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    I use it because Mozilla seems like it will pull less evil stuff on me, esp for surveillance, than Microsoft or Google. This proved out over time.

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      I use Firefox because I think having a fully open source browser that’s enough of a market contender that it has a place at the web standards development table is hugely important.

      One worry I have about the WebExtensions change is that I use extensions to make up for features that Chrome has and Firefox lacks. I am concerned they’re amputating one of their biggest market advantages.

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        They are amputing this advantages to fix their current issue that make (imo) Firefox not as good as its competitors: Sandboxing. Current Firefox security model has been lagging behind for too long. Personnaly, I’ve been waiting for Firefox to fix this before I give it a try again.

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          That’s valid. Maybe the more popular extensions will find a way to work in the WebExtensions world :)

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          I have tried a bunch of FF extensions. I’ve eventually cut it back to just noscript - everything else I’ve tried has had an unacceptable impact on performance.

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            Conversely noscript makes Firefox a lot more faster. :)

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          In fact it’s insulting to all those contributors who work so hard on Firefox to say that extensions are the only thing keeping them from switching to Chrome.

          I’m wondering, how is this insulting? Is it insulting for Linux kernel guys to say that someone uses Windows instead of Linux because Windows can run Photoshop and Linux can’t? People don’t use runtime or kernels, they use applications. And in the world of browsers, applications are plugins (and actual websites).

          Also: I’m not using Firefox nor Chrome, but Vivaldi, mostly because Vivaldi has native vertical tab support. I don’t want to insult anyone, I just want vertical tabs!

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              I use it as well, but it’s not smooth or performant… as the rest of the browser, unfortunately.

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                Ah, then it makes sense to stick to Vivaldi for that. Nothing’s performant in Vivaldi, so slow vertical tabs just blends right in.

                //I use Vivaldi, but performance is not its current selling point.

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                  That’s interesting what you say, because I feel Vivaldi to be faster and more responsive than Firefox on both Windows and Linux. On Linux Firefox, sometimes closing a tab required me to wait up to 1.5 seconds. Loading Slack chat made the browser unusable for 4 seconds, but on Chrome, or Chrome-based browsers, I haven’t experienced any slowdowns.

                  I was a Firefox fan since version 2.0, but I really can’t deny that FF feels much slower than Chrome or Chromium-based browsers like the new Opera or Vivaldi. This is across lots of systems and different computers (desktops, laptops), so I don’t think it’s a matter of bad system settings…

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                    //I use Vivaldi, but performance is not its current selling point.

                    Amen. I use Vivaldi because it handles its keyboard shortcuts centrally – the inability to define keyboard shortcuts is the reason I left Firefox [1]. Sometimes this feels like I traded milliseconds spent buttonpressing for milliseconds of response time. Still worth it, so far. Nowt quite as lovely as single-key shortcuts.

                    [1] Some extensions let you define some keyboard shortcuts, but the resultant patchwork of settings windows was not very nice to work with. If Firefox ever implements a central keybindings registry, where the browser (and possibly its extensions) exposes actions for you to bind shortcuts to … ooh, I’d love that.

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                I don’t think this analogy is valid. It seems to me that it isn’t an insult to Linux developers to say that you only use Windows because it has Photoshop, but the Windows developers might reasonably take offense.

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                I use it b/c I don’t want to use a browser owned by google.

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                  Well, it’s certainly not for speed. I now have beat as part of keyboard shortcuts. For example, ctrl-f beat to search in the page, because there’s a 200-800ms pause between me typing ctrl-f and when the search box is open and accepting keystrokes. Same for focusing the location bar, etc.

                  But really, I think it’s inertia. It’s not that the extensions I rely on don’t have equivalents in Chrome, it’s that I’ve installed them and tweaked them over the last dozen years of using Firefox and I’m used to them. If I suddenly lose my favorites like Tree-Style Tab, I’m going to stand up and look around seriously for the first time since I switched from Mozilla to Firefox 1.0.

                  This is why retailers like Target spend insane amounts of money on invasive, creepy things like figuring out when teenagers are pregnant. Having a kid is one of the handful of events that causes shoppers to radically change their buying habits and Target wants to become part of a new routine that will last for decades. Decisions aren’t free, so humans don’t constantly re-evaluate all their options to pick the best one. After we make a decision we coast indefinitely until something pushes us to re-evaluate.

                  The author keeps hearing people stay for extensions because they do. When WebExtensions rolls out and suddenly a comfortable, familiar extension disappears out from under me I’m going to be seriously annoyed at having part of my very personal config deleted for zero apparent value and I’m going to have to look around to find a replacement. I’m trying to imagine a similar offline scenario and all I can come up with is a mall salesman deliberately spilling wine on my shirt before trying to sell me a new one when I have plenty of other vendors available.

                  Also, speaking of value, has anyone ever articulated a single end-user value to WebExtensions? I look at Mozilla’s writeup and MDN and it’s all “WebExtensions are a cross-browser system for developing browser add-ons” and why would I give a damn? I use Firefox, those other browsers may as well not exist. The only user-visible change of WebExtensions is “a bunch of your extensions stop working and can never be fixed”. Gee, thanks! (I guess the wiki page says “should maintain acceptable security and privacy standards” but that’s never elaborated on and, paranoid as I am, I haven’t felt a lack of security and privacy because of my extensions.)

                  There’s an old saying, “don’t piss on my shoes and tell me its raining”. This feels more like “don’t piss on my shoes and tell me it’s raining and then offer to sell me shoes and also mention that you’ve lowered the quality to match that of the other vendors who are standing right over there”.

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                    The user-facing value is performance.

                    Firefox can’t compete on perf right now - by limiting the interface extensions get access to they can make a lot of optimizations which are currently impossible.

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                      I keep hearing this statement and have no idea what recent data it is based on.

                      Certainly when I measure it (and I do, because some of my apps need to run on seriously underpowered set-top boxes), Chrome is substantially slower.

                      I understand and accept how Chrome is safer with sandboxing, but I just can’t seem able to observe this speed advantage so many others others do.

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                        Vanilla firefox is plenty fast.

                        Install a few extensions, and things change pretty quickly.

                        For instance, Adblock Plus is astonishingly slow, as is the lastpass extension.

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                          Chrome is substantially slower

                          Subjectively, Firefox feels quite a bit slower than Chrome on the same hardware (in my case, my MBP running OS X). This is with a fairly stripped down Firefox - only a few basic plugins like https Anywhere, uBlock Origin, etc. Chrome has all of those plus a whole bundle more but it still feels faster.

                          As a matter of interest, what platform are you testing on and what performance difference have you measured?

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                            Most of our tests were done on RaspberryPi2. We ran sunspider benchmark which executed in 2819ms in at that time reasonably recent Chromium and in 2102ms on no more recent Iceweasel (basically Firefox).

                            We also made tests of our app (SPA compiled from Typescript) results of which I can’t find at the moment. What we were interested was how quickly our app becomes operational which is heavily influenced by Parse/Compile cycle of Javascript and how it behaves afterwards which where Javascript engine performance has larger impact than pretty much anything else. I remember Iceweasel being noticeably faster, but I don’t remember the details.

                            At the end it didn’t matter much since we usually don’t have a choice of what browser to run and most set-top boxes run a bastardized version of some old webkit on a hardware that often doesn’t include GPU. So you have to live with what is there.

                            At the end it also doesn’t matter if Firefox is actually faster, if Chrome better handles perception of it. As a user I am not browsing with a stopwatch in hand and will use whatever feels more pleasant.

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                        Well, it’s certainly not for speed. I now have beat as part of keyboard shortcuts. For example, ctrl-f beat to search in the page, because there’s a 200-800ms pause between me typing ctrl-f and when the search box is open and accepting keystrokes. Same for focusing the location bar, etc.

                        Is it on a Mac, by any chance?

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                          Since pushcx said ctrl, I’m guessing it’s not on a Mac. I’m on a 2015 MBP and cmd-f is practically instant for me, also “/” because I use vimperator’s search more. Vimp and Tree Style Tab are probably the heaviest extensions I run. This is the same kit I run on Windows and Linux and I can’t say I’ve noticed any search lag on them, but again I don’t use ctrl-f on the reg.

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                            Arch linux. And extending what @meredith said, it’s also / in VimFx.

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                          Because I remember when the Web was a monoculture of IE, and now the same writing is on the wall, but for WebKit.

                          Because Firefox doesn’t track me nearly as much as Google.

                          Because I use Thunderbird for email, so why not Firefox for web browsing? :)

                          I even use Firefox on Android, for much the same reasons.

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                            I use FF mainly because there is no tree-style-tab addon for chromium. Javascript heavy sides run a lot faster in chromium under Linux than in FF but I care more about privacy than speed, so I keep firefox as my main browser.

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                              Pentadactyl cannot be implemented on top of either Chrome or the new useless FF addon API.

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                                https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1215061 is being worked on. mozilla wants to make the extensions work but not give unfettered access to the browser so that they have to be cognizant of changes breaking extensions (and by extension, make firefox look bad) and remove the memory leaks and slowdowns caused by bad extensions. They still want extensions like pentadactyl to work and are increasing the surface area of the webextension api.

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                                  This is exactly my reason too–Firefox (or more specifically the Mozilla platform) was built on the principles of internal reprogrammability and giving the end user the same power over the program as the core developers. I don’t want to be stuck with a second-class API that can only do what the core devs think outsiders will use but isn’t good enough for them to use themselves.

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                                    The hope lies in qutebrowser, with the QtWebEngine backend it’s already decent (but not quite there).

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                                      My understanding about that browser was that the underlying rendering engine was not receiving security updates; is that no longer the case?

                                      edit: “Next, we have to do something about QtWebKit, the other big WebKit port for Linux, which stopped receiving security updates in 2013 after the Qt developers decided to abandon the project.” doesn’t look promising https://blogs.gnome.org/mcatanzaro/2017/02/08/an-update-on-webkit-security-updates/

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                                        Qt, in it’s entire tree of libraries, includes both QtWebKit and QtWebEngine. QtWebKit is outdated and was basically code import and then never touched again, and is based on WebKit code from long ago. (IIRC, it was from even before Chrome forked off into Blink too. So very, very old.) QtWebEngine is based on Chromimum, uses libv8 and is generally more maintained.

                                        qutebrowser is a web browser chrome/shell wrapped around originally QtWebKit. Over the past year, the author ported it to QtWebEngine. If you want a very vim-like experience and UI, I’d highly recommend it!

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                                          Interesting; they should update the web site, which still says it uses QtWebKit.

                                          Unfortunately neither engine receives security updates on Debian, but users on other OSes might have better luck.

                                          Edit: all the installation documentation on the web site and on github tells you how to use QtWebKit. I have a very difficult time trusting a project which encourages its users to install software which has hundreds of known security vulnerabilities; this is grossly irresponsible and can’t be excused by having an undocumented branch or flag somewhere that remediates the problem.

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                                  I use Firefox because I needed a browser with (add-on) Mouse Gestures after Opera committed suicide.

                                  FireGestures does the job nicely. At least back then, there didn’t seem to be any viable alternative for any browser, and Opera 12 was too crashy to use anymore.

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                                    I use Opera. It uses Chrome extensions but doesn’t have the same tracking kind of stuff built in as far as I’m aware. Prior to this, I used Firefox for a few years. I stopped using it because of some memory issues and overall clunkiness of dev tools. You can do most of the same stuff in the inspector on firefox as opera/chrome, but it’s in a more roundabout way IMO.

                                    At the end of the day, I have no real use for browser loyalty. If someone does it better, I’ll use their browser.

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                                      I miss the Presto engine :( Opera was a fantastic browser for years, and now they’re merely another WebKit clone.

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                                          A Chinese investment group does own it now, but it’s still developed in Norway. As far as I know, they don’t keep track of all your browsing habits like google. If I’m wrong on that, someone please let me know.

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                                        I generally don’t. I’ll use it when it uses servo.

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                                          I use firefox because I love the dev tools (not bashing chrome’s dev tools, but for what I do firefox works better for me).

                                          Also privacy.

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                                            NoScript, uBlock Origin, PrivacyBadger, etc. I can get many of these on my mobile browser, too!

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                                              I don’t use Firefox because the performance with multiple tabs is still underwhelming. Unfortunately, Chrome still does a better job at that. Besides that, they discontinued Tab Groups, which was my favourite thing about it and it’s still something I can’t find on other browsers.

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                                                  I saw it, but the author will stop supporting his extensions, which is a shame.

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                                                !Google

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                                                  I use Firefox Dev Edition because it has a decent amount of performance improvements over most browsers, and a cool dark theme.

                                                  The dev tools are nice as well.

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                                                    I probably use Firefox 50% of the time and Chrome the other 50%. Apart from philosophy and general love for the browser, ultimately its Firefox’s bookmarking features are what keep me from switching over to Chrome entirely. I have over 9,600 bookmarks right now and managing my obsessive collection is easier on Firefox. Its a collection I’ve curated for over a decade across more than four computers. Firefox’s bookmark manager is a separate window, I can double click on a bookmark and it will open in the browser window right next to it while I still have access to the manager. In Firefox I also have access to a real bookmarks side bar.

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                                                      For me it’s Tab Mix Plus and muktiple rows of tabs. Also that I’m accustomed to it, but when I tried Vivaldi, I missed the tabs.

                                                      Of course privacy matters too.

                                                      Hope they get their disk-killing session checks in order, though.

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                                                        keysnail keysnail keysnail.

                                                        It’s a programmable javascript environment for Firefox, that’s let people re-implement the vast majority of emacs & vim inside of firefox. Ease of programmability is a #1 feature for me. It overrides almost all other features of a browser. HoK is probably #2, which #1 let’s you implement.

                                                        The win is simple & has it’s downsides though: programmability has some extreme security & performance issues, that are really only tractable as a programmer.

                                                        The performance complaints I haven’t experienced, though I usually have 50+ tabs open at any time, and it makes chrome choke too.

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                                                          It works better, even the developer tools often have nice small things, for example easily seeing the difference between two JavaScript objects.

                                                          The biggest thing I still miss is websocket support in the debugger (like what Chrome has in the Network tab).

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                                                            I use Firefox mostly out of habit (never switched from anything Mozilla’s), but also because it’s better than anything else on Ubuntu.

                                                            Actually, only after I tried using Mac for a short while I even understood what all those people saying how Firefox slow and bloated mean: it’s the Mac’s Firefox. On Ubuntu it is faster than Chromium, repaints less jarringly, and just feels overall better.

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                                                              I use Firefox because Firebug and most of the extension are way better than on Chrome. I hate supporting Google who has gotten too big. The bookmarking system is a hundred times better and I bookmark tons of sites. Fast Dial is amazing for managing daily bookmarks. I like having toolbars and hate the minimalism of Chrome. The themes are nice in Firefox. I also use Firefox on Android as I can install ad-blocking software.

                                                              Vivaldi looks like it will be great and I might replace Firefox with Vivaldi, but it has a couple of deal breakers for me. There is an issue with not being able to put text in the search tab and then switch tabs and still have your search text there. Also the developer panel can’t open as part of the window, it always opens as it’s own window.

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                                                                After many years of using chrome exclusively I went back to using Firefox two weeks ago. It was the best decision I have made thoroughly enjoying using it over chrome.

                                                                What got me to look to move was the last few months I have found chrome unreliable with it hanging and crashing. Since moving to firefox no more.

                                                                Also the plugins I am using with firefox rocks. For example this: http://piro.sakura.ne.jp/xul/_treestyletab.html.en never seen anything as good available for chrome.

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                                                                  I can right click on any node in HTML and save as a PNG. Otherwise Chrome is the way to go!

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                                                                    For me, Firefox does better autocompletion than Chrome. Which is ironic since it is basically search over history (where ranking is important) and Google is a search company.

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                                                                        As someone who really doesn’t know, how does Chrome offer better security?

                                                                        Or is that like security in that it’ll remain hackable?

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                                                                        I use Safari because it’s the only browser that doesn’t visibly lag when I resize it, and doesn’t consume all of my RAM.

                                                                        Edit: It also gets bonus points for taking up the least amount of screen real-estate. If only privacy badger had a Safari plugin…

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                                                                          I used chrome until a bug with multiple monitors with differing DPI caused my context menu to appear in the wrong place. Then I used Firefox. Crappy websites cause the entire FF UI to freeze up. With chrome only the current tab is effected. When chrome fixed the bug I immediately switched back.