The best thing about Firefox is Mozilla's Multi-Account Container tabs.
Essentially it allows you to put different tabs into different light-weight profiles, with their own session, cookies, and state. That means if you want to log into Facebook but don't want Facebook following you online, just give Facebook its own container.
Mozilla has anti-tracking already baked in, but Multi-Account Containers are a whole other level of isolation, but without sacrificing usability (like traditional multi-profile/multi-user browsing).
They're quite practical even if you don't care about tracking. I have different containers for my work and personal Google accounts and they make things much easier than relying on Google's support for multiple accounts.
They're also great for development. I have different containers for each user I use while working on logged-in flows. I can just go from tab to tab to test different user experiences or switch between users in a multi-user interaction.
This is one of the things I used to like IE for - perhaps the only thing it got better than the competition:
File | New Session
It didn't work for apps that are sensitive to permanent cookies (and other client-side storage) instead if session level options of course, where multiple profiles does (as presumably does Firefoxes containers? - I don't know as I've not yet used them).
That does sound useful. I often end up creating several temporary containers while doing testing and development. The overhead of creating and deleting these is annoying.
That sounds more like incognito mode, no?
Containers keep the cookies and other data, yes, so you don't need to re-login every time you start the browser.
> That sounds more like incognito mode, no?
Yes, but you can have as many active sessions as you need instead of just two.
Incognito/InPrivate/whet-ever-other-browsers-call-the-feature tabs/windows share the same session so that gives you at most two active sessions: normal and incognito.
The "new session" option in IE can have many more. For a lot of workflows two is enough, but sometimes I want something like "a couple of distinct base users, a manager, and an admin" for testing more complex user workflows.
I don't know how edge does incognito but in other browsers, incognito kills the tab history, so if you accidentally close a tab you can't trivially restore it with ctrl+shift+t or whatever.
This is the case in Chrome but not in Firefox (private mode)
I use them so I can be logged in to multiple AWS accounts at the same time - works like a charm!
That's one of my use cases too. It works pretty well when you're actively using multiple accounts. Amazon doesn't preserve the session very long, so I find that most of the time I open one of my AWS containers they're logged out.
I use this extension called SessionBox on Chrome to do exactly this. It gives me different sessions side by side in the same window.
the only thing i miss from containers is a shortcut to open a new tab using current container. it would make usage a lot easier.
That would be nice. I'd also like the to be able to automatically revert to default container when leaving a site (like the FB container plugin does), to view/manage cookies by container, and to specify more than one container that I like to open sites in so it doesn't bug me about using my default Google container when I open gmail in my work container.
Totally share the love regarding container tabs.
I don't, however, like how the UI/UX is implemented. In particular, the management of containers -- why do I have to dig so deeply to add new containers? Also, as a color-blind person, the slightly colored thin bar above the tab is not a sufficient identifier. It just seems all sort of after-thoughty and jumbled to me.
Having said that, I converted to FF being my primary browser from being a long-time Chrome user and am happy about the change.
There’s a plugin for colorful tabs.
It also takes way too many steps to make a site open in a container by default. And there doesn't seem to be any way to manage cookies by container. I'm not even sure what data is showing up in the cookie management preferences page.
>why do I have to dig so deeply to add new containers?
It is actually easy... once you found the option: Long press the "+" / new tab button, and on the bottom of the container list is "manage containers".
Ce soir je me coucherai moins bête.
Really usefull trick but not very discoverable.
Agreed. Container Tabs is fantastic, however the UI needs work. Editing a tab is also pretty awful, you have to navigate to two different areas to tweak all the options.
I wish the addon would sync its container configuration accross Firefox Sync. Setting my containers manually on the multiple computers I use daily is a real pain in the ass.
This. Especially if you use hotkeys for opening container profiles. Since the FireFox UI doesn't allow for container profile reordering in the UI you have to rebuild your profiles in the correct order (because hotkeys are mapped to order of creation based on numeric value) and reselect the appropriate icon and color to match the profile you're used to. Right now containers are not a welcome citizen with regard to Sync. I really enjoy containers but they need to be front and center and a first class citizen in the profile with Sync.
For mobile use container syncing (even just ssyncing which domains go in which container) would make it sooo much easier to protect from tracking.
I keep having Firefox for Android bug out on me and stop rendering the pages - it's really frustrating as it keeps forcing me back to Chrome. Have you ever hit this issue?
Yes, I have had it start mis-rendering with content being partially covered, killing and reopening Firefox fixes it. Firefox for Android needs work, but the add-ons make it a good experience.
No, the best thing about Firefox is Tree Style Tabs https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tree-style-ta...
Agreed, I am completely dependent on Tree Style Tabs. I mean, I _could_ live without it, but I really don't want to.
The best thing about FF is about:config. It tunes in to the legacy of Netscape and Amiga where you could and can configure everything to how you like it. This is freedom, unlike chromium.
Sadly there are also 'secret prefs' that are considered so potent that they're not exposed by default in about:config
If you know about them, for example from reading the code, you can create them. So at present about:config is a strange sort of place with lots of knobs but not all of them.
is there a good list of those prefs? or perhaps I can scan source code for some string
Frankly, these secret prefs are basically either:
- prefs that a developer was too lazy to add to the list of pref; or
- prefs that serve only during automated tests.
You could scan source code for `Services.prefs` and `nsIPreferenceService` if you really want to find them.
If there's something you really need to configure in Chromium and it's not available as a flag, you can add that feature and submit a pull request. It's an open source project.
Looks like you don't know about chrome://flags/
The thing is, flags in Chrome exist only until Google decides it shouldn't be an option anymore. Then they take the choice away from you. I disabled the material "design" styled themes for as long as I could, until the flag disappeared.
That's not really different for Firefox, there's just a different organization making that decision.
Chrome flags though die out so fast there's virtually no point in exposing them at all, it's disappointing and frustrating almost every release.
Firefox has been killing off features year after year I dont see why you trust them to be better in that regard.
It’s not remotely as complete as about:config
That's just about:about, not an about:config replacement.
I tried to move from Chrome's profiles to Firefox's container tabs. I prefer Chrome's take on it where sessions are shared across all tabs in a window rather than across similarly styled tabs in the same window.
.. I just went to find the github issue for other people with a similar need and found someone has posted a link to an extension called sticky containers. A new tab opens in the same container of the last one. It's actually pretty close to what I'm after..
Firefox has always had profiles, very much acting like Chrome's, but for some reason they didn't make it easy to use. Navigate to:
Now you can have multiple windows, each window with its own profile and the profile determines everything, from the browser's history to the extensions installed.
I have tried them but it wasn't simple to use multiple profiles at once, nor was it obvious which profile you were using. I felt as though Firefox was discouraging their use. Are you using them?
Here is an article that talks through the steps (on windows but it's similar for others) https://www.howtogeek.com/209320/how-to-set-up-and-use-multi...
I use profiles because I need to test stuff with different extensions.
Before the Quantum release we had a pretty cool extension for managing profiles that is no longer available, sadly:
I hope it gets implemented again.
I now do the "about:profiles" thing I mentioned. I don't know why they aren't exposing Profiles in the UI in an intuitive manner, makes no sense. For my day to day use, I think Multi-Account Containers are better though.
I agree. My biggest problem with it is that extensions are still global.
I have two LastPass accounts. One for work and one for personal use and I cannot use both of them in Firefox
That is the only reason I am not switching
Containers are such a great idea.
My one wish is if you could set a default container. I use FF to browser Facebook primarily and want that to be default, but instead I have to load Firefox then load a container then load Facebook. Wish it were just open FF -> Facebook is homepage.
There is also a Facebook-specific container addon that limits Facebook's footprint even more than the standard container addon (and will work alongside it)
Also with the standard container addon you can specify that sites always open only in your specified container, so you could just set Facebook to always open in its own container that way.
Great... But people still using Facebook?
Thanks this is great!
There is an option called "always open in this container" if you press the menu icon of the container tabs extension
Turns out this doesn't do the thing I'd expect. I set my homepage to Facebook and it doesn't load the container.
Eh, back to my former opinion - Containers are great, Containers UX needs work.
Ah great! I guess this was added more recently, I hadn't seen it before.
I'm using Containerise to do that:
Configure Facebook to always use it's own container
So at work we have a jenkins instance, which uses github (on prem) OAuth to sign in, and it logs you out after a very short period of inactivity. Except that jenkins or the way we have it configured or the way we have the reverse proxy in front of it configured is buggy, so sometimes when you try to log back in, you are just redirected to the front page, and you're still not logged in. To workaround this, I had to clean out my browser cache + cookies + other bits of history whenever this happened in order to log in.
Your comment just gave me the idea to: install the container tabs plugin, tell the plugin to always open our Jenkins site in the "Jenkins" container, and then when the bug happens, I can "clear cookies etc" on that container, without destroying my history and login sessions in the rest of my tabs.
After playing around with it for 5 minutes, it seems you can't clear cookies on a container basis. Also apparently only cookies are isolated, but other bits of history aren't. So this might not work. Alas. I almost found a solution. I did find that ctrl-shift-del opens a clear history popup though, instead of going through that wretched menu.
Try the extension Cookie AutoDelete: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/cookie-autode...
It doesn't clear cache but it will automatically delete any cookies when you close a tab or when you change the domain. That might do what you need, when you use it in conjunction with Containers.
Would clearing cookies and cache work?
On Chrome, theres an option to list cookies for a site by clicking on that padlock to left of site url, so quicker way of clearing cookies for your Jenkins site. Maybe FF has similar setup.
Then hard refresh browser should clear cache I think (ctr/cmd + shift + r on any system or ctr + f5 on windows).
Thanks, it seems firefox has the same feature on the padlock. Otherwise, from the other comments here, I might be able to try one of these two to help in conjunction with containers:
I can't switch to Chrome since I can't live without tree style tabs anymore. I've become dependent.
disclaimer: I have no idea what jenkins is.
If you're okay with using chrome: create another profile and only use it for jenkins, in fact, set up a shortcut that opens it in app/kiosk mode and maybe see if there's a commandline flag to clear all history every time you open it, that way all you need to do is click the shortcut and everything else happens in the background and it doesn't affect the rest of your browsing exp.
Container is great. I have to toot my own honk. The addon Session Boss supports container seamlessly. I have multiple GMail accounts that I put in different containers with their own logon and cookies. Session Boss saves the tabs and containers in a session and easily restore them the next time I need them.
Chrome has this too. I doubt its effectiveness as there are ways to fingerprint your browser without using cookies/sessions
Chrome doesn't have this. You cannot run tabs in different contexts in Chrome side by side.
Both additional profiles and incognito browsing open a different window, with its own settings.
The Chrome additional profile feature has also become a lot more confusing and less useful with the auto-sign-in-change debacle, alas.
Which may actually be what pushes me to FF. Not out of spite, just that I was counting on Chrome profiles for this purpose, but they've gotten a lot harder for me to use for that (and were never as good as FF's multi-container thing, it sounds like).
I use SessionBox ext in chrome to achieve this.
Exactly! unless they make different seed for each WebGL random (which used in fingerprinting) I don't see the point. Plus, they have your IP (or your VPN's), so at most you make your profile less specific, but never "isolated".
This has been a first-class Chrome feature for years, for whatever it's worth.
That isn't the case.
Chrome supports multiple profiles. Mozilla's Multi-Account Container tabs isn't multiple profits. It is multiple isolated containers running under the same profile, in the same browser window.
A closer analogy would be if Chrome allowed each tab to have its own profile, rather than each window, and for each one to be lighter weight than a full profile.
Your sibling comment pointed out the same thing. Other than having 2 tabs in the same window with 2 different sets of cookies, which is something I never want (but you might), is there anything Firefox's feature gets me that Chrome's feature doesn't?
A single set of extensions and bookmarks.
With Chrome, even if you manually sync your profiles and keep the same set of extensions installed in both profiles, it runs 2 processes of the same extension. Even when the second profile window is closed.
But for me the deal breaker was managing a separate set of bookmarks.
Beyond minimizing being tracked everywhere you browse, separate environments for office, personal, and client accounts — Google, Fb, IG, LinkedIn, Twitter, PayPal, banks, brokers — are useful in many cases.
daveFNbuck writes :
“They're also great for development. I have different containers for each user I use while working on logged-in flows. I can just go from tab to tab to test different user experiences or switch between users in a multi-user interaction.”
Firefox has also supported multiple profiles since forever.
I believe it! I didn't mean to suggest that Firefox was less capable here.
Firefox hasn't supported running multiple profiles simultaneously forever, though I understand that it's possible now. That's actually party oh what got me on chrome originally--I could have my school profile open at the same time as my goofing-off profile and pretend to be researching while I played flash games, yet not showing any of that in my history.
Firefox has supported running multiple profiles simultaneously since before Chrome ever existed - I used them. Chrome was first released in 2008, and here's an article about Firefox's multiple instances from 2007: http://turbulentsky.com/how-to-run-multiple-firefox-profiles....
Multiple profiles in Chrome is super useful, but it doesn't work at the tab level, does it? Just at the window level? Not that that's a fundamental change, but it's a nice usability bump
True, but that for me is a feature (I almost always want new tabs to open in the same container; for instance, when reviewing a Github PR and clicking through to see context).
But from a privacy UX perspective, both Chrome and Firefox accommodate this use case gracefully.
It sounds like you already know this, but for anyone else reading, tabs inherit the container of the tab that opened them (aside from special cases like Facebook Container, which trigger based on the domain).
Too bad it completely kills your CPU on a Mac.
I tried switching completely a month ago for the third time.
Sadly absolutely nothing has happened in a 5 year time-span. The performance on my high-spec i7 Macbook Pro is abysmal. ( same across several company Macbooks ) The fans speed up constantly like they have done it for years. It's completely unusable for "professional" work or just regular multi tab browsing and drains the battery in no time.
Safari, Chrome, Opera, whatever, doesn't have these problems. I actually haven't experienced an application that feels so sluggish and unoptimised in OSX as Firefox.
Something is seriously wrong and the dev group must not be prioritising it?
I checked their subreddit and loads of people are fleeing the Mac version, even on the newest nightly builds of quantum - seriously what the hell is going on? Why hasn't "the bug" or whatever been found or defined in clear termes in over 5 years?
The day the app works without serious CPU issues i will uninstall Chrome and go to Firefox, but the handling of this problem makes me worried about the dev groups competence.
When i talked to devs in the subreddit many of them were like "Hey, that sounds weird, should be better in the new nightly, are you sure it's not ..." - an absurd answer in the light of the constant stream of people saying this for years and years - even in this thread i see multiple people saying it's useless on OSX.
To the dev group: Get a Macbook (many devs use them), open Firefox, identify the problem - should have happened 5+ years ago.
> Why hasn't "the bug"
As a frequent /r/firefox visitor - while I do agree that Fx team should spend more time investigating this, I still have to note that this is not a bug or something ssimilar that can be easily reproduced.
I have late 2013 MPBr and 2014 iMac and never had any issues of a sort ever since quantum release. The only problem (performance wise) were videos on Youtube, but it seems to be fixed already. So it is there for some people and it is not for the others. With dfferent Macbooks\software\setups etc.
I have the exact same issue. I'm using a fully specced MacBook Pro early 2015 with a Retina screen in a scaled mode (1.5x) and Firefox is extremely slow to use. Scrolling isn't fluid at all and CPU usage is very high. When I put it in the normal Retina mode (2x) it's much better, but still not as fluid as using Chrome, which even on 1.5x mode works and scrolls fluidly.
I'm also using Firefox on an underpowered Ubuntu machine and it works wonderfully there though (no HiDPI screen).
FWIW I’ve used it on a low spec MacBook Pro for a year and a half without a problem. Never had any complaints, and it’s only gotten better after the Quantum changes.
I have no idea what you people are doing. I use FF with my mid spec, 4th generation i5 with 500+ tabs and haven't experienced any of your problems.
I do know what he's talking about, as I've had the same exact problem.
When I did research about it (about a year ago) it seemed the devs were considering retina macbooks with a non-default resolution as origin of the bug for some reason - I'm referring to the display setting that appears as "more space" in the regular OSX settings menu, not some arcane hidden configuration.
I regularly check back because I love the idea of using their open source, somewhat privacy-focused alternative to chrome, but it's been years and still not a fix in sight.
Me too, and as it happens, I'm running on retina with "more space" enabled. Firefox is unusably slow, to the point where I'm probably abandoning it after a few weeks of really trying to get into it. Which is a shame, because I love the idea of multi-account containers and other privacy features.
So if you disable the "more space" configuration, does it work better? If this is the primo hypothesis, it sounds easy enough to check.
It certainly does seem to work better with default resolution.
I think there should be some kind of survey. Every thread on HN has these posts complaining about this problem, and every thread has people like you insinuating we are doing something "whacky" or "crazy" with our laptops.
To me it seems that a large segment of users using the Retina screens (most people on the osx platform) has severe performance problems. Some people have no problems. And that is just the state of affairs.
The weird thing for me is that there is no official "issue" or information about the problems since so many experience it.
I had the exact same experience as the grand parent comment.
Seriously wanted to switch to Firefox after the browser-sign-in "feature" but the performance on my high-end 2018 macbook pro with 16gb ram was just abysmal (20 tabs open tops).
Do you use your Mac with the default screen resolution setting, or have you tweaked that setting?
I also use the "more space" setting. Haven't tried it with the normal scaling though.
In my case I am actually going in the other direction, towards the "larger text" scaling.
I’m curious, how is it manageable to have a browser open with 500 tabs? How do you even navigate between the tabs or know what’s on those tabs?
Having a bunch of windows, human spacial memory works surprisingly well for recognizing sequences of tabs. And Firefox allows you to search through the titles of all open tabs in the URL bar.
I'm a different person, but usually have hundreds of tabs too.
I'm using Tridactyl for navigation, so i just press 'b' (:buffer) and start typing tab title or whatever. In a moment I'm on the tab that I needed.
There are a few handfull addons for tab management available.
>know what’s on those tabs?
I was the one who opened them, of course I know what's on those tabs.
> I was the one who opened them, of course I know what's on those tabs.
I rarely have more than 10 open at a time and sometimes completely forget what's there or why I opened it - I find uber-tabbing impressive and baffling in equal measure.
If you know what you're looking for, what does having it open (but probably knocked out of memory?) have over using search/URL autosuggest? Just a workflow thing, or is it faster?
>Just a workflow thing, or is it faster?
I think of my tabs as my documents (the ones I'm working with today, this hour or even this very moment).
I prefer keeping those documents on my table, because this saves me some time\effort and just more convenient (subjectvly). So active tabs are the documents right in front of me and knocked out of memory ones are the ones I'm going to work with soon or needed for some sort of reference waiting their time in some sort of document organizer.
>I rarely have more than 10 open at a time and sometimes completely forget what's there or why I opened it
Well, I just have good memory :D It's part of the way schooling goes here in Russia I guess and maybe the upbringing. Memory training was just another daily routine. Sometimes it's really hard for me to believe that some people can't remember the plot or the characters from the book they read a year ago, while I still can quote a book I read 15 year ago.
In the end I guess everything goes down to what kind of processes influenced your brain development or something like that.
> If you know what you're looking for, what does having it open (but probably knocked out of memory?) have over using search/URL autosuggest?
I typically have related tabs around the one I find. E.g. recently I researched some details about the python requests library, but haven't finished implementing it yet. I can go back to that group of tabs that's in a somewhat logical order. Autocomplete wouldn't have that, and also suggest links I've already discarded as not interesting.
I've tried a few times to replace this workflow with bookmark groups etc, but I never got that to work in a way I'm completely happy with, and making my own extension that does it exactly like I want it to would be an interesting project, but too much work for now.
What I find useful is a browser extension that lets me copy-paste a list of all URLs in a window with their titles, so at the end of a research session I can move the entire list quickly to a markdown file and save it with a few notes.
I also have my tab panel removed via userChrome.css and instead use Tree Style Tab, so all of my tabs are organized.
This doesn't really help with navigation when you have 100+ of them, but this structure maps to your internal memory organizer too. Sort of.
It's like orrganizing things you keep in your room\apartment - you may have LOTS of things and from a 3rd person point of view they may seem unorganized, but not for you - you put things according to your own logic and even if you forget the exact coorditanes of some item you still can find if quick enough because you know where you should look for it.
Some sites, like gmail, and many technical sites (google cloud console) still take a good amount of time to load. Keeping a bunch of them open in tabs cuts down on the 10 seconds it'll take to open again.
I know about ~100 Firefox developers with Macbooks and none of them experiences the issue, so that's probably harder to reproduce.
Would you be interested in help to profile the issue and file a detailed bug? This would help fix it.
Off course. I would really like to ditch Chrome once and for all.
What i don't get is that it's an unknown problem, many people have already filed bug reports on the tracker:
(also see several blog posts like: https://www.kamshin.com/2018/07/firefox-on-macos-insane-batt...)
I think it has to do with running the Macbook Pro at scaled resolution which is pretty much standard among devs on MB pro no? (otherwise you will have very little screen real estate).
I just created i Profile through the Gecko profiler once again but i don't know if that captures the CPU data? What external profiler do you use?
Profile here from Firefox nightly, 1 minute of scrolling around https://fs8.transfernow.net/download/5c0a9b99f98e/master/Fir...
Very non scientific test below that i need to external profiler to confirm:
I get a hot computer when browsing / working normally
high CPU usage leading to
fans constantly running and battery drain
Doesn't happen in other browsers
Open 20 tabs and scroll a bit up and down for 1 minute.
Check CPU usage in Activity monitor.
Check fan speed an temp.
Repeat in all major browsers.
Safari, Chrome and Opera the fans stays silent and i get moderate CPU usage.
Firefox the fans kick in quickly (also ran first to have a fair baseline temperature).
Ah, thanks for the links, very useful.
Do I understand correctly that you're checking CPU usage immediately after having scrolled up/down, or while scrolling up/down, right?
Apparently, there are already people working on that bug. If I understand things correctly, Firefox uses transparent windows, but transparent windows use lots of CPU on some macOS configurations, and this somehow wasn't detected during testing (I imagine that the computers used for testing didn't have these configurations).
If this is the same bug, as is likely, the bug is identified and developers are working on it: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1429522 . If you wish, you may leave a message on that bug mentioning that you are available for profiling and testing a fix.
It is my impression (but don't take my word on it) that the fix will ship in Firefox 65, which is currently in Nightly. Now, I'm not sure that the fix has already landed in the current Nightlies, but do you have the possibility of testing on Firefox Nightly if the problem is still present?
(usual caveat: Nightly has Telemetry activated by default – if you don't like Telemetry, don't forget to disable it)
Thank you! Testing nightly the next couple of days and will report in the bug tracker if i still have problems.
I’m seeing the same behavior on my Mac. Linux is fine. I’d be happy to help / run profiling / whatever. Contact should be in my profile.
Thanks for the offer!
Apparently, the bug is already identified, so this might not be necessary. More details in my answer here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18634165 .
If you wish, you may leave a message on https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1429522 mentioning that you are available for profiling and testing a fix.
I use the nightly builds and I definitely do not have that problem with around 750 tabs open on my non-retina MacBook Pro. It does suck down memory though.
Which doesn't change anything since the Macbook Pro has been sold with Retina displays for what, the last 6 years?
The fact that Firefox works exclusively on ancient laptops or edge cases doesn't make anything better. All Apple devices today are sold with Retina screens and the Pro Lineup, and therefore most devs has had Retina screens for 6+ years.
Usually I expect software to perform better on newer hardware than it does on old. Are you suggesting the probles you're experiencing have to do with a retina display.
I have periodically had firefox problems in performance on all platforms including the new Mac air I bought my wife, her old Mac Pro and various Ubuntu and Windows installations. As a general rule it is because I've kept it open for several days with lots of tabs with media in them running. I mean it's irritating but not an ongoing catastrophe that means I can't use. As I said in some other thread recently I have over the past 10 years I think had two occasions where FF performance was so bad I had to leave the platform for a some time until it was fixed.
I see a lot of people in this thread claiming problems, and I see a lot of people claiming no problems, and some like me in between. So I don't know what the statistical breakdown of performance complaints about FF in comparison to all other issues (and if those complaints are actually likely to be related), but maybe it is not as great as you think it is?
Good question. As i wrote in my other comments these comments are large amounts in every FF thread on HN. Also loads of devs (including myself) are at companies where no one uses FF because of performance issues which of course is anecdata albeit a bit broader.
Searching Google for "FF performance issues site:reddit.com" time span : last 24H, and off course there is a thread where the highest rated comment is someone saying FF is "laggy" on OSX
My guess would be most people have issues but most consumers don't know better. Some have no issues, and it seems that's the ones with older "non retina" displays.
I have a colleague whose Mac has the same issue as you (2015 MBP 15" Retina). Chrome runs awesome for him, Firefox crawls. However, I have the same model and for me Firefox is as snappy as anything.
You're right that this needs to be fixed, but its lame to assume that Firefox devs do not test on Macs. You're simply experiencing a bug that is hard to reproduce, that is all.
Firefox is snappy at the beginning, but starts getting really slow and clunky after about 8 hours, or sometimes 2-3 days of the laptop being suspended and then turned on again. I can make it fast again if I close the browser and re-open it. But it's not slow right out of the gate.
Also slow is relative. If someone hasn't had an experience with a faster browser, then "slow" just feels normal. I had that after using Firefox for ~9 months. It just felt normal, and then got a bit slow and unusable after a while. After switching back to Chrome on Mac, it was like a breath of fresh air. I forgot what a responsive UI felt like.
I have sympathy, debugging is hard! But it's weird that across hundreds of threads no one from the dev group has anything to say, or that there is not disclaimer or "ask for help" or whatever.
"Yes we are aware that a certain percentage has severe performance problems on osx, we believe this has to do with the Retina displays blah blah" - instead it seems like no one from the dev group has been following this problem when you ask them. Despite weekly threads, just like the posts here on Hackernews in every FF thread.
Possibly because complaining on hacker news and calling people incompetent on threads they have no reason to personally follow isn't an optimal strategy for receiving tech support.
I wrote that i talked to the devs directly? I also wrote that i have followed the issues for years. What makes you think this is the last resort?
Check my other post:
This issue is all over the place.
I will admit it was too harshly written, the issues seems to only be on the osx platform and Firefox is great on all other platforms, but the issue has been detailed in their own tracker and subreddit for many years.
Sure, it's a mid-2012 MBP with the "high res" matte screen. A six year old machine is hardly an edge case in the context of a problem you've been seeing for at least five years. I've not had problems with FF performance on the handful of retina machines I've used for work either.
If the Mozilla devs aren't paying attention to and haven't remedied the problem you're experiencing, perhaps you're the edge case?
I just wrote that their support subreddit is filled with posts about performance on OSX, this thread in itself already has loads of posts with people complaining about it, and my post just is getting lots of upvotes - how is that an edge case?
Also all Firefox threads on Hackernews has these posts, every single one.
As i said before i have been following this for years. You having a 2012 computer is 100% the edge case - not that there is anything wrong in that, i love keeping tech for as long as possible.
> You having a 2012 computer is 100% the edge case
How so? It's the same processor (Ivy Bridge) and GPU combo (HD 4000 + GT 650M) as the first few revisions of the retina MBP models. The big difference is the display resolution (1680x1050 vs 2880x1800).
You're saying this problem goes back five years (2013). Whether or not the 2012 model is particularly common now, the guts were common in 2013 back when you claim to have seen the problem.
I've got a newer (still non-retina) iMac and have used a variety of retina machines for work and haven't seen any performance problems with FF either. Sure, if I run a bunch of flash based video players I can get the fans to go nuts but that's not a FF problem (the same thing happens if I use Chrome, flash is just an inefficient means of rendering video).
If the Mozilla devs haven't reproduced your complaint on a first class platform it's a pretty safe bet that you're doing something whacky whether or not you realize it.
So all the people in this thread are doing something "whacky" including all of the people from all of the other Firefox threads on Hackernews, and the constant stream of people in the subreddit?
We are not discussing if your computer is an edge case tech wise, but if it represents a "commonly used device" on the osx platform, ie, a device with a Retina display. In other words an edge case market wise.
Also another guy just wrote "Definitely not an edge case", about all his companys computers above me.
I don't get your point in trying to say we are "whacky" people because we say there is a problem. Once again read other FF threads on HN an these posts are in every one.
"but the handling of this problem makes me worried about the dev groups competence."
Basically you said the developers of a major browser, browser engine, programming language etc etc etc are all stupid because firefox doesn't work optimally on some subset of mac users machines. If this effects 1 in 1000 mac users this could be biting quite a few people certainly enough to inspire a lot of complaints and still effect a tiny portion of firefox users especially if firefox users are already underrepresented on macs due to historical poor showing.
If Macs are 9% of desktops/laptops and firefox users are around 10% then 0.9% of users are mac firefox users even given an even distribution of users or more realistically 0.5% of users.
If a bug effects in in 100 users its effecting then 0.005% of users. If it effects 1 in 1000 its effecting 0.0005% of users.
The prior posters statement about poor performance with scaling sounds interesting and importantly repeatable. If its the source of the challenge in question it seems like it would be great to submit a bug report.
Bugs that effect everyone are quickly fixed. Bugs that effect a small minority are more apt to slip through. This seems like a more satisfying conclusion than just assuming Mozilla hires morons for 6 figures.
> So all the people in this thread
Eleven people out of the thousands of people that use FF on a Mac daily? Perhaps it's not Mozilla that's wronged you.
It's not eleven, not by far. It's enough that I see this bug as the number one reason no one uses firefox at my job, where there are hundreds of devs - anecdotal evidence of course, but still telling.
I don't know why you're trying to deffend the idea that this bug is not a (relevant) thing. I'm not OP btw.
> I don't know why you're trying to deffend the idea that this bug is not a (relevant) thing. I'm not OP btw.
Why? Hand waving and tantrums don't mean that what OP is experiencing is representative of the state of Firefox on OSX. OP is positing that it's this ancient bug that Mozilla developers have just ignored because they're so awful/incompetent/lazy/whatever, but there's no way it would be problematic on hardware that dates back to the original problems.
It just smacks of frustrated user doing something out of the norm and falling prey to this idea that their own experiences are OBVIOUSLY representative of the norm.
Me? I'd guess that OP is doing something like running with a non-scaled display, running something else that's disabling the integrated GPU, running a poorly behaved corporate plugin or anti-virus, loading something so memory intensive the computer is swapping to disk, has a poorly behaved corporate font installed (or too many fonts), or something else along those lines. Basically something that seems normal to OP but is, in reality, not.
I've seen plenty of poor behavior from Firefox and from the Mozilla devs, but this idea that Firefox just performs poorly across the board on OSX (or some increasingly specific subset of OSX) seems very unlikely given how much focus Mozilla has been giving to performance as of late. More likely I expect there's just a very vocal minority.
This is again anecdotal, but last time I reformatted my mac I tried to install firefox first to see if the bug was still there with no other software or config installed. Literally the only thing I had done before installing was setting up the basic settings (wallpaper, resolution, keyboard language, etc). The bug was still there. It's a 2013 macbook pro with no config attached, so there's nothing quirky in the hardware department.
I'm not making a judgement on Mozilla devs and their competency or work ethics, and I don't think OP is either, but the fact remains that the bug is there and I'd guess it's decently easy to replicate given that I've encountered it in the wild a lot. If it's one tenth as usual as my personal experience suggests it should be at the top of their backlog.
> before installing was setting up the basic settings (wallpaper, resolution, keyboard language, etc)
Plenty of things there could be edge cases. In fact the very first thing I thought of was resolution. Running a non-scaled retina display could definitely cause all sorts of problems as all of a sudden the browser is rendering a much bigger canvas.
> I'm not making a judgement on Mozilla devs and their competency or work ethics, and I don't think OP is either
OP is absolutely judging Mozilla employees and if that carried through to the bug reports I'm sure OP filed, well, that could definitely color the response from Mozilla.
I just dont get it. This is a highly technical forum.
Most people here are superusers, and i personally am a dev.
Off course i have tried everything possible, clean install, new profile, HW acc off, boot to safe mode etc. To insinuate that i have installed some weird plugin and even talked directly to the FF devs without trying basic troubleshooting or have some weird anti virus plugin installed is beyond weird.
I also wrote it's the same with all of my colleagues MB's (15 people).
So how is this a tantrum and a vocal insignificant minority of it comes up again and again and the post is sitting at the top with lots of people agreeing? (i know not everyone has the problem).
Your other points i don't get. Scaling should not be an issue as it's not an issue for any other apps - disabling the GPU by accident, what? All other software works fine. You shouldn't need a discrete GPU for browsing.
This issue is all over the place, here just from their own bugtracker only from the last 12 months (detailed from this post https://www.kamshin.com/2018/07/firefox-on-macos-insane-batt...):
And from their subreddit:
And here the devs asks for help for once (and admit a problem):
Just searching for random posts from the last 24 hours on reddit r/mac and bingo:
and you can find many more:
That you suggest all of these hundreds of people are imbeciles with weird plugins is beyond disrespectful when so many of us has tried to help mozilla debugging to no effect and with little info in return. Most of us are devs or superusers - the issue has been detailed through many technical blog posts, and investigated by highly technical people thank you.
Because if a thousand people are using FF on OSX daily, and 11 people have an issue, it’s not a relevant thing?
I don’t understand how that is a difficult conclusion to reach.
My retina macbook pro never had any issues with FF.
There is no excuse for firefox bad performance on decent hard. And such "old" computers are not edge cases!
Any Sandy Bridge i7 from 2012 easily outperforms most odern laptops.
There is some progress made in performance per watt, but raw performance strongly decrease after the 39xx series.
Definitely not an edge case, our whole company uses MacBook pros with retina display and all have the same issue. Fans spin like crazy, usability is abysmal. The moment that is fixed I'd switch. I've also reported the bug to Mozilla.
I’ve had the same problem for years, a few months ago someone suggested it might be because I don’t use my screen at the default resolution. I have a slightly lower resolution setting on my retina MacBook Pro. And that somehow this causes firefox to go insane and have a nervous breakdown. Is it possible that you are also not using the default display resolution? If everyone who has the problems shares this particular setting, that might point to something.
Late 2016 15 inch Macbook Pro, LG 5k screen with the scaling set one tick into the "more space" direction. With Firefox performance is still significantly worse than with Chrome. This is a real bummer, I really miss tree style tabs.
I have been using Firefox on my Macbook Pro 2015 for the past years without any problems and seriously it consumes a lot less memory compared with chrome
Firefox has never been good on Mac. It kills me :(
Interesting. Works fine here
1st step to trying to debug would be removing your old profile completely, maybe try to disable extensions and HW rendering acceleration
Thanks but check out the other comments, or their subreddit, or any other HN FF thread. Many people have this problem.
Also i am a dev - i have tried all possible options to remedy this issue. I even wrote that i talked to FF devs directly. Wouldn't it be weird if i hadn't tried basic techniques?
It's like there is this weird tribal thing going on where there is this passive aggressive attitude towards the people having problems like "you guys must be idiots" even though there is dozens of comments with anecdata about no one using FF at their companies because of performance issues.
A lot of people have issues, some don't - doesn't make the ones that do have them complete imbeciles.
It's definitely frustrating, and sometimes even advanced devs don't know (or forget) about some detail that might be helpful.
Sometimes "why someone hasn't tried that" is less about being clueless and more about not assuming how much people know about things.
I can imagine someone at Mozilla going "how do we debug this" and failing to reproduce the problem (I run FF on two different Macs/OSX versions and it runs ok on both)
Maybe FF can add some telemetry or have a special debug version for those with the issue, but I see how it can be frustrating
Just a few weeks ago I tried Firefox as my main browser for a while. I had to give it up because of battery life. This is on Windows 10.
Edge preserves my battery the best, however Edge is not practical to use, so Opera with the battery saving option is currently the best bet.
Firefox is still my main development browser though.
IIRC this bug is known (something about compositing and rounded corners on Mac because of how Core Graphics works) and there's work going on to fix it. The Webrender stuff helps here too, I think.
(I don't know the exact details, I have a vague recollection of pcwalton explaining it to me)
Does setting gfx.compositor.glcontext.opaque to true in about:config fix the problem?
just to confirm, did you get the "Developer Edition"? I've been using it on Mac (2014 MBP w/ Retina) for a while and it's fine. That said, I haven't been using it as my main browser ... yet.
Electron apps like Slack and VS Code tend to eat up my RAM capacity and CPU cycles. Whenever I quote everything except for Firefox my MacBook Pro calms its fans down.
I had this same issue on my late 2013 Macbook Pro Retina, but it didn't stop me from using it :)
Since I switched to 2018 Macbook Pro Retina the issue is gone.
Is it at least a couple of years old with a GPU? There have been serious electron bugs since last year in these machines.
Firefox is a way better experience than Chrome these days. Google, you constantly add new features that nobody wants, and furthermore, make it WAY more difficult for those of us who care about privacy to turn your tracking BS off.
Google Chrome can die in a fire as far as I'm concerned.
Firefox added Pocket, and kind of nobody wanted it. So it happens in FF too.
Plenty of people don't want it, but Pocket is actually quite popular. It's an essential part of my browsing experience.
To be honest, I actually really like that they added Pocket, and I don't think it takes anything away from FF.
It took away credibility. A lot of it. It also alienated too many “almost evangelist” users (like me) who had converted countless users from other browsers in high school and college. Many of them haven’t been able to reconcile with what might seem a tiny change now. Also the jarring and bizarre way Mozilla pretty much stonewalled everyone on it who wanted it to be discussed.
I don’t know it would make sense to you, or most, but it felt like a breach of trust and seeing it is still baked into the browser itself (yes, they bought it; yes, you can turn it “off”) and that you can’t “completely remove” it, I don’t “that part” has changed. Besides the separate standalone add-on was a lot more useful and I was a full time user until that debacle when I moved to Safari (and Pinboard).
Purely from a feature development perspective, I guess I don't see how adding a read-it-later / bookmarking feature would generate so much consternation. Functionally its roughly equivalent to Reading List + Bookmarks on Safari, with some delicious-like aggregate smarts.
Would it have been better to have built it internally instead of through acquisition? I admit I'm unfamiliar with the inside baseball on it's integration, but breach of trust sounds pretty drastic. My read (as an uninformed outsider) is that they probably acquired Pocket for a song, it filled a gap in the product offering, and it offers the potential of a future optional revenue stream that aligns well with the web as a document reading medium (subscription).
There's all sorts of internal browser features you can't 'completely remove'. How is bookmarking different?
Mozilla was developing a private Reading List feature that used Firefox Sync. They suddenly replaced it with Pocket, which sent users' bookmarks to a third party that engaged in data mining. (The acquisition came later.)
Users suspected money was involved. Mozilla employees insisted that Pocket hadn't paid for the integration. Months later, it came out that there was a referral deal.
Pocket was and is an extension. It just gets special treatment.
Mozilla acquired Pocket in early 2017 and said they would release the source code. That still hasn't happened.
Thanks for the details. Sounds like it wasn't handled well.
> Pocket was and is an extension
Pocket is not an extension - it's built in by default and cannot be removed (only disabled).
It's just a bundled extension inside Firefox. You can't uninstall bundled extensions, and you can bundle yours in your custom Firefox installation if you want.
Did a similar thing for a project, rolled out customer's own Firefox extensions (for office workflow) to employee desktops. Extensions were bundled because the employers sometimes uninstall them and freak out because they can't work anymore.
How is your experience with Pinboard?
Not the parent, but it works well for me.
It took away Reading List, which was similar but private.
Oh that's a bummer. They should add that functionality back and bake it into same UX. FWIW Safari Reading Mode information is linked to your Apple ID so it's stored externally as well.
Pocket is owned by Mozilla, so it would be as private a reading list.
Reading List used client-side encryption. Also, Mozilla acquired Pocket more than a year later.
I have a Kobo eReader with Pocket integration and I actually use it quite often.
Well, on that tune I am sure there are users who’d love Fb and Tw integrations; and deep ones at that.
Mozilla doesn't own Facebook or Twitter, and can't control what they do with user data.
And I don't think anybody wants the ads they have added to the home page.
Eh, at least it only takes a few clicks to remove them.
Eh, what does that say about Mozilla wanting to be the "good guy"? If they want to be good then they have to constantly be held accountable to the high standard they like people to think that they are at. They don't get their cake and eat it too.
Then it only taking a few clicks to install them would be just as good.
Pocket by default is one of the best feature of Firefox, for everyone. Try to use it for week.
I'm one of Pocket's top 1% readers, but not everyone likes it, and doesn't have to.
The only thing I miss in Firefox is the ability to Chromecast directly. It's useful.
I agree, it's incredibly useful. I did a lot of research on this a few days ago, because I wanted to see if it might be possible to raise some funding to work on it. I found lots of abandoned open source projects. I'm sure there's a lot of Firefox users who would appreciate a Chromecast add-on, but there's a lot of political and economic reasons why it's probably not going to happen.
In the end I decided that it was just easier to switch back to Chrome instead of going down that road, and I'm so happy I can cast videos/tabs to my TV.
Does it prioritize privacy? I haven't used Firefox in a long time, so my impressions of it are based on news stories, like them launching a partnership with sketchy VPN services or building in "easter egg" advertisements for television shows.
Firefox is still very imperfect in their prioritising of privacy, but when we're looking at the question of "use Chrome or Firefox", that's hardly significant in comparison.
I'm curious what you're using currently if Firefox's privacy imperfections are of concern? Safari?
I use Chrome, because security is my top concern.
(Firefox has a good security team, but Chrome's is unmatched.)
What exactly is your threat model?
In terms of technical implementations, Chrome naturally surpasses everything else in a naïve myopic comparison (and always will), but holistically a secure algorithm isn't going to protect you if you've voluntarily handed the keys to the kingdom to umpteen untrusted parties. Chrome gets all the technical details right in a context where doing so seems redundant.
With the exception of your personal stats.
It makes perfect sense if you're less worried about your internet usage privacy than about browser exploits installing malware onto your computer.
Then “security” is too vague and needs to be qualified.
Sorry but this is a bit clueless, what are you trying to secure exactly, if it's not your own data? You can't honestly thing that data is safer in Chrome than Firefox.
I doubt google engineers rank high in his threat model. :-)
Firstly, why just Google engineers? Many Google employees and any 3rd parties Google share data with would be included.
Secondly, that's a single step in the threat model; it's not just about what a Google engineer would do with your data, it's about attack surface area when any Googlers (or Google infra, or Google partner infra) that is compromised automatically exposes you.
The simple act of transmitting and storing your data to anyone, no matter how secure their systems are, is still by definition less secure than simply not transmitting that data.
I'm not a customer so I dont have skin in the game, but is ProtonVPN really considered sketchy? 
No. There was some FUD which was spread that was eventually outed to be written by PIA, one of their competitors. The entire thing mostly just elicits an eyeroll.
Yes, Tracking Protection https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/tracking-protection will be ON by default in Firefox 65.
They will also block all third party cookies effectively blocking most ads. Chrome or Chromium would never build in such a feature and make it ON by default. Because tracking and personalized ads are there business model.
Firefox is the best browser for privacy.
Lately it introduced the ability to do "Multi-Account Containers". They behave like light profiles. But you can use containers to box social networks. See:
This ability is currently unmatched in other browsers.
It also has built-in tracker blocking. Nothing you can't get with uBlock Origin or Privacy Badger, but it's nice to have it on by default, especially in Private Mode.
Note that people complain about the "strict mode" of that tracker blocking not being enabled by default. However I can tell from my experience that the strict mode breaks websites.
See also the design of Firefox Sync, which was designed to not leak data by default, as compared with Chrome's Sync: https://hacks.mozilla.org/2018/11/firefox-sync-privacy/
Don't forget when they sent your data to Cliqz.
Or when they silently installed an extension in order to send telemetry from Firefox installations that had explicitly opted out of telemetry. https://www.ghacks.net/2018/09/21/mozilla-wants-to-estimate-...
The reason this is outrageous is because they weren't doing this kind of thing before. The reason this isn't outrageous when Chrome does it is that Chrome always does this. Using this as a reason to distrust Firefox and instead trust Chrome is insane.
It's valid criticism but seeing this presented in arguments about why Firefox is bad (and you should be using Chrome instead) is absurd.
Distrust of Firefox does not imply trust of Chrome.
Firefox is significantly more trustworthy than Chrome (the outrage over Mozilla's occasional screw-ups exists because that behaviour is decidedly not the established norm for Mozilla whereas the same behaviour from Google surprises no-one).
The context in this thread was "Switch to Firefox. It prioritizes privacy, unlike Chrome". In other words, "Firefox is more privacy-focused than Chrome".
Piling on Mozilla for past screw-ups creates the impression that this statement is wrong and that both browsers are equally bad at privacy because neither of them is consistently perfect.
Even if the criticism is technically correct, piling it on like this creates a skewed impression that if you care about privacy you might as well use Chrome because even if you switch to Firefox your privacy will be invaded anyway.
This normalises the level of invasiveness of Chrome and equivocates its consistent and intentional behavior with a series of exceptional missteps.
In case you think "But I never mentioned Chrome", well, Chrome and Firefox were the only options in the original post so anything negative about Firefox implies a positive about Chrome and vice versa. If you wanted to call out specific behavior, either present an alternative (Brave? Ice Weasel?) or clarify that you're addressing the behavior categorically and not just that instance of it specifically.
If someone says "Don't use A. B is better because it doesn't do $thing" and then you respond by "I've seen B do $thing" that implies equivalence between A and B even if B did $thing only a few times out of carelessness whereas A intentionally does $thing all the time because its business model depends on it. It doesn't matter that you didn't mean it that way, it doesn't matter that it's true and it doesn't matter that this is a mistake on part of the audience. Humans are flawed and communication requires you to take those flaws into account -- unless you just want to express yourself.
That looks pretty harmless but the way they went around it is concerning.
Sgnificantly more than Chrome, yes.
Not sure relative to Safar or Edge.
It's not perfect but IMO it's better than Chrome. Logging in to my Gmail account in Firefox doesn't do the same obnoxious stuff it does in Chrome (changing browser profile, start synching lots of stuff with Google).
Of the problems I've had with Firefox, some of them are actually due to it being _too_ privacy focused, and not having good UX explaining why common operations don't work as expected. For example I couldn't save a file onto my computer and was pulling my hair out until I did a binary search through every version of Firefox, found the first version that didn't work, read deep into the patch notes, and discovered that I needed to set the magical flag of dom.ipc.plugins.sandbox-level.
I want to love FF, I really do!
But the fact that it causes my CPU usage to go through the roof every couple of minutes for no apparent reason makes me want to pull my hair out...
funny, I could say the same about chromium (except the wanting to love it part)
Seriously, I don’t understand why there are always complaints of Firefox over using CPU when chrome has same issues.
I haven’t had a single perf problem with Chrome. It seems to be related to the platform - I’m on a Mac
Chrome massacres my 2012 MBA, the fan spins up within 30 seconds of launch. Firefox runs smooth as butter, mucho tabs and no fan. It seems people have widely different experiences, very weird. I wonder if it's a graphics card thing.
From some researching I’ve done on the internet, it seems like it’s a Retina issue. When I switch the resolution to default, the spinning goes away.
Maybe, but on my non-retina 2012 MBP I have the exact opposite experience of that described by hnzix..
I'm on a Mac, a 2015 MacBook Air and a late-2012 Mac Mini, and don't have any perf problems with Firefox, using the standard, public builds (so not the dev ones). This is with an around 10-15 tabs open, with sync, and 10 add-ons of various stripes.
Then again, I don't do heavy web development or have a tab open with e-mail all day (e-mail is in Thunderbird) so maybe that makes a difference?
Pretty much the same here. FF has always been a battery eater, and even if only one tab is open, it's the sole app in the "Apps using significant energy".
I have a MacBook Pro. The fan spins up sometimes. So what? It also spins up when I’m doing other tasks. I’m always plugged in. So I have no opinion to share about battery performance.
Different commenter here, but same issue as the parent. I'm on a 2016 MBP. When I use Chrome, my fans stay off or at around 1200rpm at all times unless I open a video or a Twitch stream, at which point they jump up to around 1400rpm and the highest the CPU temp gets is around 50c.
On Firefox, my fans will randomly jump up to 3000rpm when doing only normal web browsing, even on simple sites like HN. I'm using FF right now to post this comment, and as soon as I opened HN, my CPU temp went from 40 to 50c. And this is the only tab I have open. If I open a video, or heaven forbid a Twitch stream or Google Maps, my fans instantly go to 7000rpm and my CPU temp goes to 70-80c. Even just opening Gmail makes FF go haywire. And it isn't just "my fans spin up, big deal". Browsing the internet on FF turns my MBP into a slag of near-molten metal that is too hot to even touch, and I can only imagine what it's doing to my battery life.
I want to like FF, I really do, but this is simply a dealbreaker for me, and even though it's a known issue, Mozilla seems uninterested in fixing it (I have previously seen a response from Mozilla that essentially amounted to "it's hard for us to optimize FF for certain sites, so we aren't going to even try").
It's clearly not an issue for everyone, but I definitely have noticed that I'm not the only one who has these issues, either.
Exactly the same with me: I tried switching to Firefox 63 last week on a 2015 MBP running MacOS 10.11, and compared to Chrome it seems to use a lot more CPU and thus makes my machine run noticeably hotter.
I guess this might be due to the new Rust layout engine I've heard about which is more parallelised?, but even just having a single tab playing youtube or a gif uses more CPU in Firefox, so maybe it's something with hardware acceleration?
It's funny how the promise of multicore CPUs was that appropriately engineered workloads could hit new heights of efficiency and overall performance but the cynical reality is that I'm glad for the most part that the partitioning between cores puts a hard limit on how much still commonplace single-threaded processes can take the piss.
> even just having a single tab playing youtube or a gif uses more CPU in Firefox, so maybe it's something with hardware acceleration?
My investigations (their bugzilla, the news about their company, I've been following for a long time) point to the opposite: it's the "old code" which nobody wants to improve: it doesn't help if the "new" code is fast to draw Some detail when the "old" decides to draw or update the stuff that doesn't even has to be updated or drawn. And it's not just drawing too, it's all the processing that happens during the life of the page with the "moving" images. Nobody, as "especially managers in Firefox." There was a number of developers in some Asian country, paid by Firefox, who were in charge for fixing in the old code, and they were simply fired. It seems it's not "strategic" for the managers to "fix" things, only to "experiment" with "new" things like ads or "new technologies" or whatever.
The "more CPU and GPU use" of Firefox is absolutely observable on any platform, not only on Macs. There are also the bugs submitted, but it doesn't seem that there's any priority in fixing them. From their perspective "it works, it's just that those who measure such use notice it." It's of course not so. The battery is empty earlier, the notebooks are hotter, the response lags. There are reported bugs demonstrating exactly what you observed: compared to any other browser even a single video on the "modern" site in Firefox needs much more processing power. It’s easy to reproduce in Windows too.
But obviously fixing the performance problems is not priority for the managers, when there's anything "new and shiny." Because they don’t see that as serious bugs: “the same page uses 10% of the max possible power in Chrome but 20% in Firefox.” “Who cares?” It’s too long-term goal.
What OS are you on?
linux and win10
Try vacuuming the sqlite files in the profile directory.
Have you looked at about:performance to see which tab is responsible?
Same here. I have been been back on FF for a few months and have been very happy. It's fast and works great in every respect.
I did experience a glitch the other day in dev tools where a pane blanked out on me. I may have had a crash too, but that's it.
From my experience it's not a glitch, ff Dev tools are slow and second class compared to chrome.
Quantum made it viable to use ff on my old laptop, but a daily driver for a web dev it still is not.
This, and especially perf profiler is lacking in every way compared with Chrome
If you are a web dev you will either way have both browser installed for testing. The question is what will you use as your main browser apart from developing.
I moved away due to the battery drain issues on OSX, has that been addressed?
Based on this bug and some of the related ones, the answer seems to be no.
Until then I'm stuck with Opera/Safari/Chrome, mostly in that order.
Try viewing Imgur.com on Safari. Just scroll a bit until you get a couple gifs displayed and check the CPU usage on the imgur.com tab. Just insane that a few gifs destroy an i7. Is it bad video compression? I notice imgur attempts to make gifs from mp4 files and vice versa but damn. A 5 year old iPhone has no problem with this task.
It'd be nice if you could throttle processor usage. I'd rather have a choppy experience on the occasionally website than constant fans and having my Mac turn into a heater.
That’s awesome. Thanks for the link
I do not know about macos, but in Linux you could achieve this by running your process in a cgroup.
It was unusable for me too, afaik it had to do with scaling more than anything else, so if you toy around with scaling factors it might help.
I think Servo is going to be a massive Good Thing (tm) for Mozilla, but they have messed up a few times with UI anti-patterns and sneaking extensions into updates that users didn't opt for. They have seriously breached our trust like Google and it will take years to earn back that trust.
I switched to Firefox away from Chrome recently. I am happy with this but I wish they had a friendly UI you could bring up to expose cookies to be shared between tabs on an opt-in basis. Cookies should be isolated per-tab by default. Cookies and other persistent data should be forgotten as soon as the tab is closed. I don't like container tabs, I think it gets confusing to manage tab groups by profile. I want to quickly mouse over and say "expose this tab's cookies to this other tab".
I'm still sad I can't get perfect "tree tabs" going. I have a plugin I use to show parent and child tabs in a tree arrangement but nothing looks sexy about it:
I want an actual tree of lines shown to each row/tab to quickly visualize how the tabs were created from parent-to-child. How it currently looks is too busy with borders everywhere. It's functional but not what I envisioned. I can't hide the tab bar at the top as far as I know. I'm just frustrated that I remember trying to make this work in like 2002 and it's soon to be 2019. I feel like browsers aren't made for workstations, but casual consumption. They should enable so much productivity.
I also wish they focused on minimizing and isolating references to various Web APIs, so it would be easier to unreference and orphan them - unreachable from advertisers.
I'm afraid our hopes of Servo resurrecting Mozilla were short lived. From what I understand, work on Servo for Desktop has been phased out considerably.
Ah crap. I totally missed that this happens. It's a damn shame really, what exists of Servo at this point was rather amazing in terms of speed.
I will admit I was secretly hoping that Servo would become a new, minimalistic, privacy-focused browser that would also blow Chrome out the water with performance.
Its a shame they just plugged some parts into Firefox and called it a day. Instead of getting us a new shiny browser that could compete with Chrome, Mozilla focuses efforts on dubious Pocket/Cliqz/VPN integrations and a bunch of progressive outreach programs.
Unless something changes drastically, Firefox will descend into irrelevancy very soon (if not already). And that's bad for all of us.
We haven't called it a day. The servo team still exists, we still work on Servo.
Working on a production ready project is hard and takes forever, the integration work was a pit stop where we had an opportunity to get our work out to users. We'll take these opportunities as we get them.
> we had an opportunity to get our work out to users. We'll take these opportunities as we get them.
Compared to the number of people who browse the web on desktop, the number of VR/AR users is statistically insignificant.
Moving Servo's focus away from desktop and towards niche VR/AR experiments will only accelerate the decline of Firefox. Or rather, fail to slow it down.
Wow... that's a shocker.
> sneaking extensions into updates that users didn't opt for.
If you have auto-updates enabled, Mozilla, like Google, has complete control over the source code that runs on your system. Had they wanted to sneak new source code in, they would have specifically not packaged it as an extension, which made it user-visible and limited to the extension API in its capabilities, and instead just patched the Firefox code to include it. So, they were decidedly doing the opposite of sneaking it in.
> They have seriously breached our trust like Google
Mozilla has made some mistakes, absolutely, but it really is not anywhere close to being "like Google". It's still the far superior choice, personal freedoms-wise, over Chrome.
> I can't hide the tab bar at the top as far as I know.
It could be easier, but still doable in 5 minutes (that's how long it took me) with some CSS, see https://github.com/piroor/treestyletab/wiki/Code-snippets-fo... on how to do it.
There seem to be some security concern or it's not so easy UX wise, see https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1332447 for all the discussions and progress.
This is definitely within my skillset but far from user-friendly. I'm just remarking on how simple it is to put a toggle in the settings to show/hide the tab bar and they haven't done this because they're pushing a particular look that is very similar to the design choices for Chrome.
It is possible to hide the top tab bar but extensions are not allowed to do it. You have to write some css file to set the tab bar to display:none. I think there’s a description of the process somewhere in the github repo for that extension (maybe in an issue)
Many people won't switch because either Firefox is slow on their platform (MacOS) or stuff they use are slow on Firefox (Google ecosystem, many other webapps optimized for Chrome)
I use Firefox on MacOS. It is easily as fast as Chrome for me (and I have tons of tabs open in multiple windows). And I use Google Docs/Sheets/etc. all day long with zero slowdowns.
I use Firefox on MacOS. It is much slower than Chrome for me (and I don't tend to hold open many tabs or windows). I use Google Mail/Groups/Calendar all day long which became unusable in the last months.
Yea the new gmail on firefox was the reason I switched back to Chrome. I blame google for it but I just couldn't bare the performance in FF
I've been using the plain html gmail for the past year on Firefox. Works amazingly!
Haven't noticed speed issues in Drive either.
Open your email in thunderbird or move your email somewhere else. This is all part of googles game. They slow down youtube in every other browser as well.
IIRC this isn't intentional, but it's not due to benevolence either: The whole custom elements fiasco (which is largely Google jumping the gun and shipping an unstandardized API that they eventually had to deprecate) means that some Google properties are still written on custom elements v0, and use a polyfill on non-Chrome.
Why not just use a client? Gmail is horrendous anyway, even on Chrome. I don't understand how can anyone use it vie web ui.
Don't know, somehow I got used to it over the years.
On Mac usually Firefox is compared also with Safari, if not only.
The only time I've ever used Safari is to download Firefox ;-)
I'm on macOS and Firefox is at least as fast as Chrome. Granted, I'm on nightly with WebRender turned on, but that will be in regular Firefox soon enough.
Thanks to this comment I decided to download Firefox Nightly and turn on WebRender. (Was it on by default 2 months ago and then no longer?)
For anyone unaware, WebRender is a new compositing engine for Firefox written from the ground up in Rust that runs on the GPU.
Hey I'm glad you gave it a try! I think it was turned on for Windows 10 nightly users with Nvidia cards. Not sure if they added more users since then.
What do you think if you don't mind me asking?
Don’t really see that many differences from Chrome yet
Last I checked on osx Firefox just doesn't feel as native as Chrome. I'm not sure if it's the weird window chrome or the scrolling that feels non-native but something just feels off.
You can’t do pinch to zoom on macOS, which kills the experience for me.
There's an addon that emulates pinch zoom, it does a pretty good job: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/multi-touch-z....
I agree this should be implemented natively though.
Yep, can confirm that FF is still killing my 2014 MBP.
Strange, it runs just as fast as Chrome on my 2013 MBP
AFAIK there was a bug causing it to eat a lot of CPU on non-native resolutions (display scaling), which may explain some differences in user's experience.
Yep luckily the bug is being actively worked on and might land in the next version or two.
I can confirm its not fixed yet. Firefox Dev Edition is unusable on my 2014 MBP w/ integrated graphics but is crazy fast on my 2018 and Hackintosh.
It seems to only happen with certain Retina MBPs.
Which is a shame - I really wanted to like Firefox on Mac.
Likewise. FF turns my 2012 rMBP into a frying pan for any web page with moving content (video, animated GIFs, ads) or just significant JS (Google docs). I would prefer FF, so I keep checking every couple of years, but no improvement. Unusable.
On those same pages, Chrome and Safari work just fine.
If Apple were making MBPs better each year instead of demonstrating their "courage" ("This time we're taking X away from you because as long as Windows is the only competition, whaddya gonna do about it?") I would have already bought a new one, and that would presumably have more powerful graphics and not get as hot, but I would still want to verify that FF wasn't running the battery down faster than Chrome or Safari.
That's interesting. Is there somewhere that lays this out (which models, etc)? This is a retina display so I'm curious why it would affect some and not others.
Have a 2013 MBP and it runs fine for me.
Other than some Google sites optimized for Chrome (which reminds of sites working only in IE...), Firefox on MacOS works pretty well, better than Chrome on average.
Safari on MacOS is probably the winner, because Apple invests a lot on battery saving and performance of its sw.
The whole Google ecosystem is slow on any platform, including Google platforms (Chromebooks).
I haven't noticed Firefox being any slower than Chrome on MacOS. Then again, I only use Chrome to browse facebook.com, so who knows.
Sadly, Google Chrome has moved beyond just providing good performance. They now nicely manage all of your google accounts, which is really nice when you have a work account, personal account, etc. These nice small but nice features can really lock you in, especially if you use Chrome on your phone as well as your computer.
It's clear that the current round of browser wars isn't just about speed and standards compliance, but also feature lock-in too.
What about developer tools? As a front-end dev I'm very pleased with the tools Chrome offers. I only tried Firefox's dev tools briefly but can they compare?
Their dev tools are comprehensive and have a very similar UI to Chrome. Personally, it wasn't hard to pick it up and I haven't (yet) run into any limitations.
Yes, they're mostly the same. On some points Firefox is better (e.g. DOM Inspector, Network tab, animations, dark theme), on others Chromium is (e.g. Profiler, sources). I use both.
Yes they are first class. Give them a try.
If you are a developer I'd think that you would use both, along with Safari on Mac if that's available to you.
I’ve been contemplating this for a while, and I just took the jump today. You’re right it’s just as good. Especially since google s-canned inbox, I’m feeling pretty vindictive (switched to paid proton mail as well).
Performance. Firefox still lags in performance. Granted you may only see the difference in edge cases, but I work for a company that creates a performance-sensitive web-app and the difference is big.
I do agree however that the entire industry standardizing on Chrome is not great for anyone (including Google). I'm surprised that Microsoft isn't continuing Edge development, even only as a hedge and to have a sensible default for Windows - especially if you're building Windows Apps and you need a browser control. Why give that up to Chrome? And it isn't like Microsoft can't afford it - they are almost a trillion dollar company.
Firefox 3 was much better. No Pocket. No article/news recommendations. Panorama view. Firefox used to be my favorite until it started to get bloated. Prioritizes privacy? Then let me turn recommendations and Pocket permanently off.
Funny using Panorama as an example of when Firefox was better, and then criticizing it for Pocket, in context of bloat.
I'd bet Pocket is more useful to more people than Panorama was.
The weird thing about Pocket is it was actually better _before_ they integrated it, when you installed the separate Pocket extension.
I tried and simply couldn't do it. Although I know in my case it's a very specific issue with multiple profiles.
I have a work and personal profile for Chrome and even tho I could make that work on Firefox, one very simple thing makes it completely unusable to me: clicking a link always opens on one particular window/profile.
On Chrome whatever window you last used will be the one opening the url, which is extremely necessary when using multiple profiles.
Perhaps one day that's going to be implemented and I can go back to the good old FF.
If understand your scenario, you can do that with FF, if you don't force a url to be always opened in one profile. For instance you can have sites hard-linked to specific profiles (e.g. social networks) and others that are not, so they stay in the current session (e.g. paypal, which otherwise is broken by the multi account feature).
Oh I don't force anything. Chrome obeys the "last window" rule while Firefox always opens things on the first profile (or last? can't recall).
If you use multiple accounts on the same service (eg. Gmail for work/personal use) you're screwed.
The whole point is that it shouldn't need configuration, it should be smart like Chrome is.
Adapting a comment I posted in a different Firefox thread:
I'd like to use Firefox. I prefer its ideals to everything else. I've tried it out several times the last year. It's okay. Unfortunately, I always end up going back to Safari. Despite the performance improvements, Safari still feels like a faster, sleeker, smoother, and more user-focused browser.
Firefox is still pretty ugly. On macOS, it feels chunkier and less natively integrated. It does not feel like a first-class citizen of macOS, but rather like a gtk+ or Qt app ported to the Mac.
Safari's "omnibar" is superior to Firefox's. Safari actually suggests web sites (see https://imgur.com/a/dY2SWKB), which I use all the time. Wikipedia is a major one. Start typing "Richard Fey", for example, and the first hit will be the Wikipedia page for Richard Feynman, complete with a short summary and photo. Firefox forces me through a Google search. I use DuckDuckGo and its shortcuts, but Safari's suggestions are more helpful.
I also tried out Firefox on iOS some time ago, and it wasn't as nice as Safari. For there to be a point to this, I'd need the same browser in both places, with perfect syncing of bookmarks, cookies, tabs, etc., just like Safari. I'm not tied to iCloud for this, though it'd be nice to use iCloud and not yet another cloud syncing mechanism.
Lastly, migrating is a pain. There's apparently no way to import my current Safari session (I have probably 60-70 tabs) or history (I keep everything I visit, going back years), which means I'd lose stuff by migrating and would have to migrate tabs over incrementally. Hard to try out a browser in any meaningful way this way.
Here's a few things Firefox could do to interest me:
- Make super-sleek platform-specific UIs that feel native. Do you really need a platform-agnostic GUI toolkit for the chrome? The renderer is the portable part. I don't care about theming myself, and wouldn't miss it if my browser didn't have it (Safari doesn't). I prefer an opinionated browser that knows what it should look and feel like.
- Innovate by addressing actual user pain points. Containers are an innovation, but they target techies and fail the grandmother test. I'd like true containers, where every 2nd-level domain is contained. This means having to be innovative about how to address cross-origin things (Google spreads itself over many domains, and then you have things like OAuth).
Another huge innovation you could bring to the table is to fix the user identity and authentication problem. I use a password manager, but why are we still logging in with user names and passwords these days? Why is the password manager using brittle form fills rather than APIs, for God's sake? Here's my solution: When I go to Reddit or whatever, and I'm logged out, what if my browser showed a little bar at the top that said: "This web site would like to use your profile 'Atombender'. [Accept] [Ignore]". On accept, browser and web site would negotiate through some kind of opaque, cryptographically secure token (via some plugin API so that providers like 1Password and Apple can store your state) so that the browser can prove that I am me, and the web site can prove that it is itself. No more phishing, no more remembering passwords. Web sites can only identify users that you've granted access to your identity to, and like ApplePay your true identity should be hidden behind an opaque identifier. Standard protocols could be defined for things such as email addresses and phone numbers, so that I can edit the email for my profile locally, and it would automatically make an API call to the web site to update the email address on that end. Things like deleting an account, setting up 2FA etc. would be part of this API. Of course, to accomplish this you have to design a standard and make web sites use it. Mozilla used to have enough clout to do this, anything is possible.
Another area where innovation is needed: Fix the tab problem. Bookmarks, tabs, windows -- we can do better. Why isn't a tab and a bookmark sort of the same thing? Why is bookmark editing so bad? Why do bookmarks get broken when the web site disappears or changes? A bookmark should save a complete copy of that page!
And why can't I search my history of visited web pages? I remember reading an article a few weeks ago. It mentioned Charlemagne's reign but the title was about something completely different. I don't remember anything else. How do I find it? Browsers only record the title and URL and visit time. Why can't I search for "Charlemagne" in the browser and get a hit?
- Firefox can interest me with great performance, but Quantum has been disappointing on macOS. I remember the standalone WebRender (?) demo app a few years ago, and it was insanely fast. Maybe because it had less legacy baggage. Firefox could charm me by using significantly less RAM and less idle CPU.
- Why don't browsers have adblocking built in? I use 1Blocker, and it has a clunky UI where you can point the cursor at a page element to block that specific element. This could be made so smooth.
- To catch more developers' mindshare, Firefox could develop a super-modern, low-resource-usage Electron competitor with some kind of easy (gRPC?) glue for interfacing with languages. Join forces with Slack to make it happen.
Just some ideas. I don't pretend I know better than the Firefox team, and I'm just one data point, of course.
But like many people I see Firefox as being increasingly less relevant. I don't see this as being caused only by the ascendancy of Chrome, either.
> Why don't browsers have adblocking built in?
Firefox has built-in tracker blocking, which has the side effect of blocking a lot of ads and makes your pages load faster:
Brave also has built-in tracker blocking:
> I use 1Blocker, and it has a clunky UI where you can point the cursor at a page element to block that specific element.
uBlock Origin has a similar feature. I think it works smoothly in Firefox:
I, too, really want to like Firefox, but usability (at least on Mac) is clearly not a priority. Standard keyboard shortcuts are broken, and have been for years. There’s abstraction layers (unique to FF) to figure out how to make a text field work like a text field. The preferences dialog box is gone, for some reason.
When FF wants to be a Mac app, I’ll be the first one in line to use it.
This, and get Tree Style Tabs. It's literally the best thing about Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tree-style-ta...
A good chunk of people who actually care about their computer/work on a computer a lot use a Macbook, and use it while on battery power. So battery efficiency is a major issue for me and because my browser is basically constantly open and full of tabs, I have no choice but to use Safari.
After quantum I did my best to switch but I had the following problems: no scrollbar search highlights, terrible Linux/gnome dark theme integration, angular source maps not working. After a couple of weeks I got back to Chrome.
Looks great on my Linux/mate dark theme. Wonder what the difference is?
I tried to switch to firefox a few months ago, but it had no way to view websocket frames in the dev tools. This was kind of a deal breaker for me at the time as I was doing a lot of ws work. Have they remedied this?
Firefox 57 is why I switched to Chrome in the first place. If I'm going to use a butchered UI, I might as well use the original from whom everyone copied. And on top of that accessibility was a nightmare.
My grandmother had glaucoma and could not use Firefox 57 in any capacity because the feature to have large chunky Netscape/Mosaic buttons was removed completely. I had to switch all her stuff over to SeaMonkey, which still had the ability to have large buttons, so she could use a web browser.
I just had to switch back to Chrome because firefox couldn't handle multiple (4+) 1080p x264 streams in the same window. Chrome managed to handle 18 of them, across two windows, without a hitch.
How often are you streaming 18 1080p streams at once?
Fair bit at the moment, am grinding marbles on stream.
I'm hanging on to FF for idealogical reasons, but that's it. If the browsing experience was my only measure, it'd be Chrome all the way.
Right now I have this bug in Firefox where the results from the drop down menu are incorrect. As in, if I get an autocomplete result that is several lines down - say, foobar.com - and I click on it then I'll be taken to barbar.com. If I click on the result that is several lines above foobar.com then I get foobar.com. I don't know how to explain this correctly.
I've been trying to use Firefox at work for years. It doesn't work well in my company's intranet (lots of Sharepoint). Random pieces of the the company website do not show up and I get way too many certificate warnings. Chrome, Edge, and IE work fine. Firefox hasn't worked through 2 iterations of our intranet over the course of 10+ years.
I think the reason is probably network.negotiate-auth.delegation-uris and network.negotiate-auth.trusted-uris in about:config, and your authentication is failing.
Since Chrome, Edge, and IE uses Windows certificate infrastructure and Firefox uses its own, it won't understand directive perhaps pushed through your company's group policy. You can specify address of your intranet site, in style of https://.example.com (where subdomain of example.com is covered in this case) and it should work.
As for certificate, is it using internal certificate of some sort? If that's the case, you will have to load it to Firefox's NSS.
Also, scrolling on firefox is awkward and imprecise. They seem to prefer bouncy accelerated/decelerated scrolling where Google Chrome is as sharp as a knife. When I take my finger off the scroll wheel, I want scrolling to stop immediately, I don't want it to keep moving for a handful of pixels to artificially slow down.
Check your settings. My scroll works equally on both browsers
I have switched to Firefox two month ago. The only feature I missed about "show initiator in devtools network panel"
I'm trying to use Firefox both on my home and work machines, but until Mozilla fix their horrendous developer tools I have to keep both browsers open side by side
I keep them both installed, for the rare occasion when some web app or other only works performantly on one of them.
Except for the battery life on laptops. Edge and Chrime are way ahead here and it is very frustrating.
You may have missed a spot: using a privacy conscious browser on an OS designed to spy on you.
> and prioritizes privacy.
It actually prioritizes calling home, stopping ad-blockers from working on Mozilla owned sites, etc.
Don't get me wrong, I am a Firefox user myself, and I do think that Firefox is the most privacy oriented browser when compared to the other popular ones, but nowadays it is a pain in the butt to disable all of their spyware on about:config.
> stopping ad-blockers from working on Mozilla owned sites
Err, do you mean preventing extensions from modifying critical sites like addons.mozilla.org? Because that's seems like common sense to me.
A mouse gestures add-on not working on some pages, which are no more critical than my bank's, is just bad UX.
It does not seem like common sense at all when said sites also load tracking scripts such as google analytics.
I would switch in a heartbeat if the audio issue for sped up videos is solved...
Which audio issues do you experience? I regularly watch videos sped up on YouTube and InfoQ and never noticed any problems.
This one: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1383363
Try Brave from brave.com - so much innovation in one browser.
One gripe I have with FF is that their DevTools are crap... Chrome is a really unprecedented WebDev platform for me.
What about Chromium?
The whole subtext here, as described in TFA, is that the near-complete dominance of Google's browser engine is worrying.
Using Google's browser engine still gives them a lot of control, even if you aren't using their trimmings.
True that. I wish they removed all Google stuff from Chromium and only use it in Chrome. Seems like the only fair thing to do imo.
That kind of exists, but it's still giving Google power because it relies on their software. It basically makes it really difficult for anyone to shape how the web works besides Google, since no one has any browser market share.
For example, WebAssembly started out as a Mozilla project. What if Mozilla didn't exist, or Firefox didn't have any market share? It would never have been created. Think of all the accumulated features/innovations that could exist over the next few years that might not if the only browser engine being used is controlled by a single company.
Brave browser is solid as well, built in ad blocking and Tor support. CEO is brandon eich and it's built on Chromium
> and it's built on Chromium
That's a negative to me - again, too much browser engine consolidation. :/
As only big companies can underwrite development and then support ongoing/backlog compatibility quirks-mode work for a new engine, you are effectively saying "no" to other, higher-order values offered by new browsers than the engine.
Yes, I include Mozilla in "big companies" (2017 big revenue, which won't recur from what I can tell; big pay to chair too). Nevertheless, Mozilla has mismanaged Servo into an AR/XR only position where it won't go big, and Mozilla (for same reasons as MS) faces pressure to bail on Gecko.
Blaming little browsers for using chromium/Blink is blaming them for surviving.
Successful genes (e.g. for adaptive auto-immunity) tend to sweep. Think of WebKit and now (on desktop) chromium/Blink as such alleles. We may not like it but it happens whatever we may wish. I've chosen to fight for user rights at a higher domain of discourse: private ads, anonymous donations, ad and tracking protection by default. The time for a more radical new engine will come; it isn't now.
Inclined to agree. I see the fact that Microsoft is abandoning Edge in favour of a Chromium-based browser as a fundamentally bad thing for the web due to the loss of competition amongst browser engines (me of 10 - 15 years ago would probably be appalled by this sentiment, but times change).
Brave, as yet another Chromium based-browser doesn't feel like it's helping. That, and the name "Brave" absolutely grates on me. It's a web browser: what exactly is brave about it? Too pretentious for my taste.
The name is not about the company, rather the user who takes control of their own Web economics. This requires facing down some anti-ad/tracker-blocking, and supporting favorite sites and creators (easily done from grants, no need to pay; but still requires courage compared to false security of taking ads and tracking).
I always thought "Opera" was pretentious, personally! But I'm friends with long-time CTO, who does go to Bayreuth every year for Wagner, so I mean this is best possible way ;-).
> It's good again
No it's not. It's frequently hanging certain tabs which I'm forced to close and reopen because I get the grey spinner and my 8 core machine grinds down to a halt.
On Android when opening the embedded webview powered by Firefox, whether the page will load without being forced to open it in the full browser is a coin toss.
It doesn't help that Mozilla has lost most of my goodwill by being such a mixed bag when it comes to politics and decision making the past few years.
I still use it, because I like that a part of the company is trying to move the needle forward in browser tech, I find container tabs better than Chromium profiles and up until recently I could get bypass paywalls without workarounds, but unless things improve by the time Brave moves the Chromium fork out of beta, I'm moving to Brave.
Mozilla has a political stance that I do not support, and they openly use Firefox to push it. This doesn't get brought up enough on places that lean liberal such as HN, but it is a reason why I, and several other people I know, cannot use it in good faith.
It's also a fair bit slower than Chrome, which doesn't help.
Can you be more specific about what you perceive to be their political stance, how that impacts your browser usage, and how it differs from that of the other browser vendors?
Google also has the same political stance and they push it very hard.
And this political stance is?
Firefox has had its fair share of debacles this year too. Chrome works better on Linux for me, and Firefox is full of strange and unusual bugs which Mozilla shows little or no interest in fixing.
If Mozilla forked Chromium this year, Firefox would be a better browser (even with the very interesting developments coming from the Servo camp, E10S, etc. etc. etc.). Firefox has accumulated bugs, particularly around their implementation of SVG, since about 4.x, and it doesn't seem to be getting any better on that front.
Seriously, switch to Firefox. It's good again, and prioritizes privacy. After Chrome's forced-sign-in debacle  I switched away from Chrome on all my platforms (Windows, Linux, Android) and haven't missed a thing.
Amen to this. There was the open source project that was essentially a Gecko version of Electron but of course it was very alpha and eventually was deprecated and abandoned.
Perhaps the gold standard of Electron would allow you to choose the engine and then build a native/browser app based on that.
You might be interested in GeckoView 
I was going to say that Servo was going to include an implementation of the Chromium Embedding Framework API but apparently that feature has been dropped for lack of use: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/mozilla.dev.servo/5M...
> Electron has made building cross platform desktop applications a lot easier
For people who have web development experience, yes.
It's made building cross-platform desktop applications that are just wrappers for existing web-apps down-right trivial (and no web-dev experience required there.)
And that case applies more often than you'd think. For example, the Spotify app, the Slack app†, the various Facebook Messenger "clients", etc.
† the Slack app is built with http://macgapproject.github.io/, but it's pretty much the same thing.
I don't understand why the slack app exists. Why would I want to run another browser for a chat application?
I use it because my window manager manages windows better than any browser manages tabs.
I've noticed most people in my organisation hate the idea of having work chat in a browser tab. They really liked having a separate app.
It doesn't help that the Windows default (not sure about Macintosh) is to group icons in the task bar, so your separate Browser window for chat makes you two-click to switch between browsing and chat.
> (not sure about Macintosh)
The macOS default is to have no taskbar at all, just a bunch of icons without text or context.
That's true in a way, but it requires basically no non-web dev experience either. It's a different kind of "building".
It would be nice if there were a Node flavor that used SpiderMonkey as a choice to V8. Until that happens most of us are forced to use Chrome related technology no matter how much more we may prefer Mozilla tech.
The problem with that is to make a node.js compatible engine you need to write and maintain a compatibility layer that mirrors the V8 API which I can completely understand a Dev team not wanting to undergo.
They used to support it, but it was killed to prioritize firefox development (and couple of years later they stopped developing mozilla suite).
otoh Webkit was originally developed as part of iOS, so embedding was required
WebKit was a fork from KDE and was used to build Safari before iOS existed.
right, KHTML is still a valid option under linux to build apps. But that's getting so much less (no?) attention from web developers
I bet the ipad prototype from early 2000s actually ran some version of osx&safari
I really wish Mozilla would work on making their Gecko engine (or whatever backend they use now) more usable to external developers. WebKit always seems very easy for developers to integrate into their apps.
Whether you think it's a good or bad move, Electron has made building cross platform desktop applications a lot easier. It's a shame it must use Chromium and V8.
In fairness Mozilla used to have XUL  until it was stopped , presumably because not enough people were using it?
> Mozilla… pro-customer.
Microsoft arguably isn't, they still like to force the customer to do things beneficial to itself, and collect lots of telemetry.
I am Firefox user for more than 15 years. I personally would prefer Firefox codebase to be adopted. I think Mozilla is the only big organization left who is pro-customer.
But let's be realistic, people want things to "just work". People in general are not bothered by privacy or security, but if funny cat picture can't load that's huge problem. People in general were moving from IE because it's shitty laggish software, not because it was not secure or was sending telemetry. So adopting Blink/WebKit is right business decision, because it makes customers happy, because a lot of sites are developed with only Chrome in mind. Bootstrap and friends support Firefox, it's true, but many actual sites with custom non-framework HTML/CSS do not. Some bugs are negligible, some are not. But what is 0.5% of all web sites for Microsoft? A huge deal, let's accept this.
Google Chrome has enterprise version which already supports Active Directory Group Policy, so corporate customers will be happy too.
What can Firefox offer today? Frameworks support Firefox and Firefox supports standards well. I genuinely believe that google Chrome in 2020 will be like IE6 in 2010 and rust based codebase will be superior by all means, easier to maintain and faster to execute. But I am very naive and optimistic about Firefox, because I simply love this browser.
Well, I think it's actually two different things: I don't feel bad at all seeing IE/Edge coming to an end. It was a closed, non free, single-platform browser, who gave a lot of people a lot of headaches during the last 20 years. On the other hand, I'm worried by the fact that Google browser market share continues to grow.
Honest question, what has Edge/IE actually contributed to the web in the past decade? I understand that having one less engine is not preferable, but realistically, it always felt like they were dragging behind struggling to keep up, while Apple, Google and Mozilla kept forging ahead.
By using Blink, maybe they can spend more time actually contributing to the spec and having an independent voice elsewhere?
They were the main driver behind Pointer Events, and also were the first adopter (after Mozilla, who pioneered it) of asm.js, which got the ball rolling to the point where we're getting WebAssembly now.
Grid layout is the big one, but there are plenty of smaller examples.
> Honest question, what has Edge/IE actually contributed to the web in the past decade?
It's also a good reminder that monopolies in the tech industry are fleeting. The concerns that people have today over Facebook becoming a monopoly will seem a bit silly in 20 years after they miss a disruptive change and lose out to a new competitor.
It's also good to remind yourself that this is not a law, and that you could easily have worried about Google's dominance in search a decade ago and still be right today.
It is a weird flip isn't it? It feels more like a 'pick your battles' thing though. Microsoft has been assailed on the browser front for a long time. An alternative would have been to open source it (like the Chromium code base) so that "anyone" could build browsers based on their code base.
The Edge code base is probably so tightly coupled to the Windows API that it could never practically be ported to another platform.
I don't disagree. However, if I understand what Satya Nadella is trying to do with Microsoft, I would expect to see growth in open source Windows targeted software.
For me, I think a reasonable definition of a healthy development platform is one where developers are investing their time and sharing their expertise to develop tools and applications specifically for that platform. Having a windows focused code base for web browsing and all of the components that entails could be an encouraging reef from which open source eco-systems could spring.
10 years ago it was forseeable that MS would lose the browser wars.
BTW, this is not the first time MS has considered Chromium. Back before the fork of Edge, they considered using Webkit.
By 2008 it was fairly obvious that MS wasn't serious contender in the browser market anymore. This was two years after IE7 release which itself was pretty lackluster, and IE8 was still nowhere to be seen. Firefox popularity was pretty much at its peak, and Chrome was just released immediately starting to eat up the world.
Maybe Webkit would have fewer bugs by now if Microsoft had chosen it for Edge a few years ago.
It's too bad Microsoft didn't get broken up in the 90s. We'd probably have more browser options.
It's too bad Google isn't being broken up now.
This is why I'm already on board for Bernie Sanders 2020. I don't think any other contender out there is going to stand up to these giant companies, which is what our economy desperately needs.
”This is why I’m already on board for Barack Obama 2008.”
But the tech industry is a key contributor for any democratic contender, so I don’t expect much progress here. Might still be the right choice though, but I don’t think this is the issue where you should turn your hopes on the democrats.
Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat.
> Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat.
Bernie Sanders is occasionally a Democrat; particularly, he was when running for President in 2016 and almost certainly will be if he runs for President in 2020; as a Senator he is “merely” an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, doesn't have the Democratic Party support candidates against him, and is the Democratic caucus’s ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee.
I think the important part is that he doesn't have personal connections either directly with the industry lobbyists, or with prominent Dem leadership figures who do. So he can afford to ignore the lobbying.
> I think the important part is that he doesn't have personal connections either directly with the industry lobbyists, or with prominent Dem leadership figures who do.
No, he didn't get to be the ranking member of the Banking Committee without personal connections with just about every Dem leadership figure that matters, especially in the Senate.
Now, he might have the moral fortitude to stand up for his public values despite such connections, but denying that they exist is ludicrous.
This is demonstrably false. He's in the pocket of industry just like any other politician.
That really needs some sarcasm quotes around it. Technically true. Practically, no.
Didn't they essentially do that to themselves? The various ventures of "Google" are now several companies that just happen to be majority-owned by one company (Alphabet.) If the SEC didn't like that arrangement, all they would have to do is get Alphabet to divest its ownership.
I'm not sure that vision is all upside. Microsoft de facto provided some industry standardization.
I am always reminded of when fire departments couldn't help other cities because their equipment wasn't compatible. This was so disastrous that we introduced standardization for sizes of hoses, connectors, etc.
I am not aware of anyone protesting such standardization the way we routinely think it's a terrible thing in other industries while taking it for granted that all our stuff is supposed naturally play well with all our other stuff.
MS is infamous for ignoring and/or breaking standards. Using your market powers to lock users in to your own proprietary (modified copies of open) standars are NOT beneficial to anyone but MS.
I guess we will have to agree to disagree.
My understanding is MS basically brought the world the personal computer. You and I probably couldn't have this argument had they never set out to get filthy rich and yadda. The world would likely be a very different place and I personally think that alternate timeline wouldn't be all upside. I don't think it would be some eutopia that we stupidly missed out on by failing to tell Bill Gates "kill it before it grows."
Unless you are saying that “EEE” and being destructive is a necessary condition to being successfull I don’t see how that comment is relevant to the issue with standards I addressed.
More browsers with bugs to work around. What a nightmare.
Only a Sith deals in absolutes.
"Do. Or do not. There is no try." ;)
as a frontender I'm not sad. A lot of bugs coming in from Edge. And Edge has a pretty shit debugger too. So no tears for me. Waiting for Safari to die. Firefox and Chrome are good.
Why would Safari [i.e. Webkit] die? Looking at desktop + mobile market shares, if anyone would be "the next to die", it'd be Firefox.
Safari is a huge pain in the ass to test on because you have to own apple hardware to do it. Firefox and chrome can be installed on anything and microsoft gave you a VM to test IE and Edge in.
I didn't say "why should it die", I said "why would it die." Unless you mean that you find it likely that some appreciable fraction of developers will stop owning Apple hardware at some point.
I said I wish it would die. Really slow in keeping up with the standards.
Ouch. True. So weird for me to feel that way.
If anyone told me a decade ago that a day will come when I will feel sorry for Microsoft browser technology going away...
Nowadays most enterprise and bespoke intranet apps are targeting Chrome as a platform, not "the web". It's a re-run of the IE6 situation in the late 90s / early 2000s, except this time Microsoft is the victim, not the beneficiary.
Whereas it used to be that big IT departments would nix the installation of any 3rd party browser, nowadays almost all accept the use of Chrome. And if you're selling an app into a big company, you always tell them to use Chrome, and never advertise IE/Edge support except as a last resort.
If Microsoft want to sell their cloud services into these companies, they need to support Chrome-based apps. Edge won't do. As such, they have little choice but to fork it and build their own browser, tied into their services. I'm sure they recognise the potential problems and downsides, but consider it the least worst option at this point.
history doesn't repeat itself but it does rhyme...
I'm wondering how, logistically, this make sense.
Does Microsoft adopt Chromium/Blink for embedding in UWP apps and Electron? That will reduce memory and storage requirements for the latter, but greatly increases the attack surface of the former.
Microsoft is also taking on an _enormous_ maintenance burden in integrating it with their own sandboxing and protection mechanisms. I'm in disbelief that the ongoing cost of maintaining this fork and tying themselves to Chromium will be worth it.
And the incentive for Google to now embed more and more ChromeOS/mobile device management into Chromium. For example: Google intends to ship an alternative credential provider for Windows 10 through Chrome. Microsoft will have to painstakingly isolate every feature like that which Google adds, and adopt an aggressive posture of doing code reviews of Chromium.
I'm not sure how, given that they are such strong competitors/adversaries, this can work out.
As I understand things, the Mozilla codebase is a much older, vastly more complex and significantly less embedding-friendly environment than WebKit and derivatives. At least from here, it is easy to see why the choice may have in part been technically driven.
(I'm a diehard Firefox user but not gonna lie, side-by-side, I'd prefer surfing through WebKit's repos by a long shot!)
Which is odd when you realize that WebKit is older than the firefox engine. (WebKit is a direct descendant of khtml, Firefox was busing re-writing their Gecko engine when WebKit forked)
How much of a rewrite was it? IIRC they fixed a lot of bloat issues and called it a rewrite, but it wasn't a full rewrite.
It wasn't much of a rewrite (at least of the underpinnings) and embedding was always fragile even when it worked. A lot of this is XPCOM overhead which can't be completely eliminated.
I think the lack of embedding has hurt Gecko showing up in more projects. Their solution was XULRunner which inverts the model by embedding your app in Gecko instead of the other way around, and they don't even support that anymore.
I'm hoping GeckoView takes off on Android and makes its way back to desktop, but I'm afraid that will happen too late for people to care about it anymore.
I believe Firefox focus is already using geckoview instead of webview
I don't buy that argument. Getting a facelift doesn't change the year you were born.
Is this true even post-Quantum? I thought that was a major rewrite.
Everyone seems to be missing that this is Microsoft’s tacit recognition that Electron is the future of apps. Electron has abysmal performance and doesn’t work on ARM. This is them fixing fundamental chromium issues, to improve Electron performance and give themselves a further wedge beyond TypeScript
Look at VS Code: Electron doesn't have abysmal performance. It's just what people do with it that causes problems.
VS Code is a possible sign for why Microsoft leading Electron on all fronts (from taking over GitHub, to collaborating much more directly on Chromium) might be good for computers. If the average Electron app starts to act more like VS Code, that's good for everybody.
Wonder if office will go in that direction too.
Damn that’s amazing. Thanks for the link.
I can’t wait never to touch VSTO again.
Not sure if this is related to Electron or not, but in VS Code I have issues with using the high key repeat that I have set on all my machines. If I try to hold down a key that navigates the cursor (arrow keys, delete, hjkl in Vim mode, etc.), the editor isn't able to move the cursor fast enough to keep up with the key input events, so it keeps moving after I've lifted the key for a bit. This is especially annoying when I'm trying to delete some text and end up deleting more than I meant to.
Obviously this is a super niche thing, and you could make the argument that there are more efficient ways to edit text than this. My main point is that I never have this issue with native apps, only Electron-based ones, so it seems likely to me that there is some performance issue with this sort of input to Electron.
Writing a lot of lines (5000+) to the VScode output window seems to kill performance.
In my experience electron apps, including VS Code, have atrocious performance on older hardware where native apps like Visual Studio run great.
By atrocious performance, I mean even such things as the application significantly lagging behind my typing speed.
At any rate, I’ve often wondered when the endless pile of layers and abstractions has to topple.
I've found VS Code to be approximately unusably slow in a virtual machine (Linux guest, Windows host) but VS Code runs fine on the host.
Other editors run just fine in my Linux VMs- Sublime Text has no problem at all.
Probably a lack of hardware acceleration on the virtual machine.
That sounds likely, my VMs definitely don't have hardware acceleration.
That said, it's clearly possible to build a nice editor purely on the CPU, so it's a shame that VS Code can't run well in the same environment. Sublime Text handles dozens of tabs and windows under emulation.
It might well be true for an IDE, which has a ton of features on its own, and 200MB+ Electron adds to it barely matter. But when that happens to your IM, plain text editor, music player, it adds up.
VS Code takes ~6 seconds from clicking its icon to having its window show up. On an 8th-gen Intel i7 with an SSD. Yes Electron has abysmal performance.
This is it. Even more specifically: https://twitter.com/SwiftOnSecurity/status/10708221567313223...
Getting WebRTC means Teams can replace Skype for Buisness
>Electron is the future of apps
Nevertheless, I hope they go all-in because a gimped JS Office would finally let other players to innovate in the word- & spreadsheet processor niche without the MS .
Fingers crossed brother, finger crossed!
I'm wondering the same, and naively, it seems likely.
But on the other hand, Google forked Blink away from Webkit specifically so it wouldn't have to share control of the codebase with Apple.
Do you think Google is willing to share control over Blink with Microsoft?
Google forked Blink because how Apple and Google saw the future of browsers drastically differed. I'm going to venture a guess that Microsoft selected Chromium because their vision is closer to Google's than either Firefox or Webkit.
> Google forked Blink because how Apple and Google saw the future of browsers drastically differed.
That's not accurate. Google forked Blink for many reasons (WebKit2, dev tools policies, etc.) that collectively added up to a dysfunctional relationship.
How is that any different than what I suggested? They both wanted to go in very different directions.
Microsoft would have to consider the long term: What will Chromium and Gecko/Firefox look like in 5 and 10 years? Which is more likely to provide the technology that Microsoft expects to need? Microsoft can't just switch engines every couple of years. Some back-of-the-napkin analysis:
* Vendor stability is one issue: While I doubt Mozilla will go out of business, Google clearly is a very safe bet.
* Which vendor will invest more in keeping the technology up to date? Google, due to its vast resources, seems like a safe bet to invest more money and engineer hours. Mozilla, however, will certainly make the web browser the center of its attention and top priority; Google has a lot on its plate (and Microsoft knows how browser tech can drift for years without top management attention).
* Which browser is most likely to maintain compatibility with websites and web apps, including corporate ones? Google is the obvious choice.
* Which vendor's engineering priorities most align with Microsoft's? I'm not sure. Google has their own priorities - a front end for Google's services, which compete directly with many of Microsoft's - but Google seems more focused on the corporate market. On the other hand, Mozilla's focus on privacy and end user control could easily conflict with Microsoft's priorities.
* And of course, which browser fits best in Microsoft's immediate browser plans and has the cleanest upgrade path from Edge/IE? I have no idea.
I'm a dedicated user and supporter of Firefox and Mozilla, but I can see reasons Microsoft might choose Chromium.
Why would they have considered Firefox over just improving Edge? The problem is that Chrome is extremely dominant, especially on mobile and tablet. And everyone tests against Chrome but not everyone tests on Firefox or Edge(especially web devs on MacOS).
If things don't work or look broken, it causes more people to switch to Chrome over Edge/Firefox, turning this into a vicious cycle. The only way to break the cycle is to act like Chrome, so either chase Chrome's behavior with Edge or Firefox. Both of which entail a lot of effort and money with less than stellar results. Adopting Firefox will get them some development help but the fundamental problem of chasing a speeding train still remains.
In political terms:
Web browsing dominance is a single member district. Firefox and Chrome are the two major parties, and IE/Opera/Safari are third parties.
IE could have gone to Firefox to promote open standards and "back the opposition" so to speak. They chose, instead, the corporate behemoth behind the mobile OS they want a foothold on (presumably).
Firefox and Chrome are the two major parties, and IE/Opera/Safari are third parties.
There’s no way this can be true.
Apple owns various platforms that ship Safari/WebKit and it’s the only option on iOS and watchOS. They’ve shipped more than 2 billion (and growing) iOS devices.
And hundreds of thousands native iOS apps use WebKit views.
So there’s no way Safari is a fringe 3rd party browser and has a better privacy story regarding fingerprinting and tracking than any of the other major browsers, including Firefox.
Unless you’re on the W3C mailing lists and GitHub repos, you wouldn’t know how active the WebKit team is on the development and implementation of web standards.
And if big web properties like Youtube, GMaps and Gmail etc. don't work properly, are slow or missing features on Gecko then the dominance of Chrome will increase further anyway.
The market of web browsers has become "who gets to set the default search engine makes the moolah". Bing marketshare and revenue is driven by how well Edge works and how it can stop the bleeding to Chrome. Changing the engine to Quantum does not solve the problem they were having in the first place very well.
i, too, was wondering about that. pretty sure MS could have a bigger (and probably more positive) impact - and thus control - by adding manpower to the development of firefox/quantum than chromium/blink.
i feel the biggest players now have all carved out their public niche - they're afraid to directly challenge the leader with big words and marketing millions. ms doesn't have to "beat" google or mozilla anymore.
they're competing on a secondary, less visible level - at least for the retail consumer - like cloud computing and AI; the public fights are less heated than they were a couple of years ago.
still, i feel like a company like microsoft wouldn't give up the chance to influence that easily. so why choose blink over quantum? mozilla might be "morally superior" to google, and thus less likely to be influenced by anticompetitive behaviour. but google wont tolerate anything from MS that could hurt their own efforts.
I'll bet you it has everything to do with Microsoft realizing its a featureset to layer on top of other peoples operating systems now, ala Adobe and Facebook.
If Microsoft wants to make a cross platform product that runs on Windows, Android and iOS, and they know some of that product has a web rendering engine or js, they want to target/accomodate as few embeddable libraries as possible. Electron may be one of those products, but plenty of other things need embeddable html/js. Maybe Outlook will switch to blink someday?
It also means that in theory, Chrome could STOP shipping Blink with Chrome, and ship Chrome more like they do for iOS, where the rendering engine is part of the OS not browser app.
Firefox is also undergoing a large rewrite with the quantum stuff with more of an emphasis on rust. Chromium is c++ and already has decent tooling for embedding. Honestly, Firefox is trying to be where the puck is going. Chromium is great but stagnating.
What do you mean by chromium is stagnating?
I doubt it. This move has a lot to do with Electron, which runs on Chromium.
It makes me wonder if at any point in the process Microsoft approached Firefox over integrating their rendering engine vs. Chromium and if so, what the factors were in making their final decision.
I also wonder if instead of "ceding" control to Google, Microsoft intends to start being a major contributor to Chromium, so much so that it almost becomes a joint effort vs. Google dominance.
>> This may sound melodramatic...
Yeah. A bit.
Thing is, Blink is not Chromium, Chromium is not Chrome, neither of them is Google, and BSD-3-clause is a pretty damn solid bulwark against the monopolization of the "control of fundamental online infrastructure", were that to ever become a concern again.
And the other bit is that the building blocks that make up Chromium power a lot of technology that is totally independent of anything under Google's influence, including NodeJS, Cloudflare's Workers, Microsoft's VS Code, and Amazon's Firecracker. They use it because it's solid, well-engineered tech. And even though Google wrote it, Google can't control it or stop you from using it against them. Microsoft isn't ceding anything at all to Google, Google's not in control of anything here.
The uncomfortable truth is that the role of neither Gecko nor Firefox nor Mozilla is particularly critical in terms of protecting the free and open Internet. What prevents Google from going all IE6 with Chrome isn't Mozilla, it's Chromium. If IE had been a BSD-licensed open-source project since 1995, then all the BS we endured in 2002 could never have happened; explorerium would have been trivially forked to create a sensible competitor with no switching cost.
Google tied their own hands from the very beginning, and by ensuring Chromium doesn't lag behind, they're keeping their hands tied. Almost as if they were doing it on purpose. In fact, the fact that Microsoft is switching to Chromium locks both tech giants into an intriguing sort of bargain. Each can benefit from the other's work as long as neither strays too far from the open source codebase, as long as they both push their changes into the open. So you end up with a reasonable guarantee that the future of the Internet stays independent; not because of a nonprofit competitor with a strongly-worded manifesto, but because none of the the main players can afford to make it closed.
I still think this is a bit melodramatic. I'm biased but all the same, Microsoft having major foothold in Chromium seems like a good thing. EdgeHTML didn't really do any good for us because barely anyone used it anyways. It would've been a bigger loss had there been substantial market share, but from my understanding Edge barely took off even with very aggressive behavior to push it on us. (My default browser has been reset to edge nearly every major Windows update. Windows also resets "corrupt" file associations - magically, those "corrupt" file associations work without issue if I just forcibly uninstall the app it wants to reset them to.)
I mean, it kind of is?
You have to understand that there's making a stand on what's right, and then choosing to focus on the rest of your life... which, in this case, means not being annoyed by a browser that isn't keeping up. Firefox is great, many of us have loved it since Firefox 2 (or even before!) but you don't get significant increases in users by being the "more greater good" option. You get them by keeping up in the race. A browser is a tool and I want it to feel like it belongs, let me move, and then get the hell out of my way.
Every single time I use FF on Mac there is something weird or buggy about it, and this holds true even if I install it on a freshly bought unpolluted MacBook Pro. The UI stands out like a sore thumb, and it doesn't feel like it belongs.
I'll continue using Safari.
I think Safari is another good choice. It's not Chromium or Blink-based, and so represents more diversity.
I get what you're saying, and I don't mean to be sanctimonious. But there are lots of aspects in life where I trade annoyance for doing what I think is right in the larger scheme of things. I recycle aluminum cans even when it would be easier to chuck them in the nearest bin. I used to toss cigarette butts out the window instead of having them stink up the car's ashtray.
Yeah, my examples might seem a bit dramatic compared to one's choice of browser. Look at them as analogies and not comparable badness.
For me, it's worth whatever edge cases annoy me to know that I'm not working for Google for free. Their incentives don't align with mine. For the most part, Mozilla's do.
If Mozilla falls, then we're right back to where we were in 2001. A single company dictating the standards of the web. That horrifies me.
Thanks for the response. :)
Only thing I wanna nitpick... it's not _quite_ back to 2001. In 2001, we had IE6 that plagued the web and held it back. It was a different situation for two specific reasons, one of which is commonly discussed and one of which isn't.
1) Chromium is open source, Trident (IE6) was not. It's much more difficult to be stagnant for this reason alone. Anyone not liking the direction Google steers the project in can fork it and do their own version (e.g, the de-Googled Chromium builds out there). Trident (IE6) never had this, it was the definition of vendor lock-in.
2) It's easy to forget how different the environment was back then. The desktop still reigned king, and mobile devices weren't even really close to what we think of them as now. Companies were different as a result; Microsoft outright didn't give a shit about the web, and thus you saw IE6 languish. It was good enough for them so they didn't have to care. Google, on the other hand... literally wants to own the web, for better or for worse. It's in their best interests to keep Chromium healthy.
I really should just do this as a blog post...
I agree. Two other points:
1) While more sites might be targeting Chrome now, the browsers and standards are generally more inter-operable now than they were in IE6 days. jQuery came from a time where each browser supported drastically different APIs. These days Chrome and Firefox generally support 80-90% of the same APIs, with generally only a few cutting edge features and edge cases differeing.
2) Microsoft adopting Chromium as its core is in direct contrast to IE6 days. There are now two big players building on Chromium instead of one. That could have never happened with proprietary IE6. Now there are two hands on the wheel of Chromium, so to speak. And if Google won't play ball with Microsoft, like you said, Microsoft can fork Chromium, but I imagine both Google and Microsoft want to avoid that if possible.
I use Firefox exclusively and am not happy with how the browser market is shaping up.
For all of you that have a "last 10%" problem with Firefox (i.e. "I'd use Firefox if only it had X or Y feature"), please consider if that's worth contributing to the monoculture of rendering engines, and worth extending Google's monopoly on Internet standards.
The problem is that WebKit isn't really a competitor to Blink:
1) It holds this marketshare mostly because of the forced monopoly on iOS. It's not technologically particularly far ahead or even has a browser implementing it with good marketing.
2) It exists on platforms other than macOS and iOS, but it is being optimized specifically for those platforms and only there can kind of compete with the other browsers. So, if you're not on macOS/iOS, it is hardly a competitor that you could choose from.
3) Chrome's Blink engine was forked from WebKit, so they are actually very similar in a lot of ways. A Blink-WebKit-duopoly would still have many of the disadvantages of a monopoly, like security vulnerabilities being shared and certain innovations being harder, because they have the same architecture.
If NetMarketShare can be believed, the #2 browser across desktop, mobile, and tablets is Safari which uses WebKit.
Not much has changed in the past year, with Safari holding steady at around 19% and Chrome going from 60% to 63%. Firefox is baring holding on to its 5%.
So while it's concerning to see MS embrace the Chromium engine from the standpoint of adding fuel to the Google fire, I don't see this having any real effect in the near term on the browser market nor the development of new web technologies. Firefox is certainly right to promote its excellent Quantum-based browser these days, but honestly I only see Firefox as being relevant on Windows. On the Mac, Safari is an excellent browser and one I use personally as well as for web development, and iOS doesn't allow any engine other than WebKit to be used. And with Android, Google has the upper hand on that platform.
In summary, as much as I want to cheer for Firefox and the Gecko Quantum engine from a philosophical standpoint, the only real competition to Chrome and Chromium right now is Safari and Webkit. Let's just hope Apple continues to put adequate resources into the development of its browser and keeps pace with Chrome.
* Google stands up for privacy^W, user control, and open standards like HTTP2
* They back it up with high quality technical products like Chromium
* They built Go, a language I love
I could have written the same with Microsoft/VSCode/C# and Apple/Safari/Swift.
Seriously: Mozilla is good, but they're not saints, they're not totally different from other companies. They sometimes erred, even on the privacy of their users, which is their strong point. They are a commercial entity that sells services. It's easier to to keep enforcing a "Don't be evil" policy when you're not powerful enough to be evil.
Mozilla is a non-profit
Mozilla is both a non-profit and a for-profit
And the Mozilla Corporation is a 100% subsidiary of the non-profit Mozilla Foundation. That means their only stakeholder that they could pay out their profits to, is the Foundation, which can't take the money, because it's a non-profit. The Corporation can only really save up the money to reinvest it later.
The Mozilla Foundation's legally-binding mission statement is therefore also effectively enforced for the Corporation. The Foundation could throw out the CEO of the Corporation and in general gets to decide what happens in the Corporation, which they're legally bound to tell to follow the Foundation's mission statement, i.e. making the web a healthier place, improving privacy etc.
As a result, the only profit-motive that exists in the Corporation is that the employees want to keep their job.
That's an excellent explanation.
A small correction: if I recall correctly, the Corporation is legally allowed to give some money to the Foundation, and it does so. But the allowed amount is quite small -- maybe a couple a million a year? I don't remember exactly -- and only a tiny fraction of the Corporation's profits.
Yeah, I simplified there. I remembered it being a really insignificant amount that they're limited to, and then more importantly, it's still a non-profit. If they take the money, they're just as well forced to reinvest it into their mission statement.
Today I am happy to be a monthly contributor to Mozilla.
* Mozilla stands up for privacy, user control, and open standards
* They back it up with high quality technical products like firefox
* They built rust, a language I love
Seriously: if you want to buy happiness then supporting an organization like Mozilla is about the most efficient way possible
The Edge team is a fraction of the size of the Chrome team.
Are these numbers publicly available?
No. Even from git history, it's hard to actually quantify for Chromium, as most Google contributors use chromium.org emails, which obscures affiliation. The MS numbers are even less public.
I think that the number of people in Google contributing to Chromium is much smaller, than the number of people in MS working on Edge.
Many Chromium contributors are enthusiasts, who don't get paid for it. They would not mind working on Microsoft's fork instead of Google's fork.
Almost all the commit volume in Chromium is from Google engineers; even the largest external contributors (Opera and Samsung, last I knew) were a tiny percentage of commits. Individual volunteers practically don't exist: they're well under 1% of commits.
I don't think that Edge switching to Chromium means, that Edge will become "a slave" of Google.
Until now, Chromium has been strongly driven by one huge player: Google. Now, it can become driven by two huge players. It can erase the monopoly of Google over Chromium. Or if they have too many disputes, Microsoft can "fork" Chromium (like Google "forked" WebKit into Blink) and make their own, even better Chromium (Microsoft does have enough money and smart people to do so). The Edge could even beat Chrome, and be a new open-source multi-platform browser, which improves much faster than Chrome.
Kind of surprised that Microsoft is doing this. The Trident rendering engine is actually really good, and does a better job with the ACID 2 test than Chrome does today.
While I agree with the overall content of this post, it seems dire to the point of hyperbole. Chromium is OSS, and Microsoft has both the incentive and engineering to fork it should Google not ultimately work together with them on it. It is somewhat ironic how Mozilla was basically founded due to Microsoft's monopoly on the browser market and when they (Mozilla) succeeded in breaking that monopoly, they give rise to a new competitor (Chrome / Chromium), which mostly does them in (Do them in being defined as steals most of their userbase).
I only really care that the web stays relatively open and vendor neutral, something Mozilla overall has been a real champion of. Microsoft using an open source standards compliant rendering engine is sort of a step in the right direction from where we were 10 years ago even if that rendering engine is primarily maintained by Google.
Well, I guess i'm going to miss edge, it wasn't a bad browser. it definitely felt faster than firefox...
OTOH, Microsoft did this to themselves. Back when MS actually tried to create a user friendly OS and listened to their users. IE was supported across the entire line of supported OSes. But then under Balmer, they started to use IE and directX (and a few other things) as hammers to force people to upgrade to more recent versions of windows. Combined with a string of moves which pissed of their users and developers has resulted in far more reticence to upgrade windows versions than happened in the win 2.x->windows ME cycle.
Now their applications are suffering because windows 10 is still less than 50% of the windows userbase. So, basically 50+% of windows users can't actually run edge. Similarly with games, A developer that exclusively targets directX 12 cuts out 50% of the windows market share (and a similar share of the game console market).
OTOH, both firefox and chrome work just fine on windows7/8, and somehow so does vulkan, meaning that a brand new game could just target that and gain the entire supported windows ecosystem, much of the mobile, and game machine markets.
Basically there is a layer of management at MS that needs to be fired, because they still think its the 1990's and MS can force any old crap on their user-base and they will suck it up. After all, what are the alternatives (this is sorta still true, both linux and macos are still subpar experiences too)?
> As if they thought I was 65+ years old.
I think, it was rather that they thought you were using a touchscreen...
EdgeHTML felt really great. It was the UX that made me hate Edge. As if they thought I was 65+ years old.
Chrome's UX is much better imo, but based on rendering engine I wouldn't have cared much.
I just hope they don't think it was their engine that made me (and probably others) switch.
What do you mean “even more control” what part of tech does Microsoft realistically control now, given the prevalence of cross platform apps and the web being the dominant platform.
This seems like some late 90’s derived sentiment
Yeah, sorry that was a disastrous typo -- see my edit :/
Well, I'm kind of saddened that even more control is going to Google, but realistically Edge was never really competitive in terms of support for standards.
EDIT: typo: Microsoft -> Google. Not sure what happened there :).
 Yes, this is a very vague concept these days. Google has, what 80%+ market share? They have a lot of people who can influence standards, and the cognitive biases of those people could mean that we end up in a new MSIE6 situation. Anyway, I can certainly understand their fast growth when the browser came out, but these days I don't see much difference between Chromium and Firefox and it seems likely that Firefox is on my side when it comes to privacy. (I realize that I'm a very atypical user, perhaps not in this venue, but certainly in terms of general browser markets.)
 Through no fault of their own! It's just a combination of institutional/organizational pressure, market forces, etc. This is why I think it's also unfair to foist "securing the freedom of the web" upon Firefox. Firefox is an important piece of the puzzle, but ultimately they are in the market and that's not an objective place to evaluate strategy from.
> The first one is the tab research feature. It available for many years in chrome I don't understand why it's still missing in firefox. I can't type "yo [hit tab] my video" to find a video on youtube.
If I understand you correctly: In firefox you set this up by 1) Create a bookmark 2) Edit it, and a) insert %s where you want "my video" to go, and b) give it a keyword, e.g. "yo".
Now you can use it by typing "yo my video" (no tabbing).
It's been in Firefox since circa 2006.
(To continue the example, the url for the youtube bookmark should be: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%s )
I use Fx as my main browser, but the quick search feature in Fx is miles behind Chrome's.
1. In chrome, you don't need to manually add anything; you don't need to assign a keyword that you have to memorize. All the websites that you frequent that support OpenSearch will be automatically added by Chrome and you use their domain as keyword. I can now type en + tab to search on Wikipedia, as well as hundreds of other websites (no exaggeration) without manually configuring anything.
And on top of that, if you want to manually add anything (maybe it doesn't have OpenSearch), or assign a different keyword like Fx, you can still do that in chrome://settings/searchEngines, like Firefox.
2. Chrome's quick search supports auto completion. Firefox's doesn't.
It was not a big problem for me before the change of the Search Bar in Fx, since you can very easily add OpenSearch engines there and get auto completion too. But the new "One Click" makes it very hard to use (particularly the auto completion part). Now I have straight up given up search bar.
Those two features combined end up sending keystrokes to third parties in a way that is not transparent to users, and they haven’t consented to it, either.
I prefer Firefox’s defaults on both counts.
Fair enough, but there is no way to change to that even if I consent to send my keystrokes for auto completion.
Also, Firefox has auto completion on by default on its default search engine, which is Google no less. So I'm not sure why this topic is about privacy other than purely technical.
Firefox doesn't have auto completion on Google. Rather, there's one of two other things going on:
- Firefox has auto completion on all text input fields that don't specifically disable it and aren't password fields.
As a portal to the internet, I'm quite happy that Firefox doesn't modify specific individual websites, even if they are Google (the anti tracking features are/should not be hardcoded values, but rather behavioral).
I'm talking about auto completion in search (in address bar or search bar), which by default is Google. Not talking about Google website, or any text area in webpage in general.
>I'm quite happy that Firefox..
Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with that too. The one I replied to seems not happy about the behavior that you can get auto-completion results from search engines in Chrome, because that "end up sending keystrokes to third parties". I was simply pointing out Firefox did that too with default search engine, just not when you're using keyword to call other engines; which IMO implies it's purely a technical limitation, not a privacy choice.
You can add OpenSearch engines from the "..." menu in the address bar, but it doesn't show an indicator like the search bar.
Suggestions for keyword searches will be fixed in the next release.
Thanks for the reply!
Unfortunately it doesn't fix the problem that I have to add keywords for all of them manually
For the first thing, you're talking about "keyword search" (as ever, knowing the right term to use when you're searching makes all the difference, and good luck if you don't know the right term)
It's present in Firefox and has been for several years now. I use it extensively both with internal and external sites, e.g. I type "people joe blogs" in to my browser and it opens up our internal phone directory and searches for the person.
It's super simple to set up:
Go to the desired site. Right click on the search field, and choose "Add a Keyword for this search". Pick a name for the bookmark, and then pick a keyword to go with it.
That's it, job done :)
If you use DDG as your primary search engine, you can use ! commands to redirect to search on other sites (like YouTube !yt, Wikipedia !w, etc...). Using your example, you could just do "!yt my video"
>The first one is the tab research feature. It available for many years in chrome I don't understand why it's still missing in firefox. I can't type "yo [hit tab] my video" to find a video on youtube.
This is the main reason I switched back to Chrome after trying Firefox shortly after the release and Quantum and just recently. You can manually create search shortcuts in Firefox, but this is incredibly inconvenient if you make heavy use of this feature as I do. With Chrome, I can visit a new page and it will immediately offer tab-to-search when I type the first letters of the page's URL.
It's a pity because I really wanted to switch, but I couldn't get used to this.
> And the second feature missing is the search highlight in the scrollbar. It's a mandatory feature for my when searching on a long page (like this one for example) to search for "firefox" and find in the scrollbar everywhere it is.
I don't see how this is mandatory, you can just use the next/previous-result buttons (F3 / Shift-F3) to go to each result, but I guess it would make it much easier to establish some context as to where you are on the page, especially after you've jumped to the next search result.
You can assign keywords to alternate search engines in Firefox.
Apparently there's an extension for the scrollbar thing (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/highlightall/) although I can't quite imagine why it would be more useful than just visiting the search results sequentially.
The first feature is actually present in Firefox. You need to go into the search preferences, click on manage search engines and there you can customize the search shortcuts you want to use. If you want you can also use the handles that invoke the open search plugins, like @google if you want to search using Google.
FF need to be more stable and what the priority should be over new features, imho.
Honestly I want to move to firefox but there is still so many things wrong. It's a lot better but after trying to migrate for 30min I already find 2 basic missing features from chrome.
The first one is the tab research feature. It available for many years in chrome I don't understand why it's still missing in firefox. I can't type "yo [hit tab] my video" to find a video on youtube.
And the second feature missing is the search highlight in the scrollbar. It's a mandatory feature for my when searching on a long page (like this one for example) to search for "firefox" and find in the scrollbar everywhere it is. It's a feature available in chrome for the beginning I think.
What exactly is missing in Firefox DevTools? If anything, they are superior.
I've switched over to Firefox DevTools for 2 reasons:
1. The box model is on the right instead of on the bottom, so I can mess with it and immediately see results in the Inspector styles window and the browser. https://i.imgur.com/KfxmRQT.png
2. I can click on the Event bubble next to the element to see events that are bound to it and go to it if I choose so.
Can't resize columns in 'network' tab
Step, Step Into, Resume.. use different function keys than I'm used to on Linux.
Edit + Resend doesn't work for me on Linux. It works on Windows for me.
Copying headers doesn't work well for me on Linux. I have to click 'Raw Headers' to copy a header. Works fine on Windows.
Chrome is still faster than Firefox.
I prefer chrome and Edge's download monitor.
I prefer Firefox's proxy controls.
In Firefox, debug breakpoints do not seem to always stay in tact when page is reloaded.
Also hoovering mouse pointer over, does not always show variable's value.
These problems are not present on Chrome.
There was a great comment i read here yesterday. Developers build stuff on chrome because the console is amazing. So if the user uses chrome, there's a guarantee the website will work.
Yes, firebug started it all, but chrome is killing it right now. Mozilla, why don't you start copying the chrome console already.
The Mac is a relatively small market share of the web, but the iPhone isn't and still uses Webkit as its rendering engine.
This just made me realize that Apple discontinued Safari for Windows way back in 2012. I had no idea. It seems like it would be in their interests to continue to support Webkit in as many platforms as possible, to avoid a duopoly (Or worse) of rendering engines.
They released Safari for Windows when they intended iPhone to only run web apps, it was a way for developers on Windows to make mobile "apps". Then they changed direction and Safari for Windows lost it's reason to exist.
If that was true they wouldn't have pushed Safari out as an update to windows users who had QuickTime or iTunes. It was checked by default and lots of people installed Safari on Windows without realising it.
That could be justified by the market share they gained on mobile. Safari's share on desktop never was significant.
> If I'm using Safari as my default browser, does it make sense to switch to Firefox just to support them?
My view and strong suggestion would be, yes, please. And also evangelize Firefox to the non-technical people you know.
The articles are all written by journalists using desktops. They tend to forget about mobile.
Safari has about ~5% percent market share on desktops, but 15-25% on mobile, including tablets.
Depends a lot on your site. The large publisher that I work for sees more traffic from Safari/Webkit than Chrome (42% vs 40%) due to mobile traffic on iOS.
>Safari has about ~5% percent market share on desktops, but 15-25% on mobile, including tablets.
Depending on Region, it could be up to 15% on Desktop and 60% on Mobile, including tablets. Most people don't realise the devices usage market shares from iOS is actually much larger than they thought.
Safari is awful on the scale of being a 2nd tier browser like IE. It's the browser people use because they don't know any better, or because they don't have any choice.
Safari isn't a competitor with Chrome, Firefox, or Edge
I switched from Chrome to Safari as my desktop browser a few months ago. I kind of miss uBlock Origin, but other than that I have zero regrets. Safari is noticeably faster, doesn't kill my battery, and the company that makes it isn't continuously trying to sneak in privacy killing features. Instead, every version Apple ships includes more default settings to make my browsing more secure and less trackable. It's a great browser.
I still use Chrome for google stuff (e.g. gmail, google docs, GCP, etc), but that's because google has chosen to make their own properties work poorly in other browsers.
Safari is the best choice if you care about battery life. I literally get 2 extra hours of battery life when using Safari on macOS vs using Chrome.
What's incredible is that Chrome uses more CPU on Youtube than Safari. When playing the SAME video side by side.
Maybe something to do with hardware accelerated h.264 decoding? (Assuming YouTube serves VP8-encoded videos to Chrome users and h.264 ones to Safari users.)
Safari got a reputation of being "the new IE" a few years ago because it was lagging in standards support. However there's been a lot more progress recently - coinciding with when they started releasing Safari Tech Preview builds.
edit: As an example, Safari is 2nd after Chrome in this ES7 support comparison: https://kangax.github.io/compat-table/es2016plus/
I guess it's fair to say the latest Safari's are much better, but over the last few years our web team definitely cursed Safari for issues more often than we've cursed IE.
I actually really enjoy using Safari, and I am not alone. The dev tools are great and the main extensions I use are available. Perhaps you can elaborate a bit more on your experiences with Safari?
Of course it's a competitor, I expect it's comfortably the dominant player on the Mac platform. And I find Apple to be the most aggressive of the minor players about addressing rendering issues on major sites.
So which part of it is awful?
If I'm using Safari as my default browser, does it make sense to switch to Firefox just to support them? Interesting that Safari is not coming up in any of these articles as a third competitor, but maybe the fact that it's limited to Mac means it has very small market share.
Switched to ff when quantum came out, never looked back. It's really fast!
And I absolutely love how the dev tools show which elements are grid and flex box containers with a little pill in the DOM explorer.
I don't see a single good reason to switch back to chrome/chromium
In case you hadn't yet seen the (4-hour-old) news this is responding to, like i hadn't:
Plus it would make browsers accessible for the non-tech people who don't understand tabs. Speaking from experience.
I don’t get it - why do you need to disable the tabs? I’d you don’t want any tabs, then just don’t open any.
Many advanced window managers on Linux have support for tabs on WM level (so you can combine arbitrary windows into tabbed containers etc).
The problem is that even if you have a browser with a single tab, you still get the browser tab bar showing that tab. And then on top of that you get the WM tab bar, wasting space and confusing the user.
In older days, a browser with a single tab wouldn't show the tab bar at all. But that has changed ever singe they shoved the tab bar into the window title bar on most platforms.
I still want to open multiple websites in the same browser session, I just don't want them all to live in the same OS-level window so I can use my window manager and scripts to reorganize and quickly switch between them
Right, so don’t open pages in new tabs, open them in new windows instead? Literally don’t don’t click ‘open in new tab’ and you won’t get a new tab. Click ‘open in new window’ instead.
One feature I miss in mainstream browsers like Chrome is the ability to completely disable tabs, leaving the window manager in control of browser windows. This is very valuable for advanced users of tiling WM that seek to automate as much of their workflow as possible.
I've tried a couple of extensions that "pull" tabs out of the parent window, but it never worked perfectly.
If Firefox had native support for this (apparently simple) feature, I believe it would gain the preference of many users of tiling window managers.
Mozilla gets the bulk of their money from Google. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozilla_Corporation#Google
Doesn't Mozilla get the lion's share of its funding from Google? I'm a bit puzzled as to how they can avoid a conflict of interest if this remains true.
I moved to Chrome when Firefox was bloating up and slowing down (2008?). Now I’ve started using Firefox again because Chrome (and Google) seems to be serving itself but not the customer. Firefox now does what I intend it to do.
It is not good news, but I don't think it is that bad. Microsoft is big enough to assert influence over the direction in ways other contributors cannot. It might even make Microsoft more relevant in the web space, and for the future of the web it could be a good thing (while certainly it was very bad in the Balmer era)
As much as Mozilla would have liked Edge to replace EdgeHTML with its rendering engine, the odds on that happening would have been a lot higher if Mozilla was at a different point in its engineering cycle: it's in the middle of an ambitious rewrite of its own rendering engine, in a new language...
With Servo only just in developer preview, it's not going to be fit for Microsoft's enterprise customer needs for another couple of years, and taking a dependency on Rust would have been hard for Microsoft as it has its own languages that serve much the same purpose.
Choosing a mature browser platform written on C and C++ makes a lot of sense when thought of in those terms.
Do the Mozilla folks not realize that WebKit still exists? Even as a fork of WebKit, I'd have to imagine they've diverged significantly in the last 4 years.
Fears of a monoculture are legitimate, but still overblown at this point.
Per https://assets.mozilla.net/annualreport/2017/mozilla-fdn-201... the breakdown seems to be as follows, rounding to the nearest percentage point:
50% directly spent on Firefox development.
12% spent on marketing (for comparison, rumor has it that Chrome's marketing spend is comparable to Mozilla's total revenue).
13% general and administrative expenses (this includes things like leases on office space, as far as I can tell from the usual definition of this category).
9% (of revenue; it's 36% of profit) income taxes. Which Mozilla apparently pays, unlike some other tech corporations.
16% money going into the rainy-day fund.
Disclaimer: I work for Mozilla; pardon my snark about taxes. It's a sore point.
> rumor has it that Chrome's marketing spend is comparable to Mozilla's total revenue
Google advertises Chrome on the Google start page, literally on google.com. I wonder how much that web real estate would go for if Google were to auction it off?
Why do they pay tax when they are from what I know partly non profits?
The Mozilla Foundation is a nonprofit. It is involved in a number of efforts, including policy advocacy, but does not itself develop a web browser. When people make donations to "Mozilla", those go to the Foundation.
The Mozilla Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Foundation. It is _not_ a nonprofit and develops a web browser as well as most other software you would associate with "Mozilla". It pays dividends to the Foundation which the Foundation uses, alongside donations, to fund its work. The Corporation pays taxes on its profits, like any other corporation that is not explicitly a nonprofit. Note that I am explicitly not using "for-profit" to describe the Corporation, because profit is not the Corporation's goal. Again, the only shareholder in the Corporation is the Foundation, though they do have separate boards and somewhat separate governance.
And why do they need to be a corporation in the first place? Can't the foundation develop the web browser?
I don't know the legal details, but I think there are constraints on how much revenue a nonprofit can receive from non-donation sources. So back when the initial search deal with Google was signed that created the initial funding stream for developing Firefox, the Foundation could not have signed it itself. Again, this is my best guess about an area way outside my expertise; you'd really want to talk to a lawyer specializing in this area for details.
What percentage of Mozilla revenues are spent on Firefox development?
Apparently ChakraCore will continue development for "various non-Edge uses". Curious what that actually means..
Funny, reminds me of the Trident engine (IE on Windows) and the Tarzan Engine (IE on Mac). Long after IE on Mac was abandoned, Tarzan continued to be developed for some reason. And then it actually had a use again when MS office on Mac was created.
Is it? I thought it was about Blink, not about V8.
Isn't it both?
So much wasted energy: https://github.com/Microsoft/ChakraCore
I await the response from the Safari team with interest
History seems to repeat itself. This reminds me of the times when a company was the ONLY one competing with Windows. All other companies were already on the windows boat or have plans in place to go follow that route. That company was Sun.
Now it looks like the ONLY company that stands against (read competes with)Chromium is Mozilla. You have to pick a side
Given that Microsoft used IE to push Netscape out of business, Microsoft adopting Chromium over their own rendering engine that they themselves had written to replace IE's old engine, the irony is so delicious I will feed off it for the rest of the year.
Personally, though, I've been a Firefox person since the times when it was still called Firebird, so I'll stick with my favorite browser mostly through inertia. Nobody has given me a good reason to use another browser, except when I want to watch Netflix or Amazon Prime Video on GNU/Linux, that seems to work better with Chromium.
 Some may consider this a feature - it certainly means you do not need an ad blocker in dillo. ;-)
Not exactly a direct answer, because it is unclear to what degree MS will fork/adapt Chromium for their own, but there is a project called Ungoogled-Chromium which I recommend that does exactly the name implies - evidently there is a need for this because there are a number of services and data exchanges with Google servers in stock Chromium.
You aren't missing anything. The author is (deliberately?) confusing Google Chrome, the Chromium project, and the Blink rendering engine.
My understanding is that Microsoft is planning on adopting some components of Chromium (certainly including Blink, unclear how much else) for future versions of Edge.
With Edge using Chromium, is data still going to Google like this blog posts says?
Chromium is the open source version minus the proprietary services and codecs.
What am I missing?
I'll confess that hearing MS is giving up on their own browser engine is incredibly surprising to me. I also share Mozilla's concern, but I think I'm past the despair point in feeling there is anything we can do about it. If anything, I'm more convinced that the writing is on the wall for most sites supporting Firefox.
Electron and web-based desktop uis.
I don't understand why Microsoft didn't partner with Firefox instead.
Strategically it would have been a super win - lots of good will value to gain, a way to keep themselves and others less reliant on Google, and perhaps even push/use Firefox as a poster child GitHub partner for further value. What gives?
WebKit and Chromium are both still open source. While they may not be porting commits back to KHTML specifically, they are certainly making all of their enhancements available for free to the community. Personally, I wouldn't call that little to nothing.
As an aside, does Apple or Google ever contribute to KHTML? Safari and Chrome would not exist without it and yet the last stable release was in 2014. Seems like yet another case of large corporations taking advantage of free software while giving little to nothing back to the community.
I am worried about Chromium gaining too much control over de facto browser standards, but bear in mind Chrome started as a fork of WebKit. There’s nothing to stop MS diverging the code base and making it distinctly their own.
I wonder if this is about Microsoft making a cross platform browser?
The regular user will not leave but I have seen an increase in power users leaving mainstream teach. There seems to be people turning to gopher for a kind of fun and exclusive web free from corporations.
If it ever got to the point where Google had achieved complete domination of the web, do we just leave?
I'm curious as to what point we say screw it and create a new web. Is that even an option? Is it even plausible or desirable?
I tried switching to Firefox twice after Quantum came out. I LOVE LOVE container tabs (which chrome had them, not just profiles).
Only reason I came back is their Android browser kinda sucks. Addons constantly crash in the mobile browser, and its not integrated well with the password manager APIs and other stuff. It was a pain in the ass to use.
Their auto-fill sucks compared to Google's and just overall if I take out container tabs, Firefox just doesn't work for me like Chrome does. So I switched back, installed SessionBox, and while not perfect, gets close to container tabs.
This sucks, competition is nice.
I'd rather want safari gone, cause safari on iOS is a shitshow with no competition.
Safari on iOS gives me the IE6 feeling, it's so insanely bad and bug filled. Like, it sometimes fail to render pages properly if hardware acceleration is used, and sometimes one have to restart the browser just to get the keyboard working, or the ability to click any link.
iOS Safari must die, especially if we continue like this with no other allowed engine on iOS. Either other engines must be allowed or iOS might as well die and the web would be better off.
I find it very curious that this is being characterized as Microsoft giving control to Google. Chromium is open source; Microsoft isn't ceding any control of what goes into their browser.
Chromium is the open source project that Chrome the proprietary browser is built on. Chrome is basically Chromium + some proprietary bits, Google branding, and Google features.
Chromium, while being open source, is a project run by Google, so they have the final word on what is included in the code. They don't just have enough influence, they control it.
I never fully understood the primary differences between Chrome and Chromium. One is open source and supported by Google and the other owned by Google, there are other small differences that I’m aware of, but can someone please list the significant differences and why it’s not a good argument (if not) to support Chromium without fear of Google’s monopoly? Or is it the case that Google has enough influence on Chromium’s direction to render that an unviable alternative?
I switched months ago. No regrets, as a full time js/web developer, the dev tools are good enough. Not better than Chrome, but good enough. You can do the right thing.
I like FF stance especially with regards to privacy. It has significantly better as I am using it more and more on a personal level.
At work it's a different story though as our organization is heavily baked into Google's productivity suite (Gmail, Docs, Sheets, etc.) and of course, Google will always recommend using Chrome.
FF is far from perfect, and I see a lot of constructive comments here which, if taken by FF, can really improve a lot of aspect in their product.
I’m telling all of you, we need a new internet protocol. 90 percent of what’s done on the web is looking at pictures, videos, music and text. Just bake those things and a few others into a bare-bones protocol. No need for js. This way security would be astronomically better and it would lower the bar for browser writers, allowing more browser publishers to compete, which would result in better browsers that align with the needs and thoughts of the people.
I think “inside baseball” is autological. I had to look it up.
Has anyone noticed chrome making annoying changes to keyboard shortcuts in the URL bar recently? When I do command-l to put focus in the URL bar I expect to be able to use arrow keys to move around the selected URL to edit it, but google seems to have broken that recently. Similarly, with focus in the URL bar I expect to be able to do <RET> to reload a page, but instead I have to hit <RET> 3 times nowadays for it to reload the page.
It's crazy that microsoft got sued for anti-trust because explorer dominated so much of the market, and now they are ceding space so google can do the same.
Does anyone know why Microsoft chose to partner with their arch rival and not with Mozilla?
Even if Chromium is a bit easier to put a new skin around, that's a few developer years, nothing for MS. But strategically, handing it all over to Google, just like they did in the mobile OS space, what? How does that make any sense? Especially now that Firefox became an _excellent_ browser again?
By adopting Chromium, Microsoft hands over control of even more of online life to Google.
Bit rich coming from an organization funded by Google.
Firefox is very good now. It used to have terrible performance, but after they have made changes to their core, it's much better.
The first time I switched from IE to Firefox, and then later from Firefox to Chrome, were all because of speed. The latest Firefox releases do feel faster than Chrome, but it's not a huge difference. Security is important but I don't know if it's a "visible" enough feature to get people to switch to Firefox.
As someone who deals with a lot of browser features which are already a little quirky, like iframes, popups, and cross-window messaging -- I've found Edge makes little to no improvement on IE. The number of corner cases the browser fails to support is astonishing. So I'm absolutely glad to see it being dropped.
Browser Civil War in 3-5 years?
Microsoft as a big enterprise will likely push their charm to improve things in chromium. And Google as another big enterprise with good control over chromium till now will proably not like all their changes. So how good is the chance for some friction and later an open conflict of interessts to appear?
What if the narrative behind Microsoft's decision is not to build a better browser but to hurt Google from a regulatory view?
I mean they maneuvered Google into an obvious and significant monopoly position, similar to
the one Microsoft found itself before the uprise of Google.
Speed isn't everything. I don't like its features, or lack thereof, nor its design. Vivaldi for me.
It seems they're not joking, Firefox feels faster than it was some months ago when I've last tried it.
>> This may sound melodramatic, but it’s not. The “browser engines” — Chromium from Google and Gecko Quantum from Mozilla — are “inside baseball” pieces of software that actually determine a great deal of what each of us can do online.
I thought that Chrome's rendering engine was Blink, a fork of Webkit.
Wow, this is interesting. Thank you!
Isn't it better for everyone that Microsoft is now working on an OSS browser engine?
Microsoft is still going to make a browser though aren't they? If there's something that they don't like in chromium they can just change it as it's open source. Doesn't sound like a big deal to me. But that's just my opinion, man.
Firefox is important for internet democracy.
I use FF as I prefer that my explicit browsing habits wouldn't also be affiliated with Google that already got enough data on me...
It is improving.. Yet, pure performance, both EdgeHTML and Chromium outperform on many of my devices.
Offtopic, but the on Chrome 67.0.3396.62 the whole first screen of that web page is one third massive header, and two thirds white space with just "moz://a" in it. You have to scroll to see any content.
You'd expect a slightly more usable design.
This is an interesting moment. The browser wars appear to be over and there is a victor! We have a new tech monopoly. We shall see how enduring it is. My sense is that in 20 years something new will be allowing us to browse through humanities info.
Edge had so little marketshare that this decision, in terms of the web, makes almost no difference at all. I realized recently that I never even bothered to test my sites on Edge; it wasn't even a conscious decision, I simply forgot it even existed.
> The interests of Microsoft’s shareholders may well be served by giving up on the freedom and choice that the internet once offered us.
No, when you give power without backup (FOSS licenses for instance) you'll be hurt, even sooner than later. Microsoft have a sole interest if it want to compete with Google: keep the desktop up instead of putting anything in the cloud (Google is far superior technically and as per reputation in that) and offer technically superior products. Like offer Firefox bundled and contribute to it, since is a FOSS project not held by a single and competing company.
While Microsoft product and reputation are worse Microsoft is still there on most desktop so it have power and interest to react. Try to evolve play the Google game (like in-Windows ads, Office365 etc) is lost at start.
> Google is a fierce competitor with highly talented employees and a monopolistic hold on unique assets.
IMO it has, right now and not from today Google product are crappy as Microsoft one, people (not only geeks and tech savvy users) start to notice more everyday. Especially on mobile crap. Google of course have the excuse to blame OEMs (with good reasons) but many start to notice that they are not the sole guilty. So Google is still a prominent company in technical terms, but it's a dead one whose big body keep moving a bit due to the fact that death was never instantaneous for such size animals.
BTW Mozilla foundation IMO should do different things than complain Microsoft decision, one is looking at Firefox and Firefox users especially when many say "hey, you go in a wrong direction". A thing should be remembered tech savvy users may say things that does not interest vast majority of your users today but quality always win in the long run so if tech savvy user say a thing does not work it may work today and tomorrow but it will crush after. And the more it last the more hard will be the crush.
Be open, community will help and there is nothing big as internet community, no company can compete, that's why after years software became open again and that why companies start to trap FOSS code in proprietary jails knowing well that they have no other options.
An ancient politician motto: you can make a throne on bayonets but it will start hurting you when you sit on it. We are citizens, even if only few are aware more will come the measure the collar tightens and no Google, nor Microsoft, nor Amazon can exists without consumers. They can try to be as indispensable as possible and it may work for some times but not forever.
The simple design of Chrome on Mac is nice, I'm not a fan of all the lines and shadows in Firefox, I wish they would change it. But I'm still giving it try for the next days. On Android Firefox looks pretty sexy.
Well, MS could choose Gecko/Servo, to balance things out. Kind of surprising they didn't. At the same time it's probably good. Having MS influencing Gecko/Servo doesn't sound like a good idea.
The comments to this story is the lowest quality ive seen on HN in a long time..
Having a competitor is a big value for Google, they are smart enought to understand they need Firefox. Think about first WebRTC connection or also WebGL2.
I wonder how soon we will get to filtering content by the browser from here.
I have been using FF for what seems forever, and I have no plans on stopping... unless they shut it down, finger crossed that that won't happen! I'm a web developer, and it has always been my go to browser, to me it has always felt pretty fast and I actually have never had any problems so I am always baffled how other people always have issues with it, maybe I am just an edge case. AS of now, it has been my default browser for well over 10 years, on both mac and window machines. I will continue to be a loyal user as long as it continues it's current course. I really wish Microsoft had gone with Quantum Gecko.
I don't know about Mozilla licensing terms... Could Microsoft forked Firefox instead of building its new browser based on Chromium project?
The former, because I don't have to get the other four companies' permission to improve infrastructural things that don't affect web compatibility. (For example, parallel styling and layout, WebRender, etc.)
What is better? Having GCC/Clang/MSVC or having a single C/C++ compiler people/companies contribute to?
Which is better: 1 specification in psuedocode that 4 companies implement unevenly, or 1 codebase that 4 companies contribute to?
the day that mozilla would say something positive about microsofts browser. but they are right, its bad for competition.
Firefox Dev tools are better for some things. Things like debugging webgl (you can live edit shaders!) But I find the UI and icon design difficult to use.
How many people live edit shaders tho
Firefox is also slower on SPA websites. (Slower JS engine?)
Chrome Dev tools are way better
Firefox Ui looks like 2008.
Firefox would win more if it continuesd to support unity.
Problem with Firefox is that it sticks to standards too much whereas others experiment and get cool features which then become part of standards and then finally Firefox gets them.. meaning in last.
Bookmark manager sucks
File menu and other menus are clunky
They need to redo their logo it also looks like 2008
If Firefox made their motto "get all chrome features 6 months before chrome" I'll uninstall chrome right now
This is handled at the OS layer with user accounts - can’t you switch users at the OS level?
I could but this ain't a corporate scenario.
All major consumer desktop operating systems still have user accounts - you don't need a corporate system to do it.
You'll probably find that you can permanently log both users in at the same time, and then switching between them is just a shortcut and takes a fraction of a second, so it needn't be a burden. You may find it's even faster than changing the user in Firefox.
That's why it's great to do these things at the OS level - it can be done efficiently once for every app and not reimplemented lots of times badly like in Firefox.
That's what the "People" menu is for in Chrome. If you have multiple people at home, then they can get their own bookmarks, search histories, etc.
Yeah I'm crap with new features like that being forced on me. I don't really have the time to read up on it, what it is doing behind the scenes etc, if I can trust it.
I now use FF at home for one simple reason. Two people at home using two different Google accounts and need to switch between them. In Chrome it decides one of those is the 'logged in account' and the name shows in the browser bar. It is then the default every time you open say a new GMail etc. That is so annoying. This doesn't seem to happen in Firefox!
I really wonder what it would have been like if MS threw its weight behind Gecko.
Isn't Brave closed-source? How is it possible to be privacy oriented and not disclose the code
No, it's open source: https://github.com/brave/brave-browser
I've never used it because I kind of thought it was a weird cryptocurrency project. I honestly don't think it provides much value over Chromium + uBlock + uMatrix. But it's just another option.
I personally use Google Chrome, because I actually like signing in with my Google account, and I don't mind the tracking. I already use Google for everything: Gmail, Google Docs, Calendar, Analytics, AdWords, AdSense, YouTube, search. And Google Apps for my company. My choice of browser doesn't make a difference.
I don't mind being downvoted for this, but Google Chrome is an amazing browser. It's great as a web developer and also as a user. We've come a long way from the browser wars in the 1990s. Things have stabilized and become much better since then, and you don't have to worry about Chrome turning into the next IE6. Sure, some sites only work in Chrome, but the main problem with IE6 is that it sucked and caused a lot of frustration for web developers. I just haven't had that experience with Chrome.
Chromium is open source. It's not like Google and Microsoft are conspiring in secret to build a browser and destroy the competition. It's an open source project, and there's the W3C
and WHATWG. Even if Chrome had 100% market share, there's nothing stopping people from contributing new suggestions, features and improvements to Chromium, or getting involved with the W3C.
I used to be a huge fan of open-source software and the Free Software Foundation, and thought that this anarchist/communist style of project management was the best way forward. Now I've realized that most open source projects are poorly organized, suffer from lack of leadership, and have bad UX and design. The developers are underpaid (or unpaid), unmotivated, and sometimes end up burning out.
Some of the most successful open source projects are backed by large companies who can pay the salaries of full-time engineers (Rails, Chromium, React, Red Hat, etc.) Anyway, I think it's great that Microsoft has decided to adopt Chromium, and that many Microsoft engineers will be contributing new features and improvements to the open source engine.
Check out Brave  if you want a Chromium-based browser with a focus on privacy. Or use Firefox. Anyway, I don't think it's the end of the world.
Why MS not open sources EdgeHTML instead of adopting Chromium? :think:
I'm convinced. I'll use firefox.
I read this on Firefox.! :)
I'm honestly confused at the negative attention this is getting, I can't see this as being anything other than all positive. This is nothing like when IE won in the late 90s, there is very little extra "control" this will give Google over the web, quite the opposite if you ask me.
Think of it this way: do you think it helps or hurts Google to have every version of Windows come pre-installed with what is essentially already Chrome, except, of course, it will probably have Bing as its default search engine. Do you think the odds of people just using Edge to download Chrome and nothing else go up or down with this move? Do you think it helps or hurts Google to have most tech people not bother telling their parents to download Chrome anymore? There is significantly less control from "owning" an engine than owning an actual browser. I don't think I would have had much of an issue with the dominance of IE 20 years ago if I knew I could compile and modify (and release!) IE myself.
This is more akin to most browsers now having a common starting point. The problem with browsers is that if you truly want to make a new one you need to somehow replicate the decades of work put into the existing ones. What that means is that before you can exercise any of your noble privacy/security/UI/whatever goals, you must first make sure you pass Acid 1 and replicate quirks mode float behavior and etc. etc. etc. This is a non-starter. But now, Microsoft can launch from Chromium's current position and have a browser that can actually compete with Chrome. It's as if they've taken "engine correctness" off the table, and can compete on cool features or "we won't track you" or anything else. Websites will work in Edge by default, so if you like that one new feature in Edge, you can feel OK switching to it without compromising devtools/rendering/speed/etc.
Now I know that the initial response to this is "but Google will call the shots!". Not if the way this has gone down every other time has anything to do with it. Google's Chromium started as KHTML. When Apple based WebKit off of KHTML, the KHTML team had very little say in anything and they eventually forked of course. Then Google based Chromium off of Apple's WebKit, and once again, there was very little "control" Apple could exercise here. Sure, they remained one monolithic project for a while (despite having different JS engines which just goes to show that even without forking you can still have differentiation), but inevitably, Chromium was also forked from WebKit into Blink.
And there should be no reason to think the same won't happen here, and it's a good thing! Microsoft in the past couple of years has demonstrated amazing OS culture. I can't wait to see what the same company that gave us VSCode is able to build on top of Blink, and eventually separate from Blink. Ironically enough, the worst thing that could have happened to Google's search dominance is have Blink win the "browser engine wars": we all agree Blink is the way to go now, so we can all start shipping browsers that at minimum are just as good, and won't auto-log you in, or have their engine set to default, or etc. etc. etc.
Goodbye, Firefox (TLRD I switched to Vivaldi.com for a far better browser)
I switched to using https://Vivaldi.com last year after going through a whole bunch of web browsers to find a adequate replacement for my once favorite pre quantum Firefox browser with 70+ core xul based addons... The best I could find was Vivaldi, it's chromium engine based however the developers behind it have really taken to providing power user features and a good level of customization for the front end ... adding at least some of the features Firefox addons used to be able to provide. Not to mention it still allows me to use the garbage chrome store extensions, which while they will never compare to the old Firefox addons, it's at least better than scrap like dummIEs browser, flOpera, and defaulty chrome goolag Garbage and of course whatever fail Mozilla work on.
Seriously Mozilla have been making themselves irrelevant, for at least a decade since Firefox 4.0 they have been adding allowing retards to add crap features, mess around the frontend gui while not actually improving anything just causing more work for addon developers and the those who make good theme. The only good thing they did was push the standards for website rendering. Now they have self lobotomized the best product they had by cutting off the addons that kept it being the browser power users and influential users would recommend out to the less techie friends and family who now all just use chrome crap. Firefox(quanturd) has now become what might aswel be a chrome clone that while practically falling to it's knees in supporting and copying all the same crap Goolag does... so basically a whole lot of developer time is wasting just making their version of the same shit, instead of ever getting around to developing useful features for end users. .. at this point MS is smart for just using the chromium backend, ofc MS are even more rubbish these days and will never improve the front end user experience and features even with more time to spend on those areas and they'll probably not update the chromium source thus dragging things behind again.
And starting with the garbage web extensions api, that was the death nail for Firefox the moment they thought throwing technology like XUL out, that had allowed third party addon developer to create vastly more powerful addons for the Firefox web browser (NOT every other mediocre noob garbage browser, which is the goal of web extensions, when the best addon you can mak for your preferred browser could be ported to other crap browsers and is also limited by such a poor and limited api as implemented and agreed on by a consortium of morons with agendas of the company they work for ie Goolag, crApple or MicroSuck..) than are possible for Chrome, not to mention the customization and power user features that came with that addon support. These new employeed dolts that started infesting the Moztard organization threw it all away to level the play ground with all the other rubbish browsers like Chrome and Edge, etc..
So now they find themselves competing with zero advantage, and they have such morons working at this place that they don't even bother to implement the best power user addons in the actual browser that they broke.. Which is funny because if they did that, I wouldn't be using Vivaldi.. To this day many addon developers behind very popular addons like TabMixPlus are still trying to get these retards at Mozilla to actually improve the web extension crap format to not only fix bugs but improve on the api's that would help them re-implement the addon that made Firefox any good in the first place... check this thread https://tabmixplus.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=19942 .. it's a been a whole year, meanwhile Vivaldi practically just implemented most the features that TMP added for Firefox directly into Vivaldi options.. wtf have Mozilla done, nothing like that, they might aswel be the same idiots that work at goolag on chrome with its garbage user interface and feature standards.
Stupidity doesn't even begin to describe Mozilla, I have nothing but contempt for the organization for what they have done and the kind of morons they have working at the place. And it is sad because as a power user and someone who used to recommend Firefox as I really do miss having a web browser that had 70+ core addons that all went to making my browser highly customizable so I could have it looking and working the way I wanted, while providing a great experience and interaction with the web that was vastly superior to anything else on the market. Not anymore though, since Quantum wreck came out last year. And now he legacy browser of Firefox that supported all those vastly better xul based addons has ceased to get the updates required to render sites properly, performance issues have increased more bugs and for years Mozilla have been messing with frontend css changes etc and breaking customization for there own crappy visual design and garbage inferior features.
So yeah http://i.imgur.com/481pHyo.jpg ...farewell Firefox (that was an old screen of Firefox, FF versions onwards Moztard broke more of the interface I gave up maintaining any sense of a good theme and more addons started breaking).. Firefox you were once the best, now you are shit, to all those at Mozilla go fuck yourselves. You cater to mediocrity and noobs, you deserve to disappear, followed by the rest that follow and set your direction into oblivion.
I use Firefox but I disagree with them that MS switching to chrome is a bad thing.
It eliminates from the equation a browser implementation that never really was that popular and at best sort of did what other browsers did without actually doing much different.
You have to ask what the point for MS would be to continue to fund that. It wasn't buying them much positive differentiation. They had a little, mainly in the form of some performance benefits. But mostly people ended up using Chrome or Firefox, even on Windows 10. Mostly it was differentiating negatively for them in the sense that it had its own sets of unintentional compatibility bugs that most web developers did not prioritize working around.
Several years into the windows 10, it's been largely a success for MS. Edge is the exception however. They made a few strategic mistakes with it (still under Balmer), the primary one being to make it windows 10 only. This made some sense when the plan still was windows 10 on every device but that went out of the window when Satya Nadella unceremoniously killed off windows phone. So while windows did well, Edge did not. Worse, MS now had to support pretty much everything they did on Android, IOS, and Mac OS as well. So, having their own browser engine just made that more complicated for them without offering any benefit. Porting it to other platforms would have been a serious investment, without any clear benefits or a path to success.
Arguably, already at the time you could have questioned the logic of putting vast resources into duplicating the efforts of several open source browser engines with the explicit goal to do exactly the same functionally. IMHO it was largely the not invented here syndrome that drove Balmer/MS to do this. The new found pragmatism under Nadella produces different decisions. So, they keep the UI but they swap out the internals for of the shelf OSS that works perfectly fine. Happy users, happy developers, less cost. Not the hardest decision he's had to take I imagine.
As to Firefox, they have an ongoing project to re-implement their engine in Rust that is producing clear benefits in addressing pain points in their old implementation that are also common to other C++ based implementations. They've been doing a great job staying on top of web standards and are a good contributor to them, often pioneering features such as wasm or webauthn in Firefox first. So, their implementation and focus on privacy adds value and they have lots of users that appreciate what they do and how they do it.
I get their frustration that Google is gaining more power here where MS used to provide some independent voice in e.g. standards committees. But lets be fair here, MS wasn't doing a whole lot on that front and was basically just struggling to keep up without adding much value. Few web developers will mourn the need of having to deal with Edge specific rendering issues. Most users won't be able tell the difference. And having MS scrutinize what Google does with Chromium and kicking their ass in the standards bodies might help in keeping them honest.
> * That the unfixed dupe SSL cert problem that makes Firefox unusable at work is going on a decade old and has no movement on it,
What problem is that? I haven't encountered that, but I really don't use FX that much.
>. Like making the actual browser better, rather than shoveling in crapware like https://testpilot.firefox.com/experiments/price-wise and ancillary, niche garbage like WebVR
Nah, I'm sure their priorities are in the right place /s - they sent me a newsletter message for a concert they're hosting for some reason because I'm on the MDN mailing list: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/concerts/?utm_campaign...
The dupe SSL problem is this bug: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=435013
In short, a number of poorly-behaved devices reuse the same self-signed SSL certificate, primarily consumer routers and enterprise out-of-band management apps like iDRAC and iLO (and apparently a number of firewalls, judging by the comments on that tracker). Once you've hit a site that presents a cert, Firefox will flat out disallow you from visiting a different site that presents the same (non-wildcard) cert, with no opportunity for override.
The only way to work around this is to nuke your cert DB outright and restart the browser, or to run a command with the cert's fingerprint as an argument to remove it, and restart the browser. The simple option would be a button to just kill the offending cert, which I personally suggested last year (third comment from the bottom) and didn't even get a reply to.
Meanwhile, Chrome, IE, and Edge don't have this problem.
This has been going on for 12 fucking years. Apparently WebVR and shopping plugins are more important than basic usability.
Yeah, I got that concert email too. What the actual fuck is this company even doing anymore?
Firefox once again holds its own when it comes to speed and performance. Try Firefox as your default browser for a week and then decide.
A week later, after having set Firefox to default on my systems and working with it, I decided that:
* There's still no good replacement for DownThemAll or Tree Style Tabs (the gimped, non-feature-complete alternatives to those are not acceptable alternatives),
* That the unfixed dupe SSL cert problem that makes Firefox unusable at work is going on a decade old and has no movement on it,
* That Mozilla deciding what I can install in the browser is an infringement on my freedoms as a user in a much more real way than philosophical concerns about licensing (no, running a fork of the browser is not an acceptable alternative)
* That they keep making extremely questionable decisions regarding privacy, telemetry, and overall user control over those things,
* That Mozilla's stated commitment to empowering the user cannot be trusted inasmuch as it applies to people with strong computer literacy.
So for now, I stay on Chrome. Your choice of web browser comes to to functional concerns, not the kind of political wankery that this blog post represents. With that in mind, why would I choose something that's basically Chrome that offers maybe one or two useful additional features, but is basically worse in every other way?
Speaking of which:
>That’s what happened when Microsoft had a monopoly on browsers in the early 2000s before Firefox was released. And it could happen again.
This is bald faced fearmongering, edging dangerously close to maliciously lying. The main problem with IE6 of the day is that it is closed source and very difficult to interoperate with, given its rather special take on web standards.
Chromium is open source and can be forked given the will to do so - which will happen should this doomsday scenario they're predicting come about. Hell, Firefox was responsible for ultimately unseating IE as the browser of choice a long while ago, and they did not have this advantage.
Say what you want about Google/Chrome(ium)'s motivations, but I see very little in the way of things they do that go out of their way to make my life miserable. They're hardly perfect or blameless, but at the end of the day, I've spent a lot more time cursing at Firefox than Chrome.
What it boils down to is that firefox is dead to me until they are cured of the dread GNOME disease of deciding they know better than the people who use their software what the people who use their software want and need. You know, priorities. Like making the actual browser better, rather than shoveling in crapware like https://testpilot.firefox.com/experiments/price-wise and ancillary, niche garbage like WebVR. There are a hell of a lot of questionable resource allocation decisions being made here.
I'm looking at Vivaldi with a great amount of hope:
>Your browser matters.
Take control with Vivaldi.
We live in our browsers. Choose one that has the features you need, a style that fits and values you can stand by.
This is a philosophy that is a breath of fresh air to me.
I don't want to digress from the discussion but can a typographical expert comment on what are the legibility benefits of wide vs slender fonts? How much or how little does the width matter? What other factors are there?
I ask because the "goodbye" headline uses a wide font.
What happens to chakra?
For me Firefox is the one browser I feel I can really lock down. Ads are blocked, no java-script or active content is enabled by default on any site, and with some additional tweaking a minimal amount of data is sent to 3rd parties.
More than once I've had to disable some feature in Firefox when there was no workaround provided in Chrome. Most recently it was this:
From a security and data privacy standpoint Firefox seems like the only option.
Containers (per-tab identity) are my favorite Firefox feature these days
Firefox has some nice features that are fundamentally at odds with Google's business model so highly unlikely to ever land in Chrome. Reader mode, container tabs, and tracking protection are probably my favorites.
This is the exact attitude that is going to doom the open web.
I state it in the spirit of helpfulness — openness itself is clearly not a compelling feature to the masses, and the masses are who needs to be compelled. So if this is your battle, perhaps a different strategy is in order?
What are the benefits, _today_, to use Chrome?
I use Firefox and Chrome. I've never had to switch to Firefox to get a site to work correctly for me, but I have had to switch to Chrome.
If a family member asks me what to use, I would tell them to use Chrome just because it's likely to be a better experience for them.
It’s a known quantity — it’s what I’m currently using, and it works.
Well lets not act like Firefox is not known. Its been pioneering browser for years and it's in no way inferior to chrome. It's also indepedent and you dont have to send all your data to google when you use it.
It is slower than Chrome. That's enough to me not to consider Firefox, given that speed is everything I care about.
I wish people would try current version of Firefox.
The ability to use multiple accounts of Gmail, Trello, Bitbucket, whatever service you use in a single window. I happen to use the same services for work and for private purposes and it's inconvenient having to log in and log out all the time.
You can sorta do the same in Chrome by creating a full separate profile and opening an extra window, but then your passwords and bookmarks are separated as well. It's a pain in the ass.
I still see zero benefit to me, today, to recycle.
It's all about tree tabs ;)
I still see zero benefit to me, today, to sort waste or save energy.
In comparison to what browser? Or do you not use the web at all?
They keep breaking extensions.
I am sick of Firefox now.
They don't keep breaking extensions. They HAD TO drop XUL, because you couldn't have multi-process, sandboxing etc. with it.
I bet if they kept XUL, people would complain about the other things, in Fact they used to.
It's basically a 'dev' browser for me. Grid inspector plus a few development extensions and that's it. Everything else is in Safari.
Although, I'm considering moving more to Chrome because of how Apple is breaking old extensions in Safari 12.
Who asked for more native apps? Because I sure didn't. Make no mistake, it's about security, but they still chose the wrong path. If they just made people sign their .safariextz bundles, we wouldn't have to go through this dance.
I still see zero benefit to me, today, to use Firefox.
When I first got a Windows 10 machine I used edge long enough to download Chrome anyway.
The real question in my mind is: how will Mozilla differentiate in such a way that it even makes sense for users to support a different browser platform?
i feel like it's quite sensible today to offload comments to the various platforms that exist mostly to provide comments on articles. i, for one, usually go for the HN comments even before reading the websites own.
You can write comments at https://chromereleases.googleblog.com/
In many cases there's no point in reading the site itself.
Comments are a terrible idea. You can respond on your own blof, of course.
Mozilla. What a great, open and free place, where you can't write your opinion under articles.
Dropping XUL was necessary and if anything, should have been done earlier. I disagree they didn't "have a credible alternative lined up".
Are you upset over extensions breaking? There was a long, extremely long deprecation period and afaik Mozilla helped addon authors move over. They had to make the cut at some point, tbh.
Are you upset over extensions breaking? There was a long, extremely long deprecation period and afaik Mozilla helped addon authors move over.
Which didn't include 100% replacement APIs. A long period doesn't help if the new thing doesn't actually replace the old thing.
I wrote some extensions myself over the years, all my time writing those extensions went down the drain.
I'm sorry you feel that way. I've written Firefox extensions as well. Also, I've written software using GTK2, Python 2.4, Django 0.9, a bazillion JS libraries that no longer exist. I've written code for games that have shut down. I've written code that I backed up on CD roms that are no longer readable. Hell I've written plenty of code that never even worked in the first place.
I don't feel like any of this time went "down the drain". Why do you? Software doesn't usually last forever.
I would not have minded at all if the replacement was equivalent but it is not. I believe Firefox with XUL was a completely different product (closer to Emacs in terms of viewing extensibility as a goal), Firefox with the new extensions is just much lesser ambitious.
Now I know how to write Electron apps, but before you know it, all that work is going to go down the drain, too! Get used to it. ;)
Change is good, and each iteration gets better, and if you're not enthusiastic about learning new stuff all the time, you're in the wrong industry. I do NOT want to go back to ActiveX or XP/COM, thank you.
Did you know that Mozilla actually invented words to describe the process of removing XP/COM: "DeCOMification" and "DeCOMtamination"?
Firefox lost me with the whole XUL fiasco. Breaking peoples workflows before they had a credible alternative lined up was highly unprofessional. I was an enthusiastic Firefox user until the XUL retirement.
As a side question, can anyone speak to what the organizational protocol of Mozilla looks like these days. Has that too changed in the last few years?
I liked Firefox, but when the drama around Brendan Eich blew up, I was disgusted and walked away. Have they gone back to just working together to build a good browser? Or does it still come with a “must think a certain way” subtext?
(FWIW, I want everyone to be able to code; I don’t care who/what/how you look like or sleep with or swear commitment to).
Chrome deserves to die. It is responsible for the Second Middle Ages of Internet in the 2010s. Many webscale system still work solely on Chrome 167 or Chrome 168.
Edge is a completely different product based on a new rendering engine which is as spec compliant as Firefox.
i don't believe that for a second - edge being as spec compliant as firefox, that is.
Please, do some research before judging. It was an incredible product.
Whether or not it is specs-compliant, it objectively is not an incredible product, considering how universally loathed it was and thus the position it's ended up in now.
That might be true, but the article is about the Edge browser, not IE.
Eh, it was also responsible for a lot of innovation at one point too. AJAX was an IE innovation, no less!
IE deserves to die. It was responsible by the Middle Ages of Internet in the 2000s. Many corp systems still work solely on IE8 or IE6.
We only support webkit based browsers for our web application. Multiple fortune 500 companies use it, meaning they are using neither IE/Edge nor Firefox... nuff said.
I'm guessing the people complaining here haven't tried to embed Gecko vs Webkit. Webkit is far superior, it's the leading browser engine world-wide, and it would be really strange for Microsoft to choose Gecko over Webkit, as a result.
Also, Microsoft would be unable to provide a browser for iOS if they went with Gecko. Why would they try to standardize around a browser engine that is supported across less platforms than Webkit?
Webkit's API for engine embedding is far superior to Gecko, and that's coming from Mozilla directly.
> The “browser engines” — Chromium from Google and Gecko Quantum from Mozilla
Huh? Sorry Mozilla, but you have to know that "Chromium" is not the engine, it's Blink, Google's fork of Webkit. Chromium is an application that encapsulates Blink, just like Firefox is an application that encapsulates Gecko.
Anyway, the complaining from Mozilla is hilarious anyway... Do they seriously want Microsoft influencing them? C'mon... They are just butthurt because Webkit has way more market share than Gecko, and even more so now that Microsoft is abandoning EdgeHTML.
I’m a Mozilla contributor and user; my name is chiseled in stone on their monument. I’m also a a Xoogler and a Chrome user. I think this screed is pretty ridiculous. Microsoft polluting the web with an inferior browser engine is not helping anyone. For the users it is better that they join another, superior browser effort. But what’s reall absurd here is the tone. Is this really an official Mozilla press release? It seems like they’re just trying too hard to make everyone forget that they get 99% of their money from Google.
Microsoft also has world-class translation services. Mozilla could partner with them just for this. That would be a good idea, I think. Surprised they haven't come up with something.
There's also various open source projects tackling this problem, which aren't as advanced, but are always improving.
You know why I don't use Firefox? There is only one reason, and its lack of integrated translation. Chrome has it, Firefox does not, and if you travel, or live in a place where you don't fully understand the language, then this tool is a lifesaver. The thing is, I don't see how Moz could even start to build this feature. It's an example of synergy with Google's other products, especially search and communication service, that would be impossible to reproduce without exploding Mozilla's portfolio far beyond it's budget. Maybe Google will open-source it's translation software and data corpus, LOL?
I guess I don't really understand this. Even without the old extension apis, it's still more powerful than anything Chrome has to offer. You don't get the access you want, so you go to something with even less access?
This is the kind of HN response I was expecting (along with the downvotes); everyone who isn't a dev or engineer is wrong/irrational in their choices and experiences.
I had some useful extensions that worked with old Firefox. Then new Firefox came along and killed off some of them, so I had even fewer useful extensions. Meanwhile, Chrome has many more useful extensions and hasn't killed off any of them. Chrome fits my workflow, Firefox doesn't/can't. Yet this is somehow understood as me wanting 'less'. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
"If you care about about what’s happening with online life today, take another look at Firefox. It’s radically better than it was 18 months ago"
Except it's not 'radically better' if you rely on extensions killed by Quantum and are unlikely to be updated because Firefox has such a small user base now.
I want to go back to Firefox and give it a try, but sending a load of extensions to their deaths has made that significantly harder. I'm not up for spending hours finding little hacks and half-baked work-arounds, either.
> Seems so sad that Mozilla is literally begging people to give Firefox a try.
Your security matters. Google recommends using Chrome, a fast and secure browser. Try it?
> They plainly admit that Firefox can just hold it’s own and it is still NOT the fastest and best browser experience out there.
The reason why is that those are complex judgements rather than easily measured objective facts. Browsers are extremely complex and what “fastest” means depends on what you're measuring and where it's running. Chrome's memory usage is a great example — if you have tons of RAM and nothing else running, it's often faster but if either of those is true, Firefox being so much more memory efficient more than balances it out, especially for people who keep tons of tabs open — and all of the comparison points are changing regularly as browser development teams adjust.
How much of what you say is due to the “extremely complex” rendering engine and how much to just “simple” app design?
I’m not sure what you’re asking. My point was just that you can’t distill the performance of a complex system down to a single number and each browser is going to have areas where they’re ahead on something which some group of people cares about.
Sample size of one:
i7 laptop, 16 GB of RAM, nothing else running
Chrome: ~45 seconds to become usable, blank white window appears at 5 seconds into that wait time and just sits there
Firefox: ~10 seconds to become usable
Oddly, it's always been the reverse for me. Especially after a month or so has passed. Both of them are pretty light, Chrome definitely gets perceptibly slower after some heavy usage, but only Firefox manages to become unbearably slow. There's still some kind of design about Firefox that causes it to bog down after daily driving for a long while.
Are you using an SSD? What extensions are both browsers running? Did you do a fresh reboot? This seems pretty slow for both.
Yes, I am using an SSD. No extensions in either browser.
You launch vanilla Chrome and you wait 45 seconds to be able to do anything? How is that even possible
Some Internet sites at work require Chrome, so if I want to be able to file a timesheet or request vacation I have to wait on Chrome.
It is not about features, Moz://a could integrate a content blocker right now (or 5 years earlier..), and see whether Chrome can match that performance and pro customer stance. But Moz://a can't do that, because of reasons.
Seems so sad that Mozilla is literally begging people to give Firefox a try. Even if someone believes that the browser Game of Thrones seems to go to Google, I cannot see how anyone would settle for the second-best choice especially when everything is FREE..
They plainly admit that Firefox can just hold it’s own and it is still NOT the fastest and best browser experience out there.
When I launch Chrome I just get this feeling that it is a super lightweight desktop app that manages a ton of tabs efficiently.
What a load of sensationalist FUD.
MS are going to be using Chromium, the open-source project along with it's Blink and V8 rendering and JS engines as the basis for their next default browser. They are not planning to install Google Chrome as the default browser.
Microsoft choosing to use one open-source project over another to fork their next browser from does not threaten the health or diversity of the internet. It isn't giving Google any additional control or power over the internet, because Chromium is an open-source project and any integrations to Google's own services exists only in Google Chrome.
Basically this article is just Mozilla whinging because their project wasn't chosen and pushing FUD about the health and balance of the internet being threatened as a result.
In reality Google does not gain any "power" from this, unless you count the couple of contributions Microsoft have submitted to the Chromium project (which again, is open-source) as an increase in "power", by which logic Mozilla should already have more "power" because they have been receiving decades of contributions as a result of being the default browser in most Linux distributions (leading hackers to write Firefox contributions and addons instead of for Chromium for example).