- Yes, Mozilla is still the better browser when it comes to privacy.
- Yes, Mozilla has made missteps with Pocket and Mr. Robot.
- Yes, it is slow/resource heavy on certain Macs with non-default resolutions. Yes, Mozilla is working on a fix.
- Yes, it has become really fast for most users after Quantum improvements landed, and likely will continue to get better.
- No, you can't just "fork Chromium" if you don't like the way Google is running the project. Web developers will still make their website work well with whatever Google releases, regardless of standards.
- Yes, Firefox doesn't feel native on your platform of choice.
- Yes, neither does Chrome (doesn't support dark mode on macOS)
- Yes, Chrome has better security against malware.
- Yes, Firefox removed the feature that was essential to your workflow, even though most users don't care.
edit, thought of one more
- No, the argument "Chrome will be the new IE if you don't use Firefox" doesn't matter to most users.
I switched over the firefox a month ago from chrome. While I had tried doing that a few times over the past few years, i came back to chrome because honestly there was not much difference and chrome just feels like home. This time around I had switched to try out a new tech called 'webrender'. Webrender takes a completely different approach to rendering and compositing, instead of maintainting layers and repainting certain sections it renders and paints content like a game engine.
Chrome can get jerky on a 4k monitor with lots of tabs open, but not firefox . With webrender everything is silky smooth. It's so good that I used hacks to also enable it on my intel laptop ( webrender is currently not supported on integrated graphics by default ) and the result is a browser which feels and works smoother than anything that I have experienced before. Everytime I open chrome now it just feels laggy and slow in comparison.
> [Firefox] ... likely will continue to get better.
But to enable it you turn on gfx.webrender.all in about:config.
Going by this bugzilla thread it seems like it should be in stable. But maybe they changed it back.
Though the hardware requirement is actually NVIDIA desktop hardware on Windows 10, i.e. laptops are currently excluded. Which is implemented by checking if your computer has a battery.
I've been using WebRender as my daily driver on Mac for months now.
(Well, that’s not fair, they still support an API for remapping keys that only takes effect after a page tab has loaded.)
"If every addon must be personally signed by Mozilla, why not just shrink-wrap the browser and make me get it from Microsoft at Best Buy?"
Plus, opening facebook? BAM instant new container automagically open for me, to keep facebook in its own walled garden :D
In a world without Windows, something something doors (or Gates, or some other permutations of those).
Though I don't remember the quote, I remember it being a good one.
In fact, I have friends who use CLI or TUI email clients, like mutt. Never really used those for than a little, somehow, despite being a long-time Unix guy. Should try that out as well. Likely be a lot faster than either desktop or webmail.
> Mozilla is still the better browser when it comes to privacy
Tree tabs then makes its super convenient to navigate between these worlds.
unless I am mistaken and -no-remote isnt required anymore.
These are forgivable in my opinion. At least this steps are somehow understandable.
What I‘m really miffed about is their partnership with Cliqz. If Google is the devil then Cliqz is Beelzebub. I don‘t understand what they were thinking...
There must be another cliqz? Or are there some skeletons in the closet I should know about? Beelzebub to Google's devil is pretty strong for the people that own ghostery...
And yes, the difference between this and ads is paper-thin – just like the difference between search and ads is paper-thin – so it's easy to get things wrong.
One of these experiments was through a German start-up called Cliqz, in which Mozilla invested in early stage. For a small fraction of German users, Firefox used the Cliqz engine as an implementation of this recommendation engine: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/cliqz-recommendations-f...
For these users, lots of private data was sent to Cliqz (pretty much the data that Chrome sends to Google). Cliqz is open-source and there were contracts between Cliqz and Mozilla to legally guarantee user's privacy, but I do not know/remember the details. Also, I seem to remember that the default Cliqz settings in the experiment were set to minimal privacy, which wasn't very good.
The experiment didn't last long, in part because of privacy concerns, but some people were (understandably) unhappy about this, including most Firefox devs.
(I may be missing some details, I haven't followed this closely)
More details here: https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/74yo19/cliqz_and_m...
This. I don't get it why people point out on and on the same three mistakes that Firefox team made in the past. In case of Cliqz, I guess they want to say: "I am not going to use Firefox, because it sends browsing history to Cliqz". Isn't that a bit weird? I agree, that was a mistake and Firefox does not have crystal-clear history, but in case of Google Chrome I am not really sure how Google collect, enrich and manage my data.
Personally, I can only notice two advantages of using Google Chrome over Firefox these days: a developer console and it is "faster" to develop websites targeting only one browser. I think I just got used to dev-console in Chrome, with each release the new developer console in Firefox is way better. About the second, it still doesn't matter much, because we have also mobile browsers, which also takes a lot of our precious time during development. Is there are any other unique selling point of Chrome which I've missed?
Their slogan is „The no-compromise browser.
Cliqz gives you relevant search results and does not leak your private data.”
Sounds good on the surface, but what they really mean with „does not leak” is leak to Google. The Cliqz browser sends every keystroke in real-time to some supposedly Cliqz owned AWS instances. I verified that myself with Wireshark. They outright lie about this in their Transparency Cockpit: ”Telemetry data do not contain any information about queries, search results or visited URLs.”
Now Cliqz is owned by Hubert Burda Media one of Germany‘s largest media groups. Honi soit quit mal y pense.
I wrote a comment about this about a year ago and also one about their relationship with Ghostery more recently.
Hubert Burda Media is also one of the primary drivers behind EU link tax and upload filter legislation.
Is that considered well known enough to drop without a translation?
Mozilla employees denied for months that Pocket paid for the integration. Eventually it came out that there was a referral deal.
Mozilla acquired Pocket in early 2017 and said they would release the source code. That still hasn't happened.
My understanding is that at the time it was foist in users it was very much just some random extension, tho
In fact, I switched to Firefox because of the pocket integration, not the other way around.
Is it something fundamental to the different design choices, is it just which has had more test/resources thrown at it, and is the closing of the gap practical and/or on a roadmap?
- it would break all old-style extensions and users were unhappy about that;
- it takes looooots of memory and users were unhappy about that, too.
Now that Firefox has dropped all old-style extensions, there's large focus on reducing memory footprint, to allow moving to this model without costing as much memory as Chrome.
There are still a few kinks to fix, but this new isolation model should hopefully land within a few months.
Also, all sorts of security improvements are much easier now that Firefox dropped old-style extensions. Also, switching many developments to Rust makes new code much, much safer.
If FF gets rewritten in Rust, it will be a decades long effort.
So then OCSP comes along and everything will be fine now, right? Nope, Chrome doesn't (or, again, "didn't", they might have fixed this since I last looked, but that doesn't make it any better) let you do any sort strict revocation checking, so if the OCSP response failed and a response wasn't pinned, Chrome would happily let you in without bothering to check revocation (Firefox does this by default too, annoyingly, but it does have a strict mode).
Even if these things have been fixed, Chrome's general attitude towards web standards and security is to run away and not bother when they don't get their way, so even if you're not already skeptical of blanket claims that they're "more secure", which is a meaningless thing to say, there is evidence that their attitude towards web security might make them less so.
Hah, even compiling Chromium takes a huge amount of effort and a workday or so of time. Don't think I'd want to go spelunking through that codebase
But it should and advocates can make it matter to users, just like they did when Phoenix was the cure for the made for IE blues
As an FF user for decades, esp on Linux, the experience was really poor before the Quantum upgrade. Yes, we lost a lot of plugins, but some of those plugins existed because of FF's legacy code and we are better for it being gone. FF now runs very smooth and uses so much less memory. I actually had Chrome use up all the memory on my 16 gig laptop... it was first for me since I use it so little.
The one thing Chrome does really well is profiles. I have one profile for work, that reopens all pages that were last open. And other for personal viewing in which I don't care. FF's multi account is a plugin and... it's okay for managing multiple social media accounts from one domain, but not good for separating work and play.
I've been a 95% happy Containers user since it was a Test Pilot experiment but there are certainly cases where it's not enough. In my case, not being able to use the mobile device emulator in a container tab was a big pain.
The big memory use fix went out a few years before quantum. Extensions like firebug were leaking memory.
and the removal of RSS support. So much for the champions of the Free Web!
- pretty much nobody was using it;
- it's pretty easy to reimplement as an extension.
Championing the Free Web is harder if you also need to champion the dead web.
edit "nobody" => "pretty much nobody"
You'll need a source for that, since most Wordpress sites which constitute a HUGE part of the web have pretty much by default rss feeds. It's not because you are not using it that nobody is.
And even you premise was true (which is debatable), it cost absolutely nothing for Firefox to keep a functional RSS reader without putting much effort into it (or instead, you know, putting efforts in pushing ads to people who never wanted them).
I'm not making it up. I don't remember the exact details – you'll have to look at the archives of the Mozilla dev-platform mailing list if you want them – but I seem to remember the usage was below 0.001% of users.
I personally read RSS with Thunderbird, which is a much better experience anyway.
> And even you premise was true (which is debatable), it cost absolutely nothing for Firefox to keep a functional RSS reader without putting much effort into it (or instead, you know, putting efforts in pushing ads to people who never wanted them).
It actually does. Every piece of software that you need to maintain is a tax. Paying the tax makes sense if the code is useful, not if it isn't.
Also, frankly, this implementation didn't bring anything to users. It wasn't nice to use. There are much better RSS readers than a browser – starting with RSS WebExtensions.
Additional features that the average user does not want to use or care about creates confusion and a feeling of bloat. An official extension would be nice though.
If the answer to both is no, they should have left it. I wish I could tell my parents to subscribe to some news sites and my website to see updates, so they dont' have to join some kind of mailing list... but I can't, because I'm not going to explain how to configure addons to my 70 year old.
Very happy indeed. I discovered Pocket as a result of it being integrated and have been a very happy user ever since.
I'd be surprised. Do you have a source?
Here, just take a look at the first response:
>Literally 99.99% of Firefox users did not use the built in RSS support.
>I love RSS! I also never used the built in Firefox RSS support because it was not very good. Mozilla also compiled a helpful list of alternative RSS readers for the 0.01% of users that used this feature and made it easy to export your feed list.
- it actually doesn't hurt;
- market research indicates that most people actually love it.
I love RSS! I also never used the built in Firefox RSS support because it was not very good. Mozilla also compiled a helpful list of alternative RSS readers for the 0.01% of users that used this feature and made it easy to export your feed list.
Mozilla have done all these things, and when called out on it, they don't seem to realise they've done anything wrong. That crosses the line from naive to actively malicious.
Literally everything I liked about Firefox is gone, so I have no reason not to use Chrome instead anymore. They are mostly the same, Firefox is just uglier than Chrome now and I can't change that anymore.
But the big difference is that people actually use it.
Yet, this will change though
On some of them. I use Mac with non-default resolution and I have no issues.
I can obviously follow Bugzilla, but does Mozilla have anyone working this from more of a support angle and provide high-level updates on the top issues like this?
So did Chrome, to be fair.
I used to be a huge fan of FF... I think with Chromium, at least for me, the browser has never changed.
Every time I try to go back to FF it's different and I have to re-learn it.
It might be better for them to clone the FF menu system so that you can switch to it without having to re-learn everything.
What, why not? Beaker and others did exactly this.
A features-based approach seems iffy. They can't push speed or site compatibility anymore, assuming MS doesn't completely mishandle the build. Even tiny Vivaldi seems to remain coupled closely enough to Chromium releases that it will be hard to say "theirs is so out of date and missing the latest and greatest."
If they try to deliberately hobble ChromiumEdge, it seems like it wouldn't look good to regulators. "We didn't test Gapps on Gecko, oops, it breaks" is one thing, but it's hard to keep a straight face saying "it mysteriously works in our version of Chromium and not Microsoft's"
Many of the differences they'd likely differentiate on (the sticky Google login, telemetry) are not features for the consumer, they're the features that benefit Google and justify the cost of developing a browser.
Which clearly didn't mean anything  for increasing market share.
In the web's short history we've already seen several browsers rise and fall. It's possible Microsoft may in the future repeat what Google achieved with Chrome if it can find a new edge to compete, pun intended.
The Chrome Web Store is full of active, known-about malware Google does not remove.
And the rest of the world took the path of least resistance, as usual.
People don't shape society willingly. They mostly let life happen to them. Even when you see them protesting, it's the consequence of an emotional reaction and a group effect, not the reflect of their deep personnal vision of life. They have none.
It's why people keep gaining weight, comming back to a violent spouse or voting again for the politicians that just lied in their face.
I have no idea what to do about that. Education works a bit, but it's so slow and easy to destroy. And meanwhile, it's very unfair for the minority trying hard to make things better. They pay a high price, with no thanks, and little benefits except the hope the others won't screw up things more.
Internet Explorer proved that behemoths can and will fall, given enough time to shoot themselves in the foot. Firefox just needs to retain its 10% somehow.
The OP already talked about the problem with this approach to things:
>"...it's very unfair for the minority trying hard to make things better. They pay a high price, with no thanks, and little benefits except the hope the others won't screw up things more."
The people who stick their necks out trying to make a change usually end up sacrificing a lot and not getting anything in return, even if their efforts are successful. Basically, they're "taking one for the team".
Luckily, with browser choices, it isn't nearly that bad; it's not that hard to switch browsers on a whim, after all, but for bigger issues (like political change, as the OP was referring to to a point, with his mention of protesting), "being the change you want" is usually not a winning strategy at a personal level, and a much more successful strategy is to simply go where the grass is greener.
There is something about A) what everyone else is doing, and B) inertia, that is just too difficult to overcome without some sudden significant change.
If Firefox had somehow had this clinching advantage in an alternate reality, they would be the Chrome now. The actual performance and technical differences between the two browsers are by no stretch of imagination deal-breaking. But Google's marketing and bundling has been decisive.
I just hope Mozilla doesn't abandon Gecko but sticks this fight out.
I'm still upset that Mozilla balked on Firefox OS. It would have made a good ChromeOS competitor on laptops and tablets. I would have opted for a Firefox OS tablet instead of Android as a secondary device. A privacy-focused tablet would have been amazing.
Honestly don't see any reason why Mozilla couldn't restart the project on larger-screen devices - skipping the phone phase for a period. Especially now that they have their rust-powered Quantum Browser showing the world what it can do.
They could always do phones later on when the platform matures. I think they are failing to see that solutions are about ecosystems. Few can deny they have a rich, browser-based, ecosystem. They are still thinking in legacy terms - a single-use application.
I believe they have the monetary means (and the talent) to enter hardware (or via Kickstarter). Their worst enemy... they may be a little old-school, corporate management-heavy on top.
Their leadership let Firefox stagnate, the performance suffered the entire time Chrome was taking everyone's market share. We're talking years of neglect.
> If Firefox had somehow had this clinching advantage in an alternate reality.
The alternate reality... Google invests $22 million in the ported version of Fire OS, KaiOS. They are helping to keep alive (and integrating themselves) into the very OS Mozilla created (and abandoned).
But otherwise, you are correct. For most Western markets, Android phones give Chrome a big advantage.
Swapping the browser was the easy part. Not using google search and moving away from my gmail address that I've had since gmail was released were harder habits to break.
Setting up a google-less android (lineageOS + microG) was a real PITA for a few weeks as I kept running into new problems and things not working properly. I don't see how anyone not into tech could pull it off.
As for Android, I took the easy option - switched to iOS. I'd have preferred a third choice, but there's nothing viable at the moment.
It's hard going but worth it for the privacy, and I agree it's not realistic for those not fully into tech.
The world needs more choices for browser, more choices in mobile too. At least there's a few options for computing devices - Windows is a horrible privacy hole IMO, Apple and MacOS is a premium option but seems more private and secure, then there's Google (no comment). Linux can be a huge time sink and hard going but having run it on both desktop and laptop it's a good choice - but for the expensive commerce softwares that only run on Mac or Windows thanks to companies that make 'pro' offerings... for me its Adobe, Capture One, Reason - none of which offer Linux variants or work on Wine properly.
Part of me wishes the EU to legislate more, but that's horrible in other ways.
Although, frankly, I can’t shake the feeling I’ve been living in the B-branch for, say, the last two years. If so, let me just say: if your results are not yet conclusive, please ask your statisticians for what “multi-armed bandit” means to them, then shoot them if the quizzically look at you. You may even skip the question.
Back on point: I know many people who use Firefox for “ideological” reasons. In fact, anybody who still used FF as of 6 months ago arguably fell in that group, save some extreme cases of inertia.
But, even more tittilating: Firefox seems to be once again be competitive wrt performance. That may just be its salvation, and not a moment too early to make it dramatic.
I've used both quite a lot and I've always preferred Firefox, even _without_ considering the privacy aspects. I still use Chrome on my laptop as Firefox doesn't support decent pinch zooming (that's more or less my only complaint), but for desktop usage I definitely choose Firefox over Chrome.
Most users don't care about features; they just want a browser that works well.
Arguably Safari usage is comparable to Firefox in terms of staving off a Chromium monoculture. Safari usage on iOS is actually far more important right now to ensurage some semblance of compatibility.
Also, Mozilla is working on its own cross-platform password manager/password sharing between devices. I'm not sure what the intended policy is wrt password sharing (there may be passwords that I only want to have on one device), but this should be more useful than the Keychain, which doesn't even let me move my passwords from one machine to the next one without arcane incantations.
Logged in just to say, “what a paragraph, haven't read anything with such clarity lately.”
Thanks for it. Yes, I'm using Firefox since 2.0 and never changed once.
Upgrading any application is a chore, and you never know what will break or whether you lose your data. People don't want to do it, and yet they are forced to do it by companies (and open source is even worse). So if you can avoid it, you avoid it.
I'll leave up to you to decide if Firefox haven't destroyed its own market share by confusing changes to UI and breaking backwards compatibility.
Add: I've been a Firefox/Android user for a while now - and with ad-blocking the UX experience and battery life is much better than with Chrome. I encourage everyone to try it (with ad-blocking) for at least a week. Personally for me, Firefox on Android is a bigger deal than on the desktop.
The fact that it is the default on Android makes the game very unfair.
I genuinely don't understand how Firefox on mobile is slow. I hear this complaint often (along with the complaint of Firefox on desktop not being able to run certain websites, which also never occurs to me), but for how much I try, I never managed to make Firefox on mobile (android) slow. There were a couple of days not long ago (we are talking weeks) were after an update the browser did get indeed a little slow, but it was still usable, and it got fixed very quickly.
I use the hell out of my Firefox, both on desktop and mobile. I abuse it in all sorts of ways, and I am extremely demanding of it, yet it never breaks a sweat. Right now I have more than 100 tabs open in my Firefox on android - can't tell the exact number because when the 100th tab is opened, the number just becomes an infinity symbol - which is nothing more than average for me, I can easily get to 350, and it still opens and loads up instantly (at the time of the performance problem mentioned above I had ~260 tabs open).
Am I just lucky? Do the performances/usability change so vastly from phone to phone and person to person?
The EU is already looking into this, and other antitrust issues with Android and even Google Search in general.
As an individual there is not much that I can do about this, but what I can do is to use google products and services as little as possible, and to support smaller, independent alternatives.
I think this has been posted on hn in the recent past, seems like a reasonable jumping-off point: https://medium.com/@ricst/de-google-your-life-now-82fad3ec0f...
Google is hellbent on locking people into their ecosystem. One such move is the promotion of AMP: https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/13/amp-for-email-is-a-terribl...
Speaking of email and browsers, the Gmail app on top of iOS presents the user with a choice between two browsers:
2. Chrome, which on iOS is a reskinned Safari, but with Sync and controlled by Google obviously
But when Safari is selected they actually open links in an app Web View. Which does not share sessions and cookies with Safari. And their reskinned Chrome doesn't do Safari's content blocking either. Firefox on iOS doesn't do that either, but at least Firefox has its own tracking protection.
Speaking of Chrome on iOS, they give the user the choice to switch search engines, supposedly, however they only list Yahoo and Bing as alternatives. No DuckDuckGo or Qwant or the ability to add your own.
Android still allows users to switch their web browser or to use an alternative app store, but I wonder for how long. I mean they disallow users to uninstall their apps. My guess is that they are afraid of locking Android down more due to fines from the EU.
Sadly what made Google great several years back was openness. But times are changing.
Firefox on iOS can't do this, unfortunately :(
What would you suggest using?
I would be happy just with Safari’s content blockers, but apparently they use a type of web view that doesn’t support that either.
All default apps on Android live on the system partition, meaning even if you uninstalled them, regular, non-rooted users wouldn't have any additional space to use.
This policy also means you can't really mess up (for average consumers) an android phone by uninstalling something important, like webview or the Play Store.
Any updates to the default apps are installed on the user-accessible data (IIRC) partition, and so can be uninstalled by users, actually freeing up space.
A problem and conflict of interest for them regarding this is that they are funded mainly by Google. Firefox has a conflict of interest here because they are not doing all they can here because that would cut off their main source of revenue.
So, for example, they have sort of a mute option for sound (just like other browsers) but they don't allow you to mute video by default (without blanket turning it off for all websites). I don't know anyone who loves being bombarded with video content when they want to read an article. I find the moving stuff to be distracting; even if the sound is off. Also the bandwidth is kind of not nice, especially on mobile. The BBC has started putting multiple video previews in their articles. This kind of attention whoring is highly annoying. This is not news to anyone of course.
The obvious fix allow people to whitelist sites to allow autoplaying video (youtube, netflix, and other websites where people go specifically to enjoy video content) and switch that off for everything else. All the extenions for that claim to do this are basically a combination of broken or simply setting the config property that blanket bans all autoplay video for every website (just preempting the inevitable comment to try extension X here).
Similarly, the containers extension is great. This should be baked into the browser and improved to the point where the default container is a private container unless you whitelist the domain. Right now private browsing happens in a separate window. It's an obvious thing to do: every site by default is private until you say otherwise.
Both kind of are in direct conflict with how Google, and by extension, how Mozilla monetizes. This is the main reason this is made hard to do. I'm sure if this was easier, there'd be countless extensions doing exactly that. Instead people sort of emulate private browsing with stuff like noscript and other extensions that throw away cookies. Also nice but not user friendly.
Doing all this in fool proof, user friendly way would be a great way for Firefox to differentiate. It would unfortunately cut them off from Google funding probably.
So for this specific case, the reason it hasn't happened yet is not some nefarious conflict of interest but actual hard problems that need to be solved (and are being solved), coupled with resource constraints.
As far as containers go, I agree they are great if you understand the model. I use them. Most users find them terribly confusing in their current form. Again, a UX issue. That said, the idea of having things in a private container by default is somewhat interesting. The hard part in some way would be the discoverability of the whitelisting flow and user confusion about why their customization information is not being remembered like in every other browser. I'll try to shop this around to people a bit and see if they can figure out a way to make this work sanely.
Disclaimer: I work on Firefox, but not in UX.
 Google's solution in Chrome; it suppresses new startups by making the experience suck there, which is good for incumbents like YouTube but maybe less good for the web as a whole in the long term.
I was talking about video auto playing (with the sound off) by default. I don't want that ever, unless I allowed it before. I want to block html5 content from activating at all unless specifically allowed. I'm on the beta channel. As far as I know there are no plans to address this and extensions that have tried to implement this are running into some limitations that make this hard apparently. Hence a lot of variations of flashblock extensions that simply set the about:config setting instead of having per site policies with whitelists and blacklists.
Private browser containers would be nice to have even if they are not yet default out of the box. I'd simply make this an option on all containers (including the default one and default it to off). I agree the ux for this would need a bit work to be discoverable/intuitive.
It looks like https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1405827 tracks WebExternsion API that would make it easy to create extensions that address this use case.
Firefox became popular by being fast and offering tabbed browsing when IE didn't. I think being fast and offering radical quality of life feature is a good strategy to follow even now.
And popup blocking. I remember how much of the Internet was utterly infested with popups in the early-to-mid-00s. Firefox was the only way to not get inundated, unless you were a really hardcore geek and ran a proxy server like Junkbuster (the ancestor of Privoxy), and most of the population wasn't going to do that.
Popup blocking changed how the Internet works, and you can thank Firefox and Opera for that.
Please stop creating web applications that only work with Chrome (or Chrome and Safari).
Previously Firefox was a no-brainer choice for its deep customizibility and functionality it afforded addons, which primarily distinguished it from Chromium, however since the move to Quantum I have too many addons without an equivalent to switch, with a couple favorites that did migrate to WebExtensions offering an inferior experience.
Vivaldi would be my second choice should I be forced to switch since its integrated features more closely match Opera's original features, albeit less extensive.
Mozilla felt the need to do what they did in that regard and I understand the various reasoning for the decision however the way it panned out didn't make for a browser I'm currently interested in upgrading to, sadly.
I actually spent last night getting a full-blown desktop FF running on my chromebook (by way of Crostini, their Linux virtualization). It's not something my mom or even my wife would ever be able to do, but it is possible. And if Mozilla really cared, they could package it in a way that would make it a whole lot easier to install.
EDIT: To clarify, mean the rendering engine (so we keep the ecosystem diversity), not the reskinned Safari. Reskinning Safari with Firefox branding does nothing for WebKit web monoculture.
I'm an Apple user in as far as I have an iPad Pro and a Macbook Pro, I certainly don't hold Apple in as high regard as I used to do but those two products are superb even with the limitations of the iPad/iOS.
The problem with this is that allowing other rendering engines would open up a whole can of worms that Apple would rather not have to deal with, and there's no easy way, even if Apple wanted it, to allow JIT execution for third-party browser engines without utterly destroying the entire codesigning system.
This is true on iOS as well, just it is on almost every other operating system: you don't get to expand your privileges by being able to generate code because said code still runs in your process. There's no "broken security model" here; in a sense iOS has a much stronger security model than Android does because all code that gets executed can be statically verified beforehand.
Unless the state of static analysis has somehow changed significantly without me realizing it, no, this does not help at all. While I can (to some extent) verify the code in the code generator itself, I cannot verify that the code generator will not generate arbitrary code unless it lists out all the code it can possibly generate, in which case it's, well, an interpreter. The task of verifying program behavior is now shifted from static analysis on a compiled binary to dynamic instrumentation of a running program, which is much harder to do.
That's not what we are trying to prove, though; we're trying to show that the generated code does not perform certain undesirable operations. this is much harder to do with dynamically generated code than static code.
Damn you, Apple.
They haven't done this in the last 10 years of iOS/iPhoneOS, can't imagine why they'd change their mind now. It is a shame.
never gonna happen
It has a more convenient UI, plus I get shared history and bookmarks with my desktop. So basically I use it for Firefox Sync.
That would be like putting a Firefox skin over IE6 engine a few years back - it would not help the ecosystem in the way this article asks for.
(but yes, I know it's still using webkit behind the scenes)