Browser optimize

The current (and poor) state of Firefox

Jack Wallen pulls no punches with his thoughts on the current release of Firefox. Will bugs and bloat bring the flagship open source browser to a screaming halt?

Firefox 7 was recently released. That's right, less than a month after the release of Firefox 6 comes numero 7. But why? Why would one of the most popular browsers out there put out major releases so close together? Could it be the fact that 6 was so bad they wanted to call "do-over!" to try to make things right?

It's possible. But is it accurate?

The truth of the matter is, I've abandoned Firefox for Google Chrome. Firefox has become one of the most bloated and slow browsers available. And release 6 only made things worse.

As a writer, I must use social networking tools. One of the most popular social networking tools is Facebook. If you've given Facebook a go on the Linux version of Firefox 6 you will completely understand when I say it's a complete and utter disaster. Every time you load the page your CPU spikes. I know this for fact (on my machine at least) because I have a Shuttle PC and the fan quite literally screams at me every time I open up Facebook on Firefox 6.

Well, this morning, I check my Ubuntu updates to find out Firefox 7 is already available. My first thought is,  "Hey, maybe they've fixed the issue with Facebook! Better give it a try." So I run the upgrades and, when it's all done, fire up Firefox. After the extensions are upgraded, I am on the Firefox 7 splashpage ready to test out the new release. Nothing seems to have changed on the outside ... so I assume all the changes are deep within. Here's the actual feature list:

  • Improved memory handling
  • Bookmark and password changes now sync almost instantly when using Firefox Sync
  • The "http://" URL prefix is now hidden by default (just like Chrome)
  • The WebSocket protocol has been updated from version 7 to version 8
  • Fixed several security and stability issues
  • added a system for users to send performance data back to Mozilla

Okay, that first bullet point seems promising. So, I click on the olE Facebook bookmark and log in.

CPU fan goes nuts! I reload the page. CPU fan goes nuts. I click on Facebook Messages...CPU fan goes equally nuts.

Now, is Facebook a fair test for a browser? Just a few short years ago I would have said there is no one website that should be used as a litmus test for browser performance. That is not the case now. Thanks to the enormous popularity of Facebook, if a browser can not function properly on that site, that browser is going to have issues. Not only is that browser going to have issues, that browser is going to lose users. Sites like Facebook own the internet and if Firefox can't seem to get its memory issues under control, it will very quickly lose is user base.

But so badly is the memory usage of Firefox that even with 7 claiming to address memory issues, said issues are still bad. It's like saying, "Yes your Chevy Super Sport was getting horrible gas mileage so we changed the fuel lines." Well, guess what, it's still a Chevy Super Sport and will always get horrible gas mileage unless you fundamentally change the car.

Firefox has reached a state of bloat and needs a major makeover. At one point fingers were all pointing toward Microsoft for doing nothing but adding features and not fixing problems. Guess what? That title might well now belong to Mozilla as Firefox has had memory and bloat issues since Firefox 4. I don't see these issues going away any time soon, so in the mean time I'll be sticking with Google Chrome.

I realize there really isn't an easy fix for this. In the world of technology it seems everyone is in a race to win over users, have the coolest new features, and release, release, release. Problem is, with that model, software developers are going to be consistently producing poor releases that aren't ready for public consumption. I would like to see Firefox retract versions 5-7 and get a major Mulligan. Fix the memory issues, cut back on the bloat, and give users a browser that browses without causing our CPU fans to scream at us as if they were being attacked by a million zombies.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

70 comments
charlie
charlie

Come on! I personally think that this is the best version of FF yet! Look at this comparison: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/firefox-7-web-browser,3037.html And someone mentioned that the new update cycle is just not working out for business users, Mozilla have already responded to this: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Enterprise/Firefox/ExtendedSupport:Proposal And if security is your worry, the main goal should be staff education, because if the staff were educated sufficiently and actually followed a detailed security policy, it wouldn't matter if they were using FF2! I've been using FF as my main browser since FF2 and my personal experience is that this version is the fastest and most stable version of FF I have used. Then again, I only use FF on linux, haven't used FF on Windows or OS X since FF3.

NicCrockett
NicCrockett

Depending on what I'm doing I use all five of the major browsers. I'm forced to use IE because some websites are still stuck on the belief that everyone uses IE. I use Safari because I work with Macs. I use Chrome because Google has made it so that their products work best with Chrome. I use Opera sometimes, because I like it. However, if I want to use a browser that works with more websites than others I'm going to open Firefox. I'll be the first to agree that Firefox has a bloat and memory issue and it drives me up a wall. When it comes down to it though, I want to support the one who follows standards (better than IE and Safari) and not creating coding languages that fragment the web (like IE and Chrome).

Ajax4Hire
Ajax4Hire

I use Firefox because it is available on both Windows and Linux systems. I have a common browser and sync operation on the multiple platforms I must use. I also like Firefox for the plugins (some of which Neon Samurai mentions). But, I am getting tired of the Firefox memory hogging feature. I do not enjoy the Firefox crash/halt feature when surfing to a Google page with embedded Flash. Google Chrome has moved the complexity pendulum too far back to simplicity for my taste. I will remain with Firefox as long as the NoScript and AdBlock plugins are missing from other Browsers.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I just got all the machines rolled over to FF7 only to find out FF7.0.1 was out. Mozilla's update cycle is just not working out for business users. It's already forced us to bump Firefox back to our "also runs" second choice; just in time to have gotten all our users trained to reach for Firefox first before trying IE. The update cycle insures that my users remain out of date; unacceptable mozilla.. just flat out unacceptable. I'm almost ready to accept Chrome's "install as a user" disregard for system security (admittedly, evidence of a problem in Windows privaledge management but still).

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

I left IE and changed to FF2 because IE was big, bloated and slow. I left FF and changed to Chrome for the same reason.

ed34222
ed34222

FF has a safe mode option that turns all the extensions off. Sometimes extensions are the problem and not FF. If the fan doesn't go nuts in safe mode, it's a fair bet, one or more of your extensions are involved. Also, FF can still be something of a memory hog; but, more systems have plenty of RAM these days; so, that's not much of an issue anymore. If you have an older system, with less RAM, run Chrome on it. If you have a newer system with more RAM, FF's features are worth the memory usage.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Right now I am waiting on Avant to perfect their merge of Avant and Orca into one browser.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If Google added SSL hooks into the plugin API so that Mr Marlinspike's Convergence plugin could be ported over then I'd probably drop FF like a hot potato. I really don't ask for much: Calomal SSL Validator Cert Patrol Convergence Noscript Lastpass Xmarks Foxy Proxy Firebug Give me all of those (some are already there) under Chrome and I probably won't have a reason not to make it my primary. As it stands now, I'm still jumping between the three major brand names depending on what I'm doing.

Doug Vitale
Doug Vitale

Using Firefox 7 on Windows 7. No crashes, I like the skin, and I like my Firefox Add-ons. Back in the spring I tried Chrome and hated it. I found the user interface and customization options to be primitive compared to what Firefox offers. I also require a core set of add-ons inlcuding Ad-Block, URL Fixer, Resurrect Pages, and BugMeNot that I do not think are available with Chrome. What I dislike about Firefox is the amount of RAM it burns. Right now it is using 385-390 MB of memory according to the Task Manager. I would like to see that amount scaled down a lot (which was supposed to happen with version 7). However, because I have 4 GB of RAM my laptop performance isn't suffering, so I can live with it.

wlramsey
wlramsey

I have been using FF for quite some time and while I agree it lacks in its resource management, I do not believe it is a POS that everyone is leading it to be. I do not have CPU spike problems. Even going to FB. At any normal moment, I can have 3+ FF windows open with 3-4+ tabs in each. My processor doesn't go above 3-10% usage (even on Facebook). Granted, it does take up 300+MB of Memory. But I completely disagree what you say about judging from one website. Just because Facebook is not super smooth, should not mean the end of the world for a browser. We do not judge a PC by a single program. Maybe there is some fault on Facebook's end? They keep adding features and changing things. Linux advocates of all people should understand that making your product more popular does not always mean making it more efficient. You have to add bells and whistles to attract peoples' attention. Do you add the features (taking up more resources) to gain an audience, or do you take out the features making it more efficient to keep from losing some of your geeky audience (especially these days with PC's shipping out with 6+GB Memory and 3+Ghz processors)? It is a fine line, and I do think FF is a little heavy on the feature side of the scales. However, I by no means think it is a bad program. I think it still runs circles around IE, especially with security, user interaction and performance. A good friend of mine would hop on Facebook using IE and have his processor would spike and the fan started screaming. I wrote it off as the Antivirus at the time. So we changed AV's and have not heard from the user since. Now I am not sure if it fixed the problem, or if he just got tired of complaining. But regardless, the problem in this case was with IE and not Firefox. This is a great example as to why you cannot judge a program by how it works with just one website. I ask again, maybe some of the responsibility is with Facebook? Just my two cents...

Luke G.
Luke G.

If I didn't have a 6-core machine w/ 12GB RAM at work I probably would have noticed the CPU issue there more... ;) But I have noticed it on my less-powerful Windows and Linux machines at home. I still use Firefox, and will likely continue for a while just because I have it set up with all of my favorite add-ins. Until Chrome gets them, or something similar enough, it'll be hard for me to motivate myself to make the switch. My Cr48 (which I've written a bit about on my blog) has done a lot to get me accustomed to Chrome, however, and it's definitely a contender in my mind!

IndianaTux
IndianaTux

For years I trumpeted my preference of Firefox over IE. However, about a year ago I became so frustrated with the slow response of Firefox that I made the move to Chrome and never looked back. And let me say, the performance in Firefox was poor across all systems I used, which included both Windows and Linux systems, so I don't believe it was a configuration or hardware issue. It was all Firefox. I was disappointed, because there were a lot of good plugins that I had gotten accustomed to using (ChatZilla IRC client being one of them). But I have no regrets that Chrome is now my preferred browser. I now only have Firefox loaded on my machine at work for compatibility testing with our website. If not for that, I wouldn't even have it installed.

wtmcnairjr
wtmcnairjr

I fell in love with FF at version 2. But since version 5, I started having all kinds of problems. Version 6 kept crashing. Now version 7 crashes and freezes all the time. I also went to Google Chrome. Good bye Firefox; it's not me, it's you!

bus66vw
bus66vw

This maybe a confirmation that Mozilla community has become aware of the need for change back to functionality and less bloat but I most admit that on one test machine I have gone to Chrome. It is better but I find some sites um-usable but that maybe the test machine an old XP based computer with only 512 ram.

Shadeburst
Shadeburst

Running in safe mode and what a change. After an hour, Mem Usage has stabilized at 385-400MB. Had multiple FB pages open in different tabs and viewed a youtube video.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I kid of course. My very Vim'ish hybrind interface preference is far from universal among users. (sidenote; looked at Shogun2 yet? Sweet Jebus they've done a good job of a sequel that truly one-upped it's predesessor. Also got me starting to shop for hardware upgrades though.. )

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Just as some users make their choice of smart phone based on the after-market applications, the choices of add-ons keep me on Firefox. I may be the only guy still receiving content via RSS, but until Chrome has a decent RSS plug in then I sticking with the Fox. I'm satisfied with its performance, although I don't monitor the processor. I could be firewalling the CPU and not know it, and probably won't care until it begins causing me problems. I tried Chrome for the third time back in early summer. I still find the interface too stark and uncustomizable; I have the same complaint with IE 8 and higher. IE 10 on W8 send me screaming into the night.

aldenxi
aldenxi

Like the above a few years ago FF was the greatest. However it's been a downhill slide for all the reasons listed & more. But what's the alternative? As a still on XP user I tried chrome & had major problems so I decided to try IE again. I never thought I'd say it, but IE is fast and rarely crashes. But featurewise, things like not able to (easily) open a link in a new tab (I know ctrl+enter but I'm lazy), the page search requiring you to use a menu box, etc etc make the change to IE frustrating, but technically it appears sound and so I guess I'll stick with it.

Retired_USAF
Retired_USAF

I think that most people that have problems with programs have too much garbage on their computer. I've used FF since pre-version 1, and I've NEVER had problems.

spdragoo
spdragoo

You should be able to set it so that it automatically opens up "pop-up" links in a new tab, instead of a new window.

kmdennis
kmdennis

While reading the posts, I also decided to look at the options available for slimbrowser and they are numerous. jack maybe you or one these advanced engineers here, could check it out and give some feedback. There are a lot of features and options that can be configured. I am going to make it my default browser and see how well that works out. http://www.slimbrowser.net/en/

RipVan
RipVan

I know I'll take flak, but all I can say is that Facebook is the AOL of current day. I have the same disdain for it as I had for AOL and the losers who troll it... /EndRant I do not trust Google in any form. I use what I must in small doses.

kmdennis
kmdennis

You may be right that most people could have useless garbage on their PC which they did or did not install, however the issues that are talked about here with FF, have only to do with FF. BTW, what version of FF are you running and how much memory does it use, say when you go to FB? OS? Memory?Crap installed? So ca you give some specs on your PC so we could probably be better able to make a judgement? I used to think that MS engineered their systems so that other browsers would "fail" for instance, topic being discussed. But that the issue is similar on different OS has made me rethink.

KNOWLEDGE464
KNOWLEDGE464

I have never had a problem with FF. And for one you should of read this issue of Tech republic http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10things/10-handy-firefox-aboutconfig-hacks/719 this will allow you to adjust your FF to accept more bandwidth and bigger packets and turn off spell check and scanning each page. Please if you want to bash FF for a bad build try looking up some tips. If you would try running the hacks for fire fox you will notice a difference. Bash IE for that garbage they call a browser and as for Chrome well they are too young to talk about... smart move adding angry birds. But I have not found any good use for chrome except that its there. As for BLOAT-ware I would not call FF that, understand the meaning first then call names FF is far from processor intensive nor memory intensive once you turn off your extras. Maybe you should try some routine maintenance and turn off any other processor intensive programs most likely you have a program running and scanning each page you open not all sites are as big as Facebook. Also how much memory do you have we need facts here like processor size and what is your virtual memory set at? Do you have the latest flash update? Do you have a video card? What is your system how old is it? We need these fact before you try and call something bogus because your machine may be crap.

Timbo Zimbabwe
Timbo Zimbabwe

I think that sometimes it simply comes down to configuration issues or improper maintenance of the machine. I don't leave me browser open 24/7 and have never had a huge issue with the memory leak. As for FB; with all of the crap that loads with ANY FB page, is Jack *really* surprised that it hits the CPU so badly? I've had ZERO issues with FB, so I'm not exactly understanding his issue, other than maybe he needs new fans or a new PC....

marcdw
marcdw

SlimBrowser has been my default browser going back to the Win98 days. Even though it's Trident-based it's much lighter and faster than IE. Plus I like the old-school look. The day the author makes it look like Chrome/NewFirefox/Opera/Maxthon3/IE9 is the day I call it quits. :-) Firefox had been secondary up until the early 3.6 days when it started getting heavier and slower. At some point SeaMonkey replaced it as my secondary (but only up to 2.0.14, the 2.4 series still don't support some much-needed extensions). Lately, though, I've been making use of the Pale Moon versions of Firefox. I have yet to make regular use of post-3.6 Firefox anywhere due to the problems of versions 4 onward (with the exception of Pale Moon 6.x 64-bit on XP x64). Today, however, after installing the portable editions of both Firefox 7.0.1 and Pale Moon 7.0 I noticed how much faster they launched from the USB drive compared to their 3.6 counterparts. Maybe things will get better. Maybe. Similar to Luke G. I have a 6-core PC w/ 16GB but I spend more time on the legacy machines (single core, fastest being a P4 w/2GB) where Firefox's (bad) behavior is quite noticeable. Be it Windows or others like Linux, BSD, or Solaris. Before moving Solaris (OpenIndiana actually) from the P4 to the 6-core Firefox just felt so "fat". Took a chance and installed the last supported version of Opera, 10.11?, and it was like night and day. Fast startup, fast page loading. If it weren't for the much-loved extensions I would've abandoned Firefox a long time ago.

mckinnej
mckinnej

Try Chromium, the open source version without all of Google's privacy issues. If you're using Windows you can also try Comodo's supposedly more secure version called Dragon. They're both Chrome without Google.

RipVan
RipVan

I only use NoScript and nothing else on the browser. That mayb be a help. I also have a new fiber connection. Overall speed went up from my old cable box. Maybe it is slow but compensating. I never seemed to notice poor performance with either internet provider with whom I have experience. I took Chrome out for a test run because a Linux distro I was using loaded both FF and Chrome. I never liked Chrome and I have heard too many people complain about their attitude toward user privacy. I could have kept it around and still played with it from time to time, but I uninstalled it. Maybe I'll put it back on and check it out from time to time.

Vquest55
Vquest55

Let me first say that life is getting crazy & things come at us much faster because of the 'knowledge' from the internet. Which I hunger for a little less than food. With that being said... if FF is shooting for the average user good luck. The problem being people do NOT have the latest & greatest for one. Two I consider myself a nerd but I do NOT want to spend the time re-installing plug-ins on every major revision (unless I am doing something wrong?) and I clump myself w/ the lowly 'masses' in that I don't think they want to mess w/ it either. 'USERS' want to USE; not troubleshoot software & hardware. I have seen so many home systems w/ a messed up system both hardware & software but it???s what they can afford. AM I doing them a disservice when I don???t tell them there shit is crap (even in nice terms?) I hope not so I try & work w/ what they have. Which means multiple visits; which may be the disservice because of money. For me it is a dilemma. I think what software developers have to do is decide there target group & develop for them. If it is for the masses develop something STABILE & easy then let the nerds develop add-ons. If an add-on reaches a certain level compared to percentage of users then incorporate it into the next major revisions. Stop having ???major??? revisions every 2 months(which is what it seems like). If you have major revisions due to ???security??? issues then the DEVELOPER has problems w/ there developing & they need to correct that. I know things can NOT be static but give us something we can use a couple years before massive changes. I hope this passes muster with the grammar police. I want my point to be made w/o it getting lost in the grammar battle. side note: I get irritated w/ FF when I get a window popup to go to the next version. Notify us in some other LESS intrusive manner.

bandersnatch42vt
bandersnatch42vt

A bit off the subject here but what is XP2003? Do you mean XP with Office 2003?

jeslurkin
jeslurkin

...also wrote that piece about 2 years ago.

apotheon
apotheon

It's actually the network.prefetch-next option in about:config, but I tend to just remember that "prefetch" is a good search term in the about:config filter bar.

francisvandenplas
francisvandenplas

Seems a good idea, but where do you do that? Found nothing in the Options nor in about:config...

francisvandenplas
francisvandenplas

Well, they do! I checked and realized that I had already implemented more than half of them. But still, now FF is more or less "usable" to me. And if someone had a solution for that container stuff I might revert to FF again... (FF was my "default" browser for years, but definitely not anymore after FF 4). Going to try 3.6.22 as recommended in this "discussion".

smithjk8
smithjk8

I'm all for tweaking and speeding up firefox but the link you provided is from May 2009, three versions ago, are they still effective on the current version? Has anyone tried these on 7 to know if they make a difference? I agree with most everyone else here that FF has gotten lethargically slow, particularly with the plug-in container eating up so much proc. and memory. There has to be something to speed up that portion of the browser and yet still allow the functionality.

Shadeburst
Shadeburst

Firefox 7 has been giving me huge problems, to the point where I open Task Manager/Performance before I launch FF. Memory usage before launch +/- 200 MB. View a Tech Republic, BNET or ZD page +/- 380MB. Open FB and it jumps to 500MB. Opening any FB link in another tab eats another 60MB, and then it just keeps on climbing. I'm running XP2003 simply because I cannot stand Office 2007. So I probably wouldn't be able to run IE9. But I have used FF for 4 years now and don't want to change unless I have to. So I'll follow your link and try those hacks you recommend. BTW after reading a ZD post I tried Autoruns but don't have the experience to interpret the output. It's possible that all the Adobe and Quicktime loaders sitting modestly in the background spring to life when a graphics-intensive page is loaded, and gobble resources. But if so, their CPU/Mem Usage in the Processes tab of Task Manager is probably charged to firefox.exe. They don't show up individually.

spdragoo
spdragoo

That may have made sense when the majority of consumers had dialup or ISDN speeds, & even most corporate users or consumer "broadband" users were limited to 1.5Mb/T1 speeds. But for those of us that can remember paying as much for dialup as we now pay for our broadband connections, it could make more sense to maximize use of the connection by using our "down" time while we read the page that just finished loading to pre-load the links on the page.

seanferd
seanferd

I don't know why browser vendors think this is a good idea.

KatherineCopas
KatherineCopas

I have found FF7 to be incredibly light compared to previous versions. I had all but switched to Chrome until the latest update came out. Most people that I know of who have horrible speed problems associated with Firefox have numerous unnecessary add-ons running all the time. If you are experiencing speed and CPU consumption issues try doing a spring cleaning of your add-ons. It has always been the best way to fix the problem whenever I have people complain to me with the same problem you are having.

apotheon
apotheon

I've had more problems than you since 4.0, evidently, but 7.1 has been far less troublesome than the last few versions I've seen. I've seen the login issues at TR lately, as well as some others. TR issues come and go with some regularity, though, and it seems like there's always at least something wrong. I've been using Firefox since it was called Phoenix. After Phoenix, it became Firebird, then finally became Firefox around the time it reached version 1.0. That was about the point where I really started noticing it getting worse with each new version, at least until very recently. Of course, even if 7.1 itself has not had huge problems, the very fact that new major version numbers come so quickly is its own problem, and as a result I keep seeing issues crop up -- to a significant degree because of the way the new development model and release schedule seriously damages theusefulness of the killer feature of Firefox, its extension system.

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

I've been on FF since shortly after it became available. I had more problems with 4 than most seem to have had, but few since. FF 6 ran fine, and I was surprised to see 7 come along so soon. But I have had *no* problems with 7, nor 7.1 that didn't turn out to be a website issue. CPU doesn't warm up, memory stays around 40% with T-bird running and God knows how many tabs, I never counted. I short it has been trouble-free. What am I doing right (for a change)? POSTSCRIPT: I've had far more strange problem with TR lately, though, like having to log in every time I hit "reply"-?!?!.

apotheon
apotheon

> Understanding that the phrase; "To each his/her own" strictly applies here, having 193 (200, 300, 400, any-number-above-100) tabs open in Firefox in my experience (more than several years) would be considered more than excessive by most Firefox users and not the "norm" so to speak. This is why I refer to that as heavy use, rather than light use. Please try to keep up with the discussion. > Of course, a lot depends on the hardware Firefox happens to be running on. Attempting to run Firefox on a dual core (name your flavor) with 2 GB (with 32-bit OS) to 4 GBs (with 64-bit OS) of memory, you'll be lucky to keep 20 to 30 tabs open without choking. This is exactly the problem. Back when all the x86 processors were 23 bit single-core CPUs, and speeds were still measured in MHz as often as in GHz, Firefox could stand up to much heavier use than it can now with quad-core 64 bit CPUs with interstellar hyperdrive technology and 8-16GB of RAM. On 3.0, I had close to a thousand tabs open once or twice. Now, we're lucky to be able to keep a few dozen open. > It's not so much the browser these days but the WWW itself that requires a rather large amount of power hardware-wise in order to browse without problems. That is not strictly true. The browser itself has declined in its capacity for operation under load. I have gone from 800+ tabs with Flash enabled and AJAXy sites open to times when 100 tabs is too many even without Flash installed, where most of the tabs are pretty simple content. Sure, the Web is getting worse in terms of the weight of clock cycle and memory consumption, but Firefox itself is getting worse, too. As the browser gets more feature-infested, its memory fragmentation problems are only magnified, its stability decreases, its ability to keep individual tabs from affecting complete browser stability decreases, and so on. > Now it's all Flash (apps and video), Java, javascript, HTML 5, PHP, etc, etc. It's a safe bet that nearly all sites use a combination of 2 or more of these. I have neither Java nor Flash plugins installed in Firefox. PHP has zero effect on the browser. It's entirely server-side code. I make a point of closing tabs where the pages use HTML 5 of automatically updating JavaScript-driven interfaces as quickly as reasonably possible to maintain stability. . . . and Firefox still consistently gets worse. I think v7.1 may be the first case of a version increase that has actually run more smoothly and stably than its predecessor since it was called Firebird rather than Firefox. It's difficult to make a comparison between 7.0 and 7.1, though, because 7.0 was replaced by 7.1 due to security issues so quickly that I never even got to test out its capabilities. You don't get to blame what I've observed on an OS. I run Firefox on three or four different OSes (three at the moment, about to go back up to four thanks to an alteration in career direction). You also don't get to blame it on extensions; I use a small number of extensions that are either of critical importance (they are the reasons I use Firefox) or chosen strictly and specifically to make up for the stability deficiencies of Firefox itself.

bandersnatch42vt
bandersnatch42vt

Understanding that the phrase; "To each his/her own" strictly applies here, having 193 (200, 300, 400, any-number-above-100) tabs open in Firefox in my experience (more than several years) would be considered more than excessive by most Firefox users and not the "norm" so to speak. That being said, I'm rather amazed myself that Firefox would be stable with that many tabs open. Of course, a lot depends on the hardware Firefox happens to be running on. Attempting to run Firefox on a dual core (name your flavor) with 2 GB (with 32-bit OS) to 4 GBs (with 64-bit OS) of memory, you'll be lucky to keep 20 to 30 tabs open without choking. Get up into the quad core and 8+ GB of memory and now you have the kind of serious horsepower to run any browser with 100 or more tabs open. It's not so much the browser these days but the WWW itself that requires a rather large amount of power hardware-wise in order to browse without problems. The days of static HTML based sites are long over. Now it's all Flash (apps and video), Java, javascript, HTML 5, PHP, etc, etc. It's a safe bet that nearly all sites use a combination of 2 or more of these.

apotheon
apotheon

One of the extensions I need isn't currently available for 3.6 without substantial effort involved -- and 3.6 wasn't actually the last good version. The last good was somewhere around 1.0, which is way back in the day. I just use the browser heavily enough to notice the problems it started developing back then; most people think 25 tabs is an insanely heavy usage of the browser, but I've actually been over 800 on a couple of occasions (not since 3.5, though, because 3.6 wasn't stable under loads that heavy).

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Sounds like it has more power than it can handle... or it handles it too loosely. Why don't you use 3.6? Isn't that the "Last known good FF"?

apotheon
apotheon

The problem that arises for me is that, because of Firefox ceasing to be good at pretty much anything under heavy load -- especially with its extension system pretty much guaranteed to break about once every six weeks under the new release schedule -- there's no longer a browser that really suits my needs satisfactorily. I manage to get by with a combination of three different browsers for daily use, and about once a day a major frustration surfaces in my use of Firefox. The only frustration I have with the other two is that they do not have as "powerful" (for lack of a better term) an extension system as Firefox offers.

apotheon
apotheon

> Lightly? I tend to run many open tabs. I usually only run into problems on my HP laptop when I have more than 40 tabs open. It's a very good day when I can get down to 40 tabs. Right now, I have 193 of them open. Yes, you use Firefox lightly. I'm actually shocked Firefox is being stable with 193 tabs open right now. A couple months ago, it was crashy around 80 tabs -- an intolerably low threshold. > Chrome doesn't have some of the features that I like in Firefox. Chromium's extension system is so substandard that if I had to stop using Firefox entirely tomorrow I'd probably bypass Chromium entirely as my choice of primary browser and go directly to Uzbl, much as I dislike it. I know what you mean about Firefox features, where the only feature on Firefox that really sets it apart from other browsers these days is its extension system. > I'm not wild about their new versioning system. Version 6 is really 3.8 or thereabouts. The new upgrade schedule for Firefox is utter madness. An article I wrote about it is somewhere on TechRepublic. Considering the damage that upgrade schedule is doing to extension stability, Firefox is screwing with the one feature of the browser that keeps me from abandoning it altogether, considering all the crappy bugs and other annoyances of it.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

See this spoon? It's nice and round, fits a lot of soup in it and doesn't spill easily. See this spoon? It's almond-shaped, less stable than the round one, but it gets to where it needs to, faster. See this spoon?... The point is, yes, there exists significant things such as security issues and compatibilities. Beyond that, tastes start to factor in... just pick the one you like, and DON'T proselytize... if you get the whole world to use your browser, it will soon stop doing what you like it to do. Let the browsers become specialized for different use patterns and tastes. Don't let the browser manufacturer CEOs believe they could get all the customers if they jammed in a few extra features. Make them concentrate on doing what they're good at the best they can... by not rewarding customer-fishing.

YetAnotherBob
YetAnotherBob

Lightly? I tend to run many open tabs. I usually only run into problems on my HP laptop when I have more than 40 tabs open. Right now, it's down to 12 or so. I usually go through my email and open anything that looks interesting. Of course, I disable most java script and flash, as that makes the downloads go so slow. Sometimes I do have to go back and reload with Java Script and/or flash re-enabled, but not often. I don't really see the points the Author goes on about. Chrome doesn't have some of the features that I like in Firefox. I am currently using Version 6. I'm not wild about their new versioning system. Version 6 is really 3.8 or thereabouts. My son likes Chrome, it seems more facebook friendly to him. My wife prefers to stay on the old version 3.4 or so. Everybody has their own preferences. Firefox is still the Number Two browser, with IE in first and dropping slowly, and Chrome coming up from behind. The Fox is still growing, albeit slowly.

apotheon
apotheon

The fact you only use Firefox lightly and close it often does not mean that people who use their browsers differently should blame themselves for how Firefox fails where other browsers succeed. That's a "blame the victim" mentality.