> Google already runs a lot of my online life–it’s my email, my calendar, my go-to map, and all my documents.
I’d rather the author take care of this with urgency, in addition to switching from Chrome to Firefox.
Firefox Focus is one of the best things from Mozilla in the recent years. I use it more than any browser (including Firefox itself).
I’ve asked around before, but didn’t get a satisfactory answer. Mozilla Corporation (the one that funds Firefox development) gets more than 90% of its revenues from its search partnership with Google. So Firefox is, in a way, aligned to promoting Google to survive. If there were ways to fund Firefox more widely (not through some limited VPN service tie ups), that could make Mozilla bolder. Someone pointed out that while there’s an official Facebook Container extension for Firefox, there is no official Google Container extension. The Google Container is not created by Mozilla.
I’d really want to support Firefox (and related) development directly. In my understanding this is not possible because donations on mozilla.org go to Mozilla Foundation, the non-profit that works on open web initiatives and education.
Why should I have switched to Chrome, again?
I used Chrome as my main browser for a year or so before switching back to Firefox. I’m glad that Firefox is now catching up again, hopefully developers will start treating Firefox as a first class browser again. Occasionally I will come across a website which was clearly only tested on Chrome.
I use Chrome and FF simultaneously at work because Google holds hangouts for ransom and that's our enterprise IM solution. Recently, FF seems to be much more stable than Chrome.
I also use FF on my smartphone and, IMO, it's a significantly better experience than Chrome.
The one feature I really miss from Chrome is the ability to easily switch between browser profiles. You can use the about:profiles page on Firefox for a similar effect, but it's nowhere near as seamless as Chrome.
I think the draw to Chrome for developers at the time was the better built-in dev tools compared to Firebug.
Then things got to the point where developers started doing the "IE thing" and only testing with Chrome. Developers were complicit in this because they repeated the same mistakes of the past. It's amazing how just a few years pass and the next wave of developers are oblivious to what came before.
My move to the latest (quantum?) Firefox has been beset by horrific energy use problems on macOS. Those have only just been fixed, but things are much better now. I hope the FF team keep their focus because with Microsoft and Opera giving up on their engines we need Mozilla more than ever.
Not all developers. In fact I remember quite a few meetings where I couldn’t convince product that Safari and Firefox should be supported and ended up leaving the meeting yelling “Fine I’ll support them myself”. To this day I still test in all 3 hoping one day I can stop testing in Chrome.
I switched back around then, because now it's fantastic.
When $GOOG gets squeezed, they always find new ways to use your data for commercial purposes.
I’m a webdev and we’re still fighting this one and will be for a while. Chrome has such a huge market share it’s hard to convince the decision makers to consider even Safari, much less Firefox. Please help give those of us fighting for Chrome alternatives and give us something to back up our arguments better than “But Google!!”
I keep switching back to Firefox as it’s supposedly “as fast now” but it never was, and on my hardware, it still isn’t.
I gotta add to this that when it comes to ethics and privacy there is no contest. But the bulk of Mozilla’s funding coming from its arch-nemesis is tragi-comical.
Sandboxed flash was huge at the time. People forget so quickly that only a decade ago the internet was a lot more malicious. Exploits hosted on compromised ads were not uncommon at all. These days all of the big exploit kits rely on social engineering.
Those were very appealing things for many people, rightfully so.
They did force Mozilla to actually innovate on Firefox, which was great, but they closed the performance gap to insignificant levels pretty quickly.
I really think the majority of people switching to Chrome was just momentum of "I use Google and they say Chrome is better".
Chrome had a massive advantage over Firefox, security wise, for quite a long time.
I used to say so too, but that was because at that time everyone was using Internet Explorer, not Firefox. Both Firefox and Chrome had and have been much more secure than IE (and Edge used to be unstable for a long time), so this was not a good reason to prefer Chrome over Firefox even at that time.
 Qualitatively: both didn't really support ActiveX. Quantatitvely: even back in 2010 (where Chrome's Flash sandboxing and Firefox's out-of-process NPAPI "isolation" was still at their infancy) both crashed much less often than IE.
Also have always been more cavalier about security than I probably should be.
Remember when people had a conniption about Chrome auto updating and now literally all software does that?
Remember when using tabs was kind of a chore and not really worth the effort? Remember when the chrome of a browser would take up 10% of the screen? Remember when browsers had an address bar and a search bar? Remember when installing extensions was a huge, painful process?
This whole, "I don't get it," thing is so transparent and juvenile.
Sure. And is that a good thing? From a developer's perspective maybe, from a user's not so much.
> Remember when using tabs was kind of a chore and not really worth the effort?
No, I dont. Tabs have not fundamentally changed since they were introduced in NetCaptor some twenty years ago. Yes, you can drag and drop them now, but thats basically it.
If anything, tabs have de-evolved. Chrome never allowed any customisation and Firefox stopped supporting it (e.g. vertical tabs) when they switched to "Quantum".
> Remember when the chrome of a browser would take up 10% of the screen? Remember when browsers had an address bar and a search bar?
If that was Google's only achievement ;)
> Remember when installing extensions was a huge, painful process?
I dont. Installing extensions was never any of that. It was always fairly straightforward in Firefox and has not really changed since the first versions, again some twenty years ago :)
Current Firefox has vertical tabs, with the Tree Style Tab extension (like it always has been). The only UI difference is that TST cannot hide the horizontal tab bar automatically, but it will explain to you on first use how to do that.
My point was though the claim Chrome fundamentally improved how we use tabs simply is nonfactual.
Firefox is awesome now. We can celebrate that without rewriting the past.
Chrome’s approach enabled new things and I knew somebody was mgoing to /r/iamverysmart about my example being a Google app—but Google Docs is my go-to example exactly because at the time nobody else really made a web app with some weight to it. Chrome enabled them to be mainstream and for that it deserves a lot of credit. But there is no super secret MakeFirefoxSlow.js in Google Docs. There never was. Firefox was slow and poorly designed by comparison.
Firefox has now improved. It’s great. I don’t even use Chrome anymore. But I’m really allergic to this kind of galaxy-braining.
Mozilla certainly improved on overall performance with Quantum, but to say Firefox was unusuable is actually not even an exaggeration - I stand corrected on this - but plain wrong.
AFAIK, Chrome did introduce the multi-process approach but that touched tabs only peripherally. Tab management itself has not improved.
Well, my pet theory is that this is the same as Facebook's internet.org program: just how Facebook wants to (and benefits) to train the "global" (sub)conscious that Facebook essentially is the Internet, Google stands to profit from everyone confusing/conflating Google search results with the Internet.
Why give people an address bar when they can (slightly) misspell their destination and go through Google instead? Maybe, if they're lucky, over time, every network request will go through Google.
I've also noticed this in how Google mandates the placement of the Google search widget on the home screen on Android devices. Place "the Internet" front-and-center on everyone's favourite screen, and people naturally "fall in."
Firefox still has that as an option. I use it.
Of course I moved to Safari after that when I realized I could gain like another 1.5-2hrs of battery life over even Chrome, and Firefox has largely replaced Chrome as the thing I use if I need something non-Safari, now.
I'm a Phoenix adopter as well, but never left for the almost 2 decades that have passed. I do it the opposite way, Firefox is my main, but the native browser is my goto if I need something non-Firefox.
I'd like to do it your way, but there's many Firefox-only usability features that losing simply ruins the web for me.
Chrome wasn't just faster, it was viscerally faster (V8 in particular was just completely without peer at the time). It was cleaner, without all the buttons and features adorning its competitors.
We all swapped instantly. Really it was amazing. But that was 11 years ago, Chrome has grown the warts IE used to have, and Firefox has largely caught up on the features geeks care about.
What Chrome did do better than Firefox was pay to put advertisements everywhere. I remember feeling dumbfounded that we needed Chrome Browser ads on TV to sway people away from IE. Strange, strange times.
Certainly not "all". When chrome came out I tried it a few times over the years, but it had no observable advantage and was (and is) less configurable than firefox so it's clearly inferior on that front. I never switched.
I was well aware of the hype around it being faster, but was never able to observe any evidence in my usage/systems. And it was produced by an advertising company so that was always a huge minus.
I was a Firefox user since it was called Phoenix. Chrome came out, I used it for a bit, never did see much of an advantage of switching and I kinda hated the chrome UI. Never saw an observable performance improvement. Stayed on Firefox. Still always use chrome to test when web developing though.
I will admit that Firefox has gone through periods where the UI is just plain butt ugly, kind of like the current iteration (sorry Mozilla guys, I'm just not a fan). That has always been easy enough to remedy. When Firefox still had real themes, you could make it seamlessly fit most UIs or even mock Chrome, if that was your thing. At least you can still modify userchrome.css. The Australis era UI was pretty nice. It's a shame they left it behind to compete with Chrome looks.
I always found the XUL plugin ecosystem to be significantly more robust than Chrome offerings. They are kind of on par now that they're both using WebExtensions.
I keep Chrome around for testing and other things that only want to work on Chrome now. For example, Google drive never seems to want to download my files when I'm using Firefox. They just redirect to a blank white tab. On the Mac, Chrome does this annoying thing when you hit Cmd+Q to quit. It tells you that you have to hold Cmd+Q for a period of time instead. I move quickly on the keyboard and that pattern breaks my flow. I know you can change the setting, which I have done, but it's totally different from nearly every other app on my system.
The relative snappiness of Chrome in the early days was really most true on Windows. And Firefox was usually not great on Mac to begin with (there used to be a number of Mac specific ports trying to get Mozilla/gecko in shape iirc - Camino?), so really its competition was Safari.
Meanwhile Chrome/Chromium didn't really feel at home on an X desktop. So I usually stuck with Firefox there just the same way I did from the start, like when it was Phoenix or Mozilla or just as I used Netscape for Linux back in the 90s. (This statement is making me feel old.)
Well that makes me feel old...
Is the HN crowd really that young?
> We all swapped instantly
Not all of us...
The only times I ever had Firefox perform in the laggy and stuttering ways people always describe have been when I get sucked into the "20 things you can't believe she said" type articles where every page is an exercise in squeezing the most ads per unit area.
Really it's just incentive for me to not waste time on that garbage. Plus now Firefox blocks most ads by default.
I've been a Firefox user since before Chrome was launched - it was one of the very few alternatives to IE at the time. And during these years, it was a breath of fresh air. When Chrome launched, as others have noted, Google leveraged its coffers to provide the new browser with extensive advertising and PR and of course, the icing on the cake, it actually was a great browser too.
I never ran benchmarks or anything but there were certainly a number of years in which Chrome did seem like a faster browser. That said, I was always skeptical because the browser was a Google product. But I stuck with Firefox except for rare cases, mostly in the past 5 or so years, where certain sites didn't even appear to function properly without it (it being Chrome).
Because of sites like these, I am at least appreciative that there are other Chromium-based browsers (which now, apparently include Microsoft Edge) that offer more or less the same site functionality as Chrome without having to directly leverage a Google product.
I for one quite like Brave and its privacy features, including its defaults. Blocking ads by default is great, though of course, Brave compensates for this by presenting its own ads (which are still annoying, but less so to me). I like the ability to use Tor and DuckDuckGo easily just by starting a private window. It also seems to me that Brave is just as fast, if not faster than Firefox. In addition to this, you can use almost every Chrome extension on the Brave browser (for me, the important stuff is uBlock Origin, Dark Reader, and a Password Manager). I know many here are skeptical or disapproving of the 'Brave Rewards' cryptocurrency - and I get that. But I have completely ignored it (it is an opt-in system) and I am no worse for wear.
Suffice it to say, I'm a long-time Firefox supporter - I still do use it somewhat frequently but I'm slowly shifting to Brave. I try not to use Chrome (though I appreciate what its impact has been on the browser space as a whole) and Microsoft's efforts with Edge at least provide amusing diversions. If you're running old SharePoint sites, Microsoft's browsers are still a must-have.
I exclusively use brave on android, linux and windows and don't have replacement ads. I've read that you can opt into viewing ads in exchange for receiving a cryptocurrency token, but since I'm in a region that isn't offered, have never seen it. But I don't think it just plasters its own ads over the originals unless you opt into this “crypto for ad views” scheme.
> Even if you do care, reading through Google Chrome’s 13,500-word privacy white paper, which uses a lot of technical jargon and obfuscates exactly what data the browser is tracking, isn’t helpful either.
Actually, I found it to be an interesting and relatively straightforward read: https://www.google.com/chrome/privacy/whitepaper.html
> One downside to using Firefox is that many browser extensions are built primarily for Chrome
WebExtensions is pretty similar between Chrome and Firefox, isn't it?
> my password manager luckily has a Firefox extension but it often causes the browser to crash
If he's got the one I'm thinking of, it's more of a testament to how crappy LastPass's Firefox support is than a problem with FF itself.
Personally, I'm perfectly happy using Better on Safari, after being somewhat reluctantly driven to using ad blockers a few years ago.
(Having said that, Safari 13's "now does even less!" approach to extensions is finally making me consider switching back to Firefox after all these years, even though I don't actually use many extensions.)
This is really no different than what Firefox did with WebExtensions but had the advantage of being mostly compatible with the Chromium ecosystem. It’s true that content blocking isn’t as powerful as what uBlock does/did with WebExt but WebExt also isn’t as powerful as XUL extensions.
When I came to the realization I was using FireFox essentially just for idealogical reasons I went back to Chrome.
So why is it here?
I'm not disagreeing with the article, I'm just wondering why it is of interest.
I've been fairly disappointed in the lack of flexibility that firefox provides and the real lack of maturity (and even usability) of the containers feature.
I think I expected the move to firefox to bring with it a lot more flexibility and a richer set of configurations and customizations and this really isn't the case.
Instead, my firefox experience has been surprisingly restrictive. Unless, of course, I am willing to install a bunch of add-ons, all of which come with the obligatory "access all of your data" and are from just some random dude on the net.
Some specific issues:
- I want to define a "home page" BUT I also want both new tabs and new windows to open with a blank page. You cannot do this. As soon as you set both new tab and new window to "blank page", the fn+opt+leftarrow shortcut ceases to do anything.
- I want to use containers. Containers are only tabs. That makes no sense. The very first thing you want to do with a container, after learning what containers are, is open a Window and have all future tabs in that window inherit the container that that Window is. This is the basic use-case of the container feature and it doesn't exist. Instead, every use of container is mouse-mouse-mouse-click-click-click (since there is no key shortcut for them) and then open a tab for a single use. We should be making container windows and using key shortcuts to open tabs in those windows.
- I can't force-title a firefox Window - it just gets the title of the currently open tab. All manner of interesting Window management can be done, outside of firefox, if you can lock the Window title. I could create 6-8 ffox Windows, just like I create 6-8 spaces in GNU Screen, and quickly hotkey between them ... I see no way to do this.
- The fixation on tabs is, itself, a bit weird ... I don't think either a window-centric nor a tab-centric workflow should be favored - they should be equally developed and enabled.
Still waiting for a non-hacky way to hide the tab bar.
WebExtensions also had the Chrome interop advantage, so more actively maintained extensions would be brought over, especially well-supported AAA extensions. As a result, it wasn't a net loss and longterm definitely a gain.
Mozilla for their part did say they would work with folks to poke additional holes in the WebExtensions API that would be Firefox-only, for extensions that had enough outcry behind them.
I'm pleased with where Firefox is today, but I never felt it was behind enough on performance and definitely never enough on features to leave.
Set custom window title: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/custom-titleb...
All future tabs in a window keep the same container as the first: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/sticky-window...
Both have links to their Github page if you want to look at the code and see what they do with their data permissions.
I don't know what "fn+opt+leftarrow" is a shortcut to. I haven't used a home page in years, I save my tabs between sessions and use bookmarks and the built in search bar.
My advice to Firefox would be to get containers working in a easy to explain fashion and the world will beat a path to your door. I'm already using containers to limit Facebook's access to my world; it should be just as easy to use the same power for everything.
To do what you're asking, I haven't looked for addons to do it, but you'd probably have to do it manually. Open a window, then open a container and spawn everything else out from there. Assigning a container to a browser window sounds entirely plausible, useful, and I like it.
There's only a few real use cases for containers that make sense or are useful and that's a new one (to me). If Mozilla did that and duplicated Containerise, they'd have yet-another killer feature.
I think Mozilla's biggest problem must be management or bureaucracy, because they have a lot of relatively low-hanging fruit like this just waiting.
Sounds like you want https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/sticky-window-conta...
Some resources relating to it are still online [1, 2] and Adblock Browser, which is derived from Kitt Browser, is open source [3, 4].
It would be cool if someone could make something out of it.
This is incorrect. iOS Safari allows for rudimentary ad blockers to be installed. But no other sort of extensions are possible.
1) Iridium doesn't send info to Google like Chrome does (or that is the idea);
3) OpenBSD adds pledge/unveil system calls from the browser, to prevent it from reading/writing files where it should not (plus I browse under a different user than I do other things with high confidence there will not be a privilege escalation; also they say the pledge/unveil support is easier to implement in Chrome/Iridium than in Firefox because of the cleaner separations of concerns in the code organization (my wording; though they have probably also put pledge/unveil in FF also for all I know),
4) Maybe the security of Chrome/Iridium benefits from Google's bug bounties. I don't really know but I'm glad they try.
Given those things, are there still reasons I would prefer Firefox? (I am aware of OBSD removing DNS-over-HTTP from Firefox, indicating that is a choice that should be made by the user at the system level instead).
This seems undeserved, considering Chrome has a track record that is rather spotless in that regard: they didn't ban ad blocking, never even attempted to send the click-stream into their user targeting, etc.
A lot more of Chrome can be better explained by a slightly different motivating mechanism: Google needs to keep the open web at parity with native software/apps, because it's the open web where they earn money. This is far more important than any marginal change in ad blocking or whatever else these conspiracy theories see as the upside for Google. This model perfectly explains PWAs, for example.
Another under-analysed issue are the comparisons with Microsoft/Internet Explorer's monopoly problem: The issue with IE was that it was closed-source, only available on Windows, and included strange runtimes for content that no other client had a chance to access.
None of those issues align with anything in Chrome's position today. Chrome has a large market share, and to some extend the evolution of the web platform. But with Chrome leading the way, the web platform has seen an unprecedented success in terms of standardisation, performance, and features in the last five years or so.
I get that people invested in existing standardisation process feel sad for the demise of their bureaucracy. But it's working rather well because Chrome's and users' interests align. And there isn't even an obvious mechanism for this to change, since other players such as Apple seem to be unthreatened in their position of having a de-facto veto.
That said, I checked a site I was developing on Chrome a while ago, and for a moment, I thought I'd accidentally deployed to the apex domain. Thank goodness I switched before Chrome's anti-features went into overdrive. I don't think I'd be using Chrome when they did that, even if privacy weren't a huge concern of mine.
Since Chrome 78 it is very perverse feeling to see Chrome informing me (with cute little icon in omnibox) that it had blocked 3rd-party cookies from domains like google-analytics.com or doubleclick.com.
The last one may seem minor, but it takes three clicks to achieve the same result as chrome for a task I do constantly.
How is Firefox on wayland with sway?
I have been enjoying Brave lately though.
Also, while it's off by default, Firefox can be configured to support them: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1175296
The OS certificate in any enterprise company is "locked down" with extensive policies provided by the OS vendor. It is far harder to import/export certificate and key material from it than from Firefox's own certificate store. I know that my company runs has scripts that run regular background checks to validate certificates in the OS certificate store. If you want dev/test certificates, we even have an internal app that generates 'trusted' certificates for various purposes.
There was a reason that Chrome chose to move to the OS certificate store. They realised it would increase their market share in the enterprise. Firefox is a no-go because it continues to cling to its own custom store.
That functionality is pretty essential to me, and I can get it on Firefox.
Other nice-to-haves on Firefox are: CanvasBlocker, NoScript, Cookie AutoDelete, Textern, and Stylus.
If Brave has some equivalent functionality, I'm interested.
Qutebrowser was another alternative which looked pretty promising, but last I checked its lead (only?) developer didn't have time to add the uMatrix/NoScript-like functionality he had intended. So it's a no-starter for me.
Some people disagree with Brave's operating model options around Ads.
I'd recommend checking out Vivaldi as well if you haven't. It's a Chromium clone with a proprietary interface (but written in web technologies so the code is auditable). Outside of the usual Chromium clone story of being exactly like Chrome without Google it has an extremely customizable user interface. The downside is it has a disproportionate number of UI bugs compared to other browsers but that seems to have gotten better since the 2.0 release train.
It supports uBlock, good enough for me.
It is the only thing that makes browsing recipe websites possible on Android!
Using Brave seems like repeating the deal with the devil that all got us using Firefox in the first place.
Also if Brave is just using Chromium under the engine, won't any shenanigans Google gets up to in the Chromium code base pass on down to Brave? I'm still not clear if Chrome's new anti-ad blocking stuff is going to permeate to other Chromium browsers.
For more sophisticated uMatrix-like blocking, work is ongoing on an extension API, but there's jmatrix which already uses that API unofficially. I plan to get back to the extension API soon, but there are some more important things to take care of first - see the current roadmap for details. Also, I expect things to go much faster soon, as I finished my studies and I'll soon be able to start working part-time on qutebrowser funded by donations (via GitHub sponsors).
v1.2.0 release: https://lists.schokokeks.org/pipermail/qutebrowser-announce/...
GitHub sponsors: https://github.com/sponsors/The-Compiler/
related issues: https://github.com/qutebrowser/qutebrowser/issues/30 https://github.com/qutebrowser/qutebrowser/issues/28
I haven't done any exhaustive comparison of Brave against Chrome/Firefox with uBlock Origin, but the media sites I visit in Brave sure do like to remind me about the ad blocker.
I wouldn't call them frauds now. Now, I call them so out of touch that they're not worth supporting.
Then... Don't support them. The browser doesn't do anything weird where you support them by having it open, the programs you're talking about are opt-in.
Bugs are unacceptable.
Weirdly my wife has the same issue on her computer.
What a joke. How quickly people forget that they installed extensions into user's computers without their permission, and worse, didn't seem to realize the consequences of what that meant.