Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Give Firefox a chance (dev.to)
735 points by dtroode on June 23, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 369 comments

I switched to Chrome from Firefox years ago because Chrome has a better UX (faster, snappier, cleaner UI). A couple years ago I tried to switch back to Firefox (right after the Quantum project landed, and Firefox was meant to be a lot faster), but found FF to still be bloated, slow, and painful to use.

A couple weeks ago I made another try to switch back to FF, and I have found the experience to be very pleasant this time; desktop FF on both Windows and MacOS are, for me, better than Chrome. I recommend others give Firefox a try.

(There are a few reasons why you might want to: Privacy, fighting mono-culture, recent decisions by Google to neuter ad blocking addons, a general aversion to the power of the largest tech companies, just chasing the latest and fastest browser, a fondness for novelty or contrarianism. Some of those reasons may resonate; others may not, but if any of them do, give it a shot!)

I had the same experience. Switched to Chrome from Firefox years ago, tried and was disappointed by the initial Quantum release, tried Firefox again with the “Chrome is killing uBlock Origin” announcement, very pleased this time.

My main gripe with Firefox at the moment is Sync. It just doesn’t sync everything you need. My Firefox profile is highly customized, with a lot of extensions that all have their own complex config. Sync will keep the actual extensions synced, but not their settings. You have to rely on manual import/export features provided by the extensions themselves. Some first party extensions (eg Containers) don’t even give you that option.

You can get some of that by syncing your profile folder directly, but it’s very fragile. It hasn’t played nice with the generic folder syncing tools I’ve tried.

I think this is painful because Firefox really encourages customization, and it’s really useful! I just don’t want to have to keep track of that customization on every device. I trust Firefox Sync’s security model and want to do more with it.

I believe extensions have to explicitly add support for synchronising settings. For example, uBlock Origin supports Firefox Sync: https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock/wiki/Cloud-storage

Cool, I’ll dig into this.

Would be helpful if the Firefox store made it clear if extensions support this. Also, why do some first-party extensions ignore it??

Also: there are other things sync still misses, like config.

The storage is more limited for synced extension data than for unsynced data.

IMO this is quite unfortunate, and is mostly a consequence of the implementation of extension storage sync being done separately from the rest of sync (which in retrospect was a mistake, but at the time that wasn't clear). Also, the limits are copy-pasted directly from the limits chrome places on sync, so it's possible there are compatibility concerns as well.

For config (assuming you mean prefs in about:config), you can add your own prefs to be synced with about:config. If you add a new boolean pref with a value of true using the pattern `services.sync.prefs.sync.<pref you want to sync here>` it will be synced. e.g. to sync `browser.foo.bar` you'd create `services.sync.prefs.sync.browser.foo.bar`.

Disclaimer: I work on Firefox sync.

[0]: In the future this may be more complex, and you may need to flip an additional pref to get this behavior for non-default prefs.

> For config (assuming you mean prefs in about:config)

And userChrome/Content.css... looks like I’ll need to dropbox those.

Editing css was essential to make the switch from Vivaldi to FF - yesterday! Getting TreestyleTab et al. to feel like Vivaldi with vertical tabs required some fiddling: sidebar without menu, hidden top tabs, darker text color, etc.

In any case, it’s my new daily driver and I'm quite satisfied so far. Even set DDG as the default while at it.

Hmm, I don't think many have requested we sync user{Chrome,Content}.css. It's possible we'd accept a patch to sync them (I'd be for it, at least), but it's not trivial since we don't already have file syncing code.

Syncing them with dropbox and symlinking does sound to me to be the most reasonable.

Glad you're satisfied other than that!

Oh that’s pretty cool. I’ll try that.

I just assumed that this behavior would apply to everything once I turned sync on, and then was disappointed when it didn’t work. I had no idea it was an optional feature.

I guess it doesn’t fit the key-value paradigm, but this feature would be a lot more discoverable if there was a “sync?” Attribute next to each about:config item.

Being a global persisted key value store, about:config has a lot of things stored in it that.... do not necessarily make sense syncing, hence it being opt-in. Sync is guilty of this too, and will store things like your last sync time in about config, for example. Clearly not meaningful to sync directly.

A checkbox like you describe was actually discussed in the past, but at this point it’s unlikely. The current design of letting any synced machine change any pref on any remote machine (effectively) has dubious security implications, and has gained an additional hoop you must jump through in nightly.

For about:config, I put all my rules in a user.js file. Make that file in a synced folder (Dropbox, Nextcloud, Syncthing, etc.), go to your FF profile folder, and in there make a symlink to the actual synced user.js.


Alternatively every about:config option has a corresponding option that enables sync for it. But that gets messy with many options.


> For about:config, I put all my rules in a user.js file. Make that file in a synced folder (Dropbox, Nextcloud, Syncthing, etc.), go to your FF profile folder, and in there make a symlink to the actual synced user.js.

That's exactly what I did, except I just forked the ghacks-user.js user.js file with the changes I needed

I then made a desktop branch, and an android branch.



The main reason I'll never use Chrome is because on Android that means no extensions whatsoever, meaning I'd have to give up uBlock and uMatrix. It's also why I wouldn't buy an iPhone (Firefox on iOS isn't allowed to have extensions).

A user.js file can be deployed on Android https://github.com/ghacksuserjs/ghacks-user.js/wiki/1.6-Fire... (I use the non-rooted instructions).

On my desktop I have it hooked in with my bootstrap script. I use Yadm https://yadm.io/

    #!/usr/bin/env bash

    firefox() {
        local -n branches=$1
        local b p d="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/firefox/ghacks-user.js

        for p in "${!branches[@]}"
            printf 'Configuring "%s" on "%s"\n' "$p" "$b"
            ln -sf "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/firefox/chrome/userChrome.css ~/.mozilla/firefox/"$p"/chrome/userChrome.css
            git --git-dir="$d/.git" --work-tree="$d" checkout "$b" &&
            cp "$d/user.js" ~/.mozilla/firefox/"$p"/user.js
The function takes in an array:

    declare -A fx_profiles

    while read -r profile; read -r branch; do
    done < <(jq -r '.[] | .profile, .branch' "$template_data_path/$firefox_data_path")

    firefox fx_profiles
Which simply reads in a bunch of profiles and what branch they are supposed to be from a json file:

        "profile": "user.default",
        "branch": "fx-desktop"

Oh I absolutely detested this as well.

Containers is one of my favourite add-ons, and I have it highly customized. But I have to set it up everytime from scratch on a different computer - there's no sync even though Containers is from Mozilla themselves!

There is a containers sync add on, not from Mozilla. Doesn't always work.

Edit: replied to wrong comment

Yeah this is exactly the problem.

I think you meant to reply to a different comment.

I was lamenting the lack of sync support for the Multi-account Containers add-on.

You can sync your custom prefs, by creating a 'services.sync.prefs.sync.[pref name]' preference set to true for each pref you want to sync. Cumbersome, but probably automatable.

There is a container sync add on. I my opinion it should be built into the browser.

Yes. Sync isn't so good. Now I am going to create a list of FF minuses

I’d be interested to see an analysis of how it compares to Chrome sync. I don’t think Chrome necessarily has a better solution for extension preference syncing, but I only missed it once I went all-in on Firefox containers.

Don't have analytics. Just my experience with bookmarks and passwords is better with Chrome

Post it to /r/firefox when you're done!

Firefox 67 is switchworthy. I've used nothing but Chrome since forever and I've never been a fan of FF until 67 came out, it's definitely worthy of trying it out for a week.

I haven't used Chrome since FF 67 and I'm not missing it.

Yes, FF 67 does seem to be a whole new beast.

I've used Firefox since practically forever. I haven't noticed any major changes in recent versions.

Except for when they briefly broke all the plugins.

I've been on FF since quantum (Windows and Android), and I've been mighty impressed by the continual improvements.

Some websites just don't work on FF, so I have a chrome installation. Even a bare-bones (only 1Password and uBlock O) Chrome feels much slower than FF. Page loads in FF are near-imperceptible, but Chrome has blatantly obvious page-blanks during loading.

It really has come a long way, and I'm really looking forward to servo.

Containers and privacy are the main reasons I'm hooked to Firefox now. Maybe chrome will get containers too, but there's no point if they are tracking users across containers. But as they are on par in terms of performance I see no reason to switch back to chrome.

Are container tabs reliably preserved across restarts and upgrades now? They're a great idea, but I tried them out a while ago and soon lost a bunch of stuff.

Yes, they are preserved and it works great.

This kind of post comes up every few weeks here on HN. I also revisit FF every once in a while, last time being when all the news went about Chrome possibly breaking ad-blockers. Chromes UX is still better than FF, IMO.

I think this is just what you are accustomed to. I use FF as my main browser. Anytime I use Chrome it drives me nuts because the UX sucks. But, the truth is that Chrome's UX probably doesn't really suck, I'm just not accustomed to it.

I can see that in a lot of cases. Accustomed, sure. I consider myself pretty adaptable, but still prefer Chromes UX over FF. If FF could be tuned easily to act "exactly" like Chrome, that might ease the transition for a lot of people. Honestly though, I also hate the way FF draws it's windows and widgets. It still feels like it has that just barely out of the 90's UI vibe to me. So aside from how it set's itself up by default for things, I also find it quite an eye sore. Opinions may vary.

The funny thing is a lot of what makes Chrome seem faster are subtle hacks. They show an empty window while it all loads so does Firefox now. Firefox used to only show the window once everything rendered. Firefox was a lot faster at rendering web pages from my experience before they changed this. I am sure theres other subtle changes out there.

I remember after Quantum pages would render HTML so fast and asynchronously the CSS hadnt loaded just yet. Then a split second would occur where the CSS would kick in and the page would be styled.

Is progressive rendering really a "hack" at this point? I mean everything you said is correct, just feels like at this point progressive rendering is the web-norm and lacking it is lacking a basic piece of functionality.

It's not entirely a hack, but it's a perception trick that makes Chrome seem faster despite it not rendering as quickly as FF.

Firefox is fast, not noticeably faster though as Chrome seems to be a bit more aggressive with caching, and Chrome has better UI. I also prefer Chrome's autocomplete and search bar. Firefox is good, maybe even technically better these days, but Chrome is still more pleasant to use.

> Chrome has better UI

if you are talking about buttons next to the address bar, like the home button, then you can customize that area and let it look nearly identical to Chrome.

With CSS you can even have tiny tabs like Chrome.

Firefox is great now, especially on mobile. Having all my desktop extensions on mobile is worth it alone. I've also done some rough measurements that Firefox uses about 1/3 the battery life of chrome at idle with my normal "work" tabs open. This is on both Android and MacOs.

On some sites FF is slower, but these tend to be Google properties or giant Enterprise shitshow behemoths (jira)

Edge Canary is line the best of both worlds. Nice speed and decent ui.

I'm apparently one of those rare people who never switched off Firefox - it's been my default browser on Mac and Linux for years. Open source, good plugin ecosystem, and does everything I need (not a web developer, so the dev tools were never a strong selling point for me).

I've used Chrome here and there through the years, but the more invasive Google became about data collection, the less inclined I've been to use their tools. The latest moves to block ad blockers, coupled with nearly every other browser using their engine, had only reinforced my decision to stay with Firefox.

Diversity makes for a healthier ecosystem.

I'm the same way. I tried Chrome when it was new but at the time it didn't have a NoScript equivalent so I went back to FF.

Chrome has had NoScript equivalents for a while, you should try it again!

I suspect for most people who hadn't switched already, that ship has already sailed.

Chrome had something of an edge over Firefox for a while with a more responsive UI, but since Firefox Quantum it hasn't really had anything besides some creepy Google integrations.

Edit: Chromium is also easier to embed, but that doesn't really matter for the purposes of chosing a browser.

Its strange, for me. I remember getting super pumped about Chromium when it went live in '09. Then, somewhere along the line, I felt like a boiled frog.

Honestly, a big change for me was symbolically realized by The logo change: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Chrome#/media/File:Chro...

It went from this space-age, nerdy little project to a cleaned up design that signified its shift to a position as a core Google product.

Does Chromium have the same privacy issues as Chrome does?

Some of them, see https://github.com/Eloston/ungoogled-chromium for a patched version.

For me, Google's hold also manifested as complete absence of support for H.264 on Mac, because calling the Cisco's freely available openh264 is ‘too slow.’ In Linux, distro maintainers patch in the support for openh264.

"at the time"

Also, I see no benefit to "trying out Chrome". I use it often for a few broken webpages (blame the devs but there are really few) or on co-workers' computers and find no benefit whatsoever. Firefox has all of its features and much more. As far as I'm concerned: tree style tabs, containers, privacy and flawless ad-blocking.

I've been using Firefox as my default and only web browser on Windows and Linux since it was called Firebird and Phoenix before that (or was it the other way around?). When Chrome first came out, Google's aggressive attempts at shoving it down my throat on what seemed like every single page of every single Google service, made the contrarian in me really, really not want to try it, and I never did. Never felt like I was missing anything, either.

I didn't switch to Chrome at all either, and I am a web developer too.

I liked the Firebug for web development, and the built-in dev tools that came later was good for me too. Sometimes even better than Chrome's.

In a comparison today, Firefox dev tools still are better with a nice profiler, font tab, CSS layout helper, etc. The only few things I use Chrome's dev tools are for their CSS/JS code coverage tools and accessiblity tester.

Firebug has now been mostly integrated into the main dev tools.

I've been using Firefox for ages, probably 2003 or 2004? When Chrome came out I gave it a try and it was neat, but it didn't have several crucial extensions so I stuck with Firefox.

I never switched from Firefox either. I always felt the UI has been vastly superior (especially bookmarks) on this side of the browser ecosystem.

yup, i've been a user since v0.3, when it was called phoenix. chrome's been handy for dev/testing but not as a primary browser, as google's ambitions/intentions became evident with gmail's debut.

I use all 3, but prefer firefox for most of what I do.

I switched back to Firefox from Chrome earlier this year, and the experience has been very positive.

It performs well, feels snappy, the dev tools are on par with Chrome's and everything feels right.

The only negatives are that container tabs are still taking a bit of getting used to (why can't I have a 'Work' window in which all the new tabs are 'Work' tabs by default?) and the initial migration of passwords was a bit of a pain.

However, I'm glad to be back.

I launch my browser with profiles instead of using containers. I have three at the moment:

firefox --no-remote --profile "$XDG_CACHE_HOME/firefox/home" --class="browser-home"

firefox --no-remote --profile "$XDG_CACHE_HOME/firefox/work" --class="browser-work"

firefox --no-remote --profile "$(mktemp -d)"

Profiles and containers solve two different problems. Multiple profiles will keep websites that you only log into from one profile from leaving cookies that can be seen by the other profile, but containers prevent one website from leaving cookies that can be seen by any other website even on the same profile, and prevent that website from seeing any cookies other than their own.

AFAIU containers can be and are shared by multiple domains, though domains pinned to exclusive containers won't be visible to one another.

Opening a domain in a container, then other linked sites from that page, generally remains within the same containdr.

According to this thread, they largely solve the same problem:


For passwords the browser's built in management is inferior to password managers.

I use 1Password (most polished) and there's also Bitwarden (hosted, but open source) and others. And I use my password manager every day, so if there's a cost associated, it's worth it.

> For passwords the browser's built in management is inferior to password managers.

This is a good thing. Browsers should be good at browsing. Password managers should be good at managing passwords. The two should have API’s as necessary to interact so that the user can choose what’s best for them.

Technical differences aside, why is it a good thing that the password manager shipped with Firefox isn't as good as most 3rd party password managers? It seems odd to prefer that software be bad.

Lockwise, which admittedly requires an add-on but integrates with the built-in password manager, I think is pretty on par with its contemporaries.

FWIW. I think keeping the password manager separate from the browser makes wonderful sense.

- There are many times you need a password when you are not in a browser. For instance, on my phone where I don't even have FF installed, my bank's app can still get its password filled in automatically with LastPass.

- Using a separate password manager means you can use multiple browsers with no loss of password access. On my laptop I regularly use both Chrome and Firefox, and I have access to my passwords in both. On my phone, I can use my passwords from Safari.

I may be biased. My wife and share a LastPass account for all of our passwords. We have so many accounts, I can't imagine managing it any other way. Having access to the passwords on all our devices is really great.

> For passwords the browser's built in management is inferior to password managers.

Can you expound? After years of using various pw managers I found it being embedded in the browser very useful.

Having your passwords quickly available on every computer, every phone, every OS, and every browser is great. Browser-plugin + app password managers do all 4, while password managers provided by the OS or browser typically fail at one of those. They fail hard, too, by making it difficult to manually extract passwords when you need to. They also tend to lack features like password generation, note storage, etc. It's a completely different experience, really.

Euhm the firefox password manager syncs between devices and even has a standalone app https://lockwise.firefox.com/

Edit: Though Lockwise is relatively new, and currently opt in. And misses features like importing passwords bulk from other password managers

And — at least on iOS — is glacially slow. Startup times of twenty seconds weren't the rule, but not uncommon, when I tried Lockwise last week. Even at the best of times startup took five seconds at least.

It would be nice if they added a way to import Keepass DBs.

> by making it difficult to manually extract passwords

Not true for Firefox. Just go the privacy settings, forms, saved logins.

That’s difficult for a common workflow. Going into “settings” for a password is as goofy as going into settings to look at your calendar.

What common workflow requires accessing usernames and passwords manually?

When the URL of the login form changes, or Firefox doesn't see it, or you need to log in to a mobile app

Similarly easy for Chrome - Settings -> Passwords then once OS password entered you can see each.

Not the parent, but for my own use case, I use password managers for things outside of the browser (office door code, steam, this kind of thing). It might be possible to enter those in the password manager of the browser, I never actually checked, but in any case that's why I use an out of browser password manager

At least with chrome it's always there, you can access on mobile.

At least on Firefox it's always there, you can access on mobile.

One type of incident I came across repeatedly was the browser would not recognize new password setup after password reset. Also found that 2fa systems were being confused for new password accounts.

I agree password managers like last pass fill this void quite nicely. But are not serviced to run on mobile without payment.

Recently I've restored my iPhone and lost all of my passwords in Safari. Now I use LastPass

Firefox is investing into Lockwise (lockbox?) https://lockwise.firefox.com I feel they are spreading themselves too thin. Instead they could do everything they can to push WebAuthn with support for on-device Secure Enclave (without needing an independent hardware key) so that everyone can benefit from having as close to a separate physical key as possible.

Besides the browser itself still has a lot of work to do. Apparently they had a known remote code execution vulnerability for 2 months waiting to be fixed. That is quite concerning and gives pause while deciding if we should make Firefox our primary browser.

> why can't I have a 'Work' window in which all the new tabs are 'Work' tabs by default?

Same. I've tried Firefox last month and it is the only no-go I've no. With Firefox profiles being a thing, I wonder if a front-end to manage them like in Chrome is in development.

You could solve this problem in two ways that are pretty easy to setup and handy to use, IMO.

1. You can open a new window, move the new tab in the "Work" container (if you use an extension [1] you can just type "co work" in the address bar), and use alt+c [2] to open new tabs in that window, ensuring they are all opened in your "Work" container.

2. You can create a separate profile for work, running "firefox -p" to first create it, and then create a desktop shortcut that links to that profile. This way you'll have two separate profiles on two separate Firefox "icons" that that you can launch at your will. There are ways to do this both on Windows and Linux (not sure about Mac, never used that), and the setup needs to happen only once. I've had separate Firefox profiles for years now that just keep working without any problem. I even ported some profile folders between different installs (same OS), and to my surprise they still didn't break.

[1] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/search-and-sw...

[2] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/new-container...

There already exists a profile manager UI if you run `firefox -ProfileManager` or `firefox -P`. Not as elegant as Chrome's though.

An easier way to manage and launch Firefox profiles is the about:profiles page.

I don't think so, Firefox had profiles since forever and they don't have a nice UI for handling those for the whole time.

> the initial migration of passwords was a bit of a pain

I had a similar issue on MacOS. After doing some research I found that exporting passwords from Chrome was literally impossible. It definitely worsened the experience of switching. Luckily I have most of my passwords in LastPass, and if I need a password that is only stored in Chrome, I'll add it to LastPass from Chrome on the fly.

If anyone from the Firefox team is reading this: containers are a great idea (I love them), it’s just that currently they’re too much work. Even on AMO, there’s now a bunch of site-specific container addons (Facebook container, Twitter container, Google container, etc) which clearly isn’t scalable.

A little bit of UX work is clearly needed to make them more mainstream and a first-class feature in Firefox.

Have you tried the Temporary Containers[0] add-on? It has an “Automatic Mode” that makes links open into fresh containers by default. Then you can create rules to dial that back as needed for usability.

I use this in concert with the Multi-Account Containers[1] Add-on. I create names containers for things where I need persistence (“work” “personal” “LinkedIn”) and then everything else is isolated by default.

The main challenges are:

1) I have complex rules defining a whitelist on Temporary Containers. I have to sync this manually with setting import/export because Firefox Sync doesn’t handle this for you

2) Multi-Account Containers doesn’t expose its settings AT ALL, so I’m constantly hitting unnecessary “always open site.com in Personal container?” modals.

[0] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/temporary-con...

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

Temporary Containers is almost perfect, except when you create a new tab it takes a split second for that tab to be assigned a new temporary container. For that split moment, if you're typing in an address whatever you've typed in so far will be erased when the new tab is switched to the temporary container. On my underpowered machine, this usually means one or two keys are dropped, such that if i was typing in "google" immediately after creating a new tab, the effect is as if I typed "ogle".

Perhaps on faster hardware, the switch to the temporary container happens faster than you can begin typing.

Interesting. I haven’t noticed any performance impact. I’m using it on fairly beefy general-purpose machines though.

Maybe you could work around this by using separate search and address bars? Then you can search before tab and container creation happens. Not gonna help for standard direct navigation though.

It most often bites me when I'm in a new tab and I'm trying to complete a site URL from history. AFAIK there is no other clean way to open a new tab of a site you've been to before. Maybe if the history sidebar were useful, but using that is a PITA for me because I'm already using the Tree Style Tabs sidebar (which is really a feature that should be implemented in firefox itself..)

I was using "Containers on the Go" until recently, I'll try this out, thank you!

>If anyone from the Firefox team is reading this: containers are a great idea (I love them), it’s just that currently they’re too much work.

Also it's hard to export them... it's my understanding they don't travel with sync, you have to manually set them up on each machine.

I have a pretty complex setup, so that frustrates me.

I agree they need a bit more polish. But to be fair, they are also more powerful than in Chrome. You can e.g. request that every subdomain opens in a new temporary container. That's really good isolation.

Also there are semi-bugs. Sometimes opening urls linked to containers put the tabs in weird places, and sometimes.. I think I lost the tabs, if that makes sense.

Not much content in this article. A single benchmark which shows nothing of real-life cases. Two minor technical features, one of them already in Chrome beta. Lastly, an appeal to fight Chrome's monopole. Surprisingly, not a word about privacy.

I do give Firefox a chance, but it gets tiring.

Many years ago, I dropped Firefox's ancestor for Opera 6. The UI and the features were miles ahead (e.g. Mozilla had no tabs). Yet I wanted to support free software so, once in a while, I tried to use Mozilla/Firefox again, but so many features where lacking, and the reactivity was really bad. When Opera dropped their engine and UI to become a new Chromium derivative, I switched to Firefox. I tried to get used to it, but for the past year my main desktop browser has been Vivaldi, a Chromium derivative.

I still use Firefox, but I'm getting more and more irritated against it. I had to search the web in order to change the tile of empty tabs (no buttons, no context menu, only drag-n-drop from bookmarks). Who designed such an unguessable interface?

I can't stand horizontal tabs in my brower. The Tree Style Tab extension was a strong point of pre-quantum FF, though its CPU usage was noticeable. Unfortunately, it's been a pain since I upgraded to Quantum, with many bugs and slowness.

Another example: my last FF ESR upgrade introduced a calamitous rewrite of the download interface. It's inconsistent, error-prone and ridden with several bugs. For weeks, I duplicated many downloads because the notification is absurdly small and quick. Now I've learned to click on the FF icon to check if the download started.

A last example: this morning, I selected 5 finished downloads and removed them. No reaction for 2 seconds, so I pressed the key again, just as the suppression begin, in slow motion. It took FF 3 seconds to remove 6 entries from the log.

With uBlock against tracking, DDG+Qwant for search, and a custom cookie handler (no third-party, white-list for those that persist after a tab closes), I don't think FF has anything to offer me on privacy. So the only reasons that keep me interested in Firefox are Free Software and Web diversity. I'm afraid these moral incentives don't weight much against many practical reasons.

> I still use Firefox, but I'm getting more and more irritated against it. I had to search the web in order to change the tile of empty tabs (no buttons, no context menu, only drag-n-drop from bookmarks). Who designed such an unguessable interface?

Whenever I hear people complain about the settings being impossible to figure out, I always open them up and try.

So I opened settings, which has a search input at the top, and search "new tab".

It has an option to choose "Firefox Home (Default)" or "Blank page" for new tabs, in the section titled "New Windows and Tabs". (With windows, you can choose "Custom URLs" as well).

But you don't want blank. Hmmm. So I open a new tab. Every section has a dropdown menu with a "Remove Section" option (it also has "Manage Settings" links that takes me to the preference page I was on initially.)

Drag-and-drop from bookmarks, though, is stumping me. For what it's worth, it's also stumping me in Chrome. I don't think I've ever tried Vivaldi.

For the most part, basic customization seems intuitive and straightforward. If there is a way to customize by dragging your bookmarks onto the page, though, it isn't intuitive and straightforward. Not sure if that should fall under edge-case customizations (which I expect to be hidden).

It is annoying when things I consider obviously the correct design are treated as obscure things few would want, but I recognize that some of them truly are.

EDIT: I will say, though, that it seems really strange that "New window" has a custom URL option, but new tab doesn't. I guess they're concerned about people setting slow new tab URLs and then being frustrated.

Firefox must have realized that their UI for handling "top sites" was bad. In ESR v60.7, the Tiles/topSites block has a menu where the first entry is "+ Add Top Site". This was missing before.

In fact, this problem was not directly mine, it was a request from my parents.

I made my parents (nearly 70 years old) use Firefox. After an upgrade of their FF, they lost their usual homepage. In empty tabs their custom links were replaced by the dynamical list of their most visited sites. At the time of change, most tiles were not even relevant because their recent activity was not representative. They were annoyed, tried to fix it, and failed.

There was no contextual help, and searching technical info is hard for non technical persons, especially if they don't understand English. So my parents called me for help. On my next visit to them, I tried to do it myself, but did not manage to guess how it worked. DDG helped. After this episode, I wondered if FF was the right browser for them. It seems that Chromium's UI is more stable, and that is important for ageing people.

I tried Firefox here just now to see if it's gotten any better since I last tried.

I open the preferences window. Well, not quite. Instead of a preferences window like every other application I've ever used, it's some sort of webpage which opens in a new tab in the same window as the webpage I'm browsing. The controls are all completely custom, and the layout looks nothing like any preferences window I've seen since Netscape.

Also, the Firefox UI doesn't use the same language as the rest of the OS (which is English), or even the webpage content displayed by Firefox (also English). It's all displayed in the language I tried to learn last year, for some reason.

In the search box at top, typing "language" finds nothing, and typing the word for language in the language I'm seeing shows a fancy control with "English (United States)" at the top. There's nothing I see which would indicate why the UI is not English. I google for "how to change firefox ui language", and all the pages I find say to set it here, and restart.

Thus ends another adventure in attempting to use Firefox, and it ends the same way all my adventures do: nothing is standard, everything is custom, and so it doesn't work right. This time, I didn't even get far enough along to complain that all the keyboard shortcuts are broken.

Dear Mozilla: for Firefox to win me back, it has to be a good web browser. Stop trying to be an operating system. I already have one of those. "Look/act like every other application" is the correct answer in every case.

> Well, not quite. Instead of a preferences window like every other application I've ever used, it's some sort of webpage which opens in a new tab in the same window as the webpage I'm browsing.

Well, I can think of one other program that puts its settings in a web page and a tab: Chrome. Hope you're not using that...

> In the search box at top, typing "language" finds nothing, and typing the word for language in the language I'm seeing shows a fancy control with "English (United States)" at the top. There's nothing I see which would indicate why the UI is not English. I google for "how to change firefox ui language", and all the pages I find say to set it here, and restart.

At least for now, you should download the correct language from https://www.mozilla.org/firefox/all/

All your points against Firefox are mine against every other browser: I have tried to but never managed to switch to Chrome or Opera because there are just so many weird limitations and so much weird behavior - for me.

> I still use Firefox, but I'm getting more and more irritated against it. I had to search the web in order to change the tile of empty tabs (no buttons, no context menu, only drag-n-drop from bookmarks). Who designed such an unguessable interface?

The people who design unguessable interfaces are usually called ux designers. Removing every trace of help , including but not limited to hiding the menu, removing tooltips on hover, keyboard shortcuts, getting started wizards etc etc is what they do it seems - all in the name of usability I guess.

I recently got myself an iPads and while I love it, googling even the simplest things is getting a habit.

Feel your frustration on this one, but I guess it is just "modern" and you happened to move from one modern thing that worked your way to another modern thing that worked in someone elses way.

That said: I think Mozilla really messed up when they cut the old APIs before the new ones where ready.

Edit: in defense of modern ux designers and other designers - some things work so much better now that we don’t need manuals for everything longer and many things do look better ;-)

If UX designers are designing unguessable interfaces, then they’re not doing a good job. A good UX designer would make it better than guessable, they’d make it mostly intuitable so you don’t have to guess for most things. As much as I’m against Google and that I use FF, Chrome/Chromium (and derivatives that don’t change too much of the UI) does have the best UX (IMO) with Safari as a second, amongst the browsers I’ve tried. I use FF in spite of the UX because I align with their goals and values.

With that said, good UX is REALLY difficult and, as a non-profit, I give FF a pass. I give them more of a pass because UX gets more difficult when you also emphasize customization and options. However, it’s one area they should definitely work on if they want to capture more of the market. Most people I know use Chrome because it’s “easier to use”.

> Chrome/Chromium (and derivatives that don’t change too much of the UI) does have the best UX (IMO) with Safari as a second, amongst the browsers I’ve tried.

It's almost as if different people are different and have different ux preferences and expectations :-)

Sure, which is why I put in (IMO)

> Not much content in this article.

I could say that of every dev.to article I’ve ever encountered. I have no idea why that’s the case — I could understand it if they were all by the same author, but they’re not. Maybe I’ve been unlucky and unlikely amount of times.

> Lastly, an appeal to fight Chrome's monopole. Surprisingly, not a word about privacy.

I have the feeling the author is rehashing arguments they’ve read without fully understanding them. They’re curious about Brave[1], which goes against the stated goal of decreasing Google’s dominance (being based on Chromium).

[1]: https://dev.to/dtroode/comment/c89l

I am not a native English speaker and sometimes I can wrong understand comments. But I am trying to improve my skills

Yes, this article is short, but it's just a few reasons that moved me from Chrome. And people need to try themselves

try FF nightly. I'm on debian as my daily driver, but nightly works well for me.

I've been trying nightly as well. But it seems to sporadically reset all my settings whenever it upgrades. For example the DoH was turned off again. And there are some weird settings like this: $$$apz.fling_curve_function_x1$$$ and it isn't editable nor deletable.

The adblock-related thing pushed me to Firefox, and I've been using it for about a month.

The only problems I have are regarding PDF files:

1) Dark mode (via dark reader) won't work on PDFs.

2) The Print-to-file (Ctrl + P) save location defaults to "~/mozilla.pdf" and there seems to be no option in preferences to change this default (titles often are multi-word long and copy pasting is a huge pain. Chrome just picks up the title of the webpage and the default downloads directory as the location, which IMO is the sensible thing to do.)

In my experience, Chrome is really better at handling PDFs (even better than the native reader, Okular, in terms of fine-grained zooming, dark theming(again via the Dark Reader extension.)) and I'm mulling over switching back, because I use pdfs a lot. (As for other stuff though, like lagginess, I don't find any noticeable difference.)

I did the same. Pdfs are probably the easiest thing to switch. If you download a pdf reader, you can switch PDF renderer easily. Firefox supports browser plug in viewers where Chrome does not.

And Firefox was the first browser to use js to render PDF. A complete miracle really.

We generated a few PDFs at work last week which break in Firefox default viewwe, but that we can't reproduce anywhere else =/

If it's not something sensitive, try filing a bug and attaching the PDF to it?


Interestingly enough, Windows 10 replaced the pdf reader by Edge (which is based on Chrome’s engine), and the experience is really neat.

The version of Edge that pops up to read PDFs is not Chrome-based, as far as I know. Chrome-based Edge is basically brand new.

Yes. Have the problems with the PDF too

Even as we are headed for a monoculture where the only existing browser will be for all intents and purposes controlled by one or more very big companies, one can read various complaints on HN regarding Firefox battery usage, font rendering, development facilities, etc.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, and of course people have the right to complain about whatever they wish.

But, can we please all of us stop pretending that we care about freedom, privacy, etc? Because if we did care, we'd put our proverbial money where our mouths are and try to cope with these defects, just to make sure that a higher purpose is served.

(Genuinely don't want to offend anyone nor do I dismiss anyone's problems with Firefox, especially on macosx)

I think a person pursuing a privacy agenda would still want to raise those other complaints, though. The reason is that while a technically inclined person probably has the means to cope with them, the point of a privacy agenda is broader: it wants to make privacy something everyone does and expects, to hit a critical mass. And technical barriers to adoption of privacy-enhancing technology are the obvious obstacles.

> Genuinely don't want to offend anyone

I think you worded it just fine. Since there's always room for improvement, the "let's stop pretending we care" might be recast as, "what we're saying doesn't line up with what we're doing," which is a bit more factual and avoids claims on anyone's inner motivations.

That's what I mean, thank you. Phrasing it like "what we're saying doesn't line up with what we're doing" is a better way to express it.

I wish HN did a better job of celebrating when companies ship something that we've been asking for (e.g., Apple's new privacy features, companies that are embracing more end-to-end encryption) rather than focusing on the negatives (e.g., how they fall short of being a perfect solution).

Vertical. Tabs. For my usecase, nuff said. Chrome developers WONTFIXed requests for this a long time ago, so keep using Firefox I will (that and doing my part to preserve web engine diversity).

Additionally, I've begun trying out Brave/Vivaldi/Opera to see if I can uninstall Chrome from my system entirely; They all run Blink, so I assume I can open the occasional compatibility-issue pages on those.

I have gone Vivaldi and after a month, I don't see myself reverting to either FF or Chrome. Needs some tweaking in the settings, yet it is fast and neat the in the end.

I don't see myself going back with my current experience.

Vivaldi is excellent. There are so many little quality-of-life improvements that I can't imagine living without. The one single feature that had me hanging onto Firefox all these years was unlimited browser history. Chrome throws away your history after 3 months (https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=500239), which is insane. With Vivaldi I finally get unlimited history and the superior Chrome dev tools.

I'm not super pleased about Vivaldi being closed-source, but with the direction Mozilla has been going I didn't see it as too much of a betrayal.

I have been sticking to Vivaldi as my main browser for a while now. I spend a lot of time with web browsers and Vivaldi has a UI that is quite the opposite of dumbed down. It is quite customizable and if you try it out, the first things you should do is head tonthe settings and tweak things to your liking.

There are some minor hicups here and there (mostly with video playback on Linux and the rare browser detection logic going off the rails), but nothing so major that I would consider switching away.

What plugin allows this feature in Firefox now?

Tree Style Tab is another option, allowing vertical tabs with nested hierarchy: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tree-style-ta...

As someone that likes to use open tabs as a sort of todo list, I can't live without that extension. Allows me to keep different trees open for various purposes: PRs in one tree, Issues in another, academic/scientific paper to-read list, forum posts, etc

This is the most stable option for sure. The more popular Tree Style Tab is still rather buggy, even after its complete rewrite.

Tree Style Tabs is a popular one. Though none can take away the Tabs in title bar without manually installed CSS hacks.

    $ cat userChrome.css 
    /* Mozilla chrome (UI) styling */

    /* Hide tabs bar
     * Fri Nov 17 12:23:47 CST 2017
     * https://superuser.com/questions/1268732/how-to-hide-tab-bar-tabstrip-in-firefox-57-quantum
     * https://www.ghacks.net/2017/09/27/tree-style-tab-is-a-webextension-now/

    #tabbrowser-tabs { visibility: collapse !important; }

Rather than simply disabling the tabs, I find it useful to conditionally disable them:

``` #main-window:not([customizing]):not([tabsintitlebar="true"]) #toolbar-menubar[inactive="true"] + #TabsToolbar { visibility: collapse !important; } ```

This snippet shows tabs when in "customize" mode, so you can access elements from addons placed on the tab bar by default. It also shows tabs when the menubar is showing: tap alt to peek, enable menubar to have vanilla access to tabs again. Finally, if you use the setting "tabs in titlebar", tabs are not disabled.

Doing it this way enforces sensible behavior and gives you escape hatches that don't require editing CSS and restarting the browser.

HN doesn't do markdown, to get code text indent by 4 spaces.

My userChrome.css looks like this https://github.com/dngray/ghacks-user.js/tree/fx-desktop#use...

    @namespace url("http://www.mozilla.org/keymaster/gatekeeper/there.is.only.xul");

    /* Remove default items from the urlbar-container */
    #sidebar-button {

    /* Disable Tab toolbar for Tree Style Tab */
    #tabbrowser-tabs {
        visibility: collapse !important;

    #sidebar-header {
        display: none;
I use the hotkeys or buttons on my mouse so I removed all the buttons from the toolbar https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/keyboard-shortcuts-perf...

It’s only a few lines of code, though.

Not a big problem for technical users, but it's enough to dissuade many non-technical users. With vertical tabs being such a second class feature in this and other ways, consumers have not been given a fair opportunity to try both schemes and decide for themselves which they prefer. Thus the tyranny of horizontal tabs is perpetuated.

I've given Firefox multiple chances, but we've had no progress with the MacOS performance issues for years. Also, no pinch-to-zoom? 2007 called, and it wants its browser back.

Energy usage on MacOS is another problem, especially compared to safari.

I am using safari for a while now, but every now and then you just have to admit chrome does some things much better, like tab management and the dev tools are more user friendly. Which, i realize, is the case for firefox btw. Ff tab management and dev tools are quite nice.

Yes, all those Macbook Pros that operate at the limits of their thermal system start venting like crazy when using Firefox. I prefer it so much more over all other browsers, but this drove me to using Safari almost all the time.

Yes - but it's miles ahead of Chrome IMHO.

I had to move from Chrome to Safari because it just pegged the fans on constantly once I had a few tabs open.

Then I got tired with some sites not working well in Safari and moved back to FF which is much improved.

Firefox will still often call for the dedicated GFX card (boosting battery usage) and then refuse to let it go even if you close the tab. I generally switch to Safari when I'm trying to maximize battery life.

If you haven't already, please fill out the feedback form here: https://qsurvey.mozilla.com/s3/FirefoxInput/


My big Firefox problem is the lack of media key support. I like to hit play or pause on my keyboard and have my streaming music start or top. It's probably the one big thing that makes me run Chrome all the time.

This sounds like a pretty easy feature to implement and send upstream, you should give it a shot. In my everyone has their niche "one big thing", and it's different for every user and impossible for upstream to accommodate for. But scratching your own itches always works!

It's blocked by this issue:


You used to be able to work around the problem with an extension (MediaKeys) but that stopped working with Quantum.

That's basically when I went back to Chrome. I keep checking on Firefox to see how they are doing though.

Lack of pinch-to-zoom has also ended all my attempts to move back to Firefox. Just too used to that.

It's equally useful both on Windows and macOS.

I used it for 6 months and gave up few weeks ago for this reason.

Proud firefox convert. I used chrome for quite a number of years, but their quantum update convinced me to move (though I've seen other posts mentioning it was seriously buggy at first, I didn't switch right away). As others have mentioned, containers are a bit of a killer app. Plus, firefox is going to keep ad-blocker support. It's not perfect, and chrome is probably more stable. I've gotten memory leaks, crashes (mostly on mobile), and one weird resize issue on i3. However, none of them are critical, and I'm willing to put up with them to avoid google's cancerous garbage.

Also, I never thought I'd say this, but good on Apple for maintaining webkit. It's a darn good engine, and I'm happy to have a third player. Plus, it's easier to wrap it with your own custom browser (see surf).

There's one piece of feedback; I wish people could do with firefox what they do with chrome. Maybe then the next cool browser could be based on firefox.

I'm in that boat. I use FF but I do face weird bugs. I also realize I'm on Linux. Weird bugs: things that use Google fonts sometimes make the text white on a white search or form box. Anytime I get a Google survey this happens or like when using tends. But not in the Google search bar. Send tabs I love but for some reason I can't send to my Pixel 2. Though I can send from it. Another is that I work in graphics and if I hit my GPU hard then FF will crash. It also won't recovery after the program releases GPU allocation.

These are super minor problems though. I don't need to see what I'm typing so I don't need it and it happens only a few times a month. I would like to send stuff to my phone but more often I'm sending the other direction. Battery life? Who isn't almost always plugged into their charger.

I want to move on from Chrome, and Firefox's Containers have made Firefox an easy decision for me. But I am a huge fan of Chrome's aesthetic and don't want to give that up for the sake of privacy.

I am not one to do extensive tweaking to my machine, but this is important to me, so I spent an hour experimenting. And I have to say, I am pretty satisfied. Even though it isn't straightforward, Firefox actually can look nice and uncluttered.

If you're like me and want both privacy and aesthetics, here are some pointers:

  - Switch to the light theme.
  - Hide everything you can in the address/nav bar by clicking through the UI. Some settings are obscure, but you can get rid of a lot.
  - Hide even more using userChrome.css [0], including the outdated blue bar at the top of an active tab.
My userChrome.css looks like this and works like a charm: https://gist.github.com/iamdamian/9efc271208bfb5ca52dc51572b...

Now we just need Mozilla to come up with a more modern-looking logo.

[0]: https://www.userchrome.org/

> Now we just need Mozilla to come up with a more modern-looking logo

Like the one Mozilla announced last week? :)


They have been working on it for almost a year.


I tried your changes. Your userChrome.css breaks containers though, as it hides the container color from the tabs. Your changes also breaks all the privacy controls you can get from Firefox on a per site basis. I think if someone tried your css and chose very strict privacy options they're not going to have any way to see that privacy control options may have broken a page. Those things in the address bar are vital.

I highly recommend people to not use this css unless they feel comfortable editing it to unbreak things and don't want any of the per site options. This UI change reduces the usability of Firefox to the point I would consider it broken.

If you don't like the container colors in the tabs, you can edit them to be colors you prefer.

You’re right that it removes the color bars, so I’ve commented out that line as optional. But as far as I know, this CSS doesn't hide any site-specific privacy-related controls. Which ones are you referring to?

Note on the color bars: I'd rather not have extra noise in the tabs because I determine which container I’m in through the address bar and automated domain containers. Of course, for someone who wants an overview of how many tabs are in each container, the color bars might be useful. It's a good point that this might be unexpected, even though it's noted in the CSS. So I've commented out that line and will let people enable it themselves.

I'm sorry I was mistaken on the per-site privacy controls being removed. I can't edit the comment to fix my mistake. The controls didn't appear on a page that I thought it would, but I found another and with your css it was still there. My mistake.

> Now we just need Mozilla to come up with a more modern-looking logo.

You're in luck: https://blog.mozilla.org/press-uk/2019/06/11/firefox-the-evo...

I'm excited to see this and hope it means they recognize the importance of modern UX.

Brand and UX have nothing to do with each other. UI and UX are barely related.

Clicking an icon to start an application is absolutely a part of user experience. What’s more, my comment is about how one change can indicate a deeper and more meaningful change in organization.

Doesn’t want to use Firefox because the logo is old. Go figure.

I don’t know that web pages would have have access to user chrome settings but I still have to ask, do any of those changes make browser fingerprinting easier?

This is a great question the honest answer is I don't know. That said, I would be incredibly surprised if web pages had access to the settings in that file.

Likely anything that changes the size of the viewport helps with fingerprinting, including tab location/size and even showing/hiding the bookmark bar. It's not just browser settings either; if you're using DisplayFusion's snap points like I do to have a border around maximised windows, fingerprinting is probably very easy.

Your css also hides the container colour bars. I need the container colour bars!

I've commented out that part of the CSS for people who want those bars. Thanks for sending this.

Thanks, it looks great now. Any more recommendations to make it cleaner?

I'm glad to hear it :)

A few other things that made the experience better for me:

  - Disable "one-click search engines" (which is where the cruft in the address bar dropdown comes from)
  - Move as many extensions as you can into the overflow menu
    (I don't interact with them much, with the exceptions of Multi-Account Containers and maybe uBlock)
  - Right click on the Bookmark star in the address bar to remove it

Wow. Interesting thing. Going to try this CSS customization

99% of "you should switch to Firefox" articles focus on the speed of the browser. I used Firefox since it was beta till Edge came out when everyone around me was asking "why are you not using Chrome?", and the thing is, I never had much problem with the speed or the crashes, so I never felt the need to switch to Chrome. Until WP died and I bought an Android phone. Then I switched to Chrome so that I get perfect synchronization of my passwords, contacts, locations etc.

I think the reason why majority of people are using Chrome and Safari is not because of speed, it is because of synchronization, because of integration of ecosystem. IMO, if Mozilla provided a suit of paid services with built-in privacy like mail, contacts, maps, they might have a better chance that people would also use Firefox as their browser. Nowadays, Microsoft follows that approach; they provide Android launcher, Edge browser, mail, and pretty much every other service you need. I am actually considering to give Microsoft ecosystem on Android a try, at least their main income is not selling your data. But it would be even better if Mozilla launched a similar suite of services.

Firefox Lockwise and firefox sync are really good synchronizing tools. Between the two services, they do a good job of keeping my desktop, laptop, iPad and Android phone in sync. Since lockwise integrates with Android and ios' built in password manager systems it works everywhere including in apps. I don't feel like I am missing anything over the first party options.

I've been a Firefox desktop user for years, but I just switched to the Firefox mobile apps. On the iPad it's fine. It's basically safari with Firefox sync. On Android it feels like someone finally made a full powerful browser for mobile. You can run standard browser extensions and that is a big win for me.

> I think the reason why majority of people are using Chrome and Safari is not because of speed, it is because of synchronization,

I think most people use Chrome simply because they switched once and never looked back, especially when “lol other browsers use Chrome” is pretty much a meme.

Firefox Sync is great and I don't think it's lacking some key feature Google offers.

Firefox Sync does not have synchronization of contacts, calendar or map locations.

There is a contact manager and calendar in Chrome? When did Chrome become a PIM?

My original post is about Mozilla creating a suite of services so that people switch to Mozilla ecosystem which would, IMO, increase the usage of Firefox as well. Chrome itself does not have contact manager or calendar but Google ecosystem has.

> and Safari is not because of speed

The main reason I stick to Safari on my Macbook is that I still get significantly better battery life from it than either Chrome or Firefox. Chrome has also switched to a UX breaking requirement to hold cmd+q to quit instead of just tapping it. I'm sure I could configure it back to what literally every single other app on my Mac uses, but it's incredibly annoying that they think they are special enough to deviate from the OS design.

> I'm sure I could configure it back [...]

It's literally one click in the "Chrome" menu.

They’re talking about the keyboard shortcut. It’s much quicker to use CMD + Q to quit any app on Mac, but Chrome insists on making you hold it down. Clicking through the menus defeats the purpose and misses the point.

I’ve turned to using Alfred and typing “qgc” to Quit Google Chrome, although I use Alfred for most navigation now.

I know, I meant that "configuring it back" is just one click on "Warn Before Quitting" in the Chrome menu. See https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/340517

Oh wow. I thought you were referring to simply clicking Quit in the menu. Thank you for this. I hadn’t realized that was an option. It has bugged me for a long time.

FWIW, I turned this option (to not quit on Cmd+Q) a long time before it was the default, and it's saved me time so many times - I absolutely love it. Before, I would constantly try to hit "Cmd+W" and accidentally tap the Q, and the whole browser would close.

Interesting that the adblock thing is finally nudging people away from Chrome. I've found it disrespectful of its users long ago.

The last straw for me was when it started to prevent my computer from sleeping because some unspecified page had active WebRTC connections. There is no option to disable WebRTC in Chrome.

I don't understand: why do they dare prevent my system from sleeping just because some page is doing some p2p stuff in the background? Why would a page even be allowed to do p2p stuff in the background?

Anyway, these days i use Safari (with its nice battery related optimizations) as my main browser with Firefox as a backup. Not missing Chrome in the least.

Edit: I just noticed i had a Chrome instance (with no pages) open and pressed cmd+Q to close it... and it told me "hold cmd q to quit. What the hell Google? Why do you think you're so special?

Safari is so good performance-wise on OSX that Firefox/Chrome feel like a mess. One way to perceive this is if you use something like iStat Menus to show your CPU usage in the global status bar. Safari barely affects the meter yet Firefox/Chrome put up some impressive numbers just idling.

I noticed that my password vault app now has a Safari plugin available, so I conducted my annual attempt to switch from Safari to Chrome. It lasted 3 days. I switched back an hour ago. The major reason was poor performance. Specifically my browsing habits have me moving forward and back between pages often. Whenever I went back to a previous page Safari would pause for a few seconds before allowing me to interact with the page. Don't know if this was caused by Safari itself, the ad blocker plugin I installed or the password vault plugin but it was there and annoying.

Not to mention "This page was unloaded because it was using significant energy". The only sane way to keep an infrequently used google docs tab open all the time ;)

There is no adblock thing. Chrome isn't disabling adblockers. They are changing the API to speed it up and extension developers are whining because they have to make some changes which will give users better performance.

That's such a gross misrepresentation of the issue it's borderline malicious.

Really? What proof do you have? Sure looks that way to me:


Just for starters, fact that the change will in fact give users worse performance than existing extensions like ublock origin provide, because ad blockers under the new scheme will be less effective and the performance impact of ads that get through will MORE than offset any supposed performance gains of the declarative API. It is technologically impossible to create a state of the art adblocker with that declarative API. It's complete trash and Google knows it.

Do yourself a favor and go look up what gorhill has written about the matter. To say that the messaging coming out of google about this change has been intellectually bankrupt is putting it too nicely.

I've long regarded the calls to switch to Firefox as tinfoil-hatted crankery but Chrome's behaviour with respect to ad-blocking caused me to finally make the switch. At the time I didn't use ad-blocking at all and didn't have any plans on it but I think this represented unacceptable overreach by Google so I switched to Firefox (and DDG for search).

I still miss bits of Chrome, the Chrome UX is still better, especially suggestions for sites you've already visited in the omni-bar and FF's 'Top Sites' logic seems a bit screwy, it includes pages I've visited once and leaves out pages I use every couple of hours but I think it's incumbent upon people to send a message to Google that their behaviour as a virtual monopoly is unacceptable by switching to a non-Chrome browser.

(I also started using an ad-blocker once I switched to Firefox, wow the web is a lot better without adverts!)

What Chrome behaviour regarding ad-blocking caused you to make the switch? Installing an ad-blocker with Chrome is just as easy as installing one with FF.

I believe they've u-turned on it now but I was thinking of this https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theregister.co.uk/AMP/2019/...

(from Google AMP because I'm on mobile and haven't made the switch on mobile yet)

As I say I'm not particularly concerned personally about not being able to use ad-blocking but it points to an abuse of monopoly power.

It points to news sources trying to get clicks using inflammatory headlines. Google has never blocked ad-blockers or announced that they were going to. They announced API changes which will require ad-blockers to change the manner in which they are implemented. What they recently announced is an increase in the number of blocking rules allowed under the new api which some want to call a u-turn by Google. Except Google announced earlier that the preliminary limits were likely to be increased later after performance testing, so what Google has actually recently announced is just in line with their earlier announcement. Of course that take on it doesn't follow the pitchfork mentality on HN regarding Google nor make for clickbait headlines.

I use FF as my daily driver. I am forcing myself to do it because I value privacy. Unfortunately FF doesn't make it easy. Chrome may be a memory hog but FF gets OOM killed multiple times a day and every night. I'm not a light user but I'm also not a tab junky. The big consumers are the 3-5 gmail tabs and the 3+ slack tabs. Other than that, it's normal browsing. Chrome ate all my memory but FF just dies.

Gmail and slack tabs are real monsters, yeah. My one slack tab for work will easily eat up a gig of ram over the course of a day (or less), and gmail tabs work up an appetite too. Twitter is also bad and I've occasionally seen a twitter tab eat up a gigabyte. I still run Slack in a Firefox tab though, since the native Slack.exe client has a habit of allocating 40GB of heap and paging out all my other applications.

It periodically gets worse when site authors make changes, and in practice a lot of these are site bugs. I file reports on Bugzilla when I see FF leaking memory on these sites and it usually doesn't turn out to be an FF bug. Maybe worth making reports on bugzilla though, the team is very responsive and they might be able to figure out a workaround for its memory usage in your scenario.

If and when there's time, I'll have to reach out. I can't imagine a world in which anything running on my laptop needs 40GB of heap allocated. I've only run the Slack desktop app once or twice though. Felt like a beast even then.

Is the OOM problem still there even after Quantum release? This was the main turn off factor for me with FF long ago, and when the OOM fails to even trigger, the famous swap thrashing occurs.

I tried again with Quantum, but then there were still stability problems causing the whole browser to lock up (just like Edge. But same problem existed in FF since long ago too), so I've never tried it anymore since then. Twice bitten, thrice shy.

Yes. My laptop is a Xeon with 32GB RAM and I can't keep FF alive for more than 4-6 hours. I let upstream (ubuntu) keep packages updated so I'm current.

That is... puzzling. I use Firefox on a 2GB Thinkpad T42p, regularly have 100+ tabs 'open' (as in 'opened in the background' which means it'll start rendering when I actually open the tab) over 2 or 3 active windows and I have never seen it being killed by the OOM killer. It can crawl due to paging but it does not get killed. To me this sounds like you should either add a bit of swap space or tune the OOM killer to be less trigger-happy.

If they’re having OOM problems, especially with 32GB of RAM, I’d expect it to start thrashing the swap as it does mine on my Ubuntu box. As much as I like FF, it is not consistent across hardware/OS setups and I imagine it makes it rather difficult for Mozilla to debug as this has been an ongoing problem for years at this point.

More likely there is no swap space defined so that any memory error will trigger the OOM killer.

Something's terribly wrong there. I'm using Firefox on a laptop with 8GB RAM and hundreds of open tabs. Chromium is unusable with just dozens of tabs due to maxing the available RAM; Firefox just slows down a lot after reaching something around a thousand (and it depends on the version - it's periodically getting better or worse at handling such amount of tabs), but no RAM issues whatsoever.

Are you using any addons that might cause that mem usage?

I am a tab junky (regularly > 200+ tabs, sometimes 1000+) and Firefox never died, and it is used on a laptop that has also IntelliJ + java apps which use quite a big chunk of memory.

You might consider reducing number of processes used by Firefox, I set it to 3 even when I have 4 cores available, it helps reduce memory usage.

Linux with 16GB of RAM.

Nothing much. The biggest consumer could be tampermonkey but the last script I was using has been disabled for a while. I am using multiple profiles though, which could be a problem. My non primary provide gets reaped more than the primary. I'll try cutting down the number of cores it can use and see if that does anything.

What's the use case for 1000+ tabs? Just curious.

It's like temporary bookmark really - something that I want to read today.

I just don't close tabs that often as I should, I forget I wanted to read or I get distracted etc.

And I don't force close tabs when closing the browser.

If Firefox is using an unexpected amount of RAM, report a bug by following the steps below:

1. Open about:memory?verbose in a new tab.

2. Click Measure and save...

3. Attach the memory report to a new bug: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/enter_bug.cgi?product=Core&comp...

4. Paste your about:support info (Click "Copy text to clipboard") to your bug.

> If you are experiencing a bug, the best way to ensure that something can be done about your bug is to report it in Bugzilla. This might seem a little bit intimidating for somebody who is new to bug reporting, but Mozillians are really nice! http://dblohm7.ca/blog/2014/08/14/diffusion-of-responsibilit...

Oh man, I've having the opposite problem. I recently switched and no crashes yet (Chrome would freeze and die fairly frequently), but good god is FF a memory hog. I've got 5 tabs open, only text (some short programming docs and HN), and it's eating 3.5GB.

Chrome would reach about 150 MB a tab, in my experience.

I have plenty of memory to spare, but still.

I am one of those developers who never switched from Firefox. Early days IE was the market leader and now it’s Chrome. Firefox seems to always the underdog. If you haven’t tried Firefox in the last year, give it a try and see for yourself.

To me Chrome is IE+Flash+PC Bloatware+Spyware.

Just check your Task Scheduler on windows and see for yourself.

I switched back to Chrome from Firefox. FF was slow, bloated, used all my RAM,no add on support (even for those add-ons who had an an FF product)

Mobile sites, especially HN just don't work properly on HF. The simple act of collapsing posts often seems to overwhelm the browser on my Pixel.

Not to mention there's this bug where videos create notifications on FF Android, and these notifications keep your phone alive from the background, burning through an entire battery in 30 minutes.

OH, there's also the issue where mobile videos don't play in window, instead opening a new window to play... Highly annoying

Oh, and that thing where FF videos often don't show a bar for your time if the video is playing vertically

And maybe this is just my brain, but FF doesn't seem to detect the back button too well, necessitating many double clicks

Oh and the fact that it can't open Google maps links straight from the browser, yuu have to right click

So yeah, I've tried it and it's just not as good, not even close TBH

I can see most of your points as anecdotal (of course someone will come around with a contrasting anecdote, but neither means anything), except for

> no add on support (even for those add-ons who had an an FF product)

Assuming we’re talking about Android here, what do you mean by this? Mobile Chrome has no extensions, whereas Firefox supports the full suite of desktop addons. I can use uMatrix and even developer extensions on my phone with Firefox.

Also, I think the point of the “videos creating notifications” thing is so that you can continue listening to the audio after turning off your phone, like on iOS and iPadOS. Apple got the battery thing better in general. Maybe Firefox should stop playing videos in the background after a certain period without user intervention?

Some of the other things can be chalked up to bugs (it would be nice of you to submit something to their Bugzilla!), while some I have never seen myself (especially the videos thing... for me they’ve always played in window, with the bottom UI, correctly; it could be a problem with your favorite video site?)

The video notification thing is for the purpose you mention, however, it doesn't seem to detect the tab closing and there is no way to force it to other than restarting the phone

That does sound like a bug then. I’m sorry I doubted its validity, but I’m still impressed that one person can run into so many deal-breakers and others have never had any trouble at all.

I use Firefox at home and Chrome at work daily and I barely notice a difference apart from UI. It's rare I have to complain about something with either. I also use Firefox on my phone (iOS) and it works ok but I don't recommend it as quickly.

I can't remember the last time any modern browser felt 'slow'. I don't even know what that means any more with regards to browsers, on a fast internet speed they all seem pretty fast.

Have you tried Firefox Preview? It may work better for you. You can download builds from https://github.com/mozilla-mobile/fenix/releases

I tried using FF for a while on my MBP. I could hear the fans turning on after I open a 4th tab. What's up with that? I don't want to use Chrome, but FF seems so slow.

How about Safari?

On mobile, I am using Safari and article just about desktop version. I should have mentioned this >_<

Cannot cancel downloads either

If only they could help us, Firefox supporters, by stopping with the stupid market campaigns that only damages the brand. And the amount of nagging features are becoming too much. Even with my huge user.js it's like every couple of updates I have to disable something. Last week was the extensions recommendations inside about:addons, and I already had disabled "Recommend extensions when I'm browsing". The other was an icon (Firefox Sync?) added to every single browser install I manage and a tab asking me to login. How about a do-not-nag-me flag?

I switched several months ago from Chrome to Firefox (don't remember exactly when, think it was when the articles about logging into gmail would turn on sync came out).

Unlike many here I'm not a browser power user--few to no plugins, no sync, and no customization. I'm not a web developer, so I rarely use the dev tools.

It's fine. The only annoying thing is that there are a few webpages here and there that just don't work. Reminds me of when IE was dominant and sometimes you had to use it to got to a bank's website.

I wonder if Firefox (or a living fork thereof) could be built with a “Chromium compatibility mode” where it boots up a Chromium-based renderer for a known blacklist of pages. Sort of like Edge with its IE compatibility mode.

There’s no technical problem with the idea; but I would worry that smoothing over the problems some pages have when rendered with anything other than the Chromium renderer, would just cement Chrome’s hegemony, since nobody would have any incentive to fix Chromium-renderer-only pages any more.

Perhaps it would still make sense specifically for enterprise use-cases: if the whitelisting (blacklisting?) of sites to trigger the compatibility mode on was only ever manual, or due to GPOs/MDM profiles, but never by predefined compatibility lists or extensions or auto-detected, then it would only get used in practice by enterprises who needed it for their legacy Intranet sites. Corporate Intranets are certainly where most IE-only websites reside these days—but is the same true of Chromium-renderer-only websites?

At least for me, I'd rather the other way around. When I'm on my work machine and using one of my company's assets I want to know if it breaks on firefox so I can go file a bug report. If my bank's website breaks on firefox I both have less interest in filing a bug report and less confidence it will do any good.

I suppose it would be different if my employer officially disavowed compatibility.

I switched to Firefox a few weeks ago after becoming totally sick of mobile Chrome lagging out and sometimes crashing any time I tried to load a sufficiently complex website. Like if I scroll liquipedia on chrome it just dies. If I try to comment on a hacker news page with a ton of comments it takes 3 seconds for each letter I type to appear.

Yet somehow mobile Firefox works just completely fine on these pages and more.

I have a Motorola G5 so yes a budget phone. But still. It shouldn't be this terrible on chrome. I don't get what's failing so badly.

I recently tried Firefox on a Windows machine, and noticed that the font rendering was much, much worse than in Chrome or Opera, it looked almost bold and was hard to read. I guess it’s got something to do with subpixel hinting. Has anybody else noticed that?

Yes. Font weights are all messed up, and colors too. I’ve seen fonts that are barely readable on FF because the contrast ratio between the font color and background color is tiny, however it looks correct on all other browsers.

Firefox uses your Windows font settings (Chrome does not). Have you tried playing with Cleartype tuner?

It's not about giving a chance - it's about making a considered choice. Give Mozilla feedback about Firefox, if you want to give them anything: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/new/desktop

I do give it a chance, regularly, but it's never enough to be 'default'.

Pins. Loved the idea. Unfortunately, they often go missing. Loading the browser, about 15% of the time, I get the "oh this is embarrassing" screen, with "restore your session". If I don't restore right then, all pins are gone. For good. Forever. I've lost way too much time recreating those over the last couple of years.

Have never had this happen ever in Chrome. I can't say it never happens in Chrome ever - maybe for someone it has - but not for me. However, I don't even know how to report this. "My pins get lost". If they're just special tabs, and tabs are known to get lost, is this even a 'bug'? Or just... "I'm doing it wrong" (as in, expecting pins to be more useful than they are?)

In Chrome, a pinned tab will close when you hit Cmd-W, which is never what I want to happen. E.g., I have Gmail pinned, I open several more tabs, then at some point type Cmd-W several times to close those tabs, but if I type one extra Cmd-W my Gmail tab goes away (and the window closes). Again, I never want pinned tabs to be closed that way. The whole idea of pinning something is to make sure it stays in place. That's what pinning means.

It's really irritating (as you can probably tell).

Yep. Agreed, annoying. Perhaps they'll offer some preventing of this at some point? I've noticed the "ctrl-q" quit thing recently got a "long hold" default option - which I now despise as its defaulted 'on'. :/

The “restore your session” shouldn't be regularly appearing when you start the browser and indicates it's crashing on shutdown or otherwise failing to save state. That is a bug.

this has happened to me fairly regularly, for years, on multiple different pieces of hardware/cpu/drives, under different user profiles, ISPs, and operating systems. 15% may have been a high estimate - probably under 8-10% of the time starting up. But it's enough to mean I just can't trust it as much as I can trust other platforms.

I am a web dev and react debug console matters a lot to me but on FF it does this weird scroll to the top thing every time I switch file tabs. And it’s in general buggy. Now it may have to do with the plugin dev but if you want to be a viable platform, dudes need to be writing good software on top. I love the promise of FF and would want to make it my dev browser but using Chrome out of sheer necessity.

Could be worth documenting this issue in Bugzilla so the Firefox project team can work in improving react debug support.


You need to give Brave a chance. I switched to Brave from Chrome and Firefox months ago. No regret.


I'm going to pass on the browser part owned by the chairman and cofounder of Palantir. I don't trust it for that and other reasons. I don't have the skills or interest to audit and compile every release myself. I don't do it with the browser I do use, but the threat model is different for its maintainers.

Brave’s founder is Brenden Eichman, formerly a long time exec at Mozilla, so it’s at least “complicated”

Splitting up the market more won't do us any good, better support Firefox (even if you somehow prefer Brave) so there can be true competition, if there's just Chrome and 10 tiny others, there will only be Chrome.

These constant pleas to get me to use Firefox for some other motivation than features and performance won't work. I'll switch back in a day.

- Battery life on both iOS and macOS is poor compared to alternative (Safari)

- Dev tooling is poor compared to alternative (Chromium)

> Dev tooling is poor compared to alternative

Really? Other than the websocket thing everyone keeps bringing up, I find Firefox devtools ahead of everything else. Especially for CSS layout.

I need a websocket inspector, what do you suggest?

Every once in a while, I decide to give Firefox a try, but I always find it wanting.

- UI responsiveness is poor. Scrolling through the about:config window feels like I'm drunk. If they can't get the row highlighting to keep up with the mouse cursor, they should just turn it off.

- Setting up keyword search is tedious. Import from Chrome should allow importing all the search engines, either into the Firefox search engine functionality or into a bookmark folder with keywords.

- Setting up security is tedious. The previous functionality of importing certificates via "Open with..." leads to this: https://imgur.com/H2V2bUn

- The UI is ugly. Look at the drop-shadow in that same screenshot at https://imgur.com/H2V2bUn

EDIT: Went through the tedious process of installing DoD certificates into Firefox, and it hangs about half the time on Marine Corps websites... and 100% of the time on OWA. It's completely unusable for me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Most argue to switch, because of Google's webRequest API changes in Chromium. Would like to remind you, that its not set in stone yet, especially whether Opera, Vivaldi and Microsoft will follow Google's plan.

I can't trust chrome. For me Firefox is not a choice but a necessity.

I have to login into too many systems with different credentials and I need NOT to be remembered by the browser even if I happen to forget to put it into private mode.

The only time I had to use chrome recently was because I had to login into google cloud and my company just don't support Firefox as a browser option and cannot install firefox.

You can turn off remembering of credentials in Chrome - I always have. It's called "Offer to save passwords" in settings.

I miss being able to zoom in (coming from Safari). Ctrl + wheel causes a layout reflow and while it makes the text bigger, images often get even smaller.

Oh right, it's annoying when it auto updates in the background and shows some generic error message that looks like a network error and it takes me a few minutes to realize I need to restart it.

I switched about a year ago and I was also pleasantly surprised, UNITL I've realized that it's eating up several GIGABYTES!!! of memory, even when I just have a handful of tabs open. What's worst, it doesn't releases all the memory when I just close the tabs! When I restart FF and cycle thru the tabs to make sure they are loaded, it uses a lot less but still in the GB range.

I compared the same set of tabs in Chrome and it consumes about half or 2/3rd of the memory. (Tested under macOS only) While I work on machines with 16GB & 32GB, I find it unreasonable to waste so much memory usage on the browser windows. I'm looking into alternatives. I think most pages would be better viewed by just extracting the text content and the links, like Reader View mode...

I've checked out pretty much all active projects on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_lightweight_web_... and https://qutebrowser.org/ seems to be the most usable one which consumes even less memory than Chrome, while still supporting JavaScript and video playback. Or maybe I shall switch back to Opera/Brave/Chromium? I've tried so many...

I'm already used to keep closing tabs manually which I don't need, like web.whatsapp or gmail and the like. I even came across the Tab Wrangler extension, which automatically cleans my tabs up. I can highly recommend it to conserve memory!

So other than the memory usage issue, I'm satisfied with the current FF. It's web developer console is almost as good as Chrome's. It supports Ctrl-Tab jumping to the MRU (Most Recently Used) tab. Has built-in reader view. The Multi-touch Zoom add-on even brings "zooming by 2 finger pinching" capability to FF, which is almost as good as the auto-zoom by 2 finger tap.

Do you have actual memory usage issues? Is a lack of memory causing problems for other applications?

I am asking because RAM is meant to be used, high allocations to Firefox on a (mostly) idle system isn't too interesting as a metric on its own and should automatically decrease if others need it.

I had ~1GB swapped out on 32GB 3.4GHz quad i7 machine. 5GB was taken up by ~8 tabs in FF. I noticed it because IntelliJ and Android Studio started to be suspiciously laggy. I mean laggier than usual :) After stopping FF, the IDEs went back to normal. Processor usage was negligible when I was not touching the system, so it wasn't caused by some runaway js code on some webpage.

I will never use Chrome, because I don't want to strengthen Google's monopoly, it is as simple as that, even if Chrome is better. It is a matter of common sense.

I use FF as my daily driver, and have for years.

But at work, I use Chrome. I bet most of you do, too. There's kind of just not another option.

For one thing, if you work on a product that has to meet accessibility standards (and if you don't: consider advocating for doing so anyway, it's good for users), FF's accessibility testing tools are frustratingly hard to use. Google's lighthouse is just way way more advanced.

And, my company (like most, if not all) _targets Chrome_, so I need to be doing most of my work in the target browser.

Personal browser choice is one thing, but products actually being built with non-Chrome browsers in mind is another. If people leave Chrome then discover that websites don't work as well (probably because those sites were built with Chrome in mind, and only ever tested in Chrome), they'll go back to Chrome.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact