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Firefox Is Lagging Behind, Its Co-Founder Says

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the hanging-on-to-double-digits dept.

Firefox 646

sopssa writes "Firefox's co-founder Blake Ross is skeptical about the future of Firefox. He says that 'the Mozilla Organization has gradually reverted back to its old ways of being too timid, passive, and consensus-driven to release breakthrough products quickly.' Within the past year Chrome has been steadily increasing its market share, along with the other WebKit-based browsers like Safari. Meanwhile Mozilla's (outgoing) CEO says that while Firefox is more competitive than ever, they're looking forward to their mobile version of Firefox. 'Clearly, both are annoyed at what has happened to their former renegade web browser. But, by many accounts, Firefox is no longer considered to be the light, open alternative it once was.'"

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It always seemed bloated... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32259918)

Even from before it was Firefox (I've used it back when it was called Pheonix) and it always seemed more bloated compared to (at first) Mozilla Suite and later SeaMonkey.

Re:It always seemed bloated... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32259952)

I used Firefox from Phoenix 0.1 to Firefox 3.0.8, when I dumped it because of the growing bloat and terrible memory leak problems. The memory leaks started sometime after Firefox 1.5 and got progressively worse with each new version. The bloating really started sometime after Firefox 2.0.

Firefox plugins (5, Interesting)

slashnot007 (576103) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260296)

If it were not for the plugins I'd drop firefox in an flash. It's s a bloated slow to launch pig. that get's dusted even by safari on page loads.
    But flashblock, adblock and zotero are pretty sweet things.

Things Mature (5, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32259922)

Companies and products mature over time and Mozilla & Firefox have done just that. Firefox will never be "light" again. Not because of technical reasons, but because users demand a full-featured browser.

Chrome and Safari are taking some of Firefox's market share, but that's because they have nowhere to go but up. IE is still losing the most ground and will continue to do so. More equity in the browser market will only breed more competition, and that's always good for consumers.

Re:Things Mature (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32259932)

Not because of technical reasons, but because users demand a full-featured browser.

If that were true, then lighter browswers like Chrome should not be gaining in marketshare.

Re:Things Mature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32259994)

Not because of technical reasons, but because users demand a full-featured browser.

If that were true, then lighter browswers like Chrome should not be gaining in marketshare.

Chrome and Safari are taking some of Firefox's market share, but that's because they have nowhere to go but up.

Maybe you should have read the next line of Capt. Obvious' post. You know what's worse than an opinionated blowhard? A selective text opinionated blowhard.

Re:Things Mature (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260074)

You know what's even worse? Someone who doesn't know what a blowhard is.

Re:Things Mature (-1, Redundant)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260040)

I'm sorry but I don't consider Chrome to be a 'light weight' browser. It's memory footprint is right up there with the others, especially since each tab is isolated. As far as feature set, it's a bit behind the others, but I expect within a year it will be about the same level as the others as far as features, and only then because it's a bit late to the game.

I tend to think Firefox suffers from the same issue as Linux, although arguably it has had more success in public uptake. It doesn't require any complex processes to install, being a simple software program, and it has a plugin system that at the time was groundbreaking. Now that others have begun to adapt this, it has lost one of it's primary draws for me. That leaves performance and ease of use, neither of which tips the balance for me in any particular direction.

They are simply being left behind because they don't offer anything that is 'must have' anymore. That and the fact that they won't play h.264 is just enough for me to switch to Chrome after using Firefox for years.

Re:Things Mature (1, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260120)

h.264 is a non-issue, they've chosen to go the correct route and not include it in the distribution. The alternative would be to require people to pay for the codec which doesn't really work for a free browser. The other browsers can do it because they've either got excessively deep pockets like MS or don't care about what that'll do the the web.

But Firefox is a notable exception, owning as many eyeballs as it does, it has some clout and the other smaller distributions should be backing it up on this issue. Unless we really want to be stuck forever in the plug in hell that the web has been put through over the last decade or so.

Re:Things Mature (5, Interesting)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260178)

Apple already has licenses for h.264 which are included with the OS. It makes sense for them to include that support. MS is also offering that support with their higher end versions of Windows 7.

There is no reason that Mozilla couldn't simply rely on the same. it would not require that they charge anyone in those cases. Simply offering the option to use the OS's built in codec is a simple solution. As to what it will 'do to the web', it won't do anything. H.264 is already in use, on a multitude of high profile sites. Simply claiming Theora is better simply because it's OSS doesn't make it logistically a better fit for everyone. H.264 has obvious advantages including hardware acceleration on a huge number of devices where none exists for Theora. Also taken into account that Apple and Mac have already paid those license costs for the OS. Why not use them?

Re:Things Mature (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32259966)

Ya this attitude of "Something should have tons of features but no bloat," has always confused me. There seem to be far too many technical people who think that you should be able to have software with all the features in the world, yet that takes up only a tiny sliver of memory and disk space. No, sorry, not how it works. The more you want something to do, the more resources it needs. You like a robust browser plugin architecture? Cool, but that takes resources, not only for the plugins you load, but just in general to support it. Want colour correction? No problem, but again takes resources to do that. Full HTML5 support? Sure that can happen, but the complexity of the markup means again more resources needed.

You cannot have something with tons of features and a minimal footprint. Just doesn't happen. Personally, I'll take the more features. Computers are not starved for memory or power these days. Let's use that for nice features, not whine and bitch that software should be spartan to same a few MB.

Re:Things Mature (4, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260000)

Opera has been really successful with providing a browser that feels light to use but is still powerful and full of native features. That's probably the reason why Opera feels so constant and fast - all the features are build-in and have the same level of quality. While a better addon system would be good, besides ad blocker (which I use Ad Muncher for), there's not really any features that are missing. And the whole GUI and usage feels a lot more robust than Firefox's XUL-based interface.

Re:Things Mature (5, Interesting)

abigor (540274) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260140)

Opera's memory footprint is comparable to that of Firefox. "Feels light" is purely subjective and has nothing to do with actual resource usage.

Re:Things Mature (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260260)

Only when the memory is available.

Run both Opera and Firefox on memory starved systems and you will change your tune.

Re:Things Mature (0)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260166)

And the whole GUI and usage feels a lot more robust than Firefox's XUL-based interface.

This sounds like the way an audiophile would describe a cable. Can you describe the characteristics of a robust GUI to a user?

Re:Things Mature (3, Insightful)

tpstigers (1075021) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260282)

Can you describe the characteristics of a robust GUI to a user?

And why should anyone have to describe it? Just let a person have a damn opinion, for Crissake.

Re:Things Mature (2, Insightful)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260284)

Truly. It definitely is possible to write software that is featureful and fast. You just have to write it correctly. And let's face it, Firefox is not written correctly. It's nice that people are sticking up for their favorite browser, but let's not be in denial about what a bloated mess Firefox has become.

Re:Things Mature (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260046)

You are obviously too young to remember the days when programmers wrote optimised and intelligent code. These days all of the lazy fucks that call themselves programmers just point and click in pretty drag and drop IDEs that require 10MB of RAM just to print "hello fucking world".

Re:Things Mature (3, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260098)

You realize that 10MB of RAM is less than 1% of the total memory in most desktops these days, right?

I know, I know, I'll get off your lawn now.

Re:Things Mature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260218)

You do realize that people need to run other programs than just Firefox, right?

Re:Things Mature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260134)

And you are obviously not a programmer.

Re:Things Mature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260250)

Actually, he is being very conservative. Code up hello world in C# and run it and see how much ram it takes. A hell of a lot more than 10. Oh, you forgot about the dotnet VM? Stupid git.

Re:Things Mature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260216)

Sad, but fucking true.

Re:Things Mature (1)

gutnor (872759) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260272)

Well if all programs were optimised to the max, optimized Firefox would still seems bloated compared to its optimized competitor ... because of course we would not buy quadri-core with tens of gig of ram. So the point of the GP is still valid - the developer pool is the same for all products.

Of course, that's fantasy, the current development projects could not be optimised to what was the norm before. It is just a question of scale: you can build a watch using milimetric pieces placed at micrometer precision. You cannot build your whole house assembling it from millimetric pieces and micrometer tooling. And the scale is about right, what was the whole purpose of program yesterday is just one of the hundreds functionalities required in a modern software.

Re:Things Mature (5, Insightful)

Unoti (731964) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260300)

You are obviously too young to remember the days when programmers wrote optimised and intelligent code.

Maybe. On the other hand, this is called empowerment. Development horsepower is moving downhill. Power is moving out of the hands of the top developers into the hands of the merely mortal developers. And out of the hands of the merely mortal developers and into the hands of the power users. Here are some other things that are different today vs. the golden days of yore:

  1. Empowerment of users. A lot fewer programmers are needed to get tasks done than used to be required. A huge portion of tasks users can now handle for themselves using spreadsheets, databases such as Access or their VB equivalents. Quite a few of the programming tasks I did professionally when I started 20 years ago are no longer needed, made no longer necessary by things such as label printing programs, easy to use mailmerge functions in word processors, and so on.
  2. Software usability, and GUI. Back in the day, every single program needed documentation to come with it to explain how to use it. Today, most software is so easy to use that if you don't intuitively know how to accomplish what you want to do, it's pretty much crap. There are exceptions to this rule, like CAD programs and photo editing software, but mostly, software is way easier to use today than it used to be.
  3. Programmers were forced to optimize their code, it wasn't like they had a choice. When you're working with 64k or 640k of main memory and bankswitching the rest of your memory or whatever, you kind of need to optimize your code. The difference in productivity between that kind of thing and what we to today is staggering. Today I write software by assembling modular bits of subprograms together rapidly, string it together with this or that, and wham, it's working. Back in the day, everything had to be written from scratch.
  4. Radical productivity differences. Developers are radically more productive than they used to be. Things that used to take days or weeks to do are routinely done in hours now. Things that are considered routine today we didn't even attempt to do back in the day. (Example: Today, computers from different companies exchange data all the time easily and efficiently using webservices. Compare that to the nightmare of integration and taking forever or not getting done at all that EDI used to be.)

Sure, we use more memory now. And yes, it's easier to code than it used to be. I wouldn't say that drag and drop ide's are the be-all end all today, though. Non-gui development environments are just as popular as they used to be, don't you think? I'm thinking of Ruby on Rails, Django...

Re:Things Mature (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260060)

There are necessary resources and unnecessary resources. Very often it is a sign of a) poor code reuse leading to huge binaries or b) too much data being pulled to a high layer or too many layers and discarded leading to not only high memory usage but also much slower execution time. Like recently I rewrote a report at work, it used to take 13-14 minutes and the new version runs in 1.2 seconds. Why? Because the old one used some high end views leading to excessive joins, poor indexing and huge resource consumption. Of course by using the base tables we're now prone to application changes but still. I'm sure there are many cases where resources are simply wasted that completely dwarf any needed consumption.

Re:Things Mature (1)

matunos (1587263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260118)

Out of curiosity, what are the features that Chrome lacks that lead to it being significantly faster than Firefox, while WebKit supports more of HTML5?

Re:Things Mature (4, Interesting)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 4 years ago | (#32259970)

I'd agree with that, although there is room for multiple browsers. Chrome is nice for when I just want to fire up a browser to check my mail or get directions before I leave. Firefox has a far more mature set of plugins. Until Chrome gets the same retinue I doubt Firefox has much to fear. Without fully featured versions of AdBlock, Noscript, FlashBlock, Web Developer, and Greasemonkey, I won't be switching over anytime soon. And if Chrome ever does become robust enough to have support for the same variety of plugins that Firefox has I have to believe that it will be as "bloated" as Firefox is now perceived to be.

To Mozilla, if you're listening...please please please plug the memory leak that is constantly plaguing your product! There is no reason that Firefox with 5 tabs should be using over 300 MB of RAM without any Flash or PDF files open.

Re:Things Mature (1)

matthew5 (916509) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260078)

Until Chrome gets the same retinue I doubt Firefox has much to fear. Without fully featured versions of AdBlock, Noscript, FlashBlock, Web Developer, and Greasemonkey, I won't be switching over anytime soon.

I have several of those already installed in Chrome. You may enjoy a quick trip to https://chrome.google.com/extensions?hl=en-US [google.com]

Re:Things Mature (5, Insightful)

HBoar (1642149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260002)

Agreed. In addition, I'd like to see an example of a mainstream piece of software that isn't becoming more 'bloated' as time goes by. It makes sense to give users more features and capability as hardware specs improve. Why would your average user want a browser that has limited functionality but only uses 10MB of RAM when they have a machine with 4GB that they only use to browse the web?

I'm using Opera at the moment on my office PC -- it's using ~350MB of RAM and I simply don't care. It could twice that and I still wouldn't care. For those that do, there will always be less mainstream options out there that are much more lightweight at the expense of some functionality.

Re:Things Mature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260142)

Agreed. In addition, I'd like to see an example of a mainstream piece of software that isn't becoming more 'bloated' as time goes by.

Emacs.

Re:Things Mature (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260190)

Emacs is so mainstream, since it's only used by geeks and computer techs.

Re:Things Mature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260240)

Agreed. In addition, I'd like to see an example of a mainstream piece of software that isn't becoming more 'bloated' as time goes by.

Emacs.

Except that Emacs stopped growing only when it had every feature under the sun. Which happened years ago.

Re:Things Mature (1)

Madcat123 (700335) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260028)

This is the normal cycle of software products. A light-and-fast product comes to market to challenge the old and bloated one. Users jump on board. It grows in response to demand (unless the developers have the backbone to say 'no'), and after a while it becomes the very thing it replaced. And then the next newcomer with light-and-fast product comes along, and the cycle repeats all over again. There's very little one can do to prevent this cycle from happening.

Re:Things Mature (1, Interesting)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260030)

IE might be losing marketshare, but even IE has features that Firefox doesn't. For example, process separation between tabs. And IE9 is quickly bringing the JS performance and standards compliance up to par with Firefox.

I mean, feel free to hate Microsoft, but there has to be something wrong at Mozilla if even Microsoft's slow, super-careful, backwards-compatible development methods are caught up so quickly.

Re:Things Mature (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260138)

you mean the version of IE that's not even out yet, and today barely can keep up with firefox now? It's going to be at the same performance now, when it's finally released, at which point every other browser will be significantly faster. whoopty fucking do.

even firefox advances faster quicker than ie does. give me a fucking break.

Re:Things Mature (4, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260288)

All process separation in IE8 has done has made a slow browser even slower. In the time it takes for the copies of IE8 on every computer I use to bring up my Google.com home page, I'm already checking GMail on Chrome and Firefox. I don't give a shit at this point whether this or future versions of IE gain standards compliance, the browser just plain sucks. I'd sooner restart Firefox once a day than have to put up with IE and all those "features" that make it so slow. Of all the mainstream browsers, IE is probably by far the worst.

The issue for me is responsiveness (5, Insightful)

Dragoniz3r (992309) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260036)

I understand that over time software gets bloated, but the biggest deal to me is not allowing that bloat to impact the UI. Nothing frustrates me more than having an unresponsive UI while a page is loading. Some stupid flash script is loading, so it takes 5 seconds to switch tabs. That's unacceptable to me. The UI should be instant, no matter what's going on. Switching tabs should be instant, clicking buttons should be instant, typing text in textboxes should be instant, even when the page hasn't fully loaded.

Re:The issue for me is responsiveness (5, Insightful)

HBoar (1642149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260122)

This is exactly why I use Opera. It doesn't use any less RAM than the others that I've noticed, but it's UI is always lightning fast, even on older systems.

Bloated over time? (5, Interesting)

IdahoEv (195056) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260136)

In at least one way, FF has been bloated all along.

Every time I've used any version of FF for the last four years, once it's been running for an hour or more it starts getting these little halts/pauses where the whole browser and UI freeze for half a second every 10-30 seconds. It gets worse the longer it's been open and the more pages i've opened. I've seen it on macs, windows, and linux. I've seen it on every machine I've ever used FF on. It is independent of all plugins and add-ons because it happens in a bare browser. I don't know what causes it, but intuitively it feels like garbage collection meets a bad memory leak.

It makes video unwatchable, which is pretty much death to a browser in today's world. Incidentally, it's happened three (now four) times while writing this post.

I've seen at least 5 bug reports and at least 10 threads in the Mozilla support forum. In every case, the developers/support people seem to not understand, or not believe that it's real, yet I've (another pause there) seen it on dozens of different computers and platforms, and never met a single computer with FF that *didn't* reproduce the problem. No matter how many bug reports get filed, this problem in FF never gets fixed.

And yet, I depend on my plugins for both browsing and developing. As it is, I use FF for almost everything, but I have to switch browsers to watch video, which is really annoying, and restart FF every (another pause there) three hours, which is even more annoying. /rant off

Re:The issue for me is responsiveness (1)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260298)

The UI should be instant, no matter what's going on.

For a non-trivial app, it has to do multi-threading right. And multi-threading is not something you can easily add to a large code base without major rewrites. I think only FireFox devs know if it is doomed (meaning if it'd ever be fully multi-threaded). But I am afraid the answer is yes.

Re:Things Mature (1)

sdguero (1112795) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260184)

Feels like 1998 all over again eh....

Certainly not light (4, Informative)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 4 years ago | (#32259924)

In order of resource usage, from a consumer's standpoint I'd rank them: Chrome Opera FireFox Internet Explorer This is not based on any tests but simply my experience using them all. Personally, Chrome is good but Opera has more features I use and is more customizable, so Opera wins out overall - and now Opera is nearly as good as Chrome in benchmarks.

Re:Certainly not light (1)

InfoJunkie777 (1435969) | more than 4 years ago | (#32259968)

I would agree, except I have not used Opera since version 9. I found the interface "cluttered". Subjective, I know. Maybe I should try it again. I know that it is the most standards compliant, even implementing parts of HTML 5. I am staying at a relatives house and am using an ancient laptop. It slooooooooooow. So I installed Chrome and the pages just POP. IE is nowhere and even FF is impossibly slow. This is discouraging because I love all the extensions.

Re:Certainly not light (3, Informative)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260016)

You may not like Opera's default interface, but it's cleaned up in 10.52 and no matter what version it's incredibly customizable. As for an old computer, if internet speed is an issue Opera has a function called 'Turbo', it sends all your requests to Opera's servers and has the pages compressed, speeds up load times immensely.

Re:Certainly not light (1)

HBoar (1642149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260020)

I like Opera, and it's the only browser that I use nowdays, but I'm not sure it's any lighter in terms of resource use than FF or IE. Currently, it's using ~350MB with 10 tabs open after being up for a week or so, but that's because I have a CFD simulation running which is sucking up about 3GB. If there is a lot of RAM free, it will suck up quite a lot more. I don't mind this at all, RAM is there to be used, after all.

Re:Certainly not light (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260062)

According to the V8 tests, 1st on my machine is Opera 10.53 getting a score of 109. Just behind it is Safari 4.0.5 at 105, then Firefox 3.6.3 is a distant third at 64.9.

This is on a 6 year old 12.1" PowerBook G4 (1.5Ghz, 1.25GB Ram) running OS 10.5. So no Google Chrome.

The only reason I have FF is because there are two websites I have to use that only work in FF or IE. They don't run correctly in Opera or Safari.

Re:Certainly not light (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260182)

On this newer (but not nearly top of the line) system running Ubuntu, FF 3.6.3 gets a 300 and Chrome 5.0.375.38 beta gets a 2152. This is from the page at http://v8.googlecode.com/svn/data/benchmarks/v3/run.html [googlecode.com]

Re:Certainly not light (1)

raving griff (1157645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260292)

On my high end rig running 7, FF 3.6.3 gets 502 while Chrome 5.0.365.38 beta gets a whopping 5228.

Re:Certainly not light (3, Informative)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260186)

I'm an Opera fan myself, but I would not rank IE last in resource usage, certainly not below Firefox. IE deserves a lot of scorn, but I think that one of Microsoft's goals with IE is to use resources as efficiently as possible (considering their huge customer base), and I think they've accomplished that goal. I would be pretty shocked to see any real-world benchmarks where Firefox beats IE in terms of memory use. Granted, IE is going to execute Javascript an order of magnitude slower than anything else, but it's going to do it while using less memory. Although, if Mozilla doesn't get its act together then it's going to soon find itself lagging behind IE9 in Javascript performance. That would be embarrassing. Of the top 5 browsers, Firefox is currently ranked 4th in Javascript performance. The IE9 preview already beats Firefox 3.7, but the IE9 preview isn't an actual browser yet.

Like I said, IE deserves a lot of scorn for the bugs and differences between everything else, but I think it's safe to say that resource usage might be IE's strongest point (fighting for first place with an easy-to-use UI).

That being said, Opera still rocks everything else.

From the no sh*t bosco dept (3, Insightful)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 4 years ago | (#32259928)

FF is lagging behind Gee, who would've thunk, each rev is less usable then the last, tht FF is falling behind. I like so many others, have tried, again and again, politely and impolitely, to get FF to focus on so many problems... Like the bookmarks editor...just hopeless Like the loss of control of privacy functions.... Ever try to find an old release of FF on the FF website ? If open source means anything, doesn't it mean you can get the previous releases, anytime you want ? Failure to give add on developers a stable platform, and failure to give users a way to isolate bad addons One of the constants of the PC era is that MS always wins, cause they can afford to ride out upstarts; however, the upstarts never survive a mistake. From quattro pro to netscape to FF, one bad release, and your toast, and MS is their to pick up the pieces

Re:From the no sh*t bosco dept (1)

teh31337one (1590023) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260052)

Urgh. Your bastardisation of the English language hurts my eyes.

Re:From the no sh*t bosco dept (1)

iwannasexwithyourmom (1804754) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260172)

hahaha! says the guy with teh31337one as a nick ;)

Re:From the no sh*t bosco dept (1)

teh31337one (1590023) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260196)

Touché

Re:From the no sh*t bosco dept (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260232)

As far as getting old versions go, they probably don't post them because there are so many security fixes that you really shouldn't be running an old version. Ever.

Re:From the no sh*t bosco dept (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260264)

ftp://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/firefox/releases/

So hard to find. Oh god oh god.

Most open source stuff is on FTP. Get used to it.

Definitely not renegade (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#32259934)

Not exactly lightweight anymore either, and some parts of it are a bit long in the tooth...

But nothing else has the sort of configurability that it has, so I won't be going anywhere else any time soon.
I love my add-ons to death. Using a browser without them is borderline unusable.

Re:Definitely not renegade (1)

jjbenz (581536) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260262)

agreed, I use the other browsers from time to time, but I keep coming back to Firefox.

Firefox 4... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32259940)

He's right.

Firefox 3.5 had Tracemonkey as a JavaScript engine for webpages but the Firefox UI is XUL+JS and it wasn't until FF 3.6 that they dared to enable it for XUL (so FF3.6 is much faster, do try it).

Also I've been looking at those damn UI mockups for Firefox 4 for so long and I think they're better than Chrome but they still haven't released this user interface. It matters a lot to how people perceive Firefox.

The multi-process stuff will take as long as it will take, I can understand that, but the UI refresh should be released now.

Re:Firefox 4... (2, Informative)

t0y (700664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260010)

Out of process plugins are coming out soon with 3.6.4 for select plugins.
In the dev release (minefield) this is already enabled for all plugins and it's fairly stable, save from some corner cases like java's modal security popups. This is seen working perfectly when the plugins hang/crash, which is fairly often with certain builds.

And I really, really hope they won't go for the process per tab like planned. It takes a lot of extra memory for little benefit (IMO).

Re:Firefox 4... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260150)

"And I really, really hope they won't go for the process per tab like planned. It takes a lot of extra memory for little benefit (IMO)."

Doesn't the JavaScript run many times faster when it gets its own process? Seems it might be necessary for webapps Source:
http://www.myoutsourcedbrain.com/2009/11/firefox-in-parallel-pre-release-version.html

Re:Firefox 4... (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260058)

the UI refresh should be released now.

I'd like to see them release some of those experimental UI as alternate themes, if just as a way to measure popularity and usability. I'm not sure how deep theme changes can get, but if the UI is completely XUL, it can't be that hard to slap a completely new skin on top.

What ever happened to minefield? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32259944)

Minefield was an alpha version of mozilla's browser line that went amazingly fast. However, true to its name, it did blow up on my system and never recovered. Is it still around because it was roughly as fast as chrome was at the time while still having support for major plugins (adblock).

Re:What ever happened to minefield? (1)

Mikeplus42 (1792412) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260090)

I'm fairly sure it's just been renamed to 'Namoroka'.

Firefox is sputtering out (0, Troll)

DaGoodBoy (8080) | more than 4 years ago | (#32259978)

I downloaded mosaic when the web was new and being a Linux user, Netscape was the only game in town and I suffered through the horrible Motif widgets because the browser and email client were the best of a poor set.

Firefox was wonderful when it came out and delivered a great shock to the system. IE 6 was bullocks and once people got used to downloading a browser, it opened the door wider for Opera and eventually Chrome. I don't know at what point they lost their way, but my Firefox nee IceWeasel got slower and slower and slower. The bickering over the trademark and the increasing performance problems lost me. Once I had to kill the browser every time I went to shut it down, I put Chrome in my sources.list and never looked back. Too bad, really.

And in other news (2, Informative)

joeflies (529536) | more than 4 years ago | (#32259986)

Mozilla official cite that the innovation of new features in other browsers suspiciously correlate to the sudden appearance of black duck eggs at restaurants near the Mozilla office.

Re:And in other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260162)

Oh please oh please can we PLEASE stop spreading this nonsense that FF ever innovated anything?
Just what are you claiming Mozilla innovated? Whatever you *think* they innovated,
Compare with this [operawiki.info]

Tis so true... (1)

Aldenissin (976329) | more than 4 years ago | (#32259992)

I am a Firefox lover and what it stands for. However, even though I am not sure it is a few add-ons or what, I no longer get excited about what new (if not often completely transparent to me) is being brought to the table with each update unless it is speed and optimizations. The memory leak thing was horrible and I knew something was wrong long before it was begun to be publicly addressed and I just a user, not a programmer. OK, so the themeing stuff looks good if that is your thing, but lets stay focused here. IE sucks, and Firefox was THE answer since it was open and powerful, yet as simple as you wanted by not using said add-ons. I was never hesitant to recommend it. The only reason why I don't recommend something else is because even if I like Google, privacy is a big concern. With nobody RTFA here, we know John Doe doesn't RTFM or even more importantly the EULA. Other than that (because people are wising up a bit with privacy concerns if not due to Facebook in the news and even then..) Chrome is definitely posing a major threat. But we all know this and has been covered including that Google was something like 80-90% if I recall correctly, the income for Mozilla. Just sad really, nothing good ever lasts.

Yes... (4, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260014)

Of course development has slowed - it has achieved the goal most users/developers have wanted for it: To be a stable, fairly secure platform that allows a decent plugin model, and works consistently between platforms.

This is like complaining that the GNU C compiler isn't keeping up with the .Net framework, because it isn't taking risks or pushing envelopes... that's not the job it exists to do.

Chrome gets to be sexy, because it is newer experiment in browser ideas mashed together. Firefox leaves that to its plugins - losing some of the "synergy" of a singular design, but gaining much more flexibility in terms of user preferences.

Until Chrome can do everything I want with all my Firefox plugins, I'll keep ignoring it. I just don't want to be losing features in Firefox in the pursuit of the new sexy, when I already love it for what it is.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Yes... (4, Informative)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260088)

Funny, because originally that goal was to create a stripped down version of Mozilla/Netscape that was lightweight and fast. They seem to have forgotten that it wasn't supposed to be a wholesale replacement for Netscape/Mozilla with all the bells and whistles.

Re:Yes... (2, Insightful)

lemur3 (997863) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260148)

I dont know if it is just me but whenever people harp on about how theyll ignore other browsers until they can do everything they can do with firefoxes _insert obscure plugins here_ I tend to think of how we always end up with useless crap like XEYES on pretty much every graphic installation...... Maybe sometimes people create a need where one didnt exist?! Maybe we CAN live without Xeyes?!.

Re:Yes... (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260310)

When the program is smaller than one jpeg in your browser's cache, does it really matter? xeyes is minuscule. I don't think it's even 50kB.

Re:Yes... (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260174)

This is right on the nose. Chrome is nowhere close to Firefox feature-wise, if you factor in the plugins. Much has been said about separate processes and the UI lift, and I agree that at this very moment Chrome has some some things at the state of the art, while Firefox is playing catchup. But separate processes and the UI lift are coming [mozilla.org] , after all, they just take time to program into the platform that is Firefox. Notice their obsession with the mobile branch, which is crucial, IMHO. Chrome is also a sneaky turd that reports to the mothership, and that is one "feature" that I don't want my Web browser to have, ever. Thanks, but no thanks.

Re:Yes... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260274)

They have "obsession with the mobile branch" for over half a decade; and it didn't amount to much (other than "we'll just wait until the hardware is able to run our browser; in the meantime we'll just ignore that others can do it on a very limited hardware")

My take as an old time firefox user ... (5, Interesting)

Ekuryua (940558) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260024)

I think that the problem is actually that the higher firefox devs. seem to be focused on looking like chrome/opera... and keep on introducing new features that break the rest of the browser.
People don't move to chrome because of the ui(well okay, some do, most I know didn't), they moved because it was faster and less buggy.

What firefox needs is optimization/cleaning, not new features.

I will personally stay with the fox until chrome or opera allow for both real gui modification(which both opera and chrome lack) and extensions(chrome has that, or at least starting to pick up).v

Re:My take as an old time firefox user ... (2, Informative)

Ekuryua (940558) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260064)

Also, it is true that jemalloc(the memory allocator) of firefox is quite broken under linux. It is however quite good under windows, and there are very few leaks from firefox itself nowadays. Most leaks come from non-updated extensions/a couple known culprits(see firebug/video download helper/menu editor, and a couple others)

Re:My take as an old time firefox user ... (1)

visualight (468005) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260152)

The only thing they do at firefox is stir up the UI. They should have spent the past 4 years optimizing instead of one by one removing buttons I use. Some idiot there with some power looks at chrome and thinks the way chrome looks is why it's popular -and announces that firefox 4 will be a major overhaul of the UI. Like, what release hasn't been about the UI?

Re:My take as an old time firefox user ... (1)

luckymutt (996573) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260208)

Opera has a plugin system called "widgets" that is quite capable, and the UI is very customizable, such as choosing what you want on which tool bar/area, keyboard shortcuts, customize address bar search and others. What do you want for "real gui modification?" (I mean that as a real question, not rhetoric)

Re:My take as an old time firefox user ... (1)

Ekuryua (940558) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260222)

something as simple as placing the file menu on the same bar as my address bar.(yes I know there are some custom buttons to do something similar, but it's hardly the same since they don't behave like a menu)

Itching to Switch... (1)

duerra (684053) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260048)

I've long used Firefox now because of its awesome developer tools and great suite of extensions (though I only use a few). However, it has gotten very slow lately, it has always used way too much memory, and quite frankly some of the other alternatives look better by the day. I really want to switch to chrome, but the only thing holding me back is a nice sidebar for things like viewing my RSS feed lists while still navigating the current browser window. There are a few other settings I'd like to have some control over, but it wouldn't take much to get me to switch at this point.

I know everybody blames all of the issues on the extensions, but the issues run deeper than that. I hope they can get it turned around soon, but things haven't improved in the last few years, so I'm not holding my breath.

Awful Bar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260050)

Firefox jumped the shark with the introduction of the AWFUL BAR !!!!

Whatever happened to keep it simple? (4, Insightful)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260072)

Any goals that do not focus on security, speed and standards need to be pitched. All feature requests that fall outside of these core goals should be put into add-ins or plug-ins.

Chrome is seriously lagging behind (5, Interesting)

caubert (1301759) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260082)

Re:Chrome is seriously lagging behind (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260194)

Really? Because I just back-navigated to a page on 5.0.375.38, and was taken to the same position.

But Chrome still has session problems, I think. Several times I have tried to "go back" to restore form data, and the data was lost. I don't know if it still affects Chrome, as it forced me to change my browsing habits to be more careful.

Re:Chrome is seriously lagging behind (1, Flamebait)

mmaniaci (1200061) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260236)

Its already fixed. Took me 10 seconds of reading your link to figure that out.

Re:Chrome is seriously lagging behind (1)

caubert (1301759) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260304)

okay, preview release at version 5.0.375.29 has this feature somewhat implemented.

Switched away long ago. (5, Interesting)

lemur3 (997863) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260094)

Like many I was one of the first on the big wagon ride using firefox in the various names it had before its current guise....

but... it just got too slow and clunky, startup times got longer load times of pages lagged... the benefits it had started to lose value.

So I switched to Opera and Safari...... I use firefox on the few websites I use that require it (yes that sounds odd).. I wish it were like it used to be.

This in comparison to... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260096)

IE6. Long live IE6! It will never die! IE6 forever!

FIX IT YOURSELF (-1, Flamebait)

Iceykitsune (1059892) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260106)

Firefox is open scoruce, if you don't like how it is being coded FIX IT!

Re:FIX IT YOURSELF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260234)

I fix it by using the uninstall option. IE is just as good.

Re:FIX IT YOURSELF (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260246)

In this case, 'fix it' for many of the posters here is 'delete most of the code'

Re:FIX IT YOURSELF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260306)

99.995% of users do not have the skills to fix it themselves.

open source != easy DIY

Have had to disable addons lately to get speed (1)

shovas (1605685) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260114)

I love firefox for its developer related addons but lately it's been getting more and more grating with the performance hit and instability you take with addons.

So I've resorted to running in safe mode and disabling addons. What am I using firefox for anymore? Good question...

Re:Have had to disable addons lately to get speed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260294)

Community addons/plugins/extensions incur loss? Whodathunkit?

Seriously, this is nothing new. In 10 years, I have yet to see one game mod, one product plugin, one browser extension, whose code was not a steaming pile of shit and inefficiency. I know they exist, but in all likelihood account for less than 1% total.

It made me adopt a new outlook. Communities can't (for the most part) do anything right; only the original author can. If you want something right, do it yourself. I won't trust an extension by anyone other than Firefox/Chrome teams themselves.

(Chrome's inherent multithreading make this less of a concern than it used to be, however. 10-20% non-blocking CPU core hit isn't as big a deal when you have 8 cores, not 1.)

If you can't beat them, join them... (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260156)

...And what's wrong with Firefox adopting WebKit as its engine? They could retain their current interface or even make version 4.x mock-ups [ghacks.net] a reality. Again, what's wrong with that?

Re:If you can't beat them, join them... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260206)

Other than that would basically result in starting from scratch?

WebKit doesn't do what Gecko does, so you can't just drop webkit into Firefox.

In Chrome and Safari, you have an application that uses a WebKit rendering area for drawing the web page you see.

In Firefox you have an XUL renderer and everything else (the UI and HTML viewing areas) are just 'sub pages' more or less.

Think of Firefox as a web browser built in a web page. Its far more complex than that, but in principal thats what you get.

It's true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260158)

It's true. I use Firefox as my primary browser on all of my machines, and it is the browser I have chosen to roll out to all of my employees. It is not because of it's speed, reliability, standards compliance, or features. It's for the extensions. Fire-FTP, Adblock Plus, Google Translate, Firebug, Xmarks -all have become very dear to me.

Every other major browser I have tried has had better performance. On some platforms, Firefox does not reliably render all objects, and I find myself having to use IE or Chrome.

The lack of HTML5 h.264 support will be the final nail as far as I am concerned. Unless there is a simple extension available that adds this functionality back I will move on. An alternate build that is not supported by the main branch does not interest me, as I do not want to have to worry about maintaining compatibility with my add-ons.

Firefox has gone downhill, and shows no signs of recovery. It's far from dead, but the future does look grim.

Then try Palemoon (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32260176)

A friend pointed me to a Firefox Windows optimized derivation called Palemoon (http://www.palemoon.org).

Several people bash it saying "Ah is just a guy messing with the compile options and is not for Linux!" - but despite that I tried it. And I saw that Palemoon cut off some unwanted things that Firefox coders think that we should need by force (Personas, parental controls, and other code not needed for me at least). This have a nice side effect: Lots of pages that doesn't work well on Firefox works fine on Palemoon and the program deals better with plugins that I need only. So Palemoon fills the gap that was only exclusive for Linux users and those custom builds.

If Firefox works more on made a good browsing experience rather to work on odd UIs or things that I don't want (personas) maybe it would be the #1 again.

Side notes: Chrome is not for me, I like that google do not spy on me. Opera is nice but lacks of plugins. M$IE? You are kidding, right? Now troll whatever you want. I won't read them anyway. XD

Bugs are not being fixed. (2, Interesting)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 4 years ago | (#32260228)

While in the past there were crashes that could kill FireFox related to Flash, I don't see that like I used too. Now I see the browser spiking my CPU and raising its temperature by a few degrees because of bugs in the Java Scripting and AJAX engines. I am not sure if the culprit is memory leaks, or just faults in the software. It just seems like there are bugs in the renderer that are not being fixed and causing the CPU usage to spike in certain complex pages coded in certain ways.

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