Goodbye Firefox

Tannin

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You were a good browser once. Sad to see another once-great product drink the let's-bork-all-our-users cool-aid. Hello Steve, is that you?

Opera is on life support, with the just-released 12.17 virtually certain to be the last version ever released. Thank God Sea Monkey still exists. Pale Moon just got a massive boost to its userbase.
 

ddrueding

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Tannin, of all the tech people I know, you must be the one who likes change the least. Last I checked you hated Firefox altogether, claiming that the older browser (Opera was it?) was superior. Only after another change are you saying that the last Firefox was good?

I barely noticed the change, something that simple and cosmetic has no influence on my use of a product.
 

Chewy509

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I don't mind the changes, the only issue I have is how tabs are now rendered. It's hard to make out the different tabs with my current GNOME theme, as well as the default GNOME theme (in both GNOME 2.30 and GNOME 3.10/3.12).
 

Tannin

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In another place, I quoted another user: "this whole Australis interface on their latest version made me see red. (Where did those IE back/forward buttons come from? Why is the bookmark star joined at the hip with the Bookmark editor, and out of the URL bar?? Why is the refresh page icon at the end of the URL bar, and not next to the Back/Forward buttons?? I'm in Customize, but why can't I move those buttons around?! WTF IS THIS $#!+??? "Easily customizable" my left nut! This is all broken!"

And went on to add:

Exactly! There is no design here, just pointlessly random controls in random dumbed-down places 'coz someone thought "they looked nicer that way". Function subordinated to form, and even the form isn't anything to write home about. The UI has been deteriorating slowly for years, now it's no better than Chrome's - which is harsh criticism indeed. This is what you get when kids graduate from graphic design school without learning anything about practical usability. Firefox was a good, practical girl once, but now some idiot disciple of the Steve Sinofsky School of Bork the Interface has given her new lipstick and subjected her to footbinding.
 

ddrueding

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I can't disagree with any of the things you said in the last post Tannin, it just seems that I'm not fussy about my browser UI. The keyboard shortcuts I rely on still work.
 

mubs

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Yuk. Classic Theme Restorer, here I come. It appears to be change for change's sake - the disease of the modern world. Even if something is just perfect, change it. Software, cars, appliances. Sheesh. Perhaps it's the designers who feel they're useless unless they leave their imprint on something.
 

Tannin

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Tannin, of all the tech people I know, you must be the one who likes change the least. Last I checked you hated Firefox altogether, claiming that the older browser (Opera was it?) was superior. Only after another change are you saying that the last Firefox was good?I barely noticed the change, something that simple and cosmetic has no influence on my use of a product.
No. That's not so bright, Dave, certainly not in the context of web browsers. For years I used Opera, by far the the most innovative browser of all, and eagerly awaited each new improvement. Most of the now-standard features people like and take advantage of in a browser were invented by Opera, and people like me adopted them years before most users even saw them. Now and again, the Opera developers would have a brain explosion and a new version would be a big farnakle-up and users like me would be grumpy. But they always fixed it eventually.

Where I am conservative - and rightly so - is that I have a very low tolerance for destructive change. It infuriates me when some dorkhead marketing department tool damages or reverses progress that has already been achieved. So do most people. This is why Microsoft has copped so much flack in recent years: they got a lot of Windows UI features right (after years and years of gradually improving on their pretty awful first tries), and ever since then, about half the changes they have made have been clearly changes for the worse. Destroying useful features is not "progress", it's just pointless vandalism. Worse yet is the urge to do clever-clever stuff that actively gets in your way. Controls that move around and pop up in unexpected places cause constant annoyance, loss of productivity, and frustration. The new there-again-gone-again navigation controls in Firefox 29 ar an example. It is Ergonomics 101 to put the same control in the same place every single time. The user shouldn't ever have to look for a control, it should be in the same place it was 30 seconds ago. Every time. And - unless there is a very, very good reason - it should be in the same place it was 5 years ago too. People master interfaces far more comprehensively than the brain-dead Firefox designers realise. By making stupid, just-because-I-can UI changes with no tangible benefit, software designers destroy the very real benefit users get from accumulated years of use of a well-crafted interface. Can a user learn and adapt to the stupid new interface? Of course. And if the new interface is actually better, easier, and more productive than the old one, users will happily adapt - just as I adapted to the many, many changes made to improve the Opera UI over the years until they stopped developing the product and started making a third-rate Chrome clone with a degraded UI and reduced functionality.

Another example of the truly astonishing ergonomic stupidity of the Firefox visual designers: they have made the reload button microscopic (harder to click, easier to miss), faint (harder to see, more time wasted), and - here is the really stupid bit - moved it away from the sensible, practical position immediately to the right of the other main navigation controls and hidden it away on the other side of the address field. Absurd! (Yes, they were not the first company to do that. They were following in the footsteps of those well-known champions of the borked UI, Microsoft.) Anyone who develops websites or software is constantly going back - forward - stop - reload - back, over and over, but the fundamental stupidity of sprinkling related functional controls all over the place like confetti affects all manner of users.

Most users probably spend less time with a browser than I do, granted. On the other hand, most users mainly or entirely use one single browser. So, overall, my level of familiarity with a given browser is probably about typical (because I have to use multiple different ones to do my job properly).

The Classic Theme Restorer fixes some of the problems but can't touch some of the others. In any case, you shouldn't have to install third-party patches just to get decent functionality out of a basic product. (When you do, it is a clear sign that you have right royally screwed the pooch - the Windows 8 Metro disaster is another example.) Pale Moon, on the other hand, fixes nearly all of them, and it's not a patch or an add-on, it's a full, stand-alone product.

Bottom line: I have dumped Firefox. Thousands, maybe millions of other users will do the same. I mean what's the point of Firefox now? It is inflicting the Chrome interface on everyone already, so they might as well all run Chrome and be done with it.
 

Howell

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I can't believe anyone would use a browser with such a memory consumption bug/issue. That one issue overshadows anything it once had going for it.
 

Tannin

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Both of the major Gekko browsers (Sea Monkey and Firefox) were near-crippled by that issue years ago, Howell - apparently it had Flash as its major root cause, which would be no surprise to anyone - but after a long time - way too long - they finally fixed it. The Gekko browsers can't stand up to long, multi-tab sessions anywhere near as well as Opera does (meaning real Opera), but they are perfectly usable these days, within reason. Chrome seems to be something like as stable as Opera, but I seldom run many Chrome tabs 'coz the UI is so crappy and it bugs me, so I can't confirm that from my own experience. No idea whether IE has overcome it's very bad stability problems yet, I only ever use it for testing my own websites which are (obviously) knowwn to be exploit-free, so seldom have it on for long and never with more than a half-dozen tabs.

I've actually been playing with, of all outlandish things, Safari of late. On first and second impressions, it seems quite pleasant, much better than it was a few years ago. Subject to more time and experience with it, it looks to be the best of the Webkit browsers, though I still have an ever-fainter hope that the Opera team will, one day, graft a decent UI onto their new product.

Meanwhile, Pale Moon has replaced Firefox on my system and it is working just the way I expect a browser to work.
 

Stereodude

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So my copy of FF on my work PC updated itself. After I moved around a few things on the toolbars it doesn't seem much different aside from the shape of the tabs from the way I had it before.
 

Tannin

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Yes Chewy, thanks. I only discovered them only the other day, and they would make a good short-term solution, but it seems a bit pointless going tht way as they will switch over to the rubbish new UI soon enough anyway. Pale Moon, on the other hand, has stated that it will NEVER switch. Also, it uses current or near-current code for the underlying functions.

Bozo, I've never heard of the Pale Moon Commander utility. OK, just looked it up. Thanks, I'll investigate, though I've already made the changes I deem essential using an add-in called FeatureFix (officially unsupported but works fine) and by editing About:config. It never hurts to have more options!

.
 

Chewy509

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@Tannin, no problem. I only hope that by the next ESR release Mozilla has back pedalled a little bit on or corrected the UI. (ESR being targetted at enterprise environments, were change is a little less desired).
 

mangyDOG

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Hi Tannin,

I totally agree with everything you have listed. Firefox 29 lasted less than five minutes on my PC once I ran into all of the issues listed above plus the fact that I like my tabs below the toolbar not fardling above it.
I can only hope that enough people complain directly to them here: https://input.mozilla.org/en-GB/feedback that they can get back on track...

Hint: get everyone to provide negative feedback to them!!!

Fingers crossed!
 

Handruin

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My FF just updated today to build 29. I'm unsure what to think so far. Prior to the update installing on my system, I've read through Tannin's posts thinking, man, he's really upset by these changes...it can't be all that bad can it? So far I am puzzled by some of the changes they made to the UI. I agree that the don't seem to be useful as an upgrade from the previous version. Sure, maybe the rounded edges look nicer subjectively-speaking, but I don't really feel a benefit from any of this so far. I would much rather they spent the time improving the performance and efficiency than mucking about in the UI. I'm not upset enough by the changes to uninstall it. I still like the plugins that are available but that could just be my comfort with FF and haven't explored other browsers enough. I do spend a decent amount of time with Chrome these days. My work laptop almost always has both browsers open all day long and any time I'm using it. Both browsers work well enough that I'm not distracted by their inefficiencies. I can get my work done without them getting in my way. I may just be less picky than you but I do appreciate your complaints.
 

Tannin

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Cheers Doug. Don't forget that most Firefox plugins work equally well with all of the Gekko browsers: including the excellent Sea Monkey, Pale Moon and Firefox ESR. So, if you want to, you can switch but retain your plugins.
 

sedrosken

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I can't believe anyone would use a browser with such a memory consumption bug/issue. That one issue overshadows anything it once had going for it.
This. This. A thousand times this.

I haven't had the memory issue on Linux, but the Win32 version is almost unusable. For once IE is actually preferable. I don't like the new UI but I didn't like the previous one either. I stopped using Firefox after a brief tango with version 4 that left me reeling. Where 3.6 was stable and fairly speedy on a then-almost-recent LGA775 P4, 4.0 dropped the ball. I liked the 3.6 interface. Is there any way I could get that back? If there is, I might use it under Linux. I can't seem to make Chrome download images at all, except for GIF files. This doesn't work under Windows or Linux, and I suspect that it might have something to do with my Chrome Data Compression Proxy, but when I disable it the problem persists. I have to right-click and select Copy Image, and then paste it into MSPaint or GIMP or whatever I happen to have handy. Anyone else having this issue?

An amusing thing to report: Under Win7, Chrome will not be getting any updates on my Athlon XP as it no longer meets minimum requirements!

The interesting thing here is that it says that under Windows it wants a Pentium 4 or greater. I don't know about you guys, but the last time I checked my Athlon XP kicks my P4's butt for everything but video encoding, which I never do anyway and no sane person would do it on a P4 these days anyway. I assume that it's because under Windows they want SSE2 which the AXP sadly lacks, however I noted that under the Linux column it says a Pentium III or greater! What is the meaning of this? Google just hasn't figured out how to utilize SSE2 under Linux or what?
 

sedrosken

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*ultra facepalm* Why didn't I just do my friggin' research?! I looked up Pale Moon. Bam. Answer to my "getting FF 3.6 UI back" question.

Just removed the proxy from Chrome, let's see how it goes.

Edit: AAAAAAnd it works again. Yup, that's a proxy I'll never use again. It did what it sad it would, reducing data consumption and actually making browsing a hair faster but if I can't download images... Yeah, that's quite the deal breaker.

Still debating testing out Pale Moon. I might like it too much, but I need Chrome for its cross-platform featureset.
 

sedrosken

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Ouch. To try Pale Moon on Linux I will have to compile it. Might not be such a good idea for me, I think instead I'll just slap a Windows install on my AXP and - - CRAP. SSE2 is required. Theoretically I could put it on my P4, but... it wouldn't do it justice. Maybe my GX270? Yeah, I think that's a good idea. Honestly, bad caps or no, I should probably ditch the AXP and go with the GX270. The AXP doesn't have working sound, it has more quirks than I care to deal with, and the HP case is utter garbage. And the AXP is fast losing support for everything these days. Turns out SSE2 support is a big deal. Wasn't back then, but it's definitely starting to now.
 

sedrosken

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Pale Moon is far from a perfect replica, having odd changes from the 3.6 UI like the 4.x+ buttons and such, but it's far more usable. I can use it on my GX270! I haven't done a side-by-side comparison yet, but it feels faster than Chrome!
 

sechs

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Pale Moon, on the other hand, has stated that it will NEVER switch. Also, it uses current or near-current code for the underlying functions.
I don't see how they can say that. As much as I can tell, Palemoon is just an optimized version of the ESR release with a few options set by default.

Unless they plan to seriously fork from the Firefox code base, it's just going to stagnate feature-wise. Or, they will eventually have to move to the new interface along with ESR.
 

Tannin

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mubs

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FF was my favorite and most trusted browser. Now it's a pig; sluggish as hell. And I don;t have a low-end machine. Using Chrome more and more nowadays.

It is true. All good things do come to an end
 

snowhiker

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Firefox. Now with DRM. I guess they couldn't hold out forever.

From the linked ars article, "The organization is partnering with Adobe to make the change. Mozilla will provide the hooks and APIs in Firefox to enable Web content to manipulate DRM-protected content, and Adobe will provide a closed source Content Decryption Module (CDM) to handle the decryption needs."

DRM + Adobe = shit.
 

Chewy509

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and Adobe will provide a closed source Content Decryption Module (CDM) to handle the decryption needs."
This is the part that worries me... Are Adobe going to provide the binaries for all platforms that Firefox runs on? (I'm thinking the *BSDs and Solaris mainly, and where GNU/Linux runs on non x86 architectures, eg ARM, SPARC, MIPS, OpenRISC, etc). And I certainly don't trust Adobe to write secure or reliable code ...
 

yionechi

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I still use Fire Fox, but Chrome is the first, maybe you can wait for the next version of Fire Fox
 

Santilli

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REALLY?

On a hot internet connection, latest IE, Chrome, and Firefox all have speed and features that make them all worth using.
Wonder if I can run Puffin on my home computer;-)?
THAT is a speed improvement you notice....
 

Handruin

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REALLY?

On a hot internet connection, latest IE, Chrome, and Firefox all have speed and features that make them all worth using.
Wonder if I can run Puffin on my home computer;-)?
THAT is a speed improvement you notice....
I can't think of any feature IE has that makes me worth considering it.
 

Tannin

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maybe you can wait for the next version of Fire Fox
I'm sorry, I don't have ten minutes to spare right now. :(

(Well, it seems as though they have a new version every ten minutes. It's really annoying. Nobody minds on-the-fly bug fixes, but this new major version every month caper really sucks. If you have multiple machines to administer, it's a major time-waster. There is something to be said for the Chrome system - it just keeps itself up-to-date all by itself and you never even know it's doing it. Most of the time you are not even aware what version you are running. Even better, in my view, is the Opera system (at least the old Opera system, god only knows what idiotic stuff they are up to now that Opera isn't Opera just a downgrade on Chrome) when your major upgrades were infrequent and actually meant something significant, and minor-patch upgrades were painless and barely noticable. The perfect balance would be a blend of the two - Chome style invisible minor upgrades and Opera-style infrequent major ones under user control.)
 
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