this day. I find it amusing that no one appears to have mentioned this incident during the entire Brendan Eich debacle [2], though.

[1] I'd actually link to a relevant copy of the page on archive.org, but that updates too infrequently to capture pages that change daily. [2] Interestingly, when trying to find the page on archive.org, I did discover that the news of his donation first became public about the same time. Two years before he was appointed CEO.

He stepped down himself...

At least that's the official story. Perhaps he was given a choice: resign or get fired.

Having had some (albeit very few) actual interactions with both Brendan Eich and a few members of the board, I do not think that the board was considering firing him, and I think that Brendan decided to resign entirely of his own volition.

Do you really think that if he would have been fired by Mozilla and then Mozilla had claimed at every corner that he resigned voluntarily, that he would have just accepted that, instead of going to the next media outlet and selling the true story there?

Did Firefox fix their performance degradation over time yet?

Every time I try to switch back its fine for 2 weeks and then starts to get slower, like the internal database breaks or something. This is two weeks with 2-3 windows, with 5-20 tabs each, without restarts.

So far Vivaldi has been the best chrome replacement for me.

did you report it?

for regular users i don't give this kind of assine reply, but here on hacker news, i expect everyone used Firefox for a good decade before switching to chrome now, so i expect you did the minimum to the project and have at least abugzilla account to say "me too" on some bug.

For Firefox, that's really not sufficient. I've reported FF bugs in the past that sit unfixed in the queue for 13 years. It has disincentivized me from bothering to continue reporting them.

Yes, it's open-source and I could in theory pop it out and fix it myself (ha, because I have a spare weekend to burn on setting up a Mozilla dev environment and dependency stack). No, there's no incentive to do so when Chrome simply doesn't have the bug.

Chrome has bugs that languish too, but so far I can't name any that I've tripped over. I'm sure when I do, it'll be incentive to consider switching to Firefox.

and when you trip on that chrome bug you will move to what? IE?

btw, try to disable referrer on chrome ;) ... or even set it to only send to the same domain

As I said, it'd be incentive to switch to Firefox (or actually set up that Mozilla devel dependency stack and fix the 13-yaer-old bug).

For referrer in Chromium, I think there's a flag?


Do you install firebug?

Surprised to see this on HN again.

BTW, Rob left in early March:


Firefox was all about extensions and user control. But Mozilla has essentially decided to destroy their extensions eco system, and as a consequence lost me as their user and supporter.

I really loved and used Pentadactyl, but it's now gone and dead and so is Firefox as far as I'm concerned.

Can you elaborate? I've used Firefox for well over a decade, and while I'm not a heavy extension user, I haven't noticed any change in extension support for the handful I use.

Can you expand a bit? I've no idea what you mean since my extensions are still working just fine.

My primary browser is Brave with in-built ad-blocker because Mozilla does not want to ship ad-blocker with Firefox. As ads is the most likely vector of malware distribution channel, that means that safety of users stopped to be a priority for Mozilla unfortunately.

I'm genuinely curious what the perceived threat is. I'm not happy about having a handful of browsers being dominant, but Chromium is legitimately free software. I'm very slightly worried that most people choose the Chrome branded version (which is not free-as-in-freedom), but there is so little between the two that I'm not sure it matters. V8 is forked into Node now so it would be pretty difficult to do horrible things even though Google controls the parent project.

The only thing that I can think of that seems like a risk is the amount of influence that Google has on things like whatever the replacement of CAs will be. But the situation is already so bad, it's hardly going to get worse.

You must have missed recent HN news about google stripped build of Chromium - one that doesnt use binary blobs from Google.

I certainly did. Searching for it doesn't seem to bring anything up. Care to post a link? I even did a duckduckgo search for binary blobs in Chromium and only found the 18 month old discussion of Chromium installing hotwords (which has been resolved now).

You're not, by any chance, thinking of the Chromium OS are you?

You can't miss it - it's riding #1 on HN right, and has been for a few hours now:


Odd... That's not on my front page at all... Interesting. It must be different for each person.

one thing is that the influence on standards will be pretty strong if you have the "main" implementation. So it requires trusting Google to go the right direction.

You can contrast Google's "the web as apps" with, say, Apple + Safari's more "web as documents + prettiness" approaches.

With at least 2 major implementations, even if Google doesn't want to do something, if Apple + Moz + MSFT does something, it's still possible to get it into the standard.

You can try getting into the standard without a single implementation but that's probably difficult without a vote of confidence from stakeholders


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