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I'm still using Firefox

ben profile image Ben Halpern ・1 min read

I made this post a little while back...

I decided to switch to Firefox even though it felt weird to be off Chrome.

This isn't the world's most important news, but I'd like to make note that Firefox is now my default browser and just feels like my natural, normal browser.

In fact, when I go back to Chrome (which I still do plenty of, because I develop for that browser), it feels as weird as Firefox did when I first made the switch.

My muscle memory already thinks of Firefox as synonymous with "browser" in my normal desktop workflow.

Psychology and small user habits are generally what keep people from making consumer switches. Any campaigns to convince many folks to move to a new tool (either by that tool's own marketing or perhaps by third-party activists) should be acknowledging of how ingrained these habits can be, but also aware that the new thing becomes habit quickly enough.

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Ben Halpern

@ben

A Canadian software developer who thinks he’s funny. He/Him.

Discussion

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It's been 2 weeks since I switched from Chrome to Firefox and I am totally loving it. For development, I sometimes use Brave since I am used to Chrome's developer tool but firefox works great for almost everything.

I had tried switching earlier but couldn't but this time I just forced myself for 3-4 days and removed chrome from favorites and in a week I was completely in love.

 

There are also Ungoogled Chromium builds, I use them as I have Brave as my secondary browser and I don't want to get it full of tabs 😅

 

Firefox is just... better in my opinion. Firefox is...

  • Faster than Chrome
  • Less of a resource hog than Chrome
  • More feature-rich than Chrome
  • More secure than Chrome
  • More privacy-focused than Chrome
  • A lot better on the development tools than Chrome
  • A lot easier to use than Chome
  • A lot cleaner (in looks) than Chrome
  • Better with *quality add-ons than Chrome

I can 100% see why you came back to the dark side of the force... I mean back to Firefox.

 

You forgot an important one: Firefox can block auto-play movies. Chrome only allows to mute them (as these are typically used for adds Chrome will not block them)

 

More secure than Chrome? I assume you are using Firefox right now. Please visit this link: аррӏе.com

If you want to learn more, here is the article from 2017: xudongz.com/blog/2017/idn-phishing/

 

Looks rather obvious on my Firefox, since it is using a serif font.

When I wrote the comment I posted it from the latest Firefox and it looked like the normal apple domain. But even when it's another font. The link still works and there is no warning. On Chromium, you get a nice big warning when you enter the site, and even when you are on the site, the URL changes to notify, that something is wrong. In my eyes, this is a huge security risk

 

Was trying to switch to Firefox like 10 times and each time I go back to Chrome. Unfortunately, it's just a more smooth and seamless experience, especially on Android phones with the ecosystem Chrome provides.

 

Give Firefox for Android a try! It's nice as well! I used it for years.

If you sync Firefox desktop with Firefox Android you can replicate a seamless experience in my opinion.

 

+1
I use Firefox sync and lockwise services on my Android and my home and work laptops (both Linux BTW). I can open tabs of one device on another, send tabs to another device etc. Never faced issues with it. And yes quite fast and less resource hungry then Chrome.

 

I very recently (about a month ago) switched to firefox on my phone with Preview/nightly but was using firefox on desktop + chrome on mobile. I used Firefox Lockwise on my ipad and phone before that. Chrome on android is quite well made though

 

I'd considered switching back to Firefox, but, I've found that it really, really, REALLY doesn't like me leaving gMail tabs open. Unfortunately, working across multiple customers – who each insist I constrain my emails with them to their gSuite-based mail-domain – means that I just can't use Firefox with them. After a couple hours of 2-3 gMail tabs left open, I find that my browser has slowed to a crawl and that, when I check the per-tab memory-usage, the gMail tabs are each sucking down anywhere from 1.5-4GiB of RAM. While my laptop has plenty of RAM left over – even with a few VMs also running – Firefox doesn't seem to manage those leaky gobs of memory real well.

Not Firefox-related, just "generic browser pain": more fun is, I also have several (infrequent) customers that use O365 for their mail, chat and and video-conferencing. Microsoft hasn't seemed to figure out how to let you login to multiple O365 domains within the same browser/session. Worse, once you're logged into one, it's a right pain-in-the-dick to fully log out so that you can login to another. Result: I have to maintain five browser-profiles to make the O365 session/login nonsense not bite me in the ass.

Oh... And one Customer has somehow managed to make it so that I have to use Edge for their O365 account because their geo-aware load-balancer doesn't seem to properly redirect things when running in Chrome or Firefox.

Feels like the early 2000s all over again.

 

Yeah, I've experienced some of these same issues. I'm personally not very sensitive to any of this any more due to having a pretty darn powerful machine.

mac specs

 

Yeah: I've got 32GiB of RAM, so, the rest of my experience is just fine. It's when I flip over to Firefox, though, that I notice "huh... it's really not wanting to flip tabs right now" (fire up system monitoring tool, look for top process and its sub-processes, kill the pigs, get the "<TAB> has crashed" notifications …which invariably are the gMail tabs).

The Great suspender extension really helps lower memory usage. I'm pretty sure there is one for Firefox too.

Yeah. Used to use it on Chrome when I was on an issued system with low memory. Unfortunately, its use isn't really suitable for the "need to keep gMail tabs open so that I get notifiers of new activity" use-case.

Does Gmail have a web notifications feature 🤔? That could be useful

 

Have you tried using Mozilla's Firefox Multi-Account Containers plugin for your Office 365 problem?
The way I understand it, is that it separates session data so you should be able to be logged into different O365 domains and simply switch between them with tabs

 

No. Haven't. Didn't even think to look for such a plugin.

Understandable!
I don't know why they haven't made it a core browser feature yet...

I only stumbled on it when searching for a Firefox equivalent to Chrome's new tab groups feature.

It is a core feature. What isn't a core feature is the UI to use it. That's because Mozilla wanted anyone to be able to create a plugin using the underlying code and not force a specific plugin on them. An example of a plugin using the underlying code is Sidebery, a tree style tabs alternative (a much better one if you ask me). You can use multi-account containers without using the multi account containers plugin.

Aaah okay! That makes a lot of sense actually :D

 

It's entirely possible as I'm quite sure Google products are optimized for Chrome. Which is not fair to the end user but that's it. You could keep gmail tabs open in Chrome and use Firefox for the rest :D

 
 

I remember the initial article you wrote on switching!
Great to hear you have adapted successfully :)

 

I've stopped using Chrome altogether. Personal use is Firefox and work is Brave.

I left Chrome like 9 months ago when I read a new about they're making some changes to APIs used by adblockers (and other ugly stuff).

In the end, I was just using Chrome because its bookmarks feature is very good but nowadays I use Raindrop.io

 

I love Raindrop.io! It's fantastic as a Pocket alternative.

 

Yeah it's a great service. Did you replace Pocket (read it later) with Raindrop? I've never used Raindrop to read anything nor Pocket to bookmark xD. I use both.

No, I actually decided Raindrop over Pocket originally as a bookmark manager because Raindrop seemed to have more features and configuration. I primarily use it to organize important tabs and save tabs from any device.

The paid version has a permanent labriray. That's a very useful feature!

 

I want to love Firefox especially since it has a built in screenshot feature and components of it are built in Rust but just starting it up eats up 1GB of RAM while Brave has been pretty good at managing RAM usage.

 

I’m in a weird state of browser hopping right now, but Safari is still my go-to. Just has some advantages I’ve gotten used to, like auto-filling passwords with a fingerprint for security, and showing my bookmarks in the touch bar whenever I make a new tab (the first / only time the touchbar is helpful!). Also really like having a keyboard shortcut to add a tab to a “reading list,” so I can clear out old tabs while pretending I’ll get back to them later 😁

Oh, and it’s definitely better for battery life and smoothness while scrolling. Bugs pop up more often than chrome, but I still recommend to you MacBook professionals out there 😎

 

Have you used Multi-Account Containers?
Description:
Firefox Multi-Account Containers lets you keep parts of your online life separated into color-coded tabs that preserve your privacy. Cookies are separated by container, allowing you to use the web with multiple identities or accounts simultaneously.

 

One of my favorite features!

 

I've never been away from Firefox, not since the day the old Opera died. Still, I can't fully avoid using Chromium, because the dev tools of the framework I work with (Fulcro) are only available for Chromium browsers...

 

I switched back to FF years ago (previously was an FF user since Phoenix 0.1 and before that SeaMonkey). Still keep Chrome and Edge around 'just in case' but like, especially since e10s there's little reason not to at least consider it. Maybe battery life is not as good? And that's not really clear to me

 

I made the switch several months ago because I take privacy issues very seriously. Like Facebook, Google is in the habit of doing things first then asking for forgiveness...AFTER they're caught with their pants down.

I believe it's our duty to keep these big companies accountable even if the products or services they offer make our lives easier.

 

My browser journey from the last 10 years-

  1. Internet Explorer (1 year)
  2. Opera (1 year)
  3. Firefox (3 years)
  4. Chrome (5 years)
  5. Edge (Currently using)

I just started using the new Edge browser last month and totally in love with it. I find it much better and faster than Chrome. I can use the same amount of extensions and browsing tabs on Edge without any problem.

Firefox is my second favorite.

 

Been a dedicated Firefox user for I think about two years now. I was blown away by the little features that Firefox has that Chrome doesn't. I honestly do think going back to Chrome would be a hard sell for me. Chrome as a browser is fine I guess but Firefox feels more willing to let me do whatever I want with it. It's very refreshing.

 

I use the firefox developer edition as my default browser. I just love it!

 

I haven't used Chrome on any device in a year or so and it's kind of crazy how quickly those become second nature. Firefox and Brave have been amazing and I can develop anything in those two browsers. Chrome and Brave are similar and Firefox has a lot of the same quirks as Safari.

 

For the most part, I prefer Firefox. While Chrome tends to rush out new features sooner, Firefox is more standards compliant more often. Only one issue stopping me using it even more than I do, and that's JS breakpoints seem to get stuck sometimes. You remove a breakpoint, restart Firefox and the breakpoint magically reappears. Only workround I've found is to create a new profile.

 

@ben you've inspired me to give Firefox a shot :)

 

I never really got ON Chrome to begin with, though I've been a Safari user for the most part. Firefox is getting used more than it used to, and Chrome is really for special cases only now. I'm happy with Firefox.

 

I think at some point I didn't like firefox's inspector and preferred the way chrome offered it. However I just fired up firefox again and the inspector looks so much nicer (actually it looks just like chrome inspector now)

 

I tried to switch to Firefox but I had 2 plugins that I relied on that stopped working all of a sudden. Like they wouldn't load any data anymore making it impossible to do anything. That was back in January, so I may try to jump back in because I like Firefox a lot.

 

I'm a firefox user for years and years and tried a few times to change to chrome but just can't. I also use focus on mobile which is enhanced for privacy.

The developer edition of firefox has amazing visualization for web dev.

 

I use Firefox since last two years it works good for me in terms of Dev tools and it take less ram I love Firefox but after recent 78.0.1 update I am getting some typing lag and loading logo issue but after starting using in safe mode it works fine .
Final thoughts
Firefox is awesome ❤

 

FF has been my fault driver since 53 or so, I think it's a great browser and I recommend it with gusto to anyone who will listen.

However with Mozilla's recent decision not to implement certain web standards, citing Apple's disingenuous "privacy concerns" (read: strategic move to disincentivize web development over app store development), I'm concerned that Mozilla's ability to stay relevant may begin to fade at an accelerated pace.

 

Using Firefox is just not a technical or UX decision anymore, as its quality is great (which doesn't mean Chrome isn't great as well) but it's becoming more and more a "political" decision to slow the "unibrowser" experience.

It's also a good way to lessen the amount of tracking Google does, though to be fair, Mozilla is partly funded by Google and other search engine deals.

It's a complicated world

 

Are there any resources on how to switch from Chrome to Firefox? I've been attempting on jumping over a few times, but always felt too slow navigating the dev tools or simply unable to find certain features.

 

I think this is an issue you'll have switching from any product to any similar product. Switching to or from brands of phones, brands of browsers and so on.

This guide - support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/switc... - tells you about importing stuff like bookmarks and so on.

I don't know if there are guides about the developer tools but you could treat it as just a new tool to learn, though I understand one would feel less productive.

My suggestion is to use Firefox beta or the developer edition: mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/channel/...

 

I am now a regular Firefox user too, after a few trips back and forth since the release of Quantum. Most of the pain of switching was to decentralize some stuff from the browser to third-party tools (like password management, etc). Very happy not to be tied to any browser now though!

Firefox is a great browser for any mainstream user and very powerful for HTML and CSS debugging/development.
I still use Chrome for JS debugging when needed, Firefox tends to display less explicit errors and don't really help me find the issue root causes.

 

I've been using Firefox as my daily driver (Nightly on my dev machine, Beta on my Gentoo machine, since there are no easily available nightly Gentoo ebuilds that I've found -- I wouldn't even mind the build time -- would just cron it... but I digress) since about... well, forever! I'm an advocate of Firefox to anyone who is within earshot (:

For a very short while, I preferred Chrome's dev tools -- around the time when FireBug was the best tooling you could get in Firefox, there were well-known paths I could take to make it take down all of Firefox. Now, I'd much rather be in Firefox-land! Glad you're still enjoying it.

Like all things, browsers are tools for a task, and, like all things, they can suck in their own special ways. For instance, Nightly, which is totally rad and nowhere near as unstable as you might think it would be, exposes the upcoming security models first, so I'm finding places where secure cookies aren't being handled properly because we aren't setting SameSite, so Firefox is assuming Lax (which Chrome will do in 80, too, so it's coming to everyone).

I really appreciate Mozilla's approach to the web and their commitment to protecting the user, unlike Google's commitment to treat you as a commodity. Sure, there are "de-googled" variants of Chrome (eg the upstream Chromium, or Edge -- which, honestly, is what I use now when I want to test in a Chrome renderer). But even Chromium comes bundled with a lot of 3rd-party crapware -- the source tarball on Gentoo is well over 400mb large and a large portion of that is stuff that honestly shouldn't be baked direct into the browser (like screen sharing -- that should be an extension!)

 

I do have Chrome installed on my computer but I never had any tendency to use it other than for development purposes and it's devtools, but for web browsing I have been always using Firefox as far as I remember.
Maybe for me is other way around, Switching from Firefox to Chrome.