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    Every “my new browser is so much faster than my previous one” is prone to fall into a trap of comparing apples and oranges unless stating otherwise. The old browser is usually full of addons, custom settings, a boatload of tabs and history.

    Sure, searching through an empty history will male the address bar appear snappier either way.

    But hey, I’m not complaining. Firefox is definitely better to customize, better for your privacy against etc etc :)

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      Firefox’s killer feature for me is its history and bookmarks sync/search. If I start typing in Firefox’s omnibar, it automatically searches my entire browsing history and bookmarks. I get the same ability on my phone, it shares history.

      Chrome does not do that, even though Google knows all my history, and it makes for an awful UX.

      I can also run my own Firefox sync server, retaining control over my data.

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        You can even make it so that it only searches through open tabs or only bookmarks and so on by using some modifiers

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          Thanks, that’s very helpful! And thanks for working on Firefox!

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        Which is why Mozilla Firefox is such a breath of fresh air, as it uses much less of your CPU while still delivering a fast browsing experience. So feel free to have as many tabs open as you want in Firefox, your device will barely feel the effects.

        I use Firefox everyday but let’s be real here.

        I am rather tab-phobic but a few contemporary websites and one modern app like Figma puts my Firefox into a swapping tailspin after a couple hours of use. This may be better than Chrome, but it feels like the bad old days of thrashing your hard drive cache.

        To remedy this, it seems the developers decided to unload tabs from memory. It has made Firefox more stable, but page refreshes come surprisingly frequently.

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          I am rather tab-phobic but a few contemporary websites and one modern app like Figma puts my Firefox into a swapping tailspin after a couple hours of use.

          I don’t entirely disagree but maybe some of the fault here lies on the engineers who decided that writing a vector graphics editor should be written as a web page – it would use several orders of magnitude fewer resources if it were simply a native executable using native graphics APIs.

          There’s only so much that browsers can do to save engineers from their own bad decisions.

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            Figma being in browser is a product decision much more than an engineering decision. And being in browser is their competitive advantage.

            It means people can be up and running without installing a client. Seamless collaboration and sharing. These are huge differentiators compared to most things out there that require a native client.

            Yeah, I hate resource waste as much as the next person. But using web tech gives tools like Figma a huge advantage and head start for collaboration vs native apps. But yes, at some cost in client (browser) resources and waste.

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              Figma being available in the browser is a competitive advantage, yes, in that it facilitates easy initial on-boarding and reduces friction for getting a stakeholder to look at a diagram.

              But there’s zero competitive advantage for Figma only being available as a browser app – once customers are in the ecosystem there’s every reason for the heavy Figma users to want a better performing native client, even while the crappier web app remains available for the new user or occasional-use stakeholder.

              Figma sort-of recognizes this – they do make a desktop version available for the heavy user, but it’s just the same old repackaged webapp garbage. And limiting themselves to just repackaging the web app is not a “competitive advantage” decision so much as an engineering decision to favour never having to learn anything new ever (once you’ve got the JavaScript hammer, everything’s a nail) over maybe having to learn some new languages and acquire some new skills, which used to be considered a norm in this industry instead of something for engineers to fear and avoid at all costs.

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                I’m friends with an early engineer at Figma who architected a lot of the system and knows all the history.

                They says if they had done a cross platform native app, it would have been nearly impossible to get the rendering engine to get exactly the same result across platforms. Even for the web, they had to write their own font render.

                Yes, a native app could be faster, but it’s a major tradeoff, collaboration, networking and distribution features, security sandbox, much of that is just given to you by the browser. With a native app you have to build it all yourself.

                They started with a native app and ended up switching to web only. They also write Ruby, Go and Rust.

                And the Figma app is written in C++, wasm.

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          I’m glad the author is happy, and it’s true Firefox’s privacy focus is very nice, but I think it bears mentioning that a stunning and ever growing number of websites I encounter just don’t work quite right with Firefox :(

          I think some web devs have decided that Chrome has won and don’t bother testing on anything else.

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            Since I uBlock most shite, a lot of websites work better on firefox.

            Not as the authors intended…. but that is a different metric…

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              I admire your intestinal fortitude sir :) I can barely use the modern web when it works exactly as authors intended :)

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                Every JavaScript, CSS, UX and Graphics Designer hates my intestines. I make heavy use of, and strongly recommend https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tranquility-1/

                Your super cluttered, javascript frameworks to the max with megabytes of dynamic css pride and joy…. Click. Gone. Sigh. Tranquility.

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                  I think that given the advanced state of decay the web is now in, most of the time, the web is better when you don’t allow it to function the way the authors intended.

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                    I’ll leave expert assessments on the state of the web to more qualified folks like you, but for the unwashed like myself, what’s the ideal you’re shooting for? Just plain mark-up with no executable code at all perhaps? Or maybe some kind of super restrictive capability model thing?

                    I hear people express opinions like this all the time, and sure what we have is a giant ungainly mess in some regards, but it mostly works for most people’s use cases.

                    I’m just curious how you’d rebuild the web world in your vision of crystalline perfection :)

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                Just wait until Europe finishes implementing its new law that requires Apple to allow alternative browser engines on iOS. I still don’t understand how anyone ever decided that was the biggest anti-competitive issue in the browser market, but here we are, and probably very soon after Chrome’s rendering engine gets onto iOS the browser market will simply cease to exist. Likely will be helped along a bit by Google doing a final “please view our site in Chrome” push across all their properties, and refusing to renew Mozilla’s funding, but hey, at least we will have stuck it to Apple.

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                  I share exactly this concern… the only thing I see that might prevent it is chrome’s battery drain relative to that platform’s default browser.

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                  Keeping an unconfigured instance of Chromium/Chrome around for these situations is a fine strategy. I use Firefox as my primary browser and keep Chromium installed when websites require it- but that only happens every couple of months for me. Google doesn’t get my login info or browsing history, Firefox gets the vast majority of my web traffic.

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                    Definitely true. I usually just don’t use those websites, but sometimes that option is undesirable enough that I do start up Chrome. I do try to make sure to kill it as soon as possible afterwards . . .

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                    Just because no one here has mentioned Safari (that I’ve spotted):

                    I use Firefox on MacOS because I want it to continue to exist and, selfishly, it does work really well for me. I have no complaints at all. I don’t notice speed differences when I try other browsers, and I like the small selection of add-ons I use, most of which are probably available on other browsers.

                    I don’t like Google’s tracking or their near monopoly on browser engines (ironic as I did some work on the foundations of konqueror once, though not khtml itself) so I avoid Chrom(ium) unless I can’t get something to work in Firefox, which has happened once in the past five years or so.

                    Anyone use Safari and swear by it? I have an ad blocker for it which seems to work, and also the 1Password extension, so I could use it, but thanks to M1 and the ability to fully charge my Air from a portable external battery when needed, I’m not concerned about saving battery as much as I was. Is there a reason to use Safari once you know that Firefox exists and don’t mind installing it on each new machine?

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                      Safari has always had the smoothest performance for me. It’s the only browser I use. Pedantic complaint, but simply resizing a window has visible lag on Firefox and Chrome whereas I can resize a window at 120 fps under Safari with no visible lag in page layout, etc. I use AdGuard for blocking ads and have had no issues.

                      Been meaning to check out Orion as well, but haven’t been compelled enough to switch just yet.

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                        I’m fairly satisfied with Safari, but I really wish I could have straight up uBlock Origin.

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                          I try to follow the “When in Rome” approach for most native apps, browsers and tools. On my work laptop (Mac), use Safari. At home, use Firefox. On a Windows machine, use Edge or whatever. Same approach goes with (most) tooling configurations, use the defaults as much as possible. As someone who constantly reconfigures Vim, a lot (really… a lot) of time can get sinked into the customization my digital experience. Some things, like security, are uncompromising, but if my goal is to generally get things done efficiently, then reducing my setup overhead, app/tooling ecosystem, and number of cloud services is step number one.

                          I always think back to an old coworker of mine who’s laptop shit-the-bed one morning and by that afternoon, he was back to working, on all channels, on a brand new machine. Of course, cloud backups are a thing, but sometimes it’s easier to be like water

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                          I switched from Firefox to Vivaldi when they released the last UI update a few years ago and also broke the setup for everyone I had tried to convert. Every browser has problems, choose which one you can deal with. I’ve learned to love horizontal tabs with tab groups. The UI can be a little slow sometimes, but I’m also a pretty heavy user with 5 windows open and hundreds of tabs. As far as tracking I remember Firefox doing all kinds of phoning home. Most privacy addons exist for Chrome and there are multiple privacy focused variants. I do backups, so I can restore if something fails. Overall I dislike how the article frames it as only two browsers existing in the world.

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                            Privacy addons work better on Firefox, the Chrome APIs are much more limited (especially anything to do with modifying or blocking requests)

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                              I’m also a Vivaldi user and I recommend it every time I can. The UX is great, privacy is a real concern, and they really seem to care about the community.

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                                I’ve been waiting for Vivaldi since opera presto died :)

                                Out-of-the-box command palette is golden.

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                              In my experience Firefox absolutely is a processor hog. I often have to kill -9 it because it can’t spare the cycles to accept my clicks to close tabs. I am tempted to set up a hook in my window manager to kill -STOP Firefox windows when they aren’t in focus.

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                                I’m not sure what your use of Firefox is or your hardware, but I use Firefox extensively on Linux and Mac and I never have to kill it. I generally only ever have one window, but it can have numerous tabs open

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                                  I run Linux on my ThinkPad T61; I use multiple windows though.

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                                    Oh well on that machine I bet kill is your close friend :)

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                                    Ooh thankyou. I tried searching for “tab pausing” a while ago and didn’t find anything.

                                    Youtube video tabs seem to eat my CPU even if I’m on the train with no internet, not looking at them and have never interacted with them. A few other common sites do the same and need javascript to display anything so I can’t force them to behave without closing them.

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                                      thanks I’ll try it

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                                      I think the problem with your T61 is memory starvation (it maxes out at 4GB, right)? My partner and I have switched out our old laptops for newer ones with 16GB of RAM, and web browser slowness and instability is no longer a problem.

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                                        In this case top shows that it’s a CPU issue. My T61 has 8GB of RAM.

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                                      I switched from a Firefox-based browser (Conkeror) to Chromium (not Chrome, but the FLOSS variant of it) when Mozilla decided to kill XUL. Conkeror was very well performing and I usually had thousands of tabs open without performance loss while Firefox was not able to do that. It was always sluggish with that many tabs.

                                      Chromium is fast, and in contrary to the linled article, it also doesn’t need much CPU. But it needs huge amounts of RAM and open files (And it crashes if reaches the “no. of files ulimit”, meh) or maybe it just takes all the RAM it can get. So my workstation with 64 GB of RAM usually needs ¾ of the RAM just for Chromium and also starts swapping occasionally. Only starting up (and restoring the previous session) or shutting down (and saving the current session) always takes time (minutes).

                                      I also use Firefox as second browser with maybe 30 to 40 tabs and it still feels rather sluggish. Also SOCKS proxies no more work for me in Firefox for quite a while.

                                      Additionally quite some of the extensions listed in the article are equally available for Chrome/Chromium, so they don’t make a difference in that score.

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                                        I’m not sure what to say about your SOCKS proxy issues, but I use one every day with Firefox and no problems at all (Linux ppc64le).

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                                          I’m always amazed at how people get Chrome to eat so much memory. I am using Firefox and Chrome about equally, and I never notice any issues, unless it’s a specific site. Rarely do I ever have to deal with crashes like that.

                                          I’m probably an atypical user. I’ll just have to deal with having okay experience :)

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                                            Those crashes only started for me with Chromium 102 or 103. Currently happens between once every other day and several times per day. RAM usage might be caused by having maybe 40 Chromium windows open with at least one having over 1000 tabs open and many of them at least 40 or 50 tabs, some hundreds. (I probably should clean up that a bit.) And yes, I’m using the “Switch to this tab” button a lot. Also the “move these tabs to another window” function.

                                            But that also might depend on how close my system is before resource exhaustion, so I can’t really say if it only started to show up recently. A reboot is due anyway. :-)

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                                              40 windows, 1000+ tabs. I can see how you would want 40 gigs of RAM :)

                                              As a life hack, I suggest using more native clients, plus a modified chaos monkey method - make a script that on random intervals, when you’re not at the computer, wipes your open windows :) It’ll make you more focused, I guess :)

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                                                Relatedly, firefox on mobile has a similar feature that kills inactive tabs. I’ve set it up to kill tabs that have been inactive for a week. It’s a blessing xD

                                                As a side effect, I now “review” the open tabs more often, so I don’t lose some of them, and I usually end up closing most tabs.

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                                                  Actually I do prefer native clients over browser based stuff for a long time already, especially for chats—unless the native clients use Electron. But the world is against me. ;-)

                                                  That “modified chaos monkey method” reminds me of an evolutionary algorithm to break out of local optima which I learned in my minor “Bionics” at university: Randomly drop bombs on your multidimensional result and recalculate those areas hit by bombs to see if you can find better optima.

                                                  But nope, that’s not my style of working. So yes, I clearly prefer to occasionally do time-consuming manual cleanups of tabs over random data loss. ;-)

                                                  I guess my main “problem” is that I use tabs like short-/medium-term bookmarks. I just don’t want to close tabs which I expect to open soon again anyways.

                                                  Actually I’m even annoyed that my terminal sessions aren’t restarted after a reboot as they were before the reboot (not their position, but mostly their current working directory), so I wrote this script to help me remembering what I was working on before the reboot:

                                                  for i in $(ps auxww | egrep "^$USER" | fgrep zsh | awk '{print $2}'); do
                                                      readlink /proc/$i/cwd
                                                  done \
                                                      | sort -u \
                                                      > ~/.current-directories/`date -Im`.log

                                                  Probably also one of those scratch-my-own-itch scripts which might be seen as life hack. :-)

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                                              Oh yeah, I’m down with the multi-account containers. Great for work/personal/shopping.

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                                              having a browser that consistently takes up almost half your processing power is especially a problem for laptops or other devices with very little RAM

                                              I think they mixed CPU usage and RAM usage ?

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                                                Local Choir Rates Minister’s Latest Sermon As “Quite Good”

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                                                  The OPs experience basically mirrors my own. I remember switching to Chrome initially because of V8. It’s JavaScript engine was just so far ahead.

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                                                    I love Firefox and I try so hard to love it for everything, but the fact of the matter is that Chrome just has better dev tooling. If you’re doing web development, Chrome is better currently. I’d love to switch back to Firefox full time.

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                                                      I use Chrome too, but have you seen the Firefox for Developer edition?


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                                                        I have, albeit it’s been like 5 years since I last tried it. Maybe worth another look?