Moving back to Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox with Quantum Dark theme

Back in the days following the browser wars, there was a new browser that rose from the ashes of Netscape: Mozilla Firefox. I was a massive fan when it first launched. I literally bought the t-shirt. And the umbrella.

But like many, sometime after Firefox 3 or 3.5, I was seduced by the simplicity of Google Chrome and I made the switch.

Recently, however, I have become more aware of and concerned about security and privacy, two things that Mozilla have really been putting in the effort to improve in Firefox over the last few years. I’ve also grown more cynical about Google after they removed their “do no evil” clause from their code of conduct in 2018.

This is obviously an opinionated piece, but Mozilla does provide quite a nice comparison of various features of seven of the most popular browsers currently.

So, this week, after 12 years using Chrome almost exclusively, I made the switch back to Mozilla Firefox. From Firefx v3.5 to v89.

I imported my bookmarks from Google Chrome, logged into Firefox on my Android phone and initiated a synchronised relationship between the two. I have installed my favourite plugins/add-ons and have this gorgeous Quantum Dark theme.

I’m going to give it a go for the next month and see how I get on.

So far, I am really impressed.


Friday 18 June 2021

I thought I would update this post with any observations that I have during this experiment.

I miss the ability to natively group tabs the way that you can now in Google Chrome. I used that a lot to keep certain collections of tabs together.

I also don’t like the way that Firefox renders Gmail—the internal scrollbars are very intrusive. I spent a little while today trying to restyle them using the Stylish plugin but to no avail.

In terms of speed, rendering pages, and general usability: no problems at all. I actually prefer the tabs in Firefox, and I prefer how it displays when you rip off a tab and move it another monitor.

I am getting used to the inspect source code (developer tools) option not being right at the bottom of the context menu in Firefox, as it is in Chrome.

I miss the JoinTabs plugin in Chrome but I found one with a similar functionality (Merge all windows) which works via the right-click context menu rather than a standalone button on the toolbar.

The experiment continues…

Firefox 3 has landed

I should be in bed: I’m pretty tired and am fighting another kidney-related bug (but the good news is that the antibiotics do appear to be kicking in), but I just wanted to check in and say this:

Mozilla Firefox 3.0 is pretty fantastic.

I have to be honest, I was a little hesitant about upgrading. It’s not that I wasn’t looking forward to checking it out — I’d tried out v.3.0 beta 5, and v.3.0 RC1 after all.  It’s just that I really do rely on a number of key add-ons for my everyday browsing and Web development.

I needn’t have worried. At work 1/20 didn’t work with Firefox 3, and at home it was 2/17.  The offending add-ons were “Tails” (a microformats add-on) and “X-Ray” (which shows HTML tags in the page).  Nothing show-stopping, nothing that couldn’t be replaced with something else or dropped.

Firefox 3 is so much faster, both loading and rendering pages. The new features on the address bar are fantastic. My only niggle is that I really don’t like the default theme.  I loved the chunky look of versions 1.0.x, 1.5.x and 2.x.  So I’m using CrystalFox Modern until someone ports the old theme to version 3!

Oh, and it passes the Acid2 test and scores 71/100 on Acid3.

But hey! if that’s my only criticism of Fx3 then they must be doing something pretty darned well!

Right, now I’m off to bed!