Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Switching from Chrome to Firefox (support.mozilla.org)
568 points by nachtigall 24 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 312 comments

Firefox is nice. But over time there are more and more things I need to configure to get a "good" browser experience.

Things I do:

- about:preferences#general > Startup > restore previous session

- about:preferences#general > Tabs > uncheck Ctrl+Tab cycle ...

- about:preferences#general > Downloads > always ask where to save

- about:preferences#home > Firefox Home Content > disable all except Top Sites

- about:preferences#privacy > Permission > Notification Settings > Block new requests

- about:preferences#privacy > Firefox Data Collection and Use > disable

- Set in about:config extensions.pocket.enabled to false

- Install the addons: uBlock Origin, Gesturefy, Firefox Multi-Account Containers

- I remove the home button

- I remove the sidebar button

- I reject every Firefox pop-up that wants me to enable Sync or whatever

The result is a decent browser, which doesn't get in my way. But I can understand that those steps are too many for casual users and can understand why a lot of people don't like the Internet. I wouldn't like it too, if I had to use default browser settings without an ad-blocker.

On the contrary, the first thing I do is log in to Sync, which is (/claims to be) encrypted so Mozilla can't read your settings/data, and everything Just Works TM.

Plus, I get the added benefit of syncing all my passwords and being able to send pages to my phone, though I would quite like it if it were faster (I've had cases where the pages took days to arrive).

Sync can also be self hosted.


I love firefox but this is one hell of an annoyance I would beat author with a large trump. A hellofablob of dependencies etc. Like it was deliberately build to not self host it (and no I dont want docker).

I really really really hate it for almost 10 years. There was a project rewritting it in go but was abandoned and probably the next thing I will develop will be a replacement .

> and no I dont want docker

Forgive me, but it sounds like you just want to be unhappy about the distribution, because that solves your problem pretty well.

I have freebsd server and jails. Ergo, docker doesnt solve my problem.

Given it's written in python 2.7, it's due for a rewrite if I understand.

maybe not deliberately, but i can imagine that it wasn't built with self-hosting in mind, until someone (from inside or outside) pushed for a self-hosting option.

is there a documented API? how much does it really take to sync? if it's browser encrypted it would really be just login, push or pull a blob. how hard can that be?

FYI you can manually trigger synchronization in both the mobile and desktop browsers, the option isn't buried very deep in either and is the only workaround I've found to avoid delays!

Edit: on mobile it's under Hamburger > Settings > Firefox Account

That's what I usually do, but sometimes I send links from the phone to the desktop so I remember to read them there, and if they never appear I just forget about them.

My problem with sync on mobile is that it appears to be impossible to manually sync the data when the phone's general sync setting is set to off (When I want no apps to sync). My email software let me manually check for new email... this appears to be a Firefox bug.

I haven't needed to do all of these since I set up Sync, which makes me think life might be easier if you just made a Firefox account to sync your settings.

To me Sync and Pocket are extra features (and some others), that should be enabled by user action.

Why doesn't Firefox come with a Mozilla Tools section in Settings which allows easily to enable those services + a button to that settings page on the (bottom/top right) new tab page. This way it would be reachable, but at same time, not so intrusive as it is right now. I would even go as fare and say that the dev-tools should be an addon too, and not ship by default (because probably 99% of the users never use it).

It should be possible to create a delightful browser experience, which respects user privacy and enables power-users/developers to do more.

I believe pocket and especially sync do nothing if you don't use them. This is in absolute contrast with Chrome that ties your whole navigator to your google account if you ever log on gmail...

Pocket link recommendations appear on the new tab page on new installs. You can turn them off, but they are there by default. Additionally the Pocket button persists in the address bar, but is also removable. It's indeed minuscule in comparison with what Chrome does.

That's funny, Chrome's lack of Ctrl+Tab cycling via most recent is a death blow for me. I love that about Firefox, and love that it's configurable.

Otherwise... yeah. It's pretty unusable out the gate.

My new pet theory is that software nowadays is _anti_ power user.

In the 90s and 2000s, software came with a bunch of features that most users would want, and also a few small but powerful features that a tiny portion of their users ("power" users) really cared about. Almost every software had "power" features of some kind. A config file, command line arguments, that kind of stuff.

Nowadays, popular software like Chrome are all too eager to drop "power" features; to make themselves simpler. This avoids confusing general users, at the cost of alienating "power" users.

Dropping Ctrl+tab (heck, making shortcuts support a low priority) is one of such features.

Power users often make it a priority to shut off in-product metrics that would represent their needs statistically. Since ‘power users’ as described are probably 0.01% or less of the world’s population, that’s probably less of a big deal for decision making than it sounds, but it’s always interesting to me to watch a subgroup dedicate itself to not being counted and then complain about the outcomes as if they didn’t contribute to their own workflow’s downturn.

This is a false dichotomy and a strawman.

The only two options are not either participating in often misused, grossly overreaching, non-configurable telemetry programs or disabling them completely.

And power users are not dedicating themselves to not helping the product getting better. You've gotten the argument twisted. We love to make software better by offering up information about how we use a product. However, in this climate the rational response is to disable all telemetry until the situation is under control with better legislation.

Don't paint this with the wrong colors. Power users are not the irrational group here, and this 0.01% figure which you based your argument on isn't grounded in reality, and therefore neither is your argument.

The assumption by framing that telemetry programs are “often” anything notably weakens your argument. A collection of examples of different entities misusing telemetry over time would strengthen your argument.

I don't need to provide evidence of misuse. The terms of the telemetry programs of the most popular mobile apps and modern destkop apps are far too broad. Just like I don't allow my government more power than it needs, not waiting around for proof of misusing unlimited power, I don't need to wait for a dozen major scandals related to telemetry. But certainly, there are dozens upon dozens of cases of people getting damaged by data leaks from other companies (see Equifax), which is a directly related problem.

The overreaching abuse of telemetry and ToS is a known thing, it's public consensus among those who actually read these things, and so the onus of proof is on you to prove otherwise, not me.

Otherwise I would have to provide a collection of different examples every time I explain to someone that an object in motion remains in motion until acted upon by an outside force. At some point, you have to accept consensus as fact unless you can prove otherwise.

Chrome and Firefox both don't even allow reconfiguring most hotkeys. That's not anti power user, that's plain anti-user and anti-accessibility.

You can set these settings using a user.js file, so you don't have to reconfigure everything over and over again.

Yep, if you don't want to use Sync, user.js is an alternative. It's also helpful for sharing settings across multiple profiles. (For the latter, I do wish there was support for including other files...)

There is a user.js project on github[1] maintained by ghacks.net community members that provides a source of documentation for many settings. It's also useful as a way to monitor new and deprecated settings.

[1]: https://github.com/ghacksuserjs/ghacks-user.js

thanks for this!! Hope this will solve my main annoyance with Firefox: sometimes I change Linux distro and then I lose all of my firefox settings, ("sync" would be better and keep flags changed by the users, but I don't think that the FF devs bother about it)

Uh didn't know that, I'll have to redo my `about:config` tweaks in that format.

How does this make for a better "browsing experience"? It is just neurotic nitpicking. A good browsing experience means performance, security, minimal popups and minimal tracking. Firefox provides this OOTB now.

For example the notifications one improves browsing experience by eliminating spam notification popups from news sites

You must be new here... Welcome to HN.

> - about:preferences#general > Downloads > always ask where to save

I hate the default behaviour so much. What's wrong with asking me where to save the file? I almost certainly have a place in mind where the file should go.

I prefer to dump everything in the Downloads folder and move files if they're needed on a longer term.

a useful default would be to ask for the location the first time something is saved and then provide the option to not ask again but reuse that location.

I think it's easier to drag-and-drop from the Downloads folder to where I want to save it, than to dig through a Save dialog to find the folder I want to save something in. So it's less work whether or not you want to put your download somewhere long-term.

The download folder can still be the default, and all you'd have to do is to press "save" if you're okay with the default.

It's a shame they never made a Shift+Click type feature (or something like that) for downloads - like a modifier or menu option that forces the Save As dialog.

I prefer it to get out of my way and just download the file. I'll have time to sort my directories later.

Half the time I actually just want to open the thing but don't give a damn where it goes.

The other half the time I want it to go somewhere, but I'm not in love with using a GUI file explorer to get it there.

I can’t imagine why this is the top comment. You’re complaining that you have to set the preferences options to your personal preferences which will certainly differ from other users.

It's a good thing that you are actually able to tweak these things to your personal tastes.

Yes it is, and I'm thankful that it is possible.

There is – and always was – someone who gets paid to distract you from doing what you want to do. This is called advertising and we have seen on the web multiple very aggressive excesses here: pop-ups, auto playing sound/video and nowadays notification spam. What I'm trying to say here is, that you shouldn't need to be a nerd to get a pleasant browsing experience.

If you limited your post to just the lines that you're talking about in this post, you'd have "install ublock" and "Notification Settings > Block new requests".

Not very damning, nor nerdy.

But no other major browser is any better in that department, they're all worse.

The absolute worst default setting for me is smooth scrolling enabled.

See my sibling comment, that should make it much better.

The one thing that really annoys me in all major browsers, is that you can't set a 'new tab page' without installing an extension. It's a nuts design.

Not sure exactly what you mean, but Firefox allows you to specify both new tab and new window behavior, even independently. Firefox Default, Custom page or just blank.

All I have for New Tabs is 'Firefox Home (Default)' and 'Blank Page', it does not allow me to set a Custom URL.

Which is why I have an extension installed to do it.

I'm not too bothered by this, otherwise I would likely set it to HN and waste even more time than I already do.

Two more about.config:

- gfx.webrender.all = true (important on Linux, fixes jerky scrolling)

- general.smoothScroll.mouseWheel.durationMaxMS = 200 (makes mouse scroll animation faster)

Once upon a time, software would go through all of the configuration options and explain what they did. This would always happen on a new installation but good software also had a button to click to repeat the walkthrough.

Ode to user-friendly software.

That's not at all true, any and all wizards or configuration dialogues would go over a small subset of settings deemed 'important' by someone. There isn't a single program out there anywhere that has a walkthrough that goes through all configuration options. At least I don't believe one to exist, I would certainly be enthusiastic to be proven wrong!

About:config in Firefox has 3930 lines. That would be a very, very, very long walkthrough :) I can see it now, "Okay, to use Firefox, you will now have to click 'next' 4000 times." Thanks.

I remember installing Linux like that during the (early?) 90s. It took about two days of answering endless questions ("Do you want Klingon fonts?")

I much prefer what we get nowadays.

About 10 years later (sometime in 01-03) I remember installing Red Hat from the CDs in the school library. It was absolutely no problem to get it working for what I needed it for, and with minimal tweaking (I had no clue back then) I got sound working as well.

Remember, this was back in the days were on Windows you'd carefully archive any CDs or diskettes that came with your computer to have a chance to reinstall it and Linux just worked (sometimes, it wasn't always that easy back then.)

Sounds like you must have chosen the expert install option (or whatever they called it) in slackware install scripts..

Are you sure there wasn't also an option to just install a typical server or desktop application set, or just install everything? :)

But do you get Klingon fonts?

I tried blocking the telemetry but stuff kept coming back with updates.

In the end, using Little Snitch (on mac), I ended up blocking firefox communicating with mozilla.org. I update firefox via safari.

I don't do any of those things, and I find the experience nice. These are pretty specific customizations.

Your first two changes seem to be the default now.

Problem is, all those are preference settings that change with each user's preferences, and at the end of the day they need to default to something, so it only makes sense that they default on what might be most useful for most users.

Just as a quick counterexample, in my case:

> about:preferences#general > Startup > restore previous session


> about:preferences#general > Tabs > uncheck Ctrl+Tab cycle

Never have used Ctrl+Tab so no point in disabling it. Never going to push those keys, so the default doesn't bother me at all.

> about:preferences#general > Downloads > always ask where to save

I do _not_ want having to indicate where to save. That's why I have a Downloads folder; everything downloaded must go to the Downloads folder, no questions asked. I'll delete or organize later.

> about:preferences#home > Firefox Home Content > disable all except Top Sites

Same for me.

> about:preferences#privacy > Permission > Notification Settings > Block new requests

Same for me.

> about:preferences#privacy > Firefox Data Collection and Use > disable

I don't really mind. Depending on the mood, it will be disabled or left enabled upon a new installation. If it helps them develop Firefox, I'm willing to let Mozilla snoop a bit.

> Set in about:config extensions.pocket.enabled to false

Never used Pocket. Could disable it, but I just hide the icon. Lately I've been thinking that maybe I'm missing on some nice feature that the browser is offering me and I'm ignoring...

> Install the addons: uBlock Origin, Gesturefy, Firefox Multi-Account Containers

Those are your choice of extensions. Although I coincide with uBlock and the Multi-Account ones. The later, though, is just in a very preliminary development state; it needs much more work IMHO to be even a candidate for integration into the default installation. Right now, it is too minimal (missing convenience features such as exporting the settings and sync with the official Mozilla service)

> I remove the home button

I want my Home button. I have to explicitly enable it in Chrome, so I could complain about the same thing you do.

> I remove the sidebar button

I want my sidebar easily accessible, frequently swapping between "Tabs" and "Bookmark Search Plus 2". My sidebar is 99% time open.

> I reject every Firefox pop-up that wants me to enable Sync or whatever

I want my Mozilla account set up for synchronization of everything it allows (except history). It's a fundamental part of my workflow and it's the first thing I enable after a clean installation.

In summary, your preferences are just as valid as mine and any other person's, so I'd understand that they will never find a perfect set of defaults that would satisfy everybody.

EDIT: Added separation between paragraphs

For those new and old to Firefox, check out the new-ish privacy feature “multi-account containers”


I use it not for privacy but for multiple logins with a service that doesn't support it, such as AWS. Even with Google, I find it easier to find the right account's Calendar (work vs private) if the tab handle is colour marked.

It's not perfect but it beats "private browsing" windows which I used before.

OMG How have I not been using them for multiple AWS accounts for like ever! Thank you for your comment. Sometimes these "i use X for Y" comments are the best!

Damn, this didn't occur to me and I use them for privacy all the time. Thank you, this will make debugging much easier, as I frequently need one "logged in" tab and one "logged out".

I use that extensively. On top of it, I use Temporary Containers [0] and pretty much run each tab on its own temp container to further reduce tracking.

For stuff that I want sessions to survive, I open them in specific multi-account containers.

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

Hmm, I've been using a combination of multi-account containers and Cookie AutoDelete [0]. I'm going to try temporary containers out - it should have a broader protection coverage than just deleting cookies.

[0] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/cookie-autode...

This is awsome for web development too! You can have two tabs open to test out sending messages to eachother, you can have an admin and regular session open simultaneously. So usefull!

Firefox Dev Edition with Multi-Account containers is my GOTO web frontend dev browser.

This extension is super useful for that, it lets you instantly create new temporary containers: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/temporary-con...

Yup - I LOVE temporary containers. I feel so cripple when developing outside of Firefox now.

I like the idea of multi-account containers, but I'm very used to Chrome's way of having separate profiles.

With MAC you get tabs for different containers mixed up in the same window and the URL history is shared.

I prefer the profiles approach where everything - extensions, history, etc. - is all nicely segregated.

Firefox does have profiles, but there's still no good UI for managing them.

I am using Firefox with profiles for years (maybe even decade). Run Firefox from command line with -P flag to start profile manager or -p <profile> to run particular profile. Rest is matter of shortcut/custom icons to launch.

I was going to say this. Also I havent used FF profiles in a minute but the dialog that lets you select a profile has a checkbox to auto select that profile or something. If you unselect that it should always prompt you about profile. I wish Firefox would make this UI as easy as it is in Chrome. I refuse to login on Chrome to Google.

I have a bookmark to "about:profiles" on my main toolbar (not my bookmark toolbar, I hide that) in Firefox to launch my Work profile and Personal profile. I never use the commandline "-P" option.

My Work profile has a few key bookmarks and extensions in it, but history and cache are never saved and is not linked to a Sync account.

Proving my point that there's no _good_ UI for managing profiles with Firefox. And no, about:profiles doesn't count. Chrome makes it nice and easy and obvious.

Thanks for sharing this addon! It is exactly what I need to test a website I am working on and I need to be connected with 3 different accounts at the same time. Bye bye, "private window" of multiple browsers.

Unfortunately NoScript is not able to allow/deny selectively for containers.

I block all Facebook domains with NoScript so I cant really use facebook in a container.

You might be interested in Facebook Container by Mozilla[1] then, as an alternative to your NoScript rules.

1: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/facebook-cont...

Thanks already using it, but this doesn't give me confindence, that all Facebook traffic on all other sites is blocked.

Its primary purpose was for blocking Facebook on other sites as you browse the web.

uMatrix is good for that. You can default block facebook scripts/cookies/etc. everywhere, but on facebook allow them. It's how I block google everywhere except when I'm logging into gmail.

I guess in this case the easiest would be a separate browser for Facebook.

That is what I was doing for that past few years: Opera for Facebook... but Opera is a no go these days because of ownership changes and it would be great to not keep multiple browsers open for simple tasks.

There are others: Midori, Vivaldi, if on Linux there is Epiphany. There are plenty of Firefox based forks too.

Thanks for recommending this! I knew about it, but quite a few of the responses have showed me new and clever ways to use it. I love the idea of using it during web development for logged in vs logged out state, for example.

Is it possible to have a different vpn for each container?

aren't VPNs across the entire network connection? (so not specific to the browser)

No idea. Maybe the term I'm looking for is proxy? I'm just looking to gamble using multiple ID's without the sites easily seeing that they're all me.

There are some browser extension VPNs. So they are specific to the browser.

Or maybe don't... I relied too much on it, and lost quite some data. Too bad it had no sync capabilities, or even basic import/export for backing up.

What type of data did you loose ? The addon seems to isolate cookies and storage by container

Yes... I had sessions in those containers, the cookies are the data I guess.

Can you explain? It’s a puzzling comment about containers

I've had problems where it loses my settings after update. They also don't sync between devices, making them quite cumbersome for me to use (you can copy the settings manually though).

When it's all setup it works great though.

>They also don't sync between devices

I would second this, it took me a while to troubleshoot this problem. If you don't use Sync, then it might be irrelevant.

I also use Tab Suspender to reduce the footprint, the 'suspended' tabs also intermittently fail to sync.

Github: https://github.com/Hau-Hau/firefox-tab-suspender

My "data loss" happened when Firefox updated itself automatically, said add-on was not compatible with latest Firefox and was disabled. After some time it became compatible again and was reenabled. All cookies in "containers" were lost.

Not sure anything else was lost though.

Anyway, password manager is still on a global (not per container/account), so it's easy to make mistakes and log in with "credentials A" in "container B". Or am I missing something?

There was/is a button that allowed you to clear your default container's entire session. I almost clicked that.

Firefox has indeed come a huge way in the last two years.

- It's multi-process architecture redesign _really_ improved performance (it's like using a whole new browser, honestly. If you haven't at least tried it, it's worth a shot).

- Mozilla's commitment to privacy (I know in the eyes of some, their current commitment isn't enough) is the best option you have outside of Safari / macOS.

- In version 71, battery drain on macOS is indeed largely improved

- The multi-account containers, anti-tracking and anti-fingerprinting are a breath of fresh air (yes, I know they are not perfect). I am satisfied that each time I sign on to YouTube, my recommended videos are just a bunch of random things.

- Firefox looks like it will remain one of the only browsers that fully supports current ad-blocking technology. (Yes, I know about Brave, but that's besides the point).

- The devtools section has seen a lot of attention that easily brings the experience on par with Chrome (in my experience).

- Firefox on Android with AdBlock drastically speeds up browsing the internet on mobile devices.

But, despite all of these good points, the browser still feels... clunky.

Sure, the UI performance drastically improved since Quantum, but really, open a fresh Firefox window, browse to your favorite site and click around a little. Then, try the same thing with Chrome / Chromium / Edge. I don't know exactly what it is, but these other browsers just feel that little bit "smoother" or more "modern".

Say what you will about Google and Chrome. But morals aside, in my opinion, there's no denying they built a world-leading software product that has vastly increased the perceived quality expectations of browser users.

Note: I still remain a primary Firefox user. The eye-candy is nice, but for me it's not worth sacrificing all of the other pros of Firefox.

EDIT: grammar

The difference is quite noticeable for me when using Atlassian's Cloud products. May their framework is simply optimised for Chrome.

I also really do hope Firefox gains hardware video acceleration on Linux some day.

> - The devtools section has seen a lot of attention that easily brings the experience on par with Chrome (in my experience).

I regularly encounter things Firefox's devtools do that Chrome's don't, when trying to show something or other to a co-worker. Two I remember offhand:

* Showing a specific log level in the console, such as "info" and not any of the others. This was years ago, but at least at the time Chrome had you pick from a dropdown and it would always also display the more important levels - for example, "info" included "warning" and "error" with no way to hide those.

* A few weeks ago, with CSS Grid overlay, Chrome appeared to only show it when mousing over the element in the inspector. Firefox lets you click on the "grid" tag in the inspector to toggle the view, keeping it visible while manipulating the CSS.

Note that I'm a full-time Firefox user so it is possible these things exist in Chrome, but like 3 or 4 full-time Chrome users also couldn't find such options.

I switched to FF for my daily driver almost a year ago on my Windows machine and haven't looked back. Previously FF had too many performance issues but since each tab is run in a separate process, it's been just as good as Chrome (not so much on OSX however, I still use Chrome there).

The other advantage of FF for me, besides Pocket, is that I can share and send pages with FF on Android which has support for ad-blockers. Last time I checked, Chrome didn't support extensions on Android.

FF got so much better on osx lately. Now it consumes as much battery as chrome for me.

Ah interesting, I may have to revisit in that case as it has been a while since I tried it on OSX.

Kiwi browser is a chromium with extensions for Android.

Unless Kiwi browser supports Google Chrome user profiles, the main advantange of FF over Chrome on Android, for me, is the ability to share webpages seamlessly.

I wish Pocket didn't come enabled by default. It's intrusive spyware.

Edit: It's information leaks for advertisements. I switched from Chrome to Firefox to get away from advertisement empires. Having to manually disable Pocket to do that leaves a sour note.

Pocket is owned by Mozilla, so if Pocket is spyware, Mozilla is making spyware. Does not sound right.

Yeah, they would never do that.


"Users who receive a version of Firefox with Cliqz will have their browsing activity sent to Cliqz servers, including the URLs of pages they visit"


I think you're misleading in quoting a two-year old blog, then closing off with "ooops", implying that Mozilla was caught in a privacy-related oops.

When in fact, Mozilla was super duper clear in the blog about the privacy implications of this experiment. And in the past two years, they have been focusing more and more on the privacy angle.

At the moment, both Safari and Mozilla look to me to be leading in privacy.

Being super duper clear about having sent the full URL history of users to a third party doesn't excuse you from the fact that you, well, sent the full URL history of users to a third party.

And unless the entire leadership of the Mozilla Corporation has been replaced since then (a wet dream of mine) that blog entry is relevant, since they've done it and they could do it again.

Are you saying that nothing could ever excuse that fact?

Cliqz is building a European, independent privacy-oriented search engine. This seems a worthy reason to me, especially with the complete and total transparency here. And in any case, the experiment has ended.

I still maintain your comments are misleading, by leaving out the context.

Setting aside whether Cliqz could be trusted or not, just think of it: this is a decision that went through lots of managers in the Mozilla Corporation, and nobody ever stopped to think for a moment "sending the entire URL history of our users to a third party? well this is wrong". This is the kind of decision that should've led to lots of resignations inside the company, but nothing happened. To me this means there's something deeply rotten inside Mozilla. What kind of assurance do I have that they won't pull this off again in the future? And let's remember that they are strapped for cash, so it's not like they don't have an incentive to sell private user data again.

"nobody ever stopped to think" is used constantly, yet is almost never the truth. What is infinitely more likely is that many people raised eyebrows and were assured by someone way above their pay grade that "everything is fine". Calling Mozilla "deeply rotten" is an extreme leap that (imo) is not justified.

I agree, but in this case, hydgv might be right. Leaking full browsing history is pretty far beyond the line.

Mozilla burned a big chunk of reputation when they fucked that up, as evidenced by this thread.

> And unless the entire leadership of the Mozilla Corporation has been replaced since then

Offhand, I know the CEO, COO, CPO, and CFO have left over the last couple years.

> It's intrusive spyware.

Please explain.

Pocket very carefully avoids leaking information. It's cleverly done.

Out of curiosity, can you elaborate on that?

I switched to Firefox from Chrome a couple of months ago. The sole motivation was the fiasco that ensued after Google decided to mingle Chrome Sync login with accounts.google.com cookies - there is simply no way to sign in to Chrome Sync without creating browser cookies for the same account. I wanted the benefit of saving and syncing bookmarks and extensions across my chrome installations, but I did not want to be tracked across the web with my logged in Google identity and the Chrome changes for "Identity consistency between browser and cookie jar" made it impossible. It was time to move on from Chrome.

And I have been very pleased with the new Firefox. Highly recommend it to everyone!

Loyal firefox user here. Never touched chrome unless I had to.

The australis days were rough, but since quantum it's been feeling fast. It doesn't even feel obviously slower than chrome anymore.

In addition to telling others on HN the benefits of using Firefox and its extensions, please evangelize Firefox with the people you know (online and offline). That will make a bigger impact for everyone.

Or evangelize Chromium, which is faster and less buggy. Also better supported on Linux.

Chromium dances to Google’s tunes. I don’t see any reason to use or support Chromium, especially with things like Manifest V3 coming in the future and disabling extensions like uBlock Origin. A fork of it that makes it very different from Chrome, perhaps. But not Chromium as is or Chrome.

Chrome never disabled uBlock Origin. They are making changes to an API and have been open to feedback to ensure adblockers continue to work. The whole propaganda campaign that Chrome was disabling ad-blockers was practically ran by Mozilla itself. I recall however, shortly after Mozilla forgot to renew their certificate and all my extensions in Firefox got disabled, and it took well over a day for a fix. Meanwhile, uBlock continued to work fine in Chromium.

Having multiple small tutorials like these will make it easy for anyone who wants to move to Firefox. The more the merrier. That said, I still can't get used to Firefox.

It's fine on desktop, and using profiles is not too much of a big deal for me. But on mobile, Firefox is not as intuitive as chrome is to me. On my phone I have Chrome, which I only ever use if a website fails on all other browsers, I have Brave as my daily driver, and Firefox because I want to make it my default.

I just can't navigate as easily on Firefox as I can on Chromium browsers. An example, when I use HN, I open links on a new tab and I can swipe the header left or right to navigate from tab to tab. Easy breezy.

On Firefox, I have to click on the tab menu, figure out where I am, and read titles to know where I am going. Every single time I forget, I end up clicking on many tabs before I find where I am going.

Don't know if this feature in Firefox's pipeline, but that's the only thing stopping me from making the switch.

Firefox for android supports addons, though, so can be customized to do anything. I can't believe people use Chrome om Android when you can have Fx with ad blocking!

For your problem, I use an addon called "simple gesture" that allows me to add all kinds of gestures/actions.

Assuming it's https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/android/addon/simple-gestur...: any ideas why does it need to "access my data for all websites" and "access the clipboard"?

Curiously the blurb recommends "Quick Gestures" which presumably is a different gesture addon.

- access data: probably because the gesture is actually done inside the page you're viewing, so it has to be able to capture that - clipboard: it was a feature requested, for gestures to be able to work with the clip board: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/android/addon/simple-gestur... So just recently added for that reason

Here is a very (un)unique problem: I have HNapp.com bookmarked on Android desktop bcs I'm trying to avoid native apps and support "the web". But each time I click the bookmark it opens a new tab in FF. After a few days I have 40+ open tabs. Anyone found a way to avoid that? (Plus: The back button often/always opens an old cached version of, lets say, page 1.)

That's a good idea to propose to Mozilla for the new "Firefox Preview" which is a new version built from the ground up. They are open to innovations on that version and so far they already have made some experiments there.

You might want to try it out and leave this idea as a feedback on the app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.mozilla.fe...

> That said, I still can't get used to Firefox.

Ironic username, then.

Migrated to Firefox on my work PC after Chrome removed protocol display in URL bar and all flags to revert this change - that was the last straw.

I switched from Chrome to Firefox on my old Macbook pro and overall it really feels faster and more responsive.

Ah, I've been using firefox for web dev stuff on my old Macbook pro and I've noticed it's a lot faster than it was last year.

Definitely considering making the plunge as speed has been the only thing that's held me back from switching to FF.

I am on FF but i miss having one profile for work and one profile for personal use that i used to have with chrome.

Firefox probably supported profiles before Chrome even existed. It always saved my life back in the days when you reinstalled the OS and you could just backup/copy over the entire directory of the profile.

Personally I edit the Firefox shortcut to add -p at the end of the target to get the profile manager showing up every time I launch.

I also use this when I spend a few weeks on a different machine at work: create a new profile, synchronize it with my account, then when I leave I nuke the entire profile.

You can use the profile manager. There is a way to do it from the graphical user interface (see the sibling comment), though I just run Firefox using firefox -p

Maybe set a different theme / persona on each profile.

If you want separate extensions as well, then goto about:profiles.

If you want cookie separation, check out Multi Account Containers.

You need the containers extension. It's better than Chrome profiles.

I use Safari full-time and am pretty happy with it. Pinned tabs, the keyboard shortcuts, developer options, ghostery extension, I find everything pretty neat.

Anyone else here feel the same?

I would use it since it's the native browser but last I checked it didn't have any proper ad blockers due to apple shenanigans. I would consider swapping back if I could use ublock origin.

I use Adguard with Safari 13, which has a bit of a clunky startup but doesn't seem to affect performance once everything is running & does a decent enough job of blocking trackers/ads.

This is the one reason I still use Firefox. They care less about privacy, but the inability of Safari to have a proper ad blocker is a deal-breaker.

I'm a full time Safari user. I love the "Share" button built in which lets me easily AirDrop and iMessage tabs I want to share between devices or with friends. It also feels faster on my MacBook and uses way less RAM. I open Chrome tabs only occasionally if I need specific extensions (Metamask for crypto stuff), run into webapps that simply work better on Chrome (Shopify for example), or to use the dev tools.

I really want to use FireFox but it is simply too heavy on resources compared to chrome (running on Linux - both Fedora 31 and RHEL 8). In general I like FireFox more and prefer features like multi-account-containers so I'm quite sad to have to use chrome.

I'm back using firefox full time since about 3 months and don't notice that at all. In fact I now struggle to remember why I ever moved to chrome in the first place, I know there were reasons but I can't remember what they were. Moving back was surprisingly painless. If I could find a similarly easy and good path out of gmail I'd be gone tomorrow.

I recommend FastMail if you're willing to pay for your email services. They have an excellent import tool to help with migrating your email from Gmail.

Went it comes to governments spying on people, I weigh Fastmail the same as Gmail. Considering I find everything else about Fastmail better than Gmail, I am slowly making the switch (using my own domain names though so I could potentially switch again in the future).

I 2nd the Fastmail recommendation.

Take a look at the following before you decide on Fastmail.






If you don’t mind having to use apps for email, take a look at Tutanota and ProtonMail (the former doesn’t support IMAP by any means, and the latter needs additional software).

+1 for posteo. they are transparent about who wants data from them. https://posteo.de/en/site/transparency_report

That's weird - it's the other way round for me. With chrome, the fan on my laptop is often running when I have pages open in the background. With firefox, it's cool and silent.

> I really want to use FireFox but it is simply too heavy on resources compared to chrome (running on Linux...

Similar experience here.

I run a VM with Linux for development and for viewing videos (e.g. anime). I only use uBlock Origin, NoScript is installed but was quickly disabled because it is too much of a hassle, and I don't care since this is the VM which I use for "pseudo-anonymous" web activities without all my regular logins anyway.

I chose Firefox there just to give it a try. I had to switch back to Chrome. At some point I could no longer watch anime on one site - on Firefox. It still worked fine in Chrome. What happened was that as soon as I started the video the entire browser seemed blocked, comparable to having a way too work-intensive Javascript running. However, Firefox showed me that none of the open tabs incl. the one with the videos had more than 1% of CPU time, plus, it worked in Chrome and that would have been blocked by a runaway JS script just the same. I also don't think the built-in HTML5 video player would be blocked by JS.

I think it was the video that was the source of the block somehow. It took several seconds for any command given to the video to have an effect (play, stop, forward 10s, timeline jump, etc.) The video site used iframes to show the videos from various sources (completely different video domains). Regardless of the source, the behavior was the same.

I gave up, because of the several-second delay of everything debugging was quite impossible anyway. Profiling did not show anything at all. I had to go back to Chrome. This only happened for one (meta) site, it was not a general video issue. I have no idea how I would even debug this, I don't think the regular dev. tools meant for (JS) web dev. were enough here. I made sure I used the exact same extensions in Chrome - only uBlock Origin, with the exact same settings too. So I'm sure the difference was in the browser itself. Similar nr. of open tabs (ca. 10), all but one suspended, on FF using its native built-in tab-suspend (i.e the tab does not load until activated after browser start) so this was not a "huge nr. of tabs" thing.

So unfortunately, at least in my experience, there does not quite seem to be parity between Chrome and Firefox. Also, everything is just a bit snappier now back in Chrome. I sure wish I would not have to depend on a mega monster corporation but I won't go out of my way to achieve that.

Of course, outside this one problem area all worked fine, apart from the bit where Chrome still feels a tiny bit snappier.

Firefox is great, and I've had an amazing experience on both mobile and desktop ever since I switched almost a year ago.

I only wish that their password manager allowed you to import passwords in standard formats from other password managers.

I find the Bitwarden extension is very good. The advantage of using an independent password store is that you can use it on other platforms. For example, Bitwarden provides iOS integration which provides autofill in both Safari and even within individual apps (which is a huge time-saver). In the future you may move to a different browser, and Bitwarden (or your independent password manager of choice) will most likely have an extension for that browser too so you can start using it straight away. I love Firefox but I honestly can't see any reason to lock myself into its password store.

You can try this 3rd party tool if your password manager supports exporting to CSV (or if you can convert the exported passwords to CSV):


And here are some hints about the CSV structure:


Switched to Firefox a ~year ago from Chrome. uBlock Origins + Privacy Badger + NoScript does wonders. And on Firefox I love private containers, such a joy to be able to do multiple logins for same service.

I switched from Chrome to Firefox a few months ago across all my devices. Got to say, I should have done it earlier.

Ditto. I waited a bit because I was afraid the change would be difficult, I'd be missing something, etc... in the end it was a super smooth transition.

Now every time I see some new disastrous Chrome-related news I just nod and move on.

I would like to switch to Firefox too, but it just lacks some of the most key features. It cannot effectively create large blob from chunks through the use of Filesystem & FileWriter API. Yes, I can use IndexedDB for blob storage, but the time required to copy and paste chunks in/out of IndexedDB will grow exponentially for large blob. There is simply no other effective ways to build a large blob from chunks that can work in Firefox. This is why Firefox will always be slow on some modern web app.

All other major browsers support Filesystem & FileWriter API: https://caniuse.com/#feat=filesystem

What sites need that to run efficiently?

Also Firefox doesn't support installing PWA's to the desktop.

I'm using Firefox as primary browser since Chrome war on as blockers and it works fine for the most part but it's quite rough around the edges

my biggest grows come from the omnibar, it still has a heck of a trouble guessing what's a search and what's a domain, the sorting out partial matches feels weird because bookmarks aren't prominent and there's no promotion of URLs entered Vs useless navigated toward and three default click action (append to bottom of the URL) might be fine if you are a developer but it's not for the most part what I want as a user.

edit: thanks all for the suggestions

edit2: imagine being so committed into a browser religion to downvote facts

There are some ways to refine the results in the Firefox adress bar, in case you already know what you are looking for. I mainly use * + and % :

Add ^ to search for matches in your browsing history.

Add * to search for matches in your bookmarks.

Add + to search for matches in pages you've tagged.

Add % to search for matches in your currently open tabs.

Add ~ to search for matches in pages you've typed.

Add # to search for matches in page titles.

Add @ to search for matches in web addresses (URLs).

Edit: it looks as if one can search for the input by prepending a ? to it. This will hide any other (local) results from the omnibar, giving easy keyboard access (by direction keys) to the list of search engines at the end of the list.

Wow I didn't know about these, thanks for the info!

I found the complete list documented here:


Yes, this must be the source that I got the list from. I have not memorised the more obscure filters and have this list sitting on my desktop for easy access.

I still keep a search bar separate from the address bar. I find it makes things much simpler.

The address bar is where I can type in URLs and search through my bookmarks. The search bar is where I enter searches and can explore search history.

I've never liked the idea of an "omnibar", and the dual setup has been a much better experience.

Instead of hitting `ctrl+l` hit `ctrl+k` (or cmd) and you get a naked search directly to your default search engine.

Search keywords are super useful if one uses more than one search frequently. (I found tabbing to the correct engine in the search bar clumsy)

I have short (mostly two letters, very few with three) search commands for Google, Bing, Amazon, en/de translation search, Duden (german dictionary) Wikipedia in german and english and gaming wikis for example.

I did that about a month ago, after more than 10 years with Chrome only.

So far so good, apart from battery usage on Android. I sometimes feel it spirals when too many tabs are left open. Desktop, no problem.

I have kept Chrome for my work stuff, because I want 100% efficiency / no delay due to my tech choices and I work on a SaaS tool primarily targeting Chrome. I still think Chrome is better when it comes to powering web apps, ahem, made by Google in particular.

The real question for me is, besides privacy, what is the killer feature that will / does make it obvious to switch to Firefox?

It seems that other browsers like Brave are also quite good at dealing with privacy, so why Firefox and not Brave?

> The real question for me is, besides privacy, what is the killer feature that will / does make it obvious to switch to Firefox?

Preventing the web from devolving into a closed garden. For this we need alternative browser engines and hence Brave does not make the cut.

Other than that, containers are a pretty useful tool that's so far Firefox only.

Yes- so it's important that devs don't build primarily for Chrome. If we succumb to this temptation, then the demise of the web will be our fault. Consumers don't care. They are going to use the one that is most convenient to make work correctly.

OK for 'us'. But what about my mum and dad? What's the reason for them to use Firefox over Chrome? They don't care about the web being destroyed by Google and Apple. They care about... a smooth experience, I guess? They moved to Chrome from IE because of a very poor experience on IE.

Chrome is amazing. Having most people switching away is a hard sell. I honestly think Brave has a more compelling selling point here, even if privacy is not something that sells as well as it should, meaning its adoption will be limited to early adopters / privacy-aware individuals only.

I agree with the other comments, it's our duty to ensure other browsers still exist, we can't let Chrome have it all, but we need more than obscure features to turn it around.

Why does Brave have a more compelling sell? What does it offer that could be sold to users as a feature they need? I wouldn't know how to explain Brave compellingly, unless I'm using some of the same arguments I use for Firefox (which are weakened in Brave's case due to using the same engine as Chrome).

On the other hand, explaining Firefox seems easy. People around me seem receptive to both privacy and closed garden concerns. I explain to them how their data is used if they do not take precautionary measures to prevent it. I also tell them that the web they know and love will get increasingly suffocated and rot away under the pressure of Google which has no concern for them or their needs. I tell them about Google's recent efforts to prevent ad-blockers from working well. I also mention other malicious tactics, such as AMP and the effort to hide the URL.

I then set up uBlock Origin (making a point it's the best ad-blocker but will stop working on Chrome shortly), Facebook Container and Multi-account Containers for a few of the most obnoxious websites. Multi-account Containers has a setting to make the association of a particular domain with a container permanent[+]. I give them a short introduction to containers and teach them to recognize when a website is open in a particular container (there's an indicator in the URL bar).

This works in my experience. It sticks. They continue using Firefox and at times even spread the idea to their social circle. It helps that in recent times concerns about Google, Chrome and computer surveillance are talked about in their regular news channels, so that I am not the only source where they hear about this.

> They care about... a smooth experience, I guess?

Ask them again. Try to understand their preference well enough that you can explain it clearly.

I am quite confident that they don't actually care about anything Chrome has to offer at all[@]. They're simply used to the colourful circle icon because they are being bombarded by it everywhere. It's the same as with IE before, only this time around it's a colourful circle instead of a blue 'e'.

> Chrome is amazing. Having most people switching away is a hard sell.

Firefox is amazing (in a technical sense) too. It's just as smooth as Chrome for me and sometimes even smoother since I'm a heavy tab user. I dislike some of Mozilla's decisions as well, but this takes a backseat to the more pressing issue of vendor lock-in given that there is no mainstream alternative.

[+] This could use a bit of UI work. After you assign a website to a container, you have to open the website in another container so that it asks you whether you always want to open that website in that container (it's a checkbox).

[@] As a disclaimer, I'm just extrapolating from my experience. Perhaps your parents are an exception and they do have a strong preference for a Chrome-only feature. If so, this is a useful thing to learn.

When I read your comment, the main thing that came to my mind to explain my point about Brave was their Shield and Rewards features. That's what's top of mind for me.

I checked my Firefox window and realized that they have a Shield-like feature too. Oops.

To me, Firefox's main features are the underlying foundation, and the fact they are the main Chrome contender — the rest are nuances addressed to power-users. Containers. Frankly, it's too complex for a regular user [0] who, as you say, just click on what they have been used to clicking onto.

I'm having a hard time justifying my point further about Brave than by contradicting myself around the fact privacy alone is a weak selling point... Brave is all in on privacy, they have a really clear message about it, and regular users will understand better from their website that the browser natively blocks ads [1] and more importantly why e.g.:

> As a user, access to your web activity and data is sold to the highest bidder. Internet giants grow rich, while publishers go out of business. And the entire system is rife with ad fraud.

Comparatively, Firefox's homepage lacks details. The features are listed, but why are they useful to me... not sure. e.g.:

> Automatic privacy is here. Download Firefox to block over 2000 trackers.

> Firefox shows you how many data-collecting trackers are blocked with Enhanced Tracking Protection.

I understand both statements, but someone external to tech/ad tech will probably not see that as worth unless an expert explains why they should use that browser, exactly as you explained.

[0] https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/containers [1] https://brave.com/wp-content/uploads/files_2019-11-home/imag...

> Frankly, it's too complex for a regular user [0] who, as you say, just click on what they have been used to clicking onto.

Yes, but it's at least possible to configure it for them so that it will be out of their way but still work as intended. What remains is to package these presets into installable add-ons, which is already happening to some extent in the form of "S container" add-ons where S is a popular web service. For instance, Facebook Container (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/facebook-cont...) from Mozilla.

I think it would be even better if there was a generic add-on in style of uBlock Origin which allowed downloading such container presets from some kind of repository.

On your other point, I agree that the message on Brave's website is more effective, in the sense of being more visceral and producing stronger emotions.

I also switched to Firefox a year ago or so, and I liked Chrome accounts better than Firefox containers. I ended up to using them at all and mixing everything, while on Chrome work and personal was cleanly separated.

> Preventing the web from devolving into a closed garden. For this we need alternative browser engines and hence Brave does not make the cut.

1. all web engines are open source

2. we had multiple engines. it didn't work out, at all. user experience was thrown out the window, technologies weren't implemented, the web was massively fragmented.

3. we're now trying to have a single open source engine that everyone contributes to since it's better for everyone's experience.

> 2. we had multiple engines

We have multiple engines. This is a fact.

> 3. we're now trying to have a single open source engine that everyone contributes to since it's better for everyone's experience.

We are not trying that at all. The experience is perfectly fine with our currently existing multiple engines.

> 1. all web engines are open source

This does not matter much if your goal is to maintain a single engine. What matters is control of software releases.

In order to maintain a web which is not exclusively controlled by a single entity, the releases need to be controlled by more than a single entity. This sounds like a tautology because it almost is one.

The only thing the free software aspect helps with is that it is easier to assume control of the releases, but as soon as you do this, you've forked the engine and there are now multiple engines. Hence, there is actually no way of maintaining a single engine while also decentralizing control. Short of Google relinquishing control of Chrome and forming some kind of international browser development committee, but that sounds like a creature from nightmares and is yet again a central point of failure.

> all web engines are open source

Open source does not mean open development. Forking a browser doesn’t help if nobody cares about your fork.

> technologies weren't implemented

They’re still not implemented. Sometimes this is because the teams are slow; sometimes it’s because the technology is a privacy nightmare.

> we're now trying to have a single open source engine that everyone contributes to since it's better for everyone's experience.

No, see above.

Everyone can contribute to chromium/blink but only one side calls the shots.

In other words you can contribute all you want as long as it fulfills google's needs.

Of course you can fork it and do it your way but then you will be left behind since you need massive man power to be able to do development on your own.

1. It doesn't matter. When Google decides to implement something (or doesn't), Edge, Brave, Chrome etc. will get this feature (or lack thereof). Only Safari and Firefox will be different. As an independent developer you don't have any say about this in a Blink-only system.

2. That's what the WHATWG is about. No more -moz, -ie, -webkit prefixes, just agree on a standard and implement it.

3. It's not truly open. Google has the last say. Do you want a Google-only internet? Just look at the recent ad-block controversy.

On Android, Firefox allows you to install extensions (such as an ad blocker).

Only "Firefox on Android". The newer "Firefox Preview" and "Firefox Focus" mysteriously lost this ability. Firefox on Android is stuck on version 68, it's like Firefox' ESR version.

Fennec (old Firefox Android) supports addons. Fenix(? new Firefox Android) WILL support addons, they just haven't been implemented yet.

Firefox Focus does include some basic adblocking capabilities, but is more about being light on resource / data consumption.

I found it interesting how Chrome and FF handle differently cpu-heavy code like this:

    arr = new ArrayBuffer(4)
    arrInt = new Uint32Array(arr)
    t0 = performance.now(); for (; arrInt[0] <= 1000000000; ++arrInt[0]) {} ; 
    performance.now() - t0
On Windows it takes 2.5 secs even on old chrome versions, while it never finishes on the latest FF. The latter's call stack says firefox.exe!TargetNtUnmapViewOfSection(), xul.dll!get_stored_pointer. I wonder if that happens on other platforms?

Update - on my Android: Chrome: 7.5 secs, forever on FF. Weird. If I say a var is typed it should work faster.

Are you running that in a web page, or in the devtools console?

I just tried running it in a web page, with the last line replaced by `console.log(performance.now() - t0);` and on my hardware it finishes in ~1.5 seconds in Firefox and ~2 seconds in Chrome.

Similar if I run it in a devtools console like so:

    (function() {
      var arr = new ArrayBuffer(4)
      var arrInt = new Uint32Array(arr)
      t0 = performance.now(); for (; arrInt[0] <= 1000000000; ++arrInt[0]) {} ; 
    performance.now() - t0
and hence avoid the undeclared global variable accesses. If I run the original code in the devtools console, it is in fact quite slow in Firefox, because global variable access is slower in the devtools console there. So each get of `arrInt` takes a quite long time. That's https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=793345 and I suspect that's what you're running into here.

The main moral is to not do performance testing in the console, because it's a _very_ different execution environment from actual web pages.

> in the devtools console

Wow, you are right, thanks. Lesson learned.

Not sure why, or if i'm the only one, but sometimes I have this problem with Firefox (latest) on Win10:

When I open a new tab, there is a ~50% chance that the URL i'm querying won't ever connect. As if there was no internet.

I tried to remove some open tabs (I have ~20 open tabs all the time) and it worked again.

When it happens, opening a new tab on Chrome always works, though. I wasn't using a proxy and my internet connexion is pretty stable and fast.

Restarting Firefox also helped, IIRC. But I never had such a problem with Chrome, when it was my main browser. Now, this happens every month or so with Firefox.

I have the same issue on openSUSE Leap 15 - it's not Windows specific. I've found that the number of tabs doesn't matter too much - if I copy the URL of the non-loading tab, close the tab, open a new one and paste the URL there, it will load around 9/10 times (if it doesn't, third time is always the charm).

Drove me nuts enough that I switched to Brave for a bit as my main driver, but I've been experiencing some crashing from it recently and I miss my bookmark keywords, so I might go back.

Thanks for sharing this. I will give other browsers a try as well.

One day after enabling 2-factor auth for AdWords, all google services started to give the "this browser is insecure" error and I was unable to log into _any_ google services in Chrome. Things worked fine in Firefox, so I switched over 100%. It's something I'd been considering for a while as Google appears to be getting more evil over time. Hardly had to do any configuration except installing adblocker and password manager. The only annoyance is that scrolling behavior is slightly different and less easy to control than in Chrome.

Question I can't find an answer for anywhere: are desktop PWAs supported by Firefox yet? As in, installing them as a desktop app with icon, notifications and everything that goes with it?

What about chromecast support?

Did you try it out? No they aren't supported by Firefox. Chromium is much more innovative in this field.

I have been using Firefox for a few months and I’ve noticed browsers on Windows are far slower than on Mac (despite much faster hardware). Is that normal / happening to you as well? Firefox on Windows seems noticeably slower than Chrome. (Any page from entering address to seeing content feels ridiculously slow) I still use it for privacy, but I wonder if there is something I could do to speed it up.

What I find mind blowing is that it takes gigabytes (of RAM and/or other local storage) to load a couple of websites. Regardless of which browser is used.

What you call "a couple of websites" are actually full-blown applications. Your browser is more a virtual machine than a document reader.

Also, applications tend to use RAM when it's available. Think of all the cache, typically that's why back is snappy (it doesn't re-render the page from scratch). Maybe it would make you feel good to see a lot of unused RAM, but since it's there, it's better to use it than not.

Well, maybe the point I'm trying to make is that they shouldn't be applications.

Hackernews could take 100's of megabytes to load (like pretty much all of the other similar websites do). RAM, page file or otherwise. But it doesn't. It could be a complex application. But it isn't. And it shouldn't be.

Also, I don't think having "too much RAM" is the issue on my 16 GB machine. I routinely have to just shut down the browser entirely to be able to properly do CAD work. Party like it's 1995.

Even if these websites are "legit applications" for good reasons, putting the processing burden on the client is still a choice. There are efficient ways to leave most of the processing to the server. Example: https://www.phoenixframework.org/

Disclaimer: correct me if I'm wrong. I'm just an EE guy with shallow limited knowledge on web stuff.

In this video, the tech lead had a similar problem with browsers acting worse on windows than mac. (even the same browser) I've never seen anything like what he showed in the video, so it could be a bug affecting certain hardware configurations or software versions.


That's odd, for me Firefox on Windows is slightly faster than Chrome. Do you have any extensions installed?

I’ve noticed on some windows machines that Chrome and Firefox run on a single core when in the foreground, and multi core when in the background.

Open the cpu performance tab of task manager and set a page to reload every few seconds.

I don’t know why that happens or how to make it stop.

No (don't use mac), but I generally found windows to be much slower than linux, on the same hardware. (Interestingly, freebsd was also much slower than linux--but that's a tale for another time.)

I wonder if it has to do with the scheduler? Desktop linux users sometimes install patchsets to their kernels like zen[1] or ck[2], which effectively enable soft-realtime in order to improve desktop responsiveness and latency, but reduce net throughput. iOS also generally feels more responsive than android, given comparable hardware, for similar reasons: more optimal scheduling algorithm.

1: https://liquorix.net/

2: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Linux-ck

I read some similar comments recently and tried switching to Chrome, but did not find it any faster, even on YouTube and gmail. Maybe it’s machine and webpage specific.

haven't really noticed it myself. if anything, i though video acceleration works a bit better on windows

DNS config different between machines?

Not that I know of. Recently installed Windows Pro on Threadripper with 2080TI vs MBP 2013. Where should I check?

The main reason I switched to Firefox was an extension where I can see all of my tabs on a sidebar. I don't think it's possible with Chrome until they introduce sidebar pane. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tree-style-ta...

I tried to use Firefox on a new install of elementary OS with nvidia drivers installed. Full screen video was super choppy. I installed Chrome, and it was perfect.

I don’t want to have to debug this.. I just want it to work, so yet again Firefox gets put on the back burner for me. Maybe one day...

I have to use chrome on one device, and the only thing I like about it is that it will warn you when you try to download the same thing a second time - this would nice in firefox maybe.. saving web pages, or mp4 files - chrome will pop up with "again?" or something.

I'm using Firefox 71.0 (64-bit) on Ubuntu, and password fields are completely broken! I've tried disabling add-ons, and running in private mode, nothing helps. The only thing that works is if I run in a different profile where there is no account "Sync".

Firefox on Linux is considered a second-class citizen compared to Chromium.

Switching saved passwords (with the built in password managers) between Firefox, Chrome and Safari is a pain.

I remember that in order to get my passwords from Chrome to Firefox on macOS, I needed to install a virtual machine with Windows, and log in to Chrome and Firefox there.

I still try to get away from safari, so many things keep not working how I want them to. But I guess I'm just too locked in by using the keychain and nowadays apple pay.

I tried to switch to Firefox, but it randomly freezes after my mac wakes up from sleep, so after a month or so I had to go back to Chrome.

Firefox is great but not so great is asking users to automatically use Cloudflair's DoH service. Let me pick which DoH I want to use.

I may have misunderstood the issue, but you can choose the DoH provider you want to use (Menu > Options > General > Network Seetings > Enable DNS over HTTPS > Custom).

Sure, a default has to be provided, but most of the people who will activate this option knows what they're doing, and which provider they want to use/avoid.

Firefox lets you change your default DoH provider and always has. People are just complaining Cloudflare is the default, not that it cannot be changed.

It hasn't asked me to, as you say, automatically use Cloudflare's DoH service. The default seems to have DoH disabled.

It's not rolled out everywhere yet. AFAIK they only activate it for US users, and it may only be activated for a subset of those (not sure about that part).

I am outside the US so that explains it, thank you.

In OpenBSD DoH is disabled by default [1] :-)

[1] https://undeadly.org/cgi?action=article;sid=20190911113856

They are working on that and recently announced a partnership with nextDNS as a provider.

One of the reason why I haven't switch from Chrome to Firefox again is Join still don't have a Firefox extension: https://joaoapps.com/join/firefox/ Another reason is I had switched to Firefox just after Firefox Quantum came out, and eventually switched back to Chrome because it didn't give me a good experience at that time. (buggy devtool, many unfamiliarity)

The devtool is nice nowadays. It supports inspecting websocket messages, log events and has a multi-line support for console.

I like Firefox but I'm also a heavy tab user. Usually around 70-100 open with ~10-13GB RAM. Chrome is just better in that aspect, much better performance. Altho I use ungoogled-chromium not retail Chrome


I am a heavy tab user as well (sometimes crawling above 500) and have found Firefox MUCH better than Chrome. Way, incomparably much better.

Better memory and usability of computer (Chrome lugs and lags and my iMac and Macbook). Normal tabs instead of vanishingly small tabs. All my tabs on restart (Chrome has several times been unable to recover tabs on a restart over the past few years) and quick restart.

And, though I don't use it, there is sidebar tabs for FF.

I have 4GB ram on laptop.

Curious why our experience differs. What platform are you on?

How do you use this workflow? Do you ever get around to those 500 tabs? Whenever I get to ~30 I feel like it's time to figure out what my focus actually is and I'm always so baffled by people that operate like you do.

Whenever I get to ~8 I start to feel nervous and most probably close every tab I have except for the current one. My boss also likes to have 20+ tabs, it’s just insane to me.

Not them, but with my usual work pattern it is really easy to end up with hundreds to thousands of tabs.

New issue? New i3 workspace with a new ff window and a new tmux session, which each accumulate tabs related to that issue. Workspaces can live for weeks or months and while each instance of ff rarely grows beyond 50 tabs, scale that across 10 workspaces and you've got a lot of tabs.

Yes, the 32gb ram in my work-workstation gets a workout.

Counterpoint: A work colleague of mine has over 1000 tabs open at all times and his work machine only has 12GB of total RAM. Those 12 GB run Firefox, Visual Studio (!), and Windows and everything is working fine.

Is 1000 tabs open a replacement for bookmarks? I can’t imagine a workflow where having this many open would be advantageous.

In my case yes. I do not like the UI for bookmarks and the UI for tabs is closer to what I would want for a bookmark UI.

sort of. I have 100-200 tabs in FF as well and i just use these open tabs like bookmarks.

I use an extension that automatically closes tabs after 30 minutes of inactivity. So my tab counts never get super high.

I think when people say they want a lot of tabs, they mean they want better bookmarking and history search. There's almost no reason to keep more than a few dozen tabs open in the background, wasting CPU and RAM.

Yes, what I want are two things:

1. Work spaces so that I can return to the same set of tabs with the same scroll positions as last time I worked on a certain project (e.g. one for work, one for leisure and one for my open source projects).

2. A better UI for bookmarks. The current bookmark UI is just too many clicks and too much manual management.

They are not wasting CPU and RAM until you click on the tab because Firefox doesn't load the tab at startup.

My experience and what's often echoed here on HN is that Fx is better with multiple tabs, as Chrome's one process per tab can hog too many resources.

With Fx, that actually has a usable history search in theaaddress bar (Chrome wants you to google), I also really don't need to keep stuff open not to lose it.

I have >30 tabs open most of the time. It seems to perform without a slowdown.

There was a time about 3 months ago when that wasnt the case, and it needed a restart every few days to keep performance.

Firefox has bad performance for my use cases. It crashes around 50% of the time I open Gmail, and the other 50% of the time it crashes with any old tab. I know Gmail is bloated and less performant now but it's been my address for 15 years. Does Mozilla want me to deal with the constant crashes or abandon Firefox or abandon Gmail?

Interesting, it has to be something specific to your use case or hardware. I have Firefox open 24/7, 150+ tabs (Panorama tab manager), 4 Gmail account tabs (2 personal, 2 work) always pinned open, and FF just never crashes for me. Since Quantum was released it has just been stable.

Interesting to hear your experience with Firefox.

Speculatively, it sounds like there's something about your specific system configuration, i.e., other apps or hardware, that's interfering with proper functioning of FF.

I've been using Firefox as the primary browser extensively, every day for a few years, and have never seen it crash. A few times I was running code with an infinite loop and managed to crash a tab process, but the rest of the app continued to run fine.

That said, I can understand your frustration - but I hope you don't give up on Firefox. In my experience, the switch from Chrome didn't take much time/effort, and well worth it for the peace of mind, using software that respects the user.

Sorry for the stupid question. But can anyone paste a link about why chrome is bad?

It’s a browser made by an advertising company. They’ve made a few decisions lately that have shown that fact (recent changes that have placed limits on third party ad blockers, for example). It’s also gotten more bloated lately.

They’ve also forced the integration with google sync. If you sign into google anywhere (including using google to sign in to a third party website), it will sign chrome in as well.

Thanks. Yes automatic browser login when you login into gmail for example is very annoying.

If only they had built-in keyboard shortcut customization.

Can someone EIL5 what's so wrong about Chrome?

Switched when quantum came out and never looked back.

No complaints.

7. Remove Chrome and never look back.

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