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It’s time to give Firefox a fresh chance (theverge.com)
261 points by Tomte 10 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 194 comments





I never gave up on Firefox. I always knew Google Chrome was sending back telemetry data or whatever and never looked back. Also with how many sites are "only working in Chrome" these days I still hold the claim that Chrome is working itself to being the next IE in terms of breaking the web for people using other browsers. I still hold respect for Chrome in other areas though.

Firefox was always complained about but honestly I never noticed any differences that mattered especially with how ad encrusted the web has become these days. In fact I could never enjoy Chrome the same way I enjoy Firefox it just behaves and feels the way I've grown to know and enjoy.

We have a major issue with websites poorly supporting mobile browsers and websites being cross-browser friendly overall. The web still feels a little immature in these respects.


I switched back to Firefox a while ago (because I pledged to switch to whichever was the first browser to implement arrow-functions!) - but I doubled down on sticking with it after running Little Snitch for a while. Google is very aggressive on how ofter it pings its servers looking for updates: they're really keen to ensure my software isn't more than 30 minutes out of date, for some reason.

The reason being, perhaps, to have a version without known bugs or vulnerabilities. I wish everyone was that aggressive in patching.

I couldn't agree more. In addition, I am one of the (apparently) few who use FF almost exclusively on my mobile devices. No, FF isn't perfect on my phone but it works just the way I need it to 90% of the time. In fact, I've been quite satisfied with the mobile version of FF Nightly.

Indeed. Orfox for general browsing, Firefox Focus/Klar for sites that block Tor, standard Firefox for the few sites I want to save cookies (mostly web interfaces of local servers).

Unless you turn off telemetry, Firefox sends it back too. It’s just that Mozilla doesn’t have the incentive to sell your eyeballs, other than charging an arm and a leg for the search engine default. Or at least I don’t know of any such incentives.

Mozilla takes great care that any data collected isn't privacy sensitive (even getting stack traces involves contacting legal to make sure you don't accidentally reveal stuff about the user)

Viewing pdfs was a big difference some time ago. Nowadays Firefox seems to have catched up.

While I switched back to Firefox as well, I still miss Chrome's print dialog. It looks much simpler, yet does everything I need with a lot less clicks.


For printing, try the Print Edit add-on:

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/print-edit/

EDIT: The Firefox Quantum version (thanks politelemon): https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/print-edit-we...

It's not simpler, but it's worth trying just to see and appreciate it; I've never this functionality elsewhere. You edit the document in Print Preview in an amazing number of ways, from removing sections to editing text to changing page breaks to much more. It's been completely reliable IME. It's hard to believe someone did it, maintains it, and is giving it away for free.

(Despite my enthusiasm, I have no connection with the software or developer.)


Print Edit WE (by the same dev) appears compatible with Firefox Quantum

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/print-edit-we...

Thanks - I'll give this a try


> I always knew Google Chrome was sending back telemetry data or whatever and never looked back. Then You may want to try Iridium which is privacy and security oriented Chrome fork.

Can Iridum do multi-user the way Chrome does? I have different Chrome users configured for different things. That, AFAIK, makes FF a no go for me.

I'm not sure how that works in chrome, but profiles in firefox are completely separate, and you can run multiple at the same time. I have them configured for different things, too. If you're running linux, just do:

    firefox --new-instance --ProfileManager

Firefox has multi-container, it's pretty close.

I like multi-container better than chrome's solution. I can keep sites from seeing cookie from any other site. Or I can create a group of sites that can share login sessions. And all I have to do is click the links and it all happens automatically.

For one project I was working on I made containers for all the different types of roles users could login as, so if I need to check for missing functionality / too much access I just switch a tab to the appropriate role, vs logging out, logging back in, no wait wrong password, log back i-, ok who changed the password? ... eventually logging on and by then forgetting what I was testing for.

I also appreciate Firefox ESR which has allowed me to test some legacy silverlight app which we're still porting over to HTML5 (to make sure we didn't miss anything).


> how many sites are "only working in Chrome" these days

Which sites? I've never encountered one that worked only in Chrome.


Found one the other day, https://athletigen.com/ can't login unless using Chrome

For a long time, Google Allo's web client didn't work on Firefox unless you sent a Chrome user-agent.

What sites only work with Chrome? Even though Safari has a minuscule desktop market share, I can't see most sites being incompatible with iOS.

It's not so much about "sites", as it is "apps". The most recent instance I recall is this: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16467387

Open this page in a browser other than Chrome: https://pagedraw.io/tutorials/basics


That makes sense - no it's not right. A "web app" can get away with only being compatible with Chrome on the desktop because they would likely have a native app for mobile.

BoA still claims I'm using an "unsupported browser" when I use Firefox.

Very annoying, because AFAICT everything works perfectly.


Microsoft Teams used to reject Firefox. Changing the UA to Chrome solved the issue.

I switched to Firefox as my primary browser a couple of months ago, and have been happy enough that I haven't looked back. It is significantly more smooth and performant than it was; the work on Quantum cannot be understated, and the minor fiasco with their extensions ecosystem, though painful, I feel was the right move. With that said, a few anecdotes keep jumping out at me:

- Pocket integration. Dive into about:config, turn it off, lather rinse repeat on every device and every fresh OS install. I have about a dozen.

- The default theme has two large "spacer" elements that shrink the address bar towards the center. These might not bother anyone else, but they drove me nuts; fortunately they can be removed with the customization menu.

- Bookmarks sync well (yay!) but don't always retain the same ordering on each device, which gets a bit confusing. I can work around this easily enough, but it's not quite as smooth as the same feature on Chrome.

- JavaScript performance is not as fast as Chrome. This is normally a non-issue, but occasionally I'll run into someone's ShowHN demo here and find that while it technically works, the performance is sometimes quite slow. Ditto for anything using WebGL. Again, mostly a non-issue, but I do find myself firing up Chrome to run the odd app.

Most of these issues are relatively minor, and fortunately Firefox still has a fantastically intelligent community, so any time I ran into an issue the solution was a quick search away. I think the value add in feeling like I'm in more control of my browser is well worth it, and I hope Mozilla continues moving in this direction. More competition is good!


I know there was some controversy when Firefox integrated (and then acquired) Pocket, but I don't quite understand why people were so upset. My understanding (from having talked with folks at Mozilla) is that the suggested stories are personalized on the client side—so any info used to customize the stories for you isn't flowing back to Mozilla. Instead, they deliver a bunch of stories to the client, then the client sorts out which ones will be recommended. From a privacy perspective, this seems like a good way to do things. And I personally find the suggested stories to be interesting sometimes, and never creepy/inappropriate.

Regardless, it's good to know this can be turned off.


I had no idea it was all clientside! That makes me significantly less worried about it. I guess I'm so used to recommendations being done serverside that I'm jaded by default.

I use Pocket and I like it. I don't consider it a blunder, because it addresses a problem I have and because Pocket is now owned by Mozilla, an organization that I trust. The Pocket mobile apps are also really good and polished.

I'm actually a paid customer of Pocket Premium ever since it got acquired by Mozilla.

I hope they'll open source the implementation and fix their interface — I don't like that their search doesn't have an URL that I can use as a search provider.

Also Pocket's Firefox integration is actually less invasive than Chrome's extension, which I don't appreciate. I like for example having an "add to Pocket" link on HN items or in Twitter. And the Chrome extension also gives you a homepage with trending articles on Pocket. So I don't like Pocket's Firefox integration, but not for the same reason. I don't like it because it is less capable than Chrome's.

--

I also have Chrome installed and try it out from time to time. But Firefox's UI is much better and I haven't had any performance issues with it, quite the contrary, for my usage patterns Firefox feels better.


If `extensions.pocket.enabled` doesn't sync (I don't know if it does by default), consider adding `services.sync.prefs.sync.extensions.pocket.enabled`, then it will synchronize across devices.

Bookmark sync is currently getting a complete overhaul to fix the various shortcomings: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WoM7JEatr_QJ1CrGk2rwoSDy...


With the upcoming death of Xmarks, I've often idly wondered how hard it would be to write a Chrome extension that could use Firefox's bookmark sync facility.

Ha, I have exactly the same thoughts. Except it could be any 3d party file syncing service i.e. syncthing, dropbox, gdrive etc. Any cross browser bookmark syncing alternative left? - Looks like it's either you stick with a single browser brand or come up with your own bookmark syncing.

A lot of the JS problems arise from developers building against v8. I primarily develop with Firefox and do the same the other way: wrote a demo last year that ran at 60fps in Firefox, but <15fps when I tried it in Chrome. Turned out that out-of-index array accesses drop v8 out of a performance optimisation, but had I developed against it in the first place I might have abandoned the whole approach as lacking performance instead of just realising it was a quirk of a particular engine. Incidentally rewriting it to guard against out-of-array accesses only got Chrome up to 50fps so it was still down on Firefox. Maybe other assumptions of mine?

> - Pocket integration. Dive into about:config, turn it off, lather rinse repeat on every device and every fresh OS install. I have about a dozen.

This always bothered me, especially after it became hard-coded into the project. I used to do the same as you to remove it, but now I use Waterfox which rips it out at the source.

> - Bookmarks sync well (yay!) but don't always retain the same ordering on each device, which gets a bit confusing. I can work around this easily enough, but it's not quite as smooth as the same feature on Chrome.

I have found that if I give it about five minutes after syncing, my bookmarks tend to line themselves up according to the last fully synced install. This is important as I put all my bookmarks on the bookmarks bar arranged by folders and subfolders, and muscle memory gets thrown off if I don't give them time to sync positions.


Side note to anyone who might like Pocket but don't want to depend on a third-party service (even from Mozilla themselves): try Wallabag. It's a bit lacking in typesetting options, but overall it's a neat self-hosted alternative.

I have the same issues/annoyances as you.

Also, for the past few weeks, I set up a few Linux desktops. When you install Firefox Quantum alongside with the pre-installed Firefox ESR (most of mainstream distros has it) and enable sync, your bookmarks will have a higher chance of being incorrectly synced and your history (if you chose to sync it) will probably be at FIREFOX_PROFILE_DIR/places.sqlite.corrupt

A simple fix is to close Firefox and

  $ cd ~/.mozilla/firefox/YOUR_PROFILE
  $ mv places.sqlite.corrupt places.sqlite
I'm still trying to find the time to prepare a proper bug report.

> minor fiasco with their extensions ecosystem

minor? you are kidding

>feeling like I'm in more control of my browser

I lost the control of my browser after quantum. Now I still have some control over the websites displayed in the browser but the browser itself (loading screen, private mode, new-tab, reading view, focus of adress bar, all chrome-urls, ... ) are out of reach. Mozilla took 40% of control away. Without serious effort (fork , hacking..) I can't control my browser any more.


> - The default theme has two large "spacer" elements that shrink the address bar towards the center. These might not bother anyone else, but they drove me nuts; fortunately they can be removed with the customization menu.

Every single time I install Firefox on a new OS I remove them. They drive me nuts too!


> Bookmarks sync well (yay!) but don't always retain the same ordering on each device, which gets a bit confusing. I can work around this easily enough, but it's not quite as smooth as the same feature on Chrome.

I have never had an issue with bookmark sync on Firefox. I did with Chrome-my bookmarks order would be rearranged every time I changed something, other devices would be messed up. It is one of the biggest reasons why I stuck with Firefox all these years.


"the work on Quantum cannot be understated"

I agree 100%, which is why I am not switching back.


Why? What's wrong with Quantum?

On Mac at least, basic UI like hover highlighting is extremely slow. Obviously everyone's environment, use case, and experiences are different. For me, personally, Quantum is not even in the same league as Chrome or Safari.

(Also, for me, personally, I think downvoting people who have differing experiences is less than productive.)


Nothing wrong with having a different opinion, and this is useful critique! No complaints here, however your original comment lacked this information. It's being downvoted because it doesn't really contribute anything to the discussion. If you'd included this extra tidbit originally, I think it would have been fine.

When I first try FF 58, its my exp also. But after FF 59, I gave it another try, much better. Did u tried it with 58 or 59?

Just to be clear, I didn't downvote neither this nor the post I replied to.

Here's my favorite metaphor to explain Chrome and Firefox.

So, imagine you have two cars to chose from.

The first car, called Chrome, is really cool - it's quick, it's nice, it's reliable, it's comfortable. There's just one thing.

There's a guy on the back seat. He's always there. He writes down wherever you're going. When you go shopping, he makes a copy of the receipt. When you drive with someone, he listens to the conversation and makes notes. Which addresses are you visiting? And how long time do you stay there? And when you make a phone call, he listens and makes notes.

He then keeps this information forever, and sells it to various people and companies. They study you, like a bug, to see what makes you tick. So they know what you like and what you want, and what you're afraid of and where are you in life and so on. So they can manipulate you better into not just buying shit, maybe, but maybe to do more sinister stuff, like manipulate elections.

Of course, the Chrome car makers own some of the important roads, and they make them hard to use in other cars, because they want this dude watching you.

Then there's the Firefox car. It might not be as comfortable or as quick. I think it is, but different people have different experience. But either way, there's no dude making notes. In fact, when there are dudes making notes by the side of the road, the car tries to hide you and protect you!

Or you can use the Safari car, if you get the more expensive garage I guess, whatever.

Why the fuck would anyone use the Chrome car.

EDIT: and the long term Firefox car dfivers say things like "they change how the car looks, might as well go to SpyCar." or "there was some pressure on CEO of FireCar making company for political stuff, might as well switch to SpyCar." And my mind just goes blank?

And the dude on the backseat laughs and laughs as he profiles them so he can manipulate them.


Unfortunately the Firefox car, running on Android fuel, has awfully weird driving (scrolling) physics that for some reason are different to every other car. If they fixed that I might be inclined to have another look, but they've had many years and still haven't addressed it.

Can you explain more about that? I use Firefox on Android 8.1 and haven't noticed any issues with scrolling.

The scrolling physics were different to every other app I used. This was the same over many years with many different android devices. I don't know what else I can say about it.

It's fixed now, at least good enough that it didn't hinder me.

Chrome only collects information on you if you “sign in” doesn’t it? Which it doesn’t do by default although yeah it does push you to make that choice.

And all the browsers need you to sign in if you want multi device sync.


I use Chrome without signing in but I'm sure it doesn't make a difference: Google knows your IP and the IP from where you normally use Gmail. I don't believe that they don't infer who is using Chrome.

Google collects enough information even without Chrome, and very much so without you signing in. I know because I use only Firefox or iOS. And then even if I never watch youtube logged in, youtube videos that I once watched "follow" me even to the other, new computers or locations. I'm sure about that because it's very exact songs, very exact groups etc.

With respect to your analogy: What of Chromium [with the right settings switched in the user's favour]?

Switching off Chrome is like "voting with your wallet", because you're increasing the market share of another entity / project, increasing its legitimacy in the eyes of your friends and colleagues or in the stats that all major websites are collecting on browsers.

But switching to Chromium does none of that.

Also stripping Google's integration out of Chromium leaves you with a much less capable browser. Are you, for example, willing to use Chromium without Google's Chrome Web Store?

I don't think so. But say that you're willing to keep using Google's Chrome Web Store, Chromium is open source, but the Chrome Web Store is not and all those extensions, reviews and users can't be moved, so what will happen if Google decides to disallow access to its store to Chromium users?

If you think that can't happen, consider that they did it for AOSP Android and that alternatives to Google Play might as well not exist ;-)

---

If you're worried about Google's control of Chrome, switching to Chromium does nothing useful, the project is still under Google's control, you're still depending on their good will and you're doing nothing to diminish Chrome's dominance of the market.


Google has let the AOSP apps languish, and has used GApps as a bludgeon to keep control of the parts of Android they care about. Having phones running secure kernel versions obviously isn't a priority for Google, nor is consistent, functional E911 (look at the VoLTE shenanigans with Motorola and T-Mobile!).

What is a priority is building and extending the moat of GApps, locking services into relying on Maps APIs, push notifications, Play Games APIs, etc. Replacing these APIs is a huge task, and many apps will just outright crash if Google Maps isn't on your phone, let alone Google Play Services. The only reprieve is to use F-Droid, which is not the most consistently maintained app store.


Maybe my needs are much more modest than that of the average user, but, as a matter of fact, I do get by without using extensions from the Google Chrome store which are not open source. I do install open source ones from there, but I'm ready to download from source and avoid the store, which I do indeed do in some cases.

Even if Chromium's source is developed by Google employees, it being open source at least allows it to undergo scrutiny with respect to end-user-unfriendly behaviour.


Even when maintainers try their best, Chromium still logs and reports information: https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/pkgreport.cgi?pkg=chromium;d...


> When you go shopping, he makes a copy of the receipt

Any proof Chrome does this kind of tracking?


My same analogy with cars would be : "Would you drive a car produced by Exxon".

Google interest is not the web, it's its own profit.


Mozilla made 530M in 2016 - they're a company. Firefox is is a strategical business decision. Their interest in the web is the exact same interest as Google's in the web. $$$.

Mozilla is constrained by its non-profit structure, its open source licensing, and its high organizational transparency. While Mozilla's interests can be analyzed in terms of $$$ (or "power", or ...), such analysis is reductive and lossy. It's not meaningless, but it offers limited insight.

I guess the difference is that for Mozilla the product is Firefox, whereas for Google the product is you. Or rather; your data.

Mozilla is a non-profit organisation.

More details: Mozilla is a non-profit, the Mozilla Foundation, which owns a for-profit, the Mozilla Corporation.

This is necessary because the non-profit isn't allowed to do certain things, but a for-profit can, and the non-profit is allowed to own a for-profit.


Mozilla does not work for shareholders.. All that money goes back into Mozilla itself.

Chrome allows for multiple users. FF does not. That why, in my case, forces me to Chrome.

There are various ways to to do that with Firefox. You can use different profiles (completely new settings, add-ons, etc. everything back to default) or multi account containers (gives you different sessions per tab-group)

I would greatly appreciate any links to how tos. I looked into this 3+ yrs ago and came up empty.

Why should we listen to you? Have you even tried to turn that stuff off in Chrome? What did you find out?

I mean, you probably shouldn't - I'm being kinda overly dramatic - I don't actually think Chrome listens to your calls and texts or reads you receipts from shopping online - Google has other tools at their disposal (Android and Gmail).

But I like the analogy because I think people don't consider what online tracking means, and creepy dude on backseat is easy to imagine.


>Have you even tried to turn that stuff off in Chrome?

Personally, I have made an effort to try to turn things off in Chrome, because I felt it to be a superior product to FF. I switched to FF purely because I realized that my interests are never going to be aligned with Googles.

The problem is with the rate of change, and lack of UI stability. Can you disable WebRTC? You used to be able to with an easy flag, now its probably harder. Can you disable WebGL? Can't seem to w/o jumping through hoops. Why is Chrome looking at my USB devices? Can I disable WebUSB? nope. Disable Omnibox? Dont think so anymore. You used to be able to IIRC,etc, etc.

Google is never going to make it easy for you to stop sending data to them. An option of "Don't send anything ever, and don't ask me again" would be nice. More and more UXs are employing dark patterns where disabling is never an option, just 'deferring' or 'pausing'. (e.g. https://myaccount.google.com/activitycontrols)

Its hard to make definitive statements because Chrome keeps changing. Now, thats not Chromes fault, of course, but what rate of change is manageable? I don't know.


As a non-front-end dev, I really don't get how the browser matters for any end-user. I've never liked Chrome much and have always stuck with Firefox, partly for it's philosophy, but also because it has all the things I've gotten used to.

Firefox also has many features that make the web usable for people who aren't born with perfect vision and hand coordination. The plus is that these extensions make the web faster.

When I use Firefox, I feel like the browser belongs to me. Chrome feels like an Apple version of websites, mostly dumbed down and hostile to changes.

I will say that Chrome is unmatched for front end work, but that's a horrible reason to tell the average end user Chrome is the best browser.


I tried Firefox on OS X but it maxes my CPU frequently, doing simple tasks like scrolling or loading small gifs on Reddit, slowing my system down significantly. I noticed my fans spinning much more frequently than Chrome. It appears to be linked to using scaled resolutions [0]. Until this is fixed, Chrome is significantly faster for me, which is disappointing because I like everything else about FF.

[0] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?format=default&id=...


I use Nightly on OS X for web development work every day and don’t see anything like this. Including using multiple screens with scaling (although I almost never work on the battery).

The one annoying issue that I do get is occasionally Dev Tools will stop working for a window and I have to close and open the Tools windows. Outside that, no complaints on OS X.


Tbf I get that issue with dev tools issue with Chrome as well.

Same experience here. Typing performance was pretty poor.

It's odd to see Firefox being called a memory hog just a few years back. As far as I can tell, Chrome has used more memory pretty much always if you have multiple tabs open.

(Firefox may have been slower on slow hardware, but that has never been an issue for me.)


I really wish https://areweslimyet.com/ was still updated (and more comprehensive, ala https://arewefastyet.com/).

I'd probably be saying this for the hundredth time or whatever, but I've always seen the machine crawl after Chrome opens a few tens of tabs and uses a lot of memory, while Firefox (even before Quantum) would use a lot lesser memory for the same number of tabs. Firefox has always been my browser whenever I need(ed) to have several tens of tabs open.

The extensions in Firefox also have worked much better for me, all along. Even today, Chrome wouldn't restore tabs after crashing and relaunching, and this was after it asked me if I would like to restore tabs and I said yes. Chrome, to me, is nothing but a toy browser good for some single tabbed kiosks or a open-read-close model of use. For anyone who wants a browser for heavy use, especially with a lot of tabs, I would recommend only Firefox.


FF was still 32bit and without per process tabs it would run out of memory and crash multiple times a day for heavy users.

With multiple processes and being 64bit across all platforms, those particular complaints are gone.


I kept with firefox through it all but started use Chrome for dev exclusively. The only reason I stuck with firefox was Tree Style Tabs.

While I'm delighted at their recent improvements, I still can't help but wonder if they are putting the ~500 million they get each year to good use.

There are still features in the browser that are quite lacking:

- history -> history viewer is still so ~basic~. most query constructs that could be run against the history db should be exposed through the UI. I also think it would be great if I could see the path I took to a url history(e.g. linked browsing)

- sync isn't done. I feel sync should also sync settings* from about:config & extension settings. I also would like to see the upper limit massively bumped up from the Mozilla sync service.

These may seem like big asks but Mozilla is taking in 1/2 billion a year [1]

* for those settings where it makes sense to sync.

[1] https://www.computerworld.com/article/3240008/web-browsers/m...


> * for those settings where it makes sense to sync.

What makes sense for one person may not make sense for the next. That's why it's configurable: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Archive/Mozilla/Fir...


> These may seem like big asks but Mozilla is taking in 1/2 billion a year

It takes a huge amount of money to build and maintain a modern web engine and browser.


Mozilla is like a modern American university. There is a parasitic growth attached that is only concerned with funneling more resources to itself in the form of bureaucrats and intersectional evangelists.

I never left FF. It's been a great browser for me and I've never been tempted to leave. Recently though since the big update that rendered half the add-ons I came to rely on useless - I'm in limbo with no alternatives to them or half-hearted promises that the dev will get round to porting them "sometime".

Chrome has a lot of them as well as alternatives available and for me this is where I do consider jumping ship.

I completely understand FF wanting to change things up in the name of performance and modernising but I do feel they didn't really appreciate how important add-ons are to keeping people using it.

A lot of those add-ons are many years old but still had 1000s of users who suddenly were in the same situation as me.


Can you list some of the addons? I too have been using Firefox since it was called Firebird and had a whole host of addons. Interestingly I just continued using Firefox and now don't miss them much. Addons I used to use include FireFTP, FireSSH and the SQLite addon. I now just use other applications. I am guessing the Vim addon is one the ones you need?

Personally, I have 5-6 'must-have addons' that keep me on Firefox, but they've all now been updated for the new API. The only perhaps outstanding breakage is add-ons that implement alternative tab bars (I use a couple to put the tab bar on the side) -- they still are somewhat limited in how they can customize the sidebar, and the add-on now has no interface to disable the default tab bar, so you need to do that yourself with userChrome.css. As I understand, add-on devs are working with FF to address this soon.

Yes. It broke many add-ons that were important to me. I'm hanging in there doing my usuals with the 52 ESR version, although it has broken a half-dozen of them. Many of the Quantum 'replacements' have been severely restricted in functionality.

Unless the situation improves, when the ESR expires, I'll be switching to FF forks permanently. E.g. Pale Moon. And there are others in the works, like Waterfox.


But the witchunt and purge of Brendan Eich. For love of diversity and civility, can't use Firefox.

Try http://brave.com instead. They're actually developing a way to democratize ad revenue so that it is directed back straight to creators themselves. Innovative, hopeful solution for a salient long-term problem that everyone else seems to be throwing their hands in the air and shrugging over.


Recently I switched to Brave on mobile, and I am planning to switching to Brave on mine laptop.

I want privacy-first browser. Period.

I also was backing Mozilla foundation (small sums) for 5+ years in hopes they will focus on browsers. They did not. They are cutting deals with ad serving companies, they are spending resources on mobile os, they are spending resources on VR browser and I don't know what else.

Good luck to them, but I want fast and reliable privacy-first browser and they are not that right now. Brave is.


I've been using Brave as my main browser on my laptop and phone for half a year now and i can tell that I had no major issues with it, the experience is really smooth and easy + as you said it is really focused on privacy, would recommend checking it out.

The performance boost with quantum was enough for me to go back. Chrome still seems snappier sometimes, but it's close enough.

One thing I do miss notably is Chrome's task manager. Being able to see which pages are spiking memory or CPU and kill or close them is super convenient if you've got dozens of tabs open and notice machine performance is becoming an issue. Is there anything like that out there for FF?


It's no task manager, but there's about:performance (and, unrelated, there's also about:about).

Author thinks Chrome is the best browser so whatever.

I've been using Firefox for the past 4 years and while the latest version is certainly the best thus far, even when Chrome performed "better" I'd still not use it for a myriad of reasons mostly revolving around the fact that everything Google does these days is crooked.

Author mentions the built in ad-blocker. Did you know Google also banned AdNauseum from the play store for no reason other than it is _too disruptive_ to the online advertising marketplace?

If I wasn't a professional web developer I wouldn't even have Chrome installed. Google can DIAF.


Especially as a web developer, I gave Firefox a second chance and tried to use it's FirefoxDeveloperEdition - but debugging JavaScript was so painful. It somehow felt so slow compare to Chrome's JS debugger.

Has anyone else felt this too?


Yes. However, that's a recent development. Mozilla apparently overhauled the entire DevTools stuff. It's not even feature complete at the moment and it's really f*cking terrible.

Yes, FFs devtools are slow to the point of being unusable for me. I still use Firefox for general web surfing, but need to switch to Chrome for debugging/inspection.

yup

ff4life and all that but dev tools def slower


I think one of the biggest issues with AdNauseum is devaluing ads to a point it's no longer viable to show any because the adsense account (or alternative) will get flagged as fraud or ads will pay out far less, harming the publisher much more in the long run than an ad blocker. If I still ran ads on one of my websites, I would be very upset if this was the case. While I agree it is also probably in Google's best interest to sell ads at high prices, it does affect those who use adsense as well.

So what?

Here's the thing, Google doesn't have the authority to dictate what software you run on your computer. If you run a software that destroys their entire business model, tough cookies, they have to adapt or die.

Taking steps to control what software users install on their own systems in order to protect your little market share is evil, crooked, and probably illegal. It's the sort of thing that causes corporations to be broken up, for example, App Store, Chrome, Adwords, all need to be separated into unrelated companies to eliminate the blatant conflict of interest which has existed for years.

As an aside, this is evidence that advertising is dead. Technology that destroys the online ad model will continue to evolve and become more destructive and more disruptive. Attempts by corporations to censor free software because it challenges their revenue models is a display of desperation, fear, and inevitable collapse, if history has taught us anything on the matter.

Thanks to AdNauseum and any similar forks, no corporation in the world, no matter how large or wealthy, can guarantee that their advertising model is honest or functional. You should assume that whatever data they use to bill you is faulty.


Alright, I'm not for or against Google - I appreciate the things they've done but really notice their shortcomings - I'd say I'm more "pro-sensible advertising".

> Here's the thing, Google doesn't have the authority to dictate what software you run on your computer.

No, but it can dictate what plugins are available in _their_ store for _their_ browser. Just use Firefox or manually install the plugins. They aren't stopping you completely, but when you're in their ecosystem you play by their rules.

> App Store, Chrome, Adwords, all need to be separated into unrelated companies to eliminate the blatant conflict of interest

Absolutely, and there are other competitors in this space. Google is too big at this point to spin those off.

> As an aside, this is evidence that advertising is dead.

It's not dead because there's no real valid alternative for the everyday website. A lot of users don't want to pay to browse your website past paying their ISP, and mining cryptocurrency isn't an option either. There was a project a little while back called F-U, Pay Me! by Datajoy (https://datajoy.us/fupm.html) that I wrote about that was a worthy replacement, but needs more traction to really take off.

> Thanks to AdNauseum and any similar forks, no corporation in the world, no matter how large or wealthy, can guarantee that their advertising model is honest or functional.

This is where advertising falls apart and it all becomes valueless, which I think is more destructive overall. Google offers a pretty good way of monetizing a website while they help themselves to analytics and a portion of the revenue. Google's AdSense getting shut down would mean (likely, speculation here) a lot of smaller hobby websites being killed off, and larger ones forced to gate access with a paywall. Ultimately, we need a DNS-based tip jar system, but that requires adoption. It's not impossible to run a website if you have a job, but if that website _is_ your job, you're out of luck.


> Alright, I'm not for or against Google - I appreciate the things they've done but really notice their shortcomings - I'd say I'm more "pro-sensible advertising".

I am. I liked their services for years, but reality crept in. They're rotten apples. The majority of news headlines about Google for the past 2 years have been scandals and crimes against the public.

> No, but it can dictate what plugins are available in _their_ store for _their_ browser.

No not necessarily. If Google's only business was a browser and an app store for it, then maybe. But that's not their business. Their business is infecting every corner of every market. They are _clearly_ abusing their position as a monopoly to influence the market in their favor. Which is a crime, in this country. A good question is why hasn't the breakup started already? Hell the only reason they invented that "Alphabet" nonsense was so they could avoid monopoly abuse charges! That is evidence of criminal intentions! They're also one of the worst offenders for moving money off-shore to avoid paying their taxes, and they lie about it when challenged. That is the behavior of crooks.

> Absolutely, and there are other competitors in this space. Google is too big at this point to spin those off.

With all due respect, if you think a corporation is "too big" to break up then you don't understand this topic at all. I recommend the story about Ma Bell, which I think was the largest corporate breakup in American history. Google will be broken up in time, if they continue on the path they're on.

> It's not dead because there's no real valid alternative

that's not how economics work.

> This is where advertising falls apart and it all becomes valueless, which I think is more destructive overall.

I would suggest that, rather than destructive, it is _disruptive_. We were born into this world, but Advertising has not always existed. It was invented by men who were looking for ways to put bread on their table when they have basically nothing of value to offer the world. I think disrupting that is great. It's great because it encourages healthy economic evolution, that isn't technically "Destructive". But it might appear so, the same way a natural forest fire might appear disruptive. But it's necessary for healthy new growth.

The free ATM machine that is online advertising is going to dry up, and everyone who was relying upon that revenue stream is going to suffer, unless they recognize the warnings NOW, and invent new revenue streams, the same way that some men invented Advertising so many years ago. We invented literally every single thing in the entire economy. It's called "Adapt or Die". And they will. You will. Everyone does.


I have tried switching to the newer version of FF but have found that I just can't live without Chrome's built-in "Translate to English" feature. I realize that this probably isn't that important to most users, but for me it's something that I use almost daily. I checked briefly for FF plugins that offered the same functionality, but quickly got the sense that nothing was going to match the quality of Chrome's implementation, so I switched back to Chrome as my default browser.

Has anyone found a worthy replacement for Chrome's translation feature in FF?


Quick google search found me this[0] which seems like a decent replacement. I'm only guessing on the specific feature set you find useful, however.

[0]: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/s3google-tran...


> If I were committed to using only iPhones, iPads, and Macs for the rest of my tech life, I might still be on Safari. Its performance is great on both iOS and macOS... and it offers a choice of ad blockers among a reasonable selection of browser extensions.

> But I’m writing this in Firefox today for a very simple reason: cross-platform compatibility.... I need a browser that knows me as well on a Huawei smartphone or Lenovo ThinkPad as it understands me an on iPhone X.

Summary: Safari is actually great. Use Firefox if you use non-Apple devices.


The thing with the FF was it did not support U2F tokens in Linux correctly when I tried it few months ago. U2F requires some "U2F addon" that is incompatible with Quantum.

This is a no-go for me as I have numerous websites secured with Yubikey and without this the browser is just "YT/Facebook viewer"...

As soon as this changes, I might give it another chance.

----

EDIT: Oh, FFS I just tried to look it up again and found property "security.webauth.u2f" which seems to be false by default. After enabling it U2F works! Geez, why would you disable that id default -_-


I think it is disabled by default because it doesn't work with the U2F sites that aren't standards compliant (e.g. Google, Facebook). It's one thing if you have to go in and enable the feature and find out it doesn't work everywhere, it is something else entirely to have the feature "randomly" working on some sites but not others.

Thanks for the follow-up, when I was using Firefox a few months ago this was a pain point as well. I'll need to go try it out again.

Thanks but no thanks. I really tried to switch from Chrome multiple times, mostly because I find Chrome to take too much memory, the tracking, etc.

Every time there is some kind of update, either for speed, less data tracking, vpn, etc. I give it a try and always end up being disappointed, even on things that should be so obvious and simple, like scrolling. Even recent versions for FF on a brand new macbook pro, scrolling lags.

FF always has a great story that really makes me wanna switch, but I won't waste time for this one, sorry.


So Mozilla actually made some major improvements, but you don't want to try switching again because you tried it before on occasion of some minor updates?

Not on minor updates. I've tried to switch during the past years everytime there is a similar update. Every new version is "blazingly fast" and "much better" and promise that it's "time to switch".

Firefox, on occasion, cannot play videos above 4fps until I restart it.

After running for awhile, Firefox slows my entire system down to the point there is a 250ms-500ms delay for every key press.

Despite all this I keep trying to make FF my primary browser, but wow it is hard.

I'm actually using Opera as my day to day, it has hotkeys that are just a little bit better than Chrome's, backspace still does what I'm used to it doing (going back a page) and the "jump to last tab" hotkey is super appreciated.


I also switched to Opera as a default web browser this year, Chrome not feeling nice to use as a daily driver anymore. Almost 10 years isn't a bad innings though. So far so good.

Your computer may have memory issues, I've seen similar symptoms before.

It is possible, but I can run Opera with hundreds of tabs for days on end with no problem.

With performance degradation over time, it is hard to determine if it is hardware slowly fading, or software bloat running its natural course.

I should run a mem tester though.

Fwiw I can load the same page up in Opera or Chrome and it will smoothly play, while FF trips over itself in the background.


I saw the same behavior that you describe. The problem is, there are still serious bugs in the "old" (e.g. Gecko) code, not in the "newest and greatest" "new features" code. And just recently they fired exactly the developers fixing such bugs:

https://www.cnet.com/news/layoffs-mozilla-taiwan-changes-fir...

"Taiwan programmers working on Gecko, a core part of Firefox, lost their jobs, one person familiar with the layoffs said. That's global open-source work, in contrast to newer, regional projects coming from Taiwan"


This article starts with the headline, "Because everyone using Chrome for everything is a bad idea" and it's right about the need for diversity in browsers. But that doesn't mean just Firefox or Chrome.

On the contrary, for technically inclined users it's time to consider giving up on Chrome, Firefox, Safari and all the other locked-down anti-user walled gardens that violate software freedoms. I know this is a niche belief system but among the types that read hackernews more care than average.

Firefox held out much longer than most but the pressure at Mozilla to make it 'safe' for grandma (only add-ons signed by Moz) and 'safe' for consuming commercial media (DRM black box, no exceptions for research) won in the end. It has become Chrome if only in target demographic and feature prioritization. Just switching from Chrome to modern Firefox won't create the browser diversity argued for in this article.


Then what do you recommend switching to?

I'm intentionally refraining from recommending anything specific because that gets comments in these threads downvoted and killed. There are plenty of good Firefox forks.

I regularly do, but there's always something that sends me back to Chrome. Currently it's the inability to see all of the permissions an extension requires without digging through its source:

https://imgur.com/a/k4rk0

Note the "Access your data on 5 other sites".


I'd love to, but its still very clunky in some cases. Some examples:

It decided to make its interface language not English. Now I cant set it back, the stuff recommended from the net does not work. this also underlines all the text I type in English.

Tab tearing is way better in Chrome.

Scrolling with a touch pad feels...odd. Its lagging a bit, somehow the physics are off.


Question on those using firefox as a daily driver on OS X. Comparisons batterywise to safari how much less battery life do you get in general with firefox now?

That is my #1 reason for sticking to safari for now. That and I need to find out what extensions I need again after the switch to the new extension model.


Both Chrome and Firefox seem to use slightly more battery than Safari on my 2016 MBP. When I say slightly more, I mean that according to Activity Monitor, they both have ~3x more "energy impact", however in practice I haven't noticed a difference in my battery life.

The major difference with Firefox is that on some websites (namely Google Maps, Youtube, Twitch, sometimes Gmail), Firefox spikes my CPU usage/temperature/energy usage to absurd levels (I'm talking 90+ degrees celsius), so much so that I find Firefox unusable because I don't enjoy having a brick of near-molten aluminum in my lap whenever I watch a Youtube video. Chrome and Safari don't seem to have this problem.


Cool danke. I'll give it a go then, the only thing I hit of those is youtube. I've been migrating all my stuff off gmail to fastmail so I'm pretty good to go in that regard. Energy impact in activity monitor is ok...ish but in the end I normally look to the actual battery percentage.

If its in spitting distance of safari it'll be ok, i'm a pretty hard user of tabs though so would be nice to get back to tree style tabs. But sounds like it might be worth a go.

I'll give safari and firefox a comparison with the same tabs opened in a window and see how long it takes to get to some battery %. Chrome last time I checked with a comparison with the same kind of usage was over an hour less battery life.

But this is obviously impacted by what websites one goes to etc... so really impacted by my own usage really.


Yep, I experience the same issue on a 2015 13" MBP. Appears to be an issue w/ FF and OS X scaled resolutions (https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?format=default&id=...)

Oof, that bug doesn't inspire confidence that this will be a worthy experiment. Thanks for the link though, I'll test against a fresh install of osx on a laptop.

Depends on what you do. I don't see much different in general browsing, but youtube takes much less battery in Safari.

Switched to waterfox, and never looked back. Most of us won't go Chrome, because we'll still have a secure gecko-based browser that won't violate our privacy.

When Servo matures into something useable daily (it's almost there) we'll abandon firefox/gecko entirely.


Firefox Quantum is extremely fast and feels much faster than Chrome / Safari.

I encourage everyone to try it for a full 5 days M-F and see if you feel the same way!


I have used Firefox as my primary browser for as long as I can remember, so I don't know how to compare its speed to Chrome in general. But animations are stutter filled and janky in Firefox yet work buttery smooth in Chrome on the same laptop.

Hope that it is something which can be resolved eventually because it would be nice to not have to keep Chrome on hand for such occasions.


I use both Firefox and Chrome and find that the most noticeable difference is the time to open a new tab. Chrome is always fast, but Firefox sometimes lags.

On the other hand, I find that when my fan is spinning up, it's usually because of tabs in Chrome.


Yes, this is my only fault with Firefox. I'll open a tab and start typing, then (when I guess the tab is ready) the url bar resets and I've lost everything I've typed. This is super frustrating!

This. The time it takes to open the browser or create a new tab are sometimes way long. Unacceptable when doing development work in browser.

It was my primary browser until the new version killed all my critical extensions

The Firefox Extensions Challenge (https://blog.mozilla.org/addons/2018/03/15/firefox-quantum-e...) with prizes for winners has just ended...

So Mozilla are at least aware this is a problem for some users.

Curious what good new extensions come from it!


I've been using firefox since 2004, and before that, sea monkey.

Why change a good thing?


I’ve been using Firefox as my primary browser now for approx. the last six months. I used to flip-flop between safari and chrome (chrome needed generally for work and Linux).

I’ve gernerally been extremely happy with it. The battery life is not as good as Safari, but it feels faster. I do run into issues with some extensions, specifically google Meet (I think that is being fixed?).

The biggest annoyance, and I didn’t look too deeply at how to fix this, is custom cert mgmt. The system certs appear not to be used (I think?) and for custom CAs, they must be associated both in the browser and on the OS (macOS and Ubuntu). I’ve also noticed some sites cause, or did cause, very large CPU usage, Travis-CI was one.

Anyway, I’m generally very happy, and am glad that I now have a primary browser experience that I enjoy across all platforms. (If Apple had a safari version on Linux, this might have been a bigger question, I think they would do well to release one)


I know I'm a lazy, spoiled brat, but can anyone describe their Android + Desktop experience in regards to password managers?

I use Chrome + LastPass, which has icons on desktop and autofill prompts on mobile. It's easy and integrated. The last thing I want to do is have to switch between apps, copy and paste each time I log into a web site.


I started using firefox back in march of last year. It has gotten way better. There are few annoying bugs I found(like this, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mywhU2zu87c). I have not been able to replicate them consistently, So they are pending on bugzilla.

There are also some cases when websites like thepiratebay.org refuse to open, At first, I thought this might be some Mitm or DNS based block set by the ISP but then chrome opens it just fine, Don't know what happened there.. :/

There are also some lazy developers like the one at Mashape who most likely don't test their website on Firefox because if they did, They'd know there Login/Signup system is broken on firefox for the last 7 months!

Ignoring few third party related issues, It's pretty good and I use it on both Android, Linux and windows.


Tried and gone back to Chrome. The thing is chrome is Rock solid and can not remember the last time even a tab crashed.

I have been using FF as my main browser for years. While most of the world moved to Chrome-I stuck around because Chrome's bookmark sync would rearrange every bookmark in a bookmark folder. This was years ago, but then I started getting concerned about Google's tracking and have stuck with FF since. (I gave Chrome a chance years later-same exact issue.)

During this time I kept running into reasons to keep FF besides the bookmarks:

- I have noticed Chrome isn't as speedy and responsive as it used to be.

- I found plugins that suspended unused tabs so I can have 40 open with minimum issue pre-FF Quantum and keeps memory usage down.

- There are other plugins that I couldn't find in Chrome's store, such as the SQLite browser. (Now I use DB Browser from the Arch repos.)

- Chrome's memory usage shot up over the years. It always used a lot of memory with all those processes to sandbox the tabs, but FF kept getting more features without so much bloating.

- I have seen a few sites that FF does not like, but I have also seen different sites that's didn't play well with Chrome too.

- Google's business is in ads and tracking-how long until they ban ublock origins?

However FF still has issues that were never solved or crept up:

- Website PDF printing on Linux is terrible-the websites look mangled while Chrome can take the same sites and print out a decent PDF copy.

- Chrome is usually first to have features that could be the future of the web. Subtitles for HTML5 video-webvtt. WebAssembly, I had to use Chrome to use FF's own webassembly tools because I didn't use Nightly.

- Chrome's PDF reader works better than FF's open source JS one.

- Pocket... back when it first announced I wondered why...? an organization committed to open source and open standards used a closed source service backend and if I remember at the time, a proprietary connection. It was the first time I considered going back to Chrome. I have an instapaper JS booklet that will save any page I am on to instapaper; does the same thing without an annoying little icon in my toolbar.

- Mr Robot... why......? This is the Orwellian worry I had that Google would do with Chrome. Never affected me, but did piss me off.

The Pocket and the Mr Robot were real issues to me that made me consider finding another alternative.


> Chrome's PDF reader works better than FF's open source JS one.

Note: while Chrome's PDF reader wasn't open in the beginning, it is now: https://pdfium.googlesource.com/pdfium/


Ah, thank you for that info.

I've always preferred Firefox and rarely used Chrome, until a few months ago when FF started eating CPU so badly that I now use Chrome almost exclusively.

I have no idea what causes FF to use 100% CPU, but it happens consistently, every single time I use FF for any length of time. Browsing Twitter will do it, YouTube will do it, eventually something will do it. Maybe it has to do with video? I don't know, and I don't have the time or (probably) the knowledge to try to figure it out.

Until/unless Firefox fixes whatever bug is causing this, I'm forced to stick with Chrome (which just works, hour after hour, day after day).


I want to use Firefox for everything. Unfortunately my company relies a lot on Google Hangouts and Meet for video calls. Google has implemented both in a way that seems to be incompatible with Firefox (I know that the non corporate version of Hangouts works with Firefox since a few months ago).

I'd love to try Firefox but I can't switch until the extensions I use fully support it. To give just one example, Checker Plus for Gmail can't keep Firefox running in the background unlike in Chrome... which makes it far less useful.

Google is the new Microsoft. Every time I click on a link on Gmail mobile app, it asks me, by default, to install Chrome instead using the default browser. Even though there is a “don’t ask again” checkbox, it always asks again next time.

It's a pity Mozilla is pushing for a dumbed down version of its core principles, if I were them I'd:

- drop the whole cartoonish nonsense, childish errors such as "Hmm. We’re having trouble finding that site." should be swapped back to something more useful (or at least give me an HTTP error to look up on top of that stupid cartoon)

- quit pushing for pocket and other proprietary nonsense

- stop messing with user data to please tv series marketing teams

- stop babysitting the user with paternalizing "you've been using the computer too long" health-conscious snippets

Give me back the browser for nerds I need to get stuff done, make me fall back in love with FF.

(full disclosure: posted from FF)


> quit pushing for pocket and other proprietary nonsense

Mozilla owns pocket and is in the process of open sourcing it. Some parts are already on GitHub.


Since Firefox permanently broke Pentadactyl, I've been wanting to switch to Qutebrowser, but Qutebrowser doesn't yet have NoScript or RequestPolicy functionality, so I'm stuck with Firefox for now.

Brave browser has NoScript in settings.

Have been on Firefox for 5 or so months now, whenever they first released the beta version of Quantum.

It's been fine, really can't fault it. I don't really think about it to be quite honest, it just works.


Wow! He actually recommended to use the browser password manager... Yes, I use FF and have since it came. I did try Chrome a couple of times but it was just a resource hog and ugly. With FF I could get it to look as I wanted and the extensions worked better.

So I agree with his decision but not his arguments or recommendations. They are just crap. The best way to protect your passwords is via a password manager that is not in plane text. Like Pass or Keepass. Pass is my fav as it is extremely portable.


I kicked the tyres on the new Quantum'd Firefox. Oddly I found that the GPU utilisation on my MacBook Pro is significantly higher than Chrome, even higher than Safari. Playing a YouTube video would make the MBP's fans spin significantly faster than normal which meant it' wasn't overly usable. The numbers were roughly 750 Mhz Firefox, 550 Mhz Chrome and 450 Mhz with Safari.

Not sure if it's an option I've got configured, I'd love to find out what was causing this though!


Funny how every 6 months there’s an article saying that. Truth is with Mac OSX, only Safari and Chromium are RAM efficient. Not blaming Firefox tho.

Firefox is fairly unusable performance wise with google maps and surprisingly facebook. Those are two huge apps that I feel like are table stakes for a web browser. Facebook is even more surprising, since it isn't an amazing webgl program rendering a complicated map view, it isn't created by a direct competitor and at facebook's size, making something work better for %1 of users is a big gain.

I finally uninstalled Chrome from all my setups today. I have chromium for occasional testing left, but it is Quantum on desktop and Fennec on phone now.

Best things I've loved since I switched:

- Cookie AutoDelete, keeps a whitelist of domains and deletes the rest, which works nicely with:

- Multi-Account Containers: Create multiple cookiejars

- Decentraleyes: Caches JS files from CDN servers for faster loads.


I have done - and it's awesome on Windows / Fedora. But it's so janky and slow on Android, this is on a Pixel 2 XL. What is so wrong with the Android version?

For the record i've tried to move across for ad-blocking which Chrome doesn't provide, and I do need the account sync. Firefox is just as janky without any plugins on Android.


On Android it's supposed to still be getting better, although it's taking quite a while now and I feel it's not the main focus (apparently it's hard to fix the codebase, so IIUC they're getting there through a detour by first focusing on the embeddability of Gecko - which will take a while). That said, Nightly is already somewhat better, so I've been using that to relative satisfaction for a while now. You might want to give that a try.

I was on the beta when I wrote that comment - tried the nightly and though better is still a jank fest. It's the reverse of the desktop where Chrome has gone awful and FF is nice. The biggest thing is the scrolling behaviour on FF which is truly horrendous. Is this just me? There's also a click-lag. I'm not rooted, have minimal apps, etc.

It does feel slower. With a low memory device it's a pain, but on a high-end one I don't find this that annoying. The good side is that's it provides plugins (so proper ad-blocking) and custom search engines. I haven't found any other browser as complete on Android. It balance the not as smooth feeling when scrolling which is not that important to me

I use FF on Android just because I can block ads with extensions since the ad-laden experience is so unbearable on mobile, even though overall Chrome seems a better browser. So I'm puzzled that its market share on that platform is so low (0.6% according to the article), given you cannot use blockers like UBlock Origin with mobile Chrome.

Since ad blockers on desktop have a pretty high penetration, what is going on on mobile? Does everyone really just browse on Android without blocking ads?


Maybe people are not using browsers on mobile but apps?

Firefox on Android last time I tried it had completely fucked up scrolling physics, the scroll had too much inertia on acceleration and fast flings did not result in the expected scroll speed. Also, as a left handed person I just couldn't use the tab switcher as there were no gestures like Chrome.

Interesting; I use the nightly build on my Pixel 2 XL and it seems just fine, almost on par with Chrome.

Thanks for your input, unfortunately it doesn't tally with my experience. Maybe i'm doing something wrong?

I've literally just installed the nightly version as opposed to the beta - no plugins, but sync is enabled. Scrolling on Twitter is a jank fest, not as bad as previously but I put that down to the adblockers I had on the beta.


The article is riddled with what's wrong about proprietary (nonfree, user-subjugating) software. Paragraph 2 is almost entirely made up of these problems:

"the best web browser" -- has no meaning without clearly identifying the criteria by which one considers anything best, worst, or any rating in between.

"If a friend were to ask me what the best web browser is, I’d answer “Chrome” in a heartbeat, so don’t mistake this as a screed against Google’s browser." -- because any deep criticism of a nonfree browser, or a nonfree browser from a spying organization would, by default, be a "screed"? No respect for freedom of speech here, and that's no way to treat your friends. This line and much of the essay comes off as a way to validate the idea that we need not consider anyone who looks out for their own software freedom, the software freedom of their friends and other computer users in general, or their (very much related) privacy interests. The allowable limits of debate are set: technocratic functionality (such as the effectiveness of an ad-blocker, vague notions of competition and "unhealthy growth" without mention of software freedom are considered right and proper to get into. Please restrict any discussion to such proprietor-affirming ideas. Anything outside these boundaries is "a screed against Google's browser".

"I still see it [Google Chrome] as the most fully-featured and trouble-free option for exploring the web." -- so this further reinforces the above: privacy is not a feature and the loss of privacy (where Google decides how much privacy to grant each user) is not to be considered a "trouble".

Nonfree browsers are unethical and problematic for the same reasons which apply to all other nonfree software: we need and deserve to control our own computers. This doesn't just apply to those who write software, but to all computer users. Therefore we all need the freedom to run, inspect, share, and modify published computer software (software freedom). Users who can't or won't learn to program can either choose to learn or get someone they trust to vet and improve software on their behalf. More technically-capable users can help everyone out by vetting and improving published software for their own sake. They can help their community by sharing their improvements under licenses that respect our software freedom. These are deeper more thoroughgoing reasons to reject nonfree software and run only software that respects your software freedom.


The only issue for me regarding Firefox is when I'm on a Mac laptop not connected to power. It is still eating far too much battery compared to Chrome – Safari is no contest. This may be related to the unhealthy number of tabs I keep open.

Other then that, it feels great and is improving.


I mean...Firefox is completely rewritten from the ground up in Rust, a language invented by Mozilla because they rock and they're absolutely killing it. Given that it's the browser with the latest full bore rewrite, shouldn't we expect it to be the coolest atm?

It's not a full rewrite, but many core parts have been rewritten. (Possibly most notably the UI).

I didn't actually notice that Firefox had become uncool. What is it about Chrome that people like better? They seem basically indistinguishable to me, so I use the one that isn't from Google.

Attempting another switch thanks to this post. Installed on desktop and all mobile devices, settings imported from Chrome, everything set up with Firefox Sync... we'll see how it goes.

I’d love to switch to safari, only thing holding me back are the chrome dev tools (which I really like). Is there any alternative for this on safari?

I never left!

There was a noticeable gap between the two browsers for several years. Not anymore.

The plugins to put my tabs on the side panel also kept me in the fold.


2 things chrome still has above ff for me:

- NO bar above the tabs - I CAN double-click to select independent word in url


For the latter, if you're willing to go into about:config, try setting browser.urlbar.clickSelectsAll to true, and browser.urlbar.doubleClickSelectsAll to false and see if that gives you the desired behaviour.

- Firefox in Windows has no bar above the tabs, and I think its soon becoming default in Linux as well. I believe there a flag you can toggle to force enable it.

- Double-clicking in URL bar selects a single word, at least on Firefox Dev Edition (version 60).


Too bad firebug was discontinued.

Not quite the same, but the Developer Tools picked up a lot of the functionality of Firebug: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Tools/Migrating_fro...

Wasn’t firebug integrated into Firefox dev tools?

Subtle differences that make it less useful. It is very close but it is the little things.

re: "The thing that woke me up to my over-reliance on Chrome was when Google implemented an ad blocker directly into the browser."

So what ever happened to that anyway? Has anyone noticed any ad blocking?


Ever since the Mr. Robot Looking Glass add-on marketing disaster I have decided to give Mozilla a few more years to get their shit together with Firefox. Something is seriously wrong at a company if something like that can happen.

> If a friend were to ask me what the best web browser is, I’d answer “Chrome” in a heartbeat

It was always Firefox for me.


Never left. :D All the recent developments are very welcome, and help keep FF relevant and useful to me.

Thank you.


love it...mostly

But some videoa won't be played.

Also the scrolling on Android ia rather sluggish


I have been using Firefox since it was called Firebird. Off late one of the reasons, adoption isn't climbing is because Firefox is not included as one of the supported let alone allowed pieces of software in corporate companies. At my last company, security guys went as far as to classify Firefox a risk. They instructed Desktop Support to remotely uninstall Firefox off users machines. Most people I support would rather use the same software at home that they use at work. I admire what Mozilla is trying to achieve and have always promoted it to people asking me for IT software to use.

Edit: It wasn't my decision to classify Firefox as a security risk. Just stating that in corporate organizations I have worked using Firefox is not encouraged at all.


Why did your security classify Firefox as a risk?

It was just after WannaCry was big news. They had installed some Blucoat or something along those lines. I think Firefox didn't play so nice with the monitoring software hence it was classified a risk. I have to add that the Security Director wasn't a security expert, highly ambitious and was never going to entertain anything he didn't understand.

the Security Director wasn't a security expert - not ideal..

>> I have to add that the Security Director wasn't a security expert

Typical.


Sounds like you just worked with some incompetent IT departments. IE is still the only widely 'supported' browser in enterprise, but most places I've worked have allowed alternative browsers (any of them), even when they have not been willing to support their internal platforms on them. I can think of no rational basis to decide Chrome is supported but not Firefox.

To be fair though, the most valuable company in the world works on Safari. Salesforce is a pretty massive enterprise and IE isn’t the browser they use. Facebook employees don’t use IE.

I wouldn’t say “IE is the only widely supported browser in the enterprise.” Has just gave you theee examples of major enterprises that specifically don’t use IE.




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