Goodbye Firefox

Tannin

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I never use IE. Maybe it's safer now than it used to be - it could hardly be worse - but who cares? I see just enough of it when installing machines, debugging websites, and so on to know that I'd rather be using something else, and there would need to be a compelling advantage on offer to make me want to bother finding out what its security is like now. I'm not aware of any advantage - not saying it doesn't have something or other, just that I'm not aware of anything.

Oh, one thing I do use it for: it has a nicely crafted set of built-in HTML/CSS testing tools; easier to use and more helpful for a number of web design tasks than those provided by the Opera, Chrome, or the Gecko browsers. These can be handy. (I use the Sea Monkey ones too: each is good for different things.) Obviously, this is when using my own in-house Apache server on the intranet, so security isn't an issue.
 

LunarMist

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I have to use IE at work, by law. I think one can also have the Firefox, but only for casual browsing. I tried it a few times, but the frequent updates that often did not work right were just too much work. :(
 

Mercutio

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I never use IE. Maybe it's safer now than it used to be - it could hardly be worse - but who cares? I see just enough of it when installing machines, debugging websites, and so on to know that I'd rather be using something else, and there would need to be a compelling advantage on offer to make me want to bother finding out what its security is like now. I'm not aware of any advantage - not saying it doesn't have something or other, just that I'm not aware of anything.
IE is lacking a real add-on ecosystem. STILL. But it has tracking protection lists, which do most of the work of an ad-blocker and can be easily pushed out to clients via Group Policy settings, and is acceptably vanilla for almost all things. I think the Flash Player for IE is faster and less crash prone than the version for Plugin-based browsers, but I still view that as an unacceptable risk, especially on Windows 8/Server 2012r2. Adblock Plus 1.3 for IE works on versions as low as IE6 and at long last has added the ability to turn off "acceptable" ads. It's very much the thing that I used to see in Chrome.

As far as Chrome itself goes, RAM and CPU utilization for recent updates are unreal. I had 14 tabs of Imgur.com sitting within spitting distance of 9GB total usage only three hours after a reboot, and the only addon I install on Chrome is ABP. Yes, that's probably a bad interaction with Imgur's adoption and widespread use of of .GIFVs, but it's still insane. I also have more problems cleaning up malware messes in Chrome than all other modern browsers put together, primarily due to the number of possible locations for malware applications to hide themselves as part of Chrome.
 

Tannin

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That is interesting about IE, Merc.

I never push Chrome past a half-dozen tabs or so, the UI just isn't built for it. If I'm doing something serious (lots of tabs) I go to Opera or Sea Monkey first, or sometimes Pale Moon. Never Chrome.

And yes, Chrome is a right bugger to clean up after infection. That caper where you install scumware via group policy and there is no way to easily uninstall it is a humdinger, though maybe they have finally fixed that, as I don't recall any cases of it in the last year or so.
 

sedrosken

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Vivaldi is shaping up to be pretty cool. It seems to be aiming to replace the Presto-based versions of Opera, in terms of features aimed toward power users. It's based on the same rendering engine as Chrome, so expect roughly the same amount of speed as with Chrome. It's got just about no addons at this point, not even AdBlock plus, which is to be expected from a tech preview. I could be wrong, but I keep hearing things about how the UI is made in javascript.
 

Tannin

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A while back I read a post (elsewhere) saying: "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!"

On reading my reply over, it struck as one of my better short rants, so let's do it again:-

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.
 

Mercutio

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Firefox seems to want to chase Chrome in terms of UI. I don't particularly think Chrome has had good ideas in that direction, but I don't want to bother with Classic Theme Restorer on every Firefox installation I touch, either. There are a couple decent Firefox derivatives, Pale Moon and Waterfox, that I think are better overall that main line Firefox has been of late, but all the current builds of FF are leaking RAM like a screen door on a submarine. All my personal computers, the ones I subject to my personal browsing habits, have gobs of RAM, but it's not unusual for me to have 4 - 6GB worth of web browsers open these days, even within a few hours of a clean boot and with no identifiable change in my browsing habits.
 

Buck

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What I dislike about Chrome, is that it has an issue rendering fonts if your installed fonts exceed 1,750. So, for example, I specify this in my CSS:
Code:
font-family: 'Oxygen', Calibri, Helvetica, Arial, Verdana, sans-serif;
Because of the bug in Chrome, it will default to Calibri and not Oxygen.
 

mubs

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I do all my payments online. I "print" the payments screen to a PDF for my records. Chrome is near perfect in this, producing a clean, well-laid out PDF. Firefox sucks.

Many financial institutions didn't support anything other than IE and FF before. Now it seems they support Chrome better than FF. Even the screen display is sometimes buggered in FF but never so in Chrome. I find myself using Chrome more and more. FF is used only for SF, another forum, and the odd financial site that works better with it.
 

Buck

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I do all my payments online. I "print" the payments screen to a PDF for my records. Chrome is near perfect in this, producing a clean, well-laid out PDF. Firefox sucks.

Many financial institutions didn't support anything other than IE and FF before. Now it seems they support Chrome better than FF. Even the screen display is sometimes buggered in FF but never so in Chrome. I find myself using Chrome more and more. FF is used only for SF, another forum, and the odd financial site that works better with it.
Quite right mubs. I switched Firefox from using it's PDF plugin to Adobe Acrobat Pro.
 

Mercutio

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You guys do know that PDF printing can be handled by gobs and gobs of things, right? Foxit, Nuance, PDF995, Primo, PDFcreator, Word 2010+...
Neither Firefox nor Chrome has particularly great PDF handling yet.

I do suspect the main reason Chrome is being more widely supported and adopted is that for many web developers mobile = Webkit, which at least puts them in the right ballpark for Chrome and Safari support. I still notice more glaring rendering problems on Chrome than on other browsers, but that could be because it's definitely a tertiary browser for me and I'm more used to seeing how things are handled in Firefox.
 

Tea

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^ just so.

For us, Chrome is around about the Quaternary browser (er ... is that the word I want?) after Opera, Pale Moon, Seamonkey, and Firefox, in that order. We like to have one browser per site 'coz that lets have our own auto-logins. Sadly, Tannin hogs Opera for himself and on Storage Forum I'm only allowed to use Chrome. I hate the way it handles tabs, but I only have a small number open at any one time here, so that's OK. We save the proper browsers for places where we are likely to want a zillion tabs. Oh, and despite deciding to uninstall Firefox, we still have it. We keep Pale Moon lean and mean for mainline use, and load up seldom-used Firefox with all the extensions, most of which you only want once in a while. That way we have a nice, crud-free browser for everyday use, but are only a copy/paste away from opening any desired page in Firefox if we want to use an extension on it.

Memo to self: must try out Waterfox.

PS: I hate in-browser PDF with a passion. Much, much nicer to use a browser for browsing and a PDF reader for reading PDFs. PDFexchange is very small, free, and pleasant to use, though there are some decent others. (Not, repeat NOT Foxit anymore. It's been to Steve Sinofsky Bork the Interface school and is now, if this is even possible, more pox-ridden than the Adobe one.)
 

sedrosken

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I am not a fan of the way Chrome handles tabs either.

Aaaaand just fixed the tab management. Tab Manager seems to be a lifesaver in this regard. I haven't tested it extensively yet but from what I have done with it, it seems very stable and usable. It's also hosted on GitHub, if for some reason you care about that.

Chrome does everything else I want it to, and fast. It's the only browser capable of running Netflix on linux without Silverlight installed in WINE, and NaCl is handy for running Folding without the hassle of installing the regular client on Linux or Windows.
 

mubs

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I have both Foxit and Acrobat Pro (an older version). How do I tell Firefox to use one of these to create PDFs from web pages? I don't see anything in Settings that'll let me do this.
 

sedrosken

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I never create PDFs from pages, so I couldn't tell you.

Merc, what rendering problems are you seeing with Chrome? I have never had any issues whatsoever. Not saying I can solve them or anything, just curious as to what's happening.
 

Stereodude

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I have both Foxit and Acrobat Pro (an older version). How do I tell Firefox to use one of these to create PDFs from web pages? I don't see anything in Settings that'll let me do this.
Print page and select them as the printer.
 

Mercutio

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I never create PDFs from pages, so I couldn't tell you.

Merc, what rendering problems are you seeing with Chrome? I have never had any issues whatsoever. Not saying I can solve them or anything, just curious as to what's happening.
I notice desktop Chrome using the wrong fonts or incorrect font properties quite often. Which I might expect on Linux or Android, but not on Windows or OSX.
 

sedrosken

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I've only noticed that under Linux. Under Windows, it renders perfectly for me. I don't have anything running OSX so I couldn't try that.
 

mubs

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Print page and select them as the printer.
SD, I've been doing this for years! My question was aimed at Merc who said the built-in PDF renderer in FF sucked. I was asking how I can force FF to use Acrobat or Foxit as its rendering engine. I checked the settings, but couldn;t find anything meaningful. Adobe PDF is my default printer (for all apps) anyway, and works beautifully in Word, Excel, Chrome, etc., but is buggered in FF.
 

mubs

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Thanks Chewy. The action is set to Save, not View. For Save, there is no choice of programs (obviously). But I guess this is for PDFs on the web, not for saving a web page as a PDF.

Not worth wasting time on this, I'll just continue to use Chrome.
 

Mercutio

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Waterfox 39 seems to be incredibly crashy for me, freezing after about 20 minutes of activity. It also seems to have grossly inflated RAM demands. It's fairly common for me to have a 3GB+ process for only 100 open tabs.
I switched to Palemoon. Palemoon is another 64 bit Firefox build, but it uses the pre-Australis user interface. Loading the same 100 tabs results in dramatically lower RAM usage, only about 1.7GB. I also find that it's better about freeing up RAM; dropping down to 50 tabs reduced RAM usage to only 700MB.

I might stick with Palemoon, but it does have a few down sides, mostly that some Firefox addons are incompatible. On the other hand, it's definitely nice to not have to remove a bunch of weird crap from the toolbars and bugger with the Search options as I do with anything that comes from current Mozilla code.
 

Mercutio

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It's principle. Yes, these are machines with 16, 32 and 48GB RAM, but 18 months ago the same workload of 100 tabs definitely wasn't high enough to necessitate a 64-bit process. A lot of it is tied up in the ad blocking arms race but forward progress should be happening in that space just as it is in the rest of the browser.
 

sedrosken

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I'm trying out Waterfox and while it's a bit slower to start than Firefox or Chrome (even on my SSD, which is kind of weird... it honestly feels like I'm starting it from my HDD. I need to check out where I installed it.) it feels so much more responsive with large tab workloads than either of the others. It will make a decent holdover while I wait for Vivaldi to be ready for prime-time.

I'm not having the RAM issues or the crashing that Merc is having, but I did use the classic theme restorer to slim down the UI a bit to give me slightly more workable room.Capture2.PNG
 

Mercutio

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I like Palemoon and Adblock Latitude enough to switch full time. I decided that it wasn't worth trying to track down a problem that's only happening in one Firefox variant and anyway almost all the work I was putting in to customizing Waterfox's UI was just to make it look like Palemoon anyway.
 

Mercutio

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And while I'm bitching about things that use RAM: I had a single Chrome tab running that was using 3.8GB RAM by itself and a second that was using 1.2GB. Just now. One of them was just a tumblr page and the other was just Comedy Central's site. Both of them had been open for about 12 hours from a fresh Chrome start.

Fuckin' Chrome, man. Oink.
 

sedrosken

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Oh balls.

Hopefully the addons I use get extension-ified before the deadline. Recently found a couple of new addons that make FF especially cool, but these implement features Vivaldi has natively right now. I'm intending to migrate completely to Vivaldi once we get a full release.

Actually, I expect for Vivaldi to have a full release by the time this deadline is reached. Anyone else plan to ditch FF over this when the deadline hits?
 

Tea

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Vivaldi promises a lot but it really really needs to get the UI right. At present, it's far too Chromy and misses out on various of the essential features that Opera had between about 4.0 and 12.x; Seamonkey has now, and both Palemoon and Firefox can me extended to. Without (as one example) a proper single tab close button option, Vivaldi is toast. Pull your damn fingers out Vivaldi devs! I want to use your product as soon as it is ready for prime time.
 

Mercutio

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Palemoon is a thorough enough fork of Firefox that I don't think XUL support is going to be an issue. They didn't adopt the post-25.0 UI. I'm a little worried that will spell the end for some existing addons and I'm most worried that it will kill NoScript, which relies on deep access to code that isn't exposed in the Chrome extension APIs.

Mozilla has really lost its way. It's trying to become Chrome, both in terms of UI and apparently now with its program interfaces. They're not even working on a 64-bit Windows version but Waterfox is a 64-bit derivative of the current Windows code base that's maintained by one college kid. Mozilla isn't updating Thunderbird any more and it seems to be producing Fennec (Firefox for Android) as an afterthought while promoting a mobile OS that no one seems to want. They caved on DRM in HTML5 and they're including third party commercial binaries from companies like Pocket as well.

I don't know who is managing what but they need to remember what it is they were supposed to be doing.
 

Tea

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Er .... The morons at Mozilla keep on changing the Thunderbird UI. Does that count as an "update"?

The reality is that the UI needs changing -no, I'm not talking senseless Chome-style dumisation, which is all they seem to know how to do, I'm talking basic usability stuff that should have been attended to a decade ago.

Examples:

Possibly the single most used function beyond basic send/get/read is search. You want to find messages from someone, or with a certain keyword in the subject line, say. Where is the search? It isn't there. You have to click EDIT, then you have to scroll down to FIND, then you have to navigate one of those fiddly damn fly-out sub-menus to get to SEARCH MESSAGES. WTF? Is it 1987 again already? How time flies! It should have a one-click button and it should have the standard keystroke associated with it - ALT/f3 is search in just about any software worth having, and plain f3 means "search again". This has needed fixing for more tan a decade.

Mouse dysfunctionality. You can't drag and drop in the ordinary everyday way with the right mouse button!

Address book idiocy. Click WRITE to start a new message. Now you want the address book. You can't get to the address book from new message! This is THE one time when you MOST want to get the address book! You have to close the new message, then go to the address book, find the address you want, and then start a new message. Makes the Windows press start to stop seem logical!

And - not really a UI thing but related - they still have the insane design "feature" where if you want to switch one of your accounts over to appear in local folders instead of stand-alone, you have to MANUALLY copy all the existing mail over or you lose everything. A sensible design would simply ask if you wanted to merge the accounts and do it for you (it's not as if this would challenge even a baby programmer, hell, you can do it by hand in 5 or 10 minutes, 2 minutes if you don't have many sub-folders), and if the designer had even a basic clue he would say "hell, we already keep all the mail in database tables, why not simply regard the various inbox folders as different views of the same data? Then the user can switch back and forward between single in-box views and individual one-account, one-folder views with a single click. The underlying database structure, remember, is ALREADY THERE, all they need to do is (psudo code) FOREACH (account) { folder_content = (SELECT MESSAGES WHERE ACCOUNT=ACCOUNT_x)} I mean, what century are we in anyway?

Thunderbird is to email as democracy is to government.
 

Mercutio

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Sadly, Thunderbird is still the best cross platform desktop Email client, which is really damning it with faint praise. It's just that everything else is some kind of horrific abomination. In its favor, I have never, not even once, had a Thunderbird-related message or address book file corrupt itself, something I deal with on a weekly basis with Outlook clients.

As I understand things, Mozilla isn't going to be making any new feature-related changes to Thunderbird's Email capabilities. Honestly, I'm OK with that. I don't notice most of the defects that Tea has mentioned. Full text message search is CTRL-K and CTRL-F searches the current message, which is about as much searching as I need to do. I do notice that Thunderbird still handles quotes in replies properly and doesn't insist on threaded messaging. Those two things put together make it superior to anything else I could be using.

Mozilla did collapse the Lightning Add-on in to Thunderbird not all that long ago. I'm not sure why. I don't know if there's any great groundswell of demand for calendaring functionality in an E-mail application or why it needs the peculiar interface they chose for it, but that's where it chose to spend its time rather than improving search or address book handling. I do feel that address book synchronization could be handled better, especially now that everyone and their brother has one synchronized with a mobile device and/or social media service.

I recently added a tool called Hekasoft Backup and Restore to my client configuration toolchain, principally because I found myself spending so much time setting up new Firefox installs. My workflow for the last six months has been Remove Yahoo Search, Remove Pocket, Remove the other two stupid things from the default toolbar, install ABP, add the subscription lists.

Now it's run the Hekasoft Backup and Restore, point it at my reconfigured profile(s) and go. But let's take a moment to review that. Firefox is a big enough hassle now that I'd rather run a third party application to manage the product that deal with seven or eight poorly chosen defaults. There shouldn't BE seven or eight poorly chosen defaults. The third party apps should be opt-out at install time. Why is it OK for Firefox to do it if it's not OK for the Java and Flash updaters? Even IE gives people an opportunity to pick a different default search.
 

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Something I've just noticed is that Fanboy's Social Blocking and Annoyances lists have been removed from the list of official Adblock Plus Subscriptions normally found here. Fanboy is also one of the maintainers of Easylist, but I find the Annoyances list compelling enough to seek it out and recommend it. I don't see any reason for the removal.
Is it possible for us to host it here for the community if you have a copy of the list somewhere? Would that be of any use/benefit? I know you have your own servers/infrastructure and could do it but was offering so that SF members can have a benefit.
 

Mercutio

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It's still on Fanboy's page, which is why it's odd to see that it's removed from the official list. Fanboy is one of the maintainers of Easylist, which is the main ad-blocking tool that pretty much everything uses. The "Annoyances" list is specifically interesting to me because it includes some adult-interest ad domains.
 

Mercutio

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Go to iegallery.com/tpl
Tracking Protection Lists can be bent, spindled and mutilated in to an ad blocking role, though that's not what they're meant to do.

You can also just install Adblock Plus for IE, which works on all versions, all the way back to IE6.
 
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