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Firefox 73 (hacks.mozilla.org)
631 points by i_am_not_elon 11 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 346 comments





I switched to Firefox this month. Had to, with everything that's going on in Chrome. After struggling to remember to use Firefox, I just signed out of all my accounts in Chrome. Now I reach for Firefox much more naturally. Soon enough it should take.

Great to see the emphasis on DevTools in this release. DevTools have definitely much improved since I last tried, but they are still glitchy compared to Chrome. For example, I was using the JS debugger, and for some reason breakpoints wouldn't "hold"—after being stopped for some period of time (not long), the page would refresh. Also little things like https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1613957, which I was able to report. It was frustrating. Had to go back to Chrome for development. Still, it was nice to see many features that Chrome doesn't have, like breakpoint logging, which is nice when you want to insert a log into third party code.

And as a browser from a non-dev perspective, it's great. Great to know this browser is all about privacy instead of just trying to provide the bare minimum to keep people on board. Great to have the Facebook Container.

Thank you Firefox!


Since you brought up logging out and in, remember that Firefox Containers are very useful for things you wanna let logged in all the time (e.g., Facebook, maybe Google) so their tracking gets a little worse because your cookies are more isolated.

My preferred anti-tracking setup is Firefox with the Multi-Account Containers and the Temporary Containers addons (and uBlock Origin of course.)

Multi-Account Contaners lets me set up permanent containers for (groups of) sites I want to stay logged in to. I check the "always open this site in <container name>" box.

Temporary Containers is set up to open new sites (on middle / control click) in new, temporary containers. These containers work like private browsing windows, but store their data for 10 minutes after being closed. So undo close tab works, history works, but each new site is in its own container. And 10 minutes after its closed (or when the browser as a whole closes) all the cookies get deleted.


Don’t forget Privacy Badger. Thanks EFF!

I ran Privacy Badger for a while, but I have never actually seen it do anything. Not sure I messed up something, or if it was due to me already having an aggressive block list on uBlock Origin that left PB with nothing to do.

Yes, uBlock Origin leaves little (anything?) for Privacy Badger to do.

An aggressive block list could do it. Privacy Badger "learns" what is tracking you, so it does take a little bit to start being effective when you first start using it. It caches 34 trackers on theverge.com with uBlock Origin turned off for me, and 9 with uBlock Origin turned on.

My preferred anti-tracking adds Cookie Auto delete [0] to this. In the HN container, I keep HN cookies. Anything opened from HN will stay in the HN container and non-HN sites get cookies deleted shortly.

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


Don't forget Facebook Container

One thing that turns me off using Firefox Containers in earnest is that they are not integrated into Firefox Sync and nor does there appear to be a way to backup the URLs/containers as with other extensions - so I end up having to rebuild the containers on another machine or when I need to delete a buggy profile.

https://github.com/mozilla/multi-account-containers/pull/161... was just merged earlier today that introduces the sync function.

That's a great change. Containers are one of the things that made me move back from Chrome, it just feels far more useful to me to mix different contexts in one window than having to run entirely separate browser profiles as I had in Chrome. The one thing that prevented me from creating more elaborate container setups was the lack of sync, it just gets too annoying to set that kind of stuff up repeatedly. But with sync I'll probably look at creating more fine-grained containers than the basic work/personal setup I have right now, e.g. separating out Google in a separate container.

Good news, thank you.

It's been merged and is currently going through the Addon approval process. You should see it in about 48 hours.


Firefox member here – thanks a lot for reporting those bugs! Thanks to detailed reports Debugger could improve and glitches should become more and more a rarity.

You're welcome. Thanks a lot for your work on Firefox!

Wish I could have reported the breakpoint page refresh bug, but I wasn't sure how I could possibly isolate/replicate or describe beyond what I described above. And that's probably not very useful? The small one I linked was easy to describe and replicate.

Anyway, reporting bugs to Firefox definitely seems worth the time spent because it means having a browser that doesn't exist solely to benefit Google. Long live the World Wide Web!

PS. Really like so many other DevTools details I didn't mention in my post above. For example, the '...', 'scroll' and 'flex' indicators/toggles: https://imgur.com/a/yIlhDcJ. Also the console reverse-search with Ctrl-R. And many others.


Something I have noticied about Firefox team, it's reporting bugs to them do actually means something. They do put effort to solve them.

Thanks for your work on Firefox! I feel more comfortable with Firefox Devtools overall, but I keep using Chrome for debugging for one single reason : Firefox can't handle extensive log.

I'm working on code where sometimes infinite loops occurs. When I want to investigate on these loops, I cannot use any breakpoints because it's using the same route than it used 10 000 times before, so I usually log a lot of data, then manually kill the Chrome tab and I can still run through 1 million console lines smoothly.

Really hope Firefox will be able to handle that one day.


That is on our list for sure and some fixes have landed in 74 and 75. More to do for sure, but these issues are a priority in our performance program.

> then manually kill the Chrome tab and I can still run through 1 million console lines smoothly

How does that work with DevTools – closing the tab and reading logs?


Yeah the debugger certainly still leaves some things to be desired. When using a fairly sizeable react project, I set a XHR breakpoint, it was triggered, then the whole tab became unresponsive (dev tools included)

This happens to me a lot in the Chrome developer tools as well. Especially with hot reloading, so would love any advice to help with it. Chrome is the only application I ever have to force quit.

Happens to me in Chrome too, specifically when I reload a page that's stopped at a breakpoint. Instead of force quitting the whole application, check out Window -> Task manager. There you can force quit just a single, specific tab without closing the whole application.

The chrome task manager (hotkey Shift+Esc) is good for killing tabs

For large pages where source changes cause problems I will sometimes put logic inside conditional breakpoints. It's not great for huge changes (though you technically can put a lot of code in there) but for small things like quickly sanitizing null inputs it works fine.


Favorite thing about firefox devtools is in the network tab you can right-click a network request and just resend it as-is. Don't think you can do that in chrome.

You can - right click and press "Replay XHR", which will resend the request as is.

You can replay XHR in Chrome, but in Firefox you can edit/resend any request (XHR, image, et al.)

Editing the request isn't as accessible though and I often need to tweak requests.

They fixed the performance issues recently on MacOS too, well worth trying to switch again if anyone previously had a poor experience.

I had to ditch chrome because it performed abysmally, tried to use Safari but just couldn't get used to it, so went back to Firefox and was very pleasantly surprised ... great Mac OS experience.

That has to be a joke, zooming barely works on macOS (and has to be enabled using an about:config flag). It's decent if you just use an old fashioned mouse though and not a magic trackpad.

Perhaps your experience not only isn't universal, but the magic trackpad may not be all that magical after all.

True - zooming is an abomination compared to Safari ... but I don't zoom that often, so of course, YMMV.

They have in theory, but the fix isn't working for a lot of people, and Firefox continues murdering their battery. Firefox devs are aware but AFAIK their attention is focused elsewhere at the moment. Quite sad, because of all the people I got to switch to Firefox, all but one that experiences this issue has switched back to Chromium. Privacy and fighting browser hegemony is great, but stark few people are willing to sacrifice nearly half their battery life for it.

If you're interested in dev tools, I can't recommend eval villain enough. It only works on Firefox, but it helps a lot with identifying xss vulnerabilities.

https://www.hurricanelabs.com/blog/making-easy-dom-xss-actua...


Thank you! I'll check that out.

Yep, did the same thing. Took about two weeks to take.

Same experience for me. One huge upside is how great the Firefox mobile browser is (as an Android phone user; unsure for iOS).

Having uBlock + Dark Reader on my phone has felt like a god-send.


Unfortunately Firefox on iOS doesn't have access to content blockers and can't install its own ad-blockers.

Install Firefox Focus. You can set it as a content blocker for Safari!

Iphone user here. I actually don't bother installing FF on my Iphone because Safari isn't bad at all.

Thanks for the Dark Reader suggestion, I was looking for exactly that on mobile.

yes this. uBlock on Android mobile has become my main reason not to buy any new iOS devices.

FF dev tools are on par or even better (IMO) than Chrome, but the last few versions, it seems they have changed/dropped sourcemap support so it doesn't work at all. I went back to FF a couple years ago, but now I'm disappointed that the dev tools are not working properly and will go back for dev purposes only. I hope FF gets it working. I'd file a bug, but 'sourcemap support not working' isn't exactly all that helpful. Anyway, it doesn't work on any of my apps and works fine in Chrome. I hope they fix it at some point as I think their dev tools are generally better than Chrome (esp. the console).

Firefox dev here – do you have an example page? We worked a lot on source maps, so things should have improved but maybe you hit a regression.

One thing I did to help it "make it stick" when I made the switch was I made a FF Color theme that matches chrome's colors. https://color.firefox.com/?theme=XQAAAAIWAQAAAAAAAABBKYhm849...

Same, except I used Chrome's classic colours: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/familiar-blue...

The only thing I'm really missing is how easily you can set up and switch between different profiles in Chrome.


There used to be an extension that made profile handling aboutvas easy as in Chrome.

99% of the time I don't miss chrome. Google brand has faded in my mind.

TBH chrome still has an edge (slightly slicker, slightly leaner). But it's not worth it.


MS Edge now has an edge over Chrome too - it’s even leaner, lighter and faster.

If they would just release it for Linux already I’d be using it everywhere.


Yeah, new Edgium is just as slick as Chrome was when it started. I'm now using only Edgium exclusively; Super fast; No lagging anywhere. Super smooth scrolling etc; I hope it stays like that;

i feel a bit guilty using windows and edge these days. like i'm betraying my principles. but it's just so easy and i have to prioritize stress to what matters.

You may like Iridium - it’s chromium with all the google stuff removed.

Isn't chromium itself chrome with all the google stuff removed?


I consider Firefox to be slightly slicker and leaner so it's now probably well into subjective territory.

Maybe it's a question of laptop, because on my side it's pretty obvious how everything is just 15% quicker UI wise. Not that it's critical.

FWIW, among other computers, I use it on a 2012 T530 ThinkPad.

Everything that's going on?


Well, for example: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20044430. Bunch of other things too.

Just Google tracking everything you do in their browser, and preventing you from blocking other trackers.

Breakpoint logging sounds like just using conditional breakpoints with a console.log wrapper around the expression, which you can do today. Not saying it's better or worse, but if you need that functionality in Chrome there's your solution :)

The flex/grid stuff in Firefox's dev tools is really nice.

How much of it is a struggle to "remember how to use Firefox"? It's a web browser. You type your stuff into an address bar and go...

I'm still on honeymoon with Brave browser. Let's see how long it's going to last. So far, so good.

Ah, the self-anointed "Brave" browser, that believes what humanity really needs is a middleman between publishers and readers, skimming off the ad revenue.

Brave ads are entirely opt-in. By default it only blocks ads in the same way that Firefox's tracking protection does.

That's no longer true. I seem to have been opted in to ads on the new tab screen recently.

It's Chrome with everything that people want from Firefox (privacy features). I use it too. Brendan Eich did it again.

I still don't see what's to like on brave. It's basically chrome with ublock origin and https anywhere and like maybe one or two more privacy-oriented extension - why is there a need for a different browser, like why isn't that only an extension? Also, once chrome disables adblockers I doubt they would have the manpower to fork chromium.

One more Firefox release, one more long list of people on HN who:

* have switched from Chrome because <...> reasons why Chrome is worse or has become worse

* have always used Firefox and never left it

* have used Firefox but have faced issues and would want to try it if <...>

What I, as a long time Firefox user and evangelist, would like to know is how we can have Firefox thrive and grow, what Mozilla Corporation is doing (or not doing) to get more funding for Firefox, and why we aren't seeing all those services that they wanted to sell to generate revenue. The Firefox team has reduced in size recently, and more money might probably help avoid such situations (or postpone them).

P.S.: Donations on mozilla.org go to Mozilla Foundation, which is the non-profit parent of Mozilla Corporation (the maker of Firefox). I do not know of any direct way for end users/supporters to fund Firefox development.


how we can have Firefox thrive and grow

Not that anyone is asking me, but I think the mobile browser is a limiter. No matter how much I like a given desktop browser, I like bookmark & password syncing more. Unfortunately for me I find the Firefox desktop browser is first class, but the mobile browser is not. As a result it's almost immediately ruled out.

I've never seen anyone else mention this so I might be a tiny minority.


I switch to firefox mobile like a year ago and I find the experience far better that Chrome. Why ? uBlock-origin

You're not alone, Firefox mobile is practically unusable. But! For a while now, Mozilla has been putting all their development effort into Fenix (Firefox Preview on the Play Store), which has all the speed and responsiveness main Firefox doesn't, plus a better UI and general slickness. It even has limited extension support in the alpha, which should make it to the release version very soon. I've been using it as my main mobile browser for a few months now and it's great. There are still occasional bugs, but it's finally a legitimate Chrome alternative.

>Firefox mobile is practically unusable.

I vehemently disagree. With support for add-ons including uBlock Origin, it's one of the very few usable browsers on mobile.


I was using Firefox mobile with uBlock Origin, and I found that Chrome with no adblocking was a better experience. Page loads, scrolling, zooming, and the other interactions were so slow they counteracted the advantage.

That said, new Firefox mobile is way faster and the nightly build already has uBlock support. Best of both worlds.


I had extreme response time issue on my old phone. I recorded my screen, and I measured a reliable 3-5 60Hz frames between the touch indicator and the page scrolling. Chrome reliably had just 1.

Things got a bit better over time, but unfortunately the thing that eventually fixed it was when I got a new phone. Now I get around 2-3 90Hz frames, which is still worse than chrome, but far less noticeable. I have not measured "New Firefox"/Fenix/Preview yet, but it does feel like it's a bit closer to chrome.


I'm not too bothered about ublock - I already run blokada so the worst adverts are already blocked at the network level - but being in Europe I can't manage without the I don't care about cookies add-on.

Whenever I've tried other browsers - Chrome, Brave, DDG - having to click "I accept" on every single webpage to remove the "This site uses cookies!" pop-up is really tedious. I hope the Firefox on Mobile add-ons support doesn't just start and end at ublock origin.


Slow? I don't find it slow at all, and my phone isn't exactly top-end; what kind of hardware were you running on?

(I don't use uBlock on mobile, but I might go look into it...)

My only complaint is that it doesn't integrate quite as well as Chrome, but I don't think that's Mozilla's fault.


I tried it on a Galaxy Tab s5e and an LG v35, which have last year's mid-range Qualcomm chip and 2018's high-end chip respectively. On the v35 loading was slow, and sometimes it would crash or make all my tabs blank until restarted. On the tablet it couldn't even scroll down a page without lagging. I haven't run into any other apps that do this on either device. Zooming was always laggy and a bit off--bad acceleration curves or something--enough that they've redone it from scratch for other platforms instead of trying to fix the code.

There's a reason Mozilla is rewriting the whole thing.


That's crazy =(

That LG v35 outspecs my BlackBerry KEYone by a good margin, and Firefox is just as fast as Chrome for me. Which is to say, snappy.

I read more details about your performance problems in another comment, and it sounds horrible; I can't imagine anyone using that. Sounds like a nasty bug, I guess..?


I read that Firefox cannot be used with uBlock on iPhone. For me Firefox adds nothing new to my mobile experience with Safari.

Unless I am wrong, which I hope I am.


Why do you hope you are wrong if it adds nothing new?

I hope I am wrong (or better, I hope what I read is wrong) so I can use Firefox with uBlock on my iPhone (I use Firefox on desktop).

AFAIK, you cannot install uBlock (or any add-on) on Firefox for iOS.


Sadly you're right. This is Apple's fault: they refuse to allow alternate browser engines on iOS, so iOS "Firefox" is really a Safari web view with some Firefox buttons on it. Chrome and other browsers have the same problem.

I agree. I'm hoping FF mobile continues to receive performance improvements, but personally I'd put up with a lot worse to avoid adds.

Say what? It's the only browser I use on mobile for years, can't say I have faced any issue, not major issue, didn't face any issue, apart from very rare stuff that were fixed, can't even remember which.

Plugins support is lacking, that is true.


Really? Huh. I'm surprised other people's experiences have been so different. There are tons of forum complaints about the problems I've had. There's even an official faq about all the tabs going blank [1], which tells you to restart the browser and hope it goes away. Mozilla themselves gave up on the whole codebase two and a half years ago and started work on Firefox Preview/Fenix instead [2].

[1] https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/firefox-android-display...

[2] https://www.xda-developers.com/mozilla-transition-users-from...


FWIW, my experience is exactly the same. Zero problems, snappy, supports uBlock Origin, does not contain Google spyware and I therefore vastly prefer it to Chrome.

When I first heard of people complaining that it is atrocious, it was as much news to me as it is to you that it is excellent in my experience. I agree it's a weird phenomenon.


"practically unusable" is a hyperbolic statement. I use the mobile browser every day.

I've been using firefox preview for a few months now and love it. My only complaint is that even though it is set up as my default browser android still insists on using chrome to open some things, such as results from google assistant. But that's hardly Mozilla's fault.

What problems are you having with it?

With Preview or with stable? Preview has a couple of minor bugs, like radio button popups that don't go away when I switch tabs, or the "undo close tab" toast not disappearing, or downloads resulting in empty files sometimes. Annoying, but not dealbreakers and I'm confident they'll be fixed soon.

My issue with stable is that it's slow. Everything about it is slow. Pages that load immediately in Chrome take double digit seconds in Firefox. When they do load, scrolling lags my finger and jerks around, and zooming is noticeable unresponsive. The acceleration curves feel off too. On my mid-range tablet performance is so bad it gives me a headache.


My biggest issue with FF mobile (android) is sometimes when you open a link from a different app, it opens in an existing tab navigating away from a page you already had open. It should always open a new tab.

So I might open a link in my email app, then when I tap the back button on the phone, the expected behaviour is it will close the tab and return to the email app. Instead I'm finding it navigating back to the page that was open previously on the tab that was already open.


Try long-press on the link to get a context menu popup containing an entry "Open in New Tab".

For my own experience, it's this bug: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1374570

On heavier sites it's inevitable that it will crash. Years ago Chrome/Chrome Beta also had this problem (the root cause is with the phone hardware/android) but somehow they managed to catch it and not bring down the whole browser app.

I still use it despite the other main drawback (being slower than chrome beta on heavy sites, like say twitter) because I like my uBlock and tab-sync, but every so often I get so annoyed at it that I avoid it for about a month until Chrome even with basic adblocking via Blokada makes me mad enough to switch back.


You're not alone. No matter how much I hate chrome, I've never been more displeased by an app as I am with Firefox's mobile app. We might see a new one though based off firefox preview so hopefully I can make the complete switch soon

I'm syncd on all my devices with Firefox. Android devices and Linux devices. Plugins, bookmarks, containers.

Mozilla really dropped the ball(too late) on mobile, did they think mobile wasn't happening and it was just some temporary thing?

Actually the equal-and-opposite thing was more true. They picked up the ball so hard that they believed they could compete with Android with an entire Mozilla mobile operating system. A lot of effort was wasted.

Was referring to the browser, they didn't had an android or ios version until very late in the game. Maybe firefoxOS caused that delay? don't know.

Firefox Mobile came out in 2010 for Maemo. There were more mobile operating systems at the time, and it was less clear which one was going to win out. Mozilla lead with support for the most open option.

The Android version was released a year later, three years after (the frankly pretty unappealing) Android 1.0 release. It was within months of Opera's Android launch. Hardly "very late."


Fortunately/unfortunately (hard to tell which), the answer for 'how to get Firefox to thrive and grow' might basically be to spend more money on ads, since Google Chrome was advertised everywhere in its early days. At one point, they were running TV commercials and putting ads on billboards at stations here in the UK.

That probably got a lot of people's attention.


A few people might have heard of the parent company too, like from their mobile OS, or from the search engine where they type their addresses in when browsing.

I've seen a bunch of Firefox ads (both irl and online) over the past year after Quantum was out.

> how we can have Firefox thrive and grow

By satisfying the needs of users who

> have used Firefox but have faced issues and would want to try it if <...>

You’re right that every time there’s a Firefox release, it rises to the top of HN with the same comments. I’ve stopped commenting, but I’ll do so now since you asked.

Gripes with Firefox I’ve seen on HN include bad midi support and lack of (or broken) support for macOS features such as the Keychain.

My reason for not using Firefox (and I inadvertently get people out of it) is that it’s atrocious for automation on macOS. It’s the only major browser without AppleScript support, and the bug report open for it is old enough to vote.

When I’ve talked to people from Mozilla about it, I’ve gotten the reply that AppleScript is a power user feature that regular users don’t care for. What they fail to understand is that power users build features for others. I have several tools that interact with web browsers that are relatively popular with non-power users. Every time they ask “can you add support for Firefox?” my answer needs to be “I’d like to, but they don’t provide the functionality”. You can be certain that several of those abandon Firefox, because they’d rather have the convenience of the tool.

You can have Firefox “thrive and grow” by giving its users what they need. It doesn’t matter how “private” Firefox is (and Mozilla has done plenty to not be trusted blindly on that regard) if people can’t use it as their daily browser.


What I, as a long time Firefox user and evangelist, would like to know is how we can have Firefox thrive and grow

Probably the same as anything else: find a USP that resonates with a large number of potential users.

It used to be customisation and extensions, but it's been more than 2 years since Quantum and there are still numerous ways that my everyday browsing experience is worse now than it was before. I suspect that for a lot of people, Firefox is no longer particularly associated with being more customisable than any other browser, even if it was before.

Today I suspect the best shot for a solid USP is the privacy/security angle, which is what kept me on Firefox as my default browser in the end despite it being much inferior after 57. But the marketing for that is inconsistent and gets drowned out in all the who-cares features that Firefox keeps introducing.

Ironically, the breakage of extensions has probably contributed significantly to the loss of confidence in the security/privacy side, since it took out a lot of useful enhancements in those areas. Normal people don't understand tools like uBlock Origin, which are powerful but have UIs that make Git's look intuitive and well-designed, and in 2020 a simple, effective ad-blocker is entry-level for a decent browsing experience.


AdGuard offers a simpler interface than uBlock Origin for users who prefer one. It's also free and open source, and includes most of the same filter lists.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/adguard-adblo...

https://github.com/AdguardTeam/AdguardBrowserExtension


One of my coworker don't use it because some error in angular are showing up as [Object object] in Firefox, while in Chrome it show the full error.

Might be the same as I saw.

I debugged something similar in Angular about 18 months ago, didn't have time to report it and blamed it on Google not testing in other browsers.


Not just Angular. My Vue app as well. I can't figure out why Firefox doesn't just display the error.

I'd love to know more about the setup here. I am aware of https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1595046 which is for cases when someone rejects a Promise with a non-Error (and non-DOMException, I suspect) object. Is that what's going on here? Or could it be the thing described in https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1595046#c5 with throwing a random non-Error object and the resulting console interaction?

I think it might have been the first case you described. I have only recently switched over to Firefox and that was my first debugging experience with it, so I didn't realise it was a specific case and a known bug. Thank you.

I don't like to say this but Mozilla leadership sucks. In the light of previous layoffs, there was a discussion that the CEO, who doesn't even have a proper technical background, is getting too high of compensation. I have also heard Mozilla has become a Suits-first company lately.

A self-hostable Firefox Accounts server + sync server would be great. AFAIK the FXA server is not self-hostable yet, only the sync which leaves a bad taste in owning your privacy.

The problem is traction. Most people just aren’t aware of Firefox or know very little about it.

The solution is to partner with celebrities, the biggest ones, to make Firefox more popular as a choice for better privacy.


Its lack of MIDI support is still holding me back. They've been talking about it for years. Till then I'm on Chromium, sorry. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=836897

Fascinating (and disappointing..) comment thread about implementing the WebMIDI API in Firefox.

The issue was reported (7 years ago) by Chris Wilson, who's been at Google working on WebAudio stuff for years and has published lots of related articles and repos. I'm a big fan. https://github.com/cwilso

There's even a comment from someone at Ableton, expressing interest and support ("testing with preliminary builds as well as providing hardware for implementers to test with"). That was 2 years ago, and no one from Firefox engaged them?! Sounds like a huge missed opportunity.

Sadly, the last comment a year ago was from a person no longer at Mozilla, saying the issue is stalled and that it's "very low priority work".

---

Edit: Aah, now I'm imagining what might have been, a collaboration between Firefox and Ableton, would have been so cool..


"The major blocker right now is security issues related to device firmware hijacking." - https://github.com/mozilla/standards-positions/issues/58

-

You can toggle it on but it doesn't actually work.

You can use chromium for MIDI support and FF for everything else.

Most people don’t want to keep changing web browsers for every task. In particular if you do a lot of work (be it paid or a hobby) in a technology your web browser lacks, it’s less frustrating to use for everything the one that has the feature.

To add to that, how would one get started in contributing to Firefox's development directly?

There's some good information here: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Developer_g...

If you want to jump right in and look for bugs that match your skills/interest, try: https://codetribute.mozilla.org/


I only left when they used to be the bloated browser that took up like 1gb of memory back in the late 00's early 10's.

Now that's normal and I've sorta acclimated for the past 3 years.


FYI, if you're switching to Firefox, I strongly (strongly) recommend checking out the Tree Style Tab extension (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tree-style-ta...), which puts all your tabs in a tree in a sidebar. Once you have it installed and are happy with it, you can remove the horizontal tab bar entirely and gain a nice chunk of precious vertical space (https://github.com/piroor/treestyletab/wiki/Code-snippets-fo...).

I use a slightly more compact layout that saves space and lets me see more tabs; put this in "Advanced->Extra style rules" in the addon preferences:

    /* Compact tab layout */
    :root { --tab-height: 20px !important; }
    .tab { height: 20px !important; }
    /* Shrink space between pinned tabs and tab bar, only when pins are present */
    #tabbar[style*="margin"] { margin-top: 20px !important; }
I've used this extension for nearly a decade at this point, and I could never imagine switching back to a top tab bar. It scales very nicely to an arbitrary number of tabs, organizes them in a highly natural way, and gives you a bunch of new power-user ways to manage your tabs (close a whole tree, migrate subtrees to new windows, ...).

I've never understood this AddOn. Maybe it's because I use less than 8 tabs and am diligent about closing ones I don't need.

Does it reduce memory because it's more like a temporary bookmark system?

Why does it look so ugly :(


It's specifically an addon for folks who normally have dozens (or hundreds) of tabs open, and I can only imagine it's actively detrimental to someone who only has a handful of tabs at a time.

IMO you should just be thankful that your workflow/habits haven't develop in such a way that you benefit from the organizational power of tree style tabs ;-P


I'm a zillion tab person. But even aside from that, it improves the usability of the browser.

A problem with browser UI is that - given our monitor form factor - it makes text hard to read. Studies show that very wide columns of text are harder to read than something relatively narrower.

By changing the viewing pane of the browser, moving the tabs off the top and to the side, we mitigate that extra-wide shape somewhat, making the text more easily readable while giving ourselves a bit more vertical space.


You can make it look better by giving FF a dark theme. I agree it doesn't look great out of the box.

As for the use case, I don't think it's an understatement to say it changed how I browse the web. Before I discovered Tree Style Tabs, I was like you -- I only kept a few tabs open and was diligent about maintaining a coherent working set.

Now, I build hierarchical structures of nested tabs based on what I'm working on, and I easily reach the 60+ tab range on a daily basis. Instead of those tabs feeling like a burden, it's trivial to make use of all of them without feeling like anything is cluttered. I can maintain so much more organized information at my finger tips in Firefox than I ever could before.


I use it. Last week I had >500 tabs open. Firefox ran without a hitch. But really, if you don't use tabs this way: don't start.

> Why does it look so ugly :(

With a bit of work, it can look however you want. Here's mine: https://i.imgur.com/13jfRup.png


Switched to Firefox only because of TST and been happy ever since.

I agree. I've grown so used to it in my workflows that I just can't work without it - and so Chrome is simply impossible for me.

I don't think it would work for me. My Firefox windows are 1366 pixels wide and screen height tall on a 4K screen. I don't have any sidebar space to waste. Maybe it's OK for people who maximize their browser windows on 16:9 screens.

I generally size my browser so that the viewport is roughly square - a wide squat browser usually leaves acres of margin, or on sites that don't have decent margin, enormously long lines that are all but impossible to read.

A square viewport on a widescreen monitor leaves loads of space for a sidebar.


This is how I do it, too. Given those 16:9 monitors, moving the tabs to the side is definitely an improvement in readability and efficient space usage.

> To date, CORS network errors have been shown as warnings, making them too easy to overlook when resources could not load. Now they are correctly reported as errors, not warnings, to give them the visibility they deserve.

I know this is a small improvement (s/warning/error), but like it nevertheless. What I would _LOVE_ however is that CORS errors would be displayed where it would make sense - in the Network tab. When I'm debugging connections I am looking there, not in Console.


Firefox dev here. Making sure failed requests are properly highlighted in Network panel is a big one on our list!

Very glad to hear that! Now that I know what is going on, I check the console whenever the request doesn't appear in Network tab, but it is very unintuitive. Keep up the good work!

This would be amazing. It's one of the last holdouts of why I develop on Chrome - I need to be able to see the failed request to debug what's getting sent and what isn't!

Now that I'm reading this, I would love this feature! I like the network tab but debugging CORS or CSP with Firefox has never been so fun.

Actually in my experience Firefox CSP debugging is light years ahead of Chrome's. Not only debugging - CSP in Firefox at least works as intended, while with Chrome(ium) it's hit and miss. [0]

That said, it does happen that Firefox gives a cryptic error message, and running in Chromium gives enough clues to solve the problem. But usually FF is much better with CSP, at least in my experience (and I work with CSP pretty often).

[0] EDIT: "miss" meaning that the request, forbidden by CSP rules, is not stopped. Firefox correctly stops the same request.


s/warning/error/g :)

Soon, People, Soon: [Wayland] Implement ffmpeg/VAAPI video playback

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1610199


About time! This has been the single thing keeping me from making the switch to Firefox for my personal profile. The Chromium-vaapi patch works well enough to justify being my default browser so far.

Is this feature only going to be implemented on Wayland?

I believe so. It appears that X11 is about to go into "maintenance mode".

https://blogs.gnome.org/uraeus/2019/06/24/on-the-road-to-fed...


This is bought to you by the people that think /etc/sudoers is best replaced with javascript rules and the solution to a mash up of javascript and compiled languages not freeing memory is to ignore the issue for 7 or 8 years then admit that the issue is unfixable and solve it by manually running the gc constantly and noting that this performs in practice way better than you would imagine for such a hacky crappy solution.

In practice most users not using fedora are "apt" to see wayland not sooner than they upgrade to ubuntu 24.04 LTS or Debian 11 or later and as users will naturally upgrade when they feel like it as opposed to release day one would expect the majority to transition between 2024 and 2028.

Apps which don't work on X before this period would be even more niche than usual.


I wish I could take Wayland for a spin but it feels like HL3 vaporware that only a select few individuals are actually capable of using. (I have an nVidia card)

"Select few" being anybody with an Intel or AMD GPU? That's actually quite a lot of people. Shit not working properly is one of the prices you choose to pay when you choose to purchase hardware with poor FOSS driver support.

My poor little Intel GPU can't do 4K and the last 2 AMD GFX cards I purchased had such brutally bad coil whine I decided to switch brands out of sheer frustration.

The Nvidia card I have now is silent and works pretty well.

One day I'll get to take Wayland for a test drive.


I have a Polaris AMD GPU and Wayland does weird things with multi-screen setup, when X11 works nice.

Using it with Nvidia/Gnome 3 on OpenSuse Leap 15.1. Screen jumped left repeatedly today, and I'm having trouble turning it off. Other than that seems to be okay...

"Did you know that console logs can be styled using backgrounds? For even more variety, you can add images, using data-uris"

Ha ha, oh my... Sooo many recruiting ads coming our way!

[Edit: also the WebSocket inspector is really awesome. I wish I had that years ago!]


> you can add images, using data-uris

Seems like a good way to detect when someone opens the console.

Edit: Actually I am wrong


Data-uris don't make network requests.

There's a slight possibility that you could construct an SVG that would load another resource, but it shouldn't (as in RFC 2119 "MUST NOT") be possible.

I immediately was thinking that, and some sort of scam/phishing attack.

WebSocket inspector ? wheres that ?

What's the point of spending time on that?? Some bugs have been open for a very long time that don't appear to have been fixed in this release [0]... but we can select a background color in the console????

[0] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1220696


Making the console appearance customizable sounds like an easy starter project for onboarding someone. Your pet bug does not.

The severity of a bug is far from the only thing which determines what gets worked on.


The point is it's open source, so people will volunteer to work on what they want. Just because the bugs you cared about weren't worked on doesn't mean this work took any resources away that could have been applied to them.

Yes, but presumably Moz with their $300M from Google, or whatever it is (pretty sure it's of that order) also surely employ a few programmers to squash bugs, so just waving your hand and saying "volunteer developers" doesn't quite answer the parent commenters dissatisfaction.

And they so squash bugs? Yeah there def some old ones, but a priority was chosen for them and work continuous based on that.

Text input is a priority but also hard to align on is complex, potentially risky, work.

Console log background was worked on by a contributor as its a good first bug.


I switched to Firefox Dev Edition last year and havnt gone back since. It really does have a noticeably smoother feel to it. I do miss certain Chrome dev tools such as Lighthouse, however its not a difficult transition at all.

I hope more people take the leap.


You can always boot up Chrome for the few times a month you need lighthouse. Run the test, get the data, then quite chrome.

That's what I do. I use Firefox as my daily. But I still have chrome installed and boot it up probably once a month. So it's there, but I don't stay logged in, and I don't use it very often.


One issue with Dev Edition is that it shares the base code with Beta. With the new 4-weeks release cycle, most of QA testing now happens in Beta, meaning the chances of serious bugs in Beta and Dev Edition increased quite a lot. Previously, most of the testing happened in Nightly, and only tested code was moved to Beta and Dev Edition.

Firefox dev here: Just to understand the use case (and others can pile on too) – do you use Lighthouse for online staged/prod sites or local testing?

I use Chrome to benchmark my local version of a website. The use case is very limited, because the results fluctuate a lot depending on the overall load on my machine (including the dev server), so I usually do three passes on the master branch of my project, get scores like 53, 56, 51, then switch to my development branch, three passes again, if I see e.g. 58, 56, 61 then it's fine, if the results are noticeably lower than master then time to investigate.

In any case we have a dedicated environment with lighthouse-ci and this is where the real pre-release benchmarks are executed.


Been using this as well. The CSS Grid Editor has been amazing. I think this is in the mainline now too.

Also the blue icon looks better I think


You can get all of Lighthouse features in Google Page Speed Insights.

With Safari removing my ability to use uBlock in version 13, I've been wanting to make the jump back to Firefox on the desktop. The one thing that has been holding me back is that Firefox can't use the OSX Keychain for passwords. All my passwords are in my OSX/iCloud Keychain, and this is great. It works on my iOS devices and on my Mac and everything is lovely, but its keeping me using Safari on the desktop.

There was an extension that did this, but the API it relies on was removed in FF 57 with the switch to the extension API.


Long time Safari user as well, primarily for its speed and OSX feature integration (keychain). Made the jump back to Firefox in December and installed uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger, HTTPS Everywhere, NoScript and a video ripper/transcoder.

While entering my passwords into FF and exporting/importing bookmarks was a minor (and brief) annoyance, the utter joy of using a feature rich and secure browser with no ads made it worth the switch, even if I don't have keychain integration.

Give it a go, even just for a week.


I'm an avid, avid, avid Firefox user, but I switched to Vivaldi last month after doing a comparison of RAM load with the same exact open tabs and seeing a difference of:

Firefox sitting at 12 gigs Vivaldi sitting at 5 gigs

This is on MacOS, so mileage may vary and all that, but with the same tabs open, why would there be such a difference?

Edit: And there's no difference in the plugins. I use the same plugins on both browsers: password manager, uBlock Origin, React dev tools, and Redux dev tools and that's it.


Modern operating systems will grant large amounts of RAM to web browsers in general to improve caching. That RAM is easily relinquished back to the OS if another app needs it.

Was the 12GB with another RAM-intensive app running? Or just Firefox by itself.


Do you know which mechanism is used for this?

In addition to the MEM_RESET, MEM_RESET_UNDO mentioned, there's also OfferVirtualMemory[1], ReclaimVirtualMemory[2] to let the system potentially use the memory if it needs it.

Unlike MEM_RESET, this allows you to prioritize the memory you offer, as well as provides some extra safeguards it seems.

No idea if Firefox uses this or MEM_RESET.

[1]: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/win32/api/memoryapi...

[2]: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/win32/api/memoryapi...


That seems to be something different; instead of getting the memory when some other application needs it, the OS receives the memory when the application (browser) doesn't need it any longer, so it can't be used for caching.

This actually looks exactly like the malloc/free use case.


How can't it be used for caching? Say you decode an image, then offer the memory backed by it to the OS. If you need to access the image data again you try to reclaim the memory, if it fails it's a cache miss.

You're right, the missing info I didn't notice was the return value.

What I was seeing was the same in both cases. Firefox would be using the same amount of RAM either running by itself or alongside Ableton Live (and the performance of Ableton Live would suffer).

That's not true. Operating systems don't know if a process is a browser.

OS > Hey I need RAM

Browser > OK we can purge these tabs first

is how it should work. If the first step doesnt happen, its not clear if the second one should execute by itself. Id be much more concerned about background CPU usage. Eats battery, and actually slows the computer down.

That all said, its pretty clear that browsers are leaking RAM sometimes. I remember bed bath and beyond using 9 or 12GB of ram the other month.


> is how it should work.

That's not how it works. Browser might monitor free system memory actively and release memory if the system runs low, but at least Firefox doesn't do that.

There is no mechanism (in Windows, Linux) that allows the OS to notify applications of memory pressure or that allows the application to tell the OS that some allocations can be thrown out if need be. (Windows has a mechanism - MEM_RESET - that only works with paged out allocations)

Edit: Windows 10 (8?) actually expands on MEM_RESET with Offer/ReclaimVirtualMemory, but I kinda doubt browsers use this, because these have similar semantics to MEM_RESET (except they seem to work without paging, which is good). For an application that wants to cache not-well-defined amounts of data itself these might be very useful though, because you can make the data structure simple enough that it works with these.


https://dblohm7.ca/blog/2015/07/28/interesting-win32-apis/ notes that Windows has the required APIs, and that Firefox already supports handling memory pressure notifications on non-Windows platforms. Not sure how up-to-date this information is.

> ...that allows the OS to notify applications of memory pressure or that allows the application to tell the OS that some allocations can be thrown out if need be.

There are mechanisms for both of these in up-to-date Linux - pressure stall information and volatile ranges, respectively.


MADV_FREE didn't work properly until fairly recently, though, because it behaved like Windows' MEM_RESET. AIUI MADV_FREE is not intended for ranges that you actually want to work with (i.e. you want to keep the data, not just the virtual addresses), but rather as an optimization for allocators.

Firefox does have a mechanism for reducing memory pressure, there's a button for it in about:memory. I can't guarantee that this flow actually happens upon low memory states on Windows etc but it wouldn't be hard to at least hack it together. Monitoring available memory (say, on a timer) is not a difficult thing to do on Windows - it would just be difficult to make it completely robust.

Well it definitely doesn't work on Linux, at least not automatically.

It's important to specify your test scenario here and the behavior you expect, as it's a known issue in general that Linux behaves poorly under OOM conditions. It's not necessarily Firefox specific.

If all of my memory is "in use" but half of it is cached file pages, should Firefox compact its heap and evict cached images? What if all of my memory is spoken for but a bunch of it isn't actually committed, due to overcommit?


Those aren't interesting questions tbh. Obviously most of the time the page cache grows to use all memory, that's the whole point of having it (using all memory that is not committed to applications as a disk cache). Overcommit obviously doesn't create memory pressure because it only exhausts address space, not memory (physical memory + swap). The relevant question is how the system behaves if it needs to allocate pages but can't find any clean (just throw'em out) or unused pages. Linux, and to a lesser degree, Windows start to thrash heavily in these scenarios. I've never seen e.g. Firefox unload a tab when this happens, regardless of OS.

Another strategy is:

Browser> So this memory here, I don't really care if you swipe it in the future.

(later)

OS> Yum yum

(later)

Browser> Oh, that buffer is empty, let me fill it again.

Firefox uses it, IIRC, for decoded image buffers.

https://searchfox.org/mozilla-central/source/memory/volatile...


I considered other browsers too (Vivaldi, Brave), but they all seem to be Blink/V8. It seems like Firefox is the only other extant, viable platform for running the web. Personally, I'm not one to frequently compromise quality/convenience for some ideal, but the idea that we'll have a future with only one way to render the web is terrifying.

There's webkit too by Apple. And browsers based on it is available for Linux too. And no, webkit and Blink are not the same engine. Blink is a fork of webkit by Google and while they share a heritage they have different feature set now.

Also worth noting how different the different goals/approaches differ between the WebKit and Blink teams. The WebKit team is very deliberate in their development, only committing to new features once they have some level of assurance that it can be done with minimal negative impact to efficiency, privacy, and user control where the Blink team moves almost entirely in interest of getting as many new features out as quickly as possible with comparatively little regard to negative side effects.

Both approaches are needed to maintain a balance and to preserve real choice for users — there is no practical difference between Chrome, MS Edge, and Brave because their differences are skin-deep at best.


I was thinking of webkit too, but I'm not aware of any browsers expect Safari and the Linux browsers you mention. Neither seem to be cross platform or practical, "viable" alternatives to Blink domination.

Check out:

- Maxthon - https://www.maxthon.com/mx5/features/dual-core/

- Midori - https://www.midori-browser.org/

I'd say the scenario is similar to Firefox/Gecko and Chrome/Blink. Sure there are clones that use the Gecko and Blink engines, but none of these really are as popular as their original.

I am waiting for another Opera / Presto browser platform to emerge. Till it did, the browser market dominated by Internet Explorer was literally stagnant. Opera with a Presto engine was a game changer with their light-weight and super fast browser engine with feature sets that all other browsers copied (and still lack even today).


I miss the plain UI speed of Presto-based Opera. I could cycle between tabs at my keyboard repeat speed - now my PCs are an order of magnitude faster and can't manage more than a couple tabs per second if I hold ctrl+tab.

Just tried this in FF and for what it's worth it cycles through the loaded tabs at keyboard repeat speed when holding down ctrl+tab.

When I do it I can see the URL cycling at my keyboard repeat speed (~30 fps), but the selected tab and page displayed in the foreground refresh about an order of magnitude more slowly. (1-5 fps) (So with a dozen tabs open, the effect is to select/show tabs in essentially a random order.)

edit: FF cycles smoothly (although with a weird white strobing effect with the main blank content area) if I open a bunch of blank tabs, but not if they're actual web pages.


It's the one reason I'm glad that all web browsers on iOS run Webkit.

Now if Apple could just fix their damn flexbox bugs and implement web app features...


and as soon as Blink forked, Apple purged a ton of Google/Samsung specific code from Webkit.

Really? Where can I read more about this?

This Slashdot article has some links to the WebKit mailing list discussing the changes: https://slashdot.org/story/184313

It depends on the use case, but for a lot of modern render heavy sites, I find Gecko to be strictly better, both in terms of overall time to render and giving a user experience with less flashes of unstyled context.

Can you articulate why do you think a single engine is terrifying? KHTML is the precursor of WebKit that was used by Chrome and Safari for a while. It didn’t prevent Apple and Google to drive their products. Google eventually fork Blink out of WebKit. Other browser vendors follow a similar path (Brave, Opera, Oculus Browser, Samsung Internet, Supermedium...) Start with Blink and modify as they see fit and eventually fork if needed. I consider a single good reusable engine a level playing field for new browsers akin to the Linux Kernel for OSs. Engines are commoditized and differentiation comes from browser features.

It means that Google can push technologies that benefit their ad tracking business, or choose to use non-standard APIs to make their apps run faster than competitors. Both of these things they're already doing. While they might not go the route of Microsoft, putting their Active-X plugins in IE, using deprecated and non-standard APIs is pretty damn close.

Furthermore, all these forks result in bugfixes and new features making it back into Chromium. That allows Chromium to evolve faster than other browsers. That's not to say that Firefox hasn't been keeping up and pushing past Chrome on some important fronts (CSS Sub-Grid, for one), but I'm afraid a point will come where Firefox can't keep up with all the new web APIs that developers will want to use.

Another fork of Chromium doesn't lessen Google's influence over the market.


Way better explanation than mine:

> It means that Google can push technologies that benefit their ad tracking business, or choose to use non-standard APIs to make their apps run faster than competitors. Both of these things they're already doing.

That's at the core of their whole thing.


Thanks for asking. I was wondering if I could. I'll try:

> Start with Blink and modify as they see fit and eventually fork if needed

One of the foundational ideas behind the web is that you have a set of open standards that specify the web, and then people can go ahead and implement those standards and provide some unique set of features on top of those standards. For example: privacy.

I believe that Google and other big-tech actors are working to make the scope of these standards so vast and so fast-moving that it becomes impossible for a small or mid-range operation to implement and maintain a web browser. I mean, who was able to successfully fork and maintain a fork of KHTML/Webkit? Google! No small organization is capable of this. These are massive, complicated codebases that must keep up with evolving standards.

Therefore, even though you theoretically have "open standards," we're seeing a future with possibly a single implementation of those standards. And if you only have one implementation, then the whole foundation doesn't hold, i.e. you can't make a privacy-oriented browser because you can't make a browser in the first place. What if some day Google decides to stop contributing to Blink, to fork Blink and only update it closed source, against a set of fast-moving standards that they de-facto control? Or what if, at that point, with total domination, they stop following open standards entirely. I think that would be the end of the web.


Notice that a fork doesn’t have to maintain the whole code base, only your tweaks on top. Cases I know like Oculus Browser, Samsung Internet, Brave or Supermedium (I’m co-founder) have very small teams. They start with Chromium and have total freedom to modify privacy policies, ship remove any APIs or standards. At the same time they can take all Web compatibility for granted that I agree is not tenable by a small org.

> Can you articulate why do you think a single engine is terrifying?

MSHTML.DLL


How many tabs? I've used Firefox for years on 8 or less total gigabytes of RAM, and I've hit 40 tabs occasionally and regularly 20, and never ran out of RAM because of Firefox.

I've had my whole system lock up for minutes with 10 tabs open on Firefox as recently as last week. I still use it as my primary, but that does happen on occasion.

On chrome I've had 60+ tabs open for weeks without my system taking a dive.

This is on an ubuntu 19.10 system with 32gb of ram.


This seems extremely weird, never seen anything like that (I tend to have >100 tabs open). But of course "it doesn't happen for others" doesn't help you if somehow on your machine it does.

It's definitely strange. And I do at times have 50+ tabs open on Firefox, so I'm not saying it's a constant issue, but I do see it overload my system from time to time. When it does, I close a few tabs, restart firefox, and go on my merry way.

12 gigs? Currently I have ~12 tabs open and it's using ~500mb of my RAM, according to top. What caused your Firefox to eat up 12 gb?

If you have a recent firefox you may be incorrect about your ram usage as firefox is no longer a single process.

Here is how it looks on my system.

        firefox-bin─┬─GPU Process───35*[{GPU Process}]
                    ├─Privileged Cont───27*[{Privileged Cont}]
                    ├─RDD Process───5*[{RDD Process}]
                    ├─Socket Process───5*[{Socket Process}]
                    ├─Web Content───28*[{Web Content}]
                    ├─2*[Web Content───27*[{Web Content}]]
                    ├─Web Content───33*[{Web Content}]
                    ├─Web Content───22*[{Web Content}]
                    ├─Web Content───30*[{Web Content}]
                    ├─Web Content───32*[{Web Content}]
                    ├─WebExtensions───27*[{WebExtensions}]
                    ├─firefox-bin
                    └─97*[{firefox-bin}]

Here is a bit of bash to turn a number of bytes into a human readable label shamelessly stolen from somewhere saved as human

    #!/bin/bash
    b=${1:-0}; d=''; s=0; S=(Bytes {K,M,G,T,P,E,Z,Y}iB)
    while ((b > 1024)); do
        d="$(printf ".%02d" $((b % 1024 * 100 / 1024)))"
        b=$((b / 1024))
        let s++
    done
    echo "$b$d ${S[$s]}"
Here is the best formulation of finding the memory usage of foo where foo can be a regular expression

    echo 1024\*(pgrep foo| xargs pmap -x|grep total|awk '{print $5}'| paste -sd+ -)|bc|xargs human   
In fish the meminfo function with custom functions not herein included

   function meminfo
        pgrep $argv| each pmap -x|g total|nth 5|sumof|multiplyby 1024|each human
   end
Most of firefox's mememory is in firefox, Web Content, and WebExtensions

meminfo firefox returns only 250MB right now but meminfo 'firefox|Web' returns 1.5GB

If you are looking at just firefox you are definitely not getting the whole picture.


I got an unexpected result:

For context

  pgrep --full /usr/lib/firefox/firefox | wc -l
returns 10, while

  pgrep 'firefox|Web' | wc -l
returns 9.

Your posted command formatted and a missing $ added (I'm using bash):

  echo 1024\*\
  $(\
    pgrep --full /usr/lib/firefox/firefox \
    | xargs pmap -x \
    | grep total \
    | awk '{print $5}'\
    | paste -sd+ - \
  )\
  | bc \
  | xargs ./human
returned 220.63 MiB.

Here's my htop excerpt:

  3532M  286M 97512 S  0.0  9.6  9:20.59 │  └─ /usr/lib/firefox/firefox
  2325M 74708 56596 S  0.0  2.4  0:00.42 │     ├─ /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 41
  2509M  121M 85300 S  0.0  4.1  0:15.84 │     ├─ /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 40
  2489M  173M  103M S  0.0  5.8  0:18.64 │     ├─ /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 39
  2389M 74172 57060 S  0.0  2.4  0:13.49 │     ├─ /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 23
  2540M  112M 89996 S  0.0  3.8  0:50.95 │     ├─ /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 22
  2513M 72396 58300 S  0.0  2.4  0:14.88 │     ├─ /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 17
  2413M 46488 34892 S  0.0  1.5  0:18.37 │     ├─ /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 16
   250M  2132  1916 S  0.0  0.1  0:00.13 │     ├─ /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -parentBuil
  26.4G 85844 35008 S  0.0  2.8  0:57.39 │     └─ /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 3 
Not sure what to make of it.

To capture the other processes pgrep 'firefox|Web' to capture WebExtensions and Web Content

That's what I'm talking about in the beginning of the post. 'firefox|Web' captures 1 one less process than `--full /usr/lib/firefox/firefox`. That one process is 0.1mb in my case.

I didn't know about --full you are correct

I've noticed using some extensions (like Grammarly doubles or triples the amount of RAM used).

Google polyfill badly done JS because firefox doesn't implement some "advanced" features that google tought but is not(or will never be) in the standard. It result in more usage of CPU and RAM. I noticed that Facebook have a memory leak on firefox for exemple (12Go, then 3Go after closing facebook).

my only issue with Firefox on Mac is that streaming video from twitch will just randomly stall but this did not occur with Safari. The oddest part is that is stalls randomly when clicking back to the tab with the stream. Even with multiple streams its wholly random if one will stall the video portion or not; the audio continues and chat bar works too.

memory wise it will consume quite a bit when managing streaming content and even leave the code in memory when all related tabs are gone; I assume this happens because of the dearth of video content on many web pages


I was having the exact same issues on Twitch allll the time on FF on Mac. I haven't since switching to Vivaldi, probably have frozen two or 3 times since.

I haven't been able to find a faster or more efficient browser on macOS than Safari. It's my daily driver.

Big time, I use Firefox for dev work because the Safari tools kinda suck, but for everything else its amazing

True, FFX has the best web inspector tools by far.

Just restarted for the new release, but I currently got 3 windows with a total of 73 tabs (no shame please ^^) and just focused each of them to ensure they are loaded due to the restart.

Waited a bit and now have:

* Resident Set Size: ~ 500 MB

* Virtual memory: ~ 3300 MB

Not much, IMO, especially as virt. memory doesn't tells one much.


2697 here. I should probably use the 'x' on occasion.

In Firefox, if you go to about:memory and click on "Measure", you can get some kind of breakdown of where the memory is being used. I don't know how useful it will be to understand why it is using more memory, but it can be interesting.

Wouldn't you prefer your browser use more RAM? I'd much rather it cache as much as possible than have unused RAM sitting idle. Hell, I even stick my `~/.cache/` in RAM.

I wish I knew but something has always bothered me about people jumping browsers due to open tab usage for tab counts above 20.

Is that really the only feature people care about?


When it completely bogs down the browser so that opening a new window stakes 5s and other normal actions are extremely laggy, no other features matter. This can happen even on my 64GB workstation when Firefox hasn’t consumed all the available memory yet. Performance is a feature.

(That said I continue to use Firefox exclusively b/c 1) Firefox is really good now, 2) best addon/extension support, 3) Google’s leadership is Evil now, and 4) I don’t want a rendering engine monoculture).


It's weird, I keep seeing people complain about the memory usage and it being slow, but I've literally never experienced any of these kinds of issues, and I have 80 tabs open right now. Are you using some weird plugin or what?

It is dependent on machine, OS and what plugins are installed.

I'm fairly certain I used to have hundreds of tabs open back in the old Firefox with even less lag than I see today.


I'm pretty sure it depends a lot on profile cruft too.

I do have a bunch of plugins installed, is there any way to profile them and see if any of them are the culprit? (Ubuntu 18.04)

That's understandable. But what exactly is the thought process in having so many tabs (10+) open in the first place?

Having multiple tabs (or "too many tabs") is a neat and very visible way to keep track of what's to be read and processed. It does result in keeping things for far too long sometimes, but there is no better interface that surfaces all the different sites/URLs to be processed. It's very useful when you're troubleshooting or researching something (could be some tech stuff in general, some software development/debugging stuff or anything else you're researching).

Ok, using browser tabs as "bookmarks".

I used to do something similar too with Opera (the original one with Presto engine) but with their "Speed Dial" feature. I miss Presto Opera - it was light-weight, fast and wasn't bogged down by even with 100's of open tabs and had fantastic browser features that nearly all their competitors copied.


It's actually way better than bookmarks because it stores the content in a quickly accessible way (unless the tab has been unloaded manually or through another extension), and it also stores history (you can go back and forward in each of those tabs). Bookmarks and "Speed Dial" (which is available on Firefox) do not support tab history. I do not know how Opera's Speed Dial worked though.

> It's actually way better than bookmarks because it stores the content in a quickly accessible way

I am skeptical about this part. If you tag your bookmark's, it then becomes easy to look it up right from the address bar by just typing a tag name. That is actually much easier and faster than searching through 100's or 1000's of tabs.

> ... and it also stores history

That's a very good point that I hadn't considered.


I used to do the exact same with Presto Opera, still my favorite browser UI of all time. MDI > tabs. Wish modern browsers would understand that.

"read it later" window, sites for research, Slack in the browser, podcasts or music in the background, etc.

I usually don't close my research tabs until I've completed the task I was working on. Not having to worry about memory means I don't have to worry about finding useful webpages again.


Ok, looks like you all prefer to use the tabs as bookmarks!

If I have too many tabs open, I just bookmark and tag the site I still may want to want peruse later, and close the tab.


Inbox, rather than bookmarks. Bookmarks suggest repeated visits; an open tab is something to be visited at least once, but not known to be worth keeping a link to.

Open tabs = bookmarks for unread stuff, basically. Once I’m done, optionally bookmark it if necessary and close the tab.

The problem with bookmarks is my list of bookmarks eventually grows even larger than my open tabs, far larger, and stuff just gets lost in there. Once out of site, then out of mind. Leaving it open in a tab I’m more likely to go back and read it when I have time.


Bookmarks discard information (history, non-url parameters, parent tab, etc). Often that information is important!

For me it was a read-later queue that I rarely ever used. Now after purging it more often I don't need things like vertical tabs as much.

I can’t imagine getting by with so few. My tab counter extension is currently showing 1053.

It's an easy way to manage things I want to go back to at some point in the future.

Seeing things in context.

Multi tasking (each task can easily have a good number of tasks open)


If people are so concerned about tab performance, why not use the history pane?

I'm using firefox and am currently at over ~20 Tabs (TreestyleTab makes this easy ;), usually I have more) with ~600MB mem usage on a 8GB machine.

I care about the feature but i don't see any reason to switch away from Firefox for it...


What exactly is the thought process behind having so many tabs open? For example, I close tabs when I am done with a site and / or when I can't read the site title on the tabs any more.

What’s the thought process behind closing them? Using tree style tabs I have a forest of tabs. I am working with lots of ‘web apps’ (currently mainly the AWS console) and closing tabs would mean having to go and find the particular resources every time I want to work with them. I probably hit each of around 50 tabs - across two or three windows - an average of 20 times today. Then there were dozens of ephemeral tabs too.

> What’s the thought process behind closing them?

- Why keep a site open when you are done with it?

- Too many tabs and it gets difficult and irritating to find and open the site you want.

- Have never needed to keep many, many sites open in the first place.


Not the person you're replying to, but may as well answer since I also use tree-style tabs similarly.

> - Why keep a site open when you are done with it?

Why assume you're done with it? I have a number of tabs just for Grafana dashboards I'm monitoring. Re-finding the particular configuration from the home page every time would be annoying, bookmarks would require reloading the page (and thus re-running the slow queries that happen on load instead of on data update), etc.

> - Too many tabs and it gets difficult and irritating to find and open the site you want.

That's what tree-style tabs solves. Tabs are a hierarchy, just like bookmarks or folders normally are. It's much easier to navigate.

> - Have never needed to keep many, many sites open in the first place.

I've got email, calendar, a bunch of Grafana tabs, plus a few datasheets, a schematic, Jira, Confluence, and Github.

And that's just for work, for news I tend to open articles in tabs with HN comments in child tabs and then go through & read them in sequence, but I keep work & non-work in different windows.


Another Tree Style Tabs user here, I'm not really satisfied with the other explanations, so: With TST and Auto Tab Discard, tabs have become self-organized bookmarks for me. I simply don't use actual bookmarks anymore, and have open tabs for each site I regularly visit, with subtrees for any stray thought.

I'm up to around 500 tabs across 3 windows. Maybe a dozen root trees. Youtube, Android docs, HN, Reddit, etc, for example. Because opening links in a new tab creates a child tab in the tree, they're automatically well-organized in a way that follows my thoughts, collapsible when I'm done with one for the moment, and rearrangeable if I don't like where they were put in the tree.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tree-style-ta...

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/auto-tab-disc...


> For example, I close tabs when I am done with a site

I also do this, but my definition of done is very flexible and blurry.


I meant, close it immediately or just bookmark, tag and close it for later.

I don't do any bookmarking or tagging, so either it's an open tab or something I can dig up in the history. So I tend to keep tabs open if I think there's a chance I might need to refer to it soonish. Or I just forget them after my focus moves on to something else.

"Bookmark, tag, and close" loses active state and requires a full page refresh. It also loses the history (where it was opened from). Bookmarks are useful, but they're not the same thing as tabs.

My wife leaves all of her tabs open, but it's not for any specific reason. If she opens a new tab and goes to a website, the browser will just switch to the tab that's already on that website instead of fetching the website again.

> ... the browser will just switch to the tab that's already on that website ...

Which browser?


Firefox has that feature (configurable).

Safari does this

For some they're something that I check daily so I just focus then refresh, and for some I keep them open thinking it's something I am going to revisit and read some day.

It's one of the biggest practical differences between browsers that can completely cripple the experience. Why wouldn't it matter?

OP here on this comment chain.

I'm a front end and back end developer that uses multiple libraries and tech stacks and need to find answers to stuff immediately. I leave them open as a resource while I'm working, which may be on multiple things at once. In addition, I have mail, messaging, music, and other work-related things open in the browser.

It's really one of the only features that matters.


I'm surprised you're having issues with RAM. I had 1050 opened tabs in firefox nightly and my x201 (1st gen i5) has only 8GB and only 50% of it was used on average by ffx.

I'm not sure tab count is really a viable metric here. You'd think there'd be a strong correlation, but...

On one Windows PC, I keep 2-3 tabs constantly open (may as well pin them tbh), and open/close others as needed. Average tab footprint is probably 3-8 tabs. Average RAM footprint is 1700MB. I have different tab footprints on different machines, of all sorts of different hardware and OS combinations; let's say the general tab footprint is 5-30 tabs, and general memory footprint is 800MB-3GB.

On the other hand, one user here reported a few thousand tabs at ~500MB RSS.

Obviously factors like assets and JavaScript affect RAM consumption, but a lot of these heavy tab users have to be running a good number of web apps. There must be something else at play.


Depends on the tabs. I can get the Slack tab to eat over 6GB of memory if I just let it sit there without periodically reloading the tab... auto-reload extensions FTW.

Sure some web apps will naturally consume immense amout of ram. My tabs were not heavy apps, but diverse usual web pages github, hn, reddit, youtube, pubmed, wikipedia, pdfs etc

In this case it's a relatively simple live leak.

I would shift to Vivaldi too, if they gave up their dependence on Google.

Frankly I don’t get what the complaints about RAM usage are all about. With video, high res images, megabytes of javascript and 30 tabs open, modern browsing simply takes a lot of resources. I rather have the browser use a lot of cache than having to reload shit constantly.

> Frankly I don’t get what the complaints about RAM usage are all about.

Sure, let me just go download some more RAM. It's not like it's a finite resource in my machine or anything.


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