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Firefox 4 poll: Big improvement or time to move on?

Mozilla has officially launched the long-expected Firefox 4. For some, it has solidified their loyalty to Firefox. For others, it's the final signal that it's time to move on. How about you? Take the poll.

I recently wrote about how I had been holding out for Firefox 4, and when it turned out to be a disappointment I decided it was time to part ways with Firefox as my primary Web browser. Plenty of TechRepublic members responded that they weren't having any problems with Firefox 4 and were still committed to the Fox, while others had a similar experience to mine and were looking to jump to an alternative like Chrome, Chromium, or Opera.

To continue the conversation on this topic, we'd like to put it to a vote. For those of you who regularly use Firefox and have upgraded to version 4, has the new version guaranteed your loyalty to Firefox or is it the final straw that has you ready to switch to an alternative?

Mozilla claims that Firefox 4 has "faster start-up times, rapid graphics rendering, and improved page load speed" (see Mozilla's artwork below), but I found that Firefox 4 still isn't quite as fast as other modern browsers and that it was responsible for some overall system slowdowns, as I explained in my article Goodbye Firefox. Hello Chromium.

Answer the poll below and then jump into the discussion and tell us about your experiences with Firefox 4.

Take the poll

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About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

29 comments
Richard Turpin
Richard Turpin

We have removed FF 4 from all of our computers it's buggy and slow and is sucking resources, which is a bad software engineering fault making it not fit for purpose. We trialled Chrome and IE 9 and were very surprised at how well IE 9 performed, it is quicker than Chrome and works well on all our software, We found using Chrome was fit for purpose but it did struggle with some of our system programmes. The decision to roll out IE 9 on all our units [we have no XP units] was made and I have to admit that we are very impressed with this browser from a business point of view it is a excellent tool, we are very satisfied with our decision.

GreyTech
GreyTech

I use FF4 as my main browser, Chrome or now Chromium for quick start to known sites only. I will not do without NoScript or Ghostery. I really like the Panorama feature despite it slowing down my startup but as startup usually only happens a couple of times a day it is not a real hassle.

Jaqui
Jaqui

no need to switch, because you never defaulted to that misbegotten kludge anyway.

kcbill13
kcbill13

I am not a full on tech head at all, just an old fart who works with technology all of the time, so I am not quite as reflexive as Jason is, but I see his points in the Chromium article. But for most users, I still think I want to support Mozilla over Microsoft, and I generally like the experience I get with Firefox over Internet Explorer, it is faster, and it is the better choice for most of my clients.

Ian Wright
Ian Wright

and I haven't looked back. Have now made Chrome my default on both desktop and laptop, even over Safari. I don't use extensions so the quick startup and speed does it for me.

judithschwartz
judithschwartz

It's faster than IE and the last version. There's more screen room making it cleaner.

coopergregorye
coopergregorye

Bad news from my home-spun computer with graphics card. After installation of Fire Fox 4.0 (after download) my internet screens started to show black in the various clicked boxes. My Great Tech friend determined that the above video/graphics card would not support F.F. 4.0. He uninstalled F.F. 4.0 and reinstalled F.F. 3.61... which works just fine. I do not feel that it's worth the trouble to replace the card, just for the sake of F.F. 4.0 and I have no intentions of going to another Web browser, just for more bells and whistles. Perhaps if F.F. offers a 4.0.1 version, I might give it another try. Best--Gregory

seanferd
seanferd

It's OK. No big deal changes to the way I use it as of yet.

bobhaines
bobhaines

I use all three browsers - IE, Firefox and Chrome. The question is what percent of the time I use each. I was impressed with the new Firefox browser and some of its features are useful. The problem I have is if I do not close it, my computer slows down to a crawl over time. There is still a bug in it. Therefore I am using Chrome most of the time. There are still some features that I use Firefox for but that is about 10 or 15 percent of my browser time. When IE comes out with a good build for 64 bits, I will revisit it.

eryk81
eryk81

I had a few computers that I had real problems with memory usage (1.05 million K). I had to kill the Firefox process to get it to close. However, once I restarted Firefox the usage was cut in half and began to stabilize. It's hard to like a browser that uses those kinds of system resources; not including the plugin container. I'm still undecided but I don't like IE and I don't want to give any more information to Google.

vinodajacob
vinodajacob

Is Minefield - Mozilla's 64 bit browser considered Firefox 4, I have been hooked on that browser since Chrome does not have a 64 bit browser and IE 64 bit is still slow.

cperry
cperry

I switched to Chrome a couple months back and was mostly glad I did. There was only 1 extension I missed from Firefox that wasn't on Chrome, but Chrome was better in almost every other way. The thing I liked the most about Chrome was it's built in Sync for Bookmarks, Extensions and more recently passwords. Firefox 4 shipped with this ability out of the box but even more compelling is that it also syncs with Firefox for Android. This almost makes me want to switch back. I'll probably stick with Chrome for now but I'm eyeing Firefox for the future.

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

We need a middleground to vote on. A third party candidate, if you will. It's not that I haven't decided it's that I just don't feel the need to blow things out of proportion. It's not a "big improvement" or "time to switch" I am not so fickle. It's a new version. Some things have changed for the better, and some things are not as good. It's not the end of the world. Other browsers still have a long way to go to match the versatility and extensibility of FireFox. Other browsers may be faster if you are in to measuring milliseconds (Whatever floats your boat). Speed is not the only thing I look for in a browser. A simple browser like Chrome is great for simple people. FireFox remains the choice of power users. Often we add extensions that slow the browser down because we want added functionality over speed. If you don't need the extensions you wouldn't miss them from the other browsers. It remains a matter of personal needs.

Slayer_
Slayer_

But I hate the current interface, when it auto updates on Mint, I will probably have a more detailed review, but I don't see how the new version, which seems to take what I hate of the current firefox and enhances it, to be any better. I want a browser that looks like IE6, THAT was an easy to understand browser, proper sized buttons, proper text descriptions.

Babydoll25
Babydoll25

I've had Chrome installed since( Version 5 or 6 maybe)forever. However, around FF 3.5 I switched completely only using using FF long enough to update, decide that it still (for lack of a better term) sucks and go back to Chrome....Forever this time.

Jaqui
Jaqui

add opera, seamonkey, dillo, lynx, flock, midori and a host of other options.

n.gurr
n.gurr

Opera? I have to admit having a love hate relationship with Opera, except recently all the things that I hated seem to have gone. Opera is innovative, quick and stable. It may just do for you too!

seanferd
seanferd

Now it's FF stable 4.0. Minefield is in the 4.2 area currently. Don't know what you have. It depends on when you installed the nightly build. Check your version number.

Ricewilliamj
Ricewilliamj

You literally wrote exactly what I wanted to say while I was reading the article. D*mn you! Chrome is definitely for simple needs. I use both at work and FF only at home. FF is far more powerful than any of the other browsers in terms of add-ons. I've been using FF since version 1.0. There was a time I was going to jump ship between the release of 2 and 3. Not one browser was able to achieve the results I was looking for at the time. I'm far from a Firefox lover, I personally dislike every single browser and there isn't one that actually gets it right. FF4 made some fundamental changes I strongly dislike, but there's really no replacing FF if you're a power user. On to Spitfire's point, there needs to be a middle ground. I don't think it's a big improvement, seems more like lateral movement if anything. I'm not a child either, I'm not going to jump ship to a lesser browser. Not undecided either.

rindi1
rindi1

That is also a reason I'm staying with FF. I can't use IE because of antipathy and also I'm not only using m$ OS's. FF can be used with Linux etc as well. There are some things that are provided with addons which aren't there for alternative browsers.

Sterling chip Camden
Sterling chip Camden

FF4 seems a little faster than FF3, but it doesn't take my breath away. And I have seen more unexplained exits of FF4. But I rely heavily on FF extensions that Chrome just hasn't matched yet (and, I'm afraid, the restrictions on the extension mechanism mean that it never will).

Mr Spock
Mr Spock

I agree, stop moving everything to a new location.

TG2
TG2

I partly agree ... I hated the interface at first ... I have since added two extensions, and accepted the movement of the URL bar to be *under* the tabs. It was after I watched the video for *why* the design team moved the bar, that it made sense.. In effect the video explained that the URL bar is specific to the tabs .. it doesn't relate to "all" tabs .. its specific to the active tab ... and so if you put the bar under the tabs the open tab becomes more pronounced, and so its easier to associate. The extensions I added? Status_Bar-4evar and the Menu Bar extension. I am one that prefers the defined File - Help menu structure, rather than a single/unified menu or button ... when you have a unified menu/button like that, it almost always means additional clicks to obtain the same result. Now as for the status bar.. I don't trust "hover overs" to show the valid URL .. expecting that some form of DHTML will allow making a pop-over that ends up causing users to see invalid URL information to trick them into clicking. And while the URL bar has a micro thin page load status indicator.. I prefer a larger bar display that's in the status bar.. Beyond that .. I've hated that good free extensions don't exist for MS's IE ... can't stand the interface of Chrome (see above's file menu & status bar as examples) and even though I've had FF hog CPU usage ... I will STILL take that over Internet Explorer, esepcially now that Microsoft won't create a version of IE9 that doesn't require system upgrades (won't run on XP)

zclayton2
zclayton2

the choice is iE or Firefox. I stick with Firefox as the lesser of two evils.

Draycus
Draycus

It's too slow; doesn't display some pages fully (have to use another browser when that happens); simply stated, it's bloatware continued.

JCitizen
JCitizen

downloads, slightly slower opening. New tabs open very quickly so I don't mind the opening problem, especially since it is related to add-ons that are not updated yet. It will improve with plug-in and extension updates as we go forward. I really like the improved screen real-estate, and I like the way Mozilla handles placement of add-on icons better than Chrome. I can't use Chrome on a x64 standard account anyway, so Chrome is moot for me; unless someone can suggest a way to install it on a Vista x64 system. We must admit that Mozilla and IE9 are simply copycats of Chrome. They all follow the leader.

BubbaGlock
BubbaGlock

Unfortunately. Do not want Chrome due to Google's privacy issues. Like the FF add ons.

pixelm
pixelm

I completely agree - I am not so impressed with the speed improvement. Lots of folks suggest that it is night and day - but I just have not noticed anything so drastic. That said, I simply can not live without Firebug. Neither Chrome's nor Safari's version of this type of functionality work as well for me.