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    i switch between browsers once in a while if i’m pissed enough.. currently i use firefox developer edition and while i can’t put my finger on it, i have the feeling that it’s improved constantly.

    what i really would like to see from mozilla would be a sane way to use a self hosted sync server. i know it’s possible, but the implementations you get from them are overengineered alpha versions at best (at least last time i’ve looked..).

    to return to the topic: i guess we’ll never know what the future brings. most of the web today is more like a remote desktop. i really would like to see a new “thing” taking all that has been learned, implementing it cleanly. but i guess the next big thing will be completely unrelated to what we use now. so, which browser won could be completely irrelevant in five years to come.

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      This post rubs me the wrong way. I know a lot of people who might say the reason Firefox has fallen behind is because of Andreas Gal. For those unaware, he’s one of the main people who pushed Mozilla to go “all in” on Firefox OS, neglecting Firefox in the process.

      Even if his post is correct, what purpose does it serve? Seems like he’s just trying to get some attention with a provocative title while slipping the name of his new startup in there at the same time.

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        I don’t care how many people use chrome, I still use firefox. I use it since 0.5 (then phoenix) and before that I used the mozilla suite. It still does all I need.

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          I am interested in Firefox with servo. Extremely low latency does wonders for user satisfaction.

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            I am not surprised, since Firefox’ current mission seems to copy Chrome, throwing away all advantages that they had (like extensibility) to become a worse Chrome. Might as well switch to Chrome then.

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              Throwing away XUL is necessary, being a technical dead end preventing them from doing necessary refactors for e10s and such.

              I agree it hurts a lot. They need to work a lot on WebExtensions to make it viable.

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                XUL was an incredible piece of technology. Ten years ago I developed a cross-platform application with native look-and-feel and embedded data-visualizations in a couple of weeks. I don’t think there was anything else that would have allowed me to do that back then… and even now, that would be a challenge. I wish XUL had been blessed by W3C standardization.

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                  Maybe it was incredible technology, but I always wished for a firefox build using native widgets. Back in the day, just wiggling my mouse back and forth over the title bar (not over the page) in firefox used to nearly max out my cpu.

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                    There was Camino for Mac, and Galleon on Linux, but those are dead. There’s K-Meleon on Windows, but I’m unsure of its development state.

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                  Is electrolysis worth losing a ton of extensions and developers over?

                  Is electrolysis even a good thing? If I open facebook, twitter and youtube at the same time I can expect firefox to grind to a halt. With electrolysis, my whole PC will grind to a halt? I don’t buy better the security argument either - firefox is a reverse shell with or without electrolysis.

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                    E10S is required for shipping a sandbox for Firefox. I’m a bit biased, since I work on Firefox sandboxing, but I believe this is probably the single most important security project we have.

                    I’m not sure what you mean by “firefox is a reverse shell with or without electrolysis” - enabling the sandbox makes it so that any random memory corruption in the content process isn’t game over for security, which is a huge win.

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                      You don’t buy the “security argument” of process isolation and sandboxing? It’s fairly easy not to see the benefits of something if you deny the reality of the benefits it does provide.

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                      That’s my concern though - I don’t think they recognize how much people depend on their favorite extensions to make using Firefox a pleasant expeiernce. The impression I get is they’re basically gonna draw a line in the sand and switch whether or not the extension ecosystem comes with them.

                      I agree that it needs to happen, but were I them I’d be looking at the most popular extensions and ensuring that a transition plan exists. Their market share depends on it.

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                        I agree that it needs to happen, but were I them I’d be looking at the most popular extensions and ensuring that a transition plan exists. Their market share depends on it.

                        They are doing exactly that… they have many bugs filed that are “enable to be written as webext”. The core webext team is extremely smart and capable.

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                          That’s really fantastic to hear. I should get tuned into that effort to see if my favorite extensions are being represented :)

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                        So, I don’t doubt it, but why exactly? I’ve heard security cited, is that something inherent to XUL itself or merely an artifact of that particular subsystem being left to wither on the vine?

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                        Agreed. Throwing away XUIL extensions is going to totally cripple them. I don’t know what I’ll do at that point. IMO they’re what make Firefox a usable alternative, and there are a bunch of things you simply can’t do with the proposed Javascript extension standard (can’t think of the name).

                        It’s All Text comes to mind.

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                          I don’t know what I’ll do at that point.

                          Palemoon perchance?

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                            Palemoon

                            Maybe? No Mac support right now, which is a deal breaker for me. As I’ve posted about here before, Linux desktops have yet to come close to the accessibility features OSX provides. I’m partially blind, and ‘living’ on the Linux desktop was sheer agony.

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                          Might as well switch to Chrome then.

                          Look at the linked Mozilla blog post — they already did!

                          The head of Firefox marketing admits to using Chrome every day, for leisure.

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                            Yeah, I guess it has to get a lot worse before it gets better. As long as they are (so) dependent on income from advertisers (Yahoo?), they will not put the user first regarding privacy and security. For example why are the Tor Browser’s Firefox settings not the default in Firefox? Why is Privacy Badger or something similar not a default extension? Why are third party cookies still enabled by default?

                            I guess over time more and more stuff will break again with Firefox as also mentioned in the article, that making it a bit worse now by enabling the Tor settings and Privacy Badger won’t make much of a difference. At least you’d know Mozilla has your back, and Firefox may even gain some users by being privacy friendly by default. That is, for as long as it is relevant and “the web” is used by the average user.

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                              Mozilla is actively working with the Tor project to upstream their Tor Browser patches and improve privacy defaults.

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                                Ah, I missed that it was also about changing the defaults! I thought it was just to get the (code) changes upstream, but not (necessarily) the defaults. If so, that is great news!

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                                Maybe it will get a lot worse before it gets even worse.

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                              I’ve used Firefox exclusively for a long time (even on my Android phone, I use Firefox mobile). I had to install Chrome on my desktop because my company uses Google Hangouts for meetings and Google no longer supports Firefox there.

                              Google says they’re “working hard” to get Hangouts supported in the latest version of Firefox, but it’s been a least a couple of months now with no results. Given that Firefox announced the discontinuation of support for the NPAPI a while ago and given the resources Google has at its disposal, I would imagine that if they’d really wanted to they could have had Hangouts support on day 1 of Firefox 52.

                              I use Thunderbird for email. I use Firefox for browsing. They are fine programs that (Hangouts excepted) do what I need, but the primary motivation behind my choice is simple: I don’t want Google to control every aspect of my online life.

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                                I still think the worst thing to happen to browsers was when Opera announced they were killing their browser and releasing a Chrome skin.

                                The original Opera hit a sweet spot in customization, standards conformance, efficiency, speed, stability, and ease of use, and there really hasn’t been a browser since then that I’ve particularly cared for. It was so nice to have a browser that treated the user like an adult.

                                I mostly use Chromium now, but only because it runs where I need it (Linux and OSX) and it’s less bad than Firefox. On my phone and work laptop I use Safari because I don’t browse on those computers enough to change.

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                                  It doesn’t matter. People who sacrifice for freedom or privacy were always a niche. Firefox needs to just keep targeting that with OEM deals to increase usage. Additiknally, they’ve long needed to expand into more areas offering open, privacy-preserving alternatives. Examples are things like SpiderOak or SilentCircle.

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                                      Why do you think PDFs are the future of documents sent across networks?

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                                      I still really like the idea of Firefox OS as 99% of what I use my phone for could be adequately done in HTML5 apps, if only people could bring themselves to write decent HTML5 apps.

                                      The remaining 1% of things needs a phone dialer API and an SMS send/recv API and we’re done there too.

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                                        Chrome won just like IE won. Maybe it’ll last longer. But proposing standards, implementing them, and pushing them before they are actually standard is no different from what we used to hate MS for.

                                        (For the record, I prefer Safari because battery life and accessibility are more important to me than ..webrtc?)

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                                          Chrome certainly is doing well, but the race is never over with technology. Eventually native will win. Then web will win again. Then something else will happen that beats all of them.

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                                            I am currently using Firefox, but I have been switching over to Vivaldi as you can now use the developer tools. My big issue was that I bookmark tons of websites. Vivaldi is like Firefox in regards to bookmarks and way better. I still like the extensions in Firefox better, like Firebug as they much more robust. Anyway I can live Vivaldi. I think it will be interesting to see what happens when Firefox comes out with it’s new Rust engine for rendering websites.

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                                              Vivaldi

                                              I’ll give Vivaldi another look. I love the idea of a broweser written in a language that makes it “turtles all the way down” - typically way more extensible that way. I tried it when it first came out and it was a bit too rough around the edges for my needs.

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                                              Is there any research about why users switch browsers? I think that reversing the trend for Firefox has two components (that should be considered separately for desktop and mobile):

                                              1. Why are users abandoning Firefox?
                                              2. What would make users switch to Firefox from another browser?

                                              A quick search didn’t return anything meaningful so I’m curious whether you’re aware of any research in this area.

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                                                Speaking just for myself – thus this is just an anecdote – but I switched from Firefox to Chrome years ago because the Firefox UI would often become unresponsive for several seconds, which drove me crazy. Also, because of the (perhaps mistaken) perception that Chrome was more secure.

                                                That being said, I recently switched back to Firefox at work, and it seems like they’ve fixed a lot of the UI latency issues in Firefox.

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                                                  With Electrolysis most of these features should have been fixed. You can also turn on multiple content processes somewhere in the settings which means that one slow site won’t slow down all your tabs.

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                                                    My hidden ricer side wakes up when I think about the potential speedups with multiple processes.

                                                    That’s because I use the -ck patches, including the MuQSS scheduler, which goes really well with multiple processes.

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                                                    I have piped up on this subject before and can speak only for myself, but here goes:

                                                    Firefox annoys the shit out of me at times. It slows down randomly. Sometimes, after a restart, it forgets I use two windows. It updates so often I don’t know which issue goes with which version, so I give up caring. Sometimes it corrupts its sessions.

                                                    Then I look at the competition. No multi-row tabs. No tab groups, lile the FF add-on I like. The Community(tm) gently points me to sub-par alternatives like lists or tree views. Good for you, if that works for you. Not my thing.

                                                    I half-way upgraded to Debian Stretch. I know you shouldn’t do that, things break between distro versions. Naturally some dependency unknown to me broke Mozilla’s build. So I tried the ESR build and it was slow. Like a retarded sloth doped on ketamine and stuck in tar.

                                                    So I concluded the experiment by upgrading everything. Firefox is usually fast enough, again.

                                                    I also learned to live with the various backup methods.

                                                    The reason I care about this? I use tabs in tab groups a bit like bookmarks, so I can switch contexts by switching all tabs depending on what I feel like doing.

                                                    I estimate there are roughly zero people on the planet who do this like I do.

                                                    I also estimate there are less than five people who’d be convinced by a demo of the addons, but they’d have neither the patience nor desire to be convinced.

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                                                      For what is worth this is exactly how I use tab groups :) No idea what I will use once they are gone.

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                                                      I switched off firefox because it’s unbearably slow. I will switch back if they make a browser based on servo.

                                                      When I remember that they have a 1000+ employees it makes me really uncomfortable.

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                                                        What did you switch to?

                                                        Why do 1000+ employees make you uncomfortable?

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                                                          If all goes well, the first Servo-based components should be in Firefox by the end of the year. Not all of Servo, just bits of it (currently it’s the style system and rendering stack)

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                                                          for desktop usage on linux, first it was lacking flash when it was common, then it was problems with H264 (which is patented), then EME/DRM, and now there’s still issues with netflix filtering it based on browser ID.

                                                          looking at windows machines, it took longer to adopt auto updates. users who installed firefox before auto updates and when chrome did update are possibly comparing firefox 20 to the latest chrome. they’re unaware it’s much better if updated.

                                                          the big numbers come from mobile. your phone already comes with a browser, and it’s never firefox. why would you get another (assuming you can)?

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                                                            I have a modernish computer with SSD and 16 GB of RAM, every year or so I try to Firefox but it is sluggish with 2 windows with 50-80 tabs each or so (yes I’m a hoarder and probably in the 99 percentile for tabs, but I just can’t find anything that can cope with my usage except Opera, Chrome and Chromium).