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Firefox lost 50M users since 2019 (firefox.com)
377 points by freediver 58 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 598 comments



I have contacted local authorities twice about anti competitive behavior from Chrome.

If two - three other Norwegians do the same that should start to look like an earthquake ;-)

Same if ten - twenty Germans or Brits or French do the same.

I would mention:

1. that some of their web properties (calendar and YouTube) have been intentionally incompatible with Firefox as evidenced by how well they work in Firefox if one changes how the browser identify itself.

2. How they have pushed Chrome as a "better browser" on the front page of Google (were no one else have been allowed to advertise) to Firefox users since way before Chrome was anywere nearly as good as Firefox, making it both a lie and - more importantly - a massive abuse of dominance in one market to gain monopoly in another just like Microsoft did with IE.

As we saw yesterday with AWS authorities are willing to punish rampant abuse if they have a good case and this definitely is one.

Edit: since this comment is getting a lot of attention the relevant authority in Norway is Konkurransetilsynet with web address https://konkurransetilsynet.no

(Finding the exact correct form on that site and for this purpose seems to be an art and/or science it seems but if you can't find any just submit somewhere and explain the situation.)

It would be beautiful if everyone could post underneath with the address to the equivalent office in your jurisdiction.


My child's school uses Google Classroom. The Google experience is unusable in Firefox. Meet doesn't work (e.g. he sees nothing when the teacher screenshares). This seems really quite anti-competitive.

My child cares about privacy and switches browsers. Chrome for Meet, Firefox for most non-Google things.


I was having crazy issues in GDrive and GDocs where I could download nothing using FF - no PDFs, no .docx files, none of my other backed-up files, you'd click download and nothing would happen. Do the same in Chrome, Edge, Safari, Opera, even changing my user-agent to Chrome, and it works flawlessly.

My solution to this problem was move everything off GDrive and into self-hosted options. If Google is going to intentionally hinder usage on non-Google software when no real technical roadblocks exist, I'll gladly use literally anything else.


Do you block third-party cookies? It prevents Drive downloads in any browser with that setting, Chrom{e,ium} included. Recently I saw Drive give a suggestion about this, but a year ago when I was testing third-party cookie blocking in Chromium it took me a day or two before I figured out the connection.


"even changing my user-agent to Chrome, and it works flawlessly." implies that blocking third-party cookies is not the culprit.


I experience the same. Can't really use YouTube, can't download files from gdrive. Google was the best thing that could happen to search engines. Chrome was a godsend. Now they are what Microsoft was two decades ago (Microsoft is still full of shit, but now they are not alone).


What self-hosted option did you pick just out of curiosity? Looking to do the same thing.


As another commenter mentioned, TrueNAS is my go-to for general storage and phone/PC/Mac backups; it's dead simple to setup and is extremely capable, not to mention it'll run on just about anything (barring the ZFS cache RAM requirements...). Personally, I keep a 'master' home folder on there that gets auto-mounted in whatever OS I boot into; this way I never have to go hunting around the NAS for files, for instance I just have a single "Documents" folder that effectively 'syncs' across my Mac, *nix, and Windows. I use CX File Explorer on Android to access the NAS, add a WireGuard VPN (which there's a great plugin for on TrueNAS) and you've got access to your files anywhere.

GDrive I was able to replace more or less with LibreOffice and Collabora, I rarely need to share documents outside PDF or print, which makes compatibility a non-issue for me (and even when I need to, saving as a .doc usually maintains layouts, fonts, etc.).


Nextcloud is pretty great. I use it for file storage/sharing, contacts, calendar, and notes. There is a way to run a GDocs clone on it as well but I have no need for an office suite.


FreeNAS is solid.


Meet absolutely works in Firefox, there's nothing anti-competitive going on. As do Google products generally (though there are occasionally performance issues where Firefox simply doesn't provide an API that Chrome does and the polyfill is slower, but then Firefox catches up).

But try disabling browser extensions and see if that fixes it -- a majority of the time that's the culprit. With videoconferencing specifically, it's often an extension or setting to block videos from autoplaying.


We know from multiple accounts from multiple Firefox engineers that Google engineers repeatedly expressed good faith in working together with the Firefox team to get performance parity on major sites like YouTube. We also know that they repeatedly violated this good faith agreement and when confronted could only exclaim, "Oops! Our bad." [1]

This isn't new territory for Google. They did the same thing to Windows Phone, simply excluding any of their products from working on Windows Phone, even when other developers tried to step in and fill the gap. [2]

[1] https://www.zdnet.com/article/former-mozilla-exec-google-has...

[2] https://www.google.com/amp/s/techcrunch.com/2013/01/02/micro...


Here is one long standing issue with many related compat links attached: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=975444

and two other webcompat examples: https://webcompat.com/issues/56933 https://webcompat.com/issues/68844

Just to give an idea. That said, Meet works fine for me, besides some features, like background, which they have only implemented for Chromium based browsers (maybe Safari!?) - that is a bit annoying, as I doubt that it would break the devs leg to implement something for Firefox as well.


It stopped working about two weeks ago or so. No video or screen share, only audio works


Tried it literally just now to check, it works fine on my Mac.

And there are no widespread reports of it not working on Firefox, so it's something specific to your machine. Not a general case.


> But try disabling browser extensions and see if that fixes it

Isn’t this the problem? Why do I have to disable something in Firefox to make it work for a google product.


Huh? Because you installed third-party software that interferes with Google's code.

It's not a Firefox problem, it's extensions you chose to install that neither Firefox nor Google have anything to do with.


Something is wrong with their system then. I use Meet in Firefox and it works. Sometimes it's buggy but I can always get it to work.


I had to switch to Chrome because my employer is a Google shop. Meet screenshare never worked in Firefox and would always get stuck on the first frame.


> Sometimes it's buggy

For a work tool, this is a problem. I get reports of fuzzy microphones, audio that slowly descends into robotic noise and screenshares that don't in Firefox. So I switch to Chrome for Meet in work, it just looks bad if my meetings don't work like 10% or more of the time.

I'm sure this is a problem with Google more than Firefox, given I have none of the same issues with discord in firefox on my personal devices


I frequently have to refresh Meet to get it working on Firefox. Not in Chrome.


i have frequently needed to do this on Chrome Pixelbook, so it might just be that Meet is generally buggy.


You can improve the situation somewhat by using bromite/ungoogled-chromium instead of chrome, for the purposes when Firefox doesn't work.


They just check against identifier. It even claim google chrome is a better solution on the new Edge browser (which is basically a ms'styled google chrome).

Doing that is so absurd in my opinion.


Huh, just an anecdote, but Meet runs perfectly fine on FF for me at work. Only issue is I can't blur my background unless I'm on Chrome.


Unless Meet and other Google apps are really tailored to subperform under firefox I don't think it's a solid case.

If google devs code doesn't run as fast in firefox why should google take the blame ?

or maybe google is using non html5 apis to tap into chrome for faster perf in which case things are muddy.. since whatwg kinda allows unofficial apis


Some of the problems come from codec licensing issues (which have a major competition hindering effect since over a decade? by now).

But things come also from Google (and Microsoft, they seem to use the same logic) implementing some logic but based on "how the web standard" works but by "how it happens to work on chrome", this leads to frequent issues with selected input devices and screen sharing.

And fixing it is easy, probably way less then 10h of work one single time. (As far as I know.)

Similar the codec issues only matter if certain slow devices are involved, e.g. non high end phones, high end phones in energy saving mode, old tablets. If no such device is involved it's not rare that the conference will anyway use different codecs. So they could support FF for many conference calls, but instead they decide to reflect to even try to work on FF (which is a web no-go btw.).

So there are "reasons", but it's clear that's they intend to not support FF at all.

Btw. Microsoft is the worst here as they reject to work with FF even for things which do not have any reason to have problems on FF.


> If google devs code doesn't run as fast in firefox why should google take the blame ?

And yet, I get flak if my code isn't performing well on 5 different browsers, including IE6.


Obviously, a private company can do what they want and they shouldn't be forced to make their code run on other platforms.


No, IMHO they should be forced to comply with web standard and at least try to work with browsers they don't support first class. (Microsoft simply doesn't allow you to open any of their web apps, weather it's for teams or some of their other apps.)

Especially if it involves quasi monopolies.

I.e. the it's a quasi Monopoly of chrome like browsers spear headed by Google and Microsoft.


> No, IMHO they should be forced to comply with web standard

The problem is that they ram whatever internal Chrome APIs they want through standards bodies and call it a standard.

Others just can't keep up: https://web-confluence.appspot.com/#!/confluence


Maybe I should have called it "industry web standards" to explicitly exclude "google forced web standard"?


I agree, I should've made clearer I was being sarcastic. The quasi-monopoly thing is often ignored when it comes to Big Tech silencing voices.


Microsoft got in trouble for less than this in the EU and had to start offering firefox as an option on standard installs.

E: Just saw the /s in parent's grandchild.


I believe Chrome also has better support for new technologies/APIs thus the reason firefox doesn't work that well. But as others said that's not always the case.


We use Google Meet at work, and I use Firefox.

The "Change background" feature was not "supported" in Firefox, then suddenly I could use it so I thought they finally implemented it for Firefox as it was working perfectly.

Two days later the feature disappeared, and I keep getting that "your browser doesn't support this feature" popup since.


That sucks, but take the time to imagine what might be going on on the other side.

There's a dev running an experiment to whitelist more combinations of the huge space of (Device, CPU, GPU, OS, OSVersion, Browser, BrowserVersion) to use that feature. What would you do after seeing that the metrics show that most of the users on your experiment had a bad experience? In that case you'd want to rollback your experiment right away and figure out what's wrong. You really expected all, if not most of the combinations you selected to actually work well, but it's apparently not the case.


yeah I'm over fetching indeed :') A/B testing sucks, they should've let me know it was an experiment, I had high hopes


Yeah, there's definitely room for improvement there, but I feel that it'd only target more advanced users.

I'd like that you could opt-in into being aware of the experiments you are running, and be allowed to opt-out early of experiments when they don't work, or sign-up to run them permanently (as long as they are actually running) if they work great.

Although, letting users know about the experiments might also ruins some experiments as users could start assuming that the experiment really changes things. I imagine you can easily run a dummy experiment and have people talk about how much faster/slower their browser runs with it.


> anti competitive behavior

Have some examples? On Desktop, I don't see any, but I would get if you mean Mobile since Chrome is still the default browser there for Android.


Google sheets used to be broken `BASED ON USER AGENT`.

https://support.google.com/docs/thread/18235069/google-sheet...

After i found that spoof browser agent fixed it. They locked the thread coincidentally and the bug is also fixed coincidentally a few days after.

I don't know if it is really a coincident, but I definitely have 0 trust of them after it.


It's common to work around browser bugs like this.

I wouldn't blame some possible hack a tired dev implemented on a busy Thursday on a grand scheme to strip you of your freedom - in the end it's just people working there. Especially seeing that the bug was fixed after someone complained/made them aware.


If you are Google, a multi billion company, pushing your own browser with a marketing budget in the hundreds of millions range (seriously, this was important to them, the only ad important enough to reach the front page of Google AFAIK)

- then you better make sure you make it work everwhere instead of this constant "ooops"-thing that shows that Google doesn't even do the smallest amount of testing in Firefox, or they do it deliberately.


If you can save a million or two in salaries for testers for all Docs products, for software that in most cases just works as well as in Chrome, why waste the money? Google is a company.

Automated tests can help with this, but you also need to maintain and write those in the first place.

Just trying to follow the thought process as an economist. It's likely hard to justify, especially with admins being quick at noticing these things and employees on docs products usually being receptive on bug trackers since it is a business offering.


This thread from a former Mozilla exec: https://twitter.com/johnath/status/1116871231792455686?s=20


Very instructive, thanks for sharing.


Have you used Firefox with Google Docs Calendar or YouTube over the last ten years?

(Multiple more examples exist for those willing to dig: at one point the search results page would peg one processor core briefly every 30 seconds as long as you stayed on that page - and used Firefox)

Edit: and as you mention, the situation with Chrome on mobile is basically a 1-1 of IE on Windows.


I never have any problems with YouTube; it works well for me. What problems are there? I use Google Docs only sporadically (mostly to read .doc(x) files sent to me), and it's kinda slow, but that's not necessarily Google's fault. Slack is (was? Haven't used it in year) unusably slow on Firefox too, and don't get me started on the "new" Reddit that couldn't even scroll right last time I tried it.


Not OP, but I have. I'm currently typing this answer on Firefox, have been using google Docs, Calendar and Youtube for years, never had major problems.

(Of course this is all anecdotal.)


Even if just mobile I'm still not sure how they get away with it. They have 71% of the global mobile marketshare, my phone came preinstalled with chrome, I cannot remove it, only disable it.

How is that any different at all to what Microsoft was doing with IE in the 90's?


Youtube on iOS is deliberately changed in a way that it breaks playing video/audio in the background. iOS is capable of that by default with HTML5, but Youtube sells background play as a paid feature.


I remember when gmail outright crippled itself when I used it some 5 years ago. I also remember other Google services disabling some features only on Firefox.


Google Ads is practically unusable with Firefox


Feature, not a bug.


>If two - three other Norwegians do the same that should start to look like an earthquake ;-)

That 5 people wrote to them?


Yes. It is my sincere belief that very few people notice && care enough to figure out who to contact, how to contact them and actually do it.


I agree about that.

The fact that "but if 5 (or 10 or 50) people wrote them it would have an impact" I'm sceptical about.

99.9999% it would just be ignored. Campaigns with 100s of thousands of people are ignored all the time...


Thanks for explaining!

As I mentioned avove I think now is a particularly good time!


Yeah, most people seem to waste their time contacting the BBB, instead of their State AG with complaints against businesses.

You can get a lot more done complaining to the right places.


To be fair Google's products are not great as they were. GDrive sometimes does not work at Chromium. You can't disable 3rd party to download cookies. Console is a pile of errors. UX is not consistent. And new services don't integrate properly even with Google services.


> How they have pushed Chrome as a "better browser" on the front page of Google (were no one else have been allowed to advertise) to Firefox users since way before Chrome was anywere nearly as good as Firefox, making it both a lie and - more importantly - a massive abuse of dominance in one market to gain monopoly in another just like Microsoft did with IE.

Microsoft’s primary offense was illegally tying Internet Explorer and Windows. They refused to sell the two products separately, and instead required OEMs to buy the bundle. Windows was the product everyone wanted, and Microsoft abused its dominance in operating systems to increase its share of the browser market by refusing to sell you Windows unless you also took Internet Explorer.

By contrast, Google does not condition the use of Search on the use of Chrome. There’s nothing wrong with promoting a product to customers who use one of your other products (or we’d have to break up pretty much every multi-product company).


>Microsoft’s primary offense was illegally tying Internet Explorer and Windows. They refused to sell the two products separately, and instead required OEMs to buy the bundle.

Nope. That's what some people complained about, but it wasn't their legal issue (which is why today every OS vendor still does it).

The actual complaint, which is pasted below, shows it in much greater nuance, as it wasn't that they "required OEMs to buy the bundle" (in fact, there wasn't any buying, IE was free part of Windows).


> > Microsoft’s primary offense was illegally tying Internet Explorer and Windows. They refused to sell the two products separately, and instead required OEMs to buy the bundle.

> Nope.

Yes, it was.

> That's what some people complained about, but it wasn't their legal issue (which is why today every OS vendor still does it).

No, every OS vendor doesn't do illegal tying of a browser to the OS, which involves both the fact of a preexisting monopoly OS to which the tying occurs (that's essential to the illegality, since its an illegal method of leveraging one monopoly to another market), and the kind of business methods used to enforce the tying.


No, Microsoft's primary offense was making non-Microsoft tools awkward. Windows without IE was awkward. Windows wasn't done until it gave odd error messages on DR DOS. Borland always seemed to have incomplete documentation, late. Etc.

Google works poorly enough on non-Chrome browsers that it's the same thing.


You are welcome to read the complaint. I've pulled out some choice paragraphs:

5. To protect its valuable Windows monopoly against such potential competitive threats, and to extend its operating system monopoly into other software markets, Microsoft has engaged in a series of anticompetitive activities. Microsoft's conduct includes agreements tying other Microsoft software products to Microsoft's Windows operating system; exclusionary agreements precluding companies from distributing, promoting, buying, or using products of Microsoft's software competitors or potential competitors; and exclusionary agreements restricting the right of companies to provide services or resources to Microsoft's software competitors or potential competitors.

17. But Mr. Gates did not stop at free distribution. Rather, Microsoft purposefully set out to do whatever it took to make sure significant market participants distributed and used Internet Explorer instead of Netscape's browser -- including paying some customers to take IE and using its unique control over Windows to induce others to do so. For example, in seeking the support of Intuit, a significant application software developer, Mr. Gates was blunt, as he reported in a July 1996 internal e-mail:

18. Second, Microsoft unlawfully required PC manufacturers, as a condition of obtaining licenses for the Windows 95 operating system, to agree to license, preinstall, and distribute Internet Explorer on every Windows PC such manufacturers shipped. By virtue of the monopoly position Windows enjoys, it was a commercial necessity for OEMs to preinstall Windows 95 -- and, as a result of Microsoft's illegal tie-in, Internet Explorer -- on virtually all of the PCs they sold. Microsoft thereby unlawfully tied its Internet Explorer software to the Windows 95 version of its monopoly operating system and unlawfully leveraged its operating system monopoly to require PC manufacturers to license and distribute Internet Explorer on every PC those OEMs shipped with Windows.

https://www.justice.gov/atr/complaint-us-v-microsoft-corp


Gosh, these sound just like Android, now that you're quoting it. My Android phone came with Chrome, gmail, Google Maps, uploads my photos to Google, and requires a Google account.

But I think that's beside the point. Microsoft did a lot of anti-competitive things in a lot of markets. Limiting scope to one particular litigation isn't really helpful here. The phrasing, "THE compliant," makes it sound like there wasn't a mountain of complaints. There was.


> Gosh, these sound just like Android, now that you're quoting it.

Android is getting in trouble for it in the EU!

>But I think that's beside the point. Microsoft did a lot of anti-competitive things in a lot of markets. Limiting scope to one particular litigation isn't really helpful here. The phrasing, "THE compliant," makes it sound like there wasn't a mountain of complaints. There was.

This thread was about their legal issues with IE. People complain about a lot of things, but that doesn't make them illegal.


> This thread was about their legal issues with IE.

Perhaps. I view threads more like human conversations.

> People complain about a lot of things, but that doesn't make them illegal.

Microsoft did a lot of illegal things in the nineties, which many people complained about. Some were litigated, most were not. Lack of litigation doesn't make it legal.

Google seems to be doing a few illegal things right now, although not nearly as many as nineties-era Microsoft.


Microsoft's crime was doing it in the 90s. What Apple has done with iOS and OSX takes Microsoft's bundling, third-party lockout and lack of consumer choice to an exponential level, and it's celebrated as a feature now. iOS literally disallows any other browser technology from running, requiring them all to use less-featured versions of the first party tool. Microsoft must be jealous seeing them get away with that.


Microsoft's crime was doing this in the 90s when they had nearly complete control of the desktop market and there were few alternatives for getting on the internet. This was a monopoly.

Apple has about half the mobile market share in the US, and about a quarter globally. There are plenty of alternative ways to get on the internet. This is not a monopoly.

You can't just look at bundling the browser with the OS in isolation. The circumstances are significantly different.


And that's why I regard anti-trust laws as inconsistently applied cudgels and not as legal gospel. If tying (assuming there's a consistent definition of the word) is such a bad idea to begin with why does it matter whether it's done by a company at 90% or 10% of market? Equality under the law should be the measure.


> If tying (assuming there's a consistent definition the word) is such a bad idea to begin with why does it matter whether it's done by a company at 90% or 10% of market? Equality under the law should be the measure.

There is nothing inherently wrong with tying, which you might also call "bundling." Quoting from the FTC's website:

Offering products together as part of a package can benefit consumers who like the convenience of buying several items at the same time. Offering products together can also reduce the manufacturer's costs for packaging, shipping, and promoting the products. Of course, some consumers might prefer to buy products separately, and when they are offered only as part of a package, it can be more difficult for consumers to buy only what they want.

For competitive purposes, a monopolist may use forced buying, or "tie-in" sales, to gain sales in other markets where it is not dominant and to make it more difficult for rivals in those markets to obtain sales. This may limit consumer choice for buyers wanting to purchase one ("tying") product by forcing them to also buy a second ("tied") product as well. Typically, the "tied" product may be a less desirable one that the buyer might not purchase unless required to do so, or may prefer to get from a different seller. If the seller offering the tied products has sufficient market power in the "tying" product, these arrangements can violate the antitrust laws.

https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/guide-a...


Like how Apple bundled iTunes and forced streaming competitors onto uneven playing fields with the 30% tax to dominate online music sales, bundled the App Store and banned competing stores to ensure no competition, bundled Safari and banned competing tech, bundled Podcasts to help outcompete others in an area they want more growth, etc

It's only anti-trust when companies people don't like do it.


The difference is that Apple is selling hardware with software as a single product and has done so consistently, while Microsoft attempted to exclude a new competitor by colluding with OEMs and imposing exclusionary agreements on partners as a condition of buying Windows, a product that had a dominant share in its market. If Microsoft had always included Internet Explorer in Windows and hadn't tried to later tie them together in order to crush Netscape then the outcome may have been different. Instead, Microsoft basically said "distribute our new product or we won't let you distribute Windows" and you just can't do that when Windows is dominant.

The Justice Department's complaint is an eye-opening view into what Microsoft's misconduct was: https://www.justice.gov/atr/complaint-us-v-microsoft-corp


Not trying to defend Microsoft’s behavior here by any means but the justice department clearly lost the case. The original favorable ruling splitting up Microsoft was conclusively rejected by the court of appeals on almost all points. The general consensus of the academic commentary on the case I have seen( not universal by any means) is that asserting that Windows is itself a monopoly is problematic; mainly due to the lack of evidence that demand for windows is not influenced by pricing.


How do you know this is because of Chrome in the first place? Another explanation is that it could be Edge or even users moving to use mobile (browsers) more?

Genuinely curious where the market share and total number of users in the market (broken down) has shifted.


It may also not exclusively be anticompetitive behavior from Chrome, but just Mozilla's stewardship of Firefox. They constantly manage to generate shitstorms around updates (how does this never happen with Chrome?) and then the plain disregard/making fun of user feedback [1] is just a kick in the teeth. For me at least, that's in large part why I moved to Chrome.

[1]: https://web.archive.org/web/20200731211652/https://twitter.c...



Thanks for linking.

For a "light hearted joke", that is a lot of effort, extremely unprofessional and very poorly worded. I still don't blame people for taking issue with it. The harrassment though is another story, that sucks and shouldn't have happened.


> The harrassment though is another story, that sucks and shouldn't have happened.

100%

> extremely unprofessional and very poorly worded. I still don't blame people for taking issue with it.

Look, I like the Android browser and I think Geckoview is awesome. Back then, as soon as it hit the shelves enough people were complaining on a level where one can "light heartily" put them into the "haters" category IMHO, next to a much higher percentage of constructive feedback.


It does happen with Chrome. See the whole ublock origin debacle. I guess it doesn't impact end users as greatly or maybe Firefox users are more vocal about changes?

Also: yikes on that link. I would feel disillusioned if my feedback was responded to in that manner. Sometimes empathy can get you so much further.


Whats that debacle about? I'm using latest Chrome and am still using uBlock origin.


https://www.techradar.com/news/popular-chrome-ad-blockers-co...

If I recall correctly they backtracked, but it was a big deal for awhile.


Mozilla is killing firefox by introducing hostile behaviour, breaking user expectations, not delivering on promises and ignoring voices of MANY users.

I used to be firefox user since Phoenix, but I gave up on it after 89 when context menus were broken, megabar was still as shitty as when introduced first tie, and new stupid mobile look on my 4k screen? It's almost like they are killing firefox on purpose, but I realised that loyalty to a software product is stupid and moved to Brave.

Why do you care about Firefox and not Safari or Samsung browser?


thanks for the info. Will also report this issue to the authorities.

I love keyboard driven browsers and had also some issues with nyxt and qutebrowser. I want to avoid installing chromium on my linux box and I just can't.

Recommending others also to report it.

If some googlers are reading this, please push the chrome team to be more interoperable. "Don't be evil!" :-)


> If some googlers are reading this, please push the chrome team to be more interoperable. "Don't be evil!" :-)

Second this.

I want to like Google and did for the longest time.

You do so much great stuff but some stuff like this is so damaging for both the ecosystem and for you, because as long as this is going on my best hope is a giant fine.


First world problems


Are problems of the first world a priori invalid because they are of the first world? What makes you think that non-first world people also don’t care about these things. Even the concept of first world seems a little data anymore. Between urbanization and the internet a lot of those categories have blurred in the last few decades.


How can you 'lie' about an opinion like 'better'?


I've been using Firefox daily for over 15 years now.

My experience with Firefox over the last 2-3 years in particular leaves me very disappointed and frustrated.

The constant nonsense UI redesigns that come about with every new update. The instability, and ridiculous resources consumption. The slowness and slugishness.

I want a browser that works, respects my privacy, stays out of my way and lets me get shit done. A browser built for professionals, by professionals. I want a consistent UI that remains stable over time. I'm easily willing to pay for such a browser.

Firefox used to be it, but I no longer feel like it is. Any suggestions for what to try next?


Just to give a contrasting data point: I always see people complaining about resource consumption in Firefox in these threads, but I have honestly almost never had trouble like this and I use it for hours every day with lots of tabs and lots of rich media websites open. It happened more in the past (maybe 5+ years ago), but I am sure some of the blame in those cases would have been down to Flash. Now that I think more about it, that whole time I've also blocked ads, which surely helps too.


A friend of mine has over 4,000 tabs open in Firefox at the moment - they just never close a tab, ever. Their Firefox' memory usage is only a little higher compared to mine with 3 open tabs.


I used to have 1200 tabs open but I noticed more lag around above 800. That said my computer are far from last gen and I wouldn't blame mozilla for not supporting 1000+ tab hoarders anyway. But yeah firefox is not bloated even when abused.

that said I despised the UI redesigns and the recent FTP kill.. I want a broswer, not a fashion magazine


The most disappointing part of the redesign to me was that they actually REMOVED icons from menu items. It is harder to find what I'm looking for.


can you explain what the value is of having that many tabs open? i hear people do this but never understood it. what's the point?


There's no point. It's just a blend of laziness / hoarding / fomo


There is no value to it, this is what happens when you don't know what bookmarks are for.


Honestly I simply need an autotagger. I tried doing one a few time but never finished.


I wonder how many of those are actually “open” - disconnect the internet and try looking at them. I suspect many just are the URL and nothing more and on view it reloads.


Yes, Firefox unloads old unused tabs.


So bookmarks but less organized and more risk of losing them all at any given moment. Suddenly I don't feel so bad about discovering the ":D" easter egg in mobile chrome.


This is just a blatant lie. Come on, man!


Nope, it's possible, as long as most of the tabs stay around inactive. (Sadly it doesn't handle too many tabs becoming loaded very well, so if you hit the limit it usually ends with something crashing...)


I can believe it. I have over 2,000 tabs open over the last year. Before the last "clean up", I had 4,000 tabs open. As GP noted, most of them are unloaded (I would say around 3/4). I have 32GB RAM, so firefox issues are a distant memory. (pun intended)


2650 tabs open right now. I'm sure I had more open in the past. No major performance impact. If I click on the "List all tabs" button it takes a second to render the list. The PC is 5 years old, not even close being state of the art.


This might not be the fault of Firefox. The problem is that Chrome is the most used browser even amongst web-devs, so you tend to profile/benchmark your site in that browser and optimize for it.


In my experience, Firefox uses a lot more memory on Windows than on Linux. It feels faster on Linux, too. The reasons might rather complex, though.


Try using Firefox on the world's most popular streaming site Twitch.Tv and report back, let it sit there for a while and try for example use multiple streams to check different perspectives. It slows down to a halt.

Also I can't for example leave Firefox alive while playong some games or it starts to create stutter in the games.

I tried profiling but the Firefox profiler just hangs all the time or uses so many resources it becomes unstable ironically


Sounds like Twitch is allocating resources and not releasing them.


The constant nonsense UI redesigns that come about with every new update.

Ive been using Firefox since it was called Phoenix, and this is my biggest complaint. Stop hiding menu options, my monitor is bigger and you're suddenly trying to save real estate.

The only reason Firefox got as popular as it did is because technical people liked it, and they encouraged their non technical friends to use it. If you're going to dumb it down then technically inclined users will not feel as pationately about it.

I was personally responsible for hundreds, maybe thousands of people switching from ie to Firefox when I worked at the help desk of a small ISP. I don't think I would do the same now. It's still my main browser, but it feels like an abusive relationship.


> The slowness and slugishness.

Mozilla has a nice tool to help identify sources of "slowness and slugishness"[1], you may want to give it a try -- oftentimes it's found that the issue is not Firefox itself, but some extensions, external processes, or undesirable modifications in `about:config`.

---

[1] https://profiler.firefox.com/


That is indeed a powerful tool that gives you the god view of everything what could happened.(Which normal web devtools definitely can't) However, it is also sometimes really hard to interpret the results. There are so many data there, some of them comes from Firefox internal, some of them comes from 3rd extension. Something in different thread actually chains together, but the ui does not show. I think it need some improvements to help the user reading the results.


If you suspect the issue is with Firefox, you can open an issue with the profiling data attached, Firefox devs know how to interpret the data.


This is also way it is powerful. It used to be impossible for Mozilla to inspect the bug if they can't reproduce it themselves and consistently. But with the new profiler, you can screenshot the moments it bugs out either on reporter's computer or dev's. Makes the bug you used to be impossible to debug possible to debug.


I've been a Firefox user for at least 15 years as well, and the recent UI updates in v89 is the first instance of me refusing to update Firefox.

I updated my user prefs file to permanently disable updates, so I'm remaining on pre-ProtonUI v88. Of course, I don't know how much longer I could sustain that because I'd also not receive security patches, but in the short term it's what I'm doing.

The new Firefox UI is incredibly frustrating, and feels like it walks back sensible UI principles. Removing icons in the main menu was celebrated as "de-cluttering" [0], when in reality icons improve ease of use. The "floating" tabs feel more distracting [1], when they claim the opposite. Heck, even user prompts no longer colorize the "primary action" button [2].

Also, what's with modern UIs becoming increasingly childish and watered down? The word I'd use to describe the new proton UI is "blurry".

[0] https://www.mozilla.org/media/img/firefox/releasenotes/note-... [1] https://www.mozilla.org/media/img/firefox/releasenotes/note-... [2] https://www.mozilla.org/media/img/firefox/releasenotes/note-...


https://github.com/black7375/Firefox-UI-Fix fixes most of the frustrating bits of Proton you describe.

It's arguably not the same as a sensible out-of-the box design, but far better than sticking to old versions just because of the UI.


I didn't care much for these entire UI revamps as I felt they were far too complex, so I wrote a much simpler one: https://github.com/arp242/MartinFox

2174 lines of CSS vs. 53 lines :-)

I don't overly care how every pixel looks or what the icon is and such; I just want my tabs to have some contrast.


Not updating a web browser is a fantastic way to make your computer very insecure. I understand the desire to keep things the same but personally I would value security above that.


Some people prefer less clutter. You can’t satisfy everyone.


I have a theory why people have dissenting views on the performance of Firefox. I have a laptop dedicated to doing business online. Firefox has no addons on that machine. Some websites are painfully slow and my laptop fans kick on. I have debugged these issues and in every case it was javascript bogging down the CPU's, all 8 cores! gaming laptop I am not a web developer, so it is perhaps unfair for me to pick on the quality of the javascript.

Disable javascript and well... the site isn't usable any more for business transactions, but the slowness and CPU load vanishes. The website becomes snappy, highly responsive and easy to browse. The fans spin down and memory usage goes way down.

I've never used Chrome. Does chrome not ever get bogged down by javascript? Do they have a different javascript library/engine? I assume they must. Can you change the javascript libraries used by Firefox and Chrome? Apologies in advance if this is a dumb question.


> Does chrome not ever get bogged down by javascript?

Yes. This is pretty subjective as a user, but I'd classify Chrome as slightly better here. They're close enough that it doesn't usually matter unless you're playing JS based games or have a potato for a computer.

> Do they have a different javascript library/engine?

Yes, Chrome uses V8, Firefox uses SpiderMonkey

> Can you change the javascript libraries used by Firefox and Chrome?

No, not easily. It's all open source so technically you could with enough effort. But for example Chrome relies on some shared GC code between Blink and V8 [1]; I expect various feature needs like this would make swapping for SpiderMonkey infeasible.

[1] https://v8.dev/blog/high-performance-cpp-gc


Chrome uses V8, which is the same JS engine that Node is built on top of. As the name implies, it’s sort of wicked fast.

IIRC Firefox uses their own engine called Spider Monkey. I don’t know of anything outside of Mozilla which uses it. I have a hard time imagining it being faster than V8, but I actually have no idea — will need to go look at some benchmarks.


There used to be a big difference (in JS engine speed) but it's small recently. Where there is still a difference is in the UI code. Not necessarily operations being slower in Ff, but ordered in such a way to appear slower.

For example, when you press ctrl+n, chrome instantly creates a new window, then spends the next second or so (depending how old your computer is) painting the UI. On Firefox though it seems like nothing is happening for an entire second, and then the window emerges fully painted. So even tho the total time is about the same, FF feels much less responsive due to this design choice.

I also noticed Firefox spent a much longer time (a fraction of a second, but perceptible, and multiply that by thousands of clicks a day) before it would even (apparently, again -- not sure whats going on inside) begin loading a page, which was frustrating.

I verified this was the case in the web inspector's network performance tab (there was an mysterious delay before the first network request).


I've been experiencing delays too but only on the first request. This was due to uBlock Origin initializing. On mobile, this load time adds up really fast as it takes around 5 to 10 seconds for uBlock to load. In the mean time, requests are configured to be delayed. The aggressive Android memory cleaner doesn't help as anytime you close your browser, it reloads again.

All this to say, you might have an add-on delaying network requests to match them against a blacklist, save metadata or whatever the add-on is supposed to be doing.


> Firefox uses their own engine called Spider Monkey. I don’t know of anything outside of Mozilla which uses it.

Some non-Mozilla projects do embed SpiderMonkey, including Bloomberg (since 2001!), MongoDB, CouchDB, and 0 A.D.

https://discourse.mozilla.org/t/survey-where-are-you-embeddi...


My understanding of the current browser landscape is that you've got Firefox; browsers that build upon Google's browser engine (Chrome/Chromium/Edge/Brave/Vivaldi/Opera/etc); and Safari.

There are a number of good options, but very few that don't further cement Google's control over the world's browser-engine code.

(Yes, I know there are some other very minor players that lag behind on features and standards support. I don't think that's what the parent commenter is looking for.)


In terms of "browsers that actually matter", there's just Chrome/chromium at a combined 70% and Safari at a little over 18%. Everything else is a side mention at best and as a browser at least, is basically irrelevant on the world stage. Even if the companies behind them aren't (e.g. Mozilla or Samsung). [1]

They are of course highly relevant for their user bases, but in terms of "browsers that might break the Chrome hegemony through normal competition", there are none. You'd need to pull a Microsoft IE-on-Windows on Google and enact laws that forbid them from loading Chrome as default and only browser on all first and third devices associated with their brand. A few administrations ago, that might have still been a possibility, but it's not going to happen unless the EU does it first, and even then, the US might pull one of those idiotic "how dare the EU punish a US company for outcompeting everyone else" and instead enact reactionary laws that loosen the rules for them instead.

[1] https://gs.statcounter.com/


> You'd need to pull a Microsoft IE-on-Windows on Google

How about actually just making a good, competitive browser instead? Firefox is not failing because of Google's monopoly; it is failing because as a product it is unable to compete and beat Chrome where it matters. If not Mozilla, I am pretty sure somebody else will make such browser (and search engine, and email... ) eventually.


Currently you can't really compete with Google's/Alphabet's market and marketing power. If you get too close, product-wise, they can just throw more money at their own product in your field. It needs political market intervention to make a dent that would count enough for others even getting a theoretical chance of getting one step ahead again. While that might be true in little web standard pieces here and there for Firefox compared to Chrome (and it certainly is vice-versa), the much smaller teams will always play catch up.


Sorry, have you looked at what you need to implement in order to even be a browser that's shit, but at least supports the modern web? Because everyone's answer is "that would be Chromium" right now. There are so many web APIs, no one person, and not even a small team, could "just" make a good, competitive browser.

There is no "just". There is so very much no "just" anywhere near this topic.


Yes, I actually have ;) I am a founder of a browser company. Our team is building a browser from scracth, minus the rendering engine for which we have chosen WebKit. Many of our beta testers have already indicated that our browser (Orion) is same or better than Safari, Chrome or Firefox. Hence, I believe it can be done and we'd welcome more formidable competition from Firefox in order to take on Chrom(e/ium ) clones that took over the web.


I'm the complete opposite. I don't have any problem with firefox. Everything works perfectly.


>The constant nonsense UI redesigns that come about with every new update. The instability, and ridiculous resources consumption. The slowness and slugishness.

>I want a browser that works, respects my privacy, stays out of my way and lets me get shit done. A browser built for professionals, by professionals. I want a consistent UI that remains stable over time. I'm easily willing to pay for such a browser.

>Firefox used to be it, but I no longer feel like it is. Any suggestions for what to try next?

That's my experience as well. I was using FF from v 1.0 back in 2004. Upgrade to Quantum almost gave me a heart attack because it ruined majority of addons and disabled custom themes. Upgrade to "megabar" was a final straw for me. I've spent ~ 3 hours, but finally migrated to Pale Moon ... and it's like I'm back in 2004. Even Noia theme is working again.

FF, in my opinion, went full circle: from being the most functional and the most customizable browser to being the new IE6. There are no redeeming qualities left really.


I used Firefox from launch until about two years ago. I stopped for reasons similar to what you listed.

I’ve really enjoyed Brave as it is just a simple browser that works (and has lots of privacy features).


Firefox has its own funding issues but I don’t trust a browser that exists to support a cryptocurrency.


I trust it because it’s an open source project and I can see what goes in and comes out.

Of course, maybe it won’t work forever, but it works for now.

I’m not a crypto person and don’t use Brave’s crypto features, but I think it’s a more sustainable future than relying on Google’s largess.


> I trust it because it’s an open source project and I can see what goes in and comes out.

That is just the browser part. The code on their servers that actually processes the data the browser collected is closed-source. In general, browser being open or closed source has no correlation with how privacy respecting it is. Chrom{e|ium} and Edge are another examples.

Pragmatically speaking there is only one thing that guarantees privacy and that is browser being zero-telemetry, regardless of if it is open source or not.


What server-side components are you referring to here? From my memory there was very little interesting private code, and I can't think of anything that would process user data that would be private.


To my understanding there is no data sent from my Brave client to any Brave servers. So my data are not stored or used by Brave servers, so I don’t care too much about their source.

Of course, there’s nothing magical about open source that makes it more privacy respecting. It’s just that open source let’s me know what my browser is doing. For example, Chrome is reporting everything I do to Google. It’s possible to know that by looking at the code for Chrome. Brave doesn’t do this and it’s possible to know that by looking at the code for Brave.


> To my understanding there is no data sent from my Brave client to any Brave servers.

That would be wrong. By Brave's own confession, there are 70 requests it sends "home" on startup [1]. Regardless of request payload, each of them contains your PII (IP address at the very least). There is plenty of opportunity for your data to be stored and used (not saying that it is).

If and how is that data actually used, we do not know, because this part is closed-source. When companies that are running advertising-based business models like Brave and Google are in question, this is the most important part users should be concerned with. Only way to settle this would be if the browser actually sent no requests anywhere, like you initially believed to be true. Indeed, a web browser has no business making requests anywhere without my explicit approval!

> It’s possible to know that by looking at the code for Chrome. Brave doesn’t do this and it’s possible to know that by looking at the code for Brave.

Do not want to be harsh but I assume you didn't actually look into the Brave's source code. You could have, but in reality very few actually do. Open-source "tag" on software can give this false sense of security because you rely on someone else to do the hard work and actually look through millions of lines of code.

The only way to actually trust a browser from a privacy standpoint is to check if it is indeed not transmitting any data. Instead of relying on source code, a much easier and foolproof way to check this is to use a network proxy, many are commonly available for all platforms. Then you can believe your own eyes vs marketing.

Disclaimer: I am in the business of creating a privacy respecting, zero-telemetry, browser. This topic is near and dear to my heart. More on this here [2] and here [3]

[1] https://brave.com/popular-browsers-first-run/

[2] https://browser.kagi.com/faq.html#ossprivacy

[3] https://browser.kagi.com/faq.html#privacy


> Do not want to be harsh but I assume you didn't actually look into the Brave's source code.

This is a weird assumption to make on HN. I have. I also didn’t say that viewing source code is the only part of understanding a browser’s security. It’s a useful portion. Network monitors are also good.

I’m not talking about startup telemetry, I mean browsing history and activity. Chrome reports this, Brave doesn’t.

I don’t think Brave is perfect, I just think it’s better than Chrome and Firefox.


Point taken. Since someone from Brave jumped in, I gave my (long) opinion on the topic as a reply to their comment.


I was going to download your browser (from https://browser.kagi.com/), but I realized 1) There is no Windows option, and 2) It requires me to submit a great deal of information via a Google Form before I can download.

Honestly, this is not what I expected from the "privacy respecting, zero-telemetry, browser" that you've been heralding here.

The Google Form alone is far more alarming than Brave's P3A (which is not connected to any Google Account, doesn't feed the data to a third-party, restricts user answers to category/range values, breaks up and temporally offsets delivery of feedback to prevent fingerprinting, etc.).


1) We are not developing for Windows yet, just Mac. Small startup, we have to focus our strengths. And we are slightly more bullish on macOS than Windows.

2) Perhaps you missed that we are in beta. You are opting-in your email in exchange for being invited to become a beta tester. You do not need to do that. And if you do, we are going to use your email only to send you the invite.

And the reason why there are so many questions in the form is that we want to deter as many people as we can, and get only the most determined beta testers. If somebody finds a 10 question form intimidating, their value to us as an active, contributing beta tester is likely to be small.

When we are out of beta you will be able to download the browser without submitting anything, and enjoy a zero-telemetry browser out of the box. Makes sense?


Bullish on macOS? Windows isn't going away anytime soon. My apologies if I am misunderstanding what was meant by "bullish" in this context. It does strike me as odd (given your tone here) that you would be requiring users to submit their email address, and answer [a Google-hosted] questionnaire, in order to use your application. "…we want to deter as many people as we can [from using the browser at this time]" (brackets contain my own words) doesn't seem like a great pitch; why not let everybody test the software, and invite (from within the app) users to share their feedback after a day/week of use?


It is a product management decision. We are in the early beta stage and the product is not polished enough for the broader market.

However we are OK to share it with die-hard fans who actually took the time to complete a non-trivial form, hence invite-only private beta. When we move to public beta, there will be no signup requirement.

> Bullish on macOS?

Yes we believe it is an OS and a platform with a bright future. Personally I enjoy it using a lot as a consumer, and I think it makes for a wonderful host platform for a new browser. Note that we also opted to use the WebKit rendering engine (fastest and most power efficient, at least on macOS) and built the rest of the browser from scratch.


> By Brave's own confession, there are 70 requests it sends "home" on startup…

"Confession" is a curious choice of words. You're correct that Brave issues requests on startup; this is necessary for a secure application. If your browser isn't updating its internal list of suspected-malicious domains and more, it isn't doing "security" properly.

> There is plenty of opportunity for your data to be stored and used (not saying that it is).

To what "data" are you referring? You cited my review of our (Brave) network activity, and that of many other browsers; which data/requests do you find to be worrisome?

A similar review was conducted in 2020 by Trinity College Dublin, which also found Brave to be the "most private" browser tested (even with these startup requests): https://www.scss.tcd.ie/Doug.Leith/pubs/browser_privacy.pdf.

> …each of them [network requests] contains your PII (IP address at the very least).

An IP address is rather unavoidable. But whether or not an IP address constitutes PII is debatable—many users can (and do) share common IP addresses.

That said, we drop the IP address when and where possible. For example, usage requests are routed through a CDN which replaces the user's IP address with their inferred country.

Brave has no interest in trying to remotely monitor anybody's browsing habits; if we did, you (and/or those who actively monitor our project, looking for faults) would see clear signals in our network activity.

Instead, everything we do is designed from the outset to preclude this type of abuse. That's the case with our Privacy-Preserving Product Analytics (https://brave.com/p3a), our Private CDN (https://brave.com/brave-private-cdn/), and more. Brave isn't interested in your personal information; we have built a business model that doesn't rely on the harvesting of user data.

> The only way to actually trust a browser from a privacy standpoint is to check if it is indeed not transmitting any data.

This is a great point. Please review our network requests, and let me know which items give you concern. We're genuinely interested in your feedback.

> Disclaimer: I am in the business of creating a privacy respecting, zero-telemetry, browser. This topic is near and dear to my heart.

I'm curious how your product handles security; do you not maintain a client-side list of suspected-malicious domains (so that you can warn a user who might be stumbling into something harmful), or check for updates to patch zero-day vulnerabilities in the wild, etc.? Both of these (and more) require routine network requests if they are to offer any effective defense for the user.


It looks like we are coming from two different sides of the table. So let's try to agree with this statement:

"A privacy respecting browser has no business sending data on its own anywhere without the user being OK with it first."

This is true by the very definition of what privacy is.

If you want to check for updates - let the user initiate/opt-into automatic updates. If you want to update your malicious domain list (is that useful at all?) - let the user initiate/opt-into it. And so forth.

If you want to make these choices on the behalf of the user, and enable this and other things you do in those 70 requests you do on startup - that is of course fine. But you lose the right to call yourself a privacy-respecting product because Brave client just sent data to Brave servers without user knowing/consenting to it.

> which also found Brave to be the "most private" browser tested

A statement like "Brave is most private of the tested browsers" implies that privacy is somehow an analogue measure between 0 and 1, where Brave is for example 0.6 and Chrome is 0.4 or something.

But privacy is a binary measure, you (company/product) are either respecting privacy of the user or you are not. You can not respect it 'a little'. You look at your friends the same way - one has propensity to leak information and the other one doesn't. There is no category for friends who leak 'a little' information. Either they do or they don't. And frankly being called 'most private' in the company of those browsers is like saying a dog is 'most likely to fly' in the company of an elephant, dinosaur and a rhino. Be cool and be a bird to begin with.

> An IP address is rather unavoidable. But whether or not an IP address constitutes PII is debatable.

Kahm. IP address is rather avoidable - just do not send data without user's consent. It is that simple. We are doing it, so I know.

It is also not that much of a debate whether IP address is PII. It is.

Multiple court rulings such as State vs Reid [1], and Breyer vs Germany [2] as well as California CCPA act of 2018 [3] define IP address to be PII (w/ or w/o caveats) or at least a part of PII.

> That said, we drop the IP address when and where possible.

I never implied otherwise. What I did was to state the fact that Brave client sends data to Brave servers and that we can not tell for sure what is being done with this data because Brave's server code is closed-source.

Is this potentially a concern for the users? Yes. Can it be avoided? Yes - just become zero-telemetry by default. No need for discussion then.

A good relevant example is that Google advertises Chrome as a privacy respecting browser. Do you believe that based on what they say? Why not? Are there ways you could believe this? Yes, if no data ever left Chrome to Google servers without user explicitly allowing it first (by 'allowing it' I do not count accepting Terms&Conditions as those are never read by anyone and do not count as explicit/informed consent in this context).

> do you not maintain a client-side list of suspected-malicious domains

No we do not (could change in the future, in which case it will be opt-in of course). These lists in the current form are arbitrary, this hardly counts as security feature and there is very little chance the user will end up on a malicious website intentionally. Plus browsing the web is the responsibility of the user. The job of the browser is to stay out of your way, not make arbitrary decisions for you.

> check for updates to patch zero-day vulnerabilities in the wild

In Orion, user can check for updates manually or opt-in into automatic updates. So the feature is there. The key is however in "opting-in" because we want to have the right to call Orion a privacy respecting browser.

Orion does not even set a default search engine - otherwise the moment you start typing into address bar you would be leaking information (including IP address) to the search engine provider for suggestions.

To recap, Orion sends zero data to our servers or anywhere else for that matter (unless user first opts-in into it), on the first run, on any run or ever really. We call this "zero-telemetry by default" and we invite Brave to adopt this. Privacy is a serious matter, so let's treat it seriously.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_v._Reid

[2] http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&doc...

[3] https://oag.ca.gov/privacy/ccpa


We are indeed seeing these topics from two very different perspectives. I applaud your efforts; it sounds like you're building a nice project for [power users]. Brave is built for all users, however. As such, asking users to opt-in to security is, IMHO, a bad idea.

> "…you lose the right to call yourself a privacy-respecting product…"

I obviously disagree here. The problem is not _requests_, but rather the nature of the requests. You can certainly choose to not make any requests, but I feel doing so puts your users at considerably higher risk. I'd be curious how consistent you can be with this too; does your operating system and router also issue no requests on their own? Are users supposed to be capable of tracking security threats on those fronts too, as well as locate and install updates?

> "It is also not that much of a debate whether IP address is PII. It is."

It can be. I don't think this is a legal question, but rather an engineering one. You and I both know that this space is complicated by networks, NAT routers, and more.

> "Brave client sends data to Brave servers and that we can not tell for sure what is being done with this data"

What data? I understand that you have limited visibility into the server-side of things, but you can see clearly what data is being sent to Brave's services to begin with. What sorts of concerns do you have with what is being transmitted today?

> [Re: security lists] "Plus browsing the web is the responsibility of the user."

This is where we diverge even more. It sounds as though you're targeting super users who are very technical, and comfortable with monitoring threats, applying patches, etc. That expectation works for niche software, but not for software intended for _all users_. Brave absolutely should protect users from known threats. As we saw this past week, malicious ads on Google's search engine results were sending users to malware sites. Fortunately, we were able to get those URLs added to the SafeBrowsing service, and protect users of Brave, Chrome, Edge, and more.

> "Orion does not even set a default search engine - otherwise the moment you start typing into address bar you would be leaking information (including IP address) to the search engine provider for suggestions."

You don't have to perform live lookups. Brave doesn't send keystrokes for this very reason; users have to opt-in to that. Firefox defers sending keystrokes until 2 characters have been input. Most others just send the keystrokes (or pasted content) behind the scenes—not cool.

> "Privacy is a serious matter, so let's treat it seriously."

Expecting your users to opt-in to basic privacy features suggests privacy takes a backseat, IMHO. But then again, we may be targeting very different demographics with our software. It sounds like you're targeting power users who are okay with elevated risk. We're building Brave for everybody.


> I applaud your efforts; it sounds like you're building a nice project for [power users].

Thank you! If by power users you mean users who want to have their privacy on the web respected, then yes, we are building Orion for them.

> I obviously disagree here. The problem is not _requests_, but rather the nature of the requests.

But the problem _is_ requests, because each request at the very least carries IP, and IP is PII as ruled in multiple court rulings. I respect your decision to disagree with that, but that is the state of things.

> I don't think this is a legal question, but rather an engineering one.

There is no debate with court rulings.

It is also reasonable to assume that each court ruling involving this question involved dozens of engineers on both sides, probably more knowleadagable than you or me in this matter. And each ruling was made after careful consideration of evidence and with a lot at stake.

> It sounds like you're targeting power users who are okay with elevated risk.

I do not think you made a case that there is an elevated risk assigned with choosing to respect user's privacy in a browser. And if there is, and Brave has chosen not to respect user's privacy to include what it perceives as security features, I think you owe your users at least an explanation on your home page about that choice that you made for them.

Brave is a formidable competitor with devoted following and relevant and increasing market share. I enjoy the opportunity to discuss these important issues with you in a public forum.


Relying on google’s rendering engine is worse IMHO. And I think they are going to end having to pivot on funding.


This is so reductive I don't know where to begin, but having worked on Brave I can say that there's a lot more top of mind over there than building a browser to support BAT.


> The instability, and ridiculous resources consumption. The slowness and slugishness.

Is that firefox or Google pulling a Shadow Dom v0 where they use an API only Chrome implements and fall back to software emulation on everything else?


Funny, I’ve used it on and off for 12 years, switching to other browsers when they started doing rapid release since it was noticeably slower than the competition. But since 2017 when the Quantum update came out I’ve completely switched to it because it’s speed became comparable to the competition. I like it even more when they added container tabs so I can switch between accounts easily. Reading this thread is really strange based on my experience. I do agree that Google makes it hard to use their products like Meet or Drive outside of Gmail and Calendar (the only Google products I use).


Between Firefox and Chrome, the performance is almost identical. What is different is the smooth scrolling behaviour: it is far smoother in chrome than in Firefox, and that has a dramatic impact on how performant the browser “feels.” If Firefox tinkered with that a bit, it would be game changing.

(The few times I’ve had perf issues in Firefox were all either addons or sites designed to work only in chrome)


At least we can override UI redesign changes with userChrome.css and userContent.css. I'm sticking with Firefox as long as its problems have workarounds, because the only options left are Chromium and Safari (or forks like Librewolf), and I find its pros still outweigh its cons.


You can override things with userChrome.css and userContent.css for now. Mozilla has made it clear that this will be removed in the future by already putting it behind an additional about:config flag - it is only a matter of time till they are axed once their privacy-disrespecting analytics tell them that "noone uses those features".


> At least we can override UI redesign changes with userChrome.css and userContent.css

Not entirely, unfortunately.


Slowness could come from several different sources. One quick improvement is to use AdBlocker, or even block Javascript if your workflow allows it. This makes browsing extremely fast. Another one is missing support for upcoming and non-standard web technologies, that usually are implemented in Chrome (Blink) first, that leaves Firefox (and other browsers) using slower performing polyfills. As much as I hate the direction Firefox UI is going, there are no decent browser alternatives, especially those who support adblockers at such low lever as Firefox.


I used Firefox since it released. I changed to chrome after they broke all my extensions for the 2 time in five years. Austrailis change is where I dropped. I use edge now and it’s fine, just fine.


Same boat. Used to be a big Firefox fan back in the day but even if it's not bad for me these days it doesn't do anything special. Edge works just as well and feels slightly less cumbersome.


> The constant nonsense UI redesigns that come about with every new update. The instability, and ridiculous resources consumption. The slowness and slugishness.

I think this drives many people off Firefox. I am willing tinker with Firefox's internal CSS to tame some of the UI nonsense, but the rest of people just want a browser to get their work done; not to spend a couple hours every month to get rid of Firefox's new UI overhaul.


Same for me with Chrome on Android. This forced tab grouping is totally killing my workflow.


I switched from chrome to firefox on Android for this reason.

It is behaviour that has earned many recent one star reviews.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.android.ch...


You can still disable this via some chrome://flags tweaking

2 column tabs sadly no more...

Why they think this is better UX is beyond me


Yep, it's still possible but they are disabling these flags one by one.

I don't get it, why they force the grouping instead of making it optional. Without tweaking it's impossible to just open a link in another tab.


I'm starting to see the benefit in it, in that I will use it less and get life time back


> Any suggestions for what to try next?

I'm in the same boat as you -- a Firefox user (and evangelist) from the beforetimes. But Firefox stopped meeting my needs when the revamp occurred.

I haven't really found a modern browser that is acceptable, though, but it's not for lack of looking. In the meantime, I stick with an older release of Waterfox.


If you want to customize your browser (as far as using your own CSS) you can try Vivaldi. I've been using it for years and after the 3.7 update it feels fast and snappy (at least on my computer). It has tons of custom settings around tabs, commands, windows, toolbars, etc.

At least on Linux it gets out of my way quite nicely. Things like easily accessible Profiles help me quite a lot with my workflow.

If you're really strict about privacy there are browsers like ungoogled-chromium, Bromite (Android) and Orion Browser (only on Mac, iOS) which promise 0 telemetry, connections against their services, etc. Brave is nice but has connections against their services (internal addon updates, safe browsing, updates).


If there were someway to sync Vivaldi with an iOS browser, I'd have already switched. I've really been quite impressed with it, and it seems better every time I check, but I get a lot of use about the cross-device features of Firefox/Chrome, and while that's possible on Android, Vivaldi still don't have an iOS version.


I have around 1000 bookmarks and sync does really help. Since Brave has an iOS version I just use that but I hope someday they will release it.


Vivaldi is Chrome underneath.


When things don't work in Firefox I try Edge (Canary) and then Safari. Right now, Edge is about 10% of my web usage but it's growing.


I was in the same boat until a year or so ago. The resource consumption kept getting worse and worse, I’d have to restart Firefox every day.

I really miss Firefox but the memory leaks were just a deal breaker.


I also want a browser that when you start it doesn't let you wait for an update. Got too impatient too often with that.


Firefox 90.0 [1] can now update in the background on Windows.

[1] https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/90.0/releasenotes/


Are you perhaps not using an adblocker and thereby being trapped into wrongly believing that the slowness induced by ad+tracking Javascripts is the fault of Firefox?


Let me give you another datapoint.

My old uni laptop, an Intel T4400 with 4gb RAM.

Both chrome and Firefox have adblock.

Never ran in to a problem with Chrome, despite the wider internet calling it a memory hog.

Firefox struggled after 4/5 tabs, couldn't even playback video on YouTube or Vimeo reliably..

Don't run into these issues on desktop, and the Android version seems somewhat competent. But I've lost a lot of trust in Mozilla the last few years thanks to middle management.

Atleast with Google I know their motives and I'm not locked in to their platform relying on any particular proprietary thing they have.


For what it’s worth and based on a non-trivial sample set this is highly atypical.


Yep. I rarely see Firefox lagging/unresponsive (~15 pinned + 3-4 normal tabs open). In the rare chances that it does, I get an option "This web page is slowing down Firefox" which lets me kill the tab and all is well again.


Poor video playback in one browser might mean that it's not configured to use the hardware decoder. I think performance there should be basically the same for video playback if they're configured the same way.


I am using an adblocker.


It's honestly a pity. Firefox is it perfect but the Internet is becoming worse because of chrome. Google is able to fast track any non standard Web tech and the hordes follow. Soon after, that become the standard. I don't want to cheer for a broken browser, but only Safari is able to stop this madness now.

Also, Firefox on the Desktop is really good and still let's you do so much more than chrome clones. But it suffers specially when using Google websites.


I dont worry. I have seen these cycles with IBM and Microsoft. And they all blow up eventually because the unintended consequences keep increasing.

So Google has got itself locked into that same trajectory for a long time now. "Features" are total bullshit. Its all about making sure every small thing is in the cloud or eventually gets pushed into it.

That vision is as dumb as moving the DNA in every cell in your body into a nearby lake and visiting the lake everytime you want to read 1 bit. With a Google toll booth at the lake entrance. Its doomed to fail.

Just look at the consequences. If you have a webpage on your local hard drive and want to use the browsers javascript to access it to make it look better, the Google Chrome team will come running like well programmed alert robots to call it a security violation and disable api access to your own disk.

This is how empires fall.


IE was essentially a one-trick pony (the browser)

Chrome is being used on the browser (with a mobile footprint Microsoft never had), the desktop (VS Code, Slack, etc), and v8 is driving a substantial part of the web's backend (Node). Even the smaller use case of web scraping is moving towards Puppeteer.


Yeah chrome features stopped being features a long time ago. Why else would they force upgrades to be so persistent yet secretive? Because that's what you have to do when people value the existing feature set over security updates, if they're attached to new features like cookieless tracking.


Chrome is already the standard. Firefox usually works, but more and more often nowadays I encounter a glitchy or poorly performing page, which I switch to Chrome to use properly.

I use Firefox to not be part of the Chrome monopoly, not because it's actually a fundamentally better browser.


Chrome is not better because you witness some pages to render better in Chrome. It is actually the opposite: pages are more and more built for and with Chrome in mind.

And that omnipresence of Chrome allows Google to force their own moves as de facto standards, which is dangerous overall.

Firefox is better because it follows standards and it is open-source and it is not tied to a behemoth like Google.

The authors of pages you see perform better in Chrome are indeed not building for the web but rather building for Chrome.


Especially with the prevalence of sites that "work" in browser but really expect you to download yet-another-Electron-app (i.e. Slack)

Develop for Chrome first, all other browsers second. Why worry if other browsers don't work when the solution is "download our desktop Electron application :)"


I have used Firefox for about a decade now and I can't think of a single page that did not work. I'm not saying it's impossible, but incredibly rare. I'd be more inclined to just give up on the site than install Chrome.


Sony PlayStation’s support pages did not work on Firefox. Texas’s franchise tax payment pages did not work on Firefox. Boy Scout certification pages did not work on Firefox. My kids’ baseball registration pages did not work on Firefox. As a front end dev, it seemed really hard to get things to NOT work on Firefox and still work on Chrome.


Stuff doesn't always completely break -- e.g. Google forcing new Chrome-only web standards on certain sites and making other browsers like Firefox resort to alternatives which can end up being 5x slower [0], or serving a more dated design of google search on FF mobile vs Chrome. I suspect this sort of thing might be enough to make some people switch.

And I have had a few experiences with sites not loading properly in the last few months. Try windy.com for example: on FF 90 with no extensions enabled and tracking protection on 'balanced' I get blue and yellow banding on the map, and the wind gusts graphics fail to load properly. I have reported a few of these instances in the past, but a lot of the time I'd rather just switch to chromium temporarily and continue with what I'm doing.

[0] https://www.cnet.com/tech/services-and-software/mozilla-exec...


Just out of interest I looked at Windy.com on Firefox/Linux and it looks fine? No blue/yellow banding. Wind gusts seem to show up fine. I've also had a look at the other stuff (e.g. waves, clouds, etc) which all seem to work as expected. This is with Firefox 78 LTS. Unless things have regressed in between version 78 to 90, I wonder if there is something else causing your issues?


So it seems like it was caused by FF blocking HTML5 canvas fingerprinting. Enabling that allowed it all to load correctly. I guess I must've hit disallow without thinking when I first visited, and that response was saved even after clearing cache, so that example at least is probably my fault.

I do wonder if every user would be aware that the 'Allow site to extract canvas data?' popup can break site functionality though -- its not as though there's a warning to that effect in browser.


The version of Unit 4 installed at work doesn't work in Firefox unless I open developer console first and disable caching requests.

A hassle but well worth it to avoid touching Chrome ;-)


I haven’t noticed any issues, though I thought there were some that forced me to switch to chrome.

But it turns out the difference was the I was running ublock-origin in Firefox and sometimes that was causing issues for some sites..


Recently YouTube has started just displaying a blank page for me after going through selecting the tracking options.


Apple business manager requires safari or chrome and will not work on Firefox at all.


> I use Firefox to not be part of the Chrome monopoly, not because it's actually a fundamentally better browser.

For me there is - in addition to not wanting to support Chrome - still a few things that Firefox does better.

As for websites that only support Chrome I consider them broken which means I don't use them or if I have to I try to notify the operator.


> I encounter a glitchy or poorly performing page

When you have the time, you should note it here: https://webcompat.com/


That's my experience too. Unfortunately I don't think it's possible for complex standards to be well specified in human language instead of in code so a reference implementation is what will always win in the end.

At least chromium is open source. The best we can hope is maybe that organizations adopting chromium other than Google can wield more influence over it.

As I point out here https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27222818 human language is not precise enough to write good specifications. Natural language words are polysemic and contextual. See the meaning of "break" for example: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/break

Kolmogrov showed that fully specified information distills down to computer programs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolmogorov_complexity, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimum_description_length

The ideal language for a specification might be a mix of natural language and code with a test suit, something like Literate Programming (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literate_programming) or its descendants along with modern pull request based discussions that are tied to version controlled code.

I wish Mozilla or a similar organization adopted the chromium core. We really need a well funded non-profit managed release of the reference browser.


> complex standards to be well specified in human language instead of in code so a reference implementation is what will always win in the end.

> At least chromium is open source.

That source code is 12-15 million lines of code. They implement literally thousands of specs. Chrome adds 40-70 new web APIs [1] with each release which happen roughly once every 40 days and contain god knows how many code changes.

Good luck deducing "precise specs" from that.

> I wish Mozilla or a similar organization adopted the chromium core

That would mean cementing Google's monopoly of the web.

[1] https://web-confluence.appspot.com/#!/confluence


>That source code is 12-15 million lines of code.

Exactly, it's impossible to describe that in human language which doesn't have precise enough semantics. That's why the spec has to be in code, in the form of a reference implementation and/or test suit.

The goal should be to move chromium away from being controlled too much by Google.


> Exactly, it's impossible to describe that in human language which doesn't have precise enough semantics.

On the contrary, this implements specs that are defined in a human language. For example, the full semantics of rendering HTML were standardised with HTML5, and now all browsers render HTML the same way.

The problem isn't the human language. The problem is the sheer number of these specs. Hundreds, if not thousands.

However, good luck understanding these specs by reading code or unit tests (and yes, there's a multitude of tests [1]). How do you know what a piece of code encodes? Or a test tests? You really propose to reverse engineer behaviour from code?

Example: here's a test: https://github.com/web-platform-tests/wpt/blob/master/html/s...

What exactly does it test? Why? Is this a correct test for this behaviour? Care to pinpoint the exact precise location of this spec in Google Chrome's code? [2] It's only 12 or so million lines of code, should be easy to find.

> The goal should be to move chromium away from being controlled too much by Google.

By doing what exactly?

[1] https://web-platform-tests.org

[2] https://github.com/chromium/chromium


>now all browsers render HTML the same way.

Is this sarcasm? Writing web apps that work the same across browsers is still the most painful part of web development. The underspecified natural language specs lead to subtly different behaviors in different browsers.

Full specs of a complex systems are very complex.


> Is this sarcasm?

It's not. How HTML is rendered was literally not defined between browsers until mid-00s. Hence the difference in the boxing model, for example.

Bt yes, besides HTML there are hundreds of other specs, and those may or may not be implemented across browsers.

> The underspecified natural language specs lead to subtly different behaviors in different browsers.

You keep saying this, and I don't think you even understand what you're saying.

> Full specs of a complex systems are very complex.

Yes, they are. What you keep proposing though, is to reverse engineer behaviour from millions of lines of code. I'm still waiting for an answer to my question about datalistoptions test.


No, not to reverse engineer behavior, to _define_ behavior in a well commented codebase with a well commented test suite.

The technical blueprints are as important than the natural language notes in the blueprints. In software, code is blueprint.


>only Safari is able to stop this madness now

Safari is usable on less than 20% of machines, it absolutely will not be stopping anything. It's also the bane of my existence as a web developer.


I’m guessing a huge percentage of the lost users switched to Brave since it had 25 million as of February and is affiliated with Brendan Eich.

https://brave.com/25m-mau/


I’m guessing a huge percentage now spends more time browsing on their iPads instead of Desktop/Laptop…


Can confirm. Writing this from Brave on my iPhone.


Does Apple still require using Safari as the engine for all browsers on iPhone or has that changed?


Apple requires WebKit to be web rendering engine for all browsers. Safari is one of 100+ browsers on iPhone.


Tomato, tomato



34.4M this past month, now.


> Safari is usable on less than 20% of machines, it absolutely will not be stopping anything

You forgot mobile, iOS users are big chunk of it and websites want to work on iOS browsers.


The US is not the world.


It’s a big chunk of the world as far as web/software revenue is concerned.


iOS users are still a big chunk of it in Europe and Asia. 20% is a big chunk, and we do indeed often want websites want to work on iOS browsers.


It's not going to stop people from using Chrome on machines where it's not available though, obviously.


Once Safari is gone you're not a web developer you're a ChromeOS developer


That's the already the unfortunate state of frontend development, a Chrome world from development to end-users.


Safari doesn't exist for 80% of the world.


That 20% is still a big enough (and more importantly, rich enough) chunk that developers have to support it.


This may change if Apple continues producing great hardware like M1 laptops.


I'm curious. I'm not "frontend", but I do write code that runs in the browser, and write parts of the visualization UI for our products. I do get to determine how we build our products. I've gone with vue/typescript, and that hasn't caused any problem so far. A part of our software has to be able to run everywhere, and that unfortunately still includes IE11, so there I do take care of using a minimal feature set, but I can't remember the last time Safari caused me a problem. What problems does Safari cause?


The past few years I've been saying "Safari is the new IE" in terms of web development. I can't tell you how many bugs I've had to fix because Safari was doing something weird with JS/CSS.

IE11 is going EOL "soon" and at that point Safari is really going to be the odd one out. Chromium and Firefox are at least _mostly_ consistent with each other, save for when Chromium adds some crazy new feature that's nonstandard (but at that point only niche websites are usually using the new feature).


> It's also the bane of my existence as a web developer.

I would say as a Chrome developer then.


Thanks for making this personal. I wouldn't have any issue with Safari at all if I was just a chrome developer would I?


The problem was people pretending to be web developers but only testing in IE.

Being IE only made life a lot easier.

Same today. Some people think it is OK to test only in Chrome. That lets one get away with a lot of bad habits.

Dealing with different browsers is part of what makes one a competent web developer.


The problem with their comment is that they're too busy dunking on people.

I do deal with different browsers, hence why I get headaches from Safari. If I didn't, I wouldn't complain about it.

I've been a web developer for a long long time. I know what a pain IE was, and I'm just experiencing it all over again with Safari, although they've gotten better lately.


My comment was maybe a bit provocative but you didn't just say Safari had a few quirks (like the slow release cycle for bugs like the recent ones with LocalStorage and IndexedDB that is a pain), you said it was your bane. That usually mean using Chrome as the main development browser and waiting years for new experimental API to be (sometimes) implemented in other browsers, particularly Safari. In that case like the parent said the pain is more similar to the one a IE dev would have experienced back in the day (early 00's, not late) when some IE specific advanced features would not have been widely available on other browsers.


No, it's the bane of my existence because of bugs, on stuff that people actually use, like flexbox. I use firefox for the record. IE devs didn't give a shit about any other browser, and never had a problem with using the IE specific features because of that.


I keep using Firefox on the desktop as a kind of resistance factor,. however the truth is that the war is lost, the Web has turned into ChromeOS for all practical purposes.

Specially since Microsoft has always been on the same boat as Google, remember that such kind of features go back to Active Desktop.

Additionally, everyone pushing Electron apps is basically contributing to Chrome market share.


Exactly. They just shipped a UUID implementation to stable chrome before it was even finalized. They barely discussed and now it’s live. But hey they wrote a proposal so it’s all good.


> it suffers specially when using Google websites

I keep seeing this rhetoric, but I've never experienced this myself. I use Firefox as my main driver and use Google Search, Docs, Mail, Sheets, Slides, YouTube, and whatever other Google products literally every day and everything works just fine. I've tried them out in Chrome/Edge/whatever and they all work exactly the same.

The only thing that doesn't work 100% is search on Firefox on Android, but there's no reason for it and changing the user agent fixes all the problems (Google intentionally makes it bad to try and drive you to Chrome).


> Firefox on the Desktop is really good

I strongly disagree with this statement. My opinion is that it's the opposite.

I always get sad when I think about modern Firefox. I loved Firefox dearly before the transition, and I tried really hard to love it after the transition, too. But it failed me and lost much of what I loved about it. Then every subsequent release was just a little worse, excising more of what made Firefox great.

Eventually, I just had to give up on it.


> Safari is able to stop this madness now

Apple stopped developing Safari for Windows nine years ago.


> only Safari is able to stop this madness now

Safari is a hard sell when one can't install an ad-blocker on it (work on the street is you can but not easily)


You’ve been able to use ad blockers in Safari for years.


Ya I know I "can". Via app store, I know. Hence my comment: "hard" to install ad-blockers


maybe you should go back and read your own comment. Also, it's not terribly hard to install extensions through the App Store — what makes it more difficult than going through the Firefox/Chrome extension store?


The ad-blocking API Safari offers isn’t as powerful as Firefox’s.


Okay… in practice they work fine though. Saying you can’t use ad blockers in safari is straight up wrong.


I never said "you can't". Please read carefully before replying


I don't think you've read your own comment...


You can install plenty of ad-blockers directly from the Mac App Store


Yes I know. But via app store, not from Safari directly (like every other browser) and for $$$.


And that is the price they pay for trying to be Chrome clone UI wise and not listening to to the "power users". I hate to use the words "power user" but it is the small group of very active and enthusiastic users that you need to give the appears to every one else that they are missing out on something cool.

I still use Firefox because it works reasonably for my usage but I stopped promoting it to other people around me. For the average user Chrome is good, very good even. And Firefox lost its uniqueness and UI differences that made it stand out. And if nobody talks anymore about your product then you are done.


We shouldn’t just look at power users. Google and Microsoft, for example, constantly advertise to use their browser when you visit their properties. I imagine this has an impact.


But if Firefox was genuinely better it could win via word of mouth; whether it’s power users recommending it or people having it on their work computers (because their IT mandates it) and wanting the same great browser at home.

The problem is that Firefox is basically a Chrome clone at this point, all the way down to the privacy-invading features such as telemetry, so using it nowadays is more down to ideology than actual technical merit.


How could Mozilla ever compete in technical merit nowadays?

Google is siphoning nearly all talent by paying them insanely huge amounts of money. Web is part of Google's core business and they will pour every little penny into it if it means they can be one step ahead and force others to follow them. How can Mozilla, a non-profit, compete with that? Even freaking Microsoft gave up!

I'm insanely impressed with Mozilla that they can still keep up that well.


Security and privacy. I mean real privacy, not Firefox’s current illusion of privacy.

Advertising is a common vector for malware, telemetry can inadvertently expose PII or corporate intel and so can their bullshit features such as Pocket that are foisted upon unsuspecting users.

Make a browser that addresses these problems out of the box. The enterprise will be all over it and will be paying actual money for it so they no longer have to beg Google every year.

At the moment Firefox is probably the most user-hostile piece of open-source software that I’m using. After installing it I have to disconnect from the network (as it loads Google Analytics-infested pages on first run and has telemetry enabled out of the box) and spend 10 minutes configuring it (including using about:config to disable Pocket) to defang it.


It's delusional to think that building a browser that will appeal to a tiny tiny niche of users will win by word of mouth over billions of dollars in marketing.

And let's go with your theory and assume enterprise will be all over this. Do you remember nothing of the IE6 era? Enterprise is the worst customer to have as a browser.

It sounds like you're just pitching for a browser you wish people would build for you. I mean, just use the Tor browser, it fits your description just fine.


> Do you remember nothing of the IE6 era? Enterprise is the worst customer to have as a browser.

Can you elaborate?

> It sounds like you're just pitching for a browser you wish people would build for you. I mean, just use the Tor browser, it fits your description just fine.

I've already built said browser - Firefox can be configured this way. I'm just offering options & opinions on how they could turn the ship around, because clearly appealing to the mainstream by copying Chrome doesn't work, so maybe appealing to the power-user crowd (which was the reason Firefox and Mozilla became popular) would fare better, especially when it just requires minor config changes and bundling uBlock Origin out of the box.


If Firefox becomes truly private out of the box, most of their funding goes away.


But their funding will go away over time anyway as their marketshare plummets to zero. Furthermore, competitors such as Brave have successfully built businesses based on privacy & out-of-the-box ad blocking.


Be useful to end users. Differentiate on that.

Useful to people can be understood and is a selling point. What is technical merit? Some CS insider form of bragging rights?


> Be useful to end users. Differentiate on that.

What does it mean today? Most people want a browser that is invisible. They use sites, not browser.


That companies like Vivaldi and Brave can build successful for-profit businesses on top of a browser seems to indicate that it's a bit more complex than that.

It's like the old quote about Microsoft Word, which was something along the lines of: "it's true that Word is bloated and that most people only use 10%, but everyone uses a different 10%".


Brave and Vivaldi outsourced the browser engine of the browser part to Google, though. That's the most expensive and work intensive part.

They are also not part of any standardisation committee, as far as I know.


Sure, but I don't see how this relates here? My point was that people do want a browser that works well for them, and that the previous comment that "people want a browser that is invisible. They use sites, not browser." doesn't really fit with Brave and Vivaldi's success (also: Opera, and probably a few other browsers).


Vivaldi isn't profitable, as far as I know. Brave possibly is. But Brave growing points to proper privacy being a workable selling point. To the end user the browser itself is basically stock Chromium + shields (some people get a BAT boner). But they don't do basically any UX side innovation per se, the way Microsoft or Vivaldi try do.


Get back the extension API (not the exact same but a modern equivalent).

Keep bugging competition authorities to punish Google harshly over the abusive behavior we've seen lately.

I'm using Firefox for now but I admit the moment someone forks it and have a good security foundation I'll start using it and donating to it.

I'm fed up with Mozilla thinking everything else they donis more important than their main income source and main contribution to Internet.

(Yes, I keep posting like this against both Mozilla and Google in the hope that they will one day improve or more realistically to increase the chance that someone else steps up. As WhatsApp proved before they were gutted by Facebook there is a large market that wants privacy and is willing to accept smaller problems and also pay for it.)


> Get back the extension API (not the exact same but a modern equivalent).

Another extension API will solve absolutely nothing.


just extend (heh) the current extension API with the most important missing ones like e.g. a hideBuiltinTabBar().

It is actually slightly more complicated since some stuff depends on the main tab bar being visible (or so they say, my Firefox works nicely even if I disable the main tab bar using a CSS hack.)


A fully functional and useful one would go a long way to getting me to give Firefox another chance, because it would make it possible to fix the things about Firefox that drove me away.


UX. Mozilla is being outpaced by all competitors here, especially on mobile.


I generally am not a fan of mobile browsers, but for me Firefox is the only passable mobile browser because it supports uBlock Origin.


I agree with you, since I use it for the same reasons. But it will be easier for the general user to switch if it has a superior UX. Clearly ad-blocking is not enough for everyone else.


Brave and Vivaldi have built-in adblockers.


What is chrome technically better at in a way that’s impactful to end users?

The idea that the best thing wins just because it’s the best and people will share that is flawed. It basically negates marketing and influence which is what Google’s money making model is based around. And they have been successful at that.


Speed?

Lack of in-browser ads? (Google websites have ads but as far as I’m aware Chrome itself doesn’t have any, unlike Firefox which has sponsored sites and “snippets” on the new tab page - enabled by default obviously).

Lack of constant nagging? Firefox in its default configuration has always something to nag you about. Whether it’s Pocket, Firefox Sync or that it’s just updated and there are potentially new features.


To be fair the push to connect a Google account and use Google services in Chrome is the ad, they don't need more.

But I definitely agree about the Firefox nags, I suppose it can be off-putting to new users and project a low-quality adware image (usually synonymous with more privacy violations, which is ironic).


Google is the dominant ad provider on the websites themselves. Embedding yet more ads (beyond their sign-in push) may be counterproductive. And they don't provide a simple way to turn those off, unlike Mozilla's sponsored sites.


They have tab groups. Tab groups are huge, and their implementation on mobile is excellent.


Chrome is fast, the UI is nice, it doesn't nag you, it doesn't break the UI all the time, etc


Chrome doesn't have much UI to speak of, despite the irony in its name. Firefox has a much older lineage and a symbiotic relationship with add-ons. Before Quantum add-ons could radically rearrange its UI.

In my experience, Firefox UI changes since then have been largely cosmetic and rearranging of settings.


>But if Firefox was genuinely better it could win via word of mouth

You reach one person every 5 days with your word of mouth. Google has a billion searches all advertising "a better browser" right in your face if you dare use anything else but Chrome.

>people having it on their work computers (because their IT mandates it) and wanting the same great browser at home.

When have you ever said "damn, IT actually installed great software, I sure want the same at home"? In real life, IT installs Internet Explorer 6 because that one ISO standard they paid a lot for to have mandates using it for their super special test website, and have an 11 year old pirated version of Acrobat Reader.


> But if Firefox was genuinely better it could win via word of mouth; whether it’s power users recommending it or people having it on their work computers (because their IT mandates it) and wanting the same great browser at home.

That's how it used to be.

These days it is still better at what I need it for (learning, research), but it isn't orders of magnitude anymore and certain people tending bugzilla for Mozilla are borderline hostile, see for example here https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1332447#c171


>telemetry

Maybe they're more likely to cater to users who don't turn off the method they use to decide what to cater to.


They don’t need in-browser telemetry to see that uBlock Origin is one of the most downloaded add-ons, and it’s yet to be built-in to the browser despite its license allowing it.

They also don’t need telemetry to read threads like this one and there’s been plenty of those on HN (and I’m sure elsewhere) and the general consensus is always that Mozilla is letting power users down in favour of trying to copy Chrome.

Given these facts, I don’t think telemetry or lack thereof is the problem.


Reading threads is a poor metric. People are bad at reporting their usage and only the most vocal people post on tech fora.


People are better at reporting their usage than devs are at reading telemetry.


Building in such a powerful ad blocker could negatively impact how sites and services are funded.


"Better security practices could negatively impact how malware authors and cybercrime are funded."


So advertisements are malware and cybercrime?

If the presence of bad actors poisons the well then I don't see a stronger case for non-Firefox browsers.


Advertisements are absolutely malware, they’re unwanted software that acts against the user’s wishes by wasting their time and computing resources, and sometimes is a vector for more malware or scams.


Google, yes. But Microsoft? I haven't noticed, and I'm on Office 365 all day (my client uses that) while running Firefox / Linux.

Microsoft does keep asking me to use Edge on my Windows gaming machine, although it's the only browser I have installed...

But I guess the point is... where is Mozilla going to ask people to use Firefox?


Yes, I guess they mean Edge since the new Microsoft Edge uses chromium as their base browser. MS must have gotten tired of paying a huge team of devs to constantly fix and implement new web stuff in EdgeHTML/Chakra.


It's actually the new, Chromium-based Edge. I've actually updated it when it asked, and the current Windows install came with it (installed it fresh around November 2020). But with every Windows 10 version change, it asks me to use the "recommended browser settings", whatever those are.

This is a computer on which my most used browser is the Steam thing. I really don't care either way what it is, so I don't bother installing a specific one.


But Microsoft? I haven't noticed > Try installing firefox (or even chrome) on a clean install of an updated windows 10.


But that's a Windows thing, as opposed to "on the web", right? And as I've said, Windows bugs me about edge even though I've never installed anything else — the "use the recommended edge something or other".

Whereas Google bugs me on all my machines (Mac / Linux / Windows, all without Chrome).

My point was that using Firefox on Linux, I've never seen anything related to edge on MS sites (but I only use Office 365, Azure and, sometimes, the docs site).


the irony is that just when I voluntarily stop using chrome to help mozilla, they then get into the fads which really dont align with my usage :D


true. their api is now a dumbed down version of chrome.

I still remember the days of vimperator and treetabs in xul.

firefox did this to themselves. they dont deserve support.


Yeah, I've got zero interest in using their software after they broke TreeStyleTabs, what replaced it was crap.

I'm quite happy with Vivaldi, which, while based on Chrome, at least seems to understand what users need.


Tree Style Tabs exists: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tree-style-ta...

Vimperator replacements exist: https://github.com/tridactyl/tridactyl

Additionally, XUL was a steaming pile of shit, and there was no saving it. Multithreading was only possible by ripping out XUL.


I use and forked SurfingKeys on Chrome https://github.com/hbt/Surfingkeys

Calling tridactyl a replacement for vimperator ignores all the features and extensive customization available through the old Firefox API. I've used vimperator and pentadactyl and tridactyl doesn't even come close (because of the awful API limitations).

My point is: Firefox API is now a cheap version of Chrome API. Why would you develop extensions for Firefox instead of Chrome? As a power user, it makes no sense to support Firefox. It offers less than chrome.

They had firebug back when Chrome dev tools was crap, an amazing API for extensions and customization; they threw it all away for this mediocre crap chasing average users and are now playing the privacy / save the web card and guilt tripping people for not choosing them.

They can offer better APIs, they are not entitled to power users.

Power users write extensions, write tools for web developers, developers are the most importance resource. Who even bothers to test on Firefox now? For what, 7% market share?

All that money and support; just all gone. Complete waste.

Anyway, I sunk a lot of time into Firefox over the years and it was my browser of choice for years; I'm definitely still bitter about it. They literally abandoned power users. Fuck them.


> Additionally, XUL was a steaming pile of shit, and there was no saving it. Multithreading was only possible by ripping out XUL.

Being hostile to people who ask nicely about getting some necessary features into the new API however, that is optional.

Same goes for extracting all the money from Firefox and sacking important dev teams while continuing less important charity work.


> Additionally, XUL was a steaming pile of shit, and there was no saving it. Multithreading was only possible by ripping out XUL.

Nah, multi threading has always been there (because it's doing networking and IO at least) and multi process support landed shortly before Quantum release.


> Multithreading was only possible by ripping out XUL.

Firefox still uses XUL, it's just not an exposed API


Oh come on. "Power users" are both negligible in market share _and_ do not contribute to spreading the software around. Nobody in your family is going to use Firefox because you tell them "Look, I can customise my UI to arrange my windows in the form of a poop emoji when my custom sideloaded extension detects I'm on a Google owned website". "Power users" however are very good at yelling loudly when their never-used-by-anyone-except-them feature is removed, because they're such power users they opt out of usage tracking and never contribute to anything except maybe a bug report sometimes.


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