F**k It, I'm Going Back To Firefox

Fuck It, I'm Going Back to Firefox

Remember when we all switched from Firefox to Chrome? Chrome was stripped down, simple but fast as hell. It was like browsing the web on a whole new computer. These days Chrome is bloated, slow and constantly crashing on me. I've finally reached the breaking point.

I've been revving myself up to switch for a while now, as Chrome has steadily gotten worse and worse. The writing has been on the wall for years. In 2011, Google was already "aggressively looking at options to bring down the size of Chrome distribution binaries."

Of course the install size is nothing compared to the memory usage problems. A cursory Yahoo! search (Yep, I am really using Firefox right now!) turns up all kinds of complaints and pleas for respite, sprinkled across the years. But more damning is just opening up the task manager to see for yourself.

Fuck It, I'm Going Back to Firefox

Fresh off a reboot, handful of tabs open in each. WTF are you all "helping" with?

Add in frequent crashes — of Chrome on the whole, or just the Flash player — lock-ups, and a half-dozen tabs that auto-open on launch thanks to the dozens of extensions I've accumulated over the years, and I've had enough. I just can't take it anymore.

I've known things were bad, but what pushed me over the edge to actually switch was when I fired up Safari yesterday, to make sure that an issue I was having with Gizmodo dot com was not Chrome-specific (BECAUSE I WOULDN'T BE SURPRISED IF IT WAS). It blew my god damn hair back. It was... fast!

Why Firefox instead of Safari then? Mostly the same reasons I didn't switch to Opera or something. Firefox isn't the fastest or most stripped-down browser out there. In fact, it was the one bloatwared up when Chrome first came along. But at this point, it's performing far better than Chrome (for me, so far) while still offering a lot of the same now-necessary creature comforts that kept me in my Google-based browser prison for so long.

Firefox has a big library of extensions (including obscure must-haves like Cloud-to-Butt Plus). Firefox has an Android app, should I eventually choose to take the plunge and ditch Google's browser on my phone too, instead of just using Pushbullet to get things back and forth between my phone and computer for now. It's even doing cool (if superfluous) shit like supporting the Oculus Rift! But most importantly, it's an asston faster — and so far, more reliable — than Google Chrome.

Switching isn't hard. Importing Google history and settings into Firefox (an option you get on install) is like coming home to a new house to find that most of your stuff is already there. I've had to go hunt down a few extensions (LastPass, for instance) and switch the default search engine from Yahoo! to Google. Also, weirdly, Gmail refused to load until I cleared my cache. But otherwise the transition has been pretty painless. Waaaaay easier than I thought. Why did I put this off for so long?

If you're sick of the crashing, the memory hogging, the performance issues, the bloat, just do it. Switch. You know you've been thinking about it, and I am here to push you over the edge. Download the latest version of Firefox and you're off to the races.

It's good to see you old friend. I didn't realise how much I missed you.

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Comments

    Yeah, I went back to Safari for much the same reasons. I don't use extensions really, I get on the net to read my news, visit here and look things up. Safari crushes Chrome for day to day basic tasks.

    I use Chrome over Safari because the Apple browser doesn't let me selectively block cookies by website.

    "Chrome was stripped down, simple but fast as hell. It was like browsing the web on a whole new computer." That was never my experience with it. From the first time I tried it, it was little different to Firefox, just less well featured. I've certainly never noticed one browser being measurably faster or slower than another.

      I never switched. Didn't see the point. I stuck to Firefox.

      The only nice thing about Chrome that comes in handy with my work sometimes is being able to translate a page by right clicking it. But aside from that, I have no use for it and continue to use Firefox.

    Are you talking OS X or windows because chrome still is the light weight superhero it always was on win 8.1, but it is a Windows original so no surprises there.

    Never liked it on OS X thanks to safari.

      Chrome* is a big no-no on my Surface Pro 3, but I use it in combo with FF on my desktop.

      My Surface can last a few days with constant on\off usage.
      But if I load Chrome; 5mins later it gets hot and the fan goes nuts! I get a max of 2 hours use after that, which is crazy. Photoshop doesn't affect it, but chrome does!

      Not only that, but I have to manually open the task manager and close all the running processes it started because closing Chrome apparently doesn't shutdown all the shit it starts, otherwise it stays hot and churns through the power.

      *Disclaimer; I haven't done any testing so it could be due to one of the extensions and not due directly to Chrome!

      Last edited 16/02/15 1:25 pm

    Internet Explorer > Firefox > Chrome > Internet Explorer has been my travels. I never forgave firefox for the massive memory leaks of a few years ago. IE is actually pretty slick these days, the only thing lacking is extensions, and really, that's what's bloating your chrome and firefox installs most likely.

      hahahaha
      Oh, you were serious?

        I never would have picked it a decade ago, but IE is actually quite a solid browser these days. Web development is a large part of my current job so I have the three main browsers (IE, Chrome, Firefox) side by side and it's a stark contrast what IE is now compared to what it was only a few years ago.

        I gave IE another shot when I moved to Windows 8 since the others seemed to keep bloating, and it seemed pretty good. Perform was good and the interface was nice for the most part; but there were just one or two little things with the way I browse, save files/pictures that bugged me so I went back to FF and Chrome. I have an SSD so they load pretty quick anyway :)

      Some people just can't get over the hype... IE was the worst browser... WAS... and just like with Vista which fixed the big issues that made it terrible, IE was never forgiven... even though the latest IE is almost a completely different program! Project Spartan would have a much different hype if it was called Project Explorer or something lol

        Really I probably wouldn't of given IE a chance if Chrome wasn't so abysmal on Windows 8 for the first 3-6 months while google dug in their heels. Drove me back to IE and I realised it actually worked well these days, and with tracking protection lists I don't even need an adblocker add-on.

        Gotta agree with this. I was pretty dismissive of IE until I recently got a SSD and reloaded Windows. Tried it out and it was decent.
        It may not be the best out there, but IE is certainly not the worst browser I have used.

    I did this exact switch a month a go due to Chrome's bloat and total lack of performance and haven't looked back.

    I recently tried Firefox, opera and safari because of the same reason and chrome still seems to be faster. It is a lot slower then it use to be.

      It's funny because after issue after issue growing worse and worse, compounded by the sudden discovery of insane memory leaks, I've switched my teams over from Firefox to Chrome.

      Literally 10% of the memory use.

    Comes down to safari first then chrome for me. The only things chrome is better at are clearing cache effectively and having a better code inspector than Safari. Everything else Safari rocks at.
    Firefix has gotten better bit IE is still annoying from my perspective.

    As a web developer im constantly testing designs and layouts in all browsers, and more often than not, things just work beautifully in Firefox. As for Safari and Chrome ( which are very similar ) , I often find that i have to tweak the code in order to maintain compatibility in those browsers. IE... dont talk to me about IE.

    Firefox wins hands down in my book.

      Chrome is a memory hog, no question... but then when you have 32GB of ram... it's not something i lose sleep over, might be an issue for phone / tablet users or really really cheap laptop users.

      Running on windows7... no issues for me... furthermore usage is relative. Whenever i boot into chrome i always have around 4-6 tabs open and it can increase to around 10-15 during the course of the day. If you're opening 40+ tabs... what you think it magically wont be slow?

      Dev here as well for the past 7 years (yes that's right i have designed and compensated for inconsistencies between IE6-9)

      The fact that you claim you have to tweak things to work for safari and chrome, that's a subjective view. I design for chrome and find i have to tweak things to work for firefox, which happens rarely anyway because i always start off with a normalizing stylesheet and or script.
      Furthermore since webkit is supported on both chrome/safari and firefox went their own way with -moz i would argue that it is the odd one out it this case, majority wins. Could you imagine what it'd be like if there was no such thing as -moz and everything was -webkit?... Heaven back in the day when preprocessors weren't an thing and even perhaps now if you're doing dynamic compilation before serving mean clockcycles matter.

      IE... still a pain, but that may change. With spartan being shipped with Win10 and with it being a free upgrade within the first year for win7 - win8.1 users. Basically there should be no reason for people not to be running spartan a valiant effort at attempting to erase IE8-11 from existence and it may just, dare i say it... change the world muahahahahah... Seriously...

      Last edited 14/02/15 11:47 am

        Hell. Exact opposite to what I found.

        It's funny because after issue after issue growing worse and worse, compounded by the sudden discovery of insane memory leaks, I've switched my teams over from Firefox to Chrome.

        Literally 10% of the memory use.

        "and firefox went their own way with -moz"

        You clearly have zero understanding of how vendor prefixes work. They represent proprietary, non-standard, incomplete, or experimental features implemented by the people who work on the layout engines that various browsers are built on.

        The Gecko layout engine that uses the -moz prefix predates Webkit by 3 years.
        The Trident engine with the -ms prefix predates Webkit by 6 years.
        The KHTML engine with the -khtml prefix predates Webkit by 3 years.
        The Presto engine with the -o prefix predates Webkit by around half a year.
        And Webkit was around for 5 years in the form of Safari before Chrome was first released.

        If anything you could say that Webkit browsers went their own way rather than Firefox if you apply your brand of logic, since they represent the youngest mainstream browser layout engine.

        I would recommend visiting the MDN ( https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/CSS/Reference ) to find out what prefixes are applicable to what properties, and to ALWAYS include the unprefixed property where possible.

        "Could you imagine what it'd be like if there was no such thing as -moz and everything was -webkit?"

        You mean create a Webkit monoculture? That was how IE6 fucked up the internet. Great idea that.

        History lesson:
        IE5 was good (once upon a time), and Netscape 4 was a broken mess that couldn't render CSS properly. Soon everyone wrote web pages for IE5 and later IE6 and ignored the standards and every other browser. Microsoft stopped updating the browser for a long time because hey, why fix what isn't broken? It's not like they had any real competition. By this point IE6 was dictating standards rather than the other way around. In came a new rendering engine called Gecko that in the form of Firefox had to wade through this sordid mess and right things again.

        IE6 is what happens when a single browser or layout engine becomes a de facto standard. I urge you to reconsider wishing any such fate upon the world. It might seem like a convenient notion right now, as it did back then, but were it to happen then many would suffer in the long term.

      I've had the opposite experience. Particularly with frameworks like Bootstrap and Foundation, I've found that IE and Chrome both render correctly but minor tweaks are occasionally needed to get Firefox on track.

      Old versions of IE are obviously still an issue but the most recent versions have full Acid test compatibility. CSS3 support isn't great but that's what happens when different vendors try to implement a working draft that hasn't stabilised yet. Proper JS libraries remove 99% of CSS3 incompatibilities but as tempting as it is, you shouldn't be writing for unstable working drafts in professional environments yet.

    I never switched away from Firefox to Chrome even though it seemed like the thing to do, mostly because of one major thing (to me): In Firefox, with TabMixPlus, I can set it up so that every link I type into the address bar or bookmark I click on opens in a new tab in the background by default (left click, or Enter). I've had it set up this way for years and hate it when I use someone else's browser and continually overwrite the contents of my current tab.

    In Chrome, there is no such setting or extension that allows you to do this. I've searched and searched and all links just say "Use Ctrl-Enter" or "Middle click" or whatever the default options are to open in new tab rather than the current one. But I don't /want/ to have to remember to press an extra/different key/button, and such a fundamental thing should be customisable.

    So despite Firefox's memory issues I stuck with it. Over the years, its appearance has become more Chrome-like anyway, so it's not like there's any difference between the two.

      same here why move if what you are using works fine i have stuck with it and will do so as th e old saying goes if it ain't broke....... you know the rest.

    I never switched from Firefox, been using it since maybe version 0.9.

    However, it is usually high on CPU usage on OSX. I think this will be fixed soon.

    I was fiercely loyal to Firefox until it started freezing up on me a lot somewhere around 2010/2011, where I switched to Chrome. Never had an issue with it (on both my Mac, PC and android phone).

    You admit to bloating up Chrome with extensions of your choosing, then whinge and cry hallelujah when a stock unmolested browser works faster...

    I decided as Chrome is known for using up more memory and battery (this is the laptop) I would switch to Firefox which I have not used much in the last decade.

    Well that was a truly fucking horrid 24hrs, and FF can go get fucked. I don't care if I lose an hour in battery life, which my experience today with FF says I'm not losing much at all, I am not putting up with this shit any longer. I can't believe how bad most of the ad ons are, if you can find them. FF sync is broken, it doesn't really sync all your preferences, and after having to delete and reinstall it about 8 times due to a corrupt sync file it created I got real tired of having to tweak every 20 mins. Constant lock ups, kept fucking with my bookmarks which at least was easy to fix with XMARKS, poor NZB options, restarting required with ad ons, restarting and creating a new dock icon??? Foxtabs, an ad on created for Firefox, is a heap of shit compared to its chrome counterpart. The best speed dial I could find after hrs trying slowed everything down.
    LastPass does do somethings better on it, apart form that, it's fucked, really fucking fucked.
    Hello Chrome, nice to be back.

    This is clearly a trigger story. I'm using Chrome on OS X and it's running fine. I've not noticed any slowdowns or bloatedness from when Chrome first started to now. Are they paying you for your opinion? I tried out the latest build of FF and it's just as bloated and chunky as it was when I switched to Chrome 5 years ago.

    Last edited 14/02/15 10:25 am

    Chrome has definitely slowed down over the years and does freeze up from time to time. I have a Surface Pro 3 and when I'm running Chrome it heats up considerably. When I check task manager there's a lot going on with the browser and I only have five extensions.

    Last edited 14/02/15 10:38 am

    Yeah, Chrome is rubbish now. It seems that no matter what ad-blocker extension I have installed on any of my devices, Chrome constantly redirects my pages to ads, spams me with pop-ups etc.

      It sounds like you may have a virus on your system. Adblock is quite thorough in Chrome, you shouldn't be getting ad redirects or popups unless the site you're on is specifically written to do that (ie. working as intended).

    Go Chromium instead: http://www.chromium.org/Home

    It's a little less bloated than Chrome, and I've seen better performance on low performance PC's

    I always found Safari faster and very light. Safari Version 8.0.3 is really awesome!

    My 2007 Core 2 Duo MacBook absolutely HATES Chrome, then again it always has. It takes forever to launch and when I do use it, even with a single tab open, the CPU's temps sky rocket.

    Firefox is always quick to launch and extremely snappy and responsive.

    Might be time to do some general maintenance on your Chrome install... Such as removing the 'dozens if extensions accumulated over the years' that you probably haven't used for a long time. Might help get your Chrome back up to speed. Not sure about anyone else, but over time my computer slows down but after basic maintenance it is. Back up to speed. Seems logical to me....

    I have only used the one Firefox profile since the first version, moved it across at least 4 desktops and 2 laptops as well as Win 95, 98, XP, Vista, various Ubuntu and 3 Mint versions, never had a bloat problem, this includes doing a stack of extension development. Regularly have hundreds of tabs open, leave machine running for weeks without restarting Firefox, memory usage barely moves. Every machine, of mine, that I have tried Chrome on as gone down spectacularly after one or to tabs.

    Just my personal experience.

    Im running Firefox right now, 7 tabs open (4 of which are Gizmodo articles, 1 for OzB, 1 google image search, and one sharepoint work tab) and its using 500MB of RAM!!! WTF? IMO I think that is way to excessive for 7 tabs. Im on Version 35.0.1 and running it on Windows 7 Enterprise. And it crashes on me more than ever (granted that usually happens when I have 12 or more tabs open, but still...). The only reason I use FF is because I dont trust Google products as its the equivalent of spyware in my eyes. Google is always looking for ways to get people to use their products to sign in each time and use such information to build profiles on each person. No thanks. I generally use DuckDuckGo for my searches, and also use a plugin called Disconnect and a few others to guard privacy while using FF as well.

      I'm currently running modern IE with 60-80 tabs (I'm terrible lol). 342mb of RAM.

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