Bye, Chrome: Why I’m switching to Firefox (2018)(fastcompany.com)
Mods: this needs to be tagged 2018. This article is now a year and a half old.
> Google already runs a lot of my online life–it’s my email, my calendar, my go-to map, and all my documents.
I’d rather the author take care of this with urgency, in addition to switching from Chrome to Firefox.
Firefox Focus is one of the best things from Mozilla in the recent years. I use it more than any browser (including Firefox itself).
I’ve asked around before, but didn’t get a satisfactory answer. Mozilla Corporation (the one that funds Firefox development) gets more than 90% of its revenues from its search partnership with Google. So Firefox is, in a way, aligned to promoting Google to survive. If there were ways to fund Firefox more widely (not through some limited VPN service tie ups), that could make Mozilla bolder. Someone pointed out that while there’s an official Facebook Container extension for Firefox, there is no official Google Container extension. The Google Container is not created by Mozilla.
I’d really want to support Firefox (and related) development directly. In my understanding this is not possible because donations on mozilla.org go to Mozilla Foundation, the non-profit that works on open web initiatives and education.
These articles always feel like i missed something. I have stayed with Firefox all the time, never switched to Chrome.
Why should I have switched to Chrome, again?
When Chrome first came out it was much faster and leaner than Firefox. The gap has closed significantly in the past few years.
I used Chrome as my main browser for a year or so before switching back to Firefox. I’m glad that Firefox is now catching up again, hopefully developers will start treating Firefox as a first class browser again. Occasionally I will come across a website which was clearly only tested on Chrome.
I originally switched about a decade ago because Chrome was significantly more stable for me. I gave FF another shot when they released quantum. I experienced some stability issues at first, but I now consider it to be a superior browser.
I use Chrome and FF simultaneously at work because Google holds hangouts for ransom and that's our enterprise IM solution. Recently, FF seems to be much more stable than Chrome.
I also use FF on my smartphone and, IMO, it's a significantly better experience than Chrome.
The one feature I really miss from Chrome is the ability to easily switch between browser profiles. You can use the about:profiles page on Firefox for a similar effect, but it's nowhere near as seamless as Chrome.
Would account containers help you with the profile issue?
These single handedly are what keeps me in Firefox. So convenient at work where I often need to be logged into the same site with a few different accounts.
But Firefox always had superior and better performing AdBlock which made whatever speed advantage Chrome had pretty irrelevant.
I think the draw to Chrome for developers at the time was the better built-in dev tools compared to Firebug.
> hopefully developers will start treating Firefox as a first class browser again
I’m a webdev and we’re still fighting this one and will be for a while. Chrome has such a huge market share it’s hard to convince the decision makers to consider even Safari, much less Firefox. Please help give those of us fighting for Chrome alternatives and give us something to back up our arguments better than “But Google!!”
It was faster for about a year. And at what cost?
The cost was huge, but Firefox is much more competitive than it was. Chrome was faster for a pretty long time and was heavily marketed. It was bundled with lots of common utilities on Windows.
Then things got to the point where developers started doing the "IE thing" and only testing with Chrome. Developers were complicit in this because they repeated the same mistakes of the past. It's amazing how just a few years pass and the next wave of developers are oblivious to what came before.
My move to the latest (quantum?) Firefox has been beset by horrific energy use problems on macOS. Those have only just been fixed, but things are much better now. I hope the FF team keep their focus because with Microsoft and Opera giving up on their engines we need Mozilla more than ever.
> Then things got to the point where developers started doing the "IE thing" and only testing with Chrome. Developers were complicit in this because they repeated the same mistakes of the past.
Not all developers. In fact I remember quite a few meetings where I couldn’t convince product that Safari and Firefox should be supported and ended up leaving the meeting yelling “Fine I’ll support them myself”. To this day I still test in all 3 hoping one day I can stop testing in Chrome.
It was, anecdotally, faster-feeling until maybe a year and a half ago. The lack of sufficient parallelization meant that Firefox would feel sluggish and constantly freeze at the UI layer from a misbehaving website.
I switched back around then, because now it's fantastic.
Chrome is glorified spyware, simple truth.
When $GOOG gets squeezed, they always find new ways to use your data for commercial purposes.
On my old hardware, Chrome based browsers run significantly faster. Faster startup, significantly faster page loading. More responsive UI (new tab, new window etc). Once a web app loads it’ll be equally fast though.
I keep switching back to Firefox as it’s supposedly “as fast now” but it never was, and on my hardware, it still isn’t.
I gotta add to this that when it comes to ethics and privacy there is no contest. But the bulk of Mozilla’s funding coming from its arch-nemesis is tragi-comical.
It's a little silly to ignore the impact that Chrome had on the browser market. A from-scratch multiprocess architecture, considerable performance improvements, a fairly significant departure with UI, etc.
Sandboxed flash was huge at the time. People forget so quickly that only a decade ago the internet was a lot more malicious. Exploits hosted on compromised ads were not uncommon at all. These days all of the big exploit kits rely on social engineering.
Those were very appealing things for many people, rightfully so.
I agree that Chrome has been good for healthy competition in the browser market. What I don't agree with is that Firefox hasn't been holding it's own the whole time.
They did force Mozilla to actually innovate on Firefox, which was great, but they closed the performance gap to insignificant levels pretty quickly.
I really think the majority of people switching to Chrome was just momentum of "I use Google and they say Chrome is better".
I told everyone I could to use Chrome because the risk of being infected by malware was radically lower. Flash 0days used to be so common, I know plenty of people who'd get hit. Java plugin was the other big one and Chrome had it click to play early on IIRC.
Chrome had a massive advantage over Firefox, security wise, for quite a long time.
> I told everyone I could to use Chrome because the risk of being infected by malware was radically lower.
I used to say so too, but that was because at that time everyone was using Internet Explorer, not Firefox. Both Firefox and Chrome had and have been much more secure than IE (and Edge used to be unstable for a long time), so this was not a good reason to prefer Chrome over Firefox even at that time.
Chrome was the first browser to sandbox Flash. That was huge for security.
I don't disagree that Chrome had been (and is still, due to the personpower) more secure than Firefox. But a gap between both and IE is much wider  than a gap between Chrome and Firefox and the latter didn't affect the recommendation. Chrome was much more secure than IE and had a good UX, that's it.
 Qualitatively: both didn't really support ActiveX. Quantatitvely: even back in 2010 (where Chrome's Flash sandboxing and Firefox's out-of-process NPAPI "isolation" was still at their infancy) both crashed much less often than IE.
I've been on Linux the whole time, so I suppose the security worries weren't really something that came up for me.
Also have always been more cavalier about security than I probably should be.
Who is ignoring it? Also keep in mind most of these security benefits only helped Windows. There’s a lot of non-windows users here who had app level sandboxing before Chrome sandboxed Flash. Regardless of what they did they’re too “Googlfied” these days and Chrome is a massive window into your personal data. People that have done good things can go on to doing bad things.
Not just the browser market, but software in general.
Remember when people had a conniption about Chrome auto updating and now literally all software does that?
Remember when using tabs was kind of a chore and not really worth the effort? Remember when the chrome of a browser would take up 10% of the screen? Remember when browsers had an address bar and a search bar? Remember when installing extensions was a huge, painful process?
This whole, "I don't get it," thing is so transparent and juvenile.
> Remember when people had a conniption about Chrome auto updating and now literally all software does that?
Sure. And is that a good thing? From a developer's perspective maybe, from a user's not so much.
> Remember when using tabs was kind of a chore and not really worth the effort?
No, I dont. Tabs have not fundamentally changed since they were introduced in NetCaptor some twenty years ago. Yes, you can drag and drop them now, but thats basically it.
If anything, tabs have de-evolved. Chrome never allowed any customisation and Firefox stopped supporting it (e.g. vertical tabs) when they switched to "Quantum".
> Remember when the chrome of a browser would take up 10% of the screen? Remember when browsers had an address bar and a search bar?
If that was Google's only achievement ;)
> Remember when installing extensions was a huge, painful process?
I dont. Installing extensions was never any of that. It was always fairly straightforward in Firefox and has not really changed since the first versions, again some twenty years ago :)
> Chrome never allowed any customisation and Firefox stopped supporting it (e.g. vertical tabs) when they switched to "Quantum".
Current Firefox has vertical tabs, with the Tree Style Tab extension (like it always has been). The only UI difference is that TST cannot hide the horizontal tab bar automatically, but it will explain to you on first use how to do that.
True, they kind of managed to semi-port that but it still rather is a crutch.
My point was though the claim Chrome fundamentally improved how we use tabs simply is nonfactual.
Chrome made tabs practical through multiprocess browsing. Firefox would happily let a backgrounded tab wedge the entire process and it took many years for them to rectify that.
First, this is an exaggeration in my opinion. Second, this is only peripherally related to tabs and how they are used.
Firefox is awesome now. We can celebrate that without rewriting the past.
I still stand by my previous statements.
Mozilla certainly improved on overall performance with Quantum, but to say Firefox was unusuable is actually not even an exaggeration - I stand corrected on this - but plain wrong.
AFAIK, Chrome did introduce the multi-process approach but that touched tabs only peripherally. Tab management itself has not improved.
So using a Google product on a non Google browser while they’re trying to gain marketshare for said browser didn’t work well (and presumably would push you towards using said browser)? Color me surprised.
I mean you get that Chrome exists because Google wanted to do more with a web page, yeah? And that Firefox wasn’t up for it at the time?
Chrome’s approach enabled new things and I knew somebody was mgoing to /r/iamverysmart about my example being a Google app—but Google Docs is my go-to example exactly because at the time nobody else really made a web app with some weight to it. Chrome enabled them to be mainstream and for that it deserves a lot of credit. But there is no super secret MakeFirefoxSlow.js in Google Docs. There never was. Firefox was slow and poorly designed by comparison.
Firefox has now improved. It’s great. I don’t even use Chrome anymore. But I’m really allergic to this kind of galaxy-braining.
> But there is no super secret MakeFirefoxSlow.js in Google Docs. There never was.
> Remember when browsers had an address bar and a search bar?
Well, my pet theory is that this is the same as Facebook's internet.org program: just how Facebook wants to (and benefits) to train the "global" (sub)conscious that Facebook essentially is the Internet, Google stands to profit from everyone confusing/conflating Google search results with the Internet.
Why give people an address bar when they can (slightly) misspell their destination and go through Google instead? Maybe, if they're lucky, over time, every network request will go through Google.
I've also noticed this in how Google mandates the placement of the Google search widget on the home screen on Android devices. Place "the Internet" front-and-center on everyone's favourite screen, and people naturally "fall in."
> Remember when browsers had an address bar and a search bar?
Firefox still has that as an option. I use it.
Firefox also could be configured to only show one bar and split based off of it being a url or not. I remember configuring mine that way right around Chrome launch.
Oh shit, yeah, Windows software used to not ever autoupdate I forgot about that.
That's true, but Google replaced websites exploiting users, to doing the honor themselves.
Absolutely agree. I'm mystified that so many people abandoned the consistently excellent Firefox for the debatably equal but run by Google Chrome.
When Chrome came out the fact that it was built by Google was a positive, not a negative.
This definitely applied to me. I picked up Chrome partly because I trusted Google, and I moved away from it mostly because I no longer do.
I remember stating that I wished Google would make a bank (because the web experience with my current bank was so bad). That sentiment feels so distant now that I am almost not sure if it was real or not.
When I switched Firefox liked to make my Macbook run hot and to trigger frequent system-wide beachballs when it wasn't foregrounded, with just a few tabs loaded. And just having it open killed my battery. This was, like, 2011 I think. Chrome didn't do these things, even with way more tabs. I'd used FF almost exclusively since it was called Phoenix, before that, though I hadn't loved and evangelized it since some time in the 2.x series.
Of course I moved to Safari after that when I realized I could gain like another 1.5-2hrs of battery life over even Chrome, and Firefox has largely replaced Chrome as the thing I use if I need something non-Safari, now.
The native browser advantage that Safari and Edge hold is real. Firefox was built in the era of desktops being dominant. I think their next priority needs to be power usage.
I'm a Phoenix adopter as well, but never left for the almost 2 decades that have passed. I do it the opposite way, Firefox is my main, but the native browser is my goto if I need something non-Firefox.
I'd like to do it your way, but there's many Firefox-only usability features that losing simply ruins the web for me.
Things Chrome had around the time when it debuted that made it stand out: A unified search and website address bar Separate processes for tabs so that if one crashed, it didn't take the whole browser down with it Flash built in
Don't underestimate the power of the exclusive Ad spot on the world's most visited web page.
Iirc Google didn't quite have today's reputation in 2008 or whenever it first came out. My peers genuinely believed that their don't be evil slogan was genuine
It was faster and more secure. It's probably still more secure.
Exactly. It's a decade behind us now, so presumably many posters here never even experienced it, but it's hard to convey just how much of an innovation Chrome was when it landed in the browser world of the late aughts. We'd been subjected, at that point, to almost 15 years of perpetual bloat and decay by Netscape and then Microsoft.
Chrome wasn't just faster, it was viscerally faster (V8 in particular was just completely without peer at the time). It was cleaner, without all the buttons and features adorning its competitors.
We all swapped instantly. Really it was amazing. But that was 11 years ago, Chrome has grown the warts IE used to have, and Firefox has largely caught up on the features geeks care about.
I was around then. I don’t remember Chrome ever actually feeling faster. Maybe it was my system, maybe it was just me, but I’ve never understood the “faster” argument. The Chrome is “faster” argument is eerily reminiscent to Sega’s “blast processing” propaganda from the 90’s.
What Chrome did do better than Firefox was pay to put advertisements everywhere. I remember feeling dumbfounded that we needed Chrome Browser ads on TV to sway people away from IE. Strange, strange times.
I ran Mac, windows and Linux on the desktop. Chrome was shockingly faster on all of them if you had the ram for it. Even Safari was clearly faster on Mac for a long time.
It was significantly faster on Windows, but not so much on other platforms.
It was significantly faster on all platforms, plus looked good on all platforms. That also was a big deal on Linux, where things usually don`t look good.
I cannot stand the Chrome UI. Always thought it looked cheap compared to Firefox. "Sleek" I suppose people would say.
I was on Firefox back then as well, and the only place Chrome(ium) ever seemed faster to me was initial startup - which was irrelevant because I always had the browser open in the background.
That was never my experience in practical, day to day usage. I feel like an odd man out though. I see many posters here talking about terrible performance on Mac. I've been running Firefox on MacBook Pros since 2007. I don't know what you guys are doing...but I can't replicate the poor performance.
> We all swapped instantly.
Certainly not "all". When chrome came out I tried it a few times over the years, but it had no observable advantage and was (and is) less configurable than firefox so it's clearly inferior on that front. I never switched.
I was well aware of the hype around it being faster, but was never able to observe any evidence in my usage/systems. And it was produced by an advertising company so that was always a huge minus.
This mirrors my experience exactly.
I was a Firefox user since it was called Phoenix. Chrome came out, I used it for a bit, never did see much of an advantage of switching and I kinda hated the chrome UI. Never saw an observable performance improvement. Stayed on Firefox. Still always use chrome to test when web developing though.
It mirrors my experience as well.
I will admit that Firefox has gone through periods where the UI is just plain butt ugly, kind of like the current iteration (sorry Mozilla guys, I'm just not a fan). That has always been easy enough to remedy. When Firefox still had real themes, you could make it seamlessly fit most UIs or even mock Chrome, if that was your thing. At least you can still modify userchrome.css. The Australis era UI was pretty nice. It's a shame they left it behind to compete with Chrome looks.
I always found the XUL plugin ecosystem to be significantly more robust than Chrome offerings. They are kind of on par now that they're both using WebExtensions.
I keep Chrome around for testing and other things that only want to work on Chrome now. For example, Google drive never seems to want to download my files when I'm using Firefox. They just redirect to a blank white tab. On the Mac, Chrome does this annoying thing when you hit Cmd+Q to quit. It tells you that you have to hold Cmd+Q for a period of time instead. I move quickly on the keyboard and that pattern breaks my flow. I know you can change the setting, which I have done, but it's totally different from nearly every other app on my system.
This whole time I have been a "Firefox when using X11, Chrome when using Mac or Windows" guy.
The relative snappiness of Chrome in the early days was really most true on Windows. And Firefox was usually not great on Mac to begin with (there used to be a number of Mac specific ports trying to get Mozilla/gecko in shape iirc - Camino?), so really its competition was Safari.
Meanwhile Chrome/Chromium didn't really feel at home on an X desktop. So I usually stuck with Firefox there just the same way I did from the start, like when it was Phoenix or Mozilla or just as I used Netscape for Linux back in the 90s. (This statement is making me feel old.)
> It's a decade behind us now, so presumably many posters here never even experienced it
Well that makes me feel old...
Is the HN crowd really that young?
> We all swapped instantly
Not all of us...
"Faster" was one of the huge selling points of FF initially, too. Non-nerds could tell the difference (over, say, IE or Mozilla/Netscape Navigator) even. It was light and lean as hell. Hasn't been the case since well before Chrome came out, but it used to be.
There was a period where every web forum discussion of Firefox included a joke about memory leaks. I’m surprised no one remembers this...
must’ve slipped my mind.
When Chrome came out I didn't have the problem with Google I have now. But I could never switch to Chrome because I hate having the tabs above the address bar. At least with Firefox I could tweak userChrome.css to keep tabs right above the content. So I never switched either.
It gets harder all the time though. It was the default, then it was an option in about:config, then you could tweak userChrome.css, and now loading userChrome.css is disabled by default. The day is coming when we won't be able to do it at all. User control crumbles bit by bit, slowly but surely.
My conclusion as someone who never felt like Firefox was slow enough to be an issue, even when Chrome first came out, is that people must go to much more adware-laden sites than I ever do.
The only times I ever had Firefox perform in the laggy and stuttering ways people always describe have been when I get sucked into the "20 things you can't believe she said" type articles where every page is an exercise in squeezing the most ads per unit area.
Really it's just incentive for me to not waste time on that garbage. Plus now Firefox blocks most ads by default.
Firefox's ‘quantum’ migration killed off some significant extensions (e.g vimperator/pentadactyl) introduced a bunch of new bugs, some of which remain.
Dev tools were superior for a while, I think.
It’s still superior.
In what way?
Around 2011 I switched from Firefox on my macbook pro to Chrome because Firefox was unusable because it was too slow.
It seems like we've had a discussion about this article every few months since its publication - not necessarily a bad thing, but just an observation.
I've been a Firefox user since before Chrome was launched - it was one of the very few alternatives to IE at the time. And during these years, it was a breath of fresh air. When Chrome launched, as others have noted, Google leveraged its coffers to provide the new browser with extensive advertising and PR and of course, the icing on the cake, it actually was a great browser too.
I never ran benchmarks or anything but there were certainly a number of years in which Chrome did seem like a faster browser. That said, I was always skeptical because the browser was a Google product. But I stuck with Firefox except for rare cases, mostly in the past 5 or so years, where certain sites didn't even appear to function properly without it (it being Chrome).
Because of sites like these, I am at least appreciative that there are other Chromium-based browsers (which now, apparently include Microsoft Edge) that offer more or less the same site functionality as Chrome without having to directly leverage a Google product.
I for one quite like Brave and its privacy features, including its defaults. Blocking ads by default is great, though of course, Brave compensates for this by presenting its own ads (which are still annoying, but less so to me). I like the ability to use Tor and DuckDuckGo easily just by starting a private window. It also seems to me that Brave is just as fast, if not faster than Firefox. In addition to this, you can use almost every Chrome extension on the Brave browser (for me, the important stuff is uBlock Origin, Dark Reader, and a Password Manager). I know many here are skeptical or disapproving of the 'Brave Rewards' cryptocurrency - and I get that. But I have completely ignored it (it is an opt-in system) and I am no worse for wear.
Suffice it to say, I'm a long-time Firefox supporter - I still do use it somewhat frequently but I'm slowly shifting to Brave. I try not to use Chrome (though I appreciate what its impact has been on the browser space as a whole) and Microsoft's efforts with Edge at least provide amusing diversions. If you're running old SharePoint sites, Microsoft's browsers are still a must-have.
> Brave compensates for this by presenting its own ads (which are still annoying, but less so to me)
I exclusively use brave on android, linux and windows and don't have replacement ads. I've read that you can opt into viewing ads in exchange for receiving a cryptocurrency token, but since I'm in a region that isn't offered, have never seen it. But I don't think it just plasters its own ads over the originals unless you opt into this “crypto for ad views” scheme.
> For instance, Firefox protects you from being tracked by advertising networks across websites, which has the lovely side effect of making sites load faster. “As you move from website to website, advertising networks essentially follow you so they can see what you’re doing so they can serve you targeted advertisements,” Dolanjski says. “Firefox is the only [major] browser out of the box that prevents that from happening.”
> Even if you do care, reading through Google Chrome’s 13,500-word privacy white paper, which uses a lot of technical jargon and obfuscates exactly what data the browser is tracking, isn’t helpful either.
Actually, I found it to be an interesting and relatively straightforward read: https://www.google.com/chrome/privacy/whitepaper.html
> One downside to using Firefox is that many browser extensions are built primarily for Chrome
WebExtensions is pretty similar between Chrome and Firefox, isn't it?
> my password manager luckily has a Firefox extension but it often causes the browser to crash
>>> my password manager luckily has a Firefox extension but it often causes the browser to crash
If he's got the one I'm thinking of, it's more of a testament to how crappy LastPass's Firefox support is than a problem with FF itself.
Extensions should never cause browsers to crash, no matter how poorly written they are.
Where is ublock for safari? ;)
The OP was talking about things that Firefox and Safari both provide out of the box; neither one provides uBlock out of the box, AFAIK.
Personally, I'm perfectly happy using Better on Safari, after being somewhat reluctantly driven to using ad blockers a few years ago.
(Having said that, Safari 13's "now does even less!" approach to extensions is finally making me consider switching back to Firefox after all these years, even though I don't actually use many extensions.)
If you're referring to my first point, I'm talking about Intelligent Tracking Prevention.
You know a great way to prevent tracking? A decent ad blocker. I don't care how good Safari's "intelligent tracking prevention" is, but as long as they're blocking uBlock Origin I'll browse elsewhere.
Safari isn’t blocking uBlock so much as they changed their extension API and uBlock can’t/won’t rewrite to support it.
This is really no different than what Firefox did with WebExtensions but had the advantage of being mostly compatible with the Chromium ecosystem. It’s true that content blocking isn’t as powerful as what uBlock does/did with WebExt but WebExt also isn’t as powerful as XUL extensions.
Switched back when [Firefox Quantum](https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2017/11/14/introducing-firefox...) came out. Never looked back.
I looked back repeatedly. For one I could never get it to launch Zoom from a link, it would always try to download the exe again. The Dark Reader extension is much slower on FF than Chrome. I think Chrome is still faster in general, I can tell especially when flipping through a bunch of tabs really fast.
When I came to the realization I was using FireFox essentially just for idealogical reasons I went back to Chrome.
FWIW I use Firefox and zoom with no issues and am really happy with recent updates to the browser. Haven’t tried the dark reader extension though.
Out of curiosity, what's wrong with using a product because you believe in it?
Give Brave a try, it does a lot of things well, and it has some basic independence from Google's direct interests.
My one problem with Firefox is that it's just so damn slow on any laptop I use. I've tried every update since the beginning of 2019 and little appreciable change on this. My laptops tend towards the cheap and they don't have much kick but if Firefox is decent enough, it should be able to perform as well as Chrome on them, and with Chrome I rarely have this problem on any of the same machines. If anyone can give me some idea of how to address this, would be nice.
I have had the opposite experience: Firefox runs just fine on a T420i (2nd gen i3,4GB RAM, Ubuntu 18.04) a T450 (5th gen i5, 8GB RAM, Windows 10) and a 2011 Macbook Air (2nd gen i5, 4GB RAM, OSX Sierra).
I had the same experience with FF on laptops. Switched between FF and Chrome a few times then settled on Brave for a combination of Chromium’s performance, just without the Google :) It was a bit buggy but they’ve mostly ironed it out.
Is it the page scrolling that feels slow to you? That's configurable.
Not trying to snark, but this seems like pretty basic stuff - is there anything in the article that the average HN reader wouldn't have heard multiple times already?
Nope, but this article isn't aimed at HN readers. It's aimed at lay people who don't necessarily understand what actions they're taking to implicitly undermine their own privacy or jeopardize the future of an open, standards-driven web. Katherine has written other, more innovative pieces around the same issues: https://www.fastcompany.com/90369697/googles-new-recaptcha-h...
> Nope, but this article isn't aimed at HN readers. It's aimed at lay people who don't necessarily understand what actions they're taking...
So why is it here?
An article can be of interest to HN readers without being aimed at them.
No doubt. But the reason why this one isn't aimed at HN readers is because they've heard all of this multiple times already.
I'm not disagreeing with the article, I'm just wondering why it is of interest.
Content to advertising ratio very low with this article, I think people just voted it up for the feel-good value.
I guess that makes sense.
Not much. But the article can be shared with your non-technical friends and family members though. I guess that's why it has a lot of upvotes.
I made this switch about 12-ish months ago when the writing was on the wall about ad-blocking and ... something about auto-creating a "chrome account" something something ...
I've been fairly disappointed in the lack of flexibility that firefox provides and the real lack of maturity (and even usability) of the containers feature.
I think I expected the move to firefox to bring with it a lot more flexibility and a richer set of configurations and customizations and this really isn't the case.
Instead, my firefox experience has been surprisingly restrictive. Unless, of course, I am willing to install a bunch of add-ons, all of which come with the obligatory "access all of your data" and are from just some random dude on the net.
Some specific issues:
- I want to define a "home page" BUT I also want both new tabs and new windows to open with a blank page. You cannot do this. As soon as you set both new tab and new window to "blank page", the fn+opt+leftarrow shortcut ceases to do anything.
- I want to use containers. Containers are only tabs. That makes no sense. The very first thing you want to do with a container, after learning what containers are, is open a Window and have all future tabs in that window inherit the container that that Window is. This is the basic use-case of the container feature and it doesn't exist. Instead, every use of container is mouse-mouse-mouse-click-click-click (since there is no key shortcut for them) and then open a tab for a single use. We should be making container windows and using key shortcuts to open tabs in those windows.
- I can't force-title a firefox Window - it just gets the title of the currently open tab. All manner of interesting Window management can be done, outside of firefox, if you can lock the Window title. I could create 6-8 ffox Windows, just like I create 6-8 spaces in GNU Screen, and quickly hotkey between them ... I see no way to do this.
- The fixation on tabs is, itself, a bit weird ... I don't think either a window-centric nor a tab-centric workflow should be favored - they should be equally developed and enabled.
Firefox was dumbed down when they ditched XUL and followed Chrome's lead. Hopefully they will see the light and add more power to the extensions than Google will ever let Chrome have.
Still waiting for a non-hacky way to hide the tab bar.
I agree, though I think the reasoning was security unfortunately. They were likely trying to address legitimate issues with some large portion of the user base.
I think it was more for code maintainability; they started feeling like any change they made would affect some popular add-on or other. Which was probably true, and I feel was an advantage for using Firefox…
My thought at the time, and still what I believe a large part of the reasoning is- many of those old extensions were largely unmaintained. So when Mozilla did break them, that group of users would cry out and the maintainers could potentially direct that anger towards Firefox. He who makes the change gets the blame in software.
WebExtensions also had the Chrome interop advantage, so more actively maintained extensions would be brought over, especially well-supported AAA extensions. As a result, it wasn't a net loss and longterm definitely a gain.
Mozilla for their part did say they would work with folks to poke additional holes in the WebExtensions API that would be Firefox-only, for extensions that had enough outcry behind them.
I'm pleased with where Firefox is today, but I never felt it was behind enough on performance and definitely never enough on features to leave.
I know you said you have reservations against installing add-ons, but that's really the best way to add features that aren't widely used. Modularity is flexibility.
Set custom window title: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/custom-titleb...
All future tabs in a window keep the same container as the first: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/sticky-window...
Both have links to their Github page if you want to look at the code and see what they do with their data permissions.
I don't know what "fn+opt+leftarrow" is a shortcut to. I haven't used a home page in years, I save my tabs between sessions and use bookmarks and the built in search bar.
I mostly agree with these complaints. Containers are the thing that both excited me and disappointed me the most about Firefox. I envisioned a world where I could open a couple of different browser windows and have all the tabs share a container. This would be great for things like working in multiple Google accounts, or multiple AWS accounts. However I found that containers are not very easy to use and I still don't know exactly how they work or which extension I should be using to make them do what I think they should do.
My advice to Firefox would be to get containers working in a easy to explain fashion and the world will beat a path to your door. I'm already using containers to limit Facebook's access to my world; it should be just as easy to use the same power for everything.
You're absolutely correct. It's also true that you have to play around a bit with the container addons to get it functioning as you'd expect, but please believe that you're not alone out there on how you want it to work. For example, my vision of containers was built out with the Containerise extension. A version of that needs to be built into Firefox.
To do what you're asking, I haven't looked for addons to do it, but you'd probably have to do it manually. Open a window, then open a container and spawn everything else out from there. Assigning a container to a browser window sounds entirely plausible, useful, and I like it.
There's only a few real use cases for containers that make sense or are useful and that's a new one (to me). If Mozilla did that and duplicated Containerise, they'd have yet-another killer feature.
I think Mozilla's biggest problem must be management or bureaucracy, because they have a lot of relatively low-hanging fruit like this just waiting.
> I envisioned a world where I could open a couple of different browser windows and have all the tabs share a container. This would be great for things like working in multiple Google accounts, or multiple AWS accounts.
Sounds like you want https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/sticky-window-conta...
Agree with the mouse-click part. I made this addon to make container a little bit easier to use, https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/confiner/. Every page is opened in an ephemeral container. But you can easily make the container for a specific site persistent.
Chrome doesn’t even have a containers feature to improve in the direction you’d like.
FWIW I segment by browsing with Chrome/Brave "profiles" and it's great. I can open a profile with no open windows from the Ctrl + Shift + m menu (along with guest windows), and context menus in all profiles then get an option to open a link in any open profile. The profiles are represented clearly on the filesystem, and can be copied.
I find it easier to compartmentalize my browsing with Chrome profiles than with Firefox tabs. I was really disappointed with the container tabs feature because it seemed like it was designed to do what I already do with Chrome profiles, but it ended up being essentially unusable.
Even worse, the Containers don't sync, so they have to be remade for every device. I really like the idea of the Container extension, but it needs a lot of work from Mozilla to be something I could recommend to others.
Have you made a feature request? It’s likely this is already on the roadmap.
The other day I wowed my iPhone using co-workers by showing that Firefox for Android indeed allows you to install extensions.
There used to be an app called Kitt Browser that had ported some of the Chrome extension APIs to an iOS browser. It was acquired by Eyeo to make Adblock Browser for iOS.
Some resources relating to it are still online [1, 2] and Adblock Browser, which is derived from Kitt Browser, is open source [3, 4].
It would be cool if someone could make something out of it.
So does iOS Safari. Is the wow part specifically Firefox?
> So does iOS Safari.
This is incorrect. iOS Safari allows for rudimentary ad blockers to be installed. But no other sort of extensions are possible.
Actually, safari for iOS does support extensions other than adblockers. There are action extensions as well, though they have to be actively invoked every time you want to run them. This typically requires either 2 or 3 taps on every page, which stinks. It’s also difficult to educate users about their existence. But it’s technically an extension...
Apple must have felt the "extensions that run on every page" would both A. introduce a common browser pain point (really crappy extensions slowing things down) and B. become dangerous to their users' privacy, since most things Extensions would be used for also require some sort of internet connectivity (eg. Grammarly - sending your text to the cloud).
I've been using 1Password and Save to Instapaper on iOS for years. I suppose one can argue those aren't "true" extensions, but I'm not sure it'd be a very good argument, given that they're functionally pretty close to their Mac counterparts.
Wait, I can install uBlock Origin on my iPhone?
Firefox Focus on iOS can block ads in Safari, too, oddly enough. And it's free. It's not uBlock Origin but it does the job well enough I've not bothered to look for any other solutions.
This is news to me. How do I find and install extensions for iOS Safari?
You can download “content blockers”, such as Adblock Plus (simpler) or AdGuard (more list options and customization), from the App Store. Then, in Settings>Safari >Content Blockers, you enable the filter list(s) provided by that app (most apps have tutorials for this). (This is similar to the way call-blocking apps work.) Notably, content-blocking apps do not have access to what is being blocked, they can only provide block lists.
Search for "safari extensions" in the App Store. (I apologize for an answer that sounds so much like "have you tried Googling for this," but that's honestly the best answer that I have. I didn't say Safari for iOS had great extensions available for it, but it does have extensions!)
I like the idea of not concentrating yet more power with Google, but, on OpenBSD, I use Iridium (Chrome derivative), so I see these benefits:
1) Iridium doesn't send info to Google like Chrome does (or that is the idea);
3) OpenBSD adds pledge/unveil system calls from the browser, to prevent it from reading/writing files where it should not (plus I browse under a different user than I do other things with high confidence there will not be a privilege escalation; also they say the pledge/unveil support is easier to implement in Chrome/Iridium than in Firefox because of the cleaner separations of concerns in the code organization (my wording; though they have probably also put pledge/unveil in FF also for all I know),
4) Maybe the security of Chrome/Iridium benefits from Google's bug bounties. I don't really know but I'm glad they try.
Given those things, are there still reasons I would prefer Firefox? (I am aware of OBSD removing DNS-over-HTTP from Firefox, indicating that is a choice that should be made by the user at the system level instead).
There's nothing wrong with switching to FF, but I feel Google is getting an awful lot of somewhat undeserved accusations. Specifically, lots of people interpret all changes in Chrome as attempts to (directly) bolster Google's advertising business.
This seems undeserved, considering Chrome has a track record that is rather spotless in that regard: they didn't ban ad blocking, never even attempted to send the click-stream into their user targeting, etc.
A lot more of Chrome can be better explained by a slightly different motivating mechanism: Google needs to keep the open web at parity with native software/apps, because it's the open web where they earn money. This is far more important than any marginal change in ad blocking or whatever else these conspiracy theories see as the upside for Google. This model perfectly explains PWAs, for example.
Another under-analysed issue are the comparisons with Microsoft/Internet Explorer's monopoly problem: The issue with IE was that it was closed-source, only available on Windows, and included strange runtimes for content that no other client had a chance to access.
None of those issues align with anything in Chrome's position today. Chrome has a large market share, and to some extend the evolution of the web platform. But with Chrome leading the way, the web platform has seen an unprecedented success in terms of standardisation, performance, and features in the last five years or so.
I get that people invested in existing standardisation process feel sad for the demise of their bureaucracy. But it's working rather well because Chrome's and users' interests align. And there isn't even an obvious mechanism for this to change, since other players such as Apple seem to be unthreatened in their position of having a de-facto veto.
I think Google love this kind of media exposure and promotion of Firefox. It protects them from antitrust complaints and they are not too threatened by Mozilla Firefox.
There will possibly be a tipping point, especially if developers do the IE thing (or now Chrome thing) and only test their sites on one browser; currently a large portion of the education, private, and public sectors rely on the word of their vendors for which browser their app works best on (mostly Chrome because of its 10 year dominance). If all of the developers go to Firefox, and the sentiment changes from Chrome to Firefox, we might start seeing dual-install deployments and eventually firefox-only. That is, if Google hadn't been pushing their GSuite offering for the past few years and managed to tie a large amount of both private sector and education organizations to Chrome for the integration and MDM.
This topic's been discussed ad nauseam, I feel, but I made the switch a few months ago. It's a little painful, Firefox' performance when it comes to handling video is still sub-par, but that said, I'm much happier overall. The performance loss isn't too bad, and Firefox's Containers is a much better flow than Chrome's Profiles. I'd like it if MetaMask didn't glitch out with hardware wallets so much on Firefox, but I can hop onto Brave for that.
That said, I checked a site I was developing on Chrome a while ago, and for a moment, I thought I'd accidentally deployed to the apex domain. Thank goodness I switched before Chrome's anti-features went into overdrive. I don't think I'd be using Chrome when they did that, even if privacy weren't a huge concern of mine.
I had been using Firefox during dark days and moved to Chrome (for other reasons) more or less at the time of Quantum release.
Since Chrome 78 it is very perverse feeling to see Chrome informing me (with cute little icon in omnibox) that it had blocked 3rd-party cookies from domains like google-analytics.com or doubleclick.com.
If you NEED extensions, you should consider Vivaldi. Chrome engine, but doesn't require login to google and has better default privacy settings.
I never switched to chrome. I find it hilarious that the author thinks the decision to switch is forwardthinking enough to write about.
Long time user of Firefox on desktop, but recently moved away from Firefox on android after reading that it's "much more vulnerable to exploitation and inherently add a huge amount of attack surface".
The three reasons I can't seem to switch are tearing with compton and i3, startup time, and middle click not pasting when clicking the new tab button. Does anyone know how fix any of these behaviors?
The last one may seem minor, but it takes three clicks to achieve the same result as chrome for a task I do constantly.
How is Firefox on wayland with sway?
Been using the new Edge Beta for a year now, don't ever need Chrome for anything
It's incredibly disappointing to me to learn that the majority of Firefox's revenue comes from promoting Google search. Maybe duckduckgo should build a browser.
2014-2017 was primarily from Yahoo, if that helps at all
Man I miss when chrome first came out and made the web so dang fast. Now it is the heaviest app I have on my computer by far. We need a Chrome Lite.
I have been enjoying Brave lately though.
I will switch when Firefox supports the OS native certificate store for client-certificate authentication. Until then its Chrome.
I remember having this conversation with other Firefox security devs (I'm a Firefox dev myself). While I don't remember exactly why they are not supported, I remember that there was a very good security reason for this.
Also, while it's off by default, Firefox can be configured to support them: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1175296
That method doesn't work for client certificate authentication. Thousands of organisations in the world generate client certificates for their users and populate them into the OS certificate store. Those certificates are then expected to be presented at the time of client-certificate authentication to the hundreds of apps that expect them.
The OS certificate in any enterprise company is "locked down" with extensive policies provided by the OS vendor. It is far harder to import/export certificate and key material from it than from Firefox's own certificate store. I know that my company runs has scripts that run regular background checks to validate certificates in the OS certificate store. If you want dev/test certificates, we even have an internal app that generates 'trusted' certificates for various purposes.
There was a reason that Chrome chose to move to the OS certificate store. They realised it would increase their market share in the enterprise. Firefox is a no-go because it continues to cling to its own custom store.
I keep wanting to like Firefox but I prefer Brave right now. It seems like all the ease of Chrome and ad blocking and privacy too.
Why not Brave? Honest question.
Does Brave have anything like uMatrix and uBlock Origin?
That functionality is pretty essential to me, and I can get it on Firefox.
Other nice-to-haves on Firefox are: CanvasBlocker, NoScript, Cookie AutoDelete, Textern, and Stylus.
If Brave has some equivalent functionality, I'm interested.
Qutebrowser was another alternative which looked pretty promising, but last I checked its lead (only?) developer didn't have time to add the uMatrix/NoScript-like functionality he had intended. So it's a no-starter for me.
Brave is just one of the Chromium clones so yes. Not on mobile though. Firefox on mobile does support extensinos is a bit rocky though in that the current classic version is a bit outdated and is by far the worst browser for battery according to multiple test while the upcoming Firefox Preview rewrite fixes this and updates the interface but doesn't yet support extensions.
Some people disagree with Brave's operating model options around Ads.
I'd recommend checking out Vivaldi as well if you haven't. It's a Chromium clone with a proprietary interface (but written in web technologies so the code is auditable). Outside of the usual Chromium clone story of being exactly like Chrome without Google it has an extremely customizable user interface. The downside is it has a disproportionate number of UI bugs compared to other browsers but that seems to have gotten better since the 2.0 release train.
> Firefox on mobile does support extensinos is a bit rocky though
It supports uBlock, good enough for me.
It is the only thing that makes browsing recipe websites possible on Android!
The built-in ad blocker in Brave I think is missing some blacklists, but it should get 95% of the ads that make websites like that unusable.
Or I can use a browser built by an organization that is dedicated to safeguarding freedoms on the Internet.
Using Brave seems like repeating the deal with the devil that all got us using Firefox in the first place.
Also if Brave is just using Chromium under the engine, won't any shenanigans Google gets up to in the Chromium code base pass on down to Brave? I'm still not clear if Chrome's new anti-ad blocking stuff is going to permeate to other Chromium browsers.
qutebrowser lead developer here :)
For more sophisticated uMatrix-like blocking, work is ongoing on an extension API, but there's jmatrix which already uses that API unofficially. I plan to get back to the extension API soon, but there are some more important things to take care of first - see the current roadmap for details. Also, I expect things to go much faster soon, as I finished my studies and I'll soon be able to start working part-time on qutebrowser funded by donations (via GitHub sponsors).
v1.2.0 release: https://lists.schokokeks.org/pipermail/qutebrowser-announce/... jmatrix: https://gitlab.com/jgkamat/jmatrix roadmap: https://lists.schokokeks.org/pipermail/qutebrowser-announce/... GitHub sponsors: https://github.com/sponsors/The-Compiler/ related issues: https://github.com/qutebrowser/qutebrowser/issues/30 https://github.com/qutebrowser/qutebrowser/issues/28
Brave blocks ads, trackers and third-party cookies by default, and has private windows backed by Tor. The renderer is Chromium, FWIW.
I haven't done any exhaustive comparison of Brave against Chrome/Firefox with uBlock Origin, but the media sites I visit in Brave sure do like to remind me about the ad blocker.
That feature is built into Chrome/Chromium, really quite well. On Brave unfortunately it is hard to block first-party scripts (from the current origin) by default, which is frustrating.
A whole lot of people are rubbed the wrong way by the whole cryptocurrency thing they have going on. And it's still chrome under the hood so you are still indirectly enforcing a lot of what google thinks is the best for it's bottom line.
Because Brave is a fraudulent attempt by some egotists to insert themselves as middlemen between you and people actually producing whatever you're reading on the web.
That was my read on their initial plan. The way they've changed plans since then just makes me think they're clueless and not following any sort of principled vision.
I wouldn't call them frauds now. Now, I call them so out of touch that they're not worth supporting.
> I wouldn't call them frauds now. Now, I call them so out of touch that they're not worth supporting.
Then... Don't support them. The browser doesn't do anything weird where you support them by having it open, the programs you're talking about are opt-in.
I tend to not even consider browsers that aren't open source. If I did, I'd likely go with Vivaldi, but Firefox is great, so I use that.
If you're implying Brave is not open-source: https://github.com/brave/brave-browser/blob/master/LICENSE
Chrome shares my IP address with the websites I visit?! :O (lol)
The issue here is that it also shares them with Google, and in many cases shares a history of websites you have visited with other websites.
Not sure why Firefox takes literally minutes to load a page.
Bugs are unacceptable.
Weirdly my wife has the same issue on her computer.
it would be cool if DDG became Firefox's default search and or FF would promote/let users know they have a choice!
But they need that Google cash to pay for the social political decadence of the few, and the occasional productive development resource.
I bet if they made DDG the default in which a big rev share towards firefox was provided they'd be able to survive and more. Wouldn't be gangbusters like it is now with the big G, but maybe in the long run it would.
“We put the user first in terms of privacy,”
What a joke. How quickly people forget that they installed extensions into user's computers without their permission, and worse, didn't seem to realize the consequences of what that meant.
Unless I am mistaken, the extension never collected any user data and phoned it to a nebulous ad network. So user data still remained private
What's the difference b/w "installing an extension without permission" and "shipping a feature without permission"?
Extensions like pocket and the Mr. Robot thing? Yeah, bad execution and communication, but privacy invading?
You're a couple years too late, Firefox has already been corrupted.