I know that many people will be offended by this post, but I know that I am not the only one having so many troubles with Firefox. For years Firefox was getting worse with every new version. Â Before you start throwing rocks at me, please read the post to find out why I hate Firefox, and why they need to release 64bit version, yesterday.
Long time ago, there were only few browsers available, most of them (except for Opera) were pretty bad. But then, we got a great browser called Firefox. And soon after that we got another tool, more important than any other tool for web development. This tool was extension for Firefox, and it’s called Firebug. And while we had Firefox 1.0, and Firefox 1.5 everything was fine. But then, they made Firefox 2.0. And if it wasn’t for Firebug, that was the point I wanted to delete Firefox and never use it again.
It was slow, used too much memory, and was unable to handle many open tabs for a long periods of time. They were releasing updates left and right, but nothing really changed. The things were made worse once the 64bit Windows was used more and more. I started using 64bit XP few years ago and using Firefox was simply frustrating. And in that time I started using Opera as a main browser because everything was much better than Firefox. Except one thing. Opera had nothing like Firebug was. And I had to use Firefox still…Â Yes, I know, there are many new features added over the years, but with all that there are many more new problems.
Good thing was that I wasn’t the only one with these problems, and some people released 64bit version of Firefox. Most extensions were not working, but it was still much better than regular Firefox. Another good thing was that after some time, Mozilla finally admitted that memory management in Firefox is bad and that they will fix that in Firefox 3.
Guess what? They didn’t. On Vista x64 Firefox 3 is slower than IE7 or now IE8, takes forever to load and crashes regularly very, very often. To make things worse, Firebug was causing as many problems as Firefox on it’s own was. Endless alpha/beta version, problems and crashes, but still nothing comes close to Firebug. Or so it looked like. But all other major browsers were on the rise, and things were changing for better.
Opera released first preview version of Dragonfly development tool that over time has grown, and it can do almost everything Firebug can. Major problem with Dragonfly is that it looks differently from Firebug, so it will take some time getting used to. Take into account that Opera is extremely stable Â browser. On my desktop machine that’s working without restart for more than 20 days now, Opera 9.64 is running from the moment Vista booted (yeas, it’s running 20 days without problems), without restart, with 10-20 tabs opened at all times, and uses some 200MB for all that tabs. On laptop I use Opera 10 Beta 2 and things are also very smooth considering that’s still in beta stages. At this moment I have 34 tabs (I am not kidding, working on few projects right now, researching and testing) opened in Opera 10 with Dragonfly active and it uses 270MB. Good luck trying to open 34 tabs in Firefox (2, 3, 3.5) and let it run for a few hours. I tried that my self (with same 34 urls opened in Opera) with both 3 and 3.5, and it crashed after 21 tabs on 3 and 28 tabs on 3.5. FF3.5 in the moment it crashed used 730MB. Browser closed and the firefox.exe process still remained running taking full CPU load and I had to kill it using task manager.
Google Chrome browser also has development tools, but they are still not very usable, but that will change. Chrome is also very stable browser and it doesn’t cause problems. Many people I know have switched to Chrome as a major browser.
But the real frustration is trying to debug something with Firebug either with FF3 or FF3.5. In the past 4-5 hours I FF crashed 25 times! It works with a single tab (debugging some things in WordPress and jQuery), but still I hit reload few times, and everything stops. I close it, but even the window is gone, FF process is still working, eating a lot of memory. And I have only Firebug extension installed, nothing more. Many people told me to disable extensions if Firefox is causing troubles. But disable all extensions, and what you get? What’s the point of Firefox without extensions. Many things you need them for, you already have built in Opera. And on Firefox I use ONLY Firebug, nothing more. If I disable Firebug, I don’t need Firefox anymore. And Firebug is the last reason I have Firefox installed at all.
My best guess is that most of the problems Firefox has are caused by the fact that it’s not working well with 64bit operating systems. And that’s used as a excuse a lot. But that’s not right, because Opera and Chrome are 32bit programs running under 64bit, and they work fine. Also, 90% of all programs still have only 32bit versions and rarely they have problems. And for Mozilla finding excuses simply is not an option since they want to rule the browsers market. They were announcing 64bit version when 3.0 was announced. Nothing. Again with 3.5 another announcement for 64bit version. And, again nothing. But, if the 32bit version was written as it should, they wouldn’t need 64bit version.
I know that many people are using Firefox just fine. They need 2-3 tabs opened, they are not developers and they don’t need browser to run all days, for days. But I need, and most of the developers do. So, there you have it, I really, really hate Firefox.
Go download Opera and give it a try. You will be pleasantly surprised.