Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

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:

https://history.google.com/history/


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.

http://www.google.com/policies/privacy/#infouse


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 127.0.0.1 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). :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Firefox

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:

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=476541

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.




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

Search: