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After being a Chrome user for several years, I've switched back to Firefox for the past two years or so and I'm really, really happy with it.

Latest version does multi-processing, e10s is finally here (though it might still get disabled by usage of certain add-ons, I remember I had to force it to stay enabled).

On performance, in the past it felt sluggish, but now Firefox is fast and for my usage patterns it uses less memory than Chrome.

And one thing I really love is the Awesome Bar, which is a pain point every single time I open Chrome. I have a lot of websites I need to return to and in Chrome I end up searching on Google far more than I should. I guess that's the biggest difference between Firefox and Chrome, as Mozilla does not feel obligated to shareholders to extract ads clicks from you (although I hope that whatever they do keeps them afloat).

Also, tab management. I installed "Tab Center" from the Test Pilot and it's awesome. The experiment is now over unfortunately and the code itself for Tab Center isn't compatible with WebExtensions, but there's work going on to port it and that highlights that Firefox's WebExtensions will be more flexible than Chrome, if they aren't already.

But in the end I actually care more about trusting my browser and its maker to protect my interests. I actually trust Google more than I trust other companies, but something feels very wrong for a company to have so much leverage on me. Which is why, as long as I have a choice, I'll always prefer Firefox over Chrome, or Safari, or Edge.




To me, the best feature of Firefox compared to Chromium (both out of the box, no extensions. not sure if there are extensions that could help) is the address bar. Firefox does a fuzzy search into your browsing history and if you visit the same sites often, the suggestions are quite good.

Contrast this with Chrome, where the idea behind address bar user experience seems to be maximizing the number of Google searches done.

But the one that really keeps me on Firefox is Vimperator. It's the best keyboard oriented browser UI in mainstream browsers. The extensions available for Chrome are nowhere near as good (last time I tried).

The worst part of Firefox is the terribly long startup time. It can take up to 10 seconds after a reboot and takes quite a long time even with warm caches. Chromium startup is near instantaneous.


> The worst part of Firefox is the terribly long startup time. It can take up to 10 seconds after a reboot and takes quite a long time even with warm caches.

If you're the type with a lot of tabs open, that should improve a lot in the next few releases.

https://metafluff.com/2017/07/21/i-am-a-tab-hoarder/index.ht...


> If you're the type with a lot of tabs open

I'm not and I don't store/restore tabs on close, so that's not the case here. It's just Firefox + Vimperator + uBlock origin with about:blank as home page.

I'm on Linux/X11 if that matters.


This is probably a good place to plug the fact that Vimperator is going to die with FF57 [1].

If anyone wants to help with making an alternative, look through that thread. I'm particularly invested in Tridactyl [2] but other people are working on others.

[1] https://github.com/vimperator/vimperator-labs/issues/705

[2] https://github.com/cmcaine/tridactyl


Not strictly feature-equivalent, but there's already a working (I use it everyday) port of Vimium for Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/vimium-ff/


I've been using VimFX all along, which is actively maintained and already compatible with multiprocess.

It's a web browser, not an actual text editor. 99% of the time, you're just wanting familiar keyboard commands for navigation. It feels like Vimperator does so many impractical things almost tongue-in-cheek, just to show how cool it is that they're theoretically possible.


VimFx is not compatible with multiprocess, it will stop working soon.

See https://github.com/akhodakivskiy/VimFx/issues/860 :

    - You can use the current VimFx for the rest of 2017.
    - Then, Vimium is your best bet: philc/vimium#2425
    - VimFx is free software, so if somebody feels like converting it to a WebExtension they're totally free to do so! (But you're probably going to spend your time more wisely on Vimium.)
    - I hope to create a new add-on with the best parts from VimFx some day.
    - Firefox will become a better browser! It’s sad but worth the sacrifice.
Vimium-FF does works right now: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/vimium-ff/


VimFx is perfectly compatible with multiprocess, as stated in the issue you linked:

https://github.com/akhodakivskiy/VimFx/issues/860#issuecomme...

The issue is that VimFx is not feasible to convert into a WebExtension.


Ugh, that sucks, I just switched to VimFx because I thought it was ff57+ compatible. Now I'm not sure where I got that idea.

I haven't used vimium-ff, but it hasn't been updated in 3 months and the comments on mozilla are not encouraging.


Well, "soon" is tomorrow August 11: "PSA: Legacy extensions disabled by default on Nightly": https://mail.mozilla.org/pipermail/dev-addons/2017-August/00...


I disagree, respectfully.

I like that there's always more stuff to learn about Vimperator. It's fun. There's a nice thread on GitHub where people are talking about their favourite features:

https://github.com/vimperator/vimperator-labs/issues/729


That's odd, from SSD a cold firefox start takes a few seconds on my debian testing (using firefox 54 from apt). Maybe you're using a slow HDD?


Nope. It's a lightning fast m.2 SSD. And warm caches don't help either.


Are Vimperator + uBlock origin the only active add-ons? The Ubuntu Modifications one is known to cause slowdowns, for example.

What happens if you try to completely reset the Firefox profile, and bring back the plugins you want?


Happens without any extensions. I'm on Arch Linux, not Ubuntu.

I don't care enough to debug it further. Firefox is stable enough these days that restarting it isn't even a daily occurence. I have enough patience to wait that 10+ seconds, it's just a minor annoyance.


> If you're the type with a lot of tabs open

Then pray for Tree Style Tabs to be implemented by default in Firefox.


I hope not. I believe that it is better for Firefox to be as light and bloat-free by default while users are free to install whatever addon provides any extra features that they need.


Tree Style Tab could be an opt-in functionality of vanilla Firefox, that wouldn't be an issue for new users.

Although I firmly believed that tabs on the side make more sense for any kind of users. Nesting tabs require a bit more practice though and that could be an opt-in option.


As far as I can tell, it doesn't look like this - one of my favorite plugins - will survive v57.



Thanks. I'd seen that thread months ago; it seems that the situation has improved a bit since then.

As I was searching around, I also came across this:

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tree-tabs/

...which looks to have similar functionality, and is already WE compatible.


Especially when we know we have browsed a site before but forgot the URL and remember only some portions of the title.

Firefox address bar is just more productive in simple things like re-opening frequent/historical sites.


One thing that helps with Chrome's address bar is typing in a slash when searching for a site in your history. Suppose I visited this URL:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lognormal_distribution

Chrome might or might not suggest it when I start typing "logn...". But if I type "/logn" it's there immediately. They're tokenizing URLs in a stupid way, apparently.


In my experience, whenever Firefox takes more than a couple of seconds to start up, I know my Internet connection is acting up. It appears to be doing some sort of blocking network lookup on the startup path, and opens the intial window only after it succeeds or times out.


> But the one that really keeps me on Firefox is Vimperator. It's the best keyboard oriented browser UI in mainstream browsers. The extensions available for Chrome are nowhere near as good (last time I tried).

Did you ever use vimium on chrome? It's part of what keeps me on Chrome, I remember I had a quick glance at Vimperator a fair while ago, but switched back to chrome as it was what I was used to. I keep wondering about trying again.

Can you talk about the trade-offs between them?


This is supposedly a lot better with Firefox 55, released this week :)


Only for restoring lots of tabs.


And by god is it fast now. I have in excess of 200 tabs open in various groups (RIP Tab groups), and didn't remember that my Firefox had updated. I open Firefox, see it startup instantly and my first reaction was that Firefox somehow forgot all the tabs that I had loaded and had just started a new window. Imagine my surprise when everything was just as I wanted!


Yeah, I have a strong hunch that a ten-second startup time is due to restoring lots of tabs.


You mention tab management. One of the main reasons I like Firefox is due to one, exemplary addon: Tab Mix Plus. It's the kind of tinker-y addon that lets you do almost anything that is typical for Firefox.

With ad-blocking especially, I just can't trust Google to be fully supportive. I mean, who are we kidding? It's literally their business model.


One thing I've been finding lately with firefox is that the Netflix website is abysmally slow. It lags on loading, goes unresponsive a lot etc etc.

I've always watched twitch in Chrome (second browser, other screen, works fine) because firefox used to be bad. It's likely that I will start doing the same with Netflix.


Make some noise to Netflix then to make sure their Website works with Firefox.


If you can watch Netflix with Firefox, sounds like you're on Windows or macOS.

The best browsers for Netflix are IE or Safari. Chrome and Firefox support up to 720p only.


You can watch Netflix with Firefox on Linux, but the first time you do, it has to download a plugin, and you have to reload the window.


Not many people seem to be aware of this, but Firefox Mobile is just as great! You can run full extensions, just like on desktop.


I use Firefox Mobile as well but to be fair extension-support is flakey. A lot of times I install an extension that doesn't work and nothing indicates whether it does or doesn't. Also the extensions store doesn't indicate whether and extension is mobile friendly or not.


Oh man plugin support on mobile, this is a game changer for me. If only Firefox supported 2fa with an authenticator app I would have no hesitation using Firefox as my main browser.


I'm using Firefox on desktop, but Mobile scrolling is just awful even on a flagship smartphone. Just also tried nightly: the same.


> Latest version does multi-processing, e10s is finally here (though it might still get disabled by usage of certain add-ons, I remember I had to force it to stay enabled).

Are multi-processing and e10s separate things?

How do you forcefully enable it? 5/7 of my addins are listed as Legacy so I am still in single process mode, I am dying to try multi-process!

EDIT: See here: https://www.ghacks.net/2016/07/22/multi-process-firefox/

EDIT 2: Doesn't seem to work, for me anyways. It appears to be enabled in about:config but I only see one process running in task manager.

EDIT 3: I lied, it does work, 8 processes running now.

ALSO: Does anyone know if tree-style tabs will be made compatible, or if there is something comparable that is?


Tree Style Tab is the biggest difference for me, if you haven't used it before you are probably slow to browse the web :)


I like a lot the "tabs outliner" extension for Chrome. It's especially useful when you work with many tabs open at the same time, and want to preserve sessions, etc. Unfortunately there is now alternative to that in Firefox. Session Manager comes close, but is painful to use. So I'm still looking forward to such extension for Firefox, because honestly I prefer FF to Chrome for most of the things.


Honestly nothing beats Tree Style Tab, have you tried it?


I've tried it. Three times, I guess, since the early versions of it. All three times I found it useless even though I usually have 30+ tabs opened.

Honestly, this kind of statement is nothing but a superstition that you usually hear from people that think that it's impossible to be productive using different approaches.

For me nothings beats Vimium's "T" or Session Buddy + Keepin' Tabs extensions pair.


That is odd, you should try to use for longer periods of time. I personally use it with hundreds of tabs open and I haven't found anything else that can compare.

> Honestly, this kind of statement is nothing but a superstition that you usually hear from people that think that it's impossible to be productive using different approaches.

Maybe, but I'm pretty sure I'm more productive than you. We should compare each other browsing reddit some day.


>That is odd, you should try to use for longer periods of time. I personally use it with hundreds of tabs open and I haven't found anything else that can compare.

I'm using fork when eating pasta. Still, my chinese friends tell me that nothing beats sticks and I should just try to use them for longer periods of time.

See what I did here?

Your assumtion is baseless. You don't know for how logh I've been using it, nor do you know about the results (aside from the fact that I don't use it anymore).

>Maybe, but I'm pretty sure I'm more productive than you. We should compare each other browsing reddit some day.

I'm sorry, but "browsing reddit" and "productive" are on opposite sides of scale for me.

You are entitled to your opinion, no matter how childish it may be.


chopsticks > forks


Tab Outliner does all of that and more as far as I can tell. I'm certainly happy using it.


Perhaps the biggest reason I use Firefox is for Tree Style Tabs. I've tried to find something equivalent in Chrome.

I installed Tab Outliner briefly, and honestly, I couldn't figure out what the heck it was trying to do. Maybe my mental capacity is too limited, but as far as I could tell it didn't get me one iota closer to my goal. What I've settled on, for the times when I need to use Chrome, is an external helper app called Sidewise.

So Tab Outliner needs to do a LOT more to make its operation more discoverable if it wants more users.


It's certainly not obvious, I'd agree with that. It's a kind of a hybrid of tabs, sessions and bookmarks as far as I use it.


> On performance, in the past it felt sluggish, but now Firefox is fast and for my usage patterns it uses less memory than Chrome.

/me remembers how fast FF was compared to IE 'back in the days'.


Well, bear in mind that websites was way simpler to render for a browser back then.


Also keep in mind that Mozilla is researching better rendering methods through the Quantum project. The potential boost will be huge -- CSS styling and compositing will be faster, JS code that interacts with the DOM will be faster, etc.

I'm very excited about Quantum CSS and Quantum DOM landing.


+1. The perfs on Firefox have improved so much. And the new test pilots are awesome. I freaking love tab containers.




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