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Firefox 29 (firefox.com)
603 points by epaga on Apr 29, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 503 comments

If you want a highly customizable browser, Firefox is it. Chrome is in its infancy when it comes to customization and they often make decisions that prevent power users from taking advantage of their browsing experience.

For example, they've disabled custom stylesheets in recent releases despite a clear indication that people were sharing themes, they have very old bugs that don't get resolved (like the stupid white flashes on dark themes), major accessibility issues.

Generally they try to appeal and prioritize regular users (which is fine) but go out of their way to make decisions that ignore power users and not even provide alternatives intentionally.

Finally and the most frustrating part is they don't value feedback. https://code.google.com/p/chromium/ is a joke and a waste of time. The most starred issues are often closed to the public when it reaches a certain level and users are asked to submit a new bug again if the old one is not fixed. This means that if there is still a bug, you have to wait months before other users experience it, find the time to search for the bug and star it, reach enough stars to get attention and then get a response. Bugs are often miscategorized and the wrong team has it in its backlog. It's a mess.

There isn't a feature in Chromium or Google Chrome that Firefox doesn't deliver.

Take it from a serious chrome user and extension developer for several years, switch to Firefox if you want to tweak anything that bothers you easily without having to change the damn source code.

> There isn't a feature in Chromium or Google Chrome that Firefox doesn't deliver.

Multi-process browsing. It is incredibly annoying when my entire browser locks up because one of the fifty tabs I have open is doing something stupid. That never happened in several years of using Chrome, and it happens several times a day in Firefox.

So imagine you are a person that stopped browser hygiene during a few months while finishing their PhD and now _still_ carries around about 900 open tabs waiting to be sorted into bookmarks and junk. (Yeah, that's me.)

I have to re-start Firefox every 48 hours or else its resource consumption starts affecting the overall system. This is my primary issue with current Firefox versions, although I am aware that I'm an n-sigma outlier.

Intrestingly, however, the Firefox team has been greatly improving memory management, so that currently, even with my completely pathological browser session, Firefox remains usable for 48 hours with 900 tabs open.

Right-click the tab bar, select "Bookmark all tabs", save them all to a new folder (name it after the current date or whatnot).

Or just close all those tabs. Realistically you're never actually going to get around to reading them and they're just there weighing you down. Seriously, close them. Forget they were ever there. If you haven't looked at them yet it means that they're not that important!

Yeah, this is the only way I keep my browsing sane. Over the years, a kind of "tab garbage-collection" habit has emerged. I find it works really well, since if a tab hasn't been visited in the last 20 minutes, I probably won't open it again.

Additionally, the history-tracking of the browser is good enough and my google-fu sufficient so I can find anything I need that I've previously visited.

Keeping my tabs lean makes me much happier!

I've found Evernote with it's web clipper to be great for this. Anything I figure I might want someday, but I don't know exactly when or why, goes into my EN archive. The full text is searchable, so it's like having Google for only stuff that I've found interesting in the past. (And the clipper can even add results from your library to search engine results, so you can re-find things even when you're not specifically looking.)

Firefox deals well with 900 tabs if you enable the "Don't load tabs until selected" option in Options -> Tabs.

Then once the browser is restarted it only loads the tabs you actually click on. A kind of tab lazy loading. I wish Chrome had that feature.

The Page Alarm/Tab Snooze extensions are also good for snoozing tabs for say a month until you need them again http://superuser.com/a/533498/7018

Mine can go for weeks with more than 750 tabs open. Especially if I restart it. Do you have less than 4 gigs of RAM?

You might like the unload tab addon: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/unloadtab/

Suspend Tab works for Firefox ~24 (Palemoon is still 24), and BarTab has a more official suspend/unload idle tabs feature.

I'm sure you've tried them with your browsing habits, but just to make sure.

For the record, Mozilla is working on it:


You can track the E10s team's progress through their weekly meeting notes:


You can also try it right now on Nightly builds. There's even a menu option ("open new e10s window").

You can enable it in Firefox 29 if you like (about:config, browser.tabs.remote=true, restart). I noticed though that navigating to live bookmarks crashed the browser, so ended up disabling it.

Agreed. The multi-process vs single process is controversial. With cheap memory, multi-process would be better. However, I personally don't experience crashes several times a day.

A crash usually boils down to Javascript taking too long and/or maybe rendering issues with CSS (hardware acceleration). However Chrome is not immune to bad JS and will also slow down your system until the single tab is killed/crashes.

Overall, a crash is not really that dramatic. The browser restarts, all tabs are still there and only load if you click them, you can use Lazarus to auto-save all form inputs and not lose a single point of data and it resumes at the exact position in seconds (no need to scroll either).

Just add NoScript and block the sites where developers can't write decent JS.

>> it happens several times a day in Firefox

If it happens frequently regardless of the sites you're visiting then it must be extensions or hardware acceleration or plugins. i.e a configuration problem and not a FF one

> Chrome is not immune to bad JS and will also slow down your system until the single tab is killed/crashes.

That's true, but with like 8-or-so cores I don't really care or even notice that much (if I notice some tab is eating a lot of CPU power, I just go into the task-manager and kill it, until I need it, at which point I reload it.) No disruption to my browsing experience happens. In firefox, I'll have to close the tab, possibly restart the browser, et cetera.

> The browser restarts, all tabs are still there and only load if you click them

I haven't really used firefox for a while now, but it used to lose tabs occasionally for me. I hope that's fixed nowadays.

So Firefox does support multi-processed tabs through Electrolysis (its IPC layer). From what I understand this is used primarily on Firefox OS to sandbox app runtimes.

Doing one process per tab, which is what Chrome does, comes at a very steep cost in increased memory usage. If you compare a Chrome and Firefox instance holding 20 or 30 tabs, the memory consumption is going to be dramatically different.

Bill McCloskey did a nice writeup on this back in December: http://billmccloskey.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/multiprocess-f...

His article explains how you can try out the experimental multi-process support in Firefox, but that it works differently to Chrome's. I think Chrome's way of doing it wastes a lot of system resources and that we need to be more clever about how we spend a user's system resources.

You can turn it on in Firefox Nightly.


> For example, they've disabled custom stylesheets in recent releases despite a clear indication that people were sharing themes, they have very old bugs that don't get resolved (like the stupid white flashes on dark themes), major accessibility issues.

The Stylish extension works fine for me http://userstyles.org/

Stylish is applied post-rendering in Chrome. It works fine in FF because of the browser API.

In chrome, because of the limitations of the extensions API, it doesn't cover chrome pages, developer tools or source view. If you pick a dark background in Stylish and visit a site with a white background, you will see flashes of light because the extension takes over after the document was created and chrome stylesheet was applied.

Check out http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=1373 for more details

I'm sorry but the developer tools in Firefox are a nightmare to use. Sure they have fancy things like 3d view and other awesome functions. But plain old jane stuff, is just easier to do in Chrome.

At least in my experience.

> There isn't a feature in Chromium or Google Chrome that Firefox doesn't deliver.

Applescript support. This prevents me from using Firefox.

That sounds interesting. What sort of things do you do with AppleScript and the browser?

Nothing too crazy. I have a keyboard shortcut that grabs the URL from chrome, then passes it off to a script that interfaces with pass [0] to have a rudimentary, but secure and cross platform password manager.

[0]: http://www.zx2c4.com/projects/password-store/

Try this:

    tell application "Firefox"
       set pb to the clipboard
       tell application "System Events"
           keystroke "l" using command down
           keystroke "c" using command down
       end tell
       set page_url to the clipboard

       set the clipboard to pb
    end tell
It’s kind of hacked together and I haven’t tested it with rigor but until now it did its job. If you use it, please let me know if you could enhance it or whether it breaks for certain pasteboard contents.

Thanks, that worked well. I needed to add a pause between cmd-l and cmd-c though.

I'm using mozrepl[1] which exposes all sorts of FF guts over a simple localhost telnet connection to automate stuff that might otherwise be applescripted.

It's a bit of a hassle, but for simple things like 'get url of current tab', 'open new tab', 'switch to tab x', etc, it's reasonably simple and can be scripted.

[1] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/mozrepl/

Flash support. And no, supporting the old deprecated Adobe plugin doesn't count as many sites now require newer versions. This is to support flash games. My kids love the simple flash games on Kongregate and similar sites, so I have to use Chromium on their systems.

Chromium ppapi flash is known inferior to npapi flash (sites like Crunchyroll tell you not to use it; ppapi has higher CPU usage) and npapi flash works fine in Firefox.

Flash is still being developed outside of Adobe? Who would be perpetuating Flash?

google has the code for flash actually.

"There isn't a feature in Chromium or Google Chrome that Firefox doesn't deliver."

On this ubuntu machine, "the ability to have a bunch of tabs displaying pdfs open at once" is a really big selling point for chrome.

I love Firefox -- for what it's done, what it represents, and what it helps guard against. I have fond memories of those early versions of Firefox (nee Firebird) that busted open the IE monopoly, and where hands-down the best browser going at the time.

But it's never felt very good on the Mac to me, and it still doesn't. Here's a few early thoughts on this release, from the perspective of a happy Safari user, w/ a pretty (nit-)picky eye.

* Separate address and search bars is old-fashioned. As a user, I don't want to have to make this distinction, and it's hard to imagine most users-on-street wouldn't find this confusing

* The address bar is square edged while the search bar is round edged, which is displeasingly visually. (I realize this is because there's a convention of "search bars are rounded," but the inconsistency remains.)

* Tapping the hamburger menu on the far right, it appears with a combined drop-and-fade-in effect, and then disappears instantly.

This is jarring on the Mac, because it is exactly the opposite of native menu behavior, which is to appear instantly, and disappear with a fade. (I also believe the native behavior makes more sense: when you're tapping a menu, you want to do something, so you don't want to be slowed down by an animation -- just show the menu.)

(Addition of a hamburger bar on the far right at all is suspicious; often it's a UI "dumping ground")

* The "what's new" slideshow that appears at the bottom of the screen has to be controlled by clicking small <- or -> arrows, instead of just scrolling, which feels very outmoded

* The scroller applies a fade effect to incoming content, but only to the text, not the image, which is jarring.

* Multi-touch swipe to go back/forward shows no feedback! (Safari does this best, where the whole page slides away, revealing what's underneath; Chrome does a half-assed thing with arrows fading in, which isn't nearly as nice, but at least better than no feedback.)

Pretty nitpicky, I know, but I recently read an article trumpeting this release of Firefox's incredible attention to detail.

On the Mac at least, I think it still falls short.

> Separate address and search bars is old-fashioned. As a user, I don't want to have to make this distinction, and it's hard to imagine most users-on-street wouldn't find this confusing

As a user, I want separate edit bars for separate functions. I don't want Google know everything I type (or mistype) in the address bar. When I type foobar in the address bar please give me anything that returned the web server at foobar or give me an error if there is no foobar or the foobar have no web server. If I want to search foobar then I will type it in the search bar by myself.

I encourage Chrome users to go check the search history attached to their Google account. It exposes a lot of data that you didn't realize you were sending to Google (including letter-by-letter entry of search terms/urls) and may give a newfound respect for Firefox's separation, whether you personally care enough to make the switch or not.

To my knowledge search history is opt-in (as opposed to opt-out).

Reconfirmed this for my Google accounts and in fact it is not storing search history. Ofcourse Google may be tracking it on their end, but I assume very few services don't track, so that's a non-issue (at least for me).

For anyone who wants to check, the url is:


Search history as presented to you may be opt-in, but what Google actually does with your data is unknowable.

Google provides a unified privacy policy for all products that describe how the collected data is used.


If you don't send them the data in the first place, it doesn't matter what their privacy policy says -- either today or in the future -- about how they will use it.

This was a big deal on /. when Chrome launched. As several /.ers pointed out, there is a setting for that in Chrome, so it isn't a good reason to prefer one browser over another. http://www.thechromesource.com/how-to-turn-off-search-sugges...

If you find letter by letter search useful but only want to use it would you are searching, not while using the address bar. Then it can be a good reason.

I only use Chromium because it's supposed to not have the phone-home "features" that are in Chrome.

...or at least it's that they claim.

EDIT: "they" being Google. http://blog.chromium.org/2008/10/google-chrome-chromium-and-...

And, according to your edit, you missed my point. That blog post explicitly states that Chromium has many of the same "phone-home features" of Chrome. That includes the specific one discussed in this thread, "search suggest".

The difference between Chromium and Chrome is mainly that Chromium doesn't include the proprietary featuresets included in Chrome, like the Pepper Flash implementation. Chromium is not a more private build, it's just a more open build. They still send all your data to Google by default, just like Chrome.

Note that even Firefor has at least one kind of phone home "feature" enabled by default - malware protection. It keeps asking Google if the sites you are visiting are OK, thus sending the list of visited sites to Google.

I know that they are supposed not to misuse this information, but I would feel much better if they didn't receive it at all.

The SafeBrowsing implementation does not send every URL you visit to Google. There's a local database of bad URLs, but stored in a way that can have false positives, to improve efficiency. Only if you get a match with the local database does it contact Google to see if it is a false positive or not.

I agree, though Firefox's awesomebar (if it's still called that) already integrates search, and seems to autocomplete to things I've never visited with suggested search queries. This might be related to my use of the DuckDuckGo extension though.

I also use ctrl-L and ctrl-K for navigating and searching, respectively, and I've found the way Chrome handles ctrl-K by focusing on the navigation bar and filling it with a '?' lacking. For instance, it clears my last query, where I often refine queries after quickly inspecting the results I got first time around. The requirement of having a '?' in front of search queries is also annoying, since it hinders a lot of keyboard shortcuts. Most notably, if I change my mind, Ctrl-A doesn't allow me to restart typing a query without manually inserting the '?' again.

I had to separate that and disable all the searching on the address bar. I got sick of it not quite understanding what I wanted.

There's a setting to disable "recommended" autocomplete (and only autocomplete from local history). Once at the Google search page, there's a separate setting to [en/dis]able autocomplete, and it may or may not actually work.

I've taken to changing my Chrome search engine to "https://www.google.com/search?q=%s&complete=0", which does disable the autocomplete behavior, but also appears to give a slightly older version of the search page.

Obviously the proper next step would be to switch to DuckDuckGo.

I don't understand the issue. alt+d for address bar ctrl+k for search bar.

What's so complicated?

And I assume you also don't understand why anyone might prefer to use an IDE instead of vim/emacs...

Even when using an IDE I use a lot of keyboard shortcuts - they are part of the tools available to make my workflow quicker.

Less elements to worry about. I switched from Firefox to Chrome few years ago and now find separate bar being unintuitive. If I stayed on Firefox, I would say that having united bar is intrusive to privacy and illogical.

My final point, letting users decide would be the best option here, and Firefox did exactly this! I managed to reconfigure it into a single address-bar working as search bar too, except search engine auto-completion.

ctrl+l is also address bar.

Also F6 (at least on some operating systems).

Unfortunately you are not the average user, if you want Firefox to succeed it needs to do what is common, both IE, and Chrome the two most popular browsers have a single address/search bar.

In regards to the whole tinfoil hat comments about Google knowing everything you type, well I hate to burst your bubble but they probably already know everything about you, including but not limited too your inability to spell duck right.

I think firefox has already succeeded

Succeeded - but is it still succeeding today?

I can't remember the last time I used Firefox intentionally. Chrome replaced it long ago.

As a web dev, I find myself more annoyed at the anomalies of Gecko everyday. I fix more Gecko related bugs than IE11 bugs, and that just feels wrong.

I don't expect this to be a popular opinion, but I have to say based on recent experience that if it wasn't for Chrome, I'd be using IE11 on a PC and Safari on a Mac. Firefox just feels too kludgy every time I use it.

Really? From my experience Chrome has a lot of anomalies/regressions since version 32. And Android 2.3 browser (WebView also in 4x) reminds me of the IE 6.

Gecko and Trident are very good in comparison. Google needs a better QA process, especially after forking Webkit.

The only thing that bothers me with Firefox beside some UI is the single process model.

Can you please point me to some of the Gecko bugs you've been running into?

Separate address and search bars is old-fashioned.

Exactly how I like it, I HATE getting search results when I make a type-o, or try to go to an internal site and forget to specify http://

Indeed. I love seeing Mozilla true to their mission. By separating them, the user knows where their input is going at all times. Only Firefox gets to see what you are typing in your address bar. Moreover, I love you can click ctrl+k in a tab, then type something you are reading on that page and then hit alt+enter to open your search result in a new tab.

I think for some time already you could also just select text on a page, right-click and choose "Search <search engine> for 'Lorum lipsum'" and it will open a new tab for it with your set search engine searching for that term.

I use this all the time, small thing but it's awesome! I'm pretty sure it exists in other browsers as well though.

I agree on the separation of input fields, but wanted to point out that the search functionality you mention exists in Chrome too (Mac equivalent in parens):

ctrl(cmd)+l to focus omnibar, alt(shift)+enter to open results in a new tab

You will then probably also like to set browser.fixup.alternate.enabled to False in about:config, to disable the trying to go to 'whatyoutyped.com' and such when hitting an NXDOMAIN.

Me too! accessibility.typeaheadfind.flashBar=0 --- browser.fixup.alternate.enabled=false --- keyword.enabled=false

Turns the address bar into an ACTUAL address bar. (Hope I didn't forget any.)

For anyone who reads this later, it might be helpful to clarify that the kind of settings you're referring to there are for things like adding missing http://, www. or .com to an address. That is, while they do modify what you type if the initial response is negative, they're quite different to the send-every-character-you-type behaviour used for autocomplete in a search box (or anything at all, in browsers with unified URL/search boxes).

Not sure about firefox, but in chrome you can get around it by appending a trailing / to things

Thanks, that worked for me in Chrome for desktop, but not in my Android mobile browser which messes up intranet site addresses even if I select them from history.

Android always uses googles DNS settings.

See answer 1, manually set your DNS server in wifi Advances page.

Trailing slash works in all browsers.

I believe Safari solves this on iOS/Mac by treating the address bar as the "search option" - whether that's your memorised URL, stored bookmarks, google, history or (and my favourite...) the page.

Like the chap above your comment, I absolutely despise having the Firefox differentiation because my habit is to click the address bar and then depending on whether I have realised the mistake before/after hitting enter it's: (1) "S&%^ I have clicked the wrong one, <tab>" (2) "FFS I didn't want http://byron burger locations"

Well, in SeaMonkey (another Mozilla suite), when you type in the address bar (there is no search bar), there is always the suggestion to search for what you are typing at the bottom of the suggestions. But it does not provide you with suggestions.

Also Safari on iOS send the type ahead information for search suggestions. By default. Even in Private Browsing mode. And the switch is all or none.

it happens only when you omit or mistype the gTLD (the smallest part of the address). otherwise chrome shows "website not found" page.

unless you make more gTLD typos than your search queries, the mechanism works great.

You made a typo!

>Separate address and search bars is old-fashioned. As a user, I don't want to have to make this distinction, and it's hard to imagine most users-on-street wouldn't find this confusing

Use the customizer. People complain when they change and complain when they don't

> The address bar is square edged while the search bar is round edged, which is displeasingly visually. (I realize this is because there's a convention of "search bars are rounded," but the inconsistency remains.)

Maybe this is just the Mac version. On Linux they both have about a 3px border radius.

>Tapping the hamburger menu on the far right, it appears with a combined drop-and-fade-in effect, and then disappears instantly.

Sounds like a bug, not happening on linux though.

>The scroller applies a fade effect to incoming content, but only to the text, not the image, which is jarring.

Is this only on the slide show or something? That's not really much to complain about. I see web pages with different designs all over the internet.

>Multi-touch swipe

I have multi touch swipe set up for other things, but that sounds like something that needs work.

>> Separate address and search bars is old-fashioned. As a user, I don't want to have to make this distinction, and it's hard to imagine most users-on-street wouldn't find this confusing

> Use the customizer.

Most users-on-street don't want to customise either.

Edit: The moderation on this is baffling. Does anyone genuinely believe users want to customise to achieve reasonable defaults?

HN should ban new users from moderating for a year.

> Most users-on-street don't want to customize either.

Most users on the street aren't on the hacker news forum. Also if you are going to play the "most users on the street" game, then most users on the street aren't going to install a browser that didn't come with the OS.

> Most users on the street aren't on the hacker news forum.

I don't think anyone said they were.

> then most users on the street aren't going to install a browser that didn't come with the OS.

That's true. So it's even more important to retain them by having sensible defaults.

>That's true. So it's even more important to retain them by having sensible defaults.

Not really. What is wrong with having a product that caters to a power user, or a niche group? Why does everything have to be dumbed-down for the "user on the street"? If you want dumbed-down then use the browser that came with your OS. If want something that isn't dumbed-down then you most likely have the know-how to customize your toolbar.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a product for power users. Again, nobody in the thread said there was.

Firefox is a browser for everyone. It focuses on freedom and privacy. The browser that came with your OS most likely does not. There is no minimum level of technical expertise required. The UX is designed to be simple.

I still have to disagree with you. I don't buy into your "street person" argument at all. I don't think you give people enough credit. Just about anyone born in the U.S. (or any first world country) in the late 80's and after will probably know how to customize a tool bar in a web browser. Even if they grew up poor and didn't own a computer it would be hard to not have this knowledge after going thru a public school system. If your "street person" happens to be a baby-boomer, then maybe.

> Just about anyone born in the U.S. (or any first world country) in the late 80's and after will probably know how to customize a tool bar in a web browser

Agreed, but nobody in the thread is debating whether people know to customise a tool bar in a web browser.

The only thing that has been questioned is whether most people want to customise a browser to achieve defaults they find reasonable.

> That's true. So it's even more important to retain them by having sensible defaults.

What's sensible about mixing three things (location, history and internet-search) into one location?

In Chrome I can't find anything in my history because the browser starts searching the internet instead. It's a horribly frustrating user-experience.

Which you cannot even customize. In Firefox you can customize the behaviour. I know which browser I prefer.

> HN should ban new users from moderating for a year.

You actually need quite a bit of karma (maybe 500?) on Hacker News before you can downvote things, so anybody downvoting you can't be that new of a user.

> so anybody downvoting you can't be that new of a user.

IME, you can earn a lot of karma quickly with links. I'd say 1/3 of my karma came from links, and initially that's what pushed me over the top. So they're most likely not new users, but anyone with a month of submissions could have crossed that threshold. It makes me wonder if the two karmas, and the features that get enabled, should be separate things.

Then I'm baffled. There seems to be a recent trend where non controversial things:

- the documentation and character support issues can be 'bugs'

- defaults that fit most users are good

- reminding someone being personal of the HN guidelines

...get moderated up, then down to -3 or -4, then back up to 1 again.

I think it's that your response sounded like a lazy dismissal. Reasonable defaults are good, yes. That's pretty uncontroversial. But nobody has established that Firefox's behavior is less reasonable than the alternative — for example, the comment you were replying to noted that both approaches have their fans — so your out-of-hand rejection on behalf of "users-on-street" sounded imperious.

The only reason I didn't question the behaviour is that the parent didn't either: they just mentioned that most users could customise. Which, as mentioned, they wouldn't want to do.

Noticing the folk in the conversation there's lots of newish accounts, and some are replying before they've actually read what they're replying to. Downmods for 'I disagree' are more popular now as well.

I want my bars separated for safety reasons

I definitely understand this.

I'm just responding to a comment saying 'customise it'. if the simplicity argument is true, then 'customise it' is not an appropriate suggestion.

The simplicity argument, of course, could not be true, since simplicity may threaten safety in this particular implementation.

> Most users-on-street don't want to customise either.

Since we're talking about one person's preference rather than the results of a user study, that hardly seems relevant.

I suspect the 'people find a single entry field for both search and URLs to be a simpler' could be proved by a study.

> Edit: The moderation on this is baffling. Does anyone genuinely believe users want to customise to achieve reasonable defaults?

They might find your position unreasonable, and your absolutism not contributing to the discussion.

It's absolutely not given that Chrome's behaviour is the "reasonable" default.

> Most users-on-street don't want to customise either.

I can't imagine that most users-on-street would want or benefit from separate address and search fields either.

  > Separate address and search bars is old-fashioned.
  > As a user, I don't want to have to make this
  > distinction, and it's hard to imagine most
  > users-on-street wouldn't find this confusing
Although a UI problem, this is actually a privacy feature.

As you type into the search bar, autocomplete queries are sent to the search provider. This happens even if your intention was not to search, but just to enter URL manually.

In simpler terms: you are telling Google what sites you are visiting even when you don't use Google.

(AndrewDucker mentions this on this thread too, but his comment emphasises the UI aspect, whereas I think the privacy aspect needs to be stressed).

Just make your own custom search keywords (right-click site's search box>Add a keyword for this search). Uses no autocomplete, and is much more time-saving than a separate search box.

I have around 30 set up, from Wikipedia (w) to Google Image Search (gis), etc.

Of course there's always ways around things, but browser vendors have to (unless in specific cases) cater for the general public who don't know about personalisation. These are the people who need safe defaults most.

As power users, we tend to ignore the power of default settings. Their values have to be chosen carefully because only a small part of the public are even aware of them.

Several commenters here seem to imply that they shouldn't be the ones personalising their browsers. Turns out it's the other way around: they are the ones who know how to personalise it, whereas defaults should be about users who don't know how to do it.

> Separate address and search bars is old-fashioned. As a user, I don't want to have to make this distinction, and it's hard to imagine most users-on-street wouldn't find this confusing

Given the new gTLDs, I'm thankful that Firefox still has a separate search box. Say I'm want to know about the "asdfg.cat" file that showed up on my system. If I put that into the URL bar and hit enter, it's going to say "Oh, I know what .cat is, it's the TLD for Catalan related websites. Let's go to asdfg.cat!"

Same goes for things like "mail.app", which had conventionally referred to Apple's mail client on OS X. I have no idea if they'll end up owning that domain or if someone else will. And either way, I didn't want to end up on the web site if I was trying to search for it.

I enjoy the separate boxes as well. That said, the chrome-style 'question mark prefix' is not ambiguous.

you can put it in quotes, and it should execute it as search vs address. the only argument for having a separate box i can think of is it you wanted a separate search engine associated to address bar, vs search box.

Chrome's solution is to have ctrl-K move focus to the address bar and fill in a ? at the start, but I'm not a huge fan. Same for having to type in quotes.

Mainly I don't like that it buries the fact that searching is a separate action and that you can pick what you're doing. And I think it's even more of a problem for inexperienced users, because to them the program is saying "Doing this action will randomly either search or go to some webpage, and you don't understand which will happen."

I also like keeping the search provider dropdown. It calls attention to the fact that you don't have to use google (and I don't). Google obviously has motives to prefer burying this in right click, but I think it fits Mozilla's agenda to leave it as a very visible setting.

you can set which search engine used in address bar, just like you would in search bar.

i never use ? or quotes, because in 99.9% cases the search is very different from an address, and it's easy to tell which is being proposed. I also love having search recommendation for 5% searches where i am not sure of exact wording.

and yes, it's more of a power user feature, which is why i like it.

>the only argument for having a separate box i can think of //

I use the address bar primarily (in FF) but the search bar is useful as a "scratch pad" for storing details I want to see briefly. It's certainly an edge case.

"Separate address and search bars is old-fashioned"

Chrome is almost unusable for me because I can no longer type the names of internal websites and have them come up. That single change in its behavior drives me back to Firefox.

If you put '/' at the end of the internal address it will resolve it correctly. Although I switch between both browsers a lot so I don't always remember that trick.

That works - I can't tell you how many hundreds (possibly even thousands) of times I was frustrated by that issue with chrome, before I gave up. I can now come home again.

This is strange, where I typed localhost, Chrome prompted me if I really meant localhost/

If there are a few that you frequently access, you could set the URLs as 'search engines' with the hostname as the keyword, or even a shorthand keyword

Even fewer keystrokes.

You could try Fauxbar, which is a Chrome extension version of the Firefox Awesomebar. I really like it.

yeah, it hacked me off when every time I mistyped a address, that t would send the information to the borg when using Chrome.

Separate address and search bars is old-fashioned

If you type in the search bar then it automcompletes by sending all of your keystrokes to your search provider. If you type in the address bar then it autocompletes by using your history.

These are two very different use cases, and I appreciate the ability to search my history without notifying google of the name of internal servers.

If you type something that is clearly not a web address, firefox send it off to a search engine as well. It sends mine to whatever search engine is selected in the search bar.

True, but not the same as sending even things you type that are real addresses to the mothership as well. That discloses every site you ever visit (by typing its name, at least) to a third party for no particularly good reason, which is an obvious privacy issue, and it seems unlikely that most users realise this is happening, which makes the privacy issue much worse.

I actually think this is their best effort yet. Firefox on Mac has always felt bloated and foreign to me. But this release pretty much eliminates all of that. While it's not perfect, it's the very first time I've enjoyed using Firefox more than Chrome or Safari. This is an amazing release.

> * Separate address and search bars is old-fashioned. As a user, I don't want to have to make this distinction, and it's hard to imagine most users-on-street wouldn't find this confusing.

The big reason I really like this is that the address bar is local to the tab, and the search box is window. If you have a topic you want to dive into on another tab, you can safely transcribe information from multiple current tabs and then create a new tab with the search. Especially when some of the information is in the current url.

* Separate address and search bars is old-fashioned. As a user, I don't want to have to make this distinction, and it's hard to imagine most users-on-street wouldn't find this confusing

Customize: rip it out, install foobar(1) addon and/or use search keywords for search engines

(1) https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/foobar/

> * Multi-touch swipe to go back/forward shows no feedback! (Safari does this best, where the whole page slides away, revealing what's underneath; Chrome does a half-assed thing with arrows fading in, which isn't nearly as nice, but at least better than no feedback.)

This is how it works on ChromeOS too. It even has a nice black and white effect on the previous page until it's fully loaded.

>Separate address and search bars is old-fashioned. As a user, I don't want to have to make this distinction, and it's hard to imagine most users-on-street wouldn't find this confusing

umm... I don't know if this works on mac too, but at least in the windows Firefox, you actually CAN use the address bar as a search bar. So why two bars? well the search bar also lets you CHOOSE your search engine, unlike Chrome which hardwires you to google. Yes yes, you might say but why would i want to search anywhere else? Well just like you hate having to actually GO to google to search on google, people hate going to wikipedia or wolfram alpha or ask.com etc etc before searching there. So it lets them query their engine of choice right from the bar. Oh and depending on your version, the address bar automatically searches on the engine selected in the search bar.

Now since you are a fairly old user of FF, i don't really understand the need to tell you all this, ut i just felt your nitpick about the searchbar saw this "feature" as a "design flaw"

Use customization to lose the extra search bar. Then you can have a single, clearn bar on top.

If you need to access it, command-k is your friend.

Agreed with a lot of the above. The biggest concerns for me...

1. The rounded tabs are simply ugly, and remind me of web design from a decade ago. It's also weird how they go from square to round on rollover. Poor design choice in my opinion.

2. It's far more difficult to find the active tab now. For comparison, the old style (http://static.filehorse.com/screenshots/browsers-and-plugins...). In the new version, I have to scan the toolbar to find the active tab based on the rounded or square edges. It's a lot easier the old way to find a bright active tab on darker, faded out inactive tabs. That's UX 101. It doesn't stop there, the entire toolbar, tabs, search, etc, blends together in a blob of light grey and white right now. Very little distinction between anything.

3. I never liked the orange Firefox button in the top left, it always seemed out of place and forced. Replacing it with an icon and menu is fine, but that icon should be on the left, before the first tab. The menu opening to a grid of icons is also awful. How it transitions to the right when you click something like 'History' is extremely bizarre. I have no idea why they tried to reinvent the wheel here, a typical list menu that everyone is familiar with would work best. That's great you can customize it, but 9/10 people will never use that feature, so it's a step backwards for them.

Overall, I see it as a change for the worse. It's not rocket science here, and nailing down a proper browser interface should be a walk in the park. We're talking about some tabs and a toolbar, there's no excuse for it to be anything but perfect after more than a decade. I'm 100% confident I could knock out a better design, that would be better received by people in a weekend. They have some nice features and design choices, but they got it 90% there, and keep tripping over polishing the remaining 10%.

Nitpicking on you - it's Firefox (née Phoenix) for the public, not Firefox (née Firebird). :)


Edit: Fixed typo as pointed below. :D Thanks for nitpicking the nitpicking. :)

Ah, right you are, Phoenix (because it was a browser rising from the ashes of Netscape), then Firebird for .5 seconds, and finally Firefox. (Surprised I forgot that, since I actually lived the history. :)

I think it worked out for the best -- Firefox is an excellent name and brand. It's hard now to imagine it being something else!

Really it was Mozilla that rose from Netscape's ashes. Firefox rewrote the UI, but Mozilla never died, it just changed to Seamonkey. It was the best browser for years before Phoenix came along -- for UI and resource problems that I never perceived myself.

Skitt's Law strikes again - it's "née" (or "né" in the masculine, though that's uncommon outside of the Francophone world).

I'd always seen that as "Muphry's Law" (yes, that's deliberate), not Skitt's Law. Wikipedia confirms they're the same thing. Thanks!

The forced menu fade is a poor design choice in Windows too. They completely ignore the Windows appearance/performance settings, where you can disable pointless menu effects that are just a waste of time.

The main problem for me is how memory-hungry this browser is. How can a single tab opened on HN use 500MB?

The memory numbers reported on OSX by the system are a little weird, and include shared libraries in some kind of odd way. If you want to see the breakdown of how much memory the browser is actually using, go to about:memory and click on "Measure". You can mouse over the various categories to get a description.

Either that or you have an addon installed that is using a huge amount of memory.

I have no idea - mine uses 184MB. It's been much slimmer than Chrome for me for about a year. Even when I use lots of extensions, it's up to 340MB which is less than Chrome's 400MB.

Firefox uses less memory only on startup and when I have few tabs open. As soon as I start opening more tabs and browsing longer the memory usage is much larger on FF and the whole UI becomes less responsive and so do pages.

Even on startup it isn't that better compared to chrome.

Chrome 11 extensions 1 tab: ~300MB

FF 2 extensions 1 tab: ~200MB

It's not FF 29, it's 28 - but I doubt the memory management improved much in 29.

But to be fair, it's a lot better now than it used to be.

That surprises me even more, since Chrome has a lot more overhead per tab (often a whole process per tab), so I expected Firefox to have a bigger advantage the more tabs you have open. Edit: I just tried opening about 24 tabs of webcomics in each, and Chrome jumped to over 1GB of RAM while FF is about 600MB.

I don't know if it's just the tab count or longer browsing sessions/history (I usually have my browser open for days without closing it) or whatever, so don't quote me on that.

But FF is definitely uses more memory than chrome and with few other resource hungry applications running it becomes practically unusable on my low end laptop.

Firefox's memory usage has ballooned since FF 13. https://areweslimyet.com/

On my 512MB Raspberry Pi, this used to be FF's greatest strenth. Unfortunately the latest versions are getting nearly as bad as chrome. I wish Mozilla would focus on their strengths and put more resources back into their memshrink project.

I guarantee you that FF29's memory usage is better in general than FF13, because it avoids numerous bad cases where old versions that used to cause memory usage to skyrocket. Those cases -- where memory goes up 10x -- are the ones that hurt. In contrast, you're unlikely to notice 20% higher memory usage during normal use.

20%? Are we even looking at the same charts? After closing 5 tabs 270mb -> 480mb! Those numbers don't lie and your guarantee is worthless to those of us that have seen Firefox's memory bloat over the past year.

When Chrome started to get fat, it was great to have a lightweight alternative like Firefox. But lately even Firefox has been causing my 1GB netbook to thrash. I hate to have to junk a perfectly good machine that is only used for email and browsing just because of software bloat. After doing a factory restore, it looks like that or a lightweight Linux distro(while losing flash and HW accel) are my only options.

You mean memory usage has increased slightly, after being dramatically reduced, while adding new features? They're doing better than most large projects.

areweslimyet is a tool mainly used to prevent regressions during development and shouldn't be interpreted the way you do.

There are many memory usage improvements made in firefox that don't appear explicitly in the areweslimyet tests, and there are many others, like better memory usage reporting accuracy and new features that do, thus the apparent increase in memory usage throughout the latest versions that you pointed.

I have fond memories of those early versions of Firefox (nee Firebird) that busted open the IE monopoly,

Monopoly? Before Firefox/Firebird there was Netscape Navigator, which was to be the "Mosaic killer" (hence "Mozilla").

IE was never the only browser around, even on Windows.

Monopolies don't require that there be only one choice... just that one choice is vastly dominant. And at its peak, IE had something over 90% of the market. [1]

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Internet-explorer-usage-da...

The IE monopoly was established by effectively killing Netscape Navigator/Communicator. Mozilla existed, but didn't become a major player until Firefox hit the scene half a decade later.

Apparently, you don't remember the Dark Ages. See, there were other browsers, that much is true.

What you're missing is that many, many sites were only developed for IE, and only worked at all in IE. No, not "graceful degradation," not "progressive enhancement," that all came a decade later: if you were not using IE, the sites were very broken, even unusable - and nobody cared: after all, Just Use IE Like All The Normal People Do, right?

I just found out, that you can rotate images with the rotation gesture on OS X with Firefox.

That's a really nice touch!

Here is why I don't use it:


This bug makes Firefox useless to me and has been around for over 5 years!

This seems to be a recurring thing with Firefox. I really think they should leave the damned UI alone and start fixing some of the killer half decade plus old bugs!

This is the third one I'm aware of that is a basic usability thing. Others include a complete failure to browse to sites that present a duplicate SSL certificate, and an odd breakage that results in downloads getting half completed but the UI saying they're complete anyways.

On Nightly on Linux that fade in and out isn't there on the hamburger menu. Unless that's because my GFX setup doesn't support it. Perhaps it has been addressed in a further release.

Wrt the 'omnibox vs address-and-search' conundrum: why not just let the user decide in Settings, defaulting on omnibox?

The user can decide. You can remove the search bar in the customization interface.

But the default has to be to show the search bar because of contracts they have with search partners, I believe.

No, it was always to separate search from addresses, lest search-ahead leak your data.

Letting the user decide is so old fashioned.

There's an extension that gives you a chrome style omnibox. It works fine, except I can't use tab to search within sites like in chrome. If anyone knows how I can get this in FF, I'd be very appreciative.

On Mac OS X, you can remove the search bar from the window layout and just use the URL bar as omnibar too. Sadly, you still don't get the tab to search a page domain option.

The address bar works as both now, it seems that the search bar is left there so that it doesn't startle all the neophobes even more.

[Sorry for going meta]

As I write this, the story is about one hour old, there are 118 other comments and the top voted comment - the top voted comment - is criticism by someone who doesn't use Firefox. The comment is totally without technical analysis of why Firefox does what it does nor does it mention anything that FireFox gets right. The only positive thing the author says involves dragging out some tired anti-microsoft trope.


That's the problem when stories have this sort of velocity. The quality of comments goes down to the point where "It doesn't try to be an Apple product" is what collects the most upvotes. It's little more than trolling for defenses of FireFox and Safari fan upvotes.

So true. I was hoping for a discussion on improved WebGL support (if any), performance improvements, new HTML5 feature support, etc. rather than whether the address bar and search bar should be merged. The latter is important, but IMO should not be the most discussed item.

It's "Firefox" not "FireFox".

Where the hell is my forward button? Why does browser.tabs.onTop not mean anything anymore? Where's my refresh button? On the... right side, inside the Awesome Bar? Why isn't a separate button? Why can't I put the Home button back beside the Back button? Why is the back button permanently part of the Awesome Bar? Why does the Awesome Bar change shape and size to allow the forward button to exist? Why isn't the forward button an element that I can move around like the refresh button? Why can't I move the Awesome Bar at all? What happened to the Status Bar? Why can't I replace the Status Bar with the Bookmarks Bar at the bottom of the screen? Why is the Start Button now permanently overlapping with anything displayed in the browser? Why can't I move the Menu Button? Why is your Menu Button right where Google Chrome's menus are by default? Also, when you remove the Title Bar, I can't grab the window because I keep my bookmarks as icons without titles on the Menu Bar.

Why are you messing with everything, Mozilla? Why are you breaking the UI metaphor? With the tabs on the top, all the elements under it are made to appear a part of that tab. There's no reason that I can see for the tabs to be on top. It doesn't look pretty, it takes extra pixels to render the smooth curve where the tab meets the next bar. Even if I'm insane and it's the same width, it still looks awful.

I've got five HD screens, and everyone is taking the tablet friendly, ergonomic approach. I want consistency. Please stop breaking everything. You're the last good browser, Firefox. Don't ruin it.

Please bring back: tabs on bottom, the permanent forward button, the refresh button, the bottom bar anchor, and the separate back button.


They won't "stop breaking everything" because they feel the irresistible urge to constantly "improve" and "reinvent" the UI until it becomes unusable (a.k.a. the Linux desktop syndrome).

BTW, the refresh button is in the 'menu config', you can drag it to the old place. The stop button and other 'classic' buttons are gone. Meaningless 'browser.tabs.onTop' prepares you for your transition to Chrome.

FF is so frustrating and disappointing. I'm not angry, just sad.

> "improve" and "reinvent"

I don't remember any change in the UI in the last two years that was not copying what Chrome does.

So "improve" may be right, but hardly "reinvent".

That's pretty much how I feel.

I was thinking for a second the whole UI might get a shake up, or rather, there would be innovative useful functions, that would set the browser apart.

The bookmark and history managers are still pretty aweful. Some of the UI has been polished, but certainly not all.

The refresh button irritates me, because for some reason it feels smaller.

I feel the whole tab placement is a little moot, as it should follow the OSs style. Quite why we haven't good tab management/redesign/overhaul in modern window managers/desktops yet is beyond me.

Personally I'd rather a tool menu. And a location/search bar, a bookmark manager, and a browser pane. All pretty much separate.

Text input would be a nice centralised overlay/popup as and when needed, which I could make huge or small. In other words help with web forms. Android's Chrome browser kind of does that. In opera I used to be able to float the address bar, but it lost it's 'awesome' qualities - autocomplete etc.

It's OS/UX territory, why reinvent controls and the way we interact with each application? The overall UX ends up feeling like a right hodge-podge.

I very much feel the same.

But to be fair, with Australis, the whole "widgets" thing is new, and I really like how Firefox and add-ons can both use it in the same way.

Where is the refresh button I can drag in to the old place? I can only see a Sync button which looks like refresh but isn't refresh.

Oops sorry, you are right. We are back to F5.

>>Where's my refresh button?

Thank you! This has been driving me crazy. I like my toolbar controls to look like:

back | forward | home | stop | refresh

Yes I know all of the keyboard shortcuts, but I still like to mouse around when applicable and don't want to have to use precision to focus on 1 tiny 8 pixel refresh button on my 28" monitor.

> Where the hell is my forward button?

Forward button appears after you click the back button. It is only shown when it could be used.

This and many other improvements reduce visual noise based on analysis of how frequently people used different pieces of browser chrome.

To me, disappearing and jumping buttons are much worse visual noise.

On Windows at least, you can drop the Home button to the left of the back button using Customize.

The Start menu seems to overlap any maximized application when small icons are enabled, but I guess that's slightly worse without the status bar.

You can re-add the title bar permanently by going to Customize and clicking Title Bar in the bottom left corner.

There's an add-on called "Classic theme restorer". If you install that and fiddle about with its settings, you can get Firefox 99% of the way to how it was.

I didn't know browser.tabs.onTop still worked up to FF28. I wish I had been using it since they removed the setting for it.

Install the "Classic theme restorer" add-on and fiddle about with its settings, and you can pretty easily get your tabs back where they belong.

What's this about the status bar / add-on bar gone?

The main reason why I use Status-4-Evar is because when I hover over a link I don't want that link to pop-over the page content, which is what Chrome did first, then Firefox copied like sheep. It's distracting, like a tiny little pop-over in the corner of your eye.

I like having URLs show in a status bar separate to the main web window. It's out of the way, and I just like having my web browser framed by an interface. Is that so wrong?

What's so bad about a status bar? Why is there this idea that everyone wants the full screen web?

First Mozilla forces their CEO to resign, now they're being the soup nazi over the status bar which has been with browsers since day one of web browsers. You call that progress? I call it chopping down an old tree that nobody wanted chopped down.

It's the first thing I noticed changed, and the first thing I tried (and failed) to re-enable. I am part of the "don't like change" crowd, but normally just get used to it can carry on. This is the first functional change which actually made me a little angry!

EDIT: Found this to restore just the addon bar: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/the-addon-bar...

Nerdrage subsiding

To me this is basically essential at the moment. Not because I hate change and am stubborn but because many extensions are still completely broken in Australis, and many websites are and will always be broken by badly implemented popup status bars

I like change as long as I can turn off things that annoy. I do hate change that takes features away and unfortunately that is the current trends.

The one that got me was when they took away 'n' to get to the next search result. Not anything to rage quit over, but it pissed me off. I now use VimFX for a few vim navigation keys, and vim-like search.

They replaced it with F3 for some reason.

Maybe because it's the Windows standard, and they think there are more Windows users than vim users?

It wasn't the n for vim search I was missing, it was the next function with a keypress, which happened to have been done with n in FF's searchbox, and coincidentally n in vim. I didn't know that they replaced it with F3.

C-G is still working so I'm fine with it :)

I love it. The status bar struck me as weird cruft that was irrelevant the vast majority of the time. I've been using it in aurora and beta for a while now and I quite like the screen real estate.

It's not a new feature, either. The statusbar has been a "only when hovering on a link" for many releases.

Yet another feature copied from Opera....

At this point some of the most beloved browser features in nearly every browser came from Opera.

Okay... but you could always turn if off. I personally like having my 'status' things down there, things like gmail, lastpass, etc. I prefer to have the status items separated from the control-type items on top. I don't see why they had to nuke it.

I don't get it either. "Status 4 ever" didn't help either. But I found a way:

Get this addon:


Activate the "Bottombar Toolbar" by right clicking somewhere on the top space where the bars are.

Now you have a small bar down there. Open the new funky customization menue and drag the "Statustext"-Element down there.

The only problem is that you'll find your Start-Button above the text...

Somehow I find myself installing even more Add-Ons with every major UI "improvisation" to keep a useful UI. I wish it would be the other way around where you got standard and customized from there.

This did not work for me. In fact classic theme restorer broke FF's Customize... menu feature, as well as the hamburger menu at the end of the toolbar - it is now completely inoperable, even after removing it.

Ok this is weird. I just repeated the procedure on my office PC and it worked. Do you have an theme active probably?

As far as I'm aware, I did not have a theme active.

I spent several hours debugging this. Chiefly the culprit turned out to be "Default Full Zoom Level" extension.

However, during the debugging process, I did a binary search through prefs.js looking for the problem. If I removed this line:

    user_pref("browser.startup.homepage_override.mstone", "29.0");
... the browser worked properly again. Very peculiar. Of course, this was written into the prefs.js again upon exit, so when restarted the browser was broken again.

Classic Theme Restorer probably wasn't the problem. Probably the problem only showed up because that was the first restart post-upgrade (to enable the extension).

They started following the Chrome screwed-up-statusbar a long time ago. It's like noone in the webdev space knows the basic usability adage, "Don't use popups!". The Chrome-style hover-status thing is a popup. Statusbars are correct.

Disagree. The statusbar is barely useful for me - all I use it for is to peek at where links will take me; it's good to save that real estate for content. Things that default to the statusbar (some app buttons) I put up top in the addressbar, with a wide screen there's plenty of room for a few buttons there.

I can't accept a message popping up over top of existing content, distracting the user to a different part of the screen, based on mouse-hover of all things (so it's sure to jump out all the time). They mitigate this a bit by adding time-delays but that's even worse.

The status bar IMO should have more things e.g. download status, but the browsers chose not go to that direction. OK, then remove the statusbar and put the link-direction in the location bar instead during the hover.

Agree, I don't understand how every major browser came to adopt that popup thing instead of just putting the link preview into the address bar. I use this addon which does exactly that https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/link-location...

The status bar is excellent for what the name indicates i.e. status. FoxyClocks in a great example - allows me to check the time in different countries at a glance, is too wide to fit on a top-side toolbar and basically something that is always present but not obtrusive.

They're cutting down on unnecessary chrome. I can't say I have a problem with it; less chrome means more room for page content. A bit like why Apple added fullscreen apps.

I run Firefox with a lot of plugins. I rely on the status bar (add-on bar) to keep many of the plugin notification / configuration buttons out of my toolbar.

From my perspective, Firefox is working hard to drive me away, by removing its distinguishing features that make it different from Chrome.

Can you stick them all in the menu at the end of the toolbar? https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/customize-firefox-contr...

No, because I need them to be visible to show their status.

You should keep in mind that the use-case for Firefox is that the default install focuses on the general user, and add-ons are intended for people looking for something extra/different. You can get the add-on bar back easy by grabbing the 'classic theme restorer' add-on. It allows enabling-disabling a variety of features.

I can't say I agree with all of their choices, but I'm running 29 right now and I don't feel like any functionality or customizability is lost from the last version. If you're not looking for the defaults you can change pretty much everything you want with a few add-ons and about 10 minutes or so of configuration.

That's why the new hamburger menu is so awesome. You can put all the addon buttons that you don't want taking up space on the main toolbar in there.

That would be great if they didn't also display status.

I felt the same way as you but try putting them in the "bookmarks toolbar". It works similarly and it's quite nice to have everything at the top of the screen after a while.

The bookmarks toolbar is already used by... bookmarks. Who would have known? We shouldn't have to find new places for things that display status just because Mozilla takes away their designated space. "No more status bar. Hey, why don't you stick that in the bookmark bar. You don't use that for bookmarks, do you?"

It's a workaround.

You kind of make it sound as if Apple invented maximized windows... :-)

OS X's full screen apps aren't maximzed windows. If I put Sublime into full screen mode, there's no window, no menu bar. It's a text editor taking up the entire screen.

If I were to maximize Sublime on Windows, Linux, or OS X (green button), you still have the chrome from the windowing system and the OS's menu bars.

Also, the parent comment makes no claim Apple invented anything, he/she is just drawing a comparison people would be familiar with. Frankly, it's more than a little annoying to me that you have to distract from the topic to make completely non-constructive dig at a company you seem to dislike and completely miss the point of the comparison in doing so.

There was little need to reference Apple though, as Firefox can do the exact same thing by pressing F11 (on Windows).

I disagree. The reference why Apple added Full Screen.

Why did Apple make a Full Screen feature in their operating system? Minimalism and simplicity.

Why does Firefox have a fullscreen option? Because most browsers had that option and it's a useful feature once in a while. Not a compelling reference.

Do you have a source for this, or did you just make up some reasons to justify mentioning Apple? ...

Do pay attention. This sub thread started with a mention of Apple.

Do pay attention. I commented on the need to mention Apple in this sub thread, as Firefox (the main topic here, if I'm not mistaken) had the same functionality. Then, epochwolf stated that the reasons for implementing the added functionality were different, and therefore the mention of Apple added to the original comment. I then commented asking whether or not he had a source for stating the reasons for implementing said functionality, since it seems as though they're unsubstantiated.

Sublime text (and many apps) have full screen functionality in Windows and Linux. Admittedly, Sublime Text leaves a menu bar, but it's about as minimal a menu bar as you could get. Chrome, Firefox, all media players, all games etc. have full screen (no chrome) modes.

They had them well before full screen on OS X became a "thing".

Your reply misses the point that the original comparison was flawed. It was like saying "A bit like why Apple added ASLR" or "A bit like why Apple added CUPS". They invented neither and were first to market with neither.

>If I were to maximize Sublime on [...] Linux.

I don't use sublime, but on Linux (Ubuntu GNOME) when you full screen an app the window decorations are hidden and so are the status/window menus.

Edit: before you downvote, please explain why??

You're being downvoted because you are incorrect. Ubuntu GNOME does not have an equivalent of OS X full screen build in to the windowing system. It has a maximize button that doesn't remove the chrome, it just makes the window take up the most of the screen. In OS X, there is no window. The app is completely edge to edge similar like an iOS app except without the status bar.


Ubuntu "Fullscreen": http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-EnulBlkjTEM/Tzo7Fo3l3uI/AAAAAAAAHw...

OS X Fullscreen: http://www3.pcmag.com/media/images/237835-iphoto-11-albums-i...

But that's not full screen though. That's maximize, you are incorrect.


Interesting. I've never seen this before and the only references I've been able to find on it in a quick search was a compiz setting in 12.04.

Is this built in to the stock ubuntu releases? If so, what version?

FWIW that F11 transition works the same for me on KDE (4.12.3) on Kubuntu 13.10 - it's been there for quite a time.

I'm using Firefox with the borders set off right now. This gives me a window with no external chrome (no border, no titlebar, no buttons, no scroll area) but set with the standard KDE application bar (which I keep at the bottom a la Win95).

Indeed before Firefox ditched the menubar I used an app to get the same effect pinching a lot of real-estate back (titlebar, menubar, buttonbar). It's interesting that things have moved this way, though not surprising.

Chrome on Elementary OS (Probably consider this Ubuntu 12.04 for this purpose) does a completely chromeless fullscreen on F11 too. Out of interest does OS X support fullscreen on all apps automatically or does the button (it's a window control right?) only show up for supported apps?

This is Ubuntu Gnome. I'm currently Using Ubuntu 14.04 with Gnome 3.10, but afaik it works on Ubuntu 13.x and GNOME 3.x.

Not sure about the Unity interface as I have limited experience with it.

Fullscreen mode has been a standard feature of Linux window managers for a long time - it was certainly available in the metacity WM (used by Gnome 2) 10 years ago.

> If I were to maximize Sublime on Windows, Linux, or OS X (green button), you still have the chrome from the windowing system and the OS's menu bars.

Yes, if you maximize. However if you go fullscreen (F11) the chrome disappears.

Except fullscreen apps are actually a bit more than maximised windows: They remove both the top of the title bar and other operating system bars, leaving just the control interfaces, and content. For example, chrome would just have the tabs, address bar, and content, without operating system bars, and without the program titlebar.

A maximized window still shows all of the chrome, as well as system menus. Full-screen apps (not that Apple invented them) hide the window chrome as well as the various system menus.

Fullscreen, not maximized

But yeah, apple is far away from having invented it

The Customize mode seems fairly flexible, for shuffling things between the three fixed-position bars, ie. the menu, navigation and bookmarks bars (probably the tab bar as well though I don't use tabs myself).

I wonder why you can't just add new blank bars, at either the top or bottom, to fill up to your heart's content with that same Customize mode. That would undo most of the need for things like Status-4-Evar.

This hasn't changed in version 29, by the way. 'Customize' in version 28 also let you juggle controls around any of the menu, navigation, bookmarks or add-on bars pretty generically. In fact, for all the fanfare about how revolutionary a change this new UI is, the only real functional difference in it I can see between 28 and 29 is the removal of the add-on bar, ie. the only one of the bars whose fixed position happened to be at the bottom, rather than the top.

(Of course I don't really believe that this release is specifically intended to troll people who like having some controls at the bottom of their screen, but I must admit that if you did want to do that, then this would be a good way to do it. I'm sticking with 28 until Status-4-Evar catches up. Also thanks for the suggestion of the "Addon Bar" extension elsewhere in the thread, seen and noted.)

Actually, they also removed the ability to disable the navigation bar, which is very annoying for me because I use Vimperator. It can be removed by installing an extension, but I don't understand why they would remove this functionality.

You're right, and having read some other posts in this thread (CompuHacker) and taken another look, I see that the new "Customize" is more diminished in the new version than I previously made out. They're going more towards a fixed default look with permanently fused-together buttons and the like, and this kind of customization further pushed out to extensions.

I wonder if they'll add it back in time? Though I suppose if it's expendable then it's not a huge deal.

I was upset about this too, but fortunately there is a way around this using the Vimperator itself:

    :set gui=nonavigation

There's already a newer version with Status-4-Evar which works with FF29, and adds a customizable bar back to the bottom of the screen. It's somewhat hidden away and not the 'stable' version yet, but it's working fine for me - https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/status-4-evar...

I'm very curious about your statement that you don't use tabs. Why not? Do you really only ever have one page open at once?

I open everything in a new window, and juggle windows at the desktop level with the help of a nifty Alt+Tab enhancer.

I know there's a use case for using seperate windows to group tabs by topic, but I don't like having that organization forced on me.

Also, I don't use a tiling window manager, but they tend to have their own ways of dealing with large numbers of windows, I hear.

The status bar temporarily appears when hovering over a URL, so at least that's still there.

I agree with you. There is an addon to correct it though:


If it is official, they should verify the author.

(Or admit that the notification that the author is not verified is meaningless)

edit: Also, on my install, the version there makes Firefox 29 lock up when I click on options. But my profile is pretty ancient.

My mistake, sorry, I thought it was official because it's linked to on the Mozilla support page and I thought the developer "Aris" related to "Australis".

The similarity in names is only a coincidence.

You can put the link preview directly into the address bar with this addon https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/link-location... Status-4-Evar can actually do the same but it's a bit of a hassle to configure if you don't need its other features.

I so much agree with you. O hate the interface changes.

"Added the console API to Web Workers (bug 620935). Now you can log messages to the Web Console from Web Workers."

About bloody time. Does anyone know why that wasn't the case from the get-go?

Originally, exposure of APIs to JS was done using the XPConnect JS/XPCOM bridge in Firefox. Simplifying a little, XPConnect is not thread-safe, so exposing APIs to workers required manually writing code using the SpiderMonkey JS API. This was done in an ad-hoc fashion for a while. Additionally, XPConnect allowed JS code to be written to expose functionality to content on the main thread, but was basically a non-starter on the worker thread because of the lack of XPConnect. (Simplifying slightly again, XPConnect also provided required security protections.)

Between having to write thread-safe code and custom JS exposure, the overhead could be significant. This has now been greatly improved through the use of automatically generated WebIDL bindings, although C++ is still used and threading issues do have to be dealt with (usually by remoting a runnable to the main thread), so worker versions of an API still aren't free.

New Web APIs implemented by the platform team should usually be designed from the ground-up for worker exposure and have worker support land soon-after or at the same time as the main-thread support. Experimental APIs related to Firefox OS and developed by Firefox OS Gaia teams are more likely to be prototypes implemented in JS for rapid prototyping and will need another rev before they can be exposed to workers. This last bit frequently happens as part of an effort to standardize the API informed by the prototype.

Links for context: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Tech/XPCOM/... https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/WebIDL_bind...

Thank you very much for your explanation!

We ended up writing a goofy little console.log() replacement that sent messages back to the main UI thread for processing and logging, but that kind of thunking is a might-bit janky.

The console.log exposed to workers just sends the messages to the UI thread for logging...

I forget whether the workaround was done for Firefox or Chrome...I remember hitting it in one or the other, and putting in the workaround for both.

On a related note, transferable objects are handled a bit differently between IE, FF, and Chrome. Some are a bit stricter than others.

That's not surprising, but annoying. Please do file bugs as needed; the spec is generally pretty clear about how things should work here, so if browsers don't agree one of them is just buggy.

Cause printing functions usually aren't thread safe I'd assume it has to be a similar reason.

According to comments in that bug it looks like it were held up due to discussion around standardization of the Console API and a rewrite of the same.


The Console API is getting rewritten to handle proper console.logging with colours, grouping etc.

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