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How Firefox Got Fast Again (hacks.mozilla.org)
2180 points by bpierre 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 685 comments

I switched back to Firefox 54 from Chrome when multiprocess browsing ("Electrolysis") came out of beta. It's been absolutely great. It's fast and I trust and like the nonprofit behind it. And all the extensions I care about are available.

My main issue with Chrome was the endless nags to sign in to a Google account, and just generally wanting less dependence on Google. I also like that Firefox has a built in tracking protection (not just Do Not Track toggle but actual blocking of trackers). That's something that's just not in Google's interest to put in Chrome.

Browsers are becoming more and more aggressive in protecting the interests of users. Becoming true "User Agents," in other words. See also Safari iOS allowing content blockers and now in iOS 11 blocking some popular tracking behaviors by default. It's absolutely great. And it's not surprising to me that Chrome is not a leader here. It's owned by the biggest advertising company on the internet. I predict Chrome will continue to lag on pro-privacy, anti-nag features.

Thanks for the reminder. I just downloaded the latest FF beta and exiled Chrome to an "only when needed" role.

All the back-and-forth about speed and features is understandable, but misses the point that Firefox needs our support if we are to have any real non-proprietary options for what is quickly becoming the base system abstraction layer for most computing.

Indeed this is the main point, and the reason I've stuck with Firefox ever since it launched, despite being rather slow a few years back. This is the only browser engine that is not shaped by major corporate interests. And frankly it has no major downsides as compared to Chrome. The latter only enjoys the market share it does (in my opinion) because of being aggressively pushed on Google.com and being bundled everywhere.

I gave Firefox a try a month or two ago when people started saying it was good again. I think I had a problem with uBlock origin not working well enough - too much crap was getting through. What are people using for adblock?

I think I know what you're referring to, if you were using one of the unstable (beta, nightly, developer edition) channels with Firefox 57. There was a brief period I noticed during which the uBlock Origin WebExtension edition wasn't fully up to par with the old XUL-based version, letting some ads slip through. That's been fixed since then.

Though not a adblocker, Privacy Badger[0] works well as adblocker for me

[0] https://www.eff.org/privacybadger

uBlock origin with uMatrix

I use uBlock Origin plus uMatrix but I have to say that it's probably only for people who are really serious about security. It breaks nearly every site by default.

This really depends on the lists that you use in each. Research exactly what you want to block. I personally don't like a few of the lists for that specific reason, they block everything all together, not just tracking pixel domains and things of that nature. There is also an official uBlock Origin Extra extension that I find very handy for blocking websocket garbage. This is becoming more important as websocket connections become more prevalent. https://github.com/gorhill/uBO-Extra/wiki/Sites-on-which-uBO...

uMatrix doesn't have any predefined lists though, you have to configure each site's matrix on first-visit, and it defaults to deny.

Does uMatrix really give a lot more security on top of uBlock Origin, in exchange for all the inconveniences?

I tried several times, but ended up sticking to a sandbox (firejail) + uBlock Origin + HTTPS Everywhere.

I wonder this, too. I use uBlock Origin in medium mode (advanced settings available, no third-party scripts or frames until enabled), and it seems to do what's needed. It breaks a lot of things, but also makes it easy to fix them.

You can just run uBlock in medium or hard mode...

On one of my laptops I downloaded a hosts file with a comprehensive list of advertising hostnames. This was to be able to browse with Edge back when it didn't have extensions and certain ads made it freeze. It was a bit of a pain because I had to go through the whole file to make sure there was nothing dodgy going on. But it did the trick.

I thought of making a script that updates that file automatically, but I can't say I've seen any ads on that laptop even without updating the file for months, so hasn't been my first priority.

AdBlock Plus was working well, until now, when they were forced to change the UI in 3.0 to be compatible with Firefox's new version. Now it is practically unusable.

BTW: if using Android, if FF is not for you, try Brave instead of Chrome.

It feels exactly like Chrome (it's Chromium-based), but has a built-in adblocker, tracker blocking, HTTPS everywhere, no nagging to sign in, and does not throw "suggested news" (with no opt-out) upon you. Brave's founder is ex-Mozilla's CEO (Brendan Eich).

However latest FF on Android is actually not bad, at least if you have a modern phone (the UI feels slowish though on pre-2016 phones).

Use FF nightly on Android. It's got the quantum update and it's great. I haven't had it break on me yet, but I keep a working APK just in case.

Has it actually got Quantum DOM as well? I was under the impression that it was merely Electrolysis and Quantum Compositor (i.e. the speedups from Firefox 54), and that the massive on from 57 was still set to arrive?

The prioritization parts of Quantum DOM have landed. There is some work around preemption that still needs to happen. We should have a post talking about this coming out in the next few weeks.

I tried Android Nightly but there are still 2 small yet noticeable things Mozilla should improve (which are not at all linked to the page rendering in itself) - when it's done, it could really rival Chromium-based browsers:

- when you swipe fast, the page only scrolls by like 30%, instead of scrolling by 200% like in Chromium browsers. Basically it's impossible to quickly scroll a long page on Firefox (maybe it's configurable somehow in about:config?)

- when you long-press a link, it takes like 2-3 seconds for the menu to open. As I "open in new tab" by default, this quickly adds up.

Do you have to install the nightly build manually or can you opt-in via the default version?

Nightly and beta releases are available as separate apps.

Google Play store link for Firefox Beta: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.mozilla.fi...

Google Play store link for Firefox Nightly: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.mozilla.fe...

Wow, I didn't know Nightly got into play store, I installed it as an APK from mozilla site (upgrading APKs is painful in comparison to play upgrades).


From what I've read, Brave doesn't block ads -- it replaces them with other ads. I don't think that it's a good idea.

Firefox for Android also allows browser extensions, which gives some control of the software back to the user.

Except that it does actually block ads and doesn't replace them. Don't believe everything you read on the Internet when you can just try the product :)

Except it does. It has the functionality to do BOTH.

The tagline of giving the option to either disable ads or replace ads is to provide a way to enjoy an ad-free experience or to receive only optimized advertisements.

A big reason some users dislike ads isn't because of their entire existance but rather their tendency as of late to be malware-ridden or cause drops in webpage performance. These are the things that cause some users to enable ad-blockers, and Brave is the only way I've heard of that has pushed the envelope of a BETTER ad experience.

From their blog, the first is a great introduction to what Brave is about[1], as well as their response to an attack on their ad-replacement ideology[2].



Also a quote directly from Brave:

    [The user interface] shows the major choices that Brave enables:

    You’re game to try our default mode of operation, for a better ad-supported Web. Just leave the Replace Ads item checked. This is the default mode of operation. We insert ads after blocking without hurting page load speed, and those ads will support the sites you browse. We choose ads based on browser-private user data with no remote tracking — not even by our servers.

    You want to block all ads and trackers, but you’re not sure about our plan to insert better ads with high performance and privacy. You can do this with Brave by checking Block Ads. We want you on board even if you’re just blocking everything.

    You’d like to try Brave without ad blocking or replacing, to get whatever ads and trackers you would experience in other browsers. Check Allow Ads and Tracking. We still protect you with HTTPS Everywhere and other defense by default.

>A big reason some users dislike ads isn't because of their entire existance but rather their tendency as of late to be malware-ridden or cause drops in webpage performance. These are the things that cause some users to enable ad-blockers, and Brave is the only way I've heard of that has pushed the envelope of a BETTER ad experience.

AdBlock Plus also does something equivalent through their default option to show "Unobtrusive ads."

The problem with AdBlock Plus is that, as far as I can tell, the way to get on their "unobtrusive ads" list isn't to actually be "unobtrusive" to any meaningful standard, it's to pay them to qualify you as unobtrusive.

That's not my experience with ABP. So far I haven't found any actually obtrusive ads and as far as I am concerned, they are holding up a good standard.

That doesn't have anything to do with experience, that's just a fact. Advertisers pay ABP to get on the list.

Yeah but that doesn't change the fact about the requirements to even be able to pay to get on the list.

It's a trust issue in summary. You either trust them to do a good job at screening or not.

IIRC, you pay them (not a lot) to check out your ads and verify that they are, in fact, unobtrusive. I realize it's distasteful that money changes hands at all, but I can imagine it takes a non-trivial amount of person-hours to vet these things on a large scale, and it should be easy enough to tell if they're crooked or not just by using ABP and seeing if the permitted ads are intrusive.

When I used it (until after their ad whitelisting came in), I found that they did a poor job of blocking obtrusive ads, then. Either that, or their standards for "unobtrusive" were low.

I switched to a better adblocker, so now I just whitelist sites whose ads I'm willing to see.

> Don't believe everything you read on the Internet when you can just try the product

I read about it on their own website:


"Brave’s goal is to speed up the web, stop bad ads and pay publishers. One of the ways we plan to accomplish this is with ad replacements."

"Step Two: Brave Replaces Ads"

I'm using Brave on Android and it does block ads, here is the ad block engine they use: https://github.com/brave/ad-block. The replacing of ads thing isn't implemented yet, and I expect that it can be turned off when that feature has landed, like the Brave payments thing that is currently opt-in on the desktop version: https://www.brave.com/publishers/.

I was not aware of it - thx for info. A bit strange indeed.

Link for the other if interested: https://www.brave.com/about-ad-replacement/

Edit: from the link content, I understand they actually backtracked from this proposal after a backlash from publishers.

I use ff on my galaxy s5 and the ui isn't noticibly slow, but I'm on lineageos (cyanogen) and keep apps from running when not needed so ymmv

I switched to Brave a few days ago and have never been happier. The problem with firefox on Android is that it is extremely slow, though apparently not for everyone. Slow in the sense of tapping a link, then having to wait 5 to 10 seconds before the GUI updates and the link starts loading. It's incredible and I never found a solution to this problem. It's a pity really.

i would be using FF on Android if the scrolling was not so crappy. It's pretty terrible :(

... <scrolls down and up> ...

What do you mean?

There are two distinct problems I've noticed with FF scrolling vs. Chrome on Android.

First is that certain elements block scrolling. I use FF primarily for Facebook (since FF allows me to use my – shameless plug – idle-time faker extension [1]). If my scrolling thumb lands on the "Like" button of a post, the screen just stays put. So about 1/3 of my "scroll" gestures are in vain.

Second is that "flinging" motions don't register very well with Firefox. With Chrome, "flinging" sends the web page flying at a predictable speed; with Firefox, it lags for a fraction of a second before scrolling at a random speed which is usually much slower than that in Chrome. It's as if Firefox doesn't register the final thumb flick of a "fling", but Chrome does. Since "flinging" is my primary method of browsing longer web pages, ultimately my thumb has to physically do more work, and gets exhausted more quickly, when using Firefox than Chrome.

A third nitpick is that, while (non-flinging) page scrolling keeps up with my thumb, it does so in a jerky manner, like it can't quite keep up with rendering, or it doesn't see all the touch events. Reminds me of an old PDA. In contrast, scrolling in Chrome is very smooth. This looks ugly but I could live with it.

It is the first to two issues that prevent me from using Firefox on Android for anything but Facebook.

[1] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/android/addon/social-networ...

There are some values you can tweak in about:config, but I've never gotten it to be as smooth as Chrome. I know the FF team are well aware of the issue, but I figure all resources have been tied up by the upcoming FF57. As far as I know, WebRender will help.

Thank you for an in-depth explanation! I guess I use browser quite differently (qnd on simpler pages) so I never noticed any of these things.

Well dealing with certain sites covered in Javascript elements (YouTube comments on the mobile site comes to mind) the browser's 'memory' of clickable elements don't always update with each swipe. So tapping one element on a site ends up triggering something else on the page.

Have you tried the Nightly or Beta builds?

using FF on a BQ Aquaris X. I don't notice any issue of speed or scrolling.

I have moved entirely to Firefox Focus. My only problem is that the GOOGLE BAR on my home screen still throws trending suggestions and opens up chrome. Does anyone know if I can change this?

Install a non-exotic alternative launcher. I use Nova, it's very similar to the Google launcher and well polished. Not sure if all vendor images allow it. I have a Moto G5 with the vendor image.

I find it quite interesting that Android even has all the interfaces and permissions to allow alternative launchers. What a great feature in this generally fairly locked-down space of non-PC OSes.

I don't know about Focus, but you can configure Firefox for Android to act as a replacement for the Chrome Custom Tabs API, which apps use to launch those mini-Chrome windows. Caveat: I use the Nightly builds, and I'm unsure how new this feature is.

Can you install add-ons in Focus? When I tried you couldn't and that made it less privacy friendly than vanilla Firefox with Ublock.

Anecdotally, I have found that Brave chokes on some obscure websites (i.e. it won't play video or audio).

FF57 stable is arriving tomorrow. But you can get it from the FTP server today:


> exiled Chrome to an "only when needed" role

It's been my second browser for Twitch and Netflix only for a while now. I'm bit even sure how useful that is anymore if I'm honest as I've not tried them in firefox for a while - but they used to be unusable and I've become accustomed to having another browser for them

You don't need Chrome for Netflix anymore; it seems to work fine in current Firefox.

I'll try again soon-ish but I was seeing the netflix home page freeze for 5-10 seconds on open and often going unresponsive which is just intolerable tbh

Was that with FF 57? 57 is a whole new browser, any impression you have that was created with a pre-57 version needs to be re-tested.

Yeah but for our support we need to start getting in depth with Firefox devtools again.

They have features not in chrome and Visa versa. But to blindly switch means taking a productivity penalty, at least temporarily.

The signing into an account in chrome is the killer feature for me. I have work and a couple of personal accounts that I have signed in in different browser windows. That allows me to keep things separate (extensions, mail, browsing, bookmarks, etc).

How do FF users do this?

The signing into an account in Chrome almost got someone fired at a small customer of mine a few weeks ago. Fortunately they called me first to look into it, I pointed out that the porn bookmarks in question were years old and that since Chrome was signed into a personal account it was pretty likely that the same account had been used by other family members at home.

I also wrote this up for the owners to send to their staff, feel free to reuse if appropriate for you:

We’ve seen at least one situation recently where a user “signed in” to Chrome when prompted, which brought that user’s personal bookmarks and website logins onto their work computer. While Chrome offers this as an option, there are no situations where your personal account should be linked to a browser at work – if you need to be using personal email, etc. please do so from your own phone or other device on your own time. This is for your own privacy and security as well as for the practice – we want to not have your personal data on our systems, and you don’t want your private email, bookmarks, etc. accessible to anyone else who happens to be at your desk while you’ve stepped away.

If you have linked your browser to a personal account, please remove that connection using the instructions below.

You can check whether Chrome is linked to an online account by clicking on the small person icon at the top right corner of the window – just to the left of the “X” to close the window. • If you click on that and it asks you to sign in, you’re not linked to an account. • If you click on that and it lists a personal account, click on “Manage People” to open a new window listing connected accounts. On each account there are 3 dots in the top right corner – click those and “Remove this person” • If you see a name rather than a generic person icon, click on that and use “Manage People” to remove that connected account.

Firefox offers a similar but less-used version of this that would have required creating a Firefox account to use Firefox Sync. If you have done this with Firefox please disconnect it; if you’re not sure then you almost certainly haven’t done this in Firefox and don’t need to worry about it.

I think the idea that you only access personal stuff from your own devices on your own time is unrealistic. There are restricted environments (intelligence agencies and such) where it's necessary, but outside of those I think people commonly expect that if they get their work done and avoid illegal / pornographic / other NSFW content, they can do some personal browsing at work, typically on work-owned hardware. The company can expect otherwise, but it may not work out well for morale / staff retention. I don't know anyone who comes in, maintains 100% focus on work for 8+ hours, and then goes home.

Of course, if someone is signing into their personal account using work hardware, they're basically saying they trust the company not to do any intrusive monitoring, where "intrusive" is something I'm deliberately leaving a bit vague. The company probably has some idea what sites they visit but employees expect that the company is not stealing their credentials or having someone virtually read over their shoulder without a very good reason. If outside intruders get into work device management servers and such, employees' personal stuff is at risk also, but they're willing to accept this for the sake of convenience.

I have, on my work-owned laptop, both work and personal Chrome profiles. (The analogous Firefox feature is multi-account containers.) I might only bring a work laptop when traveling for work. Most of the time, and certainly if I'm presenting during a meeting, I'm using the work profile. I'll use the other only when I'm alone. I lock my screen when I'm not there; I have sensitive access, so this is expected for reasons other than protecting my personal data.

Conversely, work allows me to access my work email and some other internal sites from my personal phone if I agree to certain device management restrictions. I do this rather than carry two phones. Some people choose otherwise.

> I think the idea that you only access personal stuff from your own devices on your own time is unrealistic.

Once upon a time that was the case - "Cyber Monday" as a prime case in point. Some limited amount of non-work browsing is generally still fine at most offices I deal with, most notably checking news, weather, sports scores, etc.

However as a person responsible for making sure there are no breaches (particularly reportable ones) at offices, I'm moving more and more to the "No personal use. Period. No debate." position. I can control the kind of filtering, AV checks and attachments that come into the office via the business email as an example, but if people are checking their personal email on company systems I may not be able to catch the "Huh, I don't remember ordering from them, I wonder what this invoice email is all about?" person. Antivirus is all well and good but it's not 100%, and while I can look at the mail filters and see that there were 400 PDFs with variations of "Delivery Notification" or "Invoice 1234567" blocked in the last half hour to a ton of different addresses, Jane Smith in Billing or Accounts Payable may only see one or two - and on a really bad day, opening just one may be all it takes.

Also, these days a huge percentage of people not only have smartphones but use those smartphones as their primary devices for Internet access. 5 years ago that wasn't the case, but now? George with the iPhone 7 Plus can quite easily check his email or do plenty of other things that would have been much less pleasant on an iPhone 4.

I dunno. I can see your concern, but it seems to me like a Wal-Mart anti-theft guy saying we need to search all employees before allowing them to leave the store. I'm sure it would solve some problems and reduce your personal headaches, but that doesn't necessarily make it reasonable.

> I can look at the mail filters and see that there were 400 PDFs with variations of "Delivery Notification" or "Invoice 1234567" blocked in the last half hour to a ton of different addresses, Jane Smith in Billing or Accounts Payable may only see one or two

Wouldn't Jane Smith from Accounts Payable anyway open a PDF invoice email, regardless of the address?

I've been going back an forth between Chrome and Firefox for the past couple of months with the number of posts that I've seen on HN. Every time I always realize that Firefox doesn't have workspaces. This comment made me realize that containers are the alternative. Hopefully, I'll be able to switch over to FF more full time now that I have this solution. Thanks for this comment!

> I pointed out that the porn bookmarks in question were years old and that since Chrome was signed into a personal account it was pretty likely that the same account had been used by other family members at home.

So the offence was merely having porn bookmarks in their browser - not visiting porn sites at work? Wow.

This is in an environment with multiple people at a long open desk with patients on the other side of the counter. Someone sat down to check something, or check someone in or out, I don't know the details. They hit the Bookmarks button, and right there on the list was a PornHub link to something about a teen and anal sex. This caused a bit of an uproar about inappropriate use of the computer systems, though it may have stayed behind closed doors.

It wouldn't surprise me a bit if the person whose account it was didn't even know that bookmarks exist in Chrome - it's not like Google makes it obvious these days. I suspect there were some awkward discussions at home that evening, or possibly on the phone with college-age children.

Eh, I mean fair enough. Somebody else goes to use the browser and notices the bookmarks, what else would they expect?

I imagine porn bookmarks showing up in an official screencast, presentation, or live product demo would do wonders to a company's image and reputation.

This story would deserve a blog post of its own. Google might not realize it, but the ease of being tracked by them is also a risk in work place.

> Google might not realize it,


@fencepost - do u know if it is possible to transfer all those chrome accnt pref from a personal gmail to a gsuite accnt?

For this reason my place of work hosts Firefox rather than Chrome.

FF just came out with multi account containers about a month ago ->


Firefox containers are awesome. Once you've got a GMail account it's really easy to fall into the trap of letting Google track your everything. GMail, Google searches, Google Maps, You Tube.

Containers splits them out beautifully, with minimal tracking.

With Chrome / Chromium, Google wants you to log-in using a Google account, so you fall into the trap again.

Does Google actually track web activity when logged out whilst logged in to Chrome? By this I mean connecting e.g. searches done on google maps with your account, not just storing the history.

Google of course has all the information server-side to do this; I'm unsure if they actually use it. There's usually a line on tracking that (you think) a company won't cross; e.g. I wouldn't expect Google to use browser fingerprinting to track you when logged out in a different browser, but I'm not sure about web activity in Chrome. Sounds plausible either way.

The use case for this is that you want to leave your gmail/youtube/etc all logged in, but not let Google track you all over the internet. My primary use for this feature is this specific use case. I created a "Google Spyware" container and configured Google-related things to open in there. If I go to google.com outside of that container, I'm a non-logged-in user. If I open it in the container I AM logged in, so I get all the convenience of staying logged in without the downside of all the surveillance. Of course there are other means to track me, but this is a big step in the right direction.

I know. I've been using containers ever since it was an experiment :)

My question is independent of container tabs, it's a question of whether we know the level of tracking Google does on a signed-in chrome where your google account is not signed in in the session (is this even possible?)

You can find pretty much all the data that Google has on you - they allow you to examine the history of it. As far as I know they don't track your entire web browsing history but they do record all uses of their sites with your account.

But personally I certainly don't need to be logged in using any of Googles services except for GMail so I'd rather just not build up the history rather than having to go about deleting it (or not because there's so many other things to get distracted by)

> don't track your entire web browsing history

Entire or not, does Google analytics apply here?

Yeah, I think this is where things start to get fairly pointless with avoiding being tracked. I'm imagining that even at a basic level they can match up any Google searches / GMail you use to your IP address and then follow that via Google Analytics.

I'm happily using DDG as a replacemet for most Google searches. But I guess I need to stop using GMail.

I've been a happy customer of https://www.fastmail.com/ for some years now (and used Gmail before). I highly recommend them for anyone considering leaving Gmail. You pay them with money instead of data.

ProtonMail or Tutanota are great replacements.

Why wouldn't they? Judging from the RLZ related files I had to clean off of my Mac, Google is bundling RLZ (Google's tracking library) with Chrome on all OSes. I'd be shocked if they're deploying but not using something like that.

And prior to that you could run multiple Firefox instances with different profiles. Not super hard.

> you could run multiple Firefox instances with different profiles

But not at the same time, which is a showstopper to me (still using Firefox Nightly as main browser).

You can absolutely run multiple different instances at the same time.

I've been using Firefox this way for over a year, 2 instances open right now.

It is possible, but it's messy in terms of which one is the default (clicking on links outside of the browser), taskbar/launcher buttons (OS- and DE-dependent, some configurations have issues e.g. with pinning) etc. I think there was something else - minor and just slightly inconvenient - but I forgot.

Compared to ProfileManager, Container Tabs are absolutely awesome. Completely different experience, smooth and nice.

ProfileManager is a bit awkward indeed. You can pass `-p primaryprofile` and `-p secondaryprofile -no-remote` to make sure that links from OS are not opened in the 2nd instance, but then, when you close Firefox and click an external link, it will open Firefox with the last opened profile, which might be `secondaryprofile`.

The solution for me was to use one Firefox installation per profile: primary = stable, secondary = nightly.

Container tabs are way nicer than this, but since I open lots of tabs, I still like the distinction between stable and nightly (stable = regular browsing, nightly = FB).

Thanks to you I found something really useful. With this I can finally have the convenient replacement for the good old private window which gets overused for logging in to multiple accounts simultaneously.

Do they sync?

What do you mean by that?

If your use case is not covered, you surely can write a WebExtension to provide the functionality. Containers as well as sync are exposed in the API.

I just wanted to know if the containers will be automatically synced across devices.

It's not clear to me what exactly you expect to Sync.

Container settings (names, colors, icons, assignments) should be synced (if not, please file a bug). Open tabs will be synced, not sure how they will open on another machine (considering URL-to-Container assignments should be synced, they should open in the respective containers – maybe there's a possible improvement here).

I expect the different Cookie stores to be synced as well, if not, that's a bug.

I can't even get them to persist after restarting FF. :/

Please describe the behaviour you're seeing vs. expecting. Is the session not restoring the URLs in the right container? That sounds like a bug to me. The container names (if you change from default) should be stored in the settings – if not, something is wrong on your machine. If you want to always open some specific URLs on start, pin those tabs.

I updated the container names, colors, and icons. Opened a few tabs here and there. Installed a user agent switching plugin. Restarted to enable said plugin. While the session was restored, including the containers, the non-default container names/meta info were not. Tabs in non-default containers showed up with no labels, and there was no apparent way to open up a new tab in one of the custom containers.

Also, changing a container's color does not change the color shown on existing tabs.

Please check and file these bugs here: https://github.com/mozilla/multi-account-containers – I assume you are using this extension?

But now that Google has fundamentally broken users' trust by locking people out of their own Google Docs through automated machine learning algorithm, can't you see why people are wanting to protect themselves from a corporate culture that allows those kinds of zealous and intrusive policies?

It was locking out journalists drafting stories!

How can you trust Google anymore? There's something rotten festering in Mountain View.

People seem to have the laughable idea that somehow only government censorship is bad, or that corporations aren't capable of censorship in the first place because they're private entities. I mean, yes, the world will look like that if you reduce everything to contractual relationships like libertarians seem to do, but personally I hope we could hold corporations accountable for actions like these. Like it or not, we've become extremely reliant on cloud services; Google closing someone's account without the possibility of appeal may not be politically motivated censorship, but it's still arbitrary censorship (even if you did click on the "agree" button on the EULA nobody ever reads).

Why shouldn't we hold corporations to the same standards as governments? If we don't want the government arbitrarily censoring people, why are we OK with corporations doing it?

> If we don't want the government arbitrarily censoring people, why are we OK with corporations doing it?

Because the "opt-out" process is orders of magnitude easier. You don't have to use Google. Microsoft has online document creation applications, as does Apple, assuming iWork still exists. Or you can just write documents offline using any of several thousand tools.

Corporate censorship is entirely under your control. You can always stop the censorship by simply not saying it using that corporation's tools. Corporations can control how you say something, but not what you say. Governments can control the act of saying it. One is far worse than the other.

I'm sorry but in most areas of online life the system monopolies of Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft are crushing our freedom and choice in tons of ways. You DO have to use Google Docs(for your PTA, your kids soccer team, your communication with your accountant or your church), because everyone else does. Most people won't be running their own mail server or Diaspora. There are many many examples of this by now, and this technolibertarian babble among many of my colleagues in Tech is getting pretty old.

I'm no libertarian; I'm just pointing out the difference between legal force and social pressure. You do not have to use Google Docs. You may really really need to, but there's no literal threat of imprisonment hanging over your head if you don't.

Again, by all means, protest Google/Amazon/Facebook. I'd love to see the state of affairs change too. Just don't pretend like missing your church bulletin is equivalent to actual imprisonment.

There used to be phonebooks on the Internet where you could put in your personal information and if everyone else did so too then you had this giant database of contact info where you could look people up. These of course had to make money somehow, but when you're sitting on a giant pile of personal information that's quite valuable in itself. It's a pity most uses of personal information for financial gain is morally dubious, but as long as you stay cash flow positive you don't have to turn evil.

Everybody understood implicitly that you only put in your own information. Giving away other people's personal information to a some company for which it is clearly valuable is not considered nice. It's simply not yours to give away. For the few who didn't understand this most companies had this in their terms of service anyway, as there could be legal risks involved.

All those companies are gone now. They are out-competed by a select few very large companies who did everything possible to make it very easy for people to input everyone else's contact information in their database, including making that behaviour default in the software that ships with your phone. In the beginning you could ask people nicely not to input all your personal info in third party phone book services. That's not really possible anymore.

The days when you could practically opt out of these companies are long gone.

Until all the big corps start censoring the same kinds of contents and behaviour by an unspoken consensus. At that point it becomes effectively as easy to live without all the major online services as it would be to live as an outlaw.

Easier or more difficult to get by without shouldn't distract us from the core point GP made, that corporate (arbitrary) censorship, with no redress, should be taken as seriously as govt censorship. These days they are just two arms on the same chimera.

Consider this: imagine the guy sat next to you at work starts yelling at you with a loudhailer all day. Every day. And he never ever shuts up. (Alternatively, imagine that he just whispers "fuck santosh" all day.) Would you expect him to be free to continue doing it? Would you expect the government to stop him? Or would you expect your employer to stop him?

The answer is: groups of people (and corporations are groups of people) are free to limit speech according to whatever rules the group decides upon. What you're proposing is that certain large corporations be treated as quasi-governmental entities. Which is a _free-speech restriction_.

Not saying it's a bad idea, necessarily. But I'd rather my freedom to say that certain types of speech are unacceptable was guaranteed.

In which case there needs to be easy to employ mechanisms to redress grievances, which tech corps currently don't have. For example, account lockouts and DMCA takedowns (when done by error or if the user thinks is unfair) are pretty much permanent. Your best option is to accept the data loss, move on and create another account.

My point is censorship is a huge responsibility and power, especially when it is done at the scale govts and multi-national corps do, and therefore it needs serious transparency and checks and balances, in both cases.

I don't see this happening to satisfaction. Instances of regrettable censorship stay regrettable, and keep recurring.

I'm with you for almost all of that journey. Companies should be held accountable for their actions. There are consumer protection laws, and I think it's reasonable for those laws to include protection against things like automated takedowns with no appeal process.

I just can't quite go as far as to say that Google or Facebook should be treated as governmental entities. The bill of rights restricts what government can do. It has never been interpreted as restricting what an individual person can do, even if that person heads a giant corporation.

Solve these problems another way, not by literally nationalizing social media.

Telling companies that they can't terminate user accounts without a redress or data recovery mechanism (which is what my original point was) isn't a restriction on free speech any more than us telling corporations they can't sell you poisonous food is. This sort of American "reductio ad free speachum" is really peculiar, especially when it's stretched to fit corporate actions like this that aren't even remotely related to anything anybody would classify as speech

This argument doesn't apply if you are suddenly locked out of your account. Then your option to switch still incurs the tremendous costs of the loss of possibly years of work. The original provider must still be accountable.

> Why shouldn't we hold corporations to the same standards as governments?

Because one of these organizations can throw you into a cage to be raped and tortured for the rest of your life, and the other can deny you access to some fairly useful web apps.

Denying someone's access to his own email inbox can have dramatic consequences on his life. Not as dramatic as being detained and tortured obviously, but still pretty serious.

There is already a case where private companies can't shut down their service to you as they wish, it's utilities (water, electricity, gas). I hope we can recognize at some point that Internet access should count as a utility too, and some core services like email service too.

So if that risk is so scary, build an e-mail service that protects someone's access to their inbox by contractual or technical means, and try to convince them to switch.

Any power that you take away from (comparatively weak, subject to competition) Google by giving it to (already terrifyingly powerful and monopolistic) USG is not a move in the right direction.

I think you're getting downvoted mostly because of calling Google "comparatively weak", but I think your point and your comparison is correct. Google is weak in comparison to the U.S. Government and, importantly, is subject to competition.

There are other email services which offer what people want. Want people are proposing is imposing their will on Google and the people that run it, even though there is competition out there that people could use instead and get what they want. Gmail and Google Apps are far from the only options people have, and far from the only free options people have. But if it is so important that people have an email address, then the USG could actually offer that (I've long thought the USPS should offer verified email addresses with strict spam protection by aggressively pursuing violators). Otherwise, let people pay what they want for the level of assurance they want.

The other side of this argument is that there are some things we do want to enforce companies do, such as offer a base level of health care in a package. I support this as well, because that solves an endemic problem where people have restricted choice and it also hurts society as a whole. That is, I think Hobby Lobby should have to provide birth control in their health plans because of the reasons outlined above, but I don't think any non governmental service provider that isn't a monopoly (and Google isn't a monopoly in cloud apps, even if there is an argument that can be made about them being one in search) should have to adhere to dictates about what what content they must allow on their service. That's a pretty slippery slope in my view.

> Why shouldn't we hold corporations to the same standards as governments?

Because you have choice of what to use. You don't always (or even often) have choice of what country to live in, and there's not a lot of unclaimed land that's hospitable. Some people may want a service they know the operators of will be proactive about keeping certain content off. Others will want a service that makes it their goal to not do that and protect everything on it. Choice is key here, and the government stipulating what needs to be done is actually restrictive, not freeing (you're just imposing your own views on others systematically). When there isn't a choice of what service/product to use, that's when other laws may come into effect. Anti-trust laws.

But weren't they locking those users because their algorithm thought it saw malware? It's not like Google said "You're writing a story about bombs or some other inappropriate subject so we're locking you out".

This sounds like one of those "damned if you do, damned if you don't" no-win solutions for Google. Users (and Google) don't want Google to allow people to use Google Docs to distribute malware and harvest passwords, they don't want someone at Google to look at their documents to see if they are "safe" (which Google couldn't realistically do even if they wanted to), so then people got upset when the automated software Google uses to look for these problems did a bad job for some people.

While it'd be nice if every system and process worked well 100% of the time and had no bugs, that's just not a realistic expectation.

Sign up for Google Gold and you can make as many abusive documents as you want, without any risk of automated censorship!


Now this is ridiculous. Thanks for sharing this article.

Firefox containers[1] are new, but you could always do this with Firefox profiles. If you're on Linux or Mac, open a terminal and type:

    firefox -ProfileManager -no-remote &
(I alias it to `ff`.)

Create different profiles[2] for each separate browser you need, and then make shortcuts to launch them.[3] Each Firefox profile will work like a completely separate browser.

[1] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/multi-account...

[2] https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profile-manager-create-...

[3] https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Command_Lin...

Or just "-P" if you want to be concise :)

That's got nothing to do with 'signing into an account in Chrome'.

Chrome supports multiple profiles, which may optionally be associated with a Google account. Firefox has the same thing, minus the Google account.

Firefox has supported multiple profiles for ages. Just run it with -P. It allows you to have separate history, extensions, bookmarks, everything.

The new panel containers are also handy. They allow you to have shared history and bookmarks but separate cookies and sessions. You can be logged into the same site on different accounts in two tabs in the same window.

There's no easy way of switching between them, starting a new firefox instance requires running from a command interpreter with -P specified, even the selection window isn't great. The containers feature is the alternative you want to propose here.

I went deeply into trying to use containers as a profile replacement, replacing Chrome with the new Firefox beta for one month, and I can report that it is not the right direction to go in:

- New tabs do not inherit current container

- No way to make Ctrl-T do this by customization (I investigated extensions (can't remap Ctrl-T) and even system-wide Ctrl-T remapping with Karibiner; neither gives you what you want)

- History is shared across containers. So e.g. work URLs mixed up with personal. That's contra to one of the main purposes of Profiles.

- External applications do not open a tab in the current container. So e.g. clicking in a link in work slack will fail because it will not open in a tab which has work cookies / google account etc.

Evidently Containers are not designed as a Profile replacement. I'm not sure what they are for but I don't think it's a need that I have.

As I understand it using the long-standing Firefox profiles feature is the way to go, but personally I switched back to Chrome after a month of the new Firefox Beta because of the convenience of Chrome profiles. I should try Firefox profiles, but I exhausted my experimentation energy on Containers.

> - New tabs do not inherit current container

Middle-clicking or Ctrl+clicking the New Tab button does inherit the current container. It also opens the new tab to the right of the current tab instead of at the far right of the tab strip. These actions are one in the same, so any extension that opens a tab to the right of the current tab (like Always Right or All Tabs Helper) also make the tab inherit the current container.

It's strange that such a useful feature is barely advertised at all in the UI, but it's there.

But your other criticisms of using containers as profiles are spot-on.

You can make OS links (e.g. different shortcuts on the desktop to different profiles) to start with different -p [profilename] then starting different profile is just a click away. I do it all the time using such configurations.


Also don't forget to add -no-remote option to each of the links to enable starting such browsers in parallel. Sadly it's not mentioned behind the URL above.

This works fine, but the problem is that it is not near as layman friendly as Chrome's "Switch User" feature that is available a click away on every Chrome window. Only tech aware people will fiddle with command-line switches and create shortcuts, yet even an average user would like to use multiple simultaneous profiles/users.

Firefox needs to improve on Chrome here. The erstwhile "Profile Switcher" addon provided a nice UI but is sadly gone after the WebExtensions transition and I cannot find an equivalent so far.

Well, you could add about:profiles to your bookmarks. But I agree that the UX around profiles in FF is a bit clunky.

But containers don't have separate extensions, bookmarks and history so they can't completely replace profiles.

exactly. i cant believe nobody here seems to know about profiles or about:profiles. its the perfect solution. my setup is tree-style tabs (recently made to work with 57) and a different profile for each task (one profile for each language im learning, one for music, and one for each research topic i might be pursuing). whats your setup like?

But does about:profiles work bug-free for you? From my experience it has had a long standing bug: when you select a different profile to the one you're currently using and click the "Open profile in new window" button, it actually loads the current profile again in another window. I read on a forum somewhere (forget the link) that this was an acknowledged problem and would be fixed sometime in future.

So at least until then, about:profiles is no replacement for using the -P command-line switch to start the profile manager.

Using multiple profiles seamlessly is one area Firefox can and should seriously improve, or Chrome's "User" feature will always have the edge.

i havent had this problem, no. have you tried it in 57?

Just playing with profiles and I can't see in way to make the different windows stand out, which are in different profiles.

Anyone know how to make the windows visually distinct?

Yes, use a different theme for each profile?

Yes, as other people have said containers does this magically. I even have Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp sign-ins in their own container. Everything is separate and I honestly feel safer on the net because of it.

I've been using Pinboard for bookmarks since before browsers started offering sync. I can create and search those bookmarks in any browser, and since I use multiple browsers on multile machines, that's handy. My webmail is also accessible from any browser.

Syncing extensions and browsing history is not something I feel I need.

Pinboard seems to be minimally maintained. I've tried contacting the developer (it is just one guy) and have had no response. A bit concerning, if you ask me.

I have seen him being very responsive to paying customers and his charges are reasonable. However, it seems he did get deluged with delicious users whining at him after he saved that service, and you wouldn't reasonably expect a one-man business to be able to handle that.

You could always try tweeting him. He's also on HN.

Eh, I moved on. I paid for a year, but decided I didn't want to invest too much in a service that seemed more likely to vanish than others.

You can always try Pocket. It's both mobile and desktop browser base, and supports search and tagging. Oh, and it's and it's built into Firefox now.

DISCLOSURE: I work for Mozilla, and Pocket in particular.

Thanks...since Firefox Quantum blew me away the other day, I have been playing with Pocket. It's actually pretty cool.

Firefox 58 has "persona" tabs. Coloured tabs that keep their own sessions. You can just configure multiple personas and work on them all simultaneously from the same window (or you can use different windows, if you prefer).

It's good even for creating fake accounts, test accounts, testing apps from the perspective of different user sessions etc.

They're available in earlier versions, but I think you have to turn in on in about:config.

> You can just configure multiple personas and work on them all simultaneously from the same window

Really? I can configure two personas to go through two different proxies? I can disable javascript in one and leave it enabled in the other?

Those are features I need in Containers, but as far as I've been able to read, they aren't present and there are no plans to allow for them.

Can I check I understand: Firefox has

- Profiles

- Containers

- Persona tabs


Just two things: Profiles and Multi-Account Containers. The original poster was referring to Containers when saying "persona tabs."

I use separate Firefox profiles. Try 'firefox --ProfileManager' to create one.

-P for the lazy.

> I have work and a couple of personal accounts that I have signed in in different browser windows.

Don't do that. On one hand you mix work and personal related issues (not recommended) on the other hand it makes it easier to track you (as your accounts can be correlated). As a dev I have my own (personal, work, ...) users/accounts even at home (if I do remote) to separate the stuff - maybe that's paranoid, but for me it was great to improve work-life balance.

Yes, it's paranoid, but I respect your decision to do it. However the imperative mood used in your first sentence is totally inappropriate. That's exactly what Profiles are for; the vast majority of people are going to want to process personal issues and work issues without signing in as a different user.

I am also worried about this, but how do you deal with it on mobile?

Container tabs in Firefox lets you do this within a single window.

about:profiles gives you the same functionality as Chrome's profiles; it's just a bit harder to discover.

For most Google SPAs I use an appify tool, that contains the site in a single app webview with no shared cookie store. Then in my main FF browser I have cookie crushing on, so that when I navigate away from a domain, all cookies that were created are destroyed.

Ok, I spend my life filling in captchas, but to me that’s a signal that it is working and Google aren’t overly sure who I am.

QubesOS. Makes fucking up accounts even harder to do.


For those who don't know, if you sign in to your Google account in Chrome, Google will automatically save all the searches you've done in the omnibox.

I don't remember Google ever warning me specifically that this was happening in the background, and after I checked https://myactivity.google.com/myactivity and noticed it was doing that, I was so furious that I deleted all the data Google kept on me there, and paused all tracking in the Activity Controls page. I also stopped signing in to the Google account in Chrome.

This is why I'm a big supporter of EU's "explicit consent" idea. I should be knowing stuff like that without having to read a 5-page privacy policy that's often hidden somewhere on the Help page.

Speaking of Firefox, version 57 also makes it easier to enable Tracking Protection in settings now (before you had to switch to the private windows to benefit from it, although you could make it so that FF always opened private windows by default).


You can download FF57 from their FTP servers (they published it today), if you can't wait for the auto-update tomorrow:


It's pretty easy to accidentally enable uploading all your cleartext passwords to Google's cloud service too (the dialog to do so is a dark pattern). I similarly was furious when I discovered that. Firefox is now my go-to, and what I recommend to friends and family.

Do note that if you enable Firefox's sync functionality, all of your passwords will be encrypted with a function of your Mozilla Account password, and that Mozilla can target your browser instance with JavaScript to steal your account password at will (their protocol specifies that they never see your plaintext password, but they serve JavaScript to hash the password — which means they could serve JavaScript to send the password anywhere they like).

Firefox is more secure than Chrome, but it's not very secure. The sad thing is that it used to be more secure and Mozilla deliberately weakened their security.

I agree that is a valid issue, but it's still quite a different scale than using Google.

If I understand correctly, you're saying that we should be careful about saving passwords in Firefox if we could be the target of a National Security Letter from the US. The attack would be detectable, so it cannot be used very often (and they would need a really good excuse for doing so).

By contrast, Google takes all our data and can do whatever they want with it, without a warrant/NSL?

Oh, I certainly don't recommend Google over Firefox. But I do not recommend using Firefox's Sync functionality, which is indeed insecure by design.

I have no idea why so many downvotes. Can anyone disagree that a system in which Mozilla is able to decrypt user data is insecure?

One note: the attack is not necessarily detectable, unless you are in the practice of verifying the JavaScript you receive for each page. If there were some public registry of hashed versions of Mozilla-served JavaScript, it would be detectable.

Also, you need not worry only about the U.S. government, but also about any government which can compel Mozilla to act, and any government which can compel an employee of Mozilla to act, and finally any employees at Mozilla with access. And also you need to worry about bugs in Mozilla's JavaScript: since they did not design a system in which they can't know your password (which is the key to all your secrets), an implementation error might send them your password (and thus allow them to decrypt all your secrets).

We can run our own Firefox Account servers. A privacy-focused hosting co-op could run that as part of their services, or someone could run their own at home (but that's not useful to the general public).

People get annoyed of being told x-y-z is not secure, while not being offered any practical solution, especially if the risk/probability of attack is low.

(I'm assuming Firefox has a good reason for working the way it does, but I guess the first step would be to have more documentation about that.)

> We can run our own Firefox Account servers.

Which can themselves be compromised. The old Firefox Sync protocol was immune to remote compromise, completely and totally.

> People get annoyed of being told x-y-z is not secure, while not being offered any practical solution

I agree: the problem is that there was a practical solution: just keep the old Sync protocol.

> I'm assuming Firefox has a good reason for working the way it does

The short version is that people wanted to be able to only have one device and still get at their data, and Mozilla didn't want to confuse them by separating their account passwords and their sync passwords. Never mind that combining them has results in a wholesale loss of security.

thanks for the direct ftp link, and congrats to the firefox team! i've been using 57 (and 58) via the developer edition and really like the improvements.

but i think i'll stick with 56 as my default browser for a little longer since quantum breaks some great legacy add-ons:

  * NoScript -- control script execution
  * RequestPolicy (and its variants) -- control content requests
  * Blend In -- use the most common user agent string
ublock origin can somewhat replace the first two (although i think its UI could use some improvement) but the latter one and a few more that i use don't have direct equivalents (yet).

NoScript should be released either today/tomorrow or soon. The dev was planning to have it ready for 57, but I don't know how far exactly he got.

It won't be quite full-featured yet, though. He's planning that for Firefox 59, which will be the next Extended Support Release and what Tor Browser will be based on (which needs NoScript).

There's a handful of compatible user-agent switchers already...

I switched from RequestPolicy to uMatrix earlier this year and have found it to be an acceptable substitute. I think my motivation was RequestPolicy being incompatible with multiprocess.

Blend In can be replaced by setting privacy.resistFingerprinting to true in about:config.

It'll set the user agent to the same as the Tor browser, Firefox 52.

That data is never truly deleted, not for a while at least.

I suppose it has benefit now with Android, and multiple devices, but Google, and Youtube both started saving searches long before the release of Chrome.

Quite terrible.

Isn't it the same thing no matter the browser?

If you are logged in you Google account, every Google search will end up in your Google history. It doesn't matter if you search from Chrome's omnibox, google.com or Firefox's search bar.

Does Chrome also uploads search made with other search engines? That would be a bit more worrisome. Though considering that Firefox saves your history in your "Firefox Sync" account, I wouldn't be surprised if Google did the same.

Firefox Sync is intentionally designed so that we can't read or recover your data; it's all encrypted client-side.

Chrome is specifically designed to do the opposite: Google explicitly states that when you sign into Chrome, "your experience in other Google products is personalized by including your Chrome history with your Web & App Activity." (https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/185277)

A good point. Firefox sync has zero-knowledge encryption, Chrome sync doesn't. It is just that if Firefox sync stores your history, Chrome sync probably does it too.

And interestingly, you could have a page showing your search history with Firefox sync just like with Google. Just because a page shows you private data doesn't mean someone else has access to it, and the more common opposite is also true.

Not exactly zero-knowledge, just end-to-end. They have the encryption key (called kB), but it's encrypted with a key derived from your password.

(Note, that while the password and key derived from it never normally leave the brwser, the login page is served from the network. So, you trust Mozilla's servers to not get hacked and serve you insecure login page.)

The system also has a notion of "class A" storage, where Mozilla knows the key (called kA), but AFAIK nothing ever used that. Maybe its already gone.

Oh, the device names (and types - like desktop vs android) are not encrypted. Probably because of attempts to add push updates (normally, sync is just polling for updates). And the profile data too (not a part of Sync at all - its Accounts).

Google has optional client-side (also, E2E) encryption, for some types of the data (e.g. passwords and autofill data). One has to opt in explicitly. When opted in, data is encrypted with a key that's is derived form a passphrase you provide (and sync implementations would error and ask you for the passphrase). I'm not sure, but IIRC protocol has provisions that allow to not encrypt some data at client's (= Chrome's) discretion, as the encrypted flag is set per-object. I'm not aware if this is used or not - was a very long while since I've looked at their sync server implementation.

That said, for E2E encryption both system have feature parity, but Mozilla's one has it by design and Google's one only as an opt-in.

You can tell Google not to keep your search history.


I hate that it saves it enough that I often perform 'dumb' googles in an incognito window just so it'll never suggest "how do I parallel park" again. But how is this unexpected behavior? It also saves every URL you visit - in your browser history. And those URLs encode the search terms. If you want it to not save what you do, then you use incognito mode.

How is it not unexpected that a piece of software uploads and saves everything you search for on a remote corporate server? When did this become so commonplace that users don't even blink an eye to it? And more importantly, why would anyone find this acceptable?

That's what the feature says it does! When you create a new Chrome profile and it asks you to sign it, it says "Sign in to Chrome with your Google Account to get your bookmarks, history, passwords, and other settings on all your devices." That's a valuable feature to many people including myself.

Yeah it's a widely advertised feature and you can obviously pull up tabs from one Chrome on one computer onto Chrome from another computer. There's no other way for this to work and it's actually useful. There's nothing underhanded going on here, except perhaps if (when) they sell the data to other parties.

I just grabbed FF57 from the ftp link :), couldn't wait!

It's a Google box... did you not assume that this went to Google?

Google is just the default, you can set it to whatever search engine you like.

I am so vexed by your complaint that I had to create an account just to ask what you thought signing in to Chrome does. What did you think it was going to do? The fact that it syncs your history to your account is front and center in the description, not buried in some legal document:


"When you sign in to Chrome, your info is saved to your Google Account so you can get it whenever you need it."

It is literally the first sentence. I also support some of the various EU privacy initiatives but I don't support them because I think users should be militantly ignorant about what they're doing.

>My main issue with Chrome was the endless nags to sign in to a Google account, and just generally wanting less dependence on Google

One thing they have been doing very well is allowing history to sync between multiple devices on different OSes.

Right now I use Chrome everywhere because :

- It feels pretty fast (I still have to try the new FF)

- Any replacement needs to come with an extension covering this feature and working across all my OSes.

Firefox has had syncing built in for a while: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/features/sync/

Haven't tried it on iOS yet, but it worked great on my Android.

and this is where Chrome has a good hook on me.

In order to switch, both FF desktop and mobile need to be better than Chrome.

Does FF support a version of Chrome tabs too ?

Damn, they have built themselves a good moat just with features I will miss.

I prefer FF over Chrome on mobile. FF mobile allows extensions such as uBlock Origin and Google Link Fixer which I find essential. FF supports sending tabs to other devices, if that's what you mean by Chrome tabs.

Firefox on Android has awful scrolling physics. I will never be able to use it while the scrolling is different to every other app on my phone.

Last I checked they were using the native Android scrolling physics. I could be mistaken though.

If so then I don't know why it has felt so different to every other app on all 3 of my Nexus devices (currently the 6P).

I guess it depends on the phone. Scrolling is smooth on my HTC One.

It's definitely smooth. Too smooth, in fact. It feels like my finger is slipping on the screen. No other app does this.

Glad I'm not the only one - I love everything else about the app but, as you said, it scrolls differently to every other app on my phone. So frustrating. Sticking with Chrome for now.

FF is insanely slow on mobile. Scrolling in janky and rendering seems to be about 50% slower than Chromium

Maybe it's your phone?

Nexus 6 and yet doesn't make sense that all my non Firefox browsers are perfect

I don't know about iOS but the Firefox Android app is great and works with Firefox Sync, of course.

Yes it does. The feature is called Custom Tabs in FF but it's there.

Will it sync with another browser though.

That's asking a lot (chrome does not do that AFAIK) but that's the only way to allow me to use multiple browsers on different devices fluidly (and also to continue using chrome where it has an edge, like on mobile with chrome tabs)

The Firefox equivalent of Chrome Custom Tabs on Android is Firefox Focus, IMO. I use Focus for opening links from other apps, but full Firefox (beta) for actual browsing.

I've been using FF sync for at least 3 years now, probably more. And FF 57 is definitely on par with Chrome in browsing speed. Still not quite there with WebGL, though. The debugger is much better now, too, and surprisingly more responsive than Chrome's.

With regard to WebGL, it depends. This demo, for example, runs at 30fps in Firefox for Android and 4fps in Chrome on my Nextbit Robin: https://www.shadertoy.com/view/Ms2SD1

Shadertoy is just drawing a plane with a shader. Many less graphics calls than a regular WebGL app (which is where Chromium still shines). Even then, Chromium renders that link full screen a bit smoother than FF in Linux desktop.

JS debugging in particular or do you mean the developer tools in general?

(I'm the Chrome DevTools tech writer / advocate)

Yes, mostly JS debugging.

Funny how you are replying to a comment about privacy and less reliance on google and you are saying chrome is good becuase you can send all your browser history to google.

I've been on Firefox since I can remember it being out, but the latest versions, 56+, have me using it only intermittently due to battery drain issues on Mac[0] :(. I am really hoping they get this fixed shortly.


Honestly, if you are on macOS, just use Safari. Most extension you want/need are there (or the are suitable replacements. cVim and sVim are pretty close if you don't dive to deep, for example). Adblocking is actually faster than on any other browser because the blockers use the same Content Blocking API as on iOS Safari. And then the battery life... you easily get 2-4h more just by using Safari.

Which brings me to my other point (which I always keep hammering on in browser threads): why don't 3rd-party browser focus more on battery? If you're on Windows, Edge is king in battery use. On macOS, its Safari. On Linux, none (but then Linux doesn't have good power management in general). We live in a mobile-first world these days, why not focus browser development there?

Edit: I'm not dissing the Firefox or Chrome team their efforts, but almost all the news articles or blogs I see speak about Chrome or Firefox getting faster. And they do, by significant jumps. But when there are battery improvements, they are usually pretty middling (say 10-20m more battery life). So all I'm saying: why not flip the focus?

It looks like people are downvoting this. Perhaps it's because of the tone of the first sentence; if we rephrase it to "If you're on macOS, why not just use Safari?" I think it's a reasonable question.

There are reasonable answers -- Safari's extensions aren't quite as capable as the other two, so it's possible you're relying on an extension that Safari doesn't have and can never duplicate, and of course if you need to sync bookmarks and other browser data across OS platforms, Safari falls down in the way all iCloud-backed apps do. But Safari does focus a lot on battery conservation, and if you're on a laptop that can make a big difference. And, while I'm sure there are benchmarks out there to quibble over, in practice Safari seems to be just as fast and just as compliant as Chrome and Firefox are.

I've been using Safari as my main web browser for years without feeling like I'm missing out on either performance or killer features. I keep copies of Firefox and Chrome around and keep them up to date, mostly for web site testing purposes; neither of them have added features compelling enough to make me want to switch back. I doubt Firefox 57 is likely to change that equation, although I'm happy to hear that they've got their groove back, as it were.

Firefox is my default browser anywhere but macOS, owning an iPhone and iPad I end up using the continuity features in Safari quite heavily when I've been browsing something on my phone or tablet and want to pick it up on my iMac.

I love Firefox, and owning an iMac I'm not terribly concerned about the power efficiency difference between the two - but damn if it isn't convenient to have the ability to just pick up where I left off.

I've long held your viewpoint. I push friends and family to use their platform's native browser. Most often than not, it saves on battery and reduces energy usage. I use Safari on iOS and on my desktop I've always used 2 browsers. 1 for browsing and a 2nd for long-running media. Thus on my desktop I use Firefox and for media, Edge.

I don't have a laptop, but will when the Qualcomm Snapdragon Windows10 machines land, and will probably use Edge exclusively there.

It's important to watch where incentives run. Google has the incentive to profit from you. Microsoft and Apple have the incentive to make sure your browser and device work as efficiently and well together as possible. Mozilla focuses on privacy as their main feature.

Exactly, Firefox is slower for both me and my girlfriend, I am a kind of "typical non-typical" and she "typical typical" user, and it got annoyingly slower for both. And now I've just lost all the extensions too, including NoScript and the dictionary(?!?)! See my other post here for details.

I think most people don't know this, but you need to download the nightly, NOT the regular version of Firefox (56 as of now) to see the speed increase.

The regular Firefox is much slower than Chrome still. The nightly is now noticeably faster than Chrome.

This all mozilla's bragging about speed is premature. They should've published this article after firefox 57 reaches stable.

Yup this article confused me as well.

The current stable release 56 just can't compare to chrome.

Apparently they have decided 57 is stable already but plan to make it official tomorrow.

From my unscientific testing, 57 is only as fast as chrome, while the nightly (59) seems to be faster than chrome. They should have waited until 59 was stable.

I would be using the nightly as my main browser if I didn't have experience with crashes and bugs with nightly versions before.

57 stable starts rolling out today (14/11).

I've been using firefox since forever too. (Actually, since Mozilla 1.0 (aka Nutscrape) in 1993 or thereabouts.) I'm at that point where I'm about to dump it again, as I have periodically in the past.

They keep making it more and more like Chrome. If I wanted to use Chrome, I would. It's gotten to bloat maximum.

It's slow as hell. It's less flexible and less easy to personalize. They have broken some of my favorite add-ons.

This piece is pure propaganda.

I was feeling the same, but FF57 really is much better.

It does break some extensions, but many have converted. Which are you having trouble with? The main one I'm missing is "Disable Ctrl+Q".

My notes: https://www.bidon.ca/fr/random/2017-10-05-webextensions-supp...

The main one I've been missing is Pentadactyl (for quite a while). Vimium-FF is ok I guess.

My main objection is still the sheer size and the amount of memory it takes, and the continual feature creep to make it more and more like Chrome. I know I'm in the minority, and also that it's heresy to say anything bad about Mozilla here. Oh well.

I only wish I had lots of money and/or time so I could help revive the development of xombrero, but at least it's still available.

Have you looked at Qutebrowser if you want a standalone browser?

Other options for Vim-like web extensions are Saka key, Vim-Vixen and Tridactyl.

Counterpoint: as a longtime Firefox user, I have to restart it every couple day. It still hemmorhages memory and just gets unusable after a while.

Even if it's the extension fault, why they aren't sandboxed properly, or even why there eisn't basic reporting about the offenders boggles my mind. Maybe it's because of the API... I find it hard to believe it isn't possible to retrofit some of that on the current design to be honest.

And now, because they couldn't handle it, we're getting extensions with crippled power, that are very (very) far away from feature parity with the old ones.

I wasn't happy before, and I'm not happy now, albeit for different reason.

The fact that I'm using Firefox of course means I'm not thinking too much of other browsers. The fact an extension in chrome can't add a frigging sidebar is a personal pet peeve of mine.

I remember when Firefox was the lightweight alternative to Internet Explorer 6...

This sounds genuinely odd, could you be using a add-on that is causing a problem ?

I leave Firefox open for months on end without problem and with several hundred of tabs open, multiple windows too. I do use a tab unloader, that unloads an inactive tab after a while. Its precisely because of this that other browsers are not suitable for me

I loaded up Firefox 56, went to Engadget website, on a Friday, at work. Then was called away from my desk. Came back Monday morning and Firefox ballooned to 3.5gb of memory...

Never had such an issue with Chrome, but man FF57 is my new default. SO FAST. I don't care if I need to restart it this thing is awesome.

The about:memory display is pretty easy to read and can force memory collections across the app. Should be fairly easy to track down the cause. I run the developer edition and tend to restart weekly or so to pick up new updates but I don't notice excessive RAM consumption.

Are you using Firefox nightlies? As I read the article, the Quantum improvements they're talking about are nightly-only today; they get released tomorrow. So I think when you say "now" you're still talking about pre-Quantum.

That said, I don't know if Quantum fixes the specific memory leaks you have, adds (back?) the extension hooks you miss, or adds the reporting you're looking for.

Not "nightly-only" but also "beta" channel since weeks/months. The today beta version is in fact the tomorrow stable one (57.0).

Firefox 56 is actually pretty good. It's now fast again. I am using a fresh new profile.

Please let me increase "content process count" higher than 7. Chrome opens hundreds of child-processes (no problem at all on my PC).

And I am still keeping an older Firefox 48 around, as it's the last version that runs Firebug and other good but now unsupported addons. Firebug had this "DOM" panel which showed the non-default DOM attributes in a different color and showed them as first few entries, and the rest below. The DevTools in new Firefox has a less useful DOM panel (it shows all attributes not grouped or colored differently, makes the DOM panel useless and chaotic) - please improve the DOM panel to be feature-equalent to the old Firebug DOM panel!!

dom.ipc.processCount in about:config

Thanks a lot! I increased it to 50, it Works great. Please remove the UI restriction with the next release.

You will be pleasantaly surprised when you get updated to 57 :) Have been running the beta for 3 weeks now, very stable, fast, snappy. Amazing work.

54 is not even fast compared to 57 ("Quantum", launching tomorrow 11/14). Seriously if you think 54 is fast, 57 blows it out of the water.



you need to use the dev edition. this is fast...

I found Electrolysis still quite slow. but the new engine ("Quantum"), is ridiculous fast. The last ~5 versions were such big improvements, that I even switched from Chrome. It's so good know that there is no need to keep Chrome. Firefox isn't good enough again, Firefox is the browser again.

The most anti-user "User Agent" thing of Chrome, in my experience, is their refusal to let me open my myriad dev sites with bogus certificates claiming some bullshit HSTS problem, without giving me a "do it anyway, you stupid browser" button.

So, literally, I still use Chrome (because I'm too used to it), but I do all my dev work on Firefox, which has a dev-friendly user policy.

I believe if you type "badidea" at the error page it will let you through unconditionally.

Holy crap. I have Google'd a zillion times for a workaround and they all were insane "do about a zillion steps on Keychain access or just fix your server." THANK YOU BOTH.

I wish I knew that when adding auto-HTTPS and HSTS functionality to a product - typing out "chrome://net-internals/#hsts" almost became muscle memory.

FWIW blocking sites with bogus certs and not allowing a user bypass is exactly what the HSTS RFC requires. If you were testing the HSTS feature of your website, Chrome is doing the right thing. It's possible to clear Chrome's cache of HSTS-enabled sites btw: https://www.thesslstore.com/blog/clear-hsts-settings-chrome-...

type badidea

"Becoming true "User Agents," in other words"

I remember the early browsers as smaller programs that were oriented around retrieving content for further viewing/interaction using other applications. As I understood it, this was one of the ways that MIME was useful.

The problems with "modern" web browsing that annoy users probably have less to do with what, back then, would have been separate programs. They have more to do with the retrieval step. User have little control over 1. the content the browser requests and retrieves and 2. whether and how that content is processed (i.e. the "default settings" of the browser decide and to my knowledge few users today manually adjust MIME settings or whatever today's equivalent is). Because users today expect the browser to do everything. It is more than a user agent i.e. http client, it is an "all-in-one" program that can seemingly do anything. No auxiliary programs are needed. This comes at a cost. I would argue that cost includes many hassles that users experience, including "speed".

The point is that this blog post is talking about #2, the processing of retrieved content. But is that really what causes most of the user annoyances? Is that what ultimately affects "speed"?

Or could it be, at least in part, that some web page is controlling the web browser to have it make dozens upon dozens of DNS and HTTP requests, not only for tracking, but in some cases for "content" the user does not want.

The first task of the user agent, #1, to retrieve content, is not nearly as complex as the second, #2. It probably has not changed much since the early days of the www. (I still use original netcat from 1996 as well as other 1990's tcp clients to great effect.) Retrieval of content can be user controlled. The complexity is manageable. The "user agent" can be small, open source and easily compiled by the user. And with todays memory and networking retrieval can be very fast.

When I think of a "user agent" I think of a tcp or http client, a small program that can make TCP connections and HTTP requests, not one that is also a graphics rendering engine, a video player, a programming language interpreter or a PDF viewer, etc.

It is the disappearance of the MIME idea in favor of a highly complex, all-in-one application called a "modern web browser" that is at the source of every known problem I can think of that is associated with "modern web browsers" today, whether it is browser "speed" or privacy or security or whatever. It is the price one must pay for not having separate programs with separate privileges to accomplish separate tasks.

How would you propose "splitting" a modern web app between two programs, one to retrieve its content and another to render it, without the sort of tight integration between these two programs that would be needed to again lead to the kind of "kitchen sink" situation that we have today??

IMO the problem is not the kitchen sink nature of web browsers, the problem is the kitchen sink nature of the web itself. It needs to be split into functionally separate parts that can be interfaced with different programs and workflows, instead of being a huge, integrated 'web' that is in turn parsed by a similarly huge, integrated program, the browser.

https://github.com/Eloston/ungoogled-chromium removes many of the nagging and background features related to Google services.

Unless Chrome has features you can't survive without (and I admit its dev tools are pretty good), then I don't see the purpose of this.

If staying free of Google becomes a goal, then by using Chrome you're still helping them, even if your Chrome is un-googlified.

This is because you help Chrome become a monopoly in the marketplace, I view it as the new Internet Explorer already. Many people here probably don't remember, but IExplorer also won on technical merits, version 5 being an excellent browser compared with its competition. Market dominance that allowed Microsoft to screw the web for a decade at least. And no, in this context its open source nature does not matter much for as long as Google controls its implementation and distribution.

Firefox is right now truly the best browser, at least for my usage patterns and needs, but even if it weren't, I would still use it, because when web standards are endangered due to a monopoly, then I consider it my duty to support the underdog.

Now don't get me wrong, it is true that Google and Chrome have helped the open web. But that doesn't matter that much, because they can always turn and you can see how lately Chrome is making bold changes without waiting confirmation from W3C or the other browser vendors — like disabling forms auto-complete or deprecating certificating pining.

They are at a point where Chrome has enough market share to implement whatever the heck they want. DRM? H.264? Lost battles after they ended up in Chrome.

> Firefox is right now truly the best browser, at least for my usage patterns and needs, but even if it weren't, I would still use it, because when web standards are endangered due to a monopoly, then I consider it my duty to support the underdog.

I just love that the web community actually thinks about this, and actively works to avoid monopolization and nonstandard behavior on the different browsers.

Recently, I have moved into desktop development (using Qt and GTK+), and it is atrocious just how difficult it is to deploy a non-trivially sized native application on the three common operating systems. I really wish that the desktop development community could have unified around a similar set of standards for all the OSes when it comes to desktop applications too.

The web application platform is painful in several ways too, but I think they have nailed it with attention to standards compliance and weeding-out monopolistic behavior

As someone that has been doing desktop development since the MS-DOS/Amiga days, and is quite happy to only touch Web development when obliged to do so, I wonder what those problems are.

Without knowing what the parent really intended, I assumed they were talking about the difficulty of deploying the same application across platforms rather than with desktop development on any single platform.

Different system libraries, different window management environments and user expectations for layout and interaction, different handling of hi-dpi displays, different filesystems with different filename restrictions and different handling of filename encodings, different application packaging, different code signing and sandboxing requirements, different package distribution mechanisms. I've probably missed a few, but those cover some memorable enough annoyances for me in recent years.

I don't enjoy web development, but I do enjoy web publication and distribution.

Browser vendors influence upcoming web standards. If you use ungoogled-chromium then your vote still goes to Google.

They are a good ways behind stable: https://github.com/Eloston/ungoogled-chromium/issues/262. You might be opening yourself to security issues being this far behind.

> Browsers are becoming more and more aggressive in protecting the interests of users. Becoming true "User Agents,"

I really like the built in free VPN that Opera provides.


This only means that Opera have all your data and can aggregate it in one place.

that's true with any VPN though.

On the verge of switching back to Firefox. Then Pocket. I don't want to give my private data to any cloud service out there. Full stop. The only way the cloud gets my data is encrypted with a key I solely own.

I like new Firefox but if Firefox is removing search bar than address bar should take over all functionality from search bar and it doesn't.In search bar there is easy way to add new search engine with + sign and in address bar there isn't.

> I like new Firefox but if Firefox is removing search bar than address bar should take over all functionality from search bar and it doesn't.In search bar there is easy way to add new search engine with + sign and in address bar there isn't.

Where do you see the search bar being removed? I can't see any announcements, I don't think it's going away. Also, I don't think the combined bar is missing functionalities, at least not the one you're describing.

On Firefox Developer Edition 58, in the menu you can choose between :

Use the address bar for search and navigation


Add search bar in toolbar

This decides between combining the address bar and search bar into one, or having a separate address bar and search bar. You can also pick a keyword for each search engine.

Even if you decide to use the combined bar, I just tried adding "+ddg" keyword[1] on Duck Duck Go and type "+ddg test" and it searched for "test" on Duck Duck Go instead of my default search engine.

[1] https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/add-or-remove-search-en...

I use bookmark keywords [1] to register new search engines.

[1] http://kb.mozillazine.org/Using_keyword_searches

Good luck with it all

> I also like that Firefox has a built in tracking protection (not just Do Not Track toggle but actual blocking of trackers

Here's something I find curious.

When Apple does it, it's because they want to kill the open web and drive more people to their closed Apple News platform. When Mozilla does it, it's because they're saints.

How am I able to reconcile these two?

Perhaps because Mozilla doesn't have a News platform? So it is easier to believe that they are doing it for you. I don't mean to imply that Apple have any other motives, I know nothing about them except that there appears to be a greater likelihood of a conflict of interest.

In my mind, the distinction is simple: Apple is a for-profit corporation, while Mozilla is a charity operating in the public interest. I sometimes agree with Apple's actions while simultaneously distrusting their motives, and I sometimes disagree with Mozilla's actions while simultaneously _trusting_ their motives.

> How am I able to reconcile these two?

It's like reviews on Amazon. You skim the highs and the lows and you read the rest. People who say Apple is killing the open web are at the extreme. Skim what they say just to be familiar with their argument, but be careful not to get sucked in.

Because more then one person has opinions on the Internet, so sometimes you hear inconsistent opinions.

I can still remember:

* that moment I was overjoyed to use Lynx over dialup in South India back in the mid-90s allowing me to browse the World Wide Web!

* ...And then that moment being surpassed when I wet myself running the Netscape "GUI browser" on Windows 95 using a brilliant hack by a pair of brothers I knew that wrote a winsock.dll shim on top of Lynx over dialup (called Blue Laser; those guys went on to become CS PhDs doing microprocessor research)

* ...And then that moment being surpassed when IE4 came out in '97 and I couldn't imagine what a faster browser could be or do.

* ...And then that moment when FF 1 came out in '04 and I thought this is incredible, Netscape is alive!! and kicked IE's a55 and me thinking the "browser wars" are over

* ...And then that moment when Google Chrome came out and I went "who needs another browser??" and then switching wholesale to it in short order

* ...Many moments in between thinking "Wow, the browser wars really are over in my lifetime"

* ...And that moment 2 weeks ago when I installed Firefox Quantum beta (Firefox??) and went "Holy crap, this thing is FAST!" and then switched all my browsers everywhere to it. To a beta browser.

It sure is a good time to be a nerd.

Keep up the great work moz://a

PS - edited to reformat

It's always a good time to be a nerd. Just slowly at a continually faster pace, thanks to the work of other nerds.

I still remember seeing Netscape for the first time. Seeing web pages was astonishing enough, then I suddenly realised you could browse the web in multiple windows, at the same time. Blew my mind.

Then subsequently lost my focus. And as they say, the rest is history.

Shellshock? Were you using the Rs. students shell account using the bonafide certificate or the Rs. 5,000 standard shell account?

It was the standard account I believe. Shellshock came first followed by BlueLaser IIRC.

Somewhat tangentially, I really like the cartoons Lin has made. I’ve found I’ve naturally anthropomorphized code. Often when I start working with someone new they get confused when I start talking about constructs like people. I think it’s given me a different perspective on encapsulation and concurrency than most people.

I don’t know if I’ve ever worked with someone that thinks the same way. When I work on code that wasn’t designed that way I force my brain to think like the CPU instead of in terms of little elves with different job... Not sure if anyone else has experienced this 2 modes of thinking about code. It seems like FF engineer’s might be thinking in the same terms as they tackle concurrency refactors.

Me, too.

I think about a lot of concepts in terms of real-world objects. When I'm in the shower looking at the tiles, that's an array -- how do I store my data there efficiently, and minimize the need to move blocks of tiles around? When I'm stuck in traffic, I'm the data in a network packet -- how do traffic engineers solve this problem? What's the software equivalent of a carpool lane, or a double-decker bus, or a side street? How is a stop sign different from a street light (latency versus throughput)? Layout constraints seem exactly like theatrical stage positions to me -- maybe that's why I find the Cassowary system perfectly intuitive, and CSS layout not at all.

I liken this to Einstein's thought experiments: what is the experience of riding on a photon at the speed of light? I find it tremendously useful, and I'm not sure why it seems to be more popular in physics than in computer science. Perhaps it's as simple (and arbitrary) as "Einstein was a fan, and Dijkstra was not."

I feel I've always done that because I learned programming through Usborne's books, and her work reminds me of that. Usborne books helped me grok difficult things very fast when I was about 10 years old. For a while, when using variables and arrays, I would always think of robots grabbing things from shelves.

Examples and PDF downloads (!): https://boingboing.net/2016/02/07/usborne-releases-free-pdfs...

I wish those were still around when I was learning about pointers. Would have made things so much easier!

You are not alone in your way of thinking!

Also, I had never previously seen the code cartoons produced by @linclark...but now seeing them (and digging a little deeper), count myself a fan!

If I had to guess why, I'd say that I am mostly self taught and more of an extrovert. It's probably the only way my brain could trick me into sitting in front of a computer all day instead of talking with other people. I also played with action figures late, until I was 12... around the same time I started programming... I think I'm having a psychological breakthrough, haha.

When I explain various aspects of concurrency and multi-threaded programming to non-programmers, using analogy of people doing some tasks really helps.

I've picked this up from Feynman's lectures on computing - highly recommend them!

Didn't Djikstra write about this? I wasn't able to pull anything up, but maybe this will jog someone's memory.

Found it:


Section beginning, "My next linguistical suggestion is more rigorous"...

Thanks for finding it. Here's my attempt at a tldr: Teaching with analogy is bad because it robs students of jumps in understanding. By scaffolding new concepts on things they already know they are losing the opportunity to learn how to make cognitive leaps, which is a skill itself. One that Dijkstra believes is is paramount to combatting dictators or zealotry.

Did I read that right?

Yeah I think so. My takeaway was that operational reasoning, e.g. "this guy receives a message from this guy, then does this" is a waste of effort. What Dijkstra wants you to do is elevate yourself above that so you're reasoning in more powerful abstractions. I thought his analogy was illuminating of the point:

"The point to get across is that if we have to demonstrate something about all the elements of a large set, it is hopelessly inefficient to deal with all the elements of the set individually: the efficient argument does not refer to individual elements at all and is carried out in terms of the set's definition."

I switched from Chrome to Firefox 57 beta and couldn't be happier. Only issue so far was the ugly black title bar on the Mac, but switching to the integrated 'Light' theme fixed that. Too bad 'Light' isn't the default on macOS.

Also note their updated Firefox on iOS. It looks and works just fine now and comes with Firefox Sync which gives you access to your tabs, bookmarks and history.

>ugly black title bar

One of the best thins in the new FF to me though (also macos). I still hope apple will to something to their gray ui. I'd love to have dark theme for the ui, not only for menubar and dock.

I’m using Firefox on iOS fulltime now, as in the last couple of releases ad blockers and 1Password have gained support.

Firefox on iOS supports content blockers? I thought that was Safari only.

Public APIs landed in March: https://bugs.webkit.org/show_bug.cgi?id=150479

This looks like tracking protection has been enabled in WebKit; content blocking is something else.


How do you use 1Password with Firefox on iOS? It's not an option for me in the Share modal, so I've been having to switch to Safari.

It was only added in the last couple of weeks I think. Clicking the menu button in the address bar then “Share page with” shows it for me.

Yeah, seems to have been fixed in 10.0 and I was running several versions behind. (For whatever reason iOS didn't list it as an available update.) I reinstalled Firefox and now it works.

"Light" themes hurt my eyes and look horrible, dark all the way for me. To each their own :)

I thought it is a translucent title bar. At least in Firefox Nightly 59 it is.

Well how about that?! I always run "reduce transparency" and "increase contrast" as I never really like the translucent items (System Preferences > Accessibility > Display), and I too thought the new UI was a black bar with a light colored window. I have been enjoying the dark theme in both the developer edition (work) and nightly (home).

Grey bar for me on OS X, 59.0a1 (2017-11-13)

I think it just got pushed for the fresh 59.0a release (memories of changelog)

Speaking of firefox and macOS integration, does anyone know why they don't support pinch to zoom like chrome and safari do? I tried looking this up, but can't find any specific answers.

Looks like some work done, but not complete:


Same on Windows, I wish the light theme was the default.

I prefer the default theme on Windows 10 as there the title bars of the other windows like Settings and Explorer use the same style, which is the color defined in 'Colors' in the settings. Using the 'Light' theme makes Firefox looking different which isn't nice.

Haven't seen any other black title bar on my Mac though...

I think light is the default for the release version, but devs seem to like dark UIs for some reason.

There's a Light theme, a Normal theme and a Dark theme.

Dark is the default for the Developer Edition, which is what you're thinking of. But Normal is the default for Stable. Light is almost the same as Normal, but with a few more elements in white.

The reason is eye strain in poorly lit offices :)

> Also note their updated Firefox on iOS

I was under the impression Apple didn't allow any web rendering engines on iOS except the one mobile Safari uses, thus Chrome, Firefox, etc, on iOS are just wrappers around the Safari engine. Is that not the case anymore? It would be nice to see these speedups on iOS.

That is still the case. Firefox for iOS is also just a WebKit wrapper. Mozilla mainly released it for the people that use Firefox on the desktop and want to sync their stuff.

I hope it will not take too long until FF gets hardware acceleration for videos on Linux (VAAPI/VDPAU). A few days ago I installed Arch Linux on a Netbook and was shocked to see that FF still doesn't have hardware acceleration for videos (VDPAU exists since 2008).

Some might say this is not much of an issue as most modern CPUs can handle 1080p, but actually pre-Ryzen AMD CPUs are too slow and power saving Intel CPUs Laptops are too slow too. So the only excuse might be, that nobody uses that open source OS, but especially from Mozilla I would not expect such an attitude towards open source software.

VDPAU existing since 2008 isn't the main thing.

The main problem is that in order to have a benefit from decoding in the GPU, the frame needs to be displayed on the GPU without reading it into CPU-addressable memory.

The video frame needs to participate in the compositing of the whole Web page, which means the simpler approaches that video player-only apps can used aren't really available. Rather, it's necessary to be able to treat the video frame as some kind of OpenGL surface.

However, the Linux graphics drivers situation being as messy as it is, Firefox doesn't yet enable OpenGL compositing by default on Linux.

So getting Firefox to composite the Web page using OpenGL by default on Linux is the big prerequisite.

I don't work on graphics, so I don't really know what I'm talking about in this sentence, but I'm hopeful that Wayland will eventually force Linux into the Mac-like situation where some baseline of OpenGL support can be assumed to be available and working just because the windowing system wouldn't work otherwise.

Sadly, due to LTS distros, it will take a while for various legacy configurations to get upgraded out of the ecosystem.

I keep trying Firefox versions every now and then, including 57, but always run into obstacles.

After installing 57, I went to Twitch and saw my cpu spike and MacBook drastically heat up. So it’s not just Linux.

I hope more Quantum/Servo stuff will solve all these issues soon.

I just want to ditch Google as much as I can. Now trying Safari for casual browsing, and using Chrome just for dev stuff.

Am I the only one that is confused by Firefox's "fast again" narrative? I remember that they launched the https://arewefastyet.com/ site a few years ago to fight the idea that FF was slow. It feels like there's a new blog post that essentially says the same thing "we're fast now" every couple of months.

So I find this all confusing. Am I just remembering incorrectly, or haven't they already declared "we're as fast as Chrome now" several times in the past. Were those lies/incorrect? Or again, am I remembering incorrectly. Can someone explain this?

> Am I just remembering incorrectly, or haven't they already declared "we're as fast as Chrome now" several times in the past.

https://arewefastyet.com/ refers specifically and only to Firefox's javascript engine. It runs js benchmarks only, not whole websites, and doesn't test responsiveness or rendering performance.

Javascript performance in firefox has been on par with competing browsers for a while now. The current initiative, called Quantum, is complementary to this effort. It is supposed to make the rest of the browser components fast, using among other things a new renderer, a CSS styling engine, and multiprocessing support.

Not entirely true anymore. If you select eg "Quantum Reference (Windows, browser, x64)" and look at the Breakdown list, you'll see a couple of browser benchmarks that look at responsiveness and rendering. Speedometer and Unity WebGL, for example. But yeah, it's mainly all about JS.

Since the Quantum effort started, the JS team has prioritized perf work higher, so quite a bit of perf-related improvements have been made in Spidermonkey for 57 as well. (And Quantum DOM needed some rearchitecting to re-multithread the engine in a limited way.)

(Source: I work on Spidermonkey.)

Performance is a Red Queen problem. [1] People keep expecting more from computers. On the web, pages keep getting bigger and more complicated. Firefox's competition isn't going to stop trying to improve performance, and people's baseline for "fast" will mainly be other things they use. If Mozilla isn't always trying to be faster, they're going to be getting slower.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Queen_hypothesis

Jevon's Paradox [0] is probably more appropriate.

As resources become more plentiful (available performance-units, whether delivered through faster software or faster hardware), demand counter-intuitively increase, in part because the cheaper per-unit price makes people feel they can use the resource more freely.

This phenomenon describes why no matter how fast our computers get, it's unlikely that they will ever be "fast enough".

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox

Both are definitely relevant, but since you insist on ranking them, the Red Queen phenomenon is more relevant to his question, which is about how Firefox is portraying themselves in the marketplace, which is a competitive environment.

There have been multiple separate initiatives over the years to speed up various aspects of Firefox. The largest one is culminating in the release of Firefox Quantum, which is launching as Firefox 57 tomorrow. You've heard this more lately as the Quantum version of Firefox was released to Nightly and then Beta/Developer channels over the past couple months.

I'm confused by it, too. The main reason I've preferred Firefox to Chrome for years has been performance. It's pretty much the same in responsiveness and uses far less memory.

Chrome being the fastest browser is ancient history.

The main reason I originally left Firefox (for Edge, mind you, I don't touch Google software anymore) was the single-process issues they fixed with electrolysis which came out in Firefox 48.

Bloated websites (usually Google ones) would actually lock up the entire Firefox UI, and Windows would recognize the browser application as "Not responding" until the page finished loading. In the case of a super bloated site like the old Google+, that could be as much as twelve seconds non-responsive while all the cruft loaded up.

I am back on Firefox release channel now, and pretty satisfied with current performance, but looking forward to Quantum.

I'm a Firefox or native-platform browser guy. Some sites are laggy on anything except Chrome. Browsing around Groupon causes periodic freezes for me in Firefox. I haven't noticed this particular case in Edge but it does lag over time on other sites.

The whole issue of sites freezing and lagging without using Chrome is concerning, and it's not pushing me to use Chrome. I think that's Google's aim by creating that situation but I'm not budging.

It's pushing me to more native apps in both the iOS AppStore and Microsoft Store.

Of course, the sad state here is that a lot of apps are now Electron-based, so you end up with Chrome anyways. >.<

I've been wondering about that, and how for the "app" side of the webstack if wasm will wipe out the traditional webstack "apps" and put things back in a more orderly fashion. Webstack for web documents, wasm for applications. If wasm becomes the univeral app platform for many appstores and the browser, I'd welcome that over Electron.

It's probably inevitable that shoving Node based apps into the market falls flat in favor of more efficient native code solutions due to mobile. I've been viewing Electron as a temporary stopgap with that in mind at least.

I had major problems using LiveReload and BrowserSync during development (two tools that automatically refresh a local website when you make changes to your code). After a few saves, it was too slow to use. Chrome and Safari would refresh about twice as quickly, and remain fast.

57, once it got closer to Beta, was the first version I could develop with.

That wasn’t a marketing site, it was a tracker to measure the increase in performance over time due to the ongoing work the newly-spun-up performance team was doing.

Yeah, sorry, I didn't mean to imply it was a marketing site. But there was marketing surrounded it, and I distinctly remember it being used to show that they were, indeed, as fast as the other browsers. I remember a narrative being that the problem wasn't Firefox being slow, but FF being slow in certain perceived-speed areas (like new tab speed).

That's why I find these sorts of announcements confusing, I can remember them saying that there are already as fast as Chrome several times in the past. But maybe my mind is playing tricks on me.

No, you're right.

They'd declare that the JS engine was just as fast (or faster) - but that didn't cover the whole of the UI, and laggy bits of the UI could slow things down no matter how fast the JS engine was.

Thankfully they now seem to have improved the whole UI.

I recently (a couple of weeks ago) finished giving Firefox another try for about two weeks. Sorry to say, but it just felt laggy compared with Chrome. I'll give it another shot when the new rendering engine is fully integrated into the release channel.

Did you try the nightly or Beta version? If not, you weren't experiencing the new changes. These will drop on the stable channel within the next day or so.

All the stuff they are talking about is being released with 57 tomorrow.

So maybe give it another spin :)

Yep, will do.

I just installed Firefox 57 (thanks jacek for the link) and the first things I noticed are:

- The cross to close a tab and the one to create a tab are aligned in a weird way.

- Opening a tab is laggy (I'm on a MBP with an Intel Iris chip and 16GB of RAM).

- The scrolling still does not feel native (I'm on macOS High Sierra).

I'm very impressed by the work that has been done for this release as a dev but this does not give me a great first impression as a user (I haven't used Firefox these past 5 years). Google Chrome since its Material UI redesign (https://medium.com/google-design/redesigning-chrome-desktop-...) is snappy and has a clean UI, I hope that Firefox will also reach this point.

Anyway, this release is a major achievement. Congrats to the contributors!

It also feels laggy to me. It's weird given the reports of all these other users. I am also using a 16GB Ram, Intel Iris MBP. There is a noticeable pause while switching tabs, and there is a very noticeable lag while typing (for example in this box). Pages do seem to render fast, but it feels very laggy in terms of user interaction.

Edit: The scrolling is also very laggy, which I forgot to mention, much more so than Chrome.

Check about:support and look for a number higher than 0 in the "Multiprocess Windows" entry. Old extensions or something may be keeping you from running multi-process.

I have a 1/1 there, and the only extension I have loaded is the new version of Tree Style Tabs.

> Edit: The scrolling is also very laggy, which I forgot to mention, much more so than Chrome.

Firefox uses smooth scrolling, while Chrome always uses very jerky, jumping scrolling.

Have you tried disabling that?

FYI, Chrome has had smooth scrolling since v49. https://developers.google.com/web/updates/2016/02/smooth-scr...

I use a magic trackpad for scrolling and the delay before scrolling is there in either case, but it was off.

I haven’t had any lag in text entry, but I ran the Windows version for a while (making sure I gave it plenty of time to build up a cache) and my general perception is that Chrome is still faster.

I like the idea of switching to Firefox a lot, but from a performance perspective I’m not seeing quite what everyone else is.

The typing lag put me off immediately.

I've measured the input latency and its ~3x slower than chrome.

Filed a bug around a month ago https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1408699

If you set your screen resolution to "default for display" in System Preferences, does the scrolling feel closer to native?

This seems to have fixed it for me! Not that I could actually live with this fix, but now I could report it to them or something. When I turned it to default scaling it was snappy again. And when I move the window over to one of my 4K monitors it is also fast, so it's something unique to the laptop monitor with scaling.

The scrolling thing is a real shame, and it’s shocking to me that they haven’t implemented bouncy overscrolling when macOS has had it for something like 6 years.

Not sure why people were downvoting you. It's literally the only app on my machine that doesn't do this, and it is probably the #1 reason I don't want to switch to it. It's a major usability penalty for some macOS users.

That's weird, Firefox feels much snappier than Chrome to me. It also uses significantly less memory.

Latest one seems like it has a memory leak on linux. Starts off fast, but I've found that I need to close out all of Firefox about once a day. Not sure if that's the vanilla build, or the multi-account containers extension that's causing the issue.

I have been using 57 in beta, and I have to say, I'm impressed. It is a huge improvement. Whether it keeps me off Chrome in the future remains to be seen though!

Why shouldn't it keep you away from Chrome ? It's faster, uses less memory, and the "maker", Mozilla is more trustworthy compared with Google.

What's missing ?

Personally, it has to a large extent. Somethings that are not yet there:

1. Since Webextensions are new, some extensions that I use in chrome, need to be ported over. Most are not must haves to be fair.

2. Hangouts for work. :(

3. A solution to manage different personas - Chrome has the "user profile" thing linked to google accounts, firefox as container tabs. I think user profile is better than container tabs, although both are kinda bad.

Except hangouts, none are deal breakers - I use firefox as much as I can, and in fact overall it feels more faster and more repsonsive than Chrome starting with Quantum. It also looks and feels better than chrome.

Thank you for choosing Firefox.

1. Are there any specific extensions you need? Happy to add them to our outreach list.

2. Sorry about Hangouts; follows a trend of Chrome-only product launches/re-launches from Google (five this year so far). Wish we could do more, but if Google's OK shipping things that only work on one browser, that's their prerogative.

3. Firefox also has completely separate profiles, in addition to container tabs. The UI isn't as polished as in Chrome, but it works: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profile-manager-create-...

> 1. Are there any specific extensions you need? Happy to add them to our outreach list.

for me, vimperator/pentadactyl and tab groups. i can't use a browser without them so i won't be upgrading :(

Tab Groups is the reason I won't be upgrading :( Hopefully someone will take on the task of upgrading/rewriting it.

> 3. Firefox also has completely separate profiles, in addition to container tabs. The UI isn't as polished as in Chrome, but it works: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profile-manager-create-...

Chrome allows users to simultaneously run multiple profile instances, each with it own profile. Firefox didn't seem to support that.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/multi-account... (or a similar addon) might bring me back to using Firefox.

With Chrome, one set up a profile shortcut to a given profile, and then all tabs/windows within the instance corresponded to the same profile. This meant hitting Ctrl+T to open new tabs, rather than having to click and dig through a menu to pick the right profile.

I'd like the containers addon to support easy shortcuts. Maybe on hitting ctrl+t, one can then press 1-5 (or some other selector) to determine which profile the new tab opens in. Alternatively, more safely and less confusingly, just having windows sticky to a specific profile, so all new tabs predictably open into the same profile.

Firefox does support multiple isolated instances, just without a prominent UI. You can use the Profile Manager (https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profile-manager-create-...) or command-line flags to launch and manage separate profiles.

The UX around multi-account containers is still being worked on, but the contextualIdentities WebExtension API (https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Add-ons/WebExtensions/AP...) allows add-ons to interact with containers, so a third party developer could create exactly the experience you've requested.

In case anyone comes back and sees this thread, instructions for launching different profiles simultaneously can be found here: http://kb.mozillazine.org/Opening_a_new_instance_of_Firefox_...

> 3. Firefox also has completely separate profiles, in addition to container tabs.

hey callahad, thanks for shiming in. My biggest pain with profiles is that you cannot use separate profiles at the same time. A Firefox instance can only run one at the same time, making it useless to run e.g. a work and a private profile together. Container tabs also do not help here because they share the same history which I do not want for privacy reasons.

Nonetheless, thanks for a great release!

> A Firefox instance can only run one at the same time, making it useless to run e.g. a work and a private profile together.

I may be misunderstanding what you mean, but I believe you actually can do that. If you navigate to about:profiles, there should be a "launch profile in new browser" button that runs multiple profiles at the same time, each in their own, isolated Firefox process.

To make this a bit easier, you can create desktop shortcuts which launch a specific profile like `firefox --new-instance --profile Work` (on Windows, use --no-remote instead of --new-instance).

> 1. Are there any specific extensions you need? Happy to add them to our outreach list.

LastPass please. I'm sure it's on your list already, and I'm sure they know about it too but every little helps.

I am happy to use pass/keepass (whatever version) but the family says only LastPass is acceptable.

LastPass updated a few days ago -- I'm using it with FF57 now!

> Are there any specific extensions you need?

Keysnail. It requires the ability to override C-n, though.

As for your third point, yes, Firefox does have containers now, but it has the profiles feature as well. `about:profiles` and starting your Firefox with `-p` flag will help you out.

Yeah, without the UI it's 80% useless.

`about:profiles` is the UI. It allows you to create new profiles, restart Firefox with a specific profile, and manage profiles. Starting Firefox with `-p` (and no passed argument) starts a window which allows you to do the same.

Sorry I wasn't clear. Chrome profiles is a usable UI. Easy to find, switch, manage, create, delete, all with just a couple clicks, never very far away.

about:profiles is not discoverable (obviously), easily usable (you have to restart), or easily switchable (you have to open about:profiles or the terminal).

By the technical definition of "UI", the raw filesystem and terminal counts, sure. Opaque and unknown about: pages count, sure. But that doesn't make it good.

For features like this the UI is the feature. about:profiles is not a good UI, so the feature is 80% useless.

Container tabs have a much nicer UI. They're a bit experimental but they're easy to use.

does hangouts.google.com work in FF (too lazy to try it)

No. Hangouts only works on Chrome and Safari (with a plugin). It does not work in Edge or Firefox, as we've phased out support for third-party plugins.

Specifically calls (and video) doesn't work. If you just want to message it works fine.

So far, Chrome has better sandboxing support on most platforms (especially Linux), though Chrome's catching up quickly.

I'm generally optimistic about Rust code having fewer exploitable defects, although it's a reasonable argument to suggest that the previous C++ parts had a lot more public scrutiny.

Also, for me personally: I use a lot of different profiles and using multiple Firefox profiles simultaneously is a mess. The only UX that still works is about:profiles (all of the profile switcher extensions broke since the move to WebExtensions) and I've had Firefox beachball (hang -- I'm on macOS) on me twice while doing that.

Don't get me wrong! I love Firefox and I'm really excited about this change.

Hey lvh. As imron suggested, I've found containers have largely replaced my need for multiple profiles day-to-day, with the main exception of throwaway profiles, which `firefox --profile $(mktemp -d) --new-instance` handles well enough.

I'd love to talk to you more about the ergonomics of containers / profiles for your use case. You know how to reach me. :)

Containers are great, but there needs to be an easier way to open a link in a new container. Right now it's burried in a sub menu of the context menu. Lifting the menu item to the top level of the context menu would be a great improvement. Ideally there should also be a configurable keyboard shortcut.

> firefox --profile $(mktemp -d) --new-instance

Thanks for that, I can now replace `chromium --temp-profile`.

> and using multiple Firefox profiles simultaneously is a mess.

Not sure if it meets your use case, but checkout Firefox containers.

Is https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/multi-account... really broken? That was a test pilot experiment till two month ago, it would be very bad (and a bit ridiculous) if that addon were already broken.

Containers are different from Profiles.

Containers only separate Cookies and login data, to make you look towards the internet like multiple people.

Profiles on the other hand separate everything, as if you had two completely independent Firefox installations. Different browsing history, bookmarks, themes, extensions.

They work very well for allowing multiple people to all have their own Firefox, even though it's the same installation. But also really well for single-person use, for example I have a normal Profile for everyday browsing and then a webdev Profile, where I don't put in content/tracking blockers.

You can manage Profiles by typing "about:profiles" into the URL bar or with this: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profile-manager-create-...

Not broken. Using it on FF57 stable.

Embeddability. I've mentioned it on this site before, but Chrome's embeddability story (Electron, nw.js, CEF, Qt, etc) affects adoption more significantly than Mozilla prioritizers are giving credit for. Sure it's not an effect of Google itself, but that it exists only on one browser is something Mozilla should actively target. Of course there are a few attempts here and there, e.g. positron, but there needs to be a real effort to make the entire browser easily buildable and embeddable w/ an easy C API (doesn't have to conform to CEF like Servo was/is trying). Provide prebuilt libs and the headers and you will see adoption go up.

Faster at what things?

On my 2017 iMac (3.4 GHz Core i5, Radeon Pro 570) I get 60 on Mozilla's Speedometer 2.0 [1] test with Firefox 57.0. I get 90 on Chrome and 93 on Safari.

On my Surface Pro 4 that gap is smaller, but Chrome is still about 15% faster on that test.

[1] https://mozilla.github.io/arewefastyet-speedometer/2.0/

Benchmarks are not comprehensive, nor are they gospel; it's entirely possible for a browser to score lower on a benchmark while also feeling faster in real-world use. For a long time, this was true of Chrome versus Firefox on JavaScript benchmarks: SpiderMonkey is routinely on par with V8, yet Firefox also felt significantly slower.

In the case of Speedometer, it's measuring one specific type of webapp interaction in a single tab; it's not capturing things like perceived speed of opening or closing the browser, switching tabs, loading pages, etc. It doesn't test how the browser performs when many JS-heavy tabs are loaded in the background. It also has lots of corner cases: installing a common password manager halves the score, and a common adblocker nearly does the same again, yet neither show that kind of noticeable degradation in real-world browsing.

Benchmarks are useful for saying "we've improved our browser this much in this area compared to where we were last year," but they're much less useful for making broad generalizations across heterogeneous browsers; there are too many other variables at play.

Whilst benchmarking stylo for example we noticed there were perceptible wins on interaction time on real world sites; but speedometer didn't budge as much because it tends towards small DOM trees which stylo can't parallelize much.

Yeah, they even recently officially posted the speedometer result and it was a few percent behind Chrome. Also some consider Speedometer to be the closest thing to a real user performance benchmark.

Nothing, so far. I have completely switched in the hope that I don't hit a showstopper that makes me switch back.

It is probably sometimes marginally faster and sometimes slower, same with memory use. Its security is still lacking compared to Chrome. Personally I don't see any pressing incentive to switch.

Supporting a browser that actually has your interests in mind, so they have some power at the web standards bodies might be it.

For me, it's missing Chromecast and my MacBook Pro heats up enough that the keys become warm to the touch when using Firefox.

Unless it's reverse engineered I doubt you'll be getting Chromecast. It's kind of in the name.

Yeah, that's an unfortunate reason I'll probably have to keep using chrome fairly regularly.

I have been thinking of switching back from Chrome to Firefox. I haven't been able to find decent profile support though (so I can keep work and private data separate), and all profiles addons are broken at the moment.

The Firefox Multi-Account containers are great: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/multi-account...

Multiple profiles within a single window, visually distinguished by tab highlight color.

It looks like this doesn't allow you to separate history, addons, bookmarks, or move your current tab to a container. I am sticking with google for now.

You can use about:profiles or the profile manager (https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profile-manager-create-...) to handle that. The UX isn't as polished, but for just a handful of uses (work, personal, etc.) it's easy enough to make shortcuts which call `firefox --new-instance --profile <profilename>`.

You can use multiple profiles with Firefox, the UX for doing so just isn't as fleshed out as Chromium.

Create a new profile by going to about:profiles, and thereafter when you start Firefox it should present you with an option to pick which profile to use.

Yep. I love containers.

You can launch Firefox with different profiles (including navigation history, Firefox account, extension, etc) in the same machine. It's a bit cumbersome since you need to select the profile as a launch option (firefox -p) or launch it from "about:profiles", but it works.

What stops you from launching Firefox with the profile manager twice (there's a flag for that), and selecting the two profiles? It takes a couple of seconds to select the profile.

That is a good work-around. Multiple devices, systems, users, locations, and other factors makes selecting the current profile a pain.

@mmphosis: you can always link different profiles to different Firefox account so they all get sync between devices.

firefox -p launches firefox into the profile manager. firefox -p work -new-instance launches your work profile. What are you missing?

More options: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Command_Lin...

Thanks, this seems to work. I found the no-remote option when looking around, but accidentally lauching private_dot_com (nsfw) a couple of times at work instead of my private profile ended my testing with this last time.


    c:\apps\firefox\firefox.exe -no-remote -profile "C:\profiles\some-clean-profile"
was my was-to-go method for testing various configurations.

Knowing about

is also often helpful, eg. when you want to move certain profile folder.

I still trust Chrome's sandbox - I have less understanding of where Firefox does sandboxing, how it works across platforms, etc. Whereas I have a solid understanding of how Chrome uses seccomp on Linux.

While pieces of Firefox are moving to Rust the majority of attack surface is still in C++, so I want a strong sandbox if I'm going to run that browser.

> I have less understanding of where Firefox does sandboxing, how it works across platforms, etc. Whereas I have a solid understanding of how Chrome uses seccomp on Linux.

It's described in detail here:

* https://wiki.mozilla.org/Security/Sandbox

* http://www.morbo.org/2017/11/linux-sandboxing-improvements-i...

I find the absence of Smart Zoom on Mac Firefox to be very painful indeed. The "double right tap" gesture works in both Safari and Chrome, and zooms in exactly on the div/image you're interested in. I've searched for alternatives in FF, but even the half-working ones I found don't work in Quantum. Sad because I'm rooting for Mozilla, but just can't function in their browser without Smart Zoom.

Yeah, it's a shame that macOS support in Firefox is so bad. I hope Mozilla can start making Firefox feel like a first-grade browser in macOS, like Safari and Chrome, now that it's speedy.

Smart Zoom and Handoff is completely missing and Applescript scripting support is extremely poor.

Chrome has a better security model. That's big for some.

Not really anymore. Mozilla has been doing a lot here in recent months, too. The foundation for most of these performance improvements is the recent introduction of multiprocess, which also allowed them to introduce sandboxing in many more places.

To my knowledge, the only bigger architectural difference now is that Chrome sandboxes each tab individually, unless they're from the same domain as another tab, whereas Firefox by default only uses as many processes as you have CPU cores and then round-robins your tabs among those.

This is for performance reasons: You still get almost the same parallelism, but much less RAM usage especially with lots of tabs, and then that free RAM can again be used to speed things up elsewhere.

You can however configure this. Set dom.ipc.processCount in about:config to as many processes as you want to maximally use. If you set it to a really high number, like 1000, then it will create a new process for each tab (until you open your 1001st tab) and those will then all be individually sandboxed.

Another big security difference were extensions. Firefox previously with the classic Linux approach of "If it's installed, it's trusted".

Now they have the same extension model as Chrome with a number of additional APIs. Those APIs are potential security holes, but also allow the implementation of better security, for example NoScript is being ported to Firefox 57, still can't be ported to Chrome.

Well, and then going away from the model itself, Mozilla enables much better security on the extension side, again with the Linux approach, by reviewing extensions and extension updates before they allow the publication. I'd have no concern with my mum installing whatever extension she wants in her Firefox. With Chrome, I would be concerned.

Lastly, only some of us are security super humans. Chrome always gives an option for security to calm security people, but if it benefits Google, they'll leave this option off by default, even if it should clearly be default on.

For example Sync in Firefox is end-to-end-encrypted by default. Only one password needed. In Chrome, it's not. Because Google wants to evaluate your browsing history, bookmarks etc. You can have E2EE, but you need to separately enable it and use a second password for it.

Again, fine for security super humans, but the fewest of us understand browsers enough to know about all potential security holes and we simply do need to rely on browser vendors for our own security.

Don't think Google has actually fixed that Auto-Fill phishing attack either yet, which comes up around here every half year or so.

Google Hangouts :-/

es6 import


Sounds like an edge case the developers would be interested in. Have you got a reproducable testcase?

Can confirm. Would be very interested in a link that shows a regression of that degree.

Play "Space Station 13" and see for yourself. And that game normally lags and stutters bad enough as-is on any browser. It's worse in FF57.

Developer Tools needs to have better UI

That’s a bit … vague. I mean, Fx Dev Tools has a grid visualisation that’s much better than anyone else’s, so that’s better UI right there.

And they need to work better in general. I use dev edition which has a much better UI (it's pretty much Chrome) but it's much slower and has weird bugs - if you disable sourcemaps, it won't let you inspect sources, because sourcemaps is null.

Chrome Dev Tools. Firefox’s dev tools simply aren’t as good.

There are also many features in Chrome that I’ve come to appreciate, such as right clicking a tab and selecting “duplicate”, which opens a copy of the tab and retains the browser history of the original one.

Have you tried the dev tools in FF 57? As a FF user with Chrome-as-debugger for 3-4 years, I'm honestly impressed.

FF 57 also has "duplicate tab" with duplicate history.

Thanks for pointing out "duplicate tab". I loved that feature and really missed it on Firefox.

Ctrl-Click on Refresh button acts as duplicate tab in FF for a long time. I am not sure why this option is so hidden but it works.

To be fair you can have a duplicate browser tab in almost any browser by clicking the back or forward button with mouse3.

The (apparently) continuing lack of tab duplication is my major reason not to switch back.

FF 57 has it.

Thanks. Right, that's it, I'm probably on my way back.

It's actually had it for years (probably even always, almost certainly since about 1.5) via middle-clicking the refresh button.

Well, Firefox has existed since before tabs were a thing in browsers, so can't have been always, but yeah, wouldn't surprise me, if this was relatively quickly added after the introduction of tabs.

These kind of hidden features don't require a whole lot of designing and forethought, so it's something that usually only really needs one dev thinking that it'd be nifty to have them implement it.

>It's faster

Faster than old fox? Yes. Faster than Chrome? Nope. Still long way to go.

Nothing can beat Chrome in being the fastest to become unusable when opening many tabs ;)

How many? I typically have 2 windows with ~30-50 tabs opened in each of them. No problem at all, never was.

I typically have hundreds, sometimes low thousands of tabs opened in Firefox on 8GB RAM and it works well, while ~30-50 is an upper limit of what Chrome can do without bringing the whole system to swapping hell. Plus, Chrome's tab UI makes more tabs completely unusable, while vanilla Firefox works well and can also offer massive improvements like vertical tabs.

> I typically have hundreds, sometimes low thousands of tabs

They should probably ditch all in-memory stuff, and just use the drive, so they can support those cases when you really want to have a "low millions of tabs open."

Okay. Hands down here. Never could get this kind of use case, never had such an experience either, so may be by the time you have 1000+ tubs Chrome does kill itself.

>Chrome's tab UI makes more tabs completely unusable

True, thankfully we have extensions that deal with this (I've been using Keepin' Tabs for this, until I started using cVim)

Very true. Chrome can never handle my 150+ tabs per window that Firefox can.

What do you do with 150 tabs?

When I have 20 open I already start to get confused about where stuff is...

Not the original poster, but...

I have 9 virtual desktops; I typically have browsers in 6-7 of them for various in-progress tasks. That's somewhere between 6 and 14 browser windows (I can fit two side by side on my screen), with multiple tabs in each.

Finding things is easy. Even ignoring the per-task categorization by desktop, Firefox lets you search all your tab titles/urls: just type "% " in the URL bar followed by your search string. If I'm looking for something specific, this is the simplest way to find it.

With Tree Style Tabs plus the Awesome bar it is not a problem to handle and it's easy to get up to this number over the day.

Came here to say that. Tree Style Tabs makes ut possible to navigate an unhealthy amount of tabs.

But, so I guess you open links in a new tab and don't bother closing them?

I easily reach a hundred tabs with Tree Style Tabs when researching a topic. The tree structure makes it easy to understand how you've navigated the web and to traceback where you came from. When I found what I've what I was looking for I start closing tabs. The ones that remain is my catch and I save the URLs and/or contents.

Gotcha. Interesting. :-)

Just for completeness:

* Firefox's Awesomebar (the address bar) is much more powerful. Whereas Chromes sends you to google mainly: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/awesome-bar-search-fire...

* Tree Style Tab: https://addons.mozilla.org/de/firefox/addon/tree-style-tab/

There's also Tab Center Redux, for people who already need a better way to handle tabs, but don't need or want to use trees there: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tab-center-re...

Thanks to Firefox's userChrome.css, you can pull pretty nice customized UIs even without any additional extensions :) https://github.com/eoger/tabcenter-redux/wiki/Custom-CSS-Twe...

There is so much FF PR talk here.

Faster in what way? There are multiple subsystems in a browser.

Similar conclusion here. So far I stopped using Chrome (stable or canary). I do miss it, Firefox Nightly (as I mention in other threads) have responsiveness issues a bit too much even for average websites (no video, no webgl, no audio) and I know that chrome doesn't suffer from that. But so far I'm still using Firefox for a few weeks.

Few things that I do prefer in Firefox:

- bookmarks with tags

- nightly/testmode snooze tabs. Wonderful idea

- reader view (not sure if chrome has that out of the box nowadays)

I don't use containers even though they seem lovely

> reader view (not sure if chrome has that out of the box nowadays)

As far as I can tell, Firefox, Safari and Edge all seem to have it, and Chrome does not. Not on mobile, and not on desktop.

There are some extensions that accomplish the same. I've had some good (but very limited) experience using Mercury Viewer some time ago: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/mercury-reader/okn...

It's not in Google's interest to allow you to see a site without their ads.

I think Chrome does have it on mobile, because it prompts me to "reader view" a page when it isn't properly formatted for reading, on Android 7.

Ah, you are correct, it does have it for non-mobile-optimized pages. Completely forgot about that.

I would still argue that its function is different than the "reader view" functions of other browsers, but it does have it.

Mobile Chrome has some broken heuristic to prompt it. I never know when I can expect it to appear. Sometimes the website already looks good and it appears. Sometimes it looks horrible and it does not appear.

Also sometimes this "reader view" looks worse then the original. It has too small font for my taste. When you pinch to zoom it looks like it changes the font size, but also the viewport. So it is entirely useless.

I expect that it will be removed (or replaced) in future.

Serious question, is this too little too late?

Firefox has taken a massive nosedive in the last few years, in the UK at least. My two big clients have them on less than 2% share.

Just checked one, 5 years ago they had 9.55% share, today it's 1.8%. Even taking into account the growth of mobile, that's dire.

Firefox is about more than market share. A state of the art free non for profit browser makes the market much more competitive and better for the consumer. They are there to keep chrome/ other browsers honest. If chrome / google does something too corporate you don't like, there's an alternative.

That is all so very true. But it is also utterly irrelevant if market share drops too much. That will unavoidably lead to incompatibilities which will without doubt ensure that only die hard enthusiasts will use it.

Which means it won't be an alternative anymore and it will die.

Very fair point. This is why Firefox 57 is so great IMO, i started using firefox again and now I don't think I'll leave it again soon. I think i'm not alone.

As a dedicated FF user since Phoenix, I fully agree, but if few people actually use the alternative, it probably gets harder to get any kind of revenue deals :|

That seems a dangerous line of thinking, like arguing that startups are about more than growth.

Firefox is looking like Apple circa 1997. They can still recover, but they have to focus on what people want.

I think most users don't care how fast the browser is at the level they're boasting about. They've been fast enough for many years for most use cases. They should do a commercial showing they can run uBlock Origin on Android, how fast sites load compared to without it, and jump on the "annoying ad" train Apple and Google seem to be bragging about fixing latley by "solving" a few problems uO had solved, the right way, for years.

I completely disagree. I care a lot about privacy, but I've been unable to use Firefox for a long time now because of speed. Up until now, Chrome has just been significantly faster, to the point where I couldn't justify Firefox for everyday usage. I think a lot of people feel the same, especially those who know less about privacy. I hope the situation changes. If they were in the same ballpark in terms of speed, then my choice would be clear, but they haven't been.

It would be like using Tor all the time. You know it's better, but the difference in speed is so great, that you have to make a conscious choice. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that I want the benefits _without_ compromising speed.

I agree. Browser speed does not affect consumer choice directly. Very few people chose Chrome over Firefox because it was slightly faster or slightly more stable. The vast majority of users chose Chrome because it felt better.

Also, Google's pushing it helped. Otherwise consider how Chrome has occupied an IE like market share despite the quality Delta between Chrome and IE/Edge, Firefox or Safari is significantly lesser than the Delta between Firefox and IE was a decade ago, yet Firefox peaked at a much lower marketshare than Chrome's today.

Your Apple analogy might be quite apt. Mac has a market-share of something like 14%, but that's not Apple failing, that's Apple succeeding in targeting the expensive end of the market.

Firefox has a chance at doing the same thing with privacy-aware users and/or power users.

To that end, they need to stop dumbing-down the browser and endlessly playing catch-up with Chrome.

Spot on. Chrome is not the standard by which all others are judged. Like some others here, I've used Firefox since it existed, even when it was Phoenix and Firebird. The only other browser I will use besides FF-based browsers is Uzbl. Firefox allows me to lock down and customise my browser in ways Chrome does not. Let's not even go into the privacy nightmare that is Chrome.

They are not like apple because their goal is not the same as a for profit company. While you could still argue they're failing, i was just saying market share isn't the only indicator for a corporation in their position.

They're doing well now, especially since Electrolysis. But they can't beat Chrome being bundled in literally everywhere. Most average Joes will never switch from the bundled browser. Firefox needs to cut some deals to get bundled in as well. Sadly I doubt they have resources for this...

The Mozilla Foundation IS a non-profit, with Mozilla Corporation as a wholly-owned subsidiary.


Mozilla Corporation is, as you can see on the first sentence of that page, a subsidiary of Mozilla Foundation[0], which is itself a non-profit.

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

Percentage of total users is deceptive in some ways. The absolute number of FF users can stay the same, or even rise, and their % share can decline. It is absolute number of users that impacts the deals they can make. That's not to say a larger % wouldn't be good for FF.

Firefox needs a serious presence in mobile. If the browser is competitive with Chrome, and also supports webextensions, it stands a fairly good chance, at least boosting up a few percentage points.

Firefox Focus/Klar is a pretty compelling app. :-)

Depends a bit: if devs switch back I'd say definitely.

If devs are ready to repeat the IE 6 story, this time with Chrome.

Getting companies to do cross browser testing seems hard even if it it should be simpler than ever before.. :-/

I switched to Quantum as my daily driver a few weeks ago, I love it as a user. It has made me hate the Chrome dev tools with white hot passion. Firebug might be gone, but the new dev tools are a masterpiece of usability. I emphatically recommend developer edition as a development browser.

Yeah, the new devtools are pretty nice! The revamp is missing some bits (e.g. the pretty printer is missing for files without a sourcemap) but I suspect that will trickle through slowly.

I've noticed that a lot of folks don't realize there are a bunch more devtools tabs that you can enable hidden in the settings (including a shader editor, a canvas debugger, and a DOM inspector). They're less useful than the main four (inspector/console/debugger/network) but are pretty neat and help a lot.

Indeed, I didn't think it could surpass Chrome's dev tools quality so quickly.

Until they figure out a way to address their irrelevance on Mobile, devs will never fully switch since they have to do testing on mobile devices.

It is really sad that Gecko is becoming so good, but is mainly used to power a product in what is becoming a niche market (yes, desktop is becoming a niche in terms of users relative to mobile).

I posting from Firefox monile now. It's my main browser.

If I use Chrome only it is for my sockpuppet accounts.

I far prefer FF even on mobile.

Sure, I'm not saying that no one uses Firefox on Android.

But their mobile marketshare is totally irrelevant compared to Chrome, UCBrowser or the Samsung browser (even this one alone has about as many users as Fx Desktop).

I found it ate all my memory and crashed frequent. Nexus 5X.

One of the things I found was that I had to use their Beta. Their main build wouldn't even start for me.

The amount of desktop usage hasn't gone down with mobile usage going up. Desktop isn't niche.

That said, more market share for Fennec would be nice.

(This comment written in Fennec.)

Desktop is less and less relevant compared to Mobile so it will get less and less attention from content producers.

I don't mind that some people want to keep focusing on desktop products, they have their use. But I think it's not what Mozilla should focus on if they want to "promote internet for everyone".

I don't think it's too late, always room for a better browser, I've swapped to Quantum and I think it's better than chrome, especially as a dev. I swapped to chrome when it came out, and it's been the better browser for a long time, but I think that's changed. I'm certainly recommending it. Even Edge feels better than chrome at the moment.

The other thing I'm trialing is using duckduckgo as a search engine which is quite good, but google is still mostly better, but since you can google from ddg, I'm sticking with it for the moment.

FWIW, Firefox is still number one in Germany (desktop only) which is not an to be underrated economy.

It may even be worse than that. They have effectively thrown out all that made Firefox distinct in any user facing sense to achieve this.

This is sadly true. I switched off Chrome 5+ years ago due to the "vim-like" plugins being much better on FF than Chrome (specifically, my keybindings not working on built-in pages) and since FF56, vimperator and pentadactly no longer function. There have been months of back-and-forth between some developers and the FF team, but the functionality required for these plugins has never been prioritized and I had to disable automatic updating and download FF54 so that everything would function. Today I just gave up caring and installed cVim on Vivaldi (https://vivaldi.com/) which is Good Enough for now.

Give it some time. I was expecting not to switch because of lack of Tree Style Tabs until around end of year. But I switched some weeks ago. Some addon authors use this opportunity to make a better addon. A few days ago GreaseMonkey has been released with a new API. And of course there will be new addons made by other people to replace lost functionality. It's happening, just not overnight.

That's the issue - there's no real path to making these legacy plugins work. There are open issues for a keyboard api for FF that has had very little movement over months, so while I'm sure it'll eventually get to a point where I can use FF as I used to, that not being the case now has given me little reason to stay with FF and so back to Chrome I went.

It's too soon to judge, I think. I would be happy using the old FF if the new one didn't have already the things I need. In the mean time I would try to collaborate. Once FF 57 is out of beta officially, there will eventually be enough people with itches to scratch. It was in my plans to implement Tree Style Tabs properly if no alternative appeared before end of the year.

It's not too soon to judge - plugins I used no longer work unless I turn off auto-update or move to the LTS version. The team knew these were breaking changes for months or years, but the APIs to un-break things don't exist and aren't prioritized. It's discouraging to collaboration when you look at 2+ year old issues (https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1215061) that still haven't been properly addressed.

You make it sound like there's no movement, but I see enough movement to have both short-term alternatives, and medium term fixes. Read comment 46 and the next ones. They were super busy with what they can actually release with FF 57. Until today the issue wasn't really pressing. In a few days we'll see if they're serious about that issue.

You don't break something and then prioritize fixing it. That's backwards. If they knew it was going to break the proper thing to do it prioritize the fixes before it effects end users, not after. If I were to push up a breaking change this morning and just wait for bug reports, I'd be looking for a new job by this afternoon.

I would agree with you normally. But in this case there's a much bigger "bug" they must handle: The vast majority of users have migrated to Chrome or some other browser that don't respect their privacy.

We power users are like 1-2% of all FF users. I think it's acceptable to break some things for a while to bring back much more users than that.

In the mean time, they've lost one of those power users (likely more, going by some of the discussion in issues for various vim-like plugins) and will, in the future, need to do something to entice me back. This experience has left a bad taste in my mouth and I'm not going to be rushing to go back to a browser that breaks functionality on me without prompt.

They lost me once for terrible, terrible performance. For a year or two until I really needed tree style tabs back. They need to prioritize. Deal with it.

Also, since you're a power user, why don't you use that proposed API already? It seems you don't even need to compile the browser or anything, just enabling a flag and installing the API as an addon.

> They lost me once for terrible, terrible performance. For a year or two until I really needed tree style tabs back. They need to prioritize. Deal with it.

I am dealing with it. I moved to a different browser.

> Also, since you're a power user, why don't you use that proposed API already? It seems you don't even need to compile the browser or anything, just enabling a flag and installing the API as an addon.

Simply not true.

Search for Tridactyl, which is aiming to reimplement the Vimperator/Pentadactyl feature set in WebExtensions Firefox. It's still in early stages of development but there is already an initial release on AMO with some basic features implemented and with a very familiar feel.

I've tried Tridactyl, but the plugin not working on Firefox pages is the same frustration I had with vim plugins for Chrome.

If you were heavily utilizing the nmemonics provided by those vim-like plugins (I was before the upgrade) you may be quite pleased by the fast minimal experience bought by qute-browser which is basically webkit wrapped in python/qt bringing a browser built centrally around vim interaction (as opposed to a plugin)

If the vim stuff was the only plugin I needed, I'd move over in a heartbeat.

Saka keys on Firefox has been a suitable replacement for me.

Not me personally, but there will always be a vocal minority who will complain about having their workflow broken. Any replacement will be missing some critical feature. For a person affected by this, it is a painful experience having their entire workflow broken so they resort to dire warnings on forums such as this one ('Firefox is finished without <my niche plugin>').

In this case, I think Firefox made a good choice in modernising the codebase and the extension APIs. In 2 years we'll find out if the vim people were right or they were indulging in hyperbole.

Less "dire warnings on forums" and more "slow development pace for required pieces to make my workflow even possible again".

Here's an issue opened June 9 that hasn't been addressed by the Mozilla team and hasn't had any updates in a month: https://github.com/cmcaine/keyboard-api/issues/1

Here's the request for a better keyboard API (referenced in the above) that's been open for over 2 years with no end in sight: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1215061

I'm sure the new FF is going to make some users happy, but as you said, having your workflow broken is quite painful, and the Mozilla team has known about this for years but still not made the upgrade path bearable.

> with no end in sight

Except an already developed patch and proposal that needs some time from the main devs to be reviewed. For a long time they were very busy making FF bearable for 90% of the users. Now that it's released we'll see if this issue is as stuck as you imply.

I guess we will, but with the slow pace that any of this was (not) done over the last number of years, I'm not holding my breath.

eh... I use it now, and it's OK. It's missing a ton of features that Vimperator had, and it will likely never get them.

>specifically, my keybindings not working on built-in pages

This is a restriction for chrome-store extensions. You can install one manually without with "feature"

Firefox does have some distinct features that are important to me. I want to open links from Gmail or Inbox without being logged in to my Google account. Firefox containers are perfect for that. I also like snoozing tabs and quick tab switching by typing % into the address bar.

Some of these things can be done in other browsers using third party extensions, but I am extremely reluctant when it comes to third party extensions for security reasons.

[Edit] Very important to me as well is built-in reader view.

I didn't know we can switch tabs by typing '%' in the address bar. Helpful indeed.

You can also just type something matching the tab name or URL and "switch to tab" will be in the results in the address bar, usually at the top. It's very nice especially for when you have lots of tabs and you want to do "Open the page matching this from my history unless that tab is already open, in which case switch to tab" because you can just type into the address bar and press enter and it will work.

I understand the concern about the extensions/addons changes, but FF is still a distinct browser.

Several things immediately come to mind:

* Mozilla is a more trustworthy company than Google, so all things being equal, I'll take their product.

* Container tabs (or multi-account tabs now) are a killer feature for privacy and greatly improve the "multi profile" use case

* Firefox Mobile allows extensions, where Chrome doesn't support it.

The only negative for me with FF is that in the enterprise, FF Kerberos/SSO function seems inferior to Chrome, which "just works".

But for it being closed source, I think Vivaldi is a better experience than Chrome. Sure it's "just" a reskin, but point is, Chrome is in 3rd place in my opinion.

Which means that they have to compete on marketing against Google.

Considering where Firefox started and the dominant browser at the time, it's in a much better position than the first time around.

Remember, Firefox was never the dominant browser, and where it is now is where it has almost always been.

I personally think so. I also think their latest work on replacing Firebug and PhantomJS are way way late as well. I commend them on improving their tools, but man, Google has just eaten their lunch the past 10 years.

> but man, Google has just eaten their lunch the past 10 years.

Maybe because Google actively pays people to install Chrome without the users knowledge, and force it as default. That’s pretty much the definition of malware already.

It’s hard to win against someone that does such hostile behaviour.

Also because Mozilla wasted a lot of effort on FirefoxOS. That's when the browser really stagnated.

You are totally wrong on the wasted effort. FirefoxOS actually pushed a lot of the performance improvements that are seen as wonderful in this release. I kind of LOLed when people re-discovered things like how sync layout was bad. So much knowledge was lost in Moz when they killed FxOS that it's a showcase of bad leadership.

The desktop browser was stagnating because the browser owners had no idea where to drive it, and some people with the castle keys were change adverse (some finally "left"). They took as an excuse that they could not get support from the platform team, so the platform team killed FxOS support and ended up being absorbed by the Firefox organization to become just the fx backend team (great strategy!). I guess the platform VP was so frightened by the Tofino experiment and Fx Desktop moving away from Gecko that he didn't understand that was betting on the wrong horse long term.

Well, in general, I don't see Quantum as elevating the concerns of desktop over mobile. Moving to parallel implementations of functionality can help even more on mobile than on desktop, since Android phones have tended to embrace multicore faster than desktop has. (Apple phones are a different story, but Gecko obviously can't be relevant there, and even Apple is finally moving to high core counts in the past year.)

Patrick, you know that the MoCo has focused 110% on desktop the last 1.5 year. Or if you don't, you should ask the Android platform team (eg. snorp).

They had to try. Mobile devices are way more restrictive than the PC ever was. The companies that dominate the OS have unprecedented power and leverage.

If Mozilla's goal is to strengthen the interests of a wide range of users against the narrow interests of two or three oligopolists they have to consider entering the OS game in spite of the immense difficulties.

> This is the opportunity that the Chrome engineers foresaw. We saw it too, but we had a bumpier path to get there. Since we had an existing code base we needed to plan for how to split up that code base to take advantage of multiple cores

The "bumpier path" is that they removed XUL-based/legacy addons, only chrome-like addons (aka WebExtensions) are now supported on FF57. Personally i still have some extensions that are marked as Legacy, mainly for web development so m going be slightly affected with this release, i hope the performance gains are worth it.

They're talking about Electrolysis there, which happened several versions ago. XUL addons did indeed work with Electrolysis, but required some modifications to work well. Most unmodified addons continues to work through some magic cross-process API wrappers. They didn't implement everything, had some bugs, and were quite slow, but the fact that mozilla managed to keep most legacy addons functional through the biggest architectural shakeup in Firefox history shows their dedication and skill. It also illustrates how much engineering effort went into keeping XUL addons functional as firefox was re-architected, and thus why the decision was made to abandon them and move to webextensions.

What addons are you missing for webdev?

All that work only to drop the addons anyway with the migration to WebExtensions.

Personally, the extension I miss the most is vimperator. Mainly the fact it worked everywhere. Now you land on new tab page (or about:*) and the extension just won't load. The highlight features would be macros (automating some signin and signup workflows) and quickmarks - opens a predefined page in precisely 3 keypresses. With the way WebExtensions are right now in Firefox, a quickmarks feature just won't work sometimes, which is very irritating.

And before that, they added a ton of shims so that most old extensions still worked with the new multiprocess model. A huge amount of work.

Are Google doing anything along the lines of Servo/WebRender etc?

I'm assuming the Chrome code suffers from the same issues the FF did/does: you simply don't shoehorn in shared memory concurrency in some nontrivial piece of C++ code.

Mozilla threw some serious research and time at the problem. Is Google doing that too? Or are they confident enough that Chrome will be fast enough in the future without major architectural refactoring?

Stable Firefox 57.0 is already available on Mozilla's FTP server: https://archive.mozilla.org/pub/firefox/releases/57.0/

I am already using it, but had to reinstall uBlock Origin.

Note that that build isn't technically guaranteed to be the 57.0 release, and there have been 11th hour updates pushed out before.

Thanks for this. Was waiting patiently for the push this week after getting tired of Nightly builds.

I can't remember the last time I thought about how "fast" a browser is except for edge cases like complex WebGL stuff.

I don't think focusing on speed will plug the gap of users leaving for other browsers except for the minority of us on HN. I can't remember the last time a non-technical person I know complained about browser speed beyond a website itself being slow.

Well, for me at least, I always recognize if a button click/UI interaction doesn't force a visible and immediate UI response. That's one of the main reasons why I switched a couple of years to Chromium and now back to Firefox. It really responds fast. I totally agree that there were _very_ few instances where I noticed a rendering time difference.

Are you talking about the UI of the browser itself or websites you're viewing? If it's the latter, it's probably the website being slow.

UI of the browser.

Are you using a vanilla browser or do you have a content blocker installed perhaps? There is a very noticeable difference in load times and I would definitely consider the former 'slow'.

I agree though, that rendering performance is not the bottleneck of the browsing experience.

There are so many Firefox features that I love, and Mozilla is an awesome company that I want to support, but Safari and even Chrome are both still significantly faster than Quantum on my Mac.

Even with 50+ tabs open in Chrome, it still loads uncached pages 2-3 seconds faster than FF Quantum, with fewer flashes of unstyled content as well.

I had high hopes for this refactor, but it looks like I'll have to wait to switch browsers until the speed really beats Chrome.

You can maybe find a alternatives here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/u/1/d/1TFcEXMcKrwoIAECI...

I think you replied to the wrong comment, mine isn't about extensions/add-ons.

Using 57 for few days, speed improvements are impressive.

But two things which is going to stop me from complete switch. 1. There is no native websocket inspector. websocket-monitor[0] add-on which supported websocket inspection is not compatible with quantum. Really wish they speed up native support development[1] 2. Double tap zoom really makes it easy to find UI issues. Really wish it get implemented in firefox too.

[0] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/websocket-mon... [1] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=885508

For those, like myself, that were thinking "huh, I haven't seen any noticeable differences" when reading the article/comments: FF 57 is the version you want and it is officially releasing tomorrow.


A question as I consider moving to Firefox. On Chrome I've set my search engine keywoards so I can open a new tab and type "w foo" to search Wikipedia for "foo". And similar things for DuckDuckGo, Hoogle, Amazon, etc. On Firefox I can do something similar if i'm willing to click on a small icon rather than hitting enter or move to the search bar with ctrl-k, type my term, then press tab a bunch of times to select the right engine. Is there any good extension to give Firefox Chrome's ergonomics here?

In Firefox, you can right click on any search box and there's an option to "add a keyword search"

For a Wikipedia search, you'd set the keyword to "w" and then you'd get the identical behaviour you have in Chrome when typing "w foo" in your Awesome Bar.

Ah, there we go. I don't get the same visual cues which confused me a bit but those aren't actually important at all. Thank you very much.

If you just set your default search engine to DuckDuckGo, DDG has !commands that do basically the same thing. So I can type "!wiki foo" to search Wikipedia for "foo". And the other benefit is you're not letting Google (or Bing or Yahoo or whatever) see your search traffic anymore!

You can do this in Firefox by going to Preferences > Search > Set "w" as the keyword for Wikipedia

If DuckDuckGo is your default search engine, you can simply use its bangs instead.

Such as "!w term" for Wikipedia, "!a someitem" for Amazon, "!yt video name" for YouTube etc. Also see "!g term" for Google and/or "!s term" for Startpage, Google without tracking.

That's been built into Firefox for well over a decade:


No extension needed. Right-click in any search box on a website and select "Add a Keyword for this Search." It looks like a normal bookmark, but if you set a keyword on it, it'll work just like Chrome.

Tangentially, is there a way to remove the &t=ffab query tag? Presumably for "Firefox Address Bar"

I noticed it on DDG searches and couldn't figure a way to remove it. The "App Store for Search Engines" seemed super overkill, I just want to specify my URLs without the indentifier tags, like I can in chrom{e,ium}.

Been using FF consistently on OSX the last years, the improvements are really great - Kudos!

The various channels, like Quantum to stay on Beta, seem to have worked. Easy to understand as a user and hopefully helpful for the devs to gather important info. Plus a native dark theme, yay!

One thing that remains is performance of Youtube. For some reason HD videos start crushing the processor after a while. Chrome, Safari stay calm.

One thing I particularly like about the Mozilla Devtool is that when I highlight an element, I can see the horizontal and vertical lines that extend beyond the element box model which is great to see if other items are leveled with the one selected. Does anyone know if this is supported in Chrome or might there be an extension that can reproduce this functionality?

"Show Rulers" in the chrome dev console settings.

Oh awesome! Thanks for the quick response.

I tried Firefox 57 hoping to like it, and I found it's still too alien feeling on the Mac. The scroll bar looks, behaves, and animates differently. Text selection looks and behaves differently. Even the cursor blinks differently. It feels out-of-place.

I wish there were a community effort to build a true native Firefox version, instead of trying to recreate standard Mac behaviors.

Camino used to be exactly that: https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/7548/camino

I'll be looking to downgrade to Firefox Extended Support Release 52.4.1 [1] and using the hidden settings to enable Electrolysis [2]. Currently on 56 and it's very fast but with 57 tabs mix plus is gone [3].

[1] https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/organizations/all/#en-...

[2] https://fossbytes.com/how-to-make-firefox-faster-by-enabling...

[3] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tab-mix-plus/

I will be doing the same. The enhancements in 57 don't out-weight the productivity loss from my critical extensions. I'll be waiting until more of them are ported forward. For the record I don't actually find Firefox 56 slow at the moment either.

I have two critical extensions and a few others that would all break with 56 or 57. No thanks, I'll stick with what works.

Shoving webextensions down everyone's throat, and only afterwards starting to work on implementing APIs and giving anyone a chance to start working on porting stuff. No thanks.

I tried making the switch from Chrome but ran into three issues :

1) Firefox does not import Chrome logins and passwords. Major pain.

2) Firefox freezes when importing Chrome history and bookmarks. I get a "script is taking too long" message. If I force close and reopen, then try to delete the partially imported content, it freezes as well with the same message. Tried deleting profile and restarting restarting to no avail.

3) (more of a nuisance than a real issue) I need to use the same browser on all devices so that everything is in sync. Google Search in Firefox Android looks like a page from the 90s and is missing Search Tools. Maybe Google isn't playing nice?

Did people migrating from Chrome experience issues 1) and 2)? Tried the initial import on Linux and macOS, same issue.

How long will it take to forget about this again?

The whole story reminds me of something a project manager, who worked at the Google homepage, once said.

They worked their asses off to get the page smaller and smaller so the UX was unbeatable. Then, after they got enough users, they focused on different things, and more and more stuff was included.

Somehow Firefox went the same way, right?

First they created it so it would be small, fast and modular, then it got bloated to the max and now they set it on a diet again.

Don't get me wrong, I prefer Mozilla to Google, and I like that they even explored experimental stuff like Rust and Servo to get on the right track again.

But for how long?

Performance is usually death by a thousand cuts, and (imo) the best way of mitigating this is by standardizing some measurements and making that automated. Block changes that move performance past this bar, make sure the organization buys off on this approach. Any changes to a critical area that impact performance need to be zero-sum - if you add something, you need to take something away.

The cost of doing this in a large organization seem high though. Are there good ways to solve problems like this:

- A newbie developer adds small feature, triggering some performance test that was already close to failing. Now newbie has to learn all about the performance of this large project before they can land their first change.

- The performance test has a reasonable amount of noise. At first, 10% of test runs fail it, and people just rerun them. Eventually 90% of test runs fail, and people need to start dealing with it, but the effort required to get it all the way back down to 10% is unrealistic for any one person.

- The product is something like Microsoft Excel, that has a strong guarantee of backwards compatibility across a wide variety of hardware and OS versions that are difficult to test. Asking developers to delete code from parts of the product they're not experts in, is likely to break stuff.

> The performance test has a reasonable amount of noise. At first, 10% of test runs fail it, and people just rerun them. Eventually 90% of test runs fail, and people need to start dealing with it, but the effort required to get it all the way back down to 10% is unrealistic for any one person.

This is a tricky thing to deal with - (imo, again) how you deal with this is twofold:

1.) The automated test that measures performance needs to be rock solid - whatever you measure needs to be deterministic. Wall-clock time isn't always the way to go (although it's the easiest), maybe you profile and measure cpu cycles consumed by your application.

2.) If you capture performance over time then hopefully you can capture a trend-line that shows performance degrading from other changes that push the app past the performance bar. If your dev loop is fast enough you can isolate performance degradations to a small set of changes. Ideally if you handle #1 above this won't be much of an issue. In my experience changes that tank performance usually do so beyond the threshold of noise.

Regarding "newbie developer needs to learn all about performance" and "asking developers to delete code", that's why you need organizational buy-off. If your changes are regressing performance in a core area that is complex with a lot of legacy, maybe you shouldn't be making changes there, or the org needs to be aware of and sign off on letting your change go through. It doesn't always need to be a hard and fast "reject all changes", but there needs to be a discussion.

I'm not saying they can't do this.

They are all real smart people.

I just have the fear they will forget about it in a few years again.

The article mentions they're adding automatic tracking of performance to their tests.

> we’re adding lots of new tracking, including improvements to CI automation running performance tests, telemetry to track what users experience, and regression management inside of bugs.

I'm not saying this is a technical problem.

I'm saying, what prohibits them in the future from stopping to care again?

It's not all them -- I think the saying that "Moore given and Gates taketh away probably translates across to browsers and web pages, too. Browser speed increases to render HTML and run JS faster, people worry less about performance and write slower pages because browsers are faster now, rinse and repeat. This applies even more so to served ad code, where there are no incentives to perform well.

Has anyone tried firefox 57 or 56 on macOS and still found it to be slower on a bunch of sites? Like facebook is unusably slow on firefox compared to chrome still. Google maps has slow downs too.

I keep having the feeling like Google is making its sites unusable on FFX. Same with FB, for example with Chrome m.facebook.com & mbasic.facebook.com serve different pages whereas Firefox gets the dumbed down mbasic content on both domains. I think there are several examples out there where Google does the same.

Yeah, YouTube is completely unusable for me on macOS Firefox 57. The video will completely stop while the audio continues playing and the only way to fix it is to adjust the current playback time. This is on a Retina MBP with 16GB of RAM. Doesn’t occur with the same version of Firefox on Windows.

you should try to refresh your FF profile. https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/refresh-firefox-reset-a...

This happened with a fresh install with nothing else installed, I don't know how much that would help.

IMHO, there is even too much focusing on speed. Firefox got _cool_ again. It looks great, the logo looks great, animations are great.

I look at the thing most of the day, looks are important just as much as speed.

I was really excited for Quantum, but it appears the switch to WebExtensions is going to gut most of my favourite addons, and completely kill the rest. About half of the addons I use have been updated to be compatible with Firefox 57, so the rest will stop working as soon as I update.

Of the ones that have updated, most are missing significant features. The most significant example is Lastpass, which can no longer fill in http authentication boxes, and can't even copy usernames and passwords to the clipboard anymore. (The Chrome version has never been able to do the former, but can at least do the latter.) Lastpass fills many auth modals for me every day, so losing that feature is going to be a huge annoyance.

NzbFox is gone. Hilarious webcomic manager gone. Foxyproxy missing features. This just sucks. I understand the logic behind this move, but addons were one of Firefox's strengths. Now it appears they will be a sort of poor cousin to their Chrome counterparts. I would happily sacrifice speed to not completely hamstring the capabilities of addons.

Obviously it's too late for this, but the could have added the WebExtension system to provide greater stability, security, and developer ease for new addons (and those that wished to migrate), while maintaining the more powerful system for major things that required those capabilities. Yes, in theory it means a bad addon could compromise security, but that's true of any program I choose to install on my computer. I certainly wouldn't trade my general purpose PC for some locked down app store box regardless!

You don't know before the update if an extension is supported or not. Firefox 56 doesn't support all of the new features of web extensions so some add-ons (and versions) are only available for Firefox 57.

Too bad Mozilla changed the Add-On website a few days ago. You don't see any indication of supported Firefox version anymore. You only see the extensions that work in your current browser, not the extensions for the next version. (Unless you switch to the old layout in an link hidden in the footer.)

Some extensions will be delayed because the deadline (2 years?) wasn't long enough. Some extensions need additional features and may only be available with Firefox 58 or later. Some never.

And you need to invest some time to research this. One starting point is https://arewewebextensionsyet.com/

Actually every addon indicates on the addon site whether it is compatible with quantum or not. In some cases, there are indeed addons that are only compatible with 57+ (also indicated there), but the ones I described were accurate; I'm already using the updated versions, but they are seriously hamstrung. I agree that things are likely to slowly improve as the WebExtension APIs are extended and addons go through more updates. Still very difficult to lose so much functionality overnight. I may switch to v52 (ESR) for now, then decide next year whether to stick with Firefox.

> Actually every addon indicates on the addon site whether it is compatible with quantum or not.

Not on the new site and not if you are using Firefox 56. You need to click on "View classic desktop site" in the footer. Then you see a "Compatible with Firefox 57+" tag/badge right from the version number of the extension.

Oops. They added the feature that indicates that an extension isn't ready for quantum.

My bad.

I wonder if better use of multiple cores by a single webpage (what they are calling "fine grained parallelism") is actually a good idea. It seems like web developers can and probably will eat up any improvement in performance by building slower sites. So in the long run equilibrium, your computer's performance and energy consumption suffer, while the web remains just barely fast enough to tolerate.

Mouse gestures in Linux and MacOS are completely broken due to a known bug. They have a Linux patch likely slated for version 58 (in 6 weeks) but no MacOS patch yet.


Mouse gestures are critically important to me, so I'm sticking with Vivaldi until this is fixed.

Same here. I'm just not updating...

I'm waiting for full switch to Webrender and as result GPU accelerated video decoding on Linux and switch to Wayland at last.

Just use the Firefox Android nightly and beta build. The new UI is super clean and the performance is very good.

Up until this point I always felt that there was no good Google free alternatives for chrome mobile browser, but this perception has definitely change now with the new Firefox Beta build.

I am switching to Firefox nightly for my default Android browser now.

On my phone it often uses 100% CPU for extended periods of time, and does lots of writes to storage. And it has never been fast to begin with.

I mean, a five year old phone isn't top of the line anymore, but if other browsers work just fine, I'm reasonably sure where the blame lies...

I'm patiently waiting for improved profile support and better Chrome add-on support before I can abandon Chrome entirely.

Been running Firefox for my personal browsing almost exclusively for years (with the occasional Chrome use) but I still can't ditch Chrome for work because of a few add-ons that don't work in Firefox - mainly Mixmax.

Firefox 56 had some kind of performance regression[1], but FF Quantum is a joy to use.

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/74irm5/is_ff_super...

The thing I can't stand about it is closing a window causes a multi-second beachball on latest Firefox / macOS. Really annoying. This is with a cleaned out profile and no extensions.

Yes, for my girlfriend, during some last few months Firefox is much slower than before: she uses it mostly for Facebook and Youtube, she doesn't have any extensions installed by herself (not counting the stuff that is in Firefox because Firefox marketing initiatives, like Pocket) and no adbockers, but Firefox uses so much CPU that it gets completely unusable.

And she is not any extreme Facebook user: she has less than 500 "friends." And she doesn't have big "subscriptions" list in Youtube.

So it's completely opposite of the propaganda: the average user, using the most common sites, is hit to the that much CPU more use that the most common sites are unusable.

So what's going on here? It's just the propaganda machine claiming the opposite of what is actually happening at the moment. They maybe have good goals but at the moment it's worse than, for example, a year ago.

Maybe it's because she doesn't have a newly bought computer, which are the ones used by those who test? And I guess those who test don't use Facebook and Youtube?

I also use Firefox but spend zero time in Facebook and minimal time on Youtube and block Javascript wherever I can, so I don't see the same. But I saw the CPU on her computer staying completely blocked by something Firefox is doing. The only thing I was able to figure out: around 40 percent is spent in kernel according to the task manager. Both cores are used more than 90 percent, and the Firefox is not responsive. She doesn't do anything more than scrolling down her Facebook to see that effect. It's not always that bad, obviously depends on the content on the Facebook, but it's bad often enough for her to see the slowness regularly, and when it really gets stuck to complain to me.

What I personally observe is the pages embedding more linked Youtube videos got to be very slow to even display them. Those are the pages I stumble on occasionally, so I didn't investigate. The second effect I've observed is writing a longer post for HN on Firefox getting much slower (less responsive) the longer the post is. Like writing these words now.

So, dear Firefox people, your product is really SLOWER for me too in the last versions, and not faster. And it is extremely slower for a "normal" user using the "normal" Facebook and Youtube.

(Additionally, I use a number of extensions, and only one will remain available soon when they turn off the support for what they mark as "legacy" extensions. That is really strange decision, deciding to remove the major difference between them and Chrome, becoming just as limited as Chrome is for extensions and wasting the work of most of the extension developers.)

> So what's going on here? It's just the propaganda machine claiming the opposite of what is actually happening at the moment. They maybe have good goals but at the moment it's worse than, for example, a year ago.

It sounds like you are hitting some kind of bug. Feel free to file issues about it if it's reproducible; the telemetry should also be automatically reporting the issues you're seeing.

I would like to respectfully suggest that you hitting a bug is not evidence of a "propaganda machine".

Slowdown on Facebook and Youtube up to getting stuck (exactly what I talk about) was reported in some form at least since February this year, e.g. this Reddit:


I've found that link after my GF complained many times, and I've seen the CPU at more than 90% (40% in Kernel) and Firefox stuck after only her visiting Facebook and scrolling down. It was hard even to kill the Firefox. I saw bugzilla entries too. Some quadratic loops for every element, triggering recalculating "everything" even if the result shouldn't change were mentioned if I remember.

What I claim is that on 56.0.2 (the most recent version until tomorrow) is still not better, FF getting stuck and CPU being fully stressed, and that the "subscriptions" can't be the only issue (which is the only scenario that the developers accused if I remember correctly the bugzilla conversations). The computer seeing this at almost 100% CPU and Firefox remaining unresponsive has only two cores, AMD CPU. If it's accidentally "better" on 16-core machine of some developer who doesn't use the mentioned sites anyway, my girlfriend can't change it.

Of course nobody is going to give FF developers her own Facebook access for them to reproduce it.

As for my GF the most of the internet are Facebook and Youtube, I suspect she'll really have to switch to Chrome if it continues. She already did "refresh Firefox" or however it is called now more than once. No change. And she is certainly not an outlier (and regarding the slowdown I see, I type these words on Firefox 57 (I downloaded it after reading other comments about the FTP availability, I see "Stylo true (enabled by default)") on 4 core / HT Intel and typing these last lines is also quite unresponsive and my notebook fan started at maximum even if unsurprisingly for 8 virtual cores I don't see much CPU use on the indicator -- something is still obviously wrong even on the very light site like HN and on the more powerful machine -- I guarantee you I see this only in Firefox and when I use native programming editors everything flies all the time).

If it is indeed style recalculation that is causing the problem, then Quantum (57) may well solve the issue, as Stylo both improves the dynamic restyling behavior (the style sharing optimization is more flexible) and accelerates the slow case in which restyling needs to occur from scratch (via parallelism). I can't promise anything without being able to reproduce, of course.

Naturally, like all browser engines, Gecko takes performance on popular sites such as Facebook very seriously.

Did any of you try FF 57? I also used a lot of extensions, but basically all the ones that mattered to me work again. (For tree style tabs I have to add a bit of CSS in a file to make it not awkward, though)

I've just installed 57 for me. The English Dictionary is gone -- now all the words I type here are with wiggly lines, I see "add dictionaries" but I had the darned dictionary already and what's the use trying to add the same? I don't know what to do next. The extensions are all gone, including the NoScript for which the developer claimed that he's adding support for new Firefox -- I checked noscript.net -- I have had the very last version. The mozilla site writes "Not compatible with Firefox Quantum". Noscript was the most used extension from a dozen I have had.

From the less used ones, as an example I've used "Copy Plain Text 2." Now I see there's a new similar and compatible extension by somebody else I guess, but it's obviously more limited: "Note: WebExtension API does not allow setting Copy PlainText as the default copy function of the browser at the moment, neither does it allow user defined keyboard shorts. Once there are such an APIs, I will add the feature."

Others have no replacements at all, not surprising seeing the limitations even for the simple "Copy Plain Text."

(Edit: regarding performance details see my other posts here.)

It's really as bad as it can be.

It's really bad.

I was rather asking about performance for your girlfriend.

Regarding addons, I'd say give it time. It's a chicken and egg problem that will be solved with time. I was not expecting to switch until end of the year.

Firefox's Webextensions APIs are much more expansive than Chrome's. They still have an active developer community so the ecosystem will recover quickly.

I've been using Firefox 57 since beta and it's fantastic. Chrome users should definitely give this a shot. It's super fast, nimble, and easy on your RAM. I also love that it's made by Mozilla and that they're all about user privacy and security. #FirefoxFTW Thank you moz://a

To everyone using "54" and "57" use the Nightly build, it is actually a lot better.

I was going to comment about the slow scrolling, laggy input, and horrific experience that I have normally using Firefox. Then, I decided to try out the Nightly build.

It removes all of that.

However, it still has a horrible developer tools experience.

Even better than 57? I moved from Nightly to the Beta channel along with 57.

Multiprocessing did nothing for me, since I apparently hadn't configured it to use more than one process. Some extensions I had were keeping it from doing so. Once I got all that sorted out, it flew. If you're still on a slowish FF, make sure you're actually multiprocess.

I just installed the beta version, and my impression is mostly page load and new tab. They are incredibly fast. I also like that FF has made some noticeable improvements on the UI. It looks a bit cleaner now.

I think this might be the turning point to ditch Chrome & its parent.

Using 57 for few days, speed improvements are impressive.

But two things which is going to stop me from complete switch.

1. There is no native websocket inspector. websocket-monitor[0] add-on which supported websocket inspection is not compatible with quantum. Really wish they speed up native support development[1]

2. Double tap zoom really makes it easy to find UI issues. Really wish it get implemented in firefox too.

[0] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/websocket-mon...

[1] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=885508

[edit] corrected link

FF has indeed become faster now, but man, how bad is it's dev tools. I remember this time when I kept FF for development purposes solely due to firebug. Things might reverse this time as Chrome's dev tools are Superior to FF's counterpart.

I appreciate that Firefox is doing great work getting it faster, but at the same time they're doing awful work by baking in shitty cloud features and turning their add-on ecosystem into a walled garden. One step forward, two steps back.

I've started switching back last week. I'm only using Chrome for any Google Services (drive, gmail, hangouts) and development (for now, but only since I'm used to it and have deadlines). I am very hopeful at this point.

I'm primarily a Firefox user, but I've been using Chromium for certain sites due to rendering performance. This page in particular was rendering slowly enough in Firefox that switching browsers was worth the trouble:


I'm happy to report that Firefox 57 renders that page much more smoothly than before. Thanks! FF 57 does blank the page temporarily when I scroll quickly, though. Chromium seems to render it with no gaps at all.

Anyone else have a favorite page that Firefox doesn't like?

Adwords used to run really, really, really, really slow in Firefox.

It now runs pretty good in FF 57. About as good as Chrome.

I decided to give FirefoxNightly a chance as a longtime Chrome user/apologist. It's impressive and I like the design changes, but it's still keeping my MBP very warm and listed as "Using Significant Energy" in the battery info while I've been using it for ~3 hours. Not to mention it feels kinda laggy, especially in text input. Still, I like the changes like seeing zoom percent in the omnibar and the preferences menu design. I won't be switching over fully, but I'll keep it around and continue to check out changes.

I'm going to guess that the answer is: by not being Firefox anymore. Since that seems to be Mozilla's answer to just about anything. Then again, I never had a problem with Firefox, it's Chrome taking up so much proces time that kills me. I need a single-process browser that doesn't gum up the rest of my machine the way Chrome and multiprocess Firefox do.

Then again, I remain on a 32-bit processor & OS, and I don't expect to update in the next century.

I've moved completely to Firefox from Chrome about a month back, but haven't found a way to use my Chromecast from Firefox. Does Anyone have a possible solution?

I have been using chrome for years. I would regularly use other browsers for testing or other reasons but always came back to chrome because it was the fastest for me. After hearing someone here mention how fast the new Firefox was, I downloaded Nightly and I never went back to Chrome.

Before firefox was ugly and slow, now it's fast and slick. So glad that I'm not giving google all of my browser data anymore.

One extension I don't find a replacement for is Hide caption titlebar plus. It makes it so there's a permanent title bar even when Firefox is maximized. I had to change an xfce setting to hide the title bar when a window is maximized, meaning I lose the title bar for every application... Not ideal. Does anyone know if there is an argument to launch firefox without a title bar? Or set it in xfce for only one application?

Apparently client side decorations might appear in Firefox 59 at the earliest. For me having that negates the need to hide the title bar while maximized.

Under X11 there are various tools to hide the titlebar (entire chrome basically), see devilspie.

This is my favourite extension also. When using a laptop or other small screen, being able to remove the title bar is essential. I'm not upgrading to 57 until I can find a good workaround.

Apparently, one used to be able to manually modify Firefox's userchrome.css to do something similar, but I've yet to find descriptions on what to do with this new version of Firefox.

A different broken family of extensions that is impacted is mouse gestures, even for things like moving along tabs when hovering over them using the mouse wheel (default Chrome experience). I don't think this behaviour is possible with the new version of FF, sadly.

userChrome.css is still present on Quantum. I haven't played around with it a lot, but if you feel like getting your hands dirty, this should be a relevant resource to you: https://github.com/Aris-t2/CustomCSSforFx/issues/1

Sadly, GUI tweaks is very limited on new extensions api

Firefox Developer Edition 57 Facing SSL error with various https sites.

https://mail.google.com/mail/ Secure Connection Failed An error occurred during a connection to mail.google.com. Peer received a valid certificate, but access was denied. Error code: SSL_ERROR_ACCESS_DENIED_ALERT

It’s great progress with `rust` and people behind it. I loved night mode on iOS. But on Linux still first launch is slow. _ubuntu17.04_

Could you please elaborate on the "night mode"?

night mode turn background to the black for all website. It’s good if you reading things on browser.

If only my corporate network would implement this solution... : https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/troubleshoot-SEC_ERROR_...

I've been pretty happy with FF57. One thing I've noticed is that opening a new tab seems to block the browser. I have my new tab page set to a personal web page, which takes 150ms to fetch. If I open a new tab and press F6 before the page is loaded, it doesn't read the input.

Other than that the only thing I really want is tab groups.

I've been using the developer edition of Firefox and have been finding it to be a joy. It is very odd how Chrome stopped having the "knack" of being extremely fast.

Edge on Windows 10 claimed to be fast, but I think that it was doing more "cheating" with the UX than actually being fast.

I'm hoping these developments might eventually clear the way to a somewhat supported Firefox browser core sans UI to embed in our own applications (ala WebKit and Chromium via QtWebEngine), and then I might switch back. I'm tired of being pushed around by UI churn in the applications I use.

There's been some renewed interest in this direction, at least on Android, in the form of GeckoView: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1322573

Servo, Mozilla Research's next-generation parallel browser engine, also has embedding as an explicit top-level goal: https://servo.org/

I have tried to switch back to ff from chrome several times now (first try was when developer edition came out, second try was when multi-tasking came out) but failed, because ff has been too slow in comparison.

Downloading the new developer edition now... Hope it can stay on my dock this time!

Does anyone else use Tree Style Tabs and is having huge lag issues in Nightly? Since Firefox 57 browsing on Firefox has become a real pain :/ unfortunately it's the only browser with something like tree style tab so I'm sticking with the pain.

As a Rust programmer, I’ll be happy to use something what has Rust code inside. In Rust I trust.

(honestly not a joke comment) I couldn't find a VIM extension that's compatible with firefox quantum! Will extensions become compatible when it's generally released? Bit of a deal-breaker for me, as much as I'd like to support mozilla.

I feel you and I was scared when I updated to the FF 57 beta and VimFx stopped working. However luckily since there’s now support for WebExtensions vimium is gaining more and more features in the Firefox version everyday

Now already on Nightly and enabling the WebRender on my Linux laptop. It hasn't crashed anymore, but there are still some low-hanging fruits to be gained to make it faster. 2018 will be big for Firefox, even bigger than the Stylo.

Long live Rust! :)

I use 4 different browsers all day everyday. I'm sure that there is a memory leak or something similar in Firefoz. It performs fine for a while and then gets slower and slower until it hangs and I have to restart.

Did it? With FF 56 on Ubuntu lately I have to restart Firefox once in a day or two because its memory usage balloons out of proportions (> 1 GB for 4 open tabs) and it starts getting sluggish. It felt speedier a few months ago

The entire premise of that article is that it applies to v57, which is going to be released tomorrow.

Wow this is super, Rust based browser with true concurrency support. Chromes processes where a nice idea, but lots of memory required, and slow heavy on the hardware.

I just switched to Firefox. +1 for the "do not track" feature.

One common theme I've read in threads here, is that there is a general problem with ads, add-ons, and extensions having malware or taking up too much memory or CPU. Shouldn't those all be sandboxed?

Has anyone else noticed significant CPU usage in the new Firefox Nightly? My computer fan goes full blast when I use the new browser. I like the speed but that level of heat is just not generated by Chrome.

I noticed that last week as well, but got 59.0a1 (2017-11-13) this morning and so far have not seen it again. Hopefully just a minor issue that was fixed...

Ok. It is indeed great. I've switched to Firefox completely since 57. But it is not as fast as Chrome yet.

There was a page with performance charts comparing it with Chrome from the FF dev team somewhere. Where is it?

I want to put a comment on how awesome the drawings are. Just skimming the drawings is sufficient to get the concepts. Style is awesome too. Whoever drew them deserves a moment of attention.

One thing that troubles me is why does a non profit open source browser buy premium offline ad space to promote itself? There's a huge "The new Firefox" ad in down-town Berlin.

Mozilla makes money from having users — it may be open-source but the developers still need to be paid. They don't have a captive audience like Windows or Google.com users to advertise on, so public ads seem necessary.

"Mozilla makes money from having users"

Wait, how does that work again? Last I checked you couldn't deposit users at the bank or pay your rent with them.

ELI5 example: The more users you have, the more the search providers (like Google, Yahoo and Yandex) may pay you to be the default search provider in a certain region.

When a user searches Google from the Firefox toolbar (or Yahoo, or Bing) the relevant search engine pays them a little bit of money.

Not really "per search"... the deals are negotiated for N years. If that was per search Mozilla's finances would not be in such good shape, which could actually help them focus on chasing the right targets.

There's a non-profit Mozilla Foundation and a for-profit Mozilla Corporation. Presumably MoCo bought the ad.

Why does it trouble you?

Wasn't really aware about MoCo and their deals with all major search engines.

Can one run the new version alongside a previous version?

I need to access occasionally extensions unsupported in the new version: namely Scrapbook and the extension that provides maff file support.

Does this mean Firefox is comparable to Chrome wrt/ sandboxing?

No. Now that they have multi-process in good shape they can start getting there though.

And here I am, still using Safari as my main browser on Mac for battery performance.

I’m wishing the safari team would be a bit more aggressive with pushing features and performance

On html5test.com, FF56 scores 478 (on my windows 7 machine). Does FF57 increase compliance at all, or is this purely a performance boost?

You can see here: http://html5test.com/results/desktop.html

FF57 gives me 483

That chart only shows up to FF55.

Firefox Nightly user, and I honestly love it.

Chrome remote desktop is just too good for me to ditch chrome entirely. Can anyone suggest a good (free) alternative?

I can't in good conscience ever use Firefox after how they treated Brendan Eich. What a bunch of pigs.

Guys, did any one switch to proprietary GPU drivers on Linux to take (better) advantage of GPU Renderer?

It's pretty fun. I put FF in a high privacy mode, now Pocket login doesn't work anymore ;)

I just installed. Wow I am impressed :)

Browsers I have been using...

2002: phoenix-0.1 (former name of Firebird) and Lynx

2003: Firebird-0.6 (former name of Firefox) and Lynx

2004: Firefox-1.0 and Lynx


2017: Firefox-57.0

and Lynx, yes.

I never switched to chrome, even when it was faster, I just never trusted google even back in the Web 2.0 days. I installed the first nightly at work and the beta at home as I have to have quantum now, it’s just fast and lightweight. Finally it’s taken time but hope Mozilla ends up back at the top, better for privacy, security and speed

I've been extremely happy with Firefox Nightly. Highly recommend it to everyone here

Let's not forget that FF is also introducing support for U2F devices!

She's so famous for her react stuff that I thought she worked for FB.

The one major benchmark I use for browser speed is how fast Tagpro runs, and it's definitely gotten much slower on Firefox recently, to the extent that I need to generally play it on Chrome, even though I normally much prefer Firefox to Chrome.

When the new Pixi version is dropped into place (I finished coding that recently) it performs much better on Firefox. I agree that with the current version it's definitely not great.

Edit: Just to be clear, when I say much better, I don't mean much better than chrome, just better than it performs now. When I drop RAF and just run the rendering loop as fast as possible, they get roughly the same FPS on my cheapo laptop.

Haha, crazy to see a core dev on here. Great work on the game, been my favorite for years now.

I would use it but facebook doesn't work on it for me

Cute drawings in the page, but a distinct lack of benchmarks.

Dev edition is fast. The other ones not so much indeed.

I'm still worried about how secure Firefox is in relation to Chrome. From what I understand, Firefox exploits only go for $30k at Pwn2Own, while Chrome exploits go for $80k. Should I be worried?

I'm not sufficiently familiar with Chrome's architecture to speak comparatively, but Firefox Quantum (57) has a significantly improved sandbox thanks to finally going fully multi-process (full status at https://wiki.mozilla.org/Security/Sandbox), and replacing C++ components with Rust prevents certain classes of potentially exploitable issues at compile time.

I'd be more worried about chrome tracking and selling my data than I would about Firefox being p0wned.

It depends, are you worth between $30k and $80k to someone? If yes, I would switch to Chrome.

It's not like someone would buy an exploit and only use it on one person.

Where can I get update to my existing Firefox 56?

tried out the 57 beta on macOS (10.13) this weekend and watching in the activity monitor, the main firefox process grabbed a whopping ~800mb of my 8gb of ram + spawned sub-processes needing 20-100mb per website tab. compare this to safari and chrome that have a minimal main-process (~40mb) and then the per-tab amount. i like mozilla and firefox but it just always seems to be something with firefox that pushes me away and now that they have the speed fixed, it's eating up my finite resources.

On the other hand Chrome eats RAM like there's no tomorrow on my system, while the Firefox' footprint is pretty much contained. Different systems, different experiences.

(Two different machines, both Windows 10)

Linux too. Chrome was eating all my ram to the point where my laptop was dogging down horribly, sometime even swapping (excruciating).

FF is fast and much lighter on RAM. My laptop is fast again. Thanks, Mozilla!

if they modernise their developer tools I would jump back to FF. Chrome has got too much power is not abusing it.

damn, I just switched to pale moon for speed, cuz ff was hogging my ram :|

Does it still default to Yahoo search?

Long live Rust.

Firefox mobile has extensions, specifically an ad-blocker extension.

Firefox lost its biggest use case.. The extensions. Besides, the new version is similar to Chrome in memory usage for multiple tabs which is HUGE disappointment.

It is a great opportunity to shake up the sphere of extension development a bit. New alternatives pop up every day and eventually the best will stick. Here is a list: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/u/1/d/1TFcEXMcKrwoIAECI...

I mean it's not an order of magnitude improvement but it's still significant.

The extension ecosystem is great right now. A few high profile extensions aren't being ported but there are a lot of cool new extensions popping up and it's never been easier to port between browsers.

I know this is just one data point, but I just downloaded Firefox 56, and it is still as slow as I remember. Loading YouTube seems to lag behind Chrome, and viewing .gifv videos causes a noticeable stutter. I'll give it another shot next version.

57 is the big improvement with a huge jump in performance. Definitely give it a try.

Do you have one of these blacklisted GPUs? https://wiki.mozilla.org/Blocklisting/Blocked_Graphics_Drive...

Buuuuut.... if you delete more than 5 older passwords at a time, it will crash. #truestorybroh

Nice work. Now all they have to do is work out the bugs with their dev tools and convince thousands of programmers to update their old FF addons and it might be a browser worth using as a primary browser again someday. One step forward, two steps back seems to be Mozilla's motto these last few years.

At a high level my main question is:

Why has Mozilla generally been so slow to react to market trends and taken so insanely long to deliver products that are competitive in other ways than fuzzy aspects like openness, freedom etc?

This goes back back all the way to like 1998. My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I remember it feeling like they were in rebuilding mode until like 2005-2006. And then Chrome launched in 2008...

The first time around I guess it was massive amounts of technical debt and some questionable architectural choices (e.g. XPCOM), but how about the past decade?

I think Mozilla wasted some effort on some questionable initiatives, like Firefox OS. They became a little complacent and didn't put money(?) where their mouth is.


In particular, check out the list of their abandoned projects. But some experimentation is necessary. You're never completely sure when you strike gold.

Maybe the complacency came from having too much money from the first rounds of Google search deals in like 2004-2008?

They had already fulfilled their primary goals (openness, transparency etc.)...

I worked at Opera Software between 2004-2015. We also got loads of Google search placement money in that period, but for all of their other faults, our exec team(s) were able to keep us hungry for more.

Possibly. FOSS projects are notorious for going with rewrites rather than throttle back and maintain what is already there.


This is not the kind of civil and substantive comment we're here for. If you'd like to make such a claim, please leave out the insults and include some tether to reality so we can learn something.


I love Firefox and I'm glad to see they are doing what it takes to stay relevant.

That being said, the "quantum" branding here is completely ridiculous. Quantum already had a definite meaning in computing and Firefox's "quantum era" has absolutely nothing to do with it. It's like Ford making a "hybrid" Mustang, that has zero electrification, it's just faster than all previous Mustangs.

I was honestly expecting a Firefox build for quantum computers.

You were downvoted, but I rather agree. I saw the picture of the turbofan diagram, with pointers to arbitrary parts of the engine and naming them as parts of the "Quantum Engine", DOM, CSS, etc.

Tufte referred to chartjunk - that was graphicjunk.

However... I love the browser again.

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