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12 May 2005 @ 05:34 pm
What's the big deal about Firefox anyway?  
So today I decided to try out Firefox to see what people are crowing about. And, as a long-time Mozilla user, I still don't get it. It doesn't seem like an improvement over the Suite. In fact, in some respects it fells like a step backwards. The preferences seem much more rudimentary (but they've got colorful icons! gosh!). How do I tell Firefox what JavaScript is allowed to do, since the prefs panel for it is completely missing? All that's left is popup blocking, which is nice, but popups aren't the only thing I want to prevent. Not having quick access to mail is also kind of annoying. I keep hearing that "it loads so much faster than the Suite" but windows come up much slower than the Suite for me using QuickLaunch, which Firefox doesn't seem to have any equivalent to.

The main advantage seems to be that some extentions are now being made only for Firefox, or have abandoned Suite support. And Deepest Sender seems less buggy on Firefox (the link button actually works, for example). On the other hand, my preferred skin, Pinball, has not yet been ported to Firefox and the author seems disinclined to make that a priority.

I've only just started using it, and I'll continue to experiment with it to see if my opinion changes. But right now my opinion is that Firefox's popularity relative to the Suite has more to do with marketing and having a sexier name than actually being better.
Current Mood: confusedconfused
Current Music: Puff Daddy feat. Jimmy Page - Come With Me
dacut on May 13th, 2005 01:56 am (UTC)
On blocking stuff: AdBlock is your friend (and it's available for Mozilla, too).

Internally, Firefox is cleaner, which makes it easier to develop extensions for. I also find that it crashes/hangs less without the Mail/News component getting in the way.

The memory footprint is smaller, but that's largely negated if you run both Firefox and Thunderbird (as I do). However, a lot of people use Firefox and Outlook (since the latter is required at a lot of businesses), and this makes it easier.

Of course, if Mozilla floats your boat, why change?
gwalla: bad hair daygwalla on May 13th, 2005 10:35 pm (UTC)
The things I want to block are things like letting JavaScript move and resize windows, change the status bar text, that kind of thing. The suite just has prefs for that.

And why change? The Mozilla Foundation announced that they were more or less dropping the Suite. There will be no more official releases: 1.8b is the last (they won't even do release candidates for a 1.8 final) aside from the occasional security update to the 1.7 codebase.

I'm feeling a little betrayed, frankly. They did say that they would eventually drop the Suit, but only when Firefox, Thunderbird, et al were built to run on top of the GRE as a drop-in replacement for the Suite. As far as I can tell, it's not even close.
dacut on May 14th, 2005 12:54 am (UTC)
I guess what I meant was that just because they're dropping the suite doesn't mean you have to stop using it. When Firefox is better for you, then switch.

This means that you won't get any of the newer media plugins that come along that are Firefox-only, of course. Frankly, though, I haven't seen anything worthwhile in the last few years.
dacut on May 14th, 2005 01:04 am (UTC)
Also, Boris Zbarsky is still working on the Mozilla Suite (which will be released under a different name, possibly SeaMonkey Suite). That pretty much means you have little to worry about. :-)
Vorn the Unspeakableunspeakablevorn on May 13th, 2005 03:39 am (UTC)
Firefox is not designed to be the emacs of web browsers. Most people don't want their browser to do news or mail or irc or any of that crap, they just want to surf the web.

Second, Firefox is designed to be easy to use from the standpoint of the 95% of the world that used or uses IE. Mozilla didn't cover that base, either.

Wog of Westminstergrassynoel on May 13th, 2005 05:47 am (UTC)
That's it. Firefox is much better than IE, which is why it's becoming popular. Being less than Mozilla proper doesn't affect that.
gwalla: bad hair daygwalla on May 13th, 2005 10:39 pm (UTC)
Frankly, I could take a dump on a keyboard and end up with a browser better than IE.

I don't want my browser to treat me like a child.
The Watcherrimspace on May 13th, 2005 08:52 am (UTC)
I agree completely. I occasionally download a firefox build and try it to see if it has improved... I'm still using Mozilla. Not because mozilla does mail, news, chat and the rest - I don't use them at all* - but because I think Mozilla's UI is far more sensibly laid out and comprehensive that firefox. the number of times I've had to resort to about:config in firefox when Mozilla has a prefs option for it is silly. IMO firefox is far too handholdy and sugarcoated - that may be good for the IE converts but I'd rather get things done that fight the interface to let me do it.

* (Sylpheed is a much better mail client, newsfroops are just way too much work to sift the crap from the interesting stuff and IRC is much better done by irssi)
gwalla: king crimson fingergwalla on May 13th, 2005 10:36 pm (UTC)
Playskool Firefox