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Because it's a memory-hogging monster?

Because it's a memory-hogging monster?

Posted Feb 9, 2012 3:34 UTC (Thu) by ringerc (subscriber, #3071)
Parent article: Tracking users

I ditched Firefox when a better alternative (Chrome) became available, one that:

- Avoids memory fragmentation problems in long-running sessions by using one process per tab;
- Has a reasonable degree of built-in security sandboxing;
- Performs much more consistently for long or big sessions.

When my girlfriend's PC could no longer handle Firefox on a mere 3GB of RAM I persuaded her to try Chrome, despite the loss of useful add-ons, and she has zero interest in going back now.

If Firefox can offer a compellingly better alternative to Chrome in terms of performance and security while offering better privacy options, I'm all there. Right now, on the technical level there's no contest.


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Because it's a memory-hogging monster?

Posted Feb 9, 2012 4:02 UTC (Thu) by nteon (subscriber, #53899) [Link]

for me Chrome's 'killer feature' is shift-ctrl-n to open up an incognito window. Its super useful to be able to open up a new window where you can browse to any site cookie-free within seconds.

Because it's a memory-hogging monster?

Posted Feb 9, 2012 8:04 UTC (Thu) by Klavs (guest, #10563) [Link]

didn't know about that feature - thanks :)

Because it's a memory-hogging monster?

Posted Feb 9, 2012 9:37 UTC (Thu) by fb (subscriber, #53265) [Link]

> for me Chrome's 'killer feature' is shift-ctrl-n to open up an incognito window. Its super useful to be able to open up a new window where you can browse to any site cookie-free within seconds.

FWIW, Firefox has "start private browsing" Ctrl-Shift-P (quite an old feature AFAIK).

I used Chrome exclusively for a while but went back to Firefox when I realized that it had IMO a killer feature against any other browser: the HTTPS-Everywhere plugin.

Ctrl-Shit-P doesn't compare to Ctrl-Shift-N

Posted Feb 9, 2012 10:37 UTC (Thu) by mchouque (subscriber, #62087) [Link]

> FWIW, Firefox has "start private browsing" Ctrl-Shift-P (quite an old feature AFAIK).

Ctrl-Shit-P doesn't compare to Ctrl-Shift-N because in Chrome/Chromium it doesn't replace your window while with Firefox it does...

So with Chrome you can have both private and and non private at the same time.

I run both

Posted Feb 9, 2012 11:21 UTC (Thu) by alex (subscriber, #1355) [Link]

I run both Chromium (day-to-day) and Firefox (start in private browsing mode, AdBlock, NoScript, Proxy) mainly for this reason. I don't find switching between the two too much of a chore and Firefox has been making gains in the performance stakes for some time. I still prefer Chromium's developer tools over Firebug though.

On another note I've now got to make the choice between Firefox and Chrome on my phone. At the moment I think Firefox is the nicer mobile browser but it's good to have the competition. It also wins points fpr being fully open source.

I run both

Posted Feb 9, 2012 20:19 UTC (Thu) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

I've used Firefox for a while (Incredible and now the Galaxy Nexus) and I've switched to Chrome on the phone after just a few hours of testing it out. Some pros/cons of each (on the Galaxy Nexus):

Firefox Pros:
- I can change the search engine.
- The readability plugin.
- Save page to PDF.
- FOSS.

Firefox Cons:
- URL bar does not appear mid-page if bookmarks/history/etc. is displayed (it shows the page behind it instead).
- Cannot scroll tab page panel thing on ICS (it worked on 2.3), so anything after the 12th tab or so is inaccessible without closing other tabs.
- Has issues with remembering pages when using "back" after going to another app (opens a page I closed hours ago and forgets the 10 or so tabs I had most recently).
- Tiny targets for tab closing and switching makes it way to easy to do the wrong thing.
- Sometimes forgets URLs if I open in a new tab and don't switch to it "soon" which means I probably also forgot what link I opened it from, losing the page that I wanted to read.
- Can't setup synchronization without a desktop instance…which I don't use.

Chrome Pros:
- Tab switching/management is *much* nicer.
- Can use sync without needing the desktop browser to set it up.
- Feels faster.
- Starts up in a reasonable amount of time (Firefox 9 got better…but it's still painful).

Chrome Cons:
- Can't change the search engine besides the baked in ones (I much prefer DDG over Google search).
- Too actively forgets the page and reloads it on app switch (making LWN unread damn near impossible to use in it). But, it at least reliably remembers the URL that the tab opened with.
- Can't find the downloaded files list to open previously downloaded files (sure there are directory browsers, but that should be unnecessary).
- Doesn't reflow text on a portrait → landscape rotation, instead, zooms the text to fit in the new size. The text can't be zoomed out again without reloading the page (feedback sent).

Overall, Chrome is much nicer because Firefox dies from the "1000 papercuts" effect. Both browsers need a "save for later" option that is more permanent than a tab and less permanent than bookmarks. Another app for this feature feels…unwarranted.

I run both

Posted Feb 10, 2012 15:59 UTC (Fri) by KaiRo (subscriber, #1987) [Link]

Check out the reworked Firerox for Android when it comes out in a few weeks, it will be pretty interesting and fast. Aurora and Nightly development builds are available already.

Firefox for Android

Posted Feb 10, 2012 16:02 UTC (Fri) by alex (subscriber, #1355) [Link]

I get my Firefox from the excellent f-droid repo (http://f-droid.org/). Perhaps it would be worth submitting the appropriate meta-data magic to make it easier to distribute the nightlies? Otherwise I assume it's a manual load of the APK with adb?

Firefox for Android

Posted Feb 11, 2012 18:22 UTC (Sat) by KaiRo (subscriber, #1987) [Link]

Our release team submits Beta and final release builds to the Android market, not sure if there are any plans to go for the F-Droid repo as well. We also have APKs available that can be installed directly from our website and receive updates through our own update check mechanism.
There's new Aurora and Nightly builds every day, I'm not sure how well that works with any market or repo, so I think http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/channel/#aurora/auro... and http://nightly.mozilla.org/ are probably the better variants to get them. Note that those builds are still heavily under development.

I run both

Posted Feb 10, 2012 23:21 UTC (Fri) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

I installed Aurora on my Incredible, and it is indeed more slick. Unfortunately, synchronization still requires a desktop instance to mediate. I'll try it out more on the Nexus tonight.

I run both

Posted Feb 20, 2012 18:05 UTC (Mon) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

Is it possible for Aurora to use the central Android certificate store? I use CAcert.org for my personal site and I imported the root certificates into my phones. Chrome is happy, but Firefox complains about it not trusing the connection. Also, after adding exceptions, I see no way to manage them other than clearing all of Aurora's data.

I run both

Posted Feb 10, 2012 16:02 UTC (Fri) by KaiRo (subscriber, #1987) [Link]

The integrated developer tools in Firefox that are already in 10 and still being vastly improved in updoming versions do look pretty interesting from what I can tell. Make sure to try the from time to time!

Because it's a memory-hogging monster?

Posted Feb 9, 2012 10:21 UTC (Thu) by viiru (subscriber, #53129) [Link]

Agreed, for Firefox vs Chrome the insane memory leaks are the main disadvantage and the addons are the main advantage.

I'm still using Firefox, but on my (slightly older) laptop I'm rather close to migrating to Chrome out of necesity. One gig of ram simply isn't enough anymore, and Firefox needs to be manually garbage collected (restarted and the session restored) every five hours or so. My workstation has 4 gigs of memory and needs a GC every two or three days, so it's still usable.

So as a slight hint to Mozilla: you don't need to collect any user data, you need to fix the damned memory leaks!

Because it's a memory-hogging monster?

Posted Feb 9, 2012 14:23 UTC (Thu) by pdewacht (subscriber, #47633) [Link]

I have the complete opposite experience: I find (recent versions of) Firefox much more economical with RAM than Chromium. I tried using Chromium for a while and it required about 50-150 megabyte per tab. With Firefox I often have two dozen or so tabs open, and Chromium can't handle that on my 2GB laptop without swapping.

Because it's a memory-hogging monster?

Posted Feb 9, 2012 19:13 UTC (Thu) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

between firefox ~6 and firefox ~11 the memory use has been cut about in half for me (and continues to get better with each release)

if you haven't looked at the firefox memory usage recently, check again, you may be surprised.

Because it's a memory-hogging monster?

Posted Feb 11, 2012 21:18 UTC (Sat) by deinspanjer (guest, #82864) [Link]

Did you happen to try starting your Firefox profile over from scratch the way you did when you tried out Chrome?

As far as privacy options go, do you use Chrome to search Google or use any other Google services while signed in to your Google account? Do you have the default configuration of allowing the omnibar to perform searches and autocomplete? Do you have the malware/fishing detection enabled?

If you do any of these things, then Google is either using your account information or a unique cookie to track your interaction with their services and products.

They are pretty good about being explicit about what they do, and getting more explicit with their privacy policy revamps, but it is still significantly more personal data than most people realize during their daily activity.

Because it's a memory-hogging monster?

Posted Feb 22, 2012 16:17 UTC (Wed) by nye (guest, #51576) [Link]

>Did you happen to try starting your Firefox profile over from scratch the way you did when you tried out Chrome?

I think you've hit upon one of the reasons to migrate from Firefox to Chrome.

I've been using Chrome for a couple of years now (I think it was shortly after they implemented extension support), and I've *never* had to mess about with my profile. With Firefox (and I've barely used it in a couple of years, so this might no longer be a problem) I had to clear my profile every now and then as upgrades tended to break things, especially in the presence of extensions.

With Chrome, I can install an addon and be pretty certain that it will continue to work, and it will automatically be installed and configured in exactly the same way on any other machine which I set to sync with my profile. In this sense, add-ons become as dependable as a core part of the browser, whereas the situation with Firefox is - to put it politely - less than pleasant.

IIUC this is a current area of improvement for Firefox, so hopefully by this time next year it should be solved - but why would I bother to switch back?

(FWIW I actually did jump through the hoops required to run an official Firefox build on Linux a few weeks back. Ignoring the fact that those hoops are not a minor issue, as I recall there were two reasons I decided it was inadequate:
One is that there's no config setting I can find to make FF on Linux and Windows behave in the same way; so far as I'm concerned if the button order in dialogue boxes switches depending on which computer I'm using at that moment, it's a massive usability fail.
The second reason was related to synching - I think it turned out that Firefox was capable of synching all the things I didn't care about, and few of the things I did, but I forget the specifics.)

Because it's a memory-hogging monster?

Posted Feb 22, 2012 21:37 UTC (Wed) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

to be fair to firefox, a large part of this problem is the extenstions.

Firefox allows extenstions to change anything in the browser, this allows for some good things (for example, why the firefox addblock is so much better than anything available for chrome), but it also means that mistakes in the extensions can cause more grief.


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