Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Thank you, Chris (blog.mozilla.org)
240 points by lasr21 23 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 214 comments

I understand why this spark conversations about the current Firefox market share situation.

But I also believe that Firefox's dominant past plays against when it comes to analyzing the product right now.

Firefox is amazing, it works wonderfully, it continues to improve, respects privacy, adopts Mozilla's ethical values.

Yes, not many people use it, but criticizing this point so aggressively I think it is also influenced by the culture aiming at hypergrouth, dominance, monopoly, "Move fast and break things".

I am very happy with what Firefox does for me right now. Imagine a situation in which Firefox does not exist and today the product comes to light, it would be a great celebration, and the market share would be zero.

Thanks Firefox, I love you very much, although there are few of us who use you and maybe that doesn't change.

> Yes, not many people use it

It's a good 300 million people. Might be small in the grand scheme of things, but it's that's bigger than all but a handful of countries.

To be precise, it was 289 million on July 1st 2018, and 248 million on July 9th 2019. It was 239 million on August 24. Yes, the numbers are huge. Any product that has this many users would be considered a major success, but the trend is still troubling.

Anybody has some idea why that trend? Firefox is wonderful. I don't understand why more people aren't adopting this amazing browser.

Why would the typical user make the effort to download Firefox when they're already happy with Chrome? The typical user isn't on HN with strong opinions on privacy, has little notion of what constitutes a tech monopoly, covets convenience, and has already configured their one browser extension but doesn't remember how (and it turns out that same browser extension isn't in Firefox).

For most people, they can already see the internet in Chrome, or Safari, or maybe even Internet Explorer. Why would they switch when they don't even know what they're switching to or why?

Meanwhile Chrome has the full force of Google behind it, and Chrome is actually one of their important projects that they aren't going to abandon any time soon. It's really Chrome vs. the world, and Chrome is winning.


>Why would the typical user make the effort to download Firefox when they're already happy with Chrome?

Why would more users make the effort in 2018 than in 2019? This doesn't explain the trend though it's probably an accurate assessment.

Part of the answer is in how they collect those numbers.

Firefox 57 launched at the end of 2017 and was very much a love-it-or-hate-it change. Some people saw a significant performance improvement and that was important for them. Other people didn't have a problem with its performance anyway but saw the entire ecosystem of extensions that made Firefox different thrown under a bus.

I'm firmly in the latter camp, and if it weren't for the security implications I'd still be running pre-57 Firefox with the full set of extensions I found useful. If I didn't need to use all the major browsers anyway because of my web development work and I wasn't so untrusting of Google in terms of privacy, I might easily have decided at that point that Firefox no longer had any compelling advantage over Chrome and switched. Presumably some people did.

I prefer firefox, but I'm on a mac and it runs pretty hot. I believe they're improving this though. Once performance is solved it'll be my default browser.

Some fixes for this have landed in Nightly. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1429522

I’m pretty sad that it took a long time to solve this. I know there was a lot of work put into bringing Firefox back up to snuff, but this single issue seems to have caused a lot of trouble. This Bugzilla link is light grey for me, so I’ve visited it before, most likely a year or two ago. Since then I’ve been running Firefox with the gfx.compositor.glcontext.opaque flag set to false, which doesn’t even cause any issues aside from sharp corners on browser windows, and HTTP auth prompts having a black background instead of a nice macOS blur. That was the best workaround available, one I almost wish they could have made some compromise to enable by default in the meantime. I’m glad it’s been sorted now, but this seemed like it should have been a release blocker to me when I first started switching back to Firefox during the Quantum betas.

It only really affects Retina Macs, which are a small fraction of the total userbase [1]. I understand that it's frustrating, but it would have been doing a disservice to the vast majority of Windows users to block a release on Mac power improvements. Especially since graphics power management on macOS isn't a new issue by any means; Quantum didn't introduce it.

[1]: https://data.firefox.com/dashboard/hardware

Major issue is that the trend is going down: see https://data.firefox.com/dashboard/user-activity

Need to figure out a subscription model to ensure that a non-Google browser continues to flourish.

Also, K. Lars Lohn is the man. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSfe5M_zG2s

I've seen thousands of Chrome ads in my life. On TV, on FB, on other ads on other websites, etc. I really don't think I've ever seen a FF ad. At least, I really can't recall seeing one. From what I've seen, the public has just not really heard of them. It's mostly just us geeks. It's hard to get market share when your audience doesn't even know you exist. And then you have Android, which comes with Chrome and has a much larger worldwide audience than iOS. I don't know how this is different than windows shipping with IE in the 90s, except Alphabet is allowed to continue while MS was not. Android has about 76% of the world market compared to iOS's ~22%. iOS has been in a slow decline most of this year as well, while Andoid is going up by as much. https://gs.statcounter.com/os-market-share/mobile/worldwide

Here it is plastered on the San Francisco Bay Area's commuter train (Caltrain): https://twitter.com/gocaltrain/status/697135271280685056

Interesting, i have never seen a browser ad in my life... is that in US or something?

Just searched real quick on YouTube. It wasn't only in the US. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak8UKuQvM98

Here's one from 10 years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAoKG5RW8Lk

Netherlands too, and I saw Google ads in Germany as well but not sure for which product.

There were Google Chrome ads in Germany, e.g. here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tinto/5336283196/

> Firefox's dominant past plays against

I'm sorry, what? It was either the underdog of MSIE or of Chrome, it never was dominant the way the actual dominant browser at the time was dominant. The peak was 30%, and when Chrome took over from MSIE, it had 21% with MSIE and Chrome at 30% each.

You have a short memory. Netscape Navigator 3 had a >75% market share. Mozilla, which became Firefox, was a total rewrite, but that rewrite was done by the same people and was released as Netscape 6 - 9.

A majority of early adopters (of computers and internet connections in general) running some early version of this doesn't seem very relevant. I really don't think this ancient history (browser history does not go back much further than this) is working against Firefox today.

What's it got now?

About 9.5% on desktop, and 4.5% globally.

Chris was great from what I have seen, but I think Mozilla needs a CEO that knows how to increase market share.

Mozilla is now openly peeing in Google's punch all the while being dependent on piles of money they take from it.

At some point Google will get tired of this and will withdraw from the agreement. They won't be the default search provider, but that will play to their advantage - Firefox out-of-the-box user experience will take a sharp nose dive. Say all you want about DDG and alternatives, but they still can't hold a candle to Google's search quality. So what Mozilla will end up with is (a) a dip in funding and (b) a dip in the user share. This might be just enough to either make them reconsider their ethics or to kill Mozilla altogether.

So, yeah, a good CEO that can shed the Google dependency is very much required.

Say all you want about DDG and alternatives, but they still can't hold a candle to Google's search quality.

I'm rather torn on this point. On one hand, yes, DDG for example feels some years behind Google in its relevance ranking. On the other, Google itself has been degrading the quality of its own results with ads, etc. so badly that they've seriously degraded their own "above the fold" relevant results.

I've always written off Duck Duck Go in the past, but lately after not being able to find relevant info on Google, I've been giving them a go and have been rather impressed. Especially on image results, which are way nicer to use and give you direct image links. Plus they don't obfuscate all the URLs with tracking redirects, so I can copy a link without visiting a page (that might redirect the URL on me again.)

There's still some things they miss, and my main complaint with DDG is it's too aggressive in taking the search you asked for and substituting in results it thought you meant. I suspect that problem comes from their upstream providers like Bing, which has similar issues.

I start with DDG now, and switch to Google if their results are not good enough. 90% of the time its fine. Google intentionally broke image search, and their top search results are getting very bad. Its as if my question was "show me links to as many ads as possible that might be related to my search terms." Do Google advertisers realize I see their ad when it matches only one of my search words? If they read more than one of my words, they know that was a wasted advertisement.

> Especially on image results, which (...) give you direct image links.

Google removed that after pressure from the copyright lobby (they got sued by Getty). It'll happen to DDG too if they ever become big enough.

Oh, I wasn't aware of the lawsuit. That's ridiculous. Well in any case, I wrote a Userscript to restore direct links to Google image results, and also to filter out spam site results (cough e...-e...com), if anyone were interested: https://byuu.org/other/script/google

Middle-clicking or control-clicking will load the original images.

Bing direct links images as well so they'd probably go after Microsoft well before DDG, so I think we're safe. But I can always do the same for DDG if need be.

Agreed. I've given DuckDuckGo a try a few times in the past, and it never stuck. With the latest rounds of Google-being-Google, I gave DDG another go and so far haven't looked back.

The thing I've been enjoying since switching to DuckDuckGo on mobile for the last couple months is not having to deal with AMP.

I still remember the old days of Altavista, Yahoo, Lycos and Infoseek, to name a few. I would usually have to try several and comb through their results to find what I wanted.

These days, I'm getting a sense of deja vu, because Google is slowly getting worse and DDG is slowly getting better. Most of the time, I'll get the desired result right away, regardless of the engine I use. But sometimes, I'll be surprised at how bad the results are on one and then I have to try the other. And although it's not happening very frequently, I have to do it more and more often.

I guess that's good, in a sense. Sure, it's nice when things just work and you don't have to think about them, but we've all seen that lack of competition is, in the long run, bad for the users.

I feel exactly the same: I've been using DDG for 7 years now for privacy reasons, but I have been using !g (ddg's shortcut to search on google) a lot because ddg was often lacking useful results. But I've now noticed that Google itself has become a poor search engine too!

Nowadays, I still use !g when out of luck with DDG, but 90% of the times, Google don't give me the answer I'm looking for either. And I don't feel it's because DDG improved that much but because Google declined.

DDG is just so bad. Yesterday I found a website on my desktop. I wanted to view it on my Raspberry Pi so I could copy/paste the commands. So I typed in some keywords from the title and the name of the site. By default the Raspbian image uses DDG apparently.

The page I was after was not to be found.

Well at least on the first page, I didn't bother checking beyond. Did the !g thing and got the page I wanted straight up first hit.

Here are the searches for reference:



I've tried DDG so many times, but it just doesn't find relevant stuff. Sad, because I don't want to rely on Google.

The top result is the same (for me) in both searches (<https://www.tensorflow.org/install/>). What is the page you were trying to find?

Interesting, I guess Google used the fact that both searches came from the same IP to prioritize the one I wanted[1].

In any case, I just connected to my work PC and did a search from a clean VM there, we don't do anything remotely Raspberry Pi or TensorFlow related there. The link you posted was the first hit at work, but the one I wanted[1] was the third hit.

Yet for DDG the results were the same, no hits. I even tried pressing "more" once, still nothing. I even tried "maker.pro install tensorflow" (without the quotes), and similar result. I tried "maker.pro tensorflow raspberry pi", still not finding it.

Maybe I just need to learn what DDG focuses on in a search string, and I've been trained to what Google weights.

But the reason Google got big was because it was the first search engine where, for 99% of the time, I didn't have to spend several minutes optimizing search terms just to find the right thing.

I don't want to go back to that.

[1]: https://maker.pro/raspberry-pi/tutorial/how-to-set-up-the-ma...

They both return the site tensorflow. What were you going for exactly a specific page?

It doesn't sound like your torn at all, if you think DDG still feels year behind Google, despite Google's results degrading. Sounds like you still think Google is a lot better.

No, quite the opposite. To clarify: this is the first time I've started using DDG on multiple devices and it's stuck. I'll rephrase: I think that DDG is still a few years behind Google's unadorned best-effort result set, but not that far behind Google's actual presentation today. I.e. Google's degraded itself so much as to make the competition viable for this search user.

"Say all you want about DDG and alternatives, but they still can't hold a candle to Google's search quality."

I use DDG as main search engine since a while. It usually works, but occasionally (less than 10% of searches however) I have to repeat the search using Google. The point being that even if I had to revert to Google for half of my searches, this would mean for Google 50% less information about my search habits, and exposure to their injected ads/information, which wouldn't be a trivial figure at all.

One doesn't use DDG because it's superior to Google (it's not and won't be for a long while) but rather to send a message to corporations making profits out of user information. I'm convinced Google doesn't give a rat's ass if ten thousands users like me don't use their search engine and services as we're already flagged in their database as users with adblockers, therefore immune to advertising (including ads that manage to defeat the blockers), but they would surely panic in terror should DDG use become somewhat trendy among Joe Users after some media coverage, social media campaign etc. The reason being that "normal", usually non technical, users are the ones providing Google mostly with real numbers because they allow webpages to analyze their habits and don't obfuscate their online behavior. Should a big number of those users make the transition to DDG or alternatives, we would likely hear of flying chairs at Google headquarters.

I use DDG because it's superior to Google. Maybe not in results, but in UX. In particular, I use bangs ALL the time. Given that I can just add !g to quickly search Google in the <5% of the time (based on my history) that I need it, I prefer DDG. (I would still use it for privacy reasons even if it were worse -- it was and I did for several years).

> Say all you want about DDG and alternatives

I've been using DDG, finally, for a little less than 1 year. For most part my DDG searches have been sufficient, in the sense that I generally find what I'm looking for and my need is met.

On few occasions where my need is not met, I do a !g and sometimes Google gives me what I want, but not in all the cases. I have to refine my search query in many, if not most, of those cases.

One area where Google is definitely better than DDG, for obvious reasons, is where Google shows better YouTube videos and I believe also Image results. But for regular searches, DDG has been satisfactory.

I've been enjoying using startpage.


The one thing that drives me nuts about startpage is that by default, links open in a new tab.

You can change this in Settings, but it's stored in a cookie which my devices clear from time to time. (Not that I'd rather they store it a different way, the situation is just unfortunate.)

How does it compare to DDG?

In other words, I went from Google to DDG because of privacy. Why should I move from DDG to say StartPage, does it provide any additional benefits?

To clarify, I'm totally open to other search engines, just an trying to understand more.

It is in a sense a google proxy. Better results IMO than DDG, more similar to Google without sending your IP/info to google.

I don't understand the stuff too much at a really high level to know which is more private, DDG vs Startpage.

>On 29 March 2016, Ixquick.com was officially "merged" with the same company's Startpage search engine[3] (a search engine with the privacy features of Ixquick, but using only Google search results[4]). Users entering ixquick.com are now automatically re-routed to startpage.com. Ixquick had long declared on its sites, that it operated in compliance with European Union privacy standards, and it retained its original European search engine, Ixquick.eu,[8] until about April 2018, when it was also redirected to startpage.com.

>Prior to the release of Tor Browser version 4.5, Startpage.com was its default search engine.


> Say all you want about DDG and alternatives, but they still can't hold a candle to Google's search quality

I started using DDG, believing that "it shows me inferior results, but privacy-wise, it is worth it." Yet I've come to learn that DDG's results are often on-par or better than Google, and inferior only a small fraction of the time.

Often when I "!g" a query, I find that I get pretty much the same results with Google too. There are maybe 10% of cases where the results significantly differ.

My perception now is that Google performs better on programming-related queries, and much better on giving me local results (especially results related to my city). But when searching for content that you'd often find on blogs, or looking for reviews of products, DDG almost always beats Google by showing less SEO-heavy, more authentic results.

Edit: typo

I use DDG almost exclusively and I haven't noticed the difference.

If having Google as the default search is so important, couldn't they just make it the default without the deal?

Sure, but they count on it for significant revenue. If Google didn't want to pay it, but they kept Google, they'd be giving up that revenue from some other potential provider.

(Of course, if Google didn't want to pay it, it might cause a crash in the 'market value' of such a placement anyway).

I'd be happy to support Mozilla financially, but I'm too lazy to go figure out how to do it. Link me to a Patreon, or shove some subscription model more prominently in my face, Mozilla.

> Contributions go to the Mozilla Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization based in Mountain View, California, to be used in its discretion for its charitable purposes.

I've read about this before I think, for some reason donations cannot be used for development and has to be used for outreach etc?

All it means is that they can use the funds as they see fit. There should be a breakdown somewhere on their site of what % of funds go toward development verse admin/fundraising as they are a 501c3.

This is correct. The best way to support Mozilla products is to use them.

Yeah but I have to go remember to do it and stuff. Meanwhile at ArsTechnica.com, it shows a big banner telling me to subscribe, and I do. More reminders that I can give money to Mozilla would remind me to do it. Eventually they'd hit me at the right time/place to put in the effort to set up a sub, and I would.

It sounds like a matter of time before they introduce a paid plan for Firefox Accounts, with e.g. a higher limit on Firefox Send, a VPN service, and the fuzzy feeling of supporting improving the web.

I use smile.Amazon.com and set my charity to Mozilla. It's an easy way to donate (especially if you're on the lower income end)

I mean, something is better than nothing, but the amount Amazon donates is an absolute pittance.

On the flipside, Chrome went from being the best browser on the market to a bloated spying machine, and I'm very glad firefox exists to offer an alternative.

If on top of that, they manage to do it using Google's dough, I say bravo and hope they'll remain smart enough to feed from the vampire for a long time

Chrome was always a spying machine. It was just a spying machine that was fast.

I'd guess the intersection of people who will even consider using Firefox, have search engine needs that won't be satisfied by DuckDuckGo, and won't be able to change their search engine is vanishingly small, so I'm not that concerned about the user experience hit. But, yeah, the dip in funding would be brutal in that scenario.

> At some point Google will get tired of this and will withdraw from the agreement.

AFAICT, the situation is not so different from the days where Microsoft was paying Apple to avoid a defacto finding of monopoly.

Are you sure the season that G gives you "better" results is not a consequence of them tracking you everywhere and know your preferences and habits?

That's probably true to some degree, but I found that the most effective thing that Google does to improve search results is to connect multiple searches you submit in relatively quick succession.

Googling a paper or article, skimming it, then searching for something that's in the text makes Google appear like magic. When I enter the first word of my follow-up question, Google will often suggest a complex 10 word query exactly like I would have entered it.

Apparently, many people have the exact same follow-up questions that I have after reading the same text.

That doesn't require a whole lot of tracking. It does require a session cookie, but that's not the sort of tracking I'm opposed to at all.

Another thing that Google does well is searching for local content. I think this is very difficult to replicate for DDG.

But for context free and non-local queries, Google is usually no better than DDG in spite of all the wealth of data they have on me. For some niches DDG is actually better than Google and they don't fill half of their result pages with ads.

Sometimes I wonder whether the entire ad targeting thing is a fraud. Maybe Google doesn't actually track us after all ;-)

> Are you sure the season that G gives you "better" results is not a consequence of them tracking you everywhere and know your preferences and habits?

I'm 100% sure that's why they give me better results.

The options seem to be:

(1) Don't use the web,

(2) Give up decent search results and engage in a (probably only with limited success) tedious eternal war to prevent Google from tracking me,

(3) Relax and let Google track me, but still give up the good search results, or

(4) Take the payment Google is offering in exchange for tracking.

>They won't be the default search provider, but that will play to their advantage - Firefox out-of-the-box user experience will take a sharp nose dive...So what Mozilla will end up with is (a) a dip in funding and

Right, like from 2014 to 2017 when Google wasn't the default search provider for Firefox. It was such a shame to see their income go from 300 million to 500 million.

"Say all you want about DDG and alternatives, but they still can't hold a candle to Google's search quality. "

Sadly I agree. I use DDG almost exclusively but when ever I use "!g" I often get better results there.

Google's search quality has been on the decline for a while now. If that trend continues and DDG merely manages to stay the same, it will probably only be a few more years until they're as good as Google...

> Say all you want about DDG and alternatives, but they still can't hold a candle to Google's search quality.

I prefer DDG and I almost never Google, except out of curiosity, but I see this sentiment a lot.

How about startpage as an alternative? It's literally just Google results

i have been using DDG exclusively for over a year now with no complaints or need to use Google search

When Firefox decimated Internet Explorer in the 2000s, it was just... better. And I think Chrome had some fairly obvious gains over Firefox and IE which led it to gain market share. I was an early adopter of Chrome, but that was in the days before Google seemed so sinister...

I use Firefox now because I care about privacy, and I'd rather use a browser developed by a non-profit that cares about that as well. But I suspect that's a bit too abstract for most people to care about, at least at this point.

Chrome's advantage seems fairly baked in; people aren't going to shift unless there's a decent reason to. I wonder what that reason could be. Can privacy concerns become a sufficient motivator for people to shift browser; or even, thinking a bit bigger, to change the fundamental architecture of the web?

Chrome also has a persistent advantage in being able to advertise Chrome on google search results.

Which they do, if you access them using a non-Chrome browser, or at least used to... I confess I'm not sure because I still use Chrome. I agree with you about the advantage of "if you're already using it, something has to be a LOT better to get you to switch".

> Chrome also has a persistent advantage in being able to advertise Chrome on google search results.

And also on gmail, googlemaps and YouTube… They even paid for ads in the subway here in Paris! They also bundled it with software like Adobe Flash, which made it available on virtually every computer circa 2010…

And they ship it as their default browser on Android…

There's a rule of thumb that says any film advertised on the side of a bus is probably not a very good film.

This is probably just me, but whenever I see an advert for a web service on TV or on a billboard (especially for stalwarts like Google or Ebay), I always apply the same logic: their product must be crap if they're having to advertise it the old-fashioned way — it feels desperate and demeaning to the product.

AMP pages that suggest opening an app (eg Reddit) show an “open in browser” that’s Chrome.

GSuite pages constant suggest downloading Chrome.

2019 Google has a lot of ads for Google.

Oh, I never realized that the new reddit for mobile was an AMP app. It's the second slowest website I browse regularilyony my phone: so much for the «accelerated» part of AMP …

> And they ship it as their default browser on Android…

It's not the default browser on most Android phones sold. Samsung Internet is.

Samsung sells a lot of phones but far from the majority of them, they have around 25% of the android market, which means 75% has Chrome installed by default.

Um, I think you misread something - they have ~25% of global smartphone market. They're closer to 50% of Android market.

What? Do you really believe iOS has 50% market share?

Android has more than 80% of the smartphone market and Samsung has around 20% of the whole market, which makes 25% of the android market.

Chrome also had a very posh reputation in those days, for some reason. I remember many of my very non-technical friends who never cared or even understood the notion of a browser suddenly get very enthusiastic about Chrome. Whatever the marketing trick for that was, it was very successful.

Firefox was a lot better than IE, but decimated is not the right word. I think it had about 25% market share at its peak?

Chrome might be better than Firefox for some use cases, but the difference is definitely not as big as it used to be between Firefox and IE. Yet its market share is way higher.

Which leads me to think it's not (just) about being better. I'd guess lock-in/cross-product marketing is another major factor.

during Chrome's climb, Firefox was a fairly slow mess and in some ways caused by users having tons of addons enabled at any given time. Firefox was a lot better than IE when Firefox came out (and remained that way even during its slow period), but Chrome was a lot better during its initial rise than both of them too.

Firefox is way better from a performance standpoint than it was during Chrome's climb, but Chrome gobbled up all of the "not built into my OS" market share and unless someone is severely for privacy, does it have enough to differentiate to get people to switch? To me, they seem to be very much peers of equal value.

At this point I honestly wish chrome never happened.

This sort of thing always seems to happen. A shiny new thing comes along that's a little bit faster or cleverer, and all the geeks say “Yeah, well it may be controlled by a single company, but they're probably not evil, and anyway it'll never get big enough to be a monopoly, so it's harmless fun, and I'll use it and advocate it to my non-techy friends!”

And then we end up with Chrome, and Facebook, and Slack, and Twitter, and WhatsApp, and GitHub, and LinkedIn, and nobody ever seems to learn that if you don't insist on an open ecosystem, even if it's “just for now”, then eventually we all lose that option altogether.

I agree with you on most of those, but the problem with a Facebook or Twitter is how do you handle the open ecosystem analog? Is there anything more simple than Facebook/Twitter (Facebook example here mostly) in usage that random friends from way back when that aren't the most computer proficient are going to be able to easily setup on their own? And with social networks, the interest in them is pretty proportional with the availability of the people you want to interact with being on there.

I've never used Facebook, so I don't know how well Diaspora can compete, but it seems like a possibility. For Twitter, there's Mastodon (and way-back-when there was identi.ca, its forerunner).

> And with social networks, the interest in them is pretty proportional with the availability of the people you want to interact with being on there.

That's kind of my point. If we geeks stop jumping on the closed thing, and instead support the alternative open federated/decentralised network, then the open network has a chance of gaining the bigger/better pool of users.

As any tool becomes common, it becomes easier to figure out, because mainstream websites run “howto” articles: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=howto+instagram

We understand the network effect. We should apply it for great good!

I wish they hadn't maintained dominance as much as they have, but at the same time, IE being a non-standards compliant actor and Chrome at times including non-standard web features have brought out the best in Firefox: with IE, it forced Firefox to become a thing. With Chrome, it forced Firefox to streamline the cruft and become better.

Now at least, users have choice of what they deem the "best browser" to be and I honestly don't think they're inherently wrong for feeling that way. If someone uses Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Edge (though with that last one, I feel for them because it doesn't have the best tab recovery when Edge closes unexpectedly), or some derivative of any of the above, I think they're going to be reasonably okay.

They'll have a passably-functioning tool, which is a pretty low bar that I think we still set so low because we remember IE6.

But the sort of people who use whatever's put in front of them because they don't know or care are exactly the sort of people who need a browser that isn't actively hostile to their privacy and autonomy.

Greedy businesses are preying on vulnerable technophobes, and we who grok should make sure those vulnerable people have their best interests looked after by organisations whose motives genuinely align — not by big tech firms behaving like ambulance-chasing quack doctors, who'll sell you any number of appendectomies.

>but decimated is not the right word.

I think decimated is the right word, as it seems it took somewhere around 10% of IE's market share.

Hmm OK, there might be some misunderstanding there because I'm not a native speaker, but in my mind it's a small step below "obliterated". If it also refers to just taking a small bite out of its market share, then my apologies for the misunderstanding.

No, you were right in the first place, RcouF1uZ4gsC was being pedantic.

Originally, decimated came from when the Roman army would conquer another group, and would assert dominance (and instill fear) by killing off 1 in every 10 soldiers. So it literally meant removing a tenth.

English has mutated the meaning to mean "nearly wipe out", which is very different from the original meaning. But that's common in language. Confusing.

Interesting, thanks for teaching me something today :)

Let's not forget Firefox is also better than Chrome in many use cases. For instance: fingerprinting resistance and containers.

decimate: kill, destroy, or remove a large percentage or part of.

Kill, destroyed and taking a large percentage are all not representative of what Firefox did to IE, so it all comes down to how small the "part of" can be, I guess. I'm not a native speaker, so it might be that I sized it incorrectly.

The origin is pretty interesting.

> Decimation (Latin: decimatio; decem = "ten") was a form of Roman military discipline in which every tenth man in a group was executed by his cohorts.

its so obvious that native ad blocking could be that feature. when a non-tech user opens up a browser with ad blocking it blows their mind. they go to youtube and put on a song, and wait! they don't have to reach for the mute first to silence some loud ad? they don't have to wait to click "skip" on the ad? it just works?? the user just wants the content and we can give it to them.

imo this would be the step from chrome, which will never implement it because they depend on it. but the web is not ads. the web can survive without ads.

Firefox has tracking protection enabled by default. Given the current state of the ad ecosystem, this has the side effect of blocking most ads.


Enabled for new users by default. Existing users currently need to go to Preferences and set the cookie setting to “Block tracking” rather than one of the other options to get these benefits.

tracking protection != ad blocking. the side effect is more like it blocks some 'targeted' ads, but it seems disingenuous to say it blocks 'most ads'.

I'm not trying to be disingenuous. I don't have an ad blocker installed, and except for when I turn tracking protection off because it broke some site's functionality I can't remember the last time I saw an ad.

The web can survive without ads, will corporations let it though?

The hard part will be doing it while not running afoul of the ethical standard that they have set for themselves, and so many of us hold them to.

It's easy to increase market share if you're willing to play dirty and have lots of money to throw around. When you have neither... well, I'd hate to be the new CEO.

They need a killer feature.

Firefox used to be the only better alternative to IE.

Then Chrome came along and it used to be the best at tabs and resources.

Then Brave came along with automatic ad-blocking.

Firefox needs to match the competition and surpass it. What would the next killer feature be?

> Then Brave came along with automatic ad-blocking.

I don't think I will ever use Brave due to how it "blocks ads" I think the industry should be doing the job of Brave which is to ensure ads aren't infested with bad code. No ad server should serve arbitrary JS that hasn't been tested and secured. If it costs money to ensure this then they should charge more for ads. If an ad infests machines, the ad company should be liable, and they should really go after the person who paid for the ad too.

I will never use Brave because they're replacing ads with their own and making money doing it. uBlock Origin on FF is better and not scummy like Brave.

People shouldn't break the law, but until that never happens, I will do what I can to protect myself.

You are misinformed. Brave does not "[replace] ads with their own" and we never have. We are working with publishers to do private/anonymous ads which pay them 70% and the user 15% of gross revenue, but these are not out yet.

We already pay users 70% of revenue for ads that go in the user's own space, not in any publisher slot.

Whether user or publisher ads, in Brave neither kind uses any tracking. Matching is done locally against an objective (same for all users in a region on a given day) catalog; views and clicks confirmed using a Privacy Pass like "blind signature" protocol. No user identifier or linkability among events on any server, even ours.

If you acted on incorrect information, I hope you'll stop repeating it and give Brave a try. Thanks.

For me, the killer feature is multi-account containers. Unfortunately, the support for them isn't great.

Mozilla, please oh please have Firefox Sync support Multi-account containers. I have way too many settings and redirects configured with MAC and Cookie Auto-Delete to work with MAC that I dread having to switch to another computer.


Rethink the whole thing from the ground up with privacy in mind. This includes transparency to whats going on under the hood, an integration of important plugins (your average video downloading plugin is likely siphoning all kinds of information), sandboxing, privacy-aware defaults, and banning and blacklisting a whole lot of known crap!

The mainstream user doesn't care about privacy. Speed has always been paramount.

For some reason I read that as "Piracy!" Got my mind running in a rather different direction. lol

Unfortunately, to most of the adtech and copyright lobby, those two things are always going to go together.

On mobile people need to know that uBlock Origin works the same as on the desktop.

Well, how to increase market share for a browser?

Simple, offer a better browser.

Now the technical core of firefox seems now very solid(if they keep the extensions api stable), with long term decisions like rust and quantum paying off.. But the problem seems to be, that many websites are developed and tested in chrome only, sometimes with chrome-only features.. so it does not help only implementing nonstandard feature after nonstandard feature. They need to get the developers back and that can only work with a massive investment in the firefox dev tools as they are far, far behind chrome devtools. I sympathise with firefox and mozilla a lot, but even for me, it would require a huge improvement to even consider changing back. I am annoyed enough from the occasional firefox debugging. No wonder more and more developers simply skip firefox due to low marketshare and save the effort.

> They need to get the developers back and that can only work with a massive investment in the firefox dev tools as they are far, far behind chrome devtools.

This isn't a universal truth -- I consider them much better in many respects. It's much better to point out concrete deficiencies as these can be acted upon.

One area where a company like Firefox could do well is embedded browsers. Some years ago I had a need to embed a browser into a windows app and there were really not many good options available. Mozilla had something (XULRunner) that seemed not maintained anymore. Mozilla could build a better competitor to Electron. That would give them developer mindshare and probably also contributions once companies are building products with that framework.

Or they could be innovative with their browser. Sometimes I have trouble telling chrome and Firefox apart. They are so similar.

In retrospect, it seems that Mozilla's biggest stumble was their decision to ignore embedding. Around 2009-ish, the decision was made to break any compatibility guarantees for embedding, at first temporarily (which was necessary until new APIs that could support multiprocess in the engine), and then the idea was that you wouldn't embed Gecko at all, and instead use XULRunner. Then XULRunner was killed off for Firefox webapps, which itself was killed off for... nothing?

XULRunner was killed off for webapps, which was killed off for https://github.com/mozilla/positron, which was killed off for nothing.

On the bright side, Servo is designed for embedding, although it's a lot more work than something like XULRunner or Electron.

The interesting thing about Electron was that it was produced by a group independent of Google. If Mozilla spun off XULRunner as a subsidiary and allowed them to make decisions on marketing, there’d be actual competition.

(There’s also not much point to disabling XUL extensions entirely since Firefox now requires extensions to be signed).

Maybe they hired some product managers from Microsoft :). I mean the ones that managed the whole mess with Winforms, WPF, WinRt, silverlight and UWP

Can't help but wonder how Brendan Eich would have fared in the job.

Well, Brave started from nothing and seems to be growing. I use it now on all my devices and really like it as a daily driver.

Had Brendan been able to try these ideas with the firefox userbase it could've advanced the privacy conversation much further...

I can't help but feel that a lot of Brave's userbase are pushing it because they have a financial investment in BAT from the ICO. Brave certainly doesn't help with the monoculture threat either, its just Chrome.

In the initial sale, <100 people bought BAT, and perhaps 186K people own it now (ignoring Uphold members) per https://etherscan.io/token/0x0d8775f648430679a709e98d2b0cb62..., but we have ~7M users. Check your math.

Is 186,000 not a lot? It doesn't need to be a large percentage of the overall, just influencers with a financial investment in it.

(Yes, in theory people can also own say, Google stock, but BAT is directly tied to the browser's success.)

Is 186,000 a large or small fraction of 7M? Also note the largest few accounts are liquidity pools owned by exchanges, and custodial accounts we use for cold BAT.

How does a browser grow from zero share? Hint: it's not by "influence" alone, with zero benefit to the prospect being pitched by the influencer.

Having Google as your default search engine or include Google's safe browsing inside your browser doesn't help with the monoculture threat either, but i guess mozilla thinks otherwise.

They rely for most of their revenue on that Google search deal.

Safe Browsing in "update" mode, with an IP hiding proxy as Brave uses, is ok.

i duno. the other day i used a friend's computer without an adblocker and searched google for "AWS". i could not see a link to amazon AWS on the results page. it was under 5 ads for azure, gcp, and some other crap. i mean, i use an adblocker on my own devices and had no idea it had gotten that crazy. it was horrifying. the non tech-savvy people are clicking god knows what and fueling a massive industry of identity theft, not to mention the psychological pollution and interference to genuine knowledge and information that so many ads represent. sure brave is sketchy in its own way, but it's a paradigm shift in the right direction. something has got to change. so i can totally see why users and not just investors would want to give brave a try.

But that adblocking there is not uBlock is it? It is not controllable by me and can be turned to "acceptable ads" any day. If it only let mobile to use extensions like FF does.

of course, but what makes brave unique is that its blocking is native. only 10% of users have an adblocker (us techies live in a bubble) -- 90% of people have no idea what uBlock is. also ublock could be turned to "acceptable ads" too -- it already happened (i'm assuming you're talking about uBlock "origin")

Finding a niche is one thing. If you change a product used by a portion (albeit small) of the mainstream into a product that would appeal only to a niche audience, that may well end up going against you.

The causal arrow points the other way. Today Firefox finally started blocking third party cookies (some, not all as Brave does; they use Disconnect.me's 3rd party cookie blocking list) by default. This does not limit mainstream appeal, it follows Safari and Brave, who have been leading the privacy by default movement among browsers.


During that time, Firefox OS was their big push, so it would make sense that he'd discuss it. It doesn't seem like he's saying, now, Firefox OS would be a hit.

He also goes on to say that the company has people of varying opinions politically. Personally, I'm for gay marriage and when it is brought up as a religious ceremony being yanked from the church, I typically say that had already happened when the various governments started applying tax benefits and the like to marriage and no one was arguing against the secular government taking a more active role on marriage then (plus, the whole divorce thing). There are those who would disagree with that stance (to varying degrees and in either direction) and that's fine.

What he's advocating is that his or any of his coworkers' personal beliefs of whatever direction should not have any affect on their ability to deliver on Mozilla's goals. Honestly, he's more or less right. There have also been cases where people have been steered from beliefs and/or actions because they had conversations with people of differing views (Chickfila's CEO in some of his donations to programs that were directly detrimental to LGBT for one [1]). If you kick all of the people out who disagree with you, you create tribes. And it is highly unlikely those tribes are going to start drifting towards your beliefs at that point. In fact, it is more likely to harden their beliefs.

[1] https://www.huffpost.com/entry/dan-cathy-chick-fil-a_b_25643...

Firefox has been losing market share throughout Chris' entire tenure as CEO. I think this blog post is a bit too congratulatory given that reality.

just want to give a shoutout to Firefox Focus and whoever is at Mozilla that made it happen. absolutely fantastic no tracking one tab experience that has made a dent in my browser tab management and privacy defaults like nothing else has. thank you!

It's worth noting that Firefox Focus is just another chromium-based browser. If things keep moving in the direction they currently are, this may be the sad fate of Firefox proper :(

The latest Firefox Klar on F-droid is still using Blink, according to https://whatsmyua.info/.

That being said, the F-droid version is probably out of date.

That's an issue with the f-droid build config. Maybe worth filing a bug with them and asking to change it?

Yeah it's a shame they have significantly slowed down updates to it. To me it sort of felt half done since you could sort of have tabs if you opened links. But it's a solid browser hope to see it continue.

Recently I've been using Firefox preview for Android and really enjoying it. Looking forward to it replacing Firefox for Android

https://github.com/mozilla-mobile/focus-android https://github.com/mozilla-mobile/focus-ios

I tried, but I can't do it. I need tabs.

Firefox Focus has had tabs for a while

i dont get why people want that. for me the restriction of unitab frees me from tab management and forces me to get rid of things i no longer need since im a tab hoarder.

I hope whoever replaces him will inspire the Firefox team to stop dropping support for features I use. Probably not, but one can dream.

Firefox is an open source project. I'm sure if you pitched in with time and / or money to maintain said features, they'd be much less likely to disappear.

I already contribute to other software projects that are more important to me than Firefox. And it would be impossible for me to contribute every feature I want to every open source project I use anyway, so what you propose is not very practical and doesn't really help, does it?

On the other hand, it only takes me a few seconds to complain on the official channels when they add a feature I don't need or remove one that I use so I think I'll keep doing that. Maybe enough users will agree and Mozilla might react to the complaints. Probably not though, they've been pretty deaf to the community lately. A change of CEO might be a chance for that to improve, so that's why I made my comment.

Assuming this is naivete and not a deliberate attempt to mislead... Firefox is an open source project, but here is no openness in the product management. The decisions regarding features to keep or discard are determined by politics internal to Mozilla.

> Assuming this is naivete and not a deliberate attempt to mislead

Can you please edit out gratuitous swipes like that from your HN posts? It breaks a number of the site guidelines and your comment would be fine (with higher signal/noise) without it.


I'm sorry you feel that way, but I'm interested to know why you feel that way. "It's open source, so it's your fault something doesn't meet your preferences" is an extremely common conversation bomb in this space. I included the opening phrase to highlight the fact that I'm aware of the possibility that this was a bad-faith response, but I chose to interpret it in the best possible light.

What's gratuitous? Is "naive" considered an insult on Hacker News?

Sure, naive is a pejorative. But the insinuation of "deliberate attempt to mislead" is worse. The site guidelines ask everyone simply to assume good faith, so there's no need to highlight the possibility of bad faith. Doing that doesn't add any information and just distracts from the rest of your comment.

Smarmy replies like "just send in the patches" are at least as toxic and assuming bad faith as what op said, yet are completely unchecked.

If you're talking about https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20830097, that's not what jsty said. Please don't use quotation marks to make it look like you're quoting someone when you're not.

It may have been a bit of a stock comment, but I see no evidence that it wasn't in good faith.

> Assuming this is naivete and not a deliberate attempt to mislead

I sincerely hope it's neither. I'm well aware that a third party can't direct Mozilla as to how to channel its resources. They can however ensure there are sufficient contributors external to Mozilla to maintain the features they wish to keep.

Even if the end decision is still made by Mozilla internals, the decision to keep functionality is much easier if they don't have to battle for resources to maintain it thanks to external contributors being willing to do so.

At the end of the day, being an open project does not require the maintainers to do work simply because a subset of users wishes it.

Has there been any news from the Mozilla-Yahoo/Oath lawsuit?

https://wiki.mozilla.org/Mozilla_and_Yahoo_Holdings_Oath_Cou... hasn't been updated since January 2018.

Oath doesn't even exist anymore, and is now Verizon Media, right? I imagine that may delay things.

I've used both products for as long as they've existed. Google's search quality has become absolutely terrible and only reflects their ad strategy. DDG has become superior in many important ways.

Been using firefox ever since chrome became unusuable from a memory perspective to use without the great suspender a few years back. Been happy with the change ever since. Hope the company continues to thrive.

I use Chrome with TGS, and I haven't really seen a disadvantage.

Well for one I can have many tabs open in firefox without having to suspend the page everytime I leave it and my computer won't catch on fire.

I wish the best for him. I returned to Firefox this year and it felt a good product, one that goes in the right direction after so many years of Chrome dependency.

I mostly use DDG and Startpage. But sometimes Google, when I'm not having much luck. But not via Tor, obviously. And even VPNs can trigger Google's "you look like a bot".

I used to love Metacrawler. And I see that it's back, but just drawing on Google and Yahoo!. Also by InfoSpace, Dogpile, which draws from more sources. But I haven't used either enough to say much.

Startpage already uses Google results. I guess Google's "personalized results" must have a significant impact if you've noticed differences.

on a side note, that's a really nice looking font

Just downloaded Firefox again for the first time in ages...what's lame is that some G Suite / Apps / Mail features are only available in Chrome forcing me to use Chrome for work..

What Google app features are not available in Firefox? I use Firefox and my work uses Google's products and I never run into any issues with gmail, calendar, docs...

The "send later" feature in Gmail doesn't work outside of chrome and offline mode for drive.

You can use Firefox privately though. And for work, if you want to get out of the vendor lock in, you can use a browser just for Google stuff. I do that at work as well because Chromium works better with my GPU for video calling, so I run Wire in kiosk mode. Everything else I do in a nicely configured and customized Firefox.

All good things must come to an end.

Nitpick- Should this be, "leaving his role"? How about:

Chris Beard will be leaving his role as Mozilla CEO

Leaving has a negative connotation

Does it? What alternative accurate wording would you suggest? Everything else I can think of is euphemism. Leaving a job is ... leaving a job. It doesn't say why.

Handing-off (to XYZ), stepping down from his role, retiring as CEO, etc.

I would say none of those are euphemisms, they just put the emphasis on the reason why as opposed to the act of leaving itself

When you leave, one has to be "left behind". It doesn't speak to an amicable outcome.

Do you only leave the grocery store after a fight?

I think you’re reading much more into this.

You don't see a difference between leaving a leadership position and leaving a grocery store?

Well, either they are, or the PR department is reading too much into it and s/he's just explaining the reason why PR departments avoid it.

I think you're being naive to the way corporate communications work.

Go home and spend time with your family.


Audited financials for year X are typically published sometime late in year X+1. You can't start the process until year X ends (or more likely until after the relevant tax filing deadlines in all the countries involved have passed, so certainly not until mid-April and possibly later), and it typically takes months to do the audit.

So for example, if you look at https://assets.mozilla.net/annualreport/2017/mozilla-fdn-201... (which is the 2017 financials for Mozilla), it's dated "September 26, 2018" (see page 4 of the PDF, page 2 of the actual document). The equivalent document covering 2016 is at https://assets.mozilla.net/annualreport/2016/2016_Mozilla_Au... and is dated "September 26, 2017".

It's not September 26, 2019 yet. ;)

Thank you for this useful clarification!



HN's guidelines have been developed over 10+ years and give good guidance as to what kinds of comments are well-received here:


I see nothing in the guidelines that relates to the original comment.

I really like those guidelines! Could you please enlighten me on which one did I break?

Some possibilities below.

FWIW, I didn't downvote you, I'm just suggesting reasons why others might have.

> Be kind. Don't be snarky. Comments should get more thoughtful and substantive, not less, as a topic gets more divisive.

> Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith.

> Eschew flamebait. Don't introduce flamewar topics unless you have something genuinely new to say. Avoid unrelated controversies and generic tangents.

> Please don't post shallow dismissals, especially of other people's work

> Please don't comment about the voting on comments. It never does any good, and it makes boring reading.

Okay, I'll bite.

Having two implementations of a browser engine is a good thing. Without competing implementations, we're writing Chrome apps, not web apps. The important difference there is that monopolies are self-sustaining and that competition prevents Google from exercising complete control over the Web without some other player having a say in it.

I think you might realize this, although your GitHub post was inflammatory and showed little understanding of why monocultures are a bad thing. Unfortunately, while I'm not intimately familiar with either codebase, I don't think it's an economically viable solution to pick and choose Chromium or Blink components to integrate into Gecko. Skia (for example) is sufficiently decoupled from Blink (having been written before Chrome was released) that it's more efficient to include it instead of rewriting a custom graphics library for Firefox. The same is not true of most parts of Chromium.

> Open source is about mutualising working force, creating together synergies and about NOT duplicating efforts and reinventing the wheel.

I don't think this is a standard way of looking at open source. Reinventing the wheel is not what Firefox is doing; it's been around longer than Chrome has! Competition fosters innovation.

> I am not asking mozilla to drop everything, to jump on the chromium ship, to improve it through beautiful collaboration, to bring the best strengths of gecko to chromium for the benefit of everybody and to maintain a soft fork of chromium to apply patch where mozilla disagree with some political choices. Sadly I am not asking for such a collaboration as I believe that mozilla is not ready for that even if it is the rational choice for a greater good (user experience).

You and most people on HN seem to have differing opinions as to the "greater good". A "beautiful collaboration" is a solid concept, but all it would do would be to allow Google to exercise more control over the Web.

> Does this means that mozilla has to continue duplicating each feature in gecko? That the feature gap between blink and gecko will continue to increase until webmasters decide it's too much and ask FF users to install a browser that supports modern web standards? And once it happen, the decades of works put into gekco will be useless for ever?

You seem to see a much larger gap between Chrome and Firefox than the rest of us do. Do you have some examples of "modern web standards" that Firefox can't implement?

Your idea of the "missing features" in Firefox needs some actual evidence before I can take your argument seriously.

I'll add to this:

In 2007 (!) Robert O'Callahan, one of the major developers of Gecko, was advocating internally to drop Gecko and replace it with WebKit in Firefox. Instead of exposing a big rift publicly, he posted hashes of his thoughts. Last year, he finally revealed what he had written and accompanied the reveal with some commentary that he now believes that to follow that path would have been a mistake: https://robert.ocallahan.org/2018/01/ancient-browser-wars-hi...

I answer late because I was blocked for "spamm", anyway here's my long answer.

Well, first of all thank you. You actually added intellectual value to the thread and help me better understand others.

That said, let's analyse what is right and what might be wrong from your comment.

First of all, let's name A the hypothetical scenario where Firefox switch to chromium and maitain a soft fork where disagreement might occurs. Let's name B the scenario where gecko integrate more chromium code but stay mostly gecko. In this case too, they can have soft forks of chromium libs they use,(premise 1) it should still by an order of magnitude be less maintenance effort than to maintain their own lib and (premise 2) most libs/code sharing should not necessitate even a soft fork.

Analysis begin: Without competing implementations, we're writing chromium apps, not web apps. So firstly, if chromium shipped implement supports the web standard spec it implement, we're writing web apps contrary to what you say. I believe there's something more accurate and more interesting that you wanted to say: Competing implementations are useful Yes, indeed! Or more precisely, not everything deserve competing implementations, competing implementations are interesting when: The best approach design is not obvious. Or when the things you try to implement has not an obvious most performant design, most featureful, maintainable, secure one. So competing implementations help to discover empirically what is the best approach about a complex thing to implement. It is rational to have redundant competing implementations if the speculated likely benefit outweight the human resources costs. Such a case apply for many parts of a browser, especially complex features and performance critical ones. It is important to recognize that by far not all constituents of a browser needs or would benefits from competing implementations. Let's name this fact Y. So you implyed that competing implementations are useful. Firefox and chromium are today almost 100% competing implementations. This goes in contradiction with the observed fact Y. Thirdly, we don't need competing browsers to have competing implementations. I frequently read both gecko and chromium design documents to implement a feature X. It is not rare to see that they outline competing possible approaches, and that they say they will try many of them and select the one that is empirically the best. Chromium having far more resources than mozilla does this more often. But mozilla rewrites like stylo, webrender, etc are examples of competing implementations inside the same browser. I call this fact Z, and this fact Z make your implyed point competing implementations are useful and firefox and chromium are total competing implementations vacuous.

Let's analyse your next sentences: The important difference there is that monopolies are self-sustaining Yes this is a property shared by many projects: Linux, systemd, git, etc. It is not a bad thing in itself but if monopolies were a bad thing for another reason, this would amplify the effect of the bad thing. Cool, you outline the reason the after: and that competition prevents Google from exercising complete control over the Web without some other player having a say in it. So that's what you worry about! I understand the fear and if that were true that would definitely be an issue!

In the current situation, what prevents Google from taking control over the web and implement X non standard features / behaviors? Well it's an error of yours to say that's because of total competing browser implementations. It's other browsers marketshare that allows other player to have a say in it The issue is: Firefox marketshare is shrinking, in parts because most of their limited resources are allocated a reimplementing features already implemented by chromium instead of focusing their resources on differenciating features, marketing, performance of key parts, etc (but mostly (sadly) marketing) In A (the hypothetical scenario where Firefox switch to chromium and maitain a soft fork where disagreement might occurs.) They still have a say in the web because of soft fork where disagreement might occurs it would be far more economically viable cf fact Y and the fact that code sharing decrease or eliminate maintenance cost. So scenario A would not change the fact that marketshare prevents Google from exercising complete control over the Web in fact it would probably help Firefox (better marketing funds, differenciating, etc) to increase it's marketshare so A would help diminish Google control. This does equally apply in the scenario B (where gecko integrate more chromium code but stay mostly gecko.) But scenario B diminish far less costs for mozillas but would still be an improvement as of current situation.

Your first paragraph is refuted, if you catch logical fallacies in my refutation I would love to read them and correct them.

I think you might realize this, although your GitHub post was inflammatory and showed little understanding of why monocultures are a bad thing. I don't if my post was inflammatory but the rest is, by transitivity refuted.

I don't think it's an economically viable solution to pick and choose Chromium or Blink components to integrate into Gecko So you do think scenario B would cost more than current situation. You think that current almost no code sharing cost less than to share more code. Then your argument is decoupling and that The same is not true of most parts of Chromium. Your argument about decoupling make sense. But you say you are not familiar with both code bases. The same is not true of most parts of Chromium. You can't say that, I can't affirm the reverse neither. Identifying standalone browsers parts, and rank the most loosely coupled ones from the most is a huge task. The subject is serious (the future of mozilla) and we can't dismiss to increase code sharing based on a pessimistic a priori heuristic of how much coupled browsers code are. This is an open quantification question that must be seriously scientifically inquired by mozilla, I hope you will understand that. I do believe there are many loosely coupled parts in a browser e.g html parser, http client, crypto library (mozilla invest or waste ressources on NSS), and we have webIDL!! Eventually Firefox would benefits (beyong perf improvements) from using the mojo ipc system which standardize many things in chromium.

Reinventing the wheel is not what Firefox is doing; it's been around longer than Chrome has! Haha, you have a point, I would have wished that KHTML did not exist in the first place and that everybody would have jumped on gecko. But this is past and the past is past. Firefox does today reinvent the wheel, they must catch up so many features already implemented on chromium years ago, and probably mostly don't even look at the chromium design docs and threads of said features to try to learn from experience.

A "beautiful collaboration" is a solid concept, but all it would do would be to allow Google to exercise more control over the Web. You repeat your point that has been refuted. An example: There was a recent scandal from chromium where Google in a new web extension spec revision would limit some ad blocking features. Both brave and chromium edge said they would not adopt the change (eventually soft forking).

Your idea of the "missing features" in Firefox needs some actual evidence before I can take your argument seriously. Well no, you don't needs evidence of missing features to support most of my arguments. Let's say today Firefox is on par feature wise, it does not change the fact they need to reallocate their ressources on marketing and user facing changes and theirs resources today are taken on optimization catch up and implement features at the same rate as chromium.

I don't need to but I will: Firstly Firefox is sub par performance wise (tremendously on Android) E.g on this recent phoronix test, they do not win even one benchmarck and loose by a huge margin https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Firefox-...

As for missing features it is difficult to see the extent of feature gap I see because it needs a lot of manual knowledge. The most maintained feature comparator is caniuse.com Where chrome supports 17 features more than Firefox. It is big but not that big. but chrome 75 to 79 does not gain any features because caniuse.com is not actively maintained. Each browser has an official page where it list their supported features but each page is up to date for the browser it originate and not for other browsers. By manually comparing them I've observed on https://www.chromestatus.com/features the real gap there is (more like 100 features missing in Firefox), I invite you to compare and see by yourself. (If only this could be automated!)

Thanks for reading, as you can see, as we talk about a serious issue, we must have high epistemological requirements and intellectual riguor.

> But mozilla rewrites like stylo, webrender, etc are examples of competing implementations inside the same browser. [...] This make your implyed point competing implementations are useful and firefox and chromium are total competing implementations vacuous.

But it doesn't. The problem with monoculture is that the bugs in the implementation tend to overrule the standard, and additionally it can make the standard impossible to implement in alternative methodology. The (P)NaCl work was rejected by other browsers because to implement those APIs correctly required you to architect your browser in much the same way as Chrome.

For this reason, the W3C and other standardization forums require at least two independent implementations of a technology to ratify it as a standard: multiple implementations would help clarify where the specification is unclear, but having independent implementations also informs the standardization process on if the architecture is too specific to a particular implementation.

Thank you for writing a nice response! I upvoted it, even though I continue to disagree, because it seems like you're being unfairly punished for holding a differing opinion from the majority.

> The issue is: Firefox marketshare is shrinking, in parts because most of their limited resources are allocated a reimplementing features already implemented by chromium instead of focusing their resources on differenciating features, marketing, performance of key parts, etc (but mostly (sadly) marketing)

You make a very valid point here. It matters less what Firefox does when their market share makes Firefox users a negligible part of the userbase of a product.

I would really like to see your idea play out in parallel to what Mozilla is currently doing. You're right that neither of us have a whole lot of data (especially with regards to the economical part), so it would be very cool to analyze the two comparatively to see which way produces a better browser (and a better Web).

Ultimately, however, I would like for the Web to better respect user privacy, be more performant, and be interoperable across every kind of device and platform. With very few vendors controlling the whole thing, it's much easier for them to make decisions that don't benefit the user, and then not allow users to have anywhere to go. Again, I don't know how hard it would be for Mozilla to "swim upstream" with changes they don't like in Chromium; a soft fork might turn harder and harder the more there is for Mozilla to cancel out. I guess the existence of Ungoogled Chromium proves that it's at least somewhat possible to retrofit Chromium into something better for the web. Having the weight of Mozilla behind a project like that would surely be a good thing (but would it be better than that same energy poured into a completely separate browser? That's the question).

Thank you again for your perspective. Have you tried writing a short and clear proposal to the mailing list mentioned and seeing what you get back?

After what happened to BE, I'll never use or support Mozilla again.


How about not duplicating your post simply because the first one got downvoted?


in your first one, you didn't ask for feedback on it but stating you had presented it.

As far as the proposal, you basically say Mozilla is petering out/an also-ran and that they should essentially leverage what can be leveraged from Chromium and focus on their custom functionality to differentiate and allowing them to focus in such a way that they don't need as many resources. You also invoke Not Invented Here, yet pretty sure Firefox predates Chromium by a pretty fair margin, but I would imagine that WebKit/Chromium/Blink all exist because the stakeholders of the time didn't feel Firefox was moving in the direction they wanted to go. If that's the case, what likelihood is there that Firefox is going to import more than necessary from Chromium effectively allowing Google et al to steer Firefox's direction? You bring up modules they do use, but those are essentially standards that they have in place because everyone should have them. Your "third way" is more or less what they're doing already, you even acknowledge this, but you advocate for a vague "more" for them to bake into Firefox. What more are you specifically wanting them to bring in from Chromium?

eropple 23 days ago [flagged]

Nobody was "triggered", which is a profoundly disrespectful co-opting of a term of art used with regard to mental illness. You should not use it as such.

I downvoted you because I think what you're saying is crank stuff. I flagged you because you were whining about all the haters--err, sorry, downvoters--in contravention of HN standards, and because you spammed about it.

Surely a "rationalist" can understand this, yes?

Why is this posted on the servo issue tracker?

I have no good reason, bugzilla was not responsive at all on my android and I wasn't aware of mailing lists.

Anyway nobody tell what they think about it despite being what really matters..

I don't think you posted to the relevant mailing list like you've been told to do in https://github.com/servo/servo/issues/24026#issuecomment-523...

Mozilla needs to fork Chromium, build a super good privacy shield on top of it and thats it.

What would be the difference over Brave then?

Good point... if only Mozilla could have gotten the founder of Brave as their CEO!

I think the question most would ask is what does Brave offer? Outside of tech, I don't think most people are willing to experiment with new(ish) software unless there's a very compelling advantage (and for most, I don't think BAT is a feature)

It wouldn't be created and run by Brendan Eich who was run out of Mozilla for the crime of (privately) voting the wrong way on a ballot initiative. That was and continues to be a bad look for Mozilla.

It will be handled by a well respected non profit foundation, rather than a for profit company?

Profit motive does not go away in a "non-profit" (FYI, Firefox is produced by the Mozilla Corporation, which is the for-profit subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation; top salary last seen [2017] was $2.3M+). Mozilla depends for its profits (to pay such salaries and bonuses) mainly on the Google search deal.

In my opinion, this conflict of interest between users and Mozilla's search revenue share held back tracking protection in Firefox over the years. We (I was there, this is all in public bugs and news now) rejected third-party cookie blocking three times.

Meanwhile Brave has a transparent rate card, where we pay the user 70% of the gross revenue for user-private ads, and 15% for publisher ads (not yet deployed; the publisher makes 70% and we take same as the user). So we get <= what users get, and we will fail if our users don't like the private/anonymous ads+donation model enough to opt in at sufficient scale that we can cover our costs.

Hey Chris, You were our only friend. And I know this is belated: We love you back

Using chance to comment, even though I like Firefox a lot and writing this comment from Firefox, I am switching to Chrome in Android.

Every time when I need to pay something web sites redirect me to my bank site, which has good mobile app, Firefox doesn't open necessary app, which forces me to log in again and again from browser, Chrome opens banking app, where I already have all things set up.

This is one example of how Firefox Android is annoying, please fix, or keep losing 90% of your market share, because people on mobile want this simple feature by default.

Does the little Android icon in the address bar not open the correct app?

I usually see a button of an Android next to the URL bar on sites that have a compatible app. Take for example watching a YouTube video on FF. If I click on it, FF opens the associated app.

Applications are open for YC Winter 2020

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