Luckily, Firefox, arguably among the most "free from corporate greed" of the browsers, has now finally caught up to Chrome on stability and speed (in my experience), and is rapidly adding privacy and content blocking features and defaults that Chrome lacks. If it were still behind Chrome technically, as it was in 2008, it probably wouldn't matter that Mozilla is more trustworthy than Google.
There seems to be a bloat cycle with many products, browsers being one of them. They start off lean, gain features over time, and then they are or feel so heavy that a lean new competitor can feel like a fresh breeze.
Remember when Firefox was the fresh breeze, compared to the Netscape suite? I remember Chrome being perceived the same way when it came out.
Chrome’s extensions were isolated, easy to develop and had a permissions system in place.
To this day Firefox is still lagging behind in its isolation. For example Chrome can disable extensions in Incognito, but Firefox does not.
Also if you’re not paying attention, Chrome won and it’s nearly a monopoly. This means browser extensions get developed for Chrome first.
Having similar APIs helps with migration.
I view the change as a good thing because I can finally develop my own extensions without headaches.
That is being worked on though:
> The first batch of changes to not run extensions in private browsing mode by default landed, this is still behind a preference.
Solution: change profile to launch another browser instance without extensions.
Go to "about:profiles" in the address bar, or configure shortcuts in your OS to launch browser with different profiles: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Firefox/Mul...
Up until recently†, I'm not aware of a situation where a popular Firefox extension was unable to work in Chrome due to Google restrictions.
†I'm purposefully excluding the whole adblock thing, as that's super recent and thus not relevant here.
I actually still think the API design was a good idea and am glad for the added security. Still, the API change took down some popular extensions for sure.
Now there is no more middle click to submit on forms and I used that at my old job to speed up a bunch of tedious tasks.
It is, and it boils down to the usual security vs. utility tradeoff - beyond some point, more secure means less useful. Kernel access is a stretch, but then again, I could make my computing experience much more pleasant if I had a deeper ability to control and inspect the browser from external software running on my computer.
Especially in Private/Incognito Mode I only want extensions for blocking ads/trackers + 1Password and that’s it.
Also being able to see what the extension does is really valuable to me, because allowing an extension to read the data on all websites you visit is really suspicious for a majority of extensions.
Mozilla has had a good review process in place and truth be told Chrome's Web Store has suffered from spyware and malicious extensions more than Firefox. But that's only because it is more popular and Google is known for really screwed / non-existent human support (e.g. extensions being reported as being malware with no immediate action).
That's fair, but this dynamic drags down usefulness of the whole platform. Browsers could offer extended permissions allowing extensions arbitrary control over the browsing experience, but they can't trust extension authors not to get greedy about privileges, and can't trust regular users to be smart about it. It's what happened with Android: applications requested every possible permission, users learned to just accept it.
> Also being able to see what the extension does is really valuable to me, because allowing an extension to read the data on all websites you visit is really suspicious for a majority of extensions.
That's true, and I wish there was an easy way to transparently run a I/O trace on an extension, and to have super-fine-grained user-level control over its permissions. I use a bunch of extensions that modify the contents of sites; I wish I could manually restrict them to a whitelist - and sometimes blacklist. Like, e.g. I don't need Cloud2Butt to work on my banking site.
Not me. If the new extension system didn't present a loss of important (to me) functionality, then I'd think it was a good thing.
But the loss of functionality happened, and that change is what makes the new Firefox unsuitable for me, so I stopped using it (and I never used Chrome).
This is probably very subjective, but I can absolutely not relate to that.
I certainly see where GP is coming from, Microsoft do have an awesome legacy in dev tooling that lives on to this day with products like VSCode, but browser tooling might be the glaring exception to this - perhaps since Microsoft never really was or became an 'internet' company.
I think that's a debatable assertion.
... years later ...
- A year ago I often used Firefox for its great Canvas debugger. They broke it. I've since forgotten about Firefox.
... 2019 ...
- Microsoft is trying to drive people away from IE, hoping for Edge adoption. I don't care for Firefox. Opera is almost Chrome with extensions. Edge sounds like it wants to be Chrome. Chrome won on most battlefronts. I don't like that fact, because of the "free from corporate greed" reasons mentioned, but it's going to be hard to change the status quo.
Lolno, they gave up and are ditching Edge to use Chrome because Electron. https://9to5google.com/2018/12/03/microsoft-chrome-based-bro...
There's plenty of room to improve on privacy. Non technical people don't care too much about privacy issues yet, but they will.
I keep trying to change to Firefox, but bring dragged back to Chrome.
I mostly work on stupidly big Single Page Apps, which may be part of the issue.
Obviously the v8 stuff also made a massive difference too.
Less RAM = More CPU or more disk space (and much slower)
Less CPU = more disk or RAM
Less disk = more network, RAM and/or CPU
Along the lines of a custom memory manager, that never releases memory back to the OS. If you open tons of tabs, closing them wouldn't release the memory back. Which is a decent guess - it used the memory once, it will probably need it again.
This was how I remember it as well. Not only that but the timing was very fortunate for Chrome because at the time Firefox had some very bad memory leaks which in my opinion really helped with Chrome adoption since people who use Firefox were more likely to be willing to switch browsers having already switched from another browser.
Breaking ad-blocking is sending me back to Firefox.
Chromes super fast start up speed and clean UI is what caused me to switch when it first came out.
I try to live after the maxim: freedom before convenience (at least in parts of my life).
See: Chrome and Android
But by that measure safari is open source because WebKit is open source.
There's a lot more closed source code in Safari than there's in Chrome. But sure: Why not give them credit for open-sourcing WebKit? Safari is closer to open-source than IE.
The added funtionality that the browser "needs", once added, is in practice overwhelmingly directed at commercial purposes, primarily advertising-supported businesses.
In theory it could be used for anything.
Correct me if wrong, but Netscape was originally intended to be a browser for commercial enterprise where companies would pay licensing fees.
And Firefox, whatever its purpose was (perhaps an alternative to another corporate browser from Microsoft), ended up being the precursor to Chrome, a browser written by an ad sales company, as the original Chrome developers were originally Firefox developers.
Following the ideal that the web is this wonderful open platform accessible to anyone, I would like to see more browsers, with reduced functionalty (and perhaps increased safety/privacy and freedom from ads), written not by companies nor organizations that try to compete feature-for-feature with those corporations. These simpler browsers could target the non-commercial web, e.g. the web as a free information source. A web where an individual page need not be a conglomeration of random third parties vying for user attention.
Methinks it should be more troubling to the HN crowd that "browsers" are not amongst the class of programs that can be easily written, edited and compiled by anyone. They could be, but the popular definition of "browser" needs to change, moving away from "all the features of Company's browser" or "all the features Working Group is discussing with input from Companies" and more toward what a given user (cf. company, advertiser), including non-commercial users, actually needs for a given task.
There will always be corporate-sponsored web browsers with corporate-friendly, advertising-friendly features. But we need non-corporate browsers too. They may be enough to accomplish the user's non-commercial tasks but not well-suited for web advertising, e.g. optional auto-loading third party resources.
It took slightly longer to launch than IE, but since it had tabs, I didn't care, because I wasn't opening a new instances constantly.
Not doing the same in Firefox was a conscious design decision by the Firefox team, which didn't want to hoard the memory when Firefox wasn't in use.
(I suppose it makes sense I'd agree with someone else with a Perl-inspired handle :-)
>Curious, I remember speed being the primary reason
It was probably both. I know I was definitely sick of sites (mostly Flash) crashing the browser and throwing my entire session in the bin. I was probably already using some Gecko-based "light" browser instead of Firefox, but V8 did make a difference when using the emerging web app style sites like Gmail.
I'm pretty sure there's a copy of MooTools in the Chromium repository.
Among the tech crowd, probably. For the remaining 99.99% of users, absolutely not. Chrome's appeal came from the pervasive advertisement campaigns, from the bundling strategy with other pieces of software, for the pre-installation on new computers or from the ads on Google SEarch homepage.
It's not really possible to separate out the effects of advertising from the effects of the product actually being better. Maybe I installed chrome because I saw an ad, but I stopped using firefox because it was clear that chrome was better. The fact that you're emphasizing ads over the very real performance advantages just means you've got an axe to grind.
My patience with software is small but I had few issues with Firefox except on Google properties.
Not saying your experience didn't happen but it doesn't match mine.
I even used to be a Google fan and without being able to pinpoint a date I have memories of trying (and failing to) start using Chrome as my default browser at least once.
So I agree with GP and personally think the real story is more that Chrome:
- had massive marketing budgets and misleading campaigns
- won a number of benchmarks (but nothing to write home about on my Linux or Windows boxes)
- sometime between 2009 and now web developers forgot what we fought for when we fought against IE until 2009: that sites should work in all mainstream browsers. We didn't fight so much to kill IE as to let everybody else live.
- Suddenly sites started showing up that only worked in Chrome. Every new browser including modern versions of IE is more capable than anything we had back then and we also have polyfills and whatnot and so if someone cannot be bothered to do basic testing in more than one browser then I don't know what.
- I cannot say that Google was the worst but they certainly have had their "weird issues that doesn't affect Chrome". And I cannot say they did it on purpose and everyone is innocent until proven guilty but let me say that for a company that almost prints their own money their QA departement might have been slightly understaffed :-P
1. Firefox worked very well, thank you and I'm no natural saint when it comes to patience with software.
2. I am frontend (and backend) developer so I should know the difference between using bleeding edge features that doesn't exist in all browsers yet, non standard quirks that developers abuse, and performance problems.
That’s my opinion anyway.
Feel free to expand on what features you still miss in Firefox that exists in Chrome though.
Looking from the other side Chromes extension API looks like a toy compared to Firefox, even after Mozilla "nerfed" it. (And ours is improving while Chrome is actively trying to remove even some of the most used features from theirs.)
I wish we could be honest about things like you && at the same time behave like grown ups.
Yes: I've been arguing against a couple of Chrome fans here but hopefully only when they're plain wrong or are presenting their personal ideas as truisms without any evidence :-)
All this at a time when Mozilla was spending lots of time trying to come up with a good Firefox 4.0, and was about to bet the farm on Firefox OS (and lose).
Firefox is and has always been perfectly adequate, except maybe for a few html5 canvas type apps.
It would seem that was the case for many more people, see for example for a fairly old article:
Of course, many were using plugins with Firefox which contributed to the speed advantage of Chrome. But milliseconds matter, even program startup time.
He still took a while to come around and ultimately it was the tab isolation that convinced him. Tabs were a critical component to how he did research and a few crashes were all it took.
Alternatively, it could mean that, like me, they had NoScript installed when Chrome came out, making Firefox genuinely faster by dint of brute do-less-stuff-ism.
0: or when we heard about it anyway.
All that means is that you've opted out of the web that the rest of the world is using. Good for you. But people who have disabled JS make up such a small porportion of web users (~.2% of pageviews) that your experience is pretty much irrelevant to the question of general browser trends.
I'd also bet that Chrome was faster at painting pages than Firefox, so it wasn't just a JS engine advantge.
That may very well have been true, but if Chrome spends 10 cycles rendering the page and 100 cycles executing malware, and Firefox spends 20 cycles rendering the page and zero cycles executing malware, Chrome still loses despite being being twice as fast at the only thing that matters.
0: unless you count monitors as TVs, or disassembly-for-parts as use.
Marketing and the antitrust against MS are the difference.
No, it means I have a mother, siblings, friends, colleagues, ... that understand next to nothing to computers and would probably not even notice if I switched them from Chrome to Edge. And if any of them use Chrome, it is definitely not out of a conscious choice.
With all due respect, the single fact that you are commenting here on HN makes you more tech-literate than an overwhelming majority of the Web users. For a simple experiment, got to see your mom/dad, and just ask them what browser they are using, and why. IME, in every case, they will tell you they use ‶Google″, because they are not even necessarily aware of the whole browser concept, just accessing ‶The Internet″ – and I say it without any contempt; I'd be unable to do the tenth of what they are able to do in other fields.
Once again, I'm not saying that Chrome had/has not technical advantages; I'm saying that they were not decisive in making people switch.
Or maybe you did because it was drive-by installed with other software, like common malware, something Google paid millions for.
Imagine if MS did anything similar with any of their products. There would be no end to the outrage.
Firefox's has been horrible for a long time, but at least (until they dropped the old extension system) it was possible to fix it.
Google's primary objective for Chrome and Android was simply to get people to use the internet more, on the (entirely reasonable) assumption that they'd probably use Google and they would see a lot of AdSense units. They invested heavily in getting better software into the hands of as many users as possible. Of course they harvest a whole bunch of user data, but dragging up the quality of the browsing experience was a far bigger factor IMO.
Would Edge exist if Chrome had never happened? Would Firefox have a fast JS engine and proper sandboxing? What would the non-Apple smartphone market look like without Android? Whether you like Google's business practices or not, they've massively increased our expectations of browser software, in the same way that Starbucks created a world where you can buy a half-decent cappuccino in McDonalds.
Google paid Apple 12 billion dollars last year to be the default search engine in Safari and another half billion to Firefox for the same. Google's primary objectives with Chrome was to lower that amount and to guard their monopoly on search.
by technical users
I imagine the general public still trusts them all the same or maybe even more.
I was a non technical users when chrome come out. I was studying civil engineering then in college. I certainly like Google as a symbol of freedom and technology superiority in the more pure sense than msft.
Bingo! Thank you for pointing this out. For those younger readers, Chrome's penetration was forceful and uninvited. A browser add-on/search hijacker/ persistant spyware known as Google Toolbar was it's predecessor project from Google. It was an epidemic across the PC landscape for half a decade and all those infected machines became Chromes initial foothold. There's plenty of positives from the project, but for Chrome to achieve browser monopoly status, user consent sure did seem to get sacrificed.
- a bit unrelated but installer was a shim, ~downloading it took 3 seconds and 500kB
- Few buttons
- Transient status bar
- Transient download widget
- Good ergonomics (easy to close tabs in rapid successions without moving your mouse, the next one would fall in place)
- Clear preference panel
- Maybe later: pdf support and print dialog
With all due respect, none of the pluses you mentioned would be a reason for a random, tech-illiterate, using-a-computer-for-FB person to install Chrome.
Now, I still struggle to move to firefox as I'm on a retina MBP, where firefox riles up my cpu and drains my battery.
I get that they have limited resources but it makes getting people to switch (and stay) on Firefox increasingly hard if it cuts battery life of their laptop nearly in half.
In the meantime, setting gfx.compositor.glcontext.opaque to true in about:config helps battery life significantly, at the cost of rounded corners and vibrancy.
Also, coincidentally, do you know what exactly causes the H264 problem on macOS? I've tried to track it down in bugzilla to no success, but I am 100% sure it is a bug. The energy impact for playing a H264 YouTube video in Safari has an energy impact of ~25. Firefox used to be ~60, but these days its ~180 (!)
> In the meantime, setting gfx.compositor.glcontext.opaque to true in about:config helps battery life significantly, at the cost of rounded corners and vibrancy.
Thanks for this! :)
I think CA was only moved to the window server relatively recently. Before then, my understanding is that it simply used OpenGL in-process, so it had no energy advantages over Firefox's built-in compositor. There was also a long time when the APIs to host CA content in the window server were private APIs and only Safari could use them.
> Also, coincidentally, do you know what exactly causes the H264 problem on macOS?
I believe, but am not sure, that H.264 is decoded in software in Firefox but is decoded in hardware in Safari.
> I believe, but am not sure, that H.264 is decoded in software in Firefox but is decoded in hardware in Safari.
I am 100% certain it is (was?) on Firefox as well, because it would have been impossible to hit the aforementioned 60 energy impact without hardware acceleration. This is done through VideoToolBox, but that might have changed.
Firefox and Edge eventually adopted Chrome's design choices to have more content area, no "File, Edit, View" menu bar and an integrated search and address bar. But for years Chrome was ahead.
Guess who sets up the computers for the remaining 99.99%?
If you seduce the tech crowd, you also get the other users.
And of course it has a complete garbage resources management which can be easly tested by opening few hundred empty tabs.. (mostly freezes whole OS around 180-270 tabs on modern desktops)
I think the focus was technical-- stability, speed, security being the main focuses. There is an element of breaking away from proprietary software in the comic too. (Rather ironic, to my mind, considering that it's Google's Internet now... >sigh<)
i've mainly used the mozilla lineage of browsers (all the way through netscape and back to mosaic) and was really dismayed when this happened because even by then it was pretty obvious that chrome was part of google's wild west landgrab before regulations and law had a chance to catch up to online surveillance.
I think the drive behind Chrome was to compete with Microsoft, by making a browser that was good enough to deliver your applications, and so make your OS irrelevant.
They have succeeded to the point where the only thing I would use Windows for now is Excel (and sometimes some obsolete development tools).
Chrome (when not on Android) seems far more benign than most applications as far as "surveillance" goes.
make no mistake, chrome's primary strategic purpose was to control the web in ways that extended and solidified google's reach in search, ad views, and personal data. they flanked it with a suite of tools (e.g., gmail, maps), content (e.g, youtube), and platforms (e.g., android) and made them work best on chrome (à la microsoft with IE).
chrome phones home constantly and uses increasingly intrusive techniques to identity us (like requiring a google account). whether you believe it's benign or not, that's surveillance. they're slowly boiling the pot and we're the frogs.
I agree with your views on privacy and Chrome. I've stopped using Chrome except at work, where (sadly) the Chrome dev tools are too valuable to ignore.
I can agree with that in some regards, but I do think that MS has done a lot of things better. I think classic ASP was much better than PHP, though most of the unique functionality you might need was captured behind third party COM components. I think C# was/is a significant improvement over Java, and prefer .Net in general. .Net Core has been a very good shift, though some things seem more convoluted than they probably need to be.
As someone who tends to reach for Node first, I really do appreciate MS's efforts in that space to get things running as smoothly in windows as in Linux and Mac. As an early adopter (0.6/0.8 era) windows use was pretty painful. VS Code is imho was leaps and bounds ahead of brackets and atom at release. I also really do like MS Teams, though lack of a Linux build of the client is just stupid and short sighted.
I still use chrome first, but have ublock origin enabled, and tend to be picky about my exclusions, pisses me off to no end when sites just don't work with it enabled.
but they’ve certainly stagnated in my mind. i still use outlook/exchange and excel, but generally migrated away from microsoft many years ago now.
IE8 Beta 1 shipped March 5, 2008; Chrome's beta release wasn't till September. OK, admittedly, Chrome's stable release happened before IE8's, but MS was working on much the same thing.
And no, for me if Chrome is superior, it’s absolutely irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that I cannot trust Chrome and that Firefox has been good enough for quite some time.
Yes I know the general population doesn’t think like me. I also think that ignorance in tech is dangerous.
Back when I first started using Chrome (I think in 2008), I used to describe it as a weekend race car with all the seats, upholstery, and HVAC stripped out. Fast, no frills.
Firefox, on the other hand, was your 1970s custom van with a cool wizard painted on the side, really comfortable seats, and lots of room for further customization. Not fast, but certainly versatile and designed to your liking.
IE7, naturally, was a Yugo.
(It does like to consume RAM as if it was running SQL Server though.)
If the firefox vs IE wars taught me anything its that tech savvy users have a huge impact on adoption. If you win over the nerds they will install firefox absolutely everywhere. They will develop their stuff to work well with firefox.
Chrome hasn't quite become ie6 yet but I feel like if trends continue Firefox will become power users favored browser. Firefox even today is still more extensible and customizable. It also has a more credible reputation for privacy. I believe even now the threat of Firefox is what makes Google hesitate to do things like kill ad blocking.
Chrome was widely adopted because it didn't suck and because google--a brand they already learned to trust for search--was constantly beating them over the head to upgrade.
IE wasn't just bad on technical grounds. It genuinely sucked for everyone. It was constantly getting infected with toolbars, popups, and generally crashing all to hell. It was confusing for people to use even when it wasn't any of those things.
Chrome was adopted by the majority of users because it worked at all. IE just didn't.
Indeed. When Chrome was first released Firefox had already broken the IE monopoly having reached around 33% of the browser "market share", and was still growing. Speed was the issue I seem to remember most people switching to Chrome for at the time.
It then started adding bloat and terribleness, which Chrome didn't have.
It's recovered now though, and is far better than chrome. It saddens me that so many on HN champion google and actively push for competitors to fail.
I don't remember where IE was at the time but I remember some websites were still only supporting it.
ps- sorry it was so long. I actually am working on that.
You can argue that Site Isolation is more important than large performance improvements (I think that's a losing argument, given that Site Isolation as presently deployed in Chrome doesn't even defend against compromised renderers and as such is restricted to being another Spectre mitigation), but you're being way too glib here.
I recognize that WebRender is a huge technique achievement and I absolutely love it when people achieve silky smooth 60fps renders, and if I was working on games or graphics or UX, I'd probably rank that over top of Site Isolation.
The original post mentioned process isolation and flash, so my comment was more a long the lines of 'it's still behind chrome (in isolation)'
In my opinion, despite their technical achievements, Firefox is currently headed down the same path Opera went down before they became essentially a Chromium reskin. Their dropping usage share is negatively affecting sites compatibility with Firefox, which is the only reason I went back to Chrome after giving Quantum a try.
> No one else had this at the time, and it was a big deal because Flash was still widespread so sites were even less stable than they are today.
I never saw a site crash my browser/tab until I used chrome.
To me it seemed like a workaround to a immature code-vase, because Firefox never had issues like this.
Either way: not really a selling point to me, at least.
WRT crashing stuff: I’ve used mostly Windows and Linux. Is unstable web browsers just a Mac thing?
Actually IE8 had the same thing (and it was in development by 2007, so the few-months-later release date vs Chrome doesn't matter in terms of architecture).
Also when Flash crashed it would crash its container opposed to the outer page. Flash was also a separate process from the containing page.
This was my main initial reason for switching - sick of constantly having one tab lock up the entire browser. It was also prettier, and I liked the combined search and URL bar.
Now, I have no reason to change. Plus, Firefox is on all the machines at work, and really badly handles multi-system user accounts - if logged in on one computer then you cannot use on any others without launching with a special command line flag and switching to an entirely new profile (where none of the settings/logins are kept). Last I checked they had no interest in fixing this.
Chrome has never been process-per-tab - this is a common misconception. It's process per domain, except there are certain circumstances in which two tabs on different domains will still share the same process (such as opening a tab through a middle click).
The first change it referenced was a process per tab, and then on page 13 it referenced V8.
Pardon ? Its completely opposite, same with performance, try to open more than 100 tabs on firefox and chrome..
No other browser had it built in at the time.
IE8 had a public release with process-per-tab before Chrome debuted.
I’m sad to say that I hope that was my experience, but I’ve being trying Firefox (again) for the last 6 months and I still manage to make it irresponsive while developing, and very slow when using plugins like dark reader. So I had to revert to Chrome but I’ll try again in a few months.
I know enough to try to change it in the config files, but I couldn't figure it out in the time I spent attepting = /
the main selling point to me was closing it and opening it back with all the tabs was not a dramatic event but part of a clutter-free workflow
Arguably, with its market share dwindling fast, it's not enough to just be technically on par.
Further, it is absolutely not up to par on Linux and from what I know, MacOS as well.
Plus you get the benefit of Firefox not corrupting its session weekly. Losing all your cookies, tabs and history frequently got super annoying.
I want Firefox to be faster and superior to chrome in every way. Ignoring it's problems won't make them go away and definitely won't make them a priority for the devs.
I am sitting on Arch here, Firefox Wayland and it's absolutely up to par, in fact Chromium seems less responsive these days. Granted, I have a very tuned, minimalist install, maybe on the likes of Ubuntu it's a different story.
I also have Firefox on my Windows 10 gaming machine at home and while I haven't run any performance anaylsis, I can;t tell the difference between the two in terms of speed and responsiveness.
The Mac version has crashed on me a few times though whereas my Windows 10 version hasn't.
Other than the OS they are on the two browser instances are set up exactly the same way.
Camino meant to fix that, but it has moved onto greener pastures.
As opposed to Chrome? Or Opera, Vivaldi, etc?
Browsers are a class of application whose UI's have been "native" only to themselves for years now.
Polar is an app for managing your reading. It also supports advanced features like caching web pages locally, annotating PDFs, tagging the documents you're reading, etc.
It's based on Electron and I've been going deep into Chrome internals as well as experimenting with Chrome extensions.
It's definitely a double edges sword here but I think there's an overly negative view of Chrome and/or having one platform.
Chrome is owned by Google. However, Chromium is Open Source.
Electron wouldn't exist without Chromium and there are other browsers based on Chromium.
I don't really see the benefit of duplicating things for the sake of duplicating them.
A lot of Firefox fans here argue that Firefox provides an alternative to keep us safe.
Safe from what? Chromium? It's Open Source?
Do we really need a duplicated HTML renderer? It's not like Chromium is going to vanish.
There's the argument that most Chromium developers are employed by Google - but not if Mozilla employs them.
It's always possible for fork these things.
Safe from monopoly control over Web standards.
The Web has been a consensus ecosystem, and Google does not have a track record of proposing reasonable standards. In my mind this is most grossly evident in the case of PNaCl, which was tied to their Pepper API and effectively impossible for non-Blink browsers to implement.
Google pushed for PNaCl to become a Web standard, and it was only through years of difficult effort that Mozilla was able to show AsmJS as a better solution, which eventually gave rise to the reasonable standard of WebAssembly.
Were Google in a monopoly market position back then, they would have pushed PNaCl, and non-Blink browsers would be unable to render the modern Web.
That might sound fine if you believe that Blink is the be-all-and-end-all of Web technology. But we have Servo now, and we already know better.
They could fork it if necessary.
And I definitely agree that Google is faltering on a lot of their execution lately.
Most of the things they ship are like a 6/10 in terms of usability.
> Do we really need a duplicated HTML renderer?
Hah. Yes, and if there’s a point when we don’t, I vote we keep Servo instead of Blink. (There won’t be.)
Although it’s possible I’m replying to some filler in a comment that starts with a link to a product only related in the sense of “apps that use Electron exist”…
- I can't disable CORS in Firefox (yes, sometimes you have to disable CORS rather than modify the Allow-Origin header response, for example if you need to test against a production backend) (and, no, CORS Everywhere is not a sufficient solution).
- I can't inspect WebSocket frames in anything except Chrome.
- Safari does not allow self-signed certs over WSS (and there's no way to override it).
- Safari does not respect System-wide APC Config for Proxies.
Unfortunately, some of the above issues are blockers.
I can test with Firefox on staging or in production, but not being able to test up front during development really impacts compatibility testing.
If another browser was as good or better for development, I'd be happy to use it.
From a consumer perspective, the story is very different: Any browser will probably do, but choosing Firefox has the best long term effect on the development of the internet.
> the best long term effect
What do you mean by this?
Supporting Google/Chrome is supporting corporate interest over user interest. We've seen them already taking steps to remove support for 3rd Party Ad Blocking and to ignore privacy related features.
that's a bit misleading, no?
If you keep in mind that Google is an Ad company then adding an Ad Blocker to their product doesn't make sense until you consider that by doing so they diminish the need for 3rd party Ad Blockers. Once you can successfully argue 3rd Party Ad Blockers are unnecessary then the argument for removing an API they depend on to function is easier.
I am primarily a back-end/services/middleware dev and don't do much front-end stuff these days.
When I do though, I use Firefox's dev tools and I don't know...I'm not sure what I'm missing?
I have Chrome on this machine too and have tried the dev tools there but I beyond layout I don't know what the differences are or what Firefox's dev tools are lacking.
Every release they publish a blog post with new DevTools features, here's the latest one from January 2018 . If you scroll to the bottom it has a section titled "Discover other DevTools features", which provides a long list of features they've been adding over time.
Their console autocomplete is just amazing. If you type `document.querySelectorAll('body')`, it shows you a preview of the result without even having to hit enter. Then if you type a period it shows you that the constructor is a NodeList, as well as its methods. They go over many of these features in their May 2018  blog post. Keyboard navigation has continually been improving as well.
There's no huge killer feature, it's just very solid all-around. Over the years it has remained miles ahead of the competition. With that being said, I still use Firefox as my daily-driver, and I'm perfectly happy with their DevTools for many tasks. And they're actually superior for certain tasks, for example, when working with `display: grid` and `display: flex` . I usually switch over to Chromium while I'm actively developing or debugging something, but I don't think there's any need to limit yourself to just one tool.
But it's no longer my day-to-day browser. Firefox became more than adequate for that with quantum, and I see no reason to enable a Google that has made absolutely sure to shape itself into a machine that will always have powerful incentives to do the wrong thing.
For what it's worth, WebSockets show up as type 'Other' in the inspector, and the frames are listed under 'Preview'.
Edit: This is of course textual frames. I don't know where to find a site that demonstrates binary frames. I do notice that if I right-click the textual frame it has "Log Frame Text" as an option; maybe with a binary frame you can ask it to log the binary frame contents?
Edit 2: Ok I found a binary websocket test and unfortunately there is no option to log the binary info. That sucks. I recommend filing a bug report at bugreport.apple.com requesting better tooling around this. It's also worth checking the Safari Technical Preview to see if they've already added any better tooling.
I am using Firefox as my daily driver, because the browser itself is fast. But the dev tools just don't deliver. Waiting for a breakpoint to hit and open takes forever.
Chrome's main problem isn't that it's overstayed its welcome and is strangling the web (whatever you want that to mean), it's that it's so pervasive that people have become accustomed to it to such a degree that you're now faced with needing to convince people to give up what they're accustomed to. And that's a _much_ harder sell. Using chrome needs to literally be a grating or even damaging experience before someone will voluntarily switch to a different browser.
I'm keeping my eye on Firefox, but Chrome still gets my business for now.
And honestly, at this point I don't even bother opening sites that struggle in one with the other: I just go "you clearly just didn't care to develop your website to work cross browser, good job, goodbye forever" and close the tab.
For almost everything, both browsers are identical except for the veneer their UIs present. They have different quirks, but a reasonably generated website or React app will work just fine in both. So while, if someone asked me to recommend one, I would absolutely tell them to get Firefox: not one asks for recommendations... everyone's already using either Chrome, or "the ios browser".
(and safari on iOS really _is_ the new IE6. I 100% disagree with the article's claim that Apple is making good strides, there. It needs to get out the shotgun and take Safari out to the back of the barn)
Used both for a long time.
(I like chrome's mobile 'simulation' better, but both still lack lots of things I wish I could do, like simulating tiny CPUs or limited RAM, actually tracing through setTimeout, etc)
1. Compatibility - random sites would just break...I reckon 15% of the time
2. Battery life - FF destroyed my battery life. To the tune of 8 hours on Chrome vs like 2 on FF.
same, except i use Brave (Chromium minus the Google crap/tracking.)
I try Firefox after every major update, but for me "pinch to zoom" not working for the trackpad is the biggest flaw. It's so frustrating/such a basic feature.
Safari and Chrome have had this feature for at least 6 years.
I have no data to back this up so you could say I'm just talking out of my ass, but I would guess that the non-technical users who makes up most of Chrome's userbase either don't use any add-ons at all or mainly use extremely popular ones that have equivalents in other web browsers like adblock.
I 100% agree with everything else though, the average user who uses a web browser exclusively for instagram and gmail does not see things like small performance increases or privacy as being worth changing habits for. Hell, some of the technical people I work with have no problem with companies/the NSA spying on them because they have "nothing to hide". I really think the only reason Chrome got so popular was because the meme that Internet Explorer sucks premeated our culture so strongly that basically everyone started to know that the first thing you do with a new computer is use IE to download a different browser, and what better to use than the one made by the search engine you use every day?
Chrome's campaign was a phenomenal example of a successful international product launch. Made even more impressive because it was for software, something most people /really/ don't care about.
If there's always some subpopulation who's never heard of diet coke & mentos (https://www.xkcd.com/1053/ ), it's pretty likely that there's some subpopulation that is unaware of the implications of Chrome's dominance combined with Google's business model and amenable to arguments that something like Firefox or even Safari might be a better choice.
And I think it's also worth considering that Firefox made significant strides into IE's marketshare back in the early/mid 2000s when users ostensibly had no reason to care by the standard of "no concrete/perceived benefits", since everyone had to code to accomodate IE. There's no other reasonable model I can think of other than IT professionals frequently recommending FF, and many non-pros finding that recommendation compelling enough to switch.
The speed and energy usage points instantly resonate with less technical folk who aren't so invested in browser wars.
For those who care a little more the increased security, ad / tracking blocking, tor integration etc are just the icing on the cake.
These are things to which we technically minded can easily adapt, but for the less technically literate it's bewildering, confusing, and possibly enough to make them angry.
Furthermore I'd argue that if the author hasn't used Chrome since 2014, he's not well positioned to comment on its usability today.
Not sure about 'vague', they're using non-standard APIs to advantage their browser accross Google products, implemented a forced Chrome login and are planning to remove ad blocking APIs, the last one being the most clear case of Chrome being used to support their primary source of revenue.