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Firefox and Flux: A New, Beautiful Browser is Coming (donotlick.com)
246 points by Boriss on Apr 29, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 288 comments

I really don't want to be negative, but every browser update in the past year feels like a step back. This is true for Chrome and Firefox. Each update contains more "Sign in to your browser" stuff plastered everywhere. Eye candy is added. Useful configuration options are removed.[1] Many of these changes seem to be made with the goal of increasing revenue, not improving user experience.

Rule #0 of business is: Listen to your users. For browsers, one straightforward way to do this is to look at what extensions and addons users install. By far, the winner is adblock. Almost everyone who knows how to block ads does so. Therefore, if you are making a browser and you care about user experience above everything else, you will have ad blocking by default. That no major browser does tells us what their priorities really are.

Again, apologies for the negativity. This has frustrated me for some time.

Edit: I realize that if everyone suddenly started blocking ads, there would be darkness and chaos. But the current situation is only tenable because a small fraction of users have the know-how to get what they want. You can avoid ads if you are technically proficient or know someone who is. Everyone else has to put up with ads. Advertisers annoy millions if not billions of people, effectively subsidizing the usage of those with ad blockers. That doesn't seem fair to me.

1. Such as the old new tab page in Chrome: https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=326788

Seeing how much backlash Mozilla got for even proposing to block third party ads by default, I can't imagine what would happen if they shipped adblock.

Just because adblock is popular doesn't mean everyone is using it, and as much as I don't like it, advertisers rely on that... it could seriously damage the web if they did that.

The French have an expression for this, they would say you can see no farther than the end of your own nose.

> as much as I don't like it, advertisers rely on that... it could seriously damage the web if [everyone used adblock]

I understand this. I gave the advertisers a fair shot. I didn't install any adblocking on my phone. I gave them a significant chunk of my limited mobile browsing bandwidth. I understand it's a compromise; I waste my page space and bandwidth, and the websites I like continue to exist.

Then my phone started talking to me about some TV show or some shit in the middle of the office last week. Firefox installed, adblock installed, scorched earth policy. I will never view another ad on mobile.

I'm willing to be reasonable and compromise here, but if they're not holding up their end of the bargain, I'm not going to carry that burden either. If this is the way the web is going to be, then the web needs a new business model and I'm happy to bring it about.

> Just because adblock is popular doesn't mean everyone is using it, and as much as I don't like it, advertisers rely on that... it could seriously damage the web if they did that.

The sites that suffer the most from adblocking are those that provide very little benefit for the user anyway: splogs, linkfarms, and other very contentless things built solely to lure users in for adverts. While I don't use adblock myself (I use a filtering proxy instead), seeing that part of the internet die off, and possibly a return to something closer to the noncommercialised web of the 90s where the signal-to-noise ratio was much higher, IMHO is a very good thing. Although there are some good ad-supported sites that may die off, in my experience the sites that contain lots of very good, detailed information are unlikely to contain ads too. It's a bit like chemotherapy...


I frequently visit The Verge and The Guardian. I also happen to follow their journalists on twitter because they're often interesting to listen and talk to. On more than one occasion I've seen them express their frustration at ad blocking software and the problems it causes. As such, and because I love the sites, I've turned off adblock for them. (not trying to sound magnanimous here, it's not like I disabled adblock for every site.)

I'd rather have websites sell advertising space next to their content then gate their communities behind paywalls frankly.

I will be happy to view any static ad hosted on and by the owner of the content. That way I know I'm not giving my data to anyone else.

For me the annoyance factor is less of a problem than the privacy concern.

I guess part of the problem of that is that companies who might want to advertise on someones site might, not unreasonably, want the kind of stats and control set the hosting website just can't provide, but that a third party advertising company can.

I personally don't mind a certain level of information about my browsing being a bit leaky. I feel like it's a reasonable compromise to make for serving up content I want. Flagrant invasions of privacy are not ok, but I am more concerned with third parties serving malicious content through ads; Something I've seen enough to make me use an ad blocker by default.

I'd rather have websites sell advertising space next to their content then gate their communities behind paywalls frankly.

Those are not the only two choices. Many of the sites I like are personal ones either hosted on the author's own server+connection, or ones hosted by large institutions that would likely be able to afford the hosting anyway.

> Those are not the only two choices.

absolutely, and I'm grateful to see people experimenting with different models for making money, but as it stands the most reasonable way for websites to make money is, probably in order of effectiveness:

1) advertising

2) charging for content

3) freemium, ie free content with paid extas

4) sponsorship

5) ???

generally when I talk about websites serving advertising, I'm speaking specifically about news/media websites. The cost of producing news is substantial, so earnings have to be commensurate. Either you charge people for it, or you give it away for free with advertising, and perhaps have added value services.

5) accept donations

Hosting content is not the be-all-end-all of costs - people need to eat too.

You turned off AdBlock, but do you actually click on these ads? Because no money changes hands unless there are clicks, at last if they're using Google for ads.

People who say "I turned off AdBlock to help support the sites I visit" but never click on any ad are not making a bit of difference.

Speaking as someone who works for a newspaper, comments like this make me very uncomfortable. News websites don't make money off of the generosity of viewers. They make money off of advertising. Until the majority of people are willing to go behind a paywall to see content, news organizations must rely on advertising for survival. Not profit, survival.

I personally don't use ad blockers for this reason. I like supporting sites I visit, even if I hate the ads showing there.

Some news organizations have funding models that don't rely, or don't rely heavily, on advertising. I rather prefer that.

> The sites that suffer the most from adblocking are .... splogs, linkfarms, and other very contentless things built solely to lure users in for adverts.

Doesn't adblock normally block all ads? Last time I used it was years ago, so maybe things have changed.

> one straightforward way to do this is to look at what extensions and addons users install

Oh God No! I do not use adblock. I use noscript and im happy with it. I also do not use "Video DownloadHelper" which is the second most used addon. And neither do I use Firebug which is #3. Please do not put all this stuff into my browser! And not everybody uses noscript which I use and which is #4. Im completely fine with installing it.

How about improving on the basic stuff? For example make FF use all cores of my machine and not just one?

> Please do not put all this stuff into my browser!

I was a very happy Opera user for years under the exact assumption that there is little need to install addons if your browser has all the features you need – and I didn’t use all of Opera’s features either, but somehow even with the included mail and bittorrent clients, it ended up being smaller than, say, Firefox.

> For example make FF use all cores of my machine and not just one?

They are working on it: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Electrolysis

This is already in the nightly version for some months: "File > New e10s Window" will open a new window in its own process.

    File > New e10s Window
Wow! Nice. Thanks for the info!

They already built Firebug into the browser.

I'd like to address your three separate points...

> Each update contains more "Sign in to your browser" stuff plastered everywhere. Eye candy is added. Useful configuration options are removed.

- First of all, each update cannot possibly contain more "sign in to your browser". Are you talking about Firefox Sync, of which similar-yet-poorer functionality used to be in an incredibly popular extension (by your own rules, that should go in the browser!)?

- Eye candy is nice. Not everyone lives in the 90s and wants a clickable version of Lynx.

- Configuration options are as useful as the users make it. There was a massive outrage on here when Firefox removed the javascript switch, yet that is one of the best decision they made for their userbase. Google sure did remove a lot of options over time, some of it has infuriated me as well (the removal of http: was a big one for me). But most of the time, users do not actually know what they want which is why they just want a bazillion options to be able to change their mind all the time, as if they're not using a browser but playing Wedding Tie Choice Simulator 2015. As Randall Munroe put it: https://xkcd.com/1172/

>- Eye candy is nice. Not everyone lives in the 90s and wants a clickable version of Lynx.

Then why are Mozilla removing everything? I like eye candy too. A metro-ified, totally bare browser without even a status bar is the complete opposite.

Oh, and links has mouse support via GPM.

>- Configuration options are as useful as the users make it. There was a massive outrage on here when Firefox removed the javascript switch, yet that is one of the best decision they made for their userbase.

Because everyone switched to NoScript instead.

What do you mean by "without a status bar"? What change is that in reference to? Sounds important...

This thread. Firefox is removing the <s>status bar</s>'addon bar'* in australis along with most of the rest of its customisability.

*Their preferred term even though everyone just installs Status4Evar and still has a status bar.

I'm pretty sure the number of people installing Status4Evar is pretty far away from "everyone".

Firefox Sync was in the browser before, you just didn't need to sign in to your browser online to use the previous version. (It also let you sync through your own server rather than Mozilla's which I don't think the new version does yet, but even if you used their server you still didn't need a Mozilla account of any kind.)

I run my own firefox sync server, and have since it was introduced. It's working fine for the current version of sync. There's a rather helpful guide for setting it up and there were a handful of alternative server implementations which have unfortunately fallen by the wayside.


Unfortunately this server is not compatible with the new sync protocol. It will continue to work while there is still old-sync support in the browser (a few versions after FF29 at least) but will eventually need to be upgraded to the new system.

> It also let you sync through your own server rather than Mozilla's which I don't think the new version does yet

This is possible with the new version, but it's not (yet) as simple as it was with the previous one:

(edit: actually IIRC there's an open bug around allowing android devices to use a custom sync server; desktop devices definitely work fine with it via some about:config settings)

As much as I like Adblock, did you know it blocks static jpeg images that contain the text "300x250px" or similar in the file name? I didn't know until it blocked one of the images I put into a site that has no ads.

I presume AdBlock's logic is that because promo ads often have the dimensions in the filename, that's good enough reason to block EVERY image on the web that has dimensions in the filename. Pathetic logic!

While you might be happy browsing away on the internet with Ad-Block, it could very well be blocking non-ad content, which is not something you want as core browser functionality.

What list are you using?

I've never noticed that with EasyList.

Edit: Quick optical grep confirms it, nothing to match image dimensions I could see in the filter rules.

How do you not see all the image dimensions in the filter rules? Picking just the those mentioned I tried 'grep 300x250 easylist.txt' and got 478 results!

Many are very specific and look like useful filters, but here are just a small sample of rules that are problematic: -300x250- -300x250_ .300x250. .300x250_ /300x250- /300x250. /300x250/

I see plenty along the pattern of "Ad300x250", but not general ones.

There's this: -300x250_

looks like the culprit.

I wasn't up to speed on the lists business. I will look into using a different list. I was just using adblock now and then at the default settings, I installed it and haven't touched settings.

I don't use it all the time because I don't want it interfering with testing and dev, messing with the document.

When it backfires and hides stuff you've just published, suddenly I'm cursing adblock because I know other default adblock users won't see the image.

Search further down, they're there.

This is actually frustrating, I had thought until now that easylist blocked only third party ads; this means they block self-hosted as well.

Ugh, you're right. Checking the default list from https://easylist-downloads.adblockplus.org/easylist.txt confirms it. I'll have to look into this more and see if there is a better list to subscribe to.

Image name should be describing the image any way. That's just good seo.

Putting dimensions in image names is fine, it's quite useful for asset management.

Describing the image is the alt tag's job. Otherwise, consider the nightmare...


Which isn't great file naming for the web. Or am I too oldschool and this is how all the kool kids do it now?

Do search engines expect meta data in image names? I don't think they're counting on it, even if they are picking it up.

>Which isn't great file naming for the web.


Because of standardized naming convention, or lack of.

In the Britney example, there's no naming convention, only a vague approximation of the image contents.

This may work for you personal blog, but in large production environments, you don't want editors just "making up" image names without consistent naming convention.

Remember that the original digital camera image has no mention of Britney! At best, when the RAW image is converted, the general image name might be appended with "mtv_awards", but nothing further.

Same for video file naming. You can't fit all the subject matter of the video into its file name, you would instead maybe put the reverse date in the name and an abbreviated title. But to expect that to be used for SEO is not a good strategy.

I vividly remember the anger over omnicomplete and people vowing to switch to Opera, which didn't have that feature. I gave it a shot and found omnicomplete quite comfortable after a while.

Status quo bias is a powerful thing.

I gave Opera a shot, found it weird (and much harder to customise), then went back to firefox with https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/old-location-... .

Opera next is not meant to be customizable like opera 12 was. Now their focus is on streamining interface activities. Removing bookmark graveyards etc etc.

+ for mentioning Useful configuration options. Prominent examples include Last tab close and hiding the Disable Javascript option in Firefox. In both these cases, the decision seems to be driven by the preferences of a specific group of developer(s) rather than informed decision making or listening to users.

The issue with pre-enabling adblock in a browser is that chrome is financed completely by google (runs on online ads) and mozilla is substantially financed by google and other search engines (who also rely on ad money).

Tough luck. The overwhelming majority of Mozilla's revenue is from their search partnership with Google, the Internet's largest advertising company. You don't bite the hand that feeds you.

Apple is the only major browser vendor that can afford to ship an ad blocker without strangling its own throat. If Jobs where still around, he might have actually done that, if only to stick a big middle finger at Google. Now I'm not so sure. Maybe MSFT will do it first with IE, if Bing's market share gets any lower than it already is (or if Yahoo finally folds).

> Useful configuration options are removed.

This is IMHO a most disturbing trend; instead of leaving configuration options available (and possibly adding more), many "UX experts" seem to have the notion that all users are exactly the same and should therefore never need anything more or less than what these "experts" think they should need. Removing options also reduces the amount of learning-by-experimentation that is possible, but experimentation is one of the best ways of learning about things. The point is often made that this is so "users don't break things", but at the same time it denies them a valuable learning experience and takes away freedom.

Meanwhile the focus is on adding eye candy and using plenty of doublespeak (some of my favourite examples of this are "decreased clutter", "simplification", "streamlining", "user-oriented") to make the users think that they're being offered an improvement. The goal of designing a browser for a novice user, which may be initially simple to use, but is "layered" so that it grows with the user's knowledge, is slowly eroding away. Instead, the expectation seems to be that the average user is one who knows little more than how to turn on a computer, and one who intends to remain ignorant --- the model of the "perfect consumer". The customisation features are gradually relegated to extensions, and advanced configuration is not a gradual learning curve, but a big jump, creating a gap that users have to cross - a gap that is widening. Maybe this is a reflection of a general societal trend, but I have no doubt that it is also contributing to it.

In consideration of this, Mozilla also has a rather curious description: "Mozilla is a global non-profit dedicated to putting the user in control of their online experience..."

Although I disgaree with making adblock a default; I think the concept of what constitutes an advert is too ill-defined to add this complexity to a browser. Personally I don't mind anything that is not intrusive or too distracting.

The title of the article is pretty indicative too: "A New, Beautiful Browser is Coming". The first thing that comes to mind is "Beauty is only skin deep."

How do you propose that our industry pay for the servers then? Magical pixie dust?

I don't mind seeing ads on free services that have some marginal value for me.

Don't force your intolerance for ads upon me.

I would guess most of the users simply don't install any plugins or addons. So in that case listening to them would simply mean not changing anything.

Rule #0 is not a good rule at all. People are never happy. When Firefox was focusing on utilitarian concerns, people reamed Mozilla incessantly for "ugliness" and "user hostility". They vowed to switch to Chrome which supposedly cared more about these things because its tab bar background was blue (or plug in your pet issue here). Now Firefox releases something that focuses on fluffy prettiness concerns like "native look and feel" or "non-distracting tab bars" and suddenly Mozilla is vain and silly, and people vow to switch to Chrome because they implemented Real Feature X.

The point isn't that either side is necessarily wrong, just that "listen to your users" is not the #0 rule of business. Users can provide good feedback, but it must be tempered, because there are always going to be detractors, and detractors will always be louder than supporters.

Chrome came out and lots of people started using it because it was faster than Firefox and because Google spammed it all over their search engine. Chrome is developed by an ad company. Chrome exists in order to create a web which can serve ads to you in a manner which is more profitable to that ad company.

That's fair enough. Chrome users sow what they reap. If they want a web which develops under the control of an ad company, or several ad companies (Microsoft too), then that's what they'll get.

The trouble is, it affects the rest of us who don't want a web to evolve according to the profit interests of ad companies; Mozilla got scared by the sudden migration of people from Firefox to Chrome, so they've now started copying Chrome in many ways that probably aren't as good as they think they are for the future of the web.

Blocking ads doesn't hurt the revenues of ad companies. It hurts the revenues of the sites relying on those ad companies.

That's your mog & pog blog.

I think the web is important. Important enough that making the technology behind it worse, either by not implementing tech that is bad for ads, or by implementing tech just because it is good for ads, so that ad funded sites can continue to be ad funded sites, is a mistake. I don't care who is behind those ad funded sites.

Maybe it's exactly rule #0 they're upholding, but maybe most users want something different than you?

With all love to focus on what users want…

Currently online ads are one of the few standard business models that finance the internet ecosystem.

It would be a step back to remove them without a replacement.

These people behind Australis are brave, competent and passionate. It shows in the remarkable experience they've built. I am a nightly user and I got to see these changes land one at a time. Hugs and cheers:)

> brave

I am not trying to be snarky, but to me a lot of the new UI is "oh, they made it look more like Chrome". I am kind of surprised to hear the word "brave" to describe that.

There are a lot of people who initially did not like the curved tabs and other visual design changes (e.g., the bookmark star is no longer in the 'awesome bar'). It is IMO brave for the designers to take a stand for the users when redesigning a widely used product. I have the same feelings for the GNOME project.

> There are a lot of people who initially did not like ... > ... take a stand for the user ...

These statements seem at odds. I'm all for change when there's a clear need for it, but when it's done just to keep up with Chrome's aesthetic, it can alienate an existing userbase. If I wanted Chrome, I'd be using Chrome. The reason I stuck with Firefox for so long was the configurability. However, now when a settings is removed or dumbed down the default stance on BugZilla is "just install an addon".

Very much agree with this comment. I'll be sticking to v28 for now and using the Classic Theme restorer to restore the lost features when I have to move up.

Sadly, this will become the fourth extension I run to restore features Firefox has removed.

Work on this UI started long before Chrome. That's Chrome that looks like Firefox mockups, not the other way.

Can you source this from public docs somewhere? It's interesting and I'd love to compare the early mockups with early chrome.

Not OP but earliest concepts I know of are these¹ from 2011.

1: http://people.mozilla.org/~shorlander/ux-presentation/ux-pre...

Here's are some pre-release screenshots of Chrome from 2008.


Interesting, got a source for that?

They are useless idiots whom I hate with a passion for their user-hostile self-gratification.

The design was just fine, so leave it the fuck alone!

You are not bringing anything to the table with remarks like that. You may not like the design, but many do. What was "fine" for you was "clunky" for many. Remember that Mozilla projects revolve around the community which you are free to join and make a difference. If you don't, at least don't flame people who worked their butts off to build something. Criticize work, not people.

There seems to be quite a lot of wasted space in this new design. For example:


1. The curves of the 'aerodynamic' tabs sacrifice pixels in the horizontal ramp-off / -on whereas old 'ugly' rectangular tabs can abutt.

2. A vertical void above the tabs, too shallow into which to put icons.

I'll have no choice but to become accustomed to it but I fear my little 12" screen will become even less efficient.

I believe that for (1), the tabs overlap so that they take the same amount of space as the old tabs. It's an illusion that they're larger (which I initially fell for also, until I was corrected).

(2) is the same as Chrome and older Firefox versions - to ensure that there is still some draggable area in the window when it is filled with tabs, and it disappears when the window is maximised.

You're right about (1), I took a before/after screenshot (top: FF28; bottom: FF29): http://i.imgur.com/AJlgeBZ.png

Please note that I normally use tree style tabs (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tree-style-ta...) to put the tabs in a sidebar. It may have messed up the layout a bit. (also, the non-standard colour comes from ColourfulTabs)

I noticed that you used to use the URL bar on top layout as I did. Sadly that is gone now but the Classic Theme add-on will give you the option back.

To me it's just more visually intuitive to have the tab right above the content window, not over all the toolbars. I really can't fathom why the reverse has become the default.

Actually I put them my tabs on the left (default option with tree style tab), as I feel that putting them at the top or bottom of the browser waste space. I put the tabs under the location bar out of convenience, my purpose was to look at the difference in the tab size.

In terms of intuitiveness, it actually makes sense to have the tab bar over the address bar and navigation buttons, as their content and functionality are specific to that tab, and not application-specific. That's the reasoning anyway.

Absolutely right on same space but illusion of more. It's amazing how much small tweaks can make a difference in perception of visual space and faster action: bigger targets, whether actually bigger or seemingly bigger, make users faster in hitting them.

They have removed the option to 'use small icons' which used to shave off some pixels from the crucial vertical real-estate.

That's the first regret when I upgrade.

the tabs that arent in the foreground (ie all other tabs except the front tab) are actually square. im pretty sure the overall layout of tabs and buttons is actually more space efficient

Claims to be detail obsessed but the Mac version has the close/shrink/zoom buttons floating at the wrong height (like iTunes 10 briefly had until it recanted) and a title bar gradient with non-standard color and height (too short for integrated toolbar height and too tall for basic window title bar and too light in color for either) above a toolbar with the same weird gradient used again.

Windows and Ubuntu versions look much better; the Mac version should be fixed.

I think they lowered the close/shrink/zoom buttons so that they'd be roughly centered relative to the height of the tab container. If they didn't do this, it'd look weird and unpolished. As for the other things IDK. I still think it looks really good.

I've been surprised by the amount of hate for Australis. Are the people who criticise it actually using it?

I've moved back from Chrome to Firefox and I'm a big fan of the changes that they've made. A lot of clunky interface elements have been eliminated. I really like the customisable menu - it's a much better place to put semi-frequently-used add-ons than has been available in the past. The same paradigm works nicely on mobile, too.

The next things to tackle are probably the bookmarks and options dialogs, both of which are a bit of a pain. Chrome's searchable options were a game changer, and Firefox needs something equally easy-to-navigate.

I agree. I actually began using Firefox again because I heard this UI change was landing in Nightly, and I've been using Nightly since then. I get Chrome's UI minimalism and Firefox's customizability/flexibility - it's the best of both worlds.

Well if you don't like the beautiful browser there's a way to get the old layout back.


Actually more precisely it lets you completely customize the look.

Want to have square tabs? Can do, can even have the round tabs.

Want to have the url bar at the top? no problem

I don't want a beautiful browser, I want a functional browser - I generally want to focus on the site I'm visiting, not the gorgeous UI.

The fun part now is wondering how long Classic Theme Restorer will be maintained. I give it 2 versions before it falls by the wayside.

Thanks - this let me reset the look to exactly how I wanted - I still prefer the square tabs personally in particular. While I appreciate the effort spent making a new UI, it's always good to have a way back to a more familiar feel if required.


Fully rendered cache with images.

Thanks, Damian! Posting to my own Wordpress and then going to sleep was, retrospectively, a poor choice.

The killer feature in Chrome was and is the multiprocess implementation. I use Firefox for intranet browsing at work and Chrome for personal browsing: the former is a sloth compared to the latter, and hangs even for seconds when loading a big page whereas Chrome will happily use as many of my 12 cores as it likes and it just doesn't even slow down.

Firefox has had their comparable hack (Electrolysis?) in some prototype stage for a long time but the thing is Chrome actually delivered it... years ago. This turned the roles into a catch-up game where Firefox tries to match Chrome instead of other browsers trying to match Firefox, and the setting has remained as such since then.

The difference is still astronomical and I'm not at all convinced that a new user interface could have much effect there. The browser UI has pretty much standardized 15 years ago.

> Chrome will happily use as many of my 12 cores as it likes and it just doesn't even slow down.

I spend a lot of time profiling browsers and I don't see a lot of multicore usage when browsing in current engines. Usually layout and painting is happening for one page at the time—the tab you're looking on—and multicore performance for them is really poor in current engines.

I have not seen browsers saturate 12 cores. For example, go to [1] in your browser: no browser engine saturates maybe more than a core and a half as it chugs along struggling to reflow.

I think that Chrome- (and IE-)style per-domain process-based parallelism provides some benefits, but mainly in getting stuff like Gmail and Facebook notifications off the main thread, not really in improving throughput.

[1]: http://www.w3.org/html/wg/drafts/html/master/single-page.htm...

I think the main benefit of the multiprocess model is not increased performance on any one website. It is that when a website in one tab decides to calculate pi to a trillion digits, it doesn't bring down the whole browser and all the other tabs along with it.

Sure, I agree with that statement. It doesn't square with how I read "Chrome will happily use as many of my 12 cores as it likes", however.

I read that phrase as "I open as many tabs as I want and Chrome renders them all on different cores." I guess I got that partially from the subsequent mention of Electrolysis as a comparable effort.

right now my firefox uses 49 threads. Guess what? the kernel scheduler run them on all cores.

chrome uses 5 processes and 7 threads in 2 processes, 11 threads in another, 1 in nacl helper and 27 in the main process. Guess what? the kernel scheduler also run them on all cores ;-)

Although, does Firefox not use separate threads for each tab? If so, then it would seem like in normal operation, it should be possible to achieve parallelism. Of course, I do still see whole-browser lockups in Firefox, and what I really miss is the ability to actually diagnose misbehaving tabs.

Also, I think the Chrome debugger has surpassed Firefox's, especially with the experimental stack traces in asynchronous flows of control.

That's why you use NoScript.

Letting sites run arbitrary local code on your machine whenever they want is suicidal from a security perspective.

That's just paranoia.

NoScript might be worthwhile 15 years ago, as you browsed 90s porn sites. Today, you're just making your own web browsing life difficult, hoping the "security benefits" of your paranoia outweighs all the broken functionality you'll be constantly making exceptions for, or flat out missing out on because you don't know it's there.

I don't consider that much of a loss.

Other than that, it means people can't mine bitcoin with my CPUs and power bill, I'm immune to ~90% of browser-only exploits (as opposed to ones in things like flash, PDFs, etc., which I am still far less likely to get hit by than a javascript(flash, etc.)-enabled-by-default user), and a few random and generally non-critical things won't work. Even dropdown menus still work as they are generally done in CSS these days.

If a site really needs javascript, I can whitelist it while leaving google tracking scripts, adverts, disqus, etc. disabled.

It's 2014, most sites assume javascript, and the "graceful degradation" is never "graceful".

Me and all people doing front-end work I know of, who even care for any kind of "graceful degradation" (that's a minority of front-end-devs!), always go over "the layout breaks and some fonts are wrong for users with javascript disabled" with "but they cans still click the links and read the text, so we'll just leave it this way" (because the alternative will be putting at least 3x as much work into it, and nobody would pay us for it ...just as nobody would pay for a website without "live filtering" and "ajax loading" and all nowadays).

So you're basically choosing a stone-age-degraded-experience to be able to spare some CPU cycles.

(the security and privacy arguments are valid though, and you're 100% right on these... but as more and more sites become SPAs, you'll basically have no choice than whitelist more and more untill you'll have to whitelist everything)

NoScript gives you a chance to evaluate a site for trustworthiness. Yes, you have to click 1-2 times when you load a new domain that you trust, but it's worth it for that one site that looks sketchy or that you get mislead into clicking onto. For people who automatically execute JavaScript, it's already too late, but NoScript users have an opportunity to avoid this cantankerous situation.

NoScript will expose phishing schemes immediately, for instance, because it will recognize that the scripts being executed are not coming from the previously-whitelisted domain for Google.

>you'll basically have no choice than whitelist more and more untill you'll have to whitelist everything

Even if that is the case (which I do doubt), if it means I still have google analytics, advertisers, disqus, and random dodgy sites I've never before visited blocked (e.g. when a site gets compromised by injecting malicious javascript), I don't mind.

Actually, after trying NoScript not long ago my web experience dramatically improved. Where I need to enable JS I can do it in two clicks, while where I don't have to, everything is faster and not cluttered with useless stuff. I like it!

>Where I need to enable JS I can do it in two clicks

But there's no reliable way of knowing where you need JS.

It's not like every useful component on a site reveals its whole story with JS disabled. There could be a data viz animation that strengthens the topic of an article you're reading. The author refers to "the above visual" but doesn't mention it's an animation (because he assumed everyone would see the animation). All you see is a still image - the fallback to the animation. You aren't aware there's a useful animation showing the schematic of an engine part in motion, for example.

The animation was cool, you totally missed out!

However, if the way you use the web is more about fetching specific content or services from specific places - your favs basically, and you don't like to explore, then if it works for you then I won't judge :)

I'm often using different browsers on different devices and only some of them have NoScript installed, and from my experience I can tell that usually if something doesn't work without JS, it's perfectly visible that it's broken until you whitelist it. I can also tell via tiny toolbar that something is blocked on the site, so if it doesn't include lots of analytics or social media cruft then I usually just unblock it on any pages that focus on useful content.

Before I actually installed it, I had the same concerns like you described, but the reality showed that it's moot, and the advantages were even higher than expected, so I sticked with NoScript :)

Rather wondrous that the HTML 5 spec itself has grown so gargantuan that it actually provides quite a good stress test for browser rendering.

I tried using Chrome (from a decade+ of using Firefox) and while it is definitely faster in some instances, it is also laggier in others. Tab switching is noticably slower for me, for instance. I also found it frustrating that it would draw an unusable interface before it was done loading, which 'felt' faster, right up until I wanted to actually use it.

Chrome has some good points though - its scrolling feels much better, one tab (flash) crashing doesn't take out the entire browser and I can just switch to another tab until it recovers and (obviously) Google products have much better performance. Ultimately though, its slowness in other areas, plus its inherrently broken mouse gestures, meant that I switched back to Firefox.

I do wish Firefox was a bit faster moving. I know there are difficulties in dealing with a huge, old codebase, but I just wish features that Chrome has had for years, like chromeless app windows and multiprocess would just hurry up. Features like window-based private browsing took years to migrate from Chrome, and it's frustrating as you said to be perpetually caught in a game of catch up.

> one tab (flash) crashing doesn't take out the entire browser

It hasn't been the case for years. Plugins are sandboxed. (plugin-container.exe)

The broken mouse gestures on Chrome are the single most important dealbreaker for me. I will never go back to a browser without good mouse support (which Chrome isn't).

Eh, I still get lockups for whatever reason, and I have to wait 30 seconds for the browser to recover, I can't just switch tab and do other things while I'm waiting like with Chrome.

You can disable smooth scrolling in Firefox.

tools > options > advanced > general

Wait, you think Chrome's scrolling is better?

It's not as horrible as it was at launch; I'll give it that, but it still just feels wrong compared to Firefox's.

Designers tend to be extremely annoyed by Chrome's scrolling. I should count the time I've heard this or something similar from a designer: "but let's use css-transitions instead of free-form scrolling, it's so-much-smoother on Chrome than that ugly chunky scroll, and most of our users are on Chrome so let's just move over that ugly free-scrolling, it's so 90's anyway" (if he/she actually got the argument this far, I'm already imagining having a foot on his/her neck and driving a chair foot through his/her skull repeatedly while splashing his/her brains on the walls...)

That's the most detrimental effect of Chrome's scroll I think: it makes designers want to look for alternatives to scrolling websites, and unfortunately for all of us, these "gorgeous" but completely user-hostile alternatives exist. And good luck if you get on such a website with js disabled if it wasn't coded in a gracefully degradable way...

>That's the most detrimental effect of Chrome's scroll

No, that is just designer's dumbness. Scrolling should be a system setting and browsers should not override it but just read and use it (I am looking at you, Firefox). And websites certainly should not override it with at all.

Yeah, but if I randomly pick any 2 Windows apps, the probability that they will scroll the same is very low. Heck, even the bultin Windows Explorer I'm staring at on Windows 8 has nice smooth scroll on the main folder pane and "chunky" scrolling for the folder tree on the left, that's two scrolling behaviors in the same window, for a builtin Windows app (!!!).

Thing are more consistent on Mac OS, but on Windows and Linux these kinds of GUI functionality are still at the "wild west" level, so the only sensible choice is to implement what's "better looking for the user" in your application, which all browsers except Chrome seem to do, btw, and they've arrived at a convergent result while doing it...

And "designer dumbness" is real, but it's root cause is in the fact that lots of good graphic designers are "control freaks", and when they know that something is "technically possible", they don't care how much work it takes, and it takes them a lot to "grok" how detrimental the overall result is for UX.

I solved the problem for myself by staying as far away as possible from "design-driven development" or teams led by designers... but it is a fact that such teams exist at lots of small agencies and startups and that they do shape the field, unfortunately.

This actually might be a fairly uncommon use case - I tend to scroll by clicking the middle mouse wheel and dragging down. On big, multimedia-heavy pages like The Verge (which can clock in at multiple megabytes in size), scrolling on Firefox is laggy, and on Chrome it is smooth.

I personally hate how Chrome scrolls in "chunks" rather than smoothly. My FF scrolls just fine on The Verge.

Mine does too. Probably performance-related; Chrome does have a tendency to waste huge amounts of memory.

Smooth scrolling is nicer than jumping in my opinion, but firefox gives an option for the latter if people want it.

I'm very suspicious about this astronomical performance difference you're talking about.

Like many I run both firefox and chrome all day long.

I literally cannot tell which one is faster.

Firefox does use all the cores like Chrome does btw - it's called multithreading - and both of them seem to do approximately an equal okay-ish job at it (maybe servo does a much better job but thats not useable yet).

The only times where as a user i can see chrome multiprocess model shines is:

- sec vulns where chrome sandbox is not bypassed

- stuff actually crashing or hanging

Needless to say both cases are quite rare on either browser (and when flash hangs in firefox, it does for a few seconds before firefox proposes to kill it - while in chrome it only hangs the current tab)

Note also that:

- electrolysis can be enabled right now by an about:config option

- i run firefox and chromium on linux - i guess your mileage may vary on other platforms (?)

Curious - do you run ad-block or any other blocking-type add-ons?

On my system, there's a noticeable speed difference between Firefox and Chrome, especially if I disable ad-block in Firefox. (Also on Linux.)

AdBlock slows down the browser. I recommend Privoxy.

i use adblock edge on firefox and adblock+yt adblock on chrome

When I do calculations in the browser, opening a second window halves the performance in the first window in FF. In Chrome the performance stays the same.

Killer feature in that it kills your free RAM?

Firefox with 200 tabs can be 1GB or so; chrome with the same load is about 4GB.

I run Firefox and last I tried Chrome it did use more RAM for the same content. However, I wonder: since Chrome runs its tabs as a collection of processes does that mean individual tabs could be swapped out by the OS without affecting the rest?

4 GB RAM is like $35. To me, this trade-off (memory for speed) seems like the logical one.

Works up until you already have 16GB and can't fit any more in your mobo.

I just tried opening 30 YouTube videos with 15 additional HTML (non-Flash) tabs. My system used 6 GB of RAM (Linux 64 bit). So unless you're watching 100 YouTube videos at a time, or have more than 200 tabs open at a time, I really don't see how that's a problem.

You're ignoring the fact that many users have applications other than a browser open, and that those applications also consume memory. Start hitting the swapfile and any performance advantage disappears. It is in the best interest of everyone to make applications use less memory, since all the applications (and the OS) have to share what the system has.

> It is in the best interest of everyone to make applications use less memory, since all the applications (and the OS) have to share what the system has.

There is always a trade-off between speed and memory usage. For my use cases, I prefer this particular trade-off for a browser. I realize you might not have the same preference.

Am I the only one that doesnt like this "feature"? The reason I dont like it is because now, instead of being limited to 25% of my total CPU usage, at times Chrome happily pins all four of my cores. Granted that this is probably a result of poor plugin/webpage interaction (although, I havent been able to determine what combination...being a heisenbug and all), in Firefox, the worst case is still 25% maximum CPU usage.

If you have four cores and really want so that Chrome can only use one of them at a time you can just start it with

  taskset -c 0 google-chrome
or maybe better

  taskset -c 0-2 google-chrome
which will allocate cores 0-2 to Chrome, dedicating one core for your other work.

Nice it or pin it to a specific set of cores.

I have to agree, I hate it when a fscking browser decides to grab all the system resources it can, messing with anything else I'm running.

You're not the only one. I can't remember the last time Firefox crashed on me. I fill those tabs up real good. It does a fine job on both my medium-spec work computer and high spec home gaming PC!

Chrome isn't for me, it's one-core-per-tab thing is not something I need or want. I hate the idea of the browser using too much system resources, I prefer how Firefox does it.

I do not think there is such difference in FF and CR performance. Both browsers are relatively close. Firefox however hangs in some common cases where as Chrome handles general cases better.

CR however is worse when it comes to multi-tab browsing with over 20 tabs!

Yes, with just a few tabs open Chrome's multi-process architecture shines at cost of being a memory hog. As a result Chrome starts thrashing long before FF.

FF 8-13 really shined in memory usage. Unfortunately even by their own internal benchmarks, it's gone downhill since since 13.


Big problem with Firefox: it doesn't vacuum places.sqlite.

You can work around this (a) vacuuming it by hand or (b) just deleting it (losing all your visited links).

I did this and Firefox is suddenly as fast as Chromium. (Xubuntu 14.04, 4GB RAM.)

You're using a 4+ years old version of Firefox?


FF 28.0 in the Ubuntu 14.04 repo, now on FF 29.0. So, no, this is a current problem.

Electrolysis is in active development and can be tried in the nightlies.

In the Firefox Nightly channel, you can test Electrolysis (e10s) using the "File > Open e10s Window" menu. Addon compatibility is still a work in progress, but many popular addons like Adblock Plus mostly work today.

In case you want to use Chrome for both, Chrome actually has a built-in multi-user system, so you can have two cookie jars. If your company uses Google Apps this would make even more sense.

This is not an issue of the design. Opera (<=12), a single process browser, had much better performance than Firefox.

Biggest problem with Chrome I see (performance-wise) is that tabs that weren't in use for a while take quite some time to load. My guess would be their memory gets swapped out. I don't know how Opera did it, but switch to any of ~hundred opened tabs is instantaneous.

Whether Opera does it or not I don't know, but in Windows at least you can lock pages in physical memory [1]. It's not really a good general purpose technique, however.

[1] http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa36...

It's a lot easier to implement multiprocess when you're building a brand new product without a decade-plus old add-on and plugin ecosystem that you need to support.

I've been using it for a couple months now. Maybe it's just me, but I really don't care too much about how Firefox looks. I actually quite dislike curved tabs, but I can live with it. What frustrates me the most is that I don't want to wait for the fancy animations to finish before doing something. If I want a menu to come up, I want it to come up.

Most of the menu reorganizations have very little affect on me since I usually use shortcuts. But waiting for some of these animations just hurts my productiveness and I've seen other people share my dismay. When changes like this hurt the people who know how to use their browser and want to simply get things done, it's saddening.

Mind sharing what these animations are? I haven't noticed any that I have to wait on.

You may find some relevant prefs at: about:config?filter=animate

A number of the menus. When I switched, I found the RSS feed dropdown mind-numbingly slow. I've since made a userChrome.css edit which I saw on Mozillazine. Even then, there's still other animations left over. I find it really distracting.

Another more minor change was, prior to this version, Firefox still allowed fixed back and forward buttons. At some point, I should probably find a fix for that as well. Animations are supposed to make the experience feel smoother, but from my point of view, it's simply more clunky.

Is the lack of a unified search/address bar a deliberate choice or the result of some weird IP/patent thing? Every time I switch back to Firefox, it trips me up. AFAIR, it's the only major browser that still does this, right?

There might be other reasons, but a big one is that having search and address bar in one box means that normal URLs you type into the address bar will get sent to the search engine for autocomplete by default. Since that's a major privacy violation, they're kept separate.

I've removed the search box myself. If DNS doesn't return anything or if what you type looks like a search query, it does a search anyway, so the only thing I'm missing is search autocomplete (there's an addon if you really want that anyway: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/instantfox/).

The privacy reason honestly seems like a post-hoc justification... you can easily turn off auto search in Chrome. If you were really anal, you could do what IE does and actually _ask_ the user for permission before hitting the search engine. There is really no reason why the search bar has to be kept separate, other than user comfort. And that is not a bad thing: there is no need to start making up excuses for it.

> there is no need to start making up excuses for it.

This seems to come up a lot, but a Mozilla dev already explained it's to protect privacy: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5590988

I'd take their word for it :)

I disagree. When I type something into the search box, I'm explicitly saying "send this to the search provider". I'm more than happy for that box to auto-complete. However when I'm typing into the URL bar, I want different behaviour. That data should remain private.

When I'm saying is that I want both autocompleted search and a private URL bar.

Even if it's turned off you can leak information. Mis-type a local hostname and suddenly your secret URL is public to Google. I've done this more than a few times.

That's a different setting. You're looking for "Use a web service to help resolve navigation errors"

Different again actually, it's just a failing in the detection of hostname/search term which I couldn't find a setting to disable.

Some users are skittish of Chrome's autocomplete since it could potentially send anything you type into the address bar to Google's servers. Mozilla also makes money from selling 'search box real estate' to different providers. So it's more discoverable when the search is in its own designated box.

It's also what some of us frickin' want. I like having a separate search bar, because I can easily control which engine I'm using, and I from the URLbar I can search my history/bookmarks without irrelevant auto-complete results junking it up.

It really doesn't take much effort to combine the two. e.g. https://blog.mozilla.org/theden/2013/04/17/combine-your-fire...

I prefer it as well, but I think it's fine as an option via extensions.

I actually like it this way, although i'm probably in the minority. I know when i want to search and it's just a cmd+k away (or ctrl+k in non-osx os')

Agreeing with bitsoda, so far as I'm aware the rationale is privacy protection -- either box can actually search, but having a box that automatically queries a search engine as soon as you start typing (rather than when you hit Enter) has privacy implications.

Just remove the search bar. The address bar is unified search/address.

note that you can change that quite easily. I sort of like the separate search personally.

I really ask myself why they insist to put the tabs on top. With todays widescreen-displays, putting them left or right makes more sense for most use cases (at least with FF its possible to get this via add-on). OTOH they try to get rid of every pixel to get a bit more space while there are lots of at the left and at the right. Do all developers only work on 13" laptops today?

Absolutely. Having the tab placement customizable is something I miss from the Opera.

You should check out Tree Style Tab [1]. I always have a lot of tabs open and I can't live without it. It lets you choose where to put the tab bar, among other settings.

[1] https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/tree-style-tab/

It would be better to choose a simpler add-on, such as the ones recommended by the Tree Style Tab developer at http://piro.sakura.ne.jp/xul/_treestyletab.html.en, in the section “Similar or Related Extensions”.

> I want a simple vertical tab, without tree features.

> Vertical Tabs (https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/108862/), VertTabbar (https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/8045) or Vertigo (https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/1343) can do it.

Tree Style Tab has lots of bugs for me, like permanently hiding the navigation bar after I exit full-screen, and scrolling all the way to the bottom of the tab list whenever I restore a closed tab. I still use it because I love being able to organize my tabs hierarchically, but if someone only wants vertical tabs, they should choose a simpler add-on that is less likely to have bugs.

Regarding incremental UI changes, I recall reading that Google staged Chrome's tab style and color redesigns over multiple releases, presumably to avoid upset users. I'm not sure whether to admire their concern for user confusion or to feel like the dupe of some magician's sleight of hand. :)

Unfortunately, I can find that page now.

Why have reverse tabs won? Has anyone done any usability test on them? On OS X, with a space left for the hit area of only 10px tall, it's really hard to drag a window that uses them. For context, 10px is about half the cursor's height.

I can see a reason for them on Win/Linux, but I find them completely unfit for the Mac. I guess people just maximize the window and leave it at that.

On the other hand, I'm glad there's still a distinction between the search box and the address bar. The annoyance of omnibar mistaking a url for a search query and vice-versa, even admitting it's a rare event, is not worth the trouble to me. Besides, educating the user on such difference seems important to me.

I thought about it a bit and decided I prefer reverse tabs (tabs above the address bar, not below) because I see the address bar as part of the page I'm visiting - as I change tabs, the address and page display changes to, so having both of these together on the screen makes sense to me.

To me, as I read the brower window top-down, I have the firefox menu and minimise/maximise/close buttons -> the tabs -> the address bar and back/forward buttons. That follows the logic of application -> 'threads' within application -> status of that thread and forms the more logical tree from general to detailed in my mind.

That's not to say it's better or worse than the alternative, it's just different and makes more sense to me.

And you don't see a problem trying to hit a target 10px tall in order to drag a window (OS X)?

Nope, because:

1) I'm not running OSX so it's double the size for me.

2) there's a whopping great area to the right of the 3-4 tabs I generally have open at any one time. This is the aformentioned ~20px plus the height of the tab itself. Secondly, there's the area beneath the mininmise/maximise/close buttons and the new hamburger menu button, which can be dragged in a pinch to move the window if tabs go all the way across. Tabs don't overflow to this point and it's 26px in height. Note for reference the "1" in the white box for HTTPS Everywhere is pretty much the height of the cursor. [1]

3) Even if I had a comically sized mouse cursor, I can enable the menu bar at the top to pad a bit of extra space (presuming I can live with the idea of having 'File', etc. across part of it) which bumps it up to ~25px.

[1] http://i.imgur.com/KSZ3f6G.jpg

The size of the window-drag click target is orthogonal to whether tabs are above or below the address bar. What you really want is a title bar, not necessarily tabs below the toolbar.

And you can get that. In Firefox 29, open Menu > Customize and toggle the Title Bar button at the bottom left. That will give you a normal-height title bar to drag the window with, while still keeping tabs on top to reflect that switching tabs also changes the state of the URL in the toolbar.

Because the address bar and other navigation options are all functions for inside a tab (changing the tab) so should be contained by it in the design.

Because Chrome. There's no other reason. It's obviously less efficient due to Fitt's law and the comparative distances the mouse pointer must travel, but you'd hear the designers justify it how "conceptually" the address bar should be inside a tab. Not if it hampers productivity it shouldn't.

> Why have reverse tabs won?

What are "reverse tabs"?

The parent is implying that safari style tabs are the proper version, and that chrome, Firefox, and IE are using 'reverse tabs'

For people who haven't used Safari, like me:


It appears that "Safari-style tabs" are tabs that extend down from the address bar, not up from it.

Actually, Chrome invented them and everyone followed.

Safari is just the only one that didn't.

It followed for a little bit during a few betas and then didn't from what I recall.

Chrome didn't invent tabs on top of the address bar. As far as I know Opera did, which had them in version 7 from as far back as 2003.


Firefox had this long before chrome was even out...

Tabs on top like chrome.

I don't care where the tabs go by default, as long as we have an option to move them if we want. Unfortunately, as Mozilla are turning into google, they have decided choice is evil and bad.

I like it, but I'm seeing some serious similarities to chrome. If I had not seen this announcement and I quickly glanced at those screenshots, I would not think it was Firefox.

Does it matter?

Not really. I do think it makes sense as a design. I'm just saying it looks like chrome to me and I think a lot of other users will think similarly.

i like the big menu better than the chrome menu. less confusing. and tech users dont care about it since they use regular menus ;)

yes but believe it or not, the new firefox UI/UX has been in the works for so long and chrome's development so quick that it seems like firefox was inspired by chrome when in fact that didn't happen

I'm a Firefox developer and I don't think this is true. As far as I know, most of the key elements of the Firefox 29 theme redesign emerged after the last major UI redesign (Firefox 4) was released in 2011.

Can I ask you why Mozilla removed so many useful customisation options for australis?

has this new firefox UI been "in the works" since 2008?

because several features of those images are even similar to the first version of chrome

The new UI looks really solid to me. FF's current UI has felt dated for quite some time now, and this is the overhaul it needed.

Its hilariously sad how new UI skin is touted as reimagining the whole browser.

Opera had fully customizable UI 12 years ago? And look at us now, somehow we moved back in functionality, even Opera nowadays is nothing more than a bad non-customizable Chrome skin :(

I dread the day most of the web stops working on Opera 12.16. I wont be even able to tune Chromium to my specific needs, after all it requires 16GB of ram to compile now (and that number will probably grow).

Have been using most of these things in Nightly. It's a pleasant experience. :)

Thank you!

Opera's recent ui change atleast had a purpose.. they were trying to innovate and bring forth the browser features that their stars determined people use most.

Firefox here. As far as I can tell is just saying "ok we decided to shuffle the buttons around again"

Haven't been using firefox since they switched their patch number schema. But I still feel a little sad seeing them seal their own fate.

"Mozilla releases update featuring curved tabs with brand new radius"

So many changes nowadays.. isn't there anything that remains the same, something we can rely on in this chaotic world lol :'(

Anyways, I was hoping the 'zooming' and 'back/forward page swiping animation (on a trackpad)' would be improved, to be more smooth/sexy like it is in Safari on OS X. Unfortunately this hasn't been changed however..

Just restarted FireFox and it seems to be here now. I don't think I like the UI of inactive tabs, but the rest is fine.

I agree, the inactive tabs are not very distinguishable or readable and starkly contrast the active tab's light grey when using a darker color theme on Windows 8.1. Everything else seems great so far, though.

The post goes to great lengths to say they're doing a big, meaningful overhaul instead of a UI tweak. However, the examples given are nothing more than a bunch of tweaks (and not necessarily ones I like). It sounds like someone is trying to build up hype over nothing.

The only reason I use Safari is the beautiful smooth as butter pinch to zoom.

Are there any functional changes other than moving some buttons and menus around a little?

I like Firefox and will continue to use it, but I just don't see what good this update is supposed to accomplish.

Almost no new features, other than some flexilibility with the new Firefox menu (you can add extension buttons to it, for instance).

Lots of customisation options have been removed (with the justification that it prevents inexperienced users from 'breaking' the browser), like the navigation buttons being locked to the address bar, the inability ability to move the refresh button (urgh) and the addon bar. Most can be restored though the Classic Theme Restorer addon, though it broke another of my addons last time I tried it.

True, the new Firefox menu is much improved, but there still seems to be no way to access it via the keyboard so it will probably remained largely unused by me.

I like the new placement of the real menu bar (when enabled), much better than in the previous versions.

I actually think that the orange 'Firefox' button was an important part of the browser's branding. Sure, it was blatantly stolen from Opera, but it meant you instantly could tell which browser someone was using. I think moving that functionality to the new menu button was a mistake, and it makes the browser look a lot more generic/Chrome-like (and is also against all existing windows conventions which says administrative functions should be in the top left).

But, in terms of day-to-day usage, its location doesn't really matter much.

actually that one button appeared in firefox designs much before opera - there was a big drama about it back then. opera had the same design but released much faster than mozilla did.

back in the days they didnt have 6 week releases.

Or you can use Personal Menu [1]. I have the history in there.

[1] https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/3895/

So, is Flux the new name for what they've been calling Australis?

Either or that, or just meaning 'firefox and change'.

I read that as F.lux being incorporated somehow, and was very confused :P


The capital F is just the style for titles in English text.

Nah, just Firefox 29. I was channeling Heraclitus.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but what are you doing with your browser?

Up until a few years ago, I used an oldish single core processor and I never had any problems with the performance of a browser.

For the past few years I've had a dual core processor, and I still have never had any performance problems, despite being on the internet for hours each day.

The only times it's even remotely a problem, is when I try out some HTML5 demo that runs the Unreal Engine through my browser, or something like that.

Rapidly (manually) opening, switching between sometimes 20 tabs always brought FF to a crawl for me and is the reason why I always switched back to Chrome after giving a new FF version a try for a week.

If they are so obsessed with details, how did they miss that some people need bookmarks star, but not the bookmarks menu button. For some (I'm sure completely arbitrary) reason, it is impossible to decouple these two buttons in Firefox, so instead of a little star in URL bar you get a honking huge two button combo that takes like 6 times as much space (which is even more limited in Australis since no addon bar).

Bookmarks sidebar button and Add-on toolbar...nope, no one uses those AT ALL. Now I have all that shit in the upper right-hand corner instead of lower left, near Start Menu in Windows and have to use keyboard shortcuts to get to bookmark sidebar, again in Windows. OS X I'm more adept with keyboard shortcuts but monkey trained to use what he's been using last fucking decade in Windows.

As long as it is faster than Chrome (in every possible way), I'll switch back to it. Every second counts when people are on not-so-fast wires.

I find a clean install of Firefox to be almost as fast as Chrome, and in some places more responsive - particularly when opening the browser. Chrome will get the basic UI up on the screen very fast but take a moment before you can interact with it, Firefox is usable the moment it is on screen, even though that time is slightly longer).

Chrome does have preloading of certain things which make loading some things faster although there are addons that can replicate that on Firefox.

What's with the purple cupcake at the top left?

Oh nice! That's one of my favorite features in Chrome.

It looks absolutely terrible having addon icons crammed into the same bar as everything else. What's the problem with the addon bar? There's even less view pane area now because the top area is so large.

The active tab curve is feminine, not in a good way, but I can live with it.

It does feel faster though, maybe they broke some addons that were slowing it down. Time will tell.

You can add another bar in the customize menu and put add-ons on that bar, if you prefer!

How do you add a bar or spacing or separators?

I believe you can't using the Customize UI, but for a hacky solution you could add spaces in bookmark titles, like this: http://cl.ly/image/2Q2b3L3c061a

does anyone know how to hide the navigation bar? (for vimperator users) apparently they removed the option to hide it.

http://i.imgur.com/Ueqq29i.png is what my current vimperator browsing window looks like (ff27), the new changes make this very difficult to replicate via changes to userChrome.css, but hopefully, as it gets more exposure, these things will get ironed out


Further, I have removed the tab-bar and use "b" exclusively for switching tabs.

A bit of topic here. But does anyone know of any browser that has the URL-field and bookmarks 50/50 on the same row? I don't really need to see the full URL at all times, and I only have small amount of bookmarks. On top of that I use a fairly small screen, so it would be great to combine them.

Actually, you can do this in Firefox 29! Click the Customize hamburger-button on the right and then click "Customize." Drag the search bar from the menu bar down to the tools page. Then drag "Bookmarks Toolbar" up next to the URL bar. It should display as your bookmarks, listed next to the URL bar. Here's how it looks on my machine: http://cl.ly/image/1M3N3L0h3v1s

Neat. I might just go ahead and try it then and hope for it to come to Chrome at some point.

Edit: Remove unnecessary snark.

It is still frustrating that a bunch of plug-ins appear to have been disrupted because of removing the add-on/status bar, though. Not everything has moved to the new location automatically, and it's not immediately obvious how to get some of them back.

I just installed JS Switch on Nightly and clicked the Menu(burger) icon, then Customize, and was able to drag the JS Switch button into my toolbar.

(This does not address that it's crappy that icons that were in the addon bar don't, say, automatically get put into the toolbar or trigger a message notifying you how to get them back or anything, but oh well. EDIT: According to another reply this may not be the case with all addons, seems like some automagically get moved.)

Thank you, that did work for me as well.

I develop a Firefox add-on. In our experience, the transition to Australis was pretty smooth. Our add-on bar icon was automatically moved to the toolbar without any changes on our part, although we ended up changing the icon to better match the Australis UI. The transition might not be perfect for all methods of overlaying the add-on bar, but I think the folks at Mozilla are doing the best they can.

I don't think Mozilla should be holding back functionality to avoid breaking extensions. If an add-on is actively maintained, then the developer will update it, and if the add-on is not actively maintained, then it's going to have to break someday.

I don't think Mozilla should be holding back functionality to avoid breaking extensions.

I respectfully disagree. Extensions are the USP for Firefox, and IMHO breaking compatibility should be considered a serious issue and not something to be done lightly. (See also: all the hate when they switched to doing six-weekly updates and it kept disabling extensions every time for months afterwards.)

In any case, there was no pressing need to remove the add-on/status bar. Arbitrary rearrangement of UIs is generally bad for usability. Ditto for major things like moving tabs (for anyone who isn't using an enhanced tab plug-in anyway) and the burger menu (which is now a tiny area right underneath the close window button, and appears to be completely inaccessible by keyboard).

USP: "Unique Selling Proposition"


(for those who were as at sea as I was)

What's the new location?

Where is all this stuff going to be displayed? http://img.nux.ro/4RJ-Selection_065.png

Some things seem to have moved automatically up to the toolbar. If that's happened, you'll now find them at the top-right of your window, between the search box and the burger menu.

I'm not sure what is supposed to happen with plug-ins that actually used the status bar for more comprehensive status information, such as the system you illustrated. You could check whether your (Burger)->Customize screen gives you anything you can dump on a toolbar somewhere as 'Osmose suggested, but since it appears you can only have one row of toolbar contents, the new model just seems to be broken for your purposes. :-(

I can confirm that this add-on brings back the "status bar" and WorldIP extension works with it nicely.


You can already download it using the official link


(change osx with wath you ned)

I assume they will update the website very soon

Has anyone figured out how to get the tabs below the address bar again? This is horrible. I'm not really sure how to describe my hatred of this but it is there. I love FF but if the tab bar can't be moved I think I might have to switch to Safari.

I think I'm in the minority, but I really like Safari. It doesn't use reverse tabs, I find it to be easily as fast as Chrome (and it tends to use a lot less resources: battery, cpu on Mac OS X), and I almost always use the "Reader" and Reading List features.

FWIW I use a plug in called "tree style tabs". It puts the tabs in a hierarchy on the left side of the screen. One of the main reasons I like firebox better than other browsers is this feature. It also allows you to move the tabs to top/bottom/right of the window, although I think top is just the default.

It's probably not exactly what you're looking for, but I can do this: https://mediacru.sh/9q7nBA92chf8

Thanks for the try. But that doesn't seem to work on OS X. For now I will go back to 28.0 and hope someone comes out with a work-around in the next few weeks.

To reply to my own comment. I thought about it for a bit and bounced back between tabs on top and tabs below. I think my gripe is that the tabs feel detached from the page they represent.

Given that your address bar changes when you change tabs, having the tabs above it makes sense.

Is there a browser.tabs.onTop preference in your about:config? Should be set to false.

Even if it is there, it no longer works. Australis is tabs-on -top only.

Checked it and on false. Tabs still on the top.


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