Enterprise Software

Getting fed up with Firefox

Ok – let’s start of

by saying that I use Firefox every day. It’s my main Web browser when doing

almost everything that doesn’t absolutely require Internet Explorer. I’ve been using Firefox way back since

version 0.6 when it was still called Firebird. I’ve used it on Windows, OS/2 and

Linux. The problem is, the more I use Firefox, the more irritated I’ve become

with it.



First, there’s the

issue of updates. No software is perfect so patches are to be expected. And the

Firefox folks do a great job of making updates available when problems crop up.

Unfortunately, with Firefox that means that you have to reinstall the entire

browser, not just simply apply a patch to fix the problem. In a business

environment where you have to support dozens or hundreds of machines, I don’t

see how that makes it a viable alternative to IE.



Second, Firefox is

slow. No matter what OS or computer I’ve used Firefox on, it’s slow. I

wouldn’t

quite go so far as to call it a bloated pig, but it’s slow. Way slower

than IE. It’s slow to load.

It’s slow to display menus. It’s slow to load Web pages. It’s slow on

fast

machines. It’s even slower on slow machines. I have a very old Compaq

test

machine – a Compaq Presario 5712. With

its blazing 450Mhz PII and 256Mb of RAM, Firefox can be painful. Most

of the

time, it’s easier to just load IE, get to the page you want, and be

gone. Sometimes Firefox takes so long to load, I've thought the mouse

click didn't take, so I click it again only to wind up with multiple

copies of Firefox running.


Third, Firefox is

buggy. I’m not a programmer and haven’t delved into the code, but you don’t

have to be a programmer to be able to identify buggy code. IE has its share of

problems as well, but Firefox is far from perfect. Case in point - there have

been several times where I’ll have a few tabs open and suddenly the entire computer

slows to a crawl. I’ll open up Task Manager, and find that Firefox has consumed

several hundred megabytes of memory and is nailing the CPU at 80 – 90% usage.

It’s gotten to the point that when I’ve noticed the computer is running slow, I

know to go to Task Manager and just kill firefox.exe - everything will be

fine again. I could give other examples

of Firefox bugs – like how it inexplicably closes all of the active Firefox

sessions (whether in tabs or separate windows) at once for no good reason, but I don't want to belabor the point.

Let’s face it – just

because software is open-source doesn’t mean it’s perfect. At the same time,

just because software is created by Microsoft it doesn’t mean that it’s

inherently evil. Firefox still has plenty of lumps in it, and hopefully the next version helps to

iron some of them out. Even through all of that however, I still use Firefox

(except on that old Compaq) because it still beats the pants

off of IE most of the time.

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