back to article Firefox 89: Can this redesign stem browser's decline?

Mozilla has released Firefox 89, proclaiming it a "fresh new Firefox," though it comes amid a relentless decline in market share. Firefox matters more than most web browsers, because it uses its own browser engine, called Quantum, and its own JavaScript engine, called SpiderMonkey. By contrast, most other browsers, including …

  1. Michael Hoffmann
    Unhappy

    What does it take...

    ...to actually get the concept of privacy into people's heads? Anyone?

    Or is it bad marketing that makes Mozilla fail to drive this home better?

    I simply don't get it. I'd use Lynx and XMosaic before I use Chrome or Edge. Even my Firefox is loaded with addons to block everything the browser isn't now kindly blocking by itself.

    </morning rant>

    Now for some coffee...

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: What does it take...

      Already had the coffee. I need something stronger.

    2. b0llchit Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: What does it take...

      ...to actually get the concept of privacy into people's heads? Anyone?

      The fox in Firefox will eat chickens in the house. Unfortunately, most people are just sheep and are not as impressed by a fox.

      Maybe Firefox needs to rebrand as Firewolf to eat the dissent and simultaneously rebrand as Firedog to steer the sheep in the right direction.

      [I'll go find my coat now, thank you]

    3. Binraider Bronze badge

      Re: What does it take...

      We know about it all right, but computers are complex beasts even if you know what you are doing. Do things properly and simplify, preferably with minimum attack surface. The exact opposite of what every OS peddler has done for decades.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Allow Firefox to Run & Install Studies"...

      You think anyone who cares about privacy thinks Mozilla cares about privacy?

      They literally turn on Telemetry by default. They turn on "run studies" by default. They push you to that pocket thing.

      On Android now, you can't directly download Firefox, you have to use Google Play, which uses Google Play Services....

      So to use the browser that is supposed to protect your privacy, you first agree to Google's spyware.

      I notice Android 10 devices now come with "Autofill = Google Play Services" turned on, it took me a while to see why there was so much traffic going out when I was typing in a form in *my* Android software. I am damn sure I wasn't sending every edit field to Google! Also funny, because I disable "Google Play Services". Now Mozilla is pushing me to support use PlayStore??

      I have to use older versions of Firefox because the newer versions push you to Google Play. You can no long simply install an APK.

      I do not associate Mozilla with privacy, I associate Mozilla with a poorly run company trying to make its own walled garden. Privacy is just the bricks for their wall.

      Also piss poor management.

      RSS support removed, why? Mature stable code gone. Livemarks is only a partial substitute.

      Thunderbird kicked out of Mozilla, why? Stable user base, just Mozilla not finding a way to make money off it, funny because email is still big business!

      Here they're counting clicks, as if quantity of clicks, why? For what? Here they're losing visual cues between tabs, why? Make the clicks a bit less certain? Why?

      It's pathetic.

      I played with their Geckoview, it can't even run a piece of Javascript in the browser, it sort of runs a piece when a url is loaded, often too soon, and only *if* it gets loaded. How is that supposed to compete with Webview when it lacks basic functionality? Are set top boxes supposed to install this when it's so badly crippled?

      I tried their Firefox focus browser and it was better, but had a lot of bugs.... and then it was promptly dropped.

      Where is there management? Or their direction?

      1. PTW

        Re: no downloadable apk...

        Err, https://www.apkmirror.com/?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Allow Firefox to Run & Install Studies"...

        You're grumbling about Firefox, but you don't think that most/all of the Chromium-based browsers aren't also slurping information from "studies" and "telemetry", and probably even more so?

        Some form of telemetry, as long as it is genuinely anonymous, with no identifying data used in any part of the data crunching (and that includes your IP address) is arguably a useful thing to determine if the software is working properly and without too much resource usage, as an aid to future development effort, but as Mozilla only says far too vaguely that they collect data "such as [an example partial list]", rather than providing an exhaustive list of exactly what potentially personal or revealing data is collected, leaving me unable to make an informed decision as to whether they may be collecting anything I deem invasive of my privacy, I always disable this (apart from on my work computer where I am mostly only doing work-related browsing).

      3. martyn.hare
        Megaphone

        You think anyone who cares about privacy thinks Mozilla cares about privacy?

        Yes, I do.

        Mozilla goes out of their way to integrate privacy protections recommended by the Tor Browser project and actively accepts patches for features which absolutely cripple the advertising industry. Most of the “new” stuff they’re marketing has been in Firefox for ages within about:config, but now they want the masses to have easy access to it. They even go as far as making their Private Browsing Mode not save data to disk where possible, unlike the competition which still writes then clears data from a separate location when the session is closed.

        Also, Mozilla just committed to keeping their filtering APIs for extensions working without stupid limits. Apple just crippled theirs to the point where I can’t reliably block YouTube adverts anymore and Google seems hell bent on banning any/every product which threatens to ruin advertising models (banning AdGuard from Google Play, AdNauseum from Chrome and refuses to allow extensions for Chrome on mobile)... honestly... Mozilla Firefox is my top choice now.

    5. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: What does it take...

      It's not that people don't get privacy, But most people are still thinking in terms of the 20th C so they don't know what the breach of privacy is in internet terms. Privacy was then just about not letting your neighbours or snoopy officials know what you're up to. Anonymous internet giants don't register in the same way

    6. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: What does it take...

      You'll get companies or local councils that will "Go Google" and then force you to use Chrome and nothing else. So its issues like that.

      But also, I love Firefox but due to the above ended up using Chrome more and more and came to love "Save selection to Keep". Yes, something Google made that is very useful, Google Keep. Being able to highlight text from a site, right click Save selection to keep and have it save the text and a link to the site. Unfortunately, and I haven't checked in a while, there was no official addon for that for Firefox.

    7. Snake Silver badge

      Re: Privacy

      TL;DR - people are lazy.

      The answer is logically apparent when you study the conditions:

      People are "interested" in privacy when the answers to correct that privacy are handed to them.

      In other words, people say they are interested in privacy but, like so much in their modern lives, they expect OTHERS to create a solution and then hand it to them in an extremely easily-digestible form.

      They do not wish to extend much effort in correcting the privacy issues and will make up dozens of excuses rationalizations as to why they cannot take the issues of privacy into their own hands. "It is too complex for me", "I have nothing to hide so why should I care", "[company X] isn't doing anything with my data", etc etc etc.

      They have personally justified, in their minds, their laziness in their interactions in modern society. It is all about their conveniences. Dealing with privacy is...an inconvenience. Constantly having to worry. Installing a different browser, learning how to use it, possibly dealing with 'complex' things like NoScript, etc.

      It is all too much for their daily lives. Push-button lives means that these things, if really important, should be there in the first place. If they are not there...it couldn't have been important to begin with, right?? Facebook, Google, Amazon and Microsoft would have done it, if it really meant anything.

      1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
        Megaphone

        Re: Privacy

        > In other words, people say they are interested in privacy but, like so much in their modern lives, they expect OTHERS to create a solution and then hand it to them in an extremely easily-digestible form.

        That's the hair shirt argument. In some parts of the world people still have to go and collect their own firewood before they can cook for the night. That doesn't mean having gas and electricity on tap is a sign of laziness - it's a sign of progress.

        Privacy - or at the very least not being spied upon doing routine, harmless, legal activities online - is likewise also a right. And expecting that privacy to be easily enabled is not laziness but simple common sense.

      2. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Privacy

        > In other words, people say they are interested in privacy but, like so much in their modern lives, they expect OTHERS to create a solution and then hand it to them in an extremely easily-digestible form.

        Actually, no, it's the other way around.

        We live in a time where we have barriers deliberately being put up to prevent privacy. We have companies doing their best to inhibit privacy protections.

        It's pretty hard for an individual to come up with a solution to enforce their own privacy when everyone else is intent on breaching that privacy.

        When I drive on the roads I don't expect other road users to be deliberately trying to crash into me, not only at every opportunity, but also trying to manufacture those opportunities to crash into me. Selling the ability to others to crash into me. Sure, there are careless crashes, inadvertant ones, but people aren't deliberately trying to do it. If that was the case, would you really expect me to come up with my own solution, apart from jsut not playing, i.e., not driving ?

        There's a difference between just not being stupid with your privacy, e.g. not posting on a publically available Facebook profile under your real name that lists your address with it and your estimatable net worth (i.e. posting what your job is so others could guess at approximate income) that you are going on a 3 month overseas holiday so your house will be completely empty in case any burglars are interested, and the situation we have today where we have companies trying to breach your privacy through 'snooping' (data collection, metrics, internet activity tracking, data brokers, big data mining, etc.).

        That is what the privacy on the internet has become, an active battle to fight for privacy, where "just don't be stupid with your data" is no longer enough - hasn't been enough for more than a decade.

      3. juice Silver badge

        Re: Privacy

        > TL;DR - people are lazy.

        Bollocks.

        My dad's a roofer; his wife fosters several children. Are you saying that after a hard day's manual labour - and an evening of dealing with the many aspects of fostering multiple children - he should then be spending what little spare time he has on jailbreaking his phone to install privacy software, as well as reviewing privacy policies for all the things he uses?

        To grossly over-simplify, Human civilisation is built on two things: trust and specialisation.

        I.e. I'll do something specific, such as baking bread. And I'll trust that while I'm doing this, you'll be over there tilling the fields, blacksmithing, butchering, candlestick-making and the like.

        Well, trust, specialisation and the development of an exchange medium to balance the books. That candlestick'll be ten loaves of bread, mate. And while I could demand a full list of ingredients for said bread, I'll trust that you've not done anything like using ground up acorn-flour to boost your profit margins. And you'll trust that I've not made the candlestick out of light wood and painted it with flammable oil-based paints.

        Spanish inquisition comedy and recipe tips aside, that "specialise and trust" principle extends all the way up through the ages, from Rome's legions to Ford's assembly processes and up to Amazon's world-dominating logistics network.

        I do my specialised thing, and I exchange the money I receive for doing that thing for goods and services from other specialists.

        And that applies just as much to legal matters, such as privacy. We have an entire branch of society called "government", whose specialisation is entirely around managing such things; we even nominally hold them to account with regular elections to keep them focused on their job.

        And we /should/ be able to trust them to deal with it. Assuming, of course, that they can come up with a privacy system which balances rights in a way everyone can agree with. No rush, I'll just sit in the pub with a pint (or several million) while the details are being thrashed out.

        Admittedly, there's several issues with the above utopian view even above and beyond the fundamental "what is privacy" question.

        The key one being that public policy can be... shaped by private entities (e.g. the ultra-rich and mega-corporations) with deep pockets, which in turn leads to a vicious circle of these entities continually acquiring more power with which they can further shape public policy to their needs.

        And that cycle will continue until something drastic resets things, such as a scandal, a major economic upheaval or even the fragmentation of empires after someone passes.

        In the meantime, anyone want a candlestick? Special deal today - buy two for just twice the price!

    8. Rol Silver badge

      Re: What does it take...

      If Firefox shipped with all the stable doors wide open by default, and all the gimmickry shite loaded and turned up to number 11, then the average user would love it to pieces, as it would work on every site they visited and play all their stuff and not once would it block them from reaching for all that glistening internet gold.

      The more savvy user, on the other hand, would be fuming at the effort now required to turn all the crap off and the security on.

      Simple people want it simple, and to chase that market you will need to better accommodate them - a very easily navigated interface with simple on/off and dumbed down explanations is what many punters want. That's not to say you can't have the more technical stuff available for the user that demands such things, but just hide it away from the plebs.

      I have seen software that offers a "Just work off the bat" interface, with no configurable options, "OK I want to play a bit" for intermediate users who are marginally capable, through to "I'm a tech God so give me full access to everything" And that seems to be a reasonable solution for all.

      And frankly, it is a bit counter-intuitive, to ship a product that is ideally set for a savvy user, yet needs fiddling with to get a complete newb up and running on Netflix or whatever.

    9. quxinot Silver badge

      Re: What does it take...

      More than simply having privacy--there is an overarching concept that in my mind is greater still, and covers privacy like an umbrella.

      Having control.

      Allow the user to choose if they want privacy or not. If they want @#@#! 'pocket' or not. Build the browser as almost just a framework; minimialistic and fast. Use plugins to add features.

      You know, like Firefox once was.

  2. Just A Quick Comment

    We need Firefox to keep going

    I use Brave on Android and Firefox on Windows/Linux, and see no reason to change. What with Google's casual attitude to ad-blocking (i.e. not much) I'm avoiding Chrome and recommending others to do the same.

    1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

      Re: We need Firefox to keep going

      Indeed. Firefox + Adblocker + No script.

      Not invincible -- but getting there.

      NO CHROME!!!

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: We need Firefox to keep going

        I would also add Pi-Hole.

        1. Ramis101

          Re: We need Firefox to keep going

          and privacy badger

    2. Rufus McDufus

      Re: We need Firefox to keep going

      Brave is getting pretty usable now on desktop and I'm tempted to switch from Firefox.

      1. Carrot007

        Re: We need Firefox to keep going

        Meh, another chomium effort! No thanks.

        Edge is there for that! (yeah yeah, but it is there so... And I don't use it much).

        I do use some browsers for odd sppecific purposes though so if I needed another who knows what I would go for! (beyond the specific edge use of netflix and signing up for soem things becuase i have fifrefox locked down and it breaks applications often, I also use pale moon for soem things (just to keep it seperate)).

    3. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: We need Firefox to keep going

      Brave on Android

      Firefox Focus on Android for me. A good little browser good for privacy.

    4. Rich 2 Silver badge

      Re: We need Firefox to keep going

      We certainly do. No other browser comes anywhere close to the huge range of add-ons that Firefox supports. Of course, some of the most important of these are to help keep the likes of googlies and faecesbook and their scummy friends at arms length.

      If Firefox were to die, quite frankly I have no idea what I could replace it with - it is SO far ahead in this regard. Maybe they should shout a bit louder about this.

    5. NullProto

      Re: We need Firefox to keep going

      Left at 57 when TabMixPlus stopped working, as well as many other add-ons. TabMixPlus made FireFox for me. Beyond that it was the dev's stubborn refusal to even address the issue...Found Brave and never looked back. Becoming a fast follower to the Chrome look and feel was also a big downfall IMHO.

  3. Stanislav Bonita

    If Firefox want more privacy-savvy users, they have to get out of Google's bed.

    Until they do, they'll keep losing share.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ....... What?

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Lorribot Silver badge

    It never ceases to amaze me how many IT professionals that know about GDPR, IT privacy and all that, still insist on using Chrome and Google and often decry Microsoft Edge like they some data stealing demon, unlike those nice Google people......

    Just why would you?

    1. IamAProton

      Most likely here on TheReg I've read that the only 2 browsers that send a machine ID (doesn't change if you reinstall browser, perhaps OS) are chrome-based Edge and Yandex browser, also chrome-based.

      If that's the case both Edge and Chrome are equally bad, for different reasons

      Can't recall exactly how to find that article so don;t take my word for it.

      1. IamAProton

        This the original study: https://www.scss.tcd.ie/Doug.Leith/pubs/browser_privacy.pdf

        Quote from the conclusions:

        "From a privacy perspective Microsoft Edge and Yandex are qualitatively different from the other browsers studied. Both send persistent identifiers than can be used to link requests(and associated IP address/location) to back end servers. Edge also sends the hardware UUID of the device to Microsoft and Yandex similarly transmits a hashed hardware identifier to back end servers. As far as we can tell this behaviour cannot be disabled by users. In addition to the search autocomplete functionality that shares details of web pages visited, both transmit web page information to servers that appear unrelated to search autocomplete."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Interestingly, younger daughter currently interning with a major IT multinational, working within a tech team, tells me that FF is not fashionable with her techie colleagues- they have moved to Chrome. And we're talking about tech teams in one of the biggest tech companies. (But not Google/Apple/Microsoft).

      Anon for obvious reasons.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        > FF is not fashionable with her techie colleagues

        Obviously. Just start with the name: "Firefox"? That's new age hippie stuff. "Chrome" is shiny, literally...

        Also Chrome comes from big daddy Google, which in many/most peoples' minds is still a cool company. Also there has been much propaganda about Chrome rendering advertisement JavaScripts milliseconds faster, and that's very important: People want a muscle car browser, a chromed one.

        Last but not least, there is the "big corp = good" mentality: Same thing happened in the past with Internet Explorer, which was very limited in the beginning, and yet became a de-facto standard web developers rushed to build websites for. Not because it was good, but because it was Microsoft.

  6. stuartd_reg

    A lot of people complaining about the UI changes on other forums. As my daily browser is Firefox Nightly (since long before Nightly was a thing, and long before Minefield) I saw these introduced incrementally, which lessened the ‘jarring’ effect.

    And - apart from the new ‘update’ UI, which of course I see all the time - I hadn’t really noticed the other UI changes until I read about them in the 89 release notes. And I do like the tab focus.

    Is this enough to save Firefox? Probably not.

    Will I ever use a Chromium based browser? No.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      (cringe)

      "new icon set" ! "new typography" !

      Don't you just cringe inside when some group enthusiastically yells "new icons!" Icons do not make a UI. The interactions with the program - the flow of work getting done - are the UI.

      It sounds like all they've accomplished is moving tabs around? And squeezing menus through a kitchen strainer?

      Moving beach umbrellas around while a tidal wave looms seems less than apt.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: (cringe)

        I see you've redecorated. I don't like it.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: (cringe)

          Likewise, why should we have to put up with someone elses choice on the decorations in the first place? Not so long ago, it was normal for the users to change how things looked to suit themselves, their workflow and the personal choices. Nowadays, more and more those customisation options are being removed and we have to accept some designers choices.

          As for the "rise of Chrome", it seems the only way to get rid of the annoying pop-up on Google sites imploring people to use Chrome is to...er...use Chrome.

          1. Def Silver badge

            Re: (cringe)

            Just to play devil's advocate for a second, I have read more than one study in the past that concluded that most users customise things in ways that make their workflows less productive than the defaults.

            Yes, people are creatures of habit, and we hate change, but there are a lot of interaction designers out there who genuinely do know better. :)

            1. Daniel Pfeiffer

              Re: (cringe)

              Yes, people are creatures of habit, and we hate change, but there are a lot of interaction designers out there who genuinely do know better. :)

              As in put mobile FF's URL bar at the bottom? Still didn't get used to that because it's different from everybody else. (And this from an Emacs lover! Though you never click on the minibuffer. It's keyboard activated. – For non-Emacsers it must be worse!)

            2. ThatOne Silver badge

              Re: (cringe)

              > most users customise things in ways that make their workflows less productive

              Sorry, workflows vary wildly, and if you are really wanting to make a difference you allow the user to adapt the browser to his workflow. A developer doesn't need the same things as my old aunt watching YouTube. Since the developer is most likely savvy enough to customize, make the default interface "home user" friendly, but allow people to change it if they want/need. Yes I know, that's much work for little profit.

              .

              > there are a lot of interaction designers out there who genuinely do know better.

              There might be, but they are all retired apparently as interface design nowadays is all about shuffling things around and randomly changing some colors. Any intern can do it (and probably does) each time marketing decides they want a "fresh new look".

              Android Firefox is an excellent example of total lack of interaction design (also known as deluding oneself to think one knows better what's good for the lusers out there).

          2. iron Silver badge

            Re: (cringe)

            > As for the "rise of Chrome", it seems the only way to get rid of the annoying pop-up on Google sites imploring people to use Chrome is to...er...use Chrome.

            There is a better way... don't use Google sites.

          3. eldakka Silver badge

            Re: (cringe)

            From a personal perspective, I love being able to customize stuff. I've spent days setting up Xwindows environments to how i like it. Since I am in IT, that's fine, as I tend to break stuf, but then tend to fix it myself after a bit (or a lot) of research into it.

            From a technical support perspective, however, too much customization is problematic.

            Customer: "How do I open a local file in my browser"

            Support: "In the top-left corner, click on the file menu, then ..."

            Customer: "I don't have a file menu in the top left corner."

            Support: "Oh, you must of moved it, find where you moved your file menu to and click it ..."

            Customer: "I don't have a file menu at all, I renamed all the menus, maybe it's this one I called stuff? Could it be under that one? Or maybe you mean this other one I called spot?"

            Support: "*facepalm*"

            Also, from a code-base supportability perspective it can be problematic. It requires more code to implement such features. More code == more bugs. And could get broken on every major upgrade, the config file could get blatted, or registry keys corrupted or set back to defaults after the upgrade, or whatever.

            For software aimed at a general userbase, it's just not worth the support headaches and code supportability problems extensive customization capabilities introduces.

            1. ThatOne Silver badge
              Stop

              Re: (cringe)

              > From a technical support perspective, however, too much customization is problematic.

              Danger! The logical conclusion of this would be a blank page with just a big button "Go to Google!". Why, Google search will allow you to easily find whatever you want to visit. Totally foolproof.

              Please don't confuse "foolproof" and "dumbed down".

      2. Craig 2

        Re: (cringe)

        Absolutely. The best UI is one where you don't even really notice it. Designers want to make shiny, fancy, shouty UI's and IMHO it's completely the wrong direction. And don't get me started on hiding 99% of controls in favour of "simplicity". /rant

        1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: (cringe)

          > ...hiding 99% of controls...

          It seems you are talking about Gnome. Can I help you with that?

    2. Snake Silver badge

      It's bright

      I've been using 89 all day, it gave me the new UI on my first day back at work.

      At first it was indeed jarring, only because I found the color palette too bright for my tastes. The rest of the UI was an "Eh" from my perspective - it was "shiny" and "improved", but not really "changed".

      After several hours of use I have already dismiss the color palette's initial impact, and the UI remains no real difference. So I guess I'll accept it, it is not enough of an issue to make it world-ending.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: It's bright

        > I found the color palette too bright for my tastes

        Did they change the colors? On upgrade Firefox asked me if I wanted to chose a theme, I told it "Not now", and got (stayed with?) the "System theme" which is still gray/white like before. No colors, I don't need a screen decoration, I need a browser.

        You might want to check it out, as it is apparently an option.

    3. tfewster Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Is Firefox currently aimed at small-screen/mobile use, or large screen/PC use?

      One requires a simplified UI and controls; The other should make use of the larger screen area to show useful stuff, e.g. the good old menu bar.

      Personally, I hate having to drill down through hierarchical menus for frequently used functions (though I'm not a fan of how the Microsoft Ribbon works!)

      1. Fred Goldstein

        I use Firefox and have the menu bar active. I *hate* the hamburger; it takes more clicks and precise hand-eye coordinated gestures to do things; it is much easier to find things from the menu bar on top. I'm at FF 88 now. If I go to 89 do I lose the option of a menu bar?

        Firefox has a good privacy ecosystem, with Facebook Container, Ghostery, and a clean separation (if you want) between the URL bar and the search bar. I don't trust Chrome at all in that regard.

        1. ThatOne Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          > If I go to 89 do I lose the option of a menu bar?

          No, don't worry, it still works. I'm displaying the menu bar too, and even a bookmarks bar. My MD strongly advised against hamburgers.

  7. IamAProton

    Not another UI redesign please!

    I hope those floating tabs are not mandatory, looks like they are going towards the whitespace-experience™, like many MS products.

    Not a fan of flat UI, but I am ok to keep UI minimal on browsers (still, borderless windows sucks).

    My daily browsers are FF since when it was called Firebird and Vivaldi, both at home and at work, but I do not show up in the stats (like many other FF users I guess) because of script/ad blocking and definitely because of user agent spoofing.

    I wonder why do they even bother considering those stats especially for FF which is more geek-friendly. IIRC Vivaldi self identifies as Chrome, so it's out of the stats.

    This whole user-agent thing is obsolete. The site might need some info about device capabilities (screen size and little more), not what flavour of HTML parser I'm running.

    I know that politics, marketing and other BS are involved, but FF should do as Vivaldi does. Call itself chrome and be done with it

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: Not another UI redesign please!

      Isn't Vivaldi using the Chrome engine?

      1. IamAProton

        Re: Not another UI redesign please!

        Vivaldi is based on Chromium, but it's not Chrome. The User agent string is the same as Chrome because some poorly designed websites still check the browser brand and were broken on Vivaldi despite sharing the guts with chrome so Vivaldi decided to become Chrome in the eyes of websites

        1. Carrot007

          Re: Not another UI redesign please!

          That would be a reason to not use it IMO.

          Faking it by default is a bad option.

          I would just not uise the broken sites. They are probably not important.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Not another UI redesign please!

            The user agent string has long been broken which is why it's being phased out by more meaningful declarations. Good websites shouldn't have been using it for years: basically since HTML5 came out but there are still a suprising number of websites that come with such stupid hard-coded behaviour. As a customer I can decide whether to visit such sites. But a developer insisting on their own user agent is effectively taking that decision for me and so the maxim "don't punish the customer" comes to bear.

            And, BTW, of far greater import, is deciding to live with all the webkit-prefixes that are still plastered all over websites that were designed and programmed by idiotic fanbois. In the end, everyone caved in and decided to support them, which is a pity as they were quite useful in working with different implementations.

    2. tekHedd

      Telemetry!

      Telemetry shows that:

      - all the features I use daily are unloved

      - all of the annoyances I have disabled are popular

      - the next version will force the annoyances on me while removing the features I love

      - people like icons that are indistinguishable monochrome squares

      - I need a beer

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Not another UI redesign please!

      I'd prefer a RETRO-redesign - like "before Australis" UI.

      (I wish *I* could get paid to do *THAT* - because if I were, it'd be done RIGHT!)

      "simpler" UI is not necessarily the best unless there's an "Advanced" setting to get the full monty.

      I'll probably still use it, though.

      Dear Mozilla: try putting the lipstick on the OTHER end, not the end that goes "oink"

      1. IamAProton

        Re: Not another UI redesign please!

        Agree, I dislike especially anything that involves more rounded corners.

        I tried the new version. MEH.

        I don't see any improvement other than "it's different!", which is not an improvement since "the best UI is the one you are familiar with".

        No big deal, it's a browser, thanks god they do not design cars... imagine swapping brake and clutch pedals to "give it a more fresh look and enhance the user experience".

        They removed the stupid 'get bigger' effect on address bar (now that I was getting used to it). Good, but why did they introduce it in the first place?

        The light blue highlight is annoying. I use dark theme because light one is too bright, but options pages are hard to read. The whole white text on black background trend can't end early enough.

        Customize toolbar, can only access as context menu, fine.

        The real gem is the "density" setting for toolbar: Touch, Normal, Compact (not supported).

        So far compact works but, FFS, not supported!? how hard can it be to support... it's already working

        They should be aware that saving vertical space is always nice but they go the opposite way.

        Anyways, next version will be more compact with no rounded corner; square-rounded-square-rounded and so on, like for chrome/ android etc. google actually made a slanted tab version years ago, perhaps it will be next.

        TL;DR;

        about:config, search for "proton" and disable everything. (unrelated to my nickname)

      2. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Not another UI redesign please!

        I actually upvoted a comment by bombastic bob - you can always tell its an IT themed thread rather than a political one when that happens!

    4. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Not another UI redesign please!

      Indeed.

      Due to many sites using piss poor "your browser is not supported" stuff based on lazy user agent contains, I have long frequently spoofed user agent on FF (lots of addons to do that), & surprise, surprise the site then typically works.

      .. Obviously various blocking software running on FF, so even so wont get much recorded by google analytics etc.

  8. RobNewt

    New tab design

    I'm liking the new tabs

    1. Carrot007

      Re: New tab design

      With all the fuss I thought they had murdered endangered monkeys to make the new tabs!

      But yes I think they are an improvement. Unlike most things where it hobbles dekstop to make mobile use "better" this improves desktop use. I have space here, use it! Just a pity most websites want to look like a tall tree in the middle of the page for some reason! (yes it's that mobile thing again).

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: New tab design

      I find them pretty awful: flatness combined a fade out of text makes them pretty difficult to read. And I've never found tab-switching via the keyboard to be as easy with Firefox as it was with Opera.

      Might be time to give Vivaldi another chance.

      1. ortunk

        Re: New tab design

        You mean Shift -Tab?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Privacy is an acquired taste it would seem

    People seem to misunderstand the Internet at a fundamental level.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Privacy is an acquired taste it would seem

      "People seem to misunderstand computers at a fundamental level."

      FTFY.

      1. Charlie van Becelaere

        Re: Privacy is an acquired taste it would seem

        "People seem to misunderstand at a fundamental level."

        FTFY.

        1. ortunk

          Re: Privacy is an acquired taste it would seem

          "People misunderstand at a fundamental level."

          FTFY

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Privacy is an acquired taste it would seem

            Gillian McKeith!

            https://b3ta.com/board/6865447

  10. Kreaninw
    Meh

    Please, Firefox, just go away already!

    The existent of Firefox doesn't help the web standards at all, as shown in its worse standards compliance which can be seen at HTML5 Test for years. Any sane person wouldn't believe that the browser that doesn't follow the standards itself will actually advocate the standards.

    Moreover, the performance which has been its issue for so many years is still in place. It's not even close to the competitors. While Chrome/Chromium-based browsers enjoy the newly updated V8 JavaScript compiler, which is 23% faster and saves over 17 years of CPU time daily, Firefox 89 is making a headline with UI redesign (for the better or worse) instead of fixing the very major issue it has been facing for so many years.

    Firefox's selling point regarding privacy seems dated to me also. Currently, Chromium is as open and pure if not more. Brave's business model is also more transparent than Firefox. Firefox, on the other hand, is not following the standards all that good, performance-wise is subpar, and most of the money they get to run the project came directly from ads company. What's their mission again?

    This article is very well made. Thanks.

    1. _andrew
      FAIL

      Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

      Don't think you're really grasping the concept of internet standards here. In fact, without Firefox it is likely that web standardization would grind to a halt, because it requires two independent implementations being shown to interoperate to form one. Most of the robustness of the internet (such as it is) comes from deliberately shunning monocultures.

      I don't think that you're making a great case for JavaScript performance, either. How many years has it been since JavaScript performance was well and truly good enough? Many. Sure there are probably incremental gains to be had, and better performance translates to longer battery life, which is always a good thing, but the limitations to web performance these days aren't JavaScript performance, they're inherent network bandwidth/latency/protocol limitations and the cubic truckloads of pointless surveillance scripting that gets shoveled into pages to make sure that a real human looked at the ads.

      I agree with the last comment though: it was a good article.

      1. razza

        Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

        "How many years has it been since JavaScript performance was well and truly good enough? Many. Sure there are probably incremental gains to be had, and better performance translates to longer battery life, which is always a good thing, but the limitations to web performance these days aren't JavaScript performance, they're inherent network bandwidth/latency/protocol limitations and the cubic truckloads of pointless surveillance scripting that gets shoveled into pages to make sure that a real human looked at the ads."

        Now and for the last few years JS speeds has been very good. And that is one of the key factors of the web: how fast is the JS engine. Makes a huge difference especially in complex webapps.

        Network speed isn't a problem now (cache minified JS files aren't rocket science these days).

        Agree about the tracking JS. That is legacy and will go very soon as it is too easily to defeat. How you going to avoid tracking when it's built into the device and doesn't require regular internet connection?

        1. _andrew

          Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

          I have a relatively new machine, and haven't run JetStream2 before, so just gave it a shot on Safari, Chrome and FirefoxDE (my daily driver). Safari is ahead by a good margin (172.9) from Chrome (150.0) vs FirefoxDE (91.6). The nice thing about JetStream2 is that it reports good statistics about all of the component tests, and the differences are interesting. SpiderMonkey actually wins a few rounds (eg regexp), but there are others (splay, which is claimed to be a heavy test of the garbage collector) which it loses to Safari by a factor of nearly nine. Mostly its behind by a factor of about two, which is further than I had thought.

          And yet it's perfectly fast enough for me, and what I use it for. I suspect that the multi-threaded layout engine from Servo probably helps more than the last percent of wasm performance, most of the time.

          JetStream2 is, as it says on the tin, a javascript engine benchmark, which doesn't say anything very much about the overall browser experience, which includes rendering, CSS, layout and all the rest.

          And none of that is why I use Firefox. I use it because it's the hold-out for ecosystem diversity, because it runs on all of the platforms that I use, and because the sync protocol that gives me a uniform auto-fill and access to all of my cross-device tabs is client-side encrypted.

          1. Kreaninw

            Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

            Everything you just said about Firefox, none of that Chrome can't do. All of the things that Firefox can do, Chrome does it better most of the time.

            If you're OK with Firefox's inferior performance when compared to other browsers, that's fine. No one will force you to change. However, the public standard can be different than yours. We always seek better technology. And better technology will open a new possibility in development. Otherwise, when AMD built 64-bit processors, why did Intel follow even though 32-bit was enough for most cases at that time?

            Regarding Safari, it's not a cross-platform browser. It's out of reach if you're not on Mac or iOS. Therefore it's not only a matter of choosing a browser, but also choosing an OS. Anyway, its performance is really good indeed.

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge
              Meh

              Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

              You can't even use "performance" as a metric because Chrome is a memory-sucking hog, but if your only benchmark is speed, Chrome is wonderful, so enjoy that 0.001ms real-world difference while it uploads your browsing history to Google.

              To replicate Safari's user experience in other browsers, browse with one hand tied behind your back.

              1. Kreaninw

                Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

                You might need to update your info regarding the browser that eats RAM the most. To put it simply, currently, it's Firefox for quite some time now, even before when Chrome 89 came out which reduced its RAM usage by a whopping 20%. Also, Chrome 91 further reduced its RAM usage.

                However, Edge actually uses RAM the least compared to both Chrome and Firefox.

                You can type "browser RAM usage 2021" in your search engine to fact-check your info.

                1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                  Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

                  Unless you can find a properly benchmarked comparison and not the release announcement by Google or some garbled SEO nonsense that appears in search engines when you search for that search string or similar, I'll take the claim with a pinch of salt.

                  1. Kreaninw

                    Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

                    If you don't believe any of those, why don't you test it yourself to prove your claim?

                    Considering both the browsers are free to use, you don't even have to listen to any claim with a pinch of salt. Instead of talking bad about everything you don't agree on, prove it yourself and show it to others so others would benefit from your info.

                    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                      Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

                      "Considering both the browsers are free to use, you don't even have to listen to any claim with a pinch of salt. Instead of talking bad about everything you don't agree on, prove it yourself and show it to others so others would benefit from your info."

                      Since you are making the claim and producing the figures is so easy, why not back up your claim and show us your own figures then? That would end the discussion quite nicely I think.

                      1. Kreaninw

                        Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

                        I did make a claim but I didn't produce any figure. If you did search "browser RAM usage 2021" as I have suggested, you would find many results from ssiddique/Developer Resources, Tom's guide, Digicruncher, PCWorld, and etc. that are providing their test in "real numbers". I believe that those sites are even more reputable than a random guy on the internet like me.

                        Therefore I had already proved my claim, yet I still don't see any from the others who claimed otherwise.

                    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
                      FAIL

                      Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

                      Considering both the browsers are free to use…

                      Chrome is definitely sending a lot of your behavioural data to Google which in return reserves the right to monetise it. Where's the freenes in that?

                      Chrome is on the naughty step here not least because it doesn't respond to a standard quit command!

                      1. Kreaninw

                        Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

                        If you're not OK with that, then what is preventing you from testing it with Chromium?

            2. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

              Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

              The very minor (and not in the slightest noticeable to me in real use) performance hit is nowhere near enough for me to go to the slurping, ad-filled, blocker-blocking nightmare that is Chrome. When there is only one web rendering engine left, and ad-, tracker-, or JS-blocking is no longer possible, when Google owns your very soul, you will scream like Charlton Heston at the end of Planet of the Apes.

              1. keithpeter Silver badge
                Windows

                Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

                I just use the default browser that comes with the Linux distribution that I use, at present the browser is Firefox.

                * perceived performance: pretty OK on a Core Duo 2 laptop with 4Gb ram, lowest spec device currently in use (keyboard).

                * privacy: I turn Javascript off in about:config and use a host file to block ad servers where possible (also battery/cool running). Would like a toolbar button to toggle js. I also disable studies/experiments/some telemetry in about:config

                * UI: as long as I can press Alt when I want the proper menu I'm cool

                Icon: semi-retired gentleman tutor with no furlough for sessionally paid staff

                1. eldakka Silver badge

                  Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

                  > and use a host file to block ad servers where possible

                  It's probably easier to run a dockerified Pi-Hole locally on your computer, that way you get their updated blocklists with updates and don't have to maintain your own hosts file - assuming you trust the list-creators that is.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

                You should perhaps have looked for the Charlton Heston scene on a different video hosting service, such as DailyMotion, Vimeo, etc... Choosing YouTube as your first port of call, and encouraging people to use it, is part of the whole problem with Google's increasing tentacle-isation of the internet...!

                1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

                  Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

                  Indeed. The irony was not lost on me...

        2. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

          > Now and for the last few years JS speeds has been very good. And that is one of the key factors of the web: how fast is the JS engine. Makes a huge difference especially in complex webapps.

          Complex webapps can burn in fiery hell.

          If your requirement is "complex", write an actual app that runs directly on the underlying OS (Windows, Linux, MacOS, etc.) after being downloaded and installed.

      2. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

        "How many years has it been since JavaScript performance was well and truly good enough? Many. Sure there are probably incremental gains to be had, and better performance translates to longer battery life, which is always a good thing, but the limitations to web performance these days aren't JavaScript performance"

        Indeed. A few years back when boasting about JS times was how browsers liked to do their penis measuring, I still never uinderstood why I was supposed to care that one might be 2ms faster than another. That's just not something anyone will ever notice while actually using a browser. Hell, you could be a full second slower and it would still hardly be noticeable - people don't click through links at high speed as though they're playing Starcraft, so a tiny pause just isn't a big deal. Of course, by far the best way to improve JS performance is NoScript, since the vast majority of it is completely pointless anyway.

        As for battery life, saving fractions of a second in CPU time isn't going to make any difference compared to just turning the screen brightness down a notch or two, or just sticking with a 1080p screen because there's really no point in having anything more in a laptop or phone. If you've really done everything you possibly can do improve your battery life, you can maybe eke a few more seconds from it by picking the optimal browser, but by that point you're at the level of scraping the paint off your bike to lose weight.

    2. razza

      Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

      "Chromium". Yes.

      Firefox is still slow, clunky, unrefined, under-developed compared to competitors. It's just naff. 4% share - my god.

      Plus as you say, Google are bank-rolling it. NO chance they are ever going to let it get better than Chrome and even with all the bits and bobs on, which I have in Chromium (uBlock Origin, etc), do you not think that the are others ways of tracking you apart from cookies, etc.

      Yes, Google are 'evil', but it's too late now. Try Chromium and the sense of relief will wash over you. The sluggishness, treacle-like rendering of Firefox will go. Web Apps will become responsive and behave.

      TOR Browser is best but also the worst.

      1. Rich 2 Silver badge

        Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

        You do know that the TOR browser is based on Firefox, don’t you?

      2. Rich 2 Silver badge

        Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

        Can you clarify what is clunky? Or unrefined? Or underdeveloped?

        1. DarkRookie

          Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

          The entire UI?

          1. Everything has way too much white space

          2. Everything feels like it isn't attached to each other.

          3. Very few options for tweaking the UI right out of the box.

          1. quxinot Silver badge

            Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

            Are you talking about Chrome or Firefox there? ^

          2. Rich 2 Silver badge

            Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

            I don’t recognise (1) at all.

            No idea what you’re referring to with (2)

            (3) What part of the UI do you want to tweak that you can’t? Whatever the issue is you can probably find a plug-in to give you what you want

          3. parsecmenteur

            Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

            At least firefox can be tweaked via its userChrome.css (meaning it is possible to remove useless white spaces / modifying the whole UI to your pleasure).

    3. PassiveSmoking

      Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

      You're probably too young to remember the browser wars and its aftermath.

      TL:DR, during the browser war the major vendors (Netscape and Microsoft) just added tags and features willy-nilly that were deliberately incompatible with similar features in the rival browser in an attempt to force vendor lock-in, crapping all over the standards that existed at the time. Once it was over, MS took all resources away from browser development and if it hadn't been for the upstarts like Firefox forcing the issue, we'd probably all still be using Internet Explorer 6.

      FireFox needs to be doing more than a cosmetic update to win back share, it needs to at least be on a level playing field performance-wise to the Webkit-derived browsers, but if it went away we'd be back in a situation where one big megacorp basically owned what was supposed to be the open web, and that megacorp would be Google. Is that really what you want?

      1. Kreaninw

        Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

        Yes, Firefox pretty much started the rebel against IE. However, the one who closed the curtain was Chrome.

        Firefox has never been considered a browser of choice at any time by the market. It's always just another viable web browser around. If you actually look at the market share history, you would find that before Chrome came to the surface, never once was Firefox able to surpass IE's market share.

        And to be more precise on the browsers' specific tag, or I would call it the vendor prefix, is not something limited to IE6 in the old era as this was implemented in every browser until recently (even Firefox invented their -moz- tag if you didn't know).

        I think your history information is pretty far off. And as a result, you believe that MS took all resources away from browser development because of the pressure from Firefox, not Chrome.

        What surprised me is that people usually think Chrome and IE are the same despite the fact that IE is a close source proprietary software while Chromium, which Chrome is based on, is open source that's free to use and you can modify its code without any license restriction. Therefore whether Chrome is proprietary does not relevant as the technologies behind Chrome are open source. To say that Chromium can't be trusted just because Google is backing it is no different than saying Linux kernel can't be trusted because for a long time Red Hat, a commercial company, is the one who contributed to the kernel the most. And recently it's Huawei and Intel who contributed the most to Linux kernel 5.10 development. Do those companies own Linux?

        Until you can dissociate IE and Chrome apart, it's impossible to have a productive conversation.

        1. PassiveSmoking

          Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

          OK, not only did you clearly either fail to read my comment or fail to comprehend what I wrote, you then tell me my history is wrong? I was freaking there, man. I remember it vividly.

          1. Kreaninw

            Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

            I already told you in detail in my previous comment regarding why I think your understanding of that event is not accurate. Then I also provided you with the fact.

            Why don't you tell me in detail what part of my comment shows that I fail to read your comment or fail to comprehend what you wrote so our conversation would also benefit the others?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

              You're banging on about crap, pal. Shut it.

            2. eldakka Silver badge

              Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

              > Why don't you tell me in detail what part of my comment shows that I fail to read your comment or fail to comprehend what you wrote so our conversation would also benefit the others?

              How about when you wrote this in the post previous:

              > And as a result, you believe that MS took all resources away from browser development because of the pressure from Firefox, not Chrome.

              Not only is it a blatantly false to say that @PassiveSmoking said that, your conclusion that it was because of Chrome that "MS took all resources away from browser development" is nonsensical.

              IE 6, released in 2001, won the browser wars against Netscape, Mozilla (still a fairly new browser only at version 0.9 at this time) Opera and a few minor 'niche' browsers. Neither Firefox or Chrome even existed at this time, the latter wasn't released until 7 years after these events, and 4 years after Firefox 1.0.

              Because of this overwhelming victory, MS abandoned all serious development of IE for the best part of a decade, with IE 7.0, which wasn't really a big update, more of a "we've got to release something new after 5 years of squat to compete against upstart Firefox", released 5 years after IE6 was released.

              Firefox 1.0 was released late 2004 (it's initial 0.1 'Phoenix' version in late 2002).

              IE7 two years later in 2006, as a response to Firefox's increasing market share.

              It was the 'hotting up' of Firefox that helped prompt MS to start browser development again, with IE7 being a rushed release not long after restarting browser development.

              Safari came along during this window, middle of 2003 for its 1.0 release. However, at that time, even 100% of Apple users using it just meant a tiny market share, as this was before the iPhone-led resurgence of Apple's computer and before smarphones were widely available.

              Chrome's initial 0.2 release was nearly two years later, Q3 2008, with it's "1.0" release a few months later, Dec 2008.

              1. Kreaninw

                Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

                Regarding which browser caused MS to pulled the plug on IE, I am not sure you understand the difference between the time when MS "speeding up" their IE development and when it actually "discontinued" IE.

                Of cause, as I said, Firefox had started the rebel against IE. It's only natural that MS would speed up their game in response to that. However, never once Firefox actually ended the game. The leading browser was always been IE, a proprietary browser with proprietary technologies underneath. Therefore it's not correct to say that we'd probably all still be using Internet Explorer 6 if Firefox didn't upstart the issue (see the original post of PassiveSmoking). Firefox, in all of its time in the market, never bring an end to IE, thus the era of the open web standards only happened after Chrome arrived. To say otherwise is pretty far off from the fact.

                My point still stands, It's not Firefox but Chrome that caused MS to discontinued IE. The latest version of IE is IE11 which came out in 2013 Q4. At that time, IE had around 26% of the market share, Chrome had 46% and Firefox was at 21%. Then in 2015, MS began the development of Edge under codename Project Spartan. That indicated the end of its IE brand as well as the "sign" of the demise of proprietary web standards. However, it became clear only in 2020 when MS announced that Edge will move to Chromium, thus pulled the plug in the proprietary web technologies development. At that time, Chrome has around 70% of the market share by the way. Firefox was a non-factor as it only had around 10% of the market share and declining. MS didn't even bother to move to Firefox's engine due to obvious reasons.

                Please get your fact straight. Thanks.

            3. PassiveSmoking

              Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

              Well you asked for it, so...

              > And to be more precise on the browsers' specific tag, or I would call it the vendor prefix, is not something limited to IE6 in the old era as this was implemented in every browser until recently (even Firefox invented their -moz- tag if you didn't know).

              You're talking about CSS prefixes. I'm talking about HTML tags. All the browsers added all kinds of daft tags that didn't work cross-broswer like <center>, <marquee>, etc. These were implemented with the specific intent of making sure that a particular page would work properly ONLY in a specific browser

              CSS vendor prefixes, on the other hand, were intended to allow experimental features of CSS to be exposed for developers to play with. They were different from tags in several important respects:

              * CSS affects appearance, not behaviour. If a browser doesn't recognise a particular CSS element then it will affect how the page looks, but not how it behaves. CSS (in theory at least) shouldn't break a page if a browser can't parse it

              * The prefixes exposed features that were proposed updates to the specs that hadn't been ratified yet. They weren't there to deliberately break cross-browser compatibility.

              * One set of vendor prefixes would play nicely with another set of vendor prefixes. For example you could use -moz and -webkit in the same stylesheet and be sure that each browser would only parse the prefixes relevant to them. This made it entirely possible to write stylesheets that were cross-browser (albeit requiring more work). This was impossible with vendor-specific HTML

              > I think your history information is pretty far off

              As a compute science student at the time it was a big issue for me whilst working through the newfangled web design module of my course. Some students were using Netscape, some were using IE, hell, some were even using Mosaic or Lynx. Same deal with the lecturers. You could build a page that looked beautiful on your computer, only for your lecturer to return it with a frowny face because it failed to render properly on his machine. Meanwhile, commercial websites (such as they were in the 90s) would sometimes just plain fail to work if you used the wrong browser. Then when Netscape was finally killed off, MS lost all interest in developing and improving its browser offering because there was nobody left to compete with it.

              > What surprised me is that people usually think Chrome and IE are the same despite the fact that IE is a close source proprietary software while Chromium, which Chrome is based on, is open source that's free to use and you can modify its code without any license restriction

              Chromium is not Chrome. Chrome has a load of propriety crap bolted onto the open source core designed to exploit your data for Google's benefit. Also, the comparison between Chrome and IE are based on how their enormous marketshare were damaging to the open internet. When one vendor dominates the open standards no longer matter.

              > To say that Chromium can't be trusted just because Google is backing it is no different than saying Linux kernel can't be trusted because for a long time Red Hat, a commercial company, is the one who contributed to the kernel the most

              That's a ridiculous comparison and I'm pretty sure you know it (At least I hope you know it, because otherwise you're not very bright!). Red Hat doesn't dominate Linux the way Google dominates with Chrome. There are plenty of competitors to Red Hat, and the Linux distro marketplace is far healthier than the browser marketplace. Hell, you don't even have to use linux at all, you could go with a BSD fork instead if you like.

              1. Kreaninw

                Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

                Whether it's HTML tag or CSS prefix, it's no different. Since the reason we have web standards is to make sure the same code would render completely the same way in all the browsers. Therefore by using the vendor-specific tag or prefix would destroy that purpose regardless. And that is also why the vendors moved to the user-controlled flags for experimental features instead of using the CSS prefixes as it's harmful to smaller browsers who were forced to add other browsers' prefixes in order to load popular websites correctly.

                My point still stands that the trend to use the vendor-specific implementation was an ongoing issue just until recently that this has begun to change. This is not limited IE6 era. I don't know the reason why you would pick up a matter that's not a core of the issue, as the issue is not the differences between HTML tags or CSS prefixes but the vendor-specific implementation which other browsers cannot interpret the code correctly since it does not belong to the web standards.

                Also, when Netscape was finally killed off, MS lost all interest in developing and improving its browser offering because there was nobody left to compete with it. However, the point is not about how MS would diligently develop their proprietary web technologies, right? It's the matter of which the web was controlled by proprietary technologies. Did Firefox change that? Nope. It was Chrome that put IE to rest at around 2015 when MS began Edge development, then moved Edge to Chromium in 2020. Firefox was a non-factor here.

                And also, while it's true that Chromium is not Chrome, hence the name. But the technology regarding web standards is not built exclusively into Chrome either, all of that goes straight to Chromium's repository which Chrome is based on. And the standards that Chromium implemented have been used by many browser vendors. Therefore by saying that the comparison between Chrome and IE is based on how their enormous market share was damaging to the open internet, would be invalid, since the open standards are built into Chromium which is open source, not Chrome. On the other hand, IE had none of that openness and it would benefit nobody other than MS if IE is the one who leads the web.

                Regarding the compression between Chromium and Linux kernel. It seems you still don't get my point that I said that the two are not different. Since the Chromium or Linux kernel is open source and that no one owns it. It just doesn't matter who is backing it, it also doesn't matter that who dominated the changes in the kernel or whatsoever. In the end, everyone can just grab the code, use it, modify it, or do whatever they want with it. I believe that as a computer science student, you should have known this better than anyone else. And while the Linux market among distros is healthy, but if you're looking at the big picture of the market, especially the server market where 100% of the world’s top 500 supercomputers run on Linux (as of 2021) or 96.3% of the world’s top 1 million servers run on Linux. Where is FreeBSD doing again? ZDNet even questioned that can the Internet exist without Linux. Is this the healthy market for you, based on your bashing on Google for the popularity of Chromium? For me, I'm fine if there's only a single render engine for all web browsers as long as that engine is open source, as I am fine if there is no FreeBSD or whatsoever as long as Linux is open source.

    4. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Please, Firefox, just go away already!

      "The existent of Firefox doesn't help the web standards at all, as shown in its worse standards compliance which can be seen at HTML5 Test for years. Any sane person wouldn't believe that the browser that doesn't follow the standards itself will actually advocate the standards."

      T̸͓̎ḧ̸̟́i̴͉̽s̸̼̿ ̵͖̍s̷̞̀i̴̐ͅt̸͔̅ë̶́ͅ ̸̘̏i̶͚͐s̸͔̈́ ̸̫̒b̴̤̾e̶̺̒s̵͕̽t̸̤͝ ̵̜̉v̸̱͐i̵̭͝e̸̢̕ẁ̶̠ĕ̷̗d̶̢͛ ̷̘̏ǐ̴͙n̶͉̓ ̵̯͂Í̵̦ǹ̵̫t̷͇̚e̵͓̒ȓ̸̦n̸͌͜e̴̯̔t̵̨̊ ̵͕̿E̸͖͝x̸̼͛p̷͕͐l̸̗͝ō̵͉r̷̳̈́ė̸̻r̵̘͋ ̵̠̕6̵̬̒

      T̵h̶i̶s̸ ̸s̸i̴t̷e̸ ̸i̷s̸ ̵b̶e̴s̸t̷ ̷v̶i̸e̵w̸e̸d̶ ̵i̷n̵ ̵I̸n̷t̷e̷r̵n̷e̶t̸ ̸E̶x̶p̸l̴o̷r̷e̵r̸ ̶6̵

  11. Mark 65

    Stats

    Is the decline in market share for Firefox due to the stats including mobile devices (essentially locked down to Safari on iOS and largely only going to be Chrome on Android) or are they excluded? If mobiles are included I would expect Firefox's share to be distorted as they cannot realistically operate on those platforms.

    From looking at the W3Counter link only 30% of the platforms were desktop OSes. I'd be more interested in the breakdown here as platform policies on mobiles can ruin your accessibility meaning they're never likely to compete.

    1. Kreaninw

      Re: Stats

      I don't see any point in this since the majority of Chrome on desktop doesn't come from Chrome OS either. It's on Windows which Edge is installed by default that Chrome is the most popular browser. In fact, Firefox is more accessible on Android (from the official Play Store) compared to Chrome on Windows (only available to install manually on Chrome's website).

      Firefox's market share has nothing to do with the availability of Chrome and Safari on the mobile OS. It's because of the users that choose not to use Firefox.

      Do we have to exclude some of Firefox's market share on desktop since Firefox is installed on all Linux distros by default?

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Stats

        So a browser not being the default on any mainstream OS has nothing to do with its market share because it's the default on a non-mainstream OS that is not the default?

      2. eldakka Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Stats

        > (only available to install manually on Chrome's website)

        What, you mean Google's search page (google.com, google.<country code>) doesn't popup an unmissable "Switch to Chrome, click here to install"-type link when you do a Google search from a non-Chrome browser? And it's not like 90%+ of people on the internet use Google search so would see such a popup if it did occur, is it?

        Oh wait, yes it does and yes that many people do use Google.

        So you don't have 'to go to' Chrome's website, Google will shove it down your throat helpfully popup the link for you (well, ok, maybe not you if you don't use Google, but the other 90% of the world who does) everytime you do a Google search .

        1. illiad

          Re: Stats

          the pint is, MOST people don't have much of a clue, they just want to get away from the MesS..... :/

          Safari??? it is always there, its part of apple .. Its NOT the browser that 'makes it good' but the apple OS that does..

          Firefox is not 'that' visible, Mozilla needs to 'step up' its profile!!

          Another problem is that it takes a ****lot*** of work to make the latest FF easily workable, as the OLD version was...

          HAVE A LOOK for pale moon, if you prefer the old style FF without webext.. :) and they have all the OLD plugins on their website!!

      3. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Stats

        @Kreaninw said "In fact, Firefox is more accessible on Android (from the official Play Store) compared to Chrome on Windows (only available to install manually on Chrome's website)."

        Are you serious?

        Go to many a google site e.g. the (in) famous search page, & if it detects a non chrome browser it tries to get you to download chrome.

        Its very hard for a "typical" (not avoiding google sites) user to not get inundated with please install chrome requests as they browse the web.

        Whereas on android there's nothing forcing Firefox on a user.

        Due to user agent spoofing my FF (if its recorded at all with script blockers etc.) usually masquerades as chrome (as previously mentioned due to sites that do lazy user agent tests and bar some browsers - well it usually has ChromeFOAD as most user agent checks are just contains "Chrome", very rarely I have to exactly spoof a chrome user agent)

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Stats

      One of the problems with things like W3Counter and Firefox is that many users will have set the privacy settings to 11 and so won't be reporting at all.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Stats

        It's almost as if the low score on market share proves that it is the browser of choice for those who don't want to be tracked.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Yes Me Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Stop fiddling with my browser!

    "The redesign, on the other hand, includes a new icon set, new typography, and simplified menus. There are now just two menu buttons, the hamburger menu top right, and a right-click menu; the three-dots menu in the address bar has gone."

    Thank heavens I froze Firefox updates at version 71. Now things don't keep being "improved" against my will.

    1. Thought About IT

      Re: Stop fiddling with my browser!

      After updating to 89.0, FireFox asked me if I wanted to switch to the new UI. I said no, and nothing has changed.

      1. Alumoi Silver badge

        Re: Stop fiddling with my browser!

        For now you can go to about:config, search for 'proton' and set all to false.

        Until they remove about:config from desktop browser or block you from modifying proton settings.

        1. Compression Artifact
          Thumb Up

          Re: Stop fiddling with my browser!

          "For now you can go to about:config, search for 'proton' and set all to false."

          I'm not sure what the other proton options do; but I just changed browser.proton.enabled to false and this made the browser usable again. Firefox 89's new low contrast theme was straining my eyes.

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: Stop fiddling with my browser!

            If they are anything like Google, any "feature" set via about:config or about:flags etc. will eventually either become a non-configurable default, or removed entirely.

          2. ecofeco Silver badge

            Re: Stop fiddling with my browser!

            This whole low contrast fashion style is utter, utter garbage.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Stop fiddling with my browser!

          Thanks but i've some fairly ugly tabs.

        3. jonathan keith

          Re: Stop fiddling with my browser!

          Thanks for that useful info!

          Unfortunately Firefox 89 appears to have broken UltraMon: the extremely useful "Move window to other monitor" button now doesn't even appear on the Firefox window furniture any more. The keyboard shortcut still works though. And I've just found out that - bizarrely - the button reappears if you drag an open tab out of Firefox and drop it on the desktop... but only in the new window.

        4. ecofeco Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Stop fiddling with my browser!

          Thanks. Exactly what was needed. The new interface was taking up to much real estate and made it hard to quickly identify bookmarks and folders.

          Cheers!

    2. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Stop fiddling with my browser!

      There are now just two menu buttons

      I'm afraid I also regret the inexorable advance of the "fat-finger" tablet-style interface that removes those "less-frequent" actions to obscure nested menu options where - because they're less frequent - you will never find them again. I'm not short so short of screen estate that I need to trade it for increased mouse clicks - and don't see why I should have to do so simply to make life easier for touch-screen users.

      1. tony72

        Re: Stop fiddling with my browser!

        This was why I ditched Firefox. The Mozilla said that its redesign is based on telemetry policy literally means "dumbed down by design", and while everybody is doing that to an extent, Mozilla seems to be particularly zealous about it.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Stop fiddling with my browser!

          It's a self-fulfilling prophecy, people who disable telemetry also probably use the most out-of-the-way features, people who don't dive into the settings leave the telemetry on, so the stats for the most out-of-the-way features hardly get reported to Mozilla and Mozilla cans them.

  14. mihares

    Back in the days when Windows 7 was a new thing and before I left the whole thing for GNU+Linux, I tried Chrome —all the cool kids had it and The Undisputable Truth was that Chrome was faster: heck, if you searched it with Google, it said it was faster so it must have been, right?

    It wasn’t. It was shit. It also was the first time I appreciated the meaning of the term “bloatware”: it managed to eat up tens of GiB worth of memory and crash the system more than once.

    So I switched to SeaMonkey and stuck to it until a couple of years back, when I just went with the flow of the GNU+Linux distro I was using and parked myself on Firefox. I might go back to SeaMonkey if this UI change dumbs things down too much. But I’m not touching Chromium based things with a barge pole.

    Maybe I am giving the first awful impression too much importance here: since then, browsers turned themselves into monstre-interpreters to run apocalyptically bad code instead of just displaying documents… but I won’t get over it: I’m not using anything Chromium based, ever. Even before beginning the privacy topic —which is why I wouldn’t use the stuff even if I could get over it.

    Internet fruition is, in general, in a very sorry state…

    1. nematoad Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      An alternative to FF.

      "I might go back to SeaMonkey if this UI change dumbs things down too much."

      I got royally pissed off when FF introduced that "Australis" shit so I went looking for a new browser. Eventually I found Palemoon, a fork of FF. Now it has moved away from FF but it still uses much of the underpinnings and look of the old FF.

      I have never been sure why Palemoon doesn't get more exposure as it's a good compromise between what was best on the old FF and newer and better security. It looks good and runs well on my ancient desktop, so why not give it a try?

      1. Pirate Dave
        Pirate

        Re: An alternative to FF.

        Same. I've been using Palemoon for several years now. A few sites have rendering issues, and our ancient Sharepoint 2003 Intranet gives it massive heartburn, but overall, it's good. I've never missed Firefox.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: An alternative to FF.

          I still often use Pale Moon, but went back to FF out of annoyance. I like to check to see if there are any new or interesting add-ons from time to time. Pale Moon's devs decided they wouldn't indicate new or updated add-ons any more, because they want to "treat all add-ons equally".

          It wasn't principally being unable to locate new add-ons that pissed me off, so much as the stubborn illogic of this. i.e If you don't tell your users there's something new they'll never know it exists. And unless they know that a a given modification is possible or desirable they're never going to go and search for it. So new add-ons, and innovative add-ons are discriminated against, because almost no one will ever find them.And the users suffer too, by missing out on something useful. But there's no sensible reason underlying this.

          1. Pirate Dave
            Pirate

            Re: An alternative to FF.

            I will confess that I left FF when they removed the ability to clear the downloaded files list (and ONLY the downloaded files list, not the entire history) when the browser is closed. I even requested/complained that they put it back (as did numerous other users), but we were pooh-poohed by the devs and given a bunch of excuses of why the functionality couldn't/wouldn't be added back in. I mean, really, it's not like it would have taken a ton of work - there was still a button somewhere that would clear out just the download list, so it should have been easy-peasy to call the button's click event during shutdown. But, no, that was asking too much. 700 settings in About:Config, and one more would have broken the camel's back? Plus, the condescending attitude of the devs was just uncalled for, IMHO. Palemoon was still in early days then, but was good enough for what I needed.

            I guess at some point, most popular FOSS projects get the shititude with their users. Must be something about human nature.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: An alternative to FF.

              I think one issue is that FOSS developers, even when they're actually paid professionals, see the software as their baby and the users out here in Userland, as just being lucky beneficiaries of their benevolence, which tbh is often true. So they see their chosen change decisions s as being none of our business. But it's not valid in big programmes, like FF or Libre Office which would not exist if there wasn't a user-base to justify them.

              [ Does a software suite crashing in a forest still make a noise when there's no one to hear it?]

              1. Pirate Dave
                Pirate

                Re: An alternative to FF.

                "Does a software suite crashing in a forest still make a noise when there's no one to hear it?"

                Well, yes. Lotus SmartSuite used to make the speaker buzz, even if I wasn't near the Win95 box. lol.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. wolfetone Silver badge

    The reason Firefox is in decline is because the world's most popular website doesn't suggest - or force - you to install it.

    That's the reason Chrome is popular. No one, other than the wise, gives a shite about privacy. So long as they're concerned, if they can't work out how to make money from their privacy, it surely means no one else can make money from it. So why bother?

  16. Binraider Bronze badge

    If Firefox wants market share, they need to get it deployed in offices. Chrome is the new corporate default, for no especially good reason. Not even an option in our package manager. And the ignorant will say why do you want another web browser? (Plus packaging overheads)

    1. David Austin

      MSI's Would have helped

      Until 2019, Firefox refused to release builds as an official .msi file, which in a Windows Environment, makes the deployment trivial. (https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/software/mozilla-to-provide-msi-installers-starting-with-firefox-65/)

      I think they'd have a bit more of a corporate foothold if they had given earlier access to easier deployment tools for sysadmins - The subtext, intentional or not, came across as corporate is an afterthought.

      1. Jay 2

        Re: MSI's Would have helped

        That's one of the reasons my work VDI has got Chrome and IE, but not FF. Also I'm not sure if there was something about being able to lock it down with group policies. Pity as it's my browser of choice and I need all the help I can get with old Dell iDRAC that insist on using old versions of Java. At least HPE update iLO firmware every so often to add in other options to get the console.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: MSI's Would have helped

        It also lacked GPOs to be centrally managed and didn't integrated with Windows' certificate stores and other settings. You may hate MS and Windows as much as you like, but if you wish to have a place on companies' desktops and laptops you need such features.

        Now they changed their minds, but it was a big mistake.

    2. Korev Silver badge

      For some reason Firefox is actually blocked on our work computers; Chrome is the default for some reason even though it slurps up god knows how much data to Google...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah time moves on and the cycles repeat, so we're be back to a single browser again like the bad old IE6 days yay! back to the stagnation, so this time we have rampant creepware in our browser rather than rampant insecurity.

    1. Kreaninw

      Except for the fact that IE is a close source proprietary software while Chromium, which Chrome based on, is an open source software that's free to use or even alter the code and release in a new flavor (e.g. Edge, Opera, Vivaldi, Brave, etc). Therefore even Google has no control over those flavors released by other vendors. Moreover, Microsoft already contributed a lot of their effort back to the Chromium project.

      Nope, there's no cycle here due to the obvious reason.

      1. DarkRookie

        Except the various flavors don't really do much to differentiate themselves from Chrome and generally have all the same issues I have with Chrome.

      2. chubby_moth

        Chrome is not open source as far as I am aware. Chromium sort of is. Edge is now based on Chromium and a s such gets a lot of MS hot love. I expect it to melt down one of these days as any project MS ever was involved in did. The interesting thing is that many offers that say they protect your privates are around, but none of them actually do.

        1. Kreaninw

          Whether Chrome is open source doesn't relevant in this regard since the technologies that are leading the open web standards are built into Chromium (which Chrome is based on), not exclusively to Chrome. Therefore it's not accurate and groundless to say that we're seeing IE6 yet again in this era.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Seriously? You can't understand that the problem is having a rendering engine monoculture?

            It doesn't matter if there is one browser or 500, what matters is Google's Blink has 70% of the market or above, like IE6 (MS' Trident) used to.

            1. Kreaninw
              Happy

              It's funny how people associate Chrome, which is based on Chromium, with IE, yet they don't apply the same logic to Linux. Does Linux kernel consider to be a monoculture to you?

              Considering that there's only one main Linux kernel, it took all 100% of the market in this space. Well, you might say that it has little space on the desktop market. However, on the server, as of 2021, 100% of the world’s top 500 supercomputers run on Linux! And also 96.3% of the world’s top 1 million servers run on Linux. ZDNet even questioned that can the Internet exist without Linux? Is that a monoculture?

              On desktop, If you're not using Windows or Mac, the only viable OS that you would end up to would be Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSUSE, and etc. All of them are using the Linux kernel. Moreover, it has been known that big tech companies are the ones who contributed the most, even Google is one of them. But people never complain about it, why?

              Because the kernel is open source and that no one owns it. It just doesn't matter who is backing it, it also doesn't matter that it's monoculture or whatsoever. Everyone can just grab the code, use it, modify it, or do whatever they want with it. That's why!

              Therefore the most illogical thing that someone could've done is to put Chrome and IE into the same category despite the fact that they're completely different. No one owns Chromium, even Google. Many companies are contributing to Chromium. This is a complete scenario we faced in the IE6 era where MS owns IE and was also the sole contributor.

              To this point, I would say that it just makes someone look cool if they're bashing on Google. It's not for reasoning anymore, seeing how rarely I actually got a valid argument when it comes to how bad Google really is.

              1. Dan 55 Silver badge
                Facepalm

                No one owns Chromium, even Google.

                Utter nonsense, there is only one non-Google person on the governing body, most of the developers work at Google, and builds are run in Google's data centres.

                1. Kreaninw
                  Happy

                  Of cause, since Google is the maintainer of the project, most of the developers work at Google. And if you're not OK with the builds that run in Google's data centers, you can just grab the code and build it at your home instead.

                  Nonetheless, those don't change the fact that Google doesn't own Chromium since you or anyone can use Chromium in any way you want without having to ask Google for permission.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Are you seriously arguing for more non-standard rendering processes?

      Or am I not understanding you?

  18. rg287 Silver badge

    Can this redesign stem browser's decline?

    Betteridge's law of headlines:

    No.

    Firefox got popular the first time because it was leaps and bounds ahead of the dominant alternative (IE 6-8). MS had literally disbanded the IE development team.

    Firefox wasn't successful because it looked or felt similar or dissimilar to competitors. It was successful because it had tabbed browsing and decent JS support.

    I'm not sure what the next killer feature is or should be, but slashing memory usage and improving GPU offload would be a good start (oh wait, they just fired their Rust team developing Servo), particularly given the growing importance of complex web apps these days (we can debate ad nauseam whether that's a good thing - and I suspect we can all agree that Electron should die on a fire, but realistically, in-browser apps like 365 and Google Workspace are here to stay).

    WebAuth/FIDO2 support should also be increasingly important for enterprise. People using FIDO2 dongles are largely tied to Chrome.

    1. GiantKiwi

      Re: Can this redesign stem browser's decline?

      Enterprise is enforcing use of MFA absolutely everywhere. Who does the most widely supported MFA library? Google. Which browser supports Google the best? Chrome.

      Anyone tooting their own horn about the privacy argument - best idea overall if you are that concerned about it? Unplug your internet.

  19. David Austin

    Firefox was always about customisation

    I used Firefox for my daily driver since 2005, but I got burned badly with the 2017 transition from Firefox Add-Ons to Webextensions - I had a browser configured with a set of add-ons and customisations to support all I needed it to do, which stopped working with no complete replacements (5 years later, there's still no way to make a custom toolbar): The browser was objectively faster, but in practice was slower for what I wanted to use it for, even after two months of bashing away at finding replacements and custom userchrom.

    With each Refresh after that, the customisation options reduced (Especially in UI - from the sound of it, this latest update removes even more by default), and either by accident or by design, looked and behaved more and more like Google Chrome.

    So my reasoning went: "If it looks like Chrome, acts like Chrome, and has the same customisation limits as Chrome... Why not just use Chrome?"

    1. David Austin
      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: "With each Refresh, the customisation options reduced"

        And thus losing users (and market share).

  20. rg287 Silver badge

    Benchmarking

    Since the article made mention, and I have a bunch of browsers on my desktop, I thought it'd be interesting to have a gander. Of course Benchmarks are not the be-all and end-all, but it is indicative, and being on an (i7) Mac, I can try Safari too. The results were.... unexpected.

    Despite Safari being the bane of developer's existence with missing features and incomplete support for a bunch of newer technologies, what is in there is bloody quick. Speedometer 2.0 was basically a tie with Chrome (within each other's +/- margin) but Safari distinctly won on Jetstream, I assume by being hooked more directly into the OS for certain operations.

    Mozilla need to pull their finger out.

    Jetstream2.0:

    • FF 89 - 72(!)
    • FF 88 - 75
    • FF Dev Edition 90.0b1 - 75
    • Chrome 90 - 135
    • Safari 14.0.3 - 147

    Speedometer2.0:

    • FF 88 - 96
    • FF 89 - 104
    • FF Dev Edition 90.0b1 - 106
    • Chrome 90 - 121
    • Safari 14.0.3 - 125

    1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: Benchmarking

      Interesting, but I still don't care. Until I can have uncrippled versions of uBlock0, NoScript, PrivacyBadger, DecentralEyes, Greasemonkey, ClearURLs, DDG Privacy Essentials, and User-Agent Switcher running on Chrome, without Google fingerprinting me, and until there's a plausible third rendering engine to keep the ecosystem at least slightly diverse, I'm just gonna take the hit. In the real world, this level of speed difference doesn't matter a damn.

      1. rg287 Silver badge

        Re: Benchmarking

        Which is fine. I also use FF as my daily driver - that's why I had 88 installed, which I benchmarked and updated, as well as the Dev Edition. It irks me to even have Chrome installed but I have had unavoidable need of it in the past.

        But it doesn't mean we shouldn't demand more from Mozilla for this.. umm... free browser. The nature of maintaining open web standards demands multiple competitive engines, and the average user will go with the one that isn't a bit of a dog. To be lagging Chrome is one thing. To lag behind Safari that badly is a bit embarrassing.

        Truth be told, I hadn't realised quite how swift Safari was and am now considering using it a bit more - until I run into missing features of course...

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Benchmarking

      I assume by being hooked more directly into the OS for certain operations.

      Indeed, Apple reserves some hardware acceleration features for its own software only.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No, a redesign can't stem the decline

    The problem Mozilla has is a lack of market positioning for consumers. What does it offer that others don't, what is the story that supports that and how does it tell that story to my mum. If it figures that out it will come bounding back.

    But it won't.

    1. David Austin

      Re: No, a redesign can't stem the decline

      That's the kicker: Firefox does have a story, but no way to explain it to the average user in a way that makes them care.

  22. Elledan Silver badge

    Sticking with Firefox 36

    My primary browser is Pale Moon, which in terms of UI and addon features is roughly on-par with Firefox 36 (LTS). For me getting off the rat race that was Mozilla's 'redesign everything' and cramming more and more useless features (and telemetry) into Firefox was the primary reason here. As far as I'm concerned, Firefox already stopped being a viable browser by the time Quantum rolled around.

    I like Pale Moon, as it has all the features I want and need, and has a UI that works for me, as well as supporting the add-ons I care about. I also use Basilisk as secondary browser, and Opera when I need something that absolutely has to work with certain websites (hi, Netflix). Even so, Pale Moon has given me a good insight in how it's Google (with Chrome) that's leading the 'new web standards', usually when some basic functionality on sites like GitHub break.

    Since Mozilla is essentially a wholly owned subsidiary of Google at this point, I fail to see how using Mozilla is somehow sticking it to Google. If anything Brave, Opera and others (even MSFT) have been giving Google the finger, such as with FLoC.If everyone who uses Chrome today were to switch to Edge, Brave, Opera and Safari, imagine the pressure that this would put on Google, as their Chrome browser could no longer be used to strong-arm new 'standards' into existence.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Sticking with Firefox 36

      Why would switching to Edge, Brave, or Opera achieve anything? They all use Chromium's rendering engine.

      1. Elledan Silver badge

        Re: Sticking with Firefox 36

        Each of those is free to implement or leave out any 'features' which Google suggests. For example with FLoC, which is in Chrome, but not in those other users of the OSS Chromium rendering engine.

        Using Chromium doesn't mean that one has to fully obey Google's whims.

  23. tfb Silver badge
    Flame

    I want to like Firefox

    But I checked: I'm using the standard theme for both 88.0.1 and 89 and the chrome is now taking up about 1.3 times as much screen area in 89 as it was in 88.0.1. Because, of course, looking at the useless chrome at the top of the window is what I like doing, instead of looking at the web page which is the whole fucking point of a web browser. So, you know, more space used by chrome is always a good thing, right? Oh, no: it's not. And of course this doesn't matter for the Mozilla developers (is there still more than one?) who are using enormous monitors and whose brains are simply too small to understand that some people spend their time on 13inch laptops where this kind of thing matters?

    I mean, seriously Mozilla: I realise that now you've blown all your feet off you feel the only thing left to do is to start hammering nails into your own heads, but for fuck's sake: try the whole 'thinking' thing? Pretty soon (if not already) you're going to have driven away all your users except the ones who won't use Chrome because Google, like me. And those users are going to find they have some options (Vivaldi, say).

    1. Graham 32

      Re: I want to like Firefox

      You should head over to the Firefox subreddit. They've been shouting this for months (cos 99% of people there seem to run the bleeding edge nightly build as their daily browser.)

      1. tfb Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: I want to like Firefox

        I got clean from reddit in, I think, 2014. Now I will probably relapse, for which I will of course blame you.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: I want to like Firefox

          Is their website intentionally the worst ever designed site, in terms of speed, usability, rendering, AND navigation, just to drive people to use the app. instead?

          That's the main reason I stay clear.

          1. tfb Silver badge
            Alien

            Re: I want to like Firefox

            I think it's explicitly that, yes. If you use the thing on a mobile browser it will now make it very hard to do anything, like read comments etc, unless you use the app. And I presume that the app will require to you be logged in or otherwise traceable so they scrape your data which they they then sell to whoever. You can fool it, still, by pretending not to be on a mobile browser (or by really not being on one) but I assume all that will stop and it will all become entirely inaccessible unless they can sniff your data. The way Facebook already mostly is.

  24. Pirate Dave
    Pirate

    "There are now just two menu buttons, the hamburger menu top right, and a right-click menu; the three-dots menu in the address bar has gone."

    Just what Firefox needed - LESS user controls. That's one of the reasons I've stuck with Palemoon on Windows - it has classic menus, just like billg intended.

    Perhaps Firefox should put out their own branded cell phone. That certainly cemented Safari and Chrome to the upper reaches of the popularity list.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mozilla call it progress: The Bookmark Dialog Box with image preview, covers half the screen.

    There seems to be an obsession with browsers to cover half the screen real-estate with bookmark dialog boxes with a preview of the page or a drop down list of suggested websites as you type (Safari on iPad).

    The trouble with this, for me is it covers the information I'm trying to add to the bookmark to index the page, or type into the search engine to delve deeper/find further info. Why does a bookmark dialog box need to display a preview when adding it, I know what the page looks like, I can see a full screen of it as I bookmark the page.

    The logic used by developers, just doesn't make sense to how these features actually get used, it's all to make things look new and shiny, but just hinders the user. The original text only (small) Firefox bookmark dialog box was just fine, it hardly infringed on the main screen real-estate.

    Do me a favour, Mozilla keep the bookmark dialog box small and outside the main area displaying web pages, so users can enter text into the bookmark from information shown on the website, without it being covered over.

    Showing a image preview on the Dialog Box of the website in front of you it utterly pointless (as you add a bookmark) and waste of screen space.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just me then, eh?

    So apparently I am the only person in the world that doesn't use multiple tabs when browsing?

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Just me then, eh?

      Yes.

    2. tfb Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: Just me then, eh?

      Yes, just you I think.

  27. DarkRookie

    Congrats Mozilla, you keep not fixing the UI. Just pile more and more dumb changes on top of it.

  28. DS999 Silver badge

    If there's an antitrust action against Google

    Hopefully one of the outcomes is that they have to divest Chrome and aren't permitted to ever design or offer their own browser. Ditto for Android. Controlling both the clients people use to access the internet and many of the biggest destinations (Search, Gmail, Maps) as well as the infrastructure used by many third party web sites in the form of their cloud offering makes it too easy for them to tilt standards and defacto standards to their own advantage.

    People complain about Apple's monopolistic practices but they have a smaller market share in clients and little presence in internet destinations. Ditto for Microsoft, who used to have monopolistic control of client devices back before phones became the dominant client device, but despite years of efforts/purchases with Bing, Hotmail, etc. have arguably even less presence in internet destinations than Apple.

    Firefox could be better than Chrome in every metric and it wouldn't matter, Google's unlimited resources mean just about any software installation that takes place over the internet has a checkbox you have to opt out of to install Chrome along with it. I'm sure they pay multiple PC companies to install Chrome and configure it as the default browser - the antitrust action against Microsoft years ago just opened the door for Google to do the exact same stuff.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Firefox Does not Get the Concept of Privacy

    They justify their changes referring to telemetry which every serious user blocks.

    They still don't realise that every change they have made over the last 5 or 6 years has lost market share because it has made it less configurable and less addon friendly.

    Just look at the Android version, if anyone uses it. It is impossble to do something as basic as go back, or return to the home page. The result is an insecure, unusable mess of openiing new tabs fro everthying.

    They make it virtually impossible to configure and hide the fact that you can download it without going to Google's appstore. Don't even mention addons.

    Why would anyone bother? They might as well give up and use Google's or even Microsoft's browser.

    Firefox is now just another Microsoft. Users have to fight them after every new update.

    They can't be trusted anymore but I don't know of an alternative yet, apart from Palemoon, which is still just hanging by a thread and appears to be the work of a single person

  30. Ceiling Cat

    Loss of market share?

    Mozilla/Firefox's loss of market share might well be down to a couple of things :

    Chrome ships as the default browser on Android Devices and Raspberry Pi.

    Firefox runs like a bag of deep-fried a**holes on android and Raspberry Pi.

    Even if it did run well on Android or Raspberry Pi, many people are too lazy to seek out and install alternatives.

    Personally, I like Firefox even though the new update looks like sh*t.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Help Palemoon Take over from Firefox?

    Perhaps Palemoon with soon have more users than Firefox. What about giving it atry and giving more support?

    1. A. Coatsworth
      Unhappy

      Re: Help Palemoon Take over from Firefox?

      I love the idea, but a handful of sites[1] have qualms with Palemoon: they identify it as an obsolete browser and refuse to let me proceed.

      In my personal PC I have Palemoon as main driver, but I need to have FF standing by to deal with this sort of stupidity.

      [1]banking for example, so unfortunately hey are not sites I can just stop using ...

  32. Matthew "The Worst Writer on the Internet" Saroff

    Loyal Firefox User

    And my complaints with it relate to the organization:

    First, it saw Chrome's success and decided to imitate Chrome, even though Chrome's success was driven by Google's leveraging its search monopoly, so they have made changes which sucked.

    Second, it has not been developing Firefox as aggressively as it should, instead trying to push things like its VPN service.

    Third, upper management has been increasing their own salaries even as its financial situation became even more precarious. (https://calpaterson.com/mozilla.html)

    As to Brave, I won't touch it, it's CEO Brendan Eich donated to the H8 amendment in California, and its business model (BAT, etc. screams crypto currency scam. https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/01/brave-ico-35-million-30-seconds-brendan-eich/

  33. elaar

    "In 2019, a financial report [PDF] showed that royalties, paid for setting Firefox's default search engine and understood to be largely from Google, make up the bulk of Moz's regular revenue."

    That's the issue, it's a bit like people moaning about the BBC's impartiality when the Tories constantly threaten to remove funding because it's not a propaganda clone like the Daily Mail.

    How can you moan about things like Telemetry being enabled by default (and explained well with the offer to disable during install), when they've used this anonymous telemetry data to redesign the UI? Likewise, how do people expect them to completely cater for privacy and yet rely on google ad funding? We need privacy, but companies can only exist with financial income unfortunately, so they're stuck between a rock and hard place.

    I'm sure we could have a browser that blocks pretty much everything and makes it near to impossible to be tracked etc.. but it will need someone wealthy and paradoxically liberal to fund it.

  34. chubby_moth
    Facepalm

    How about some functionality Mozilla?

    A slick new shiny interface. For sure that was what I and all the others were waiting for. It is understandable that Mozilla will want to reduce the code base, but over time all the interesting bits have been taken out. And that privacy focus doesn't make much sense unless you consider big corporations to be trustworthy. Firefox would be uniquely able to rip out all the snoop. I'd pay for that.

    1. jason_derp Bronze badge

      Re: How about some functionality Mozilla?

      What sort of interface would you like? Is there all that much to be done with buttons for clicking and bars you type stuff in? Do you want a MSOffice-style ribbon? I'm sure there's a theme somewhere that will sufficiently purge the browser of practicality and ease of use for you.

      1. Mage Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: What sort of interface would you like?

        Waterfox Classic with Classic Theme Restorer.

        Tab against the pages.

        Scroll bars always there.

        forward, back, home, downloads, history on same tool bar as URL and Search.

        NO search or guessing in the URL bar.

        No hiding of prefixes like HTTP, HTTPS, WWW etc.

        On Android (for 10" and bigger), a real desktop mode instead of is switching back tp mobile each time.

        No trying to make desktop like mobile. Respect System Theme.

        No, I don't want a stupid ribbon on ANYTHING. You can get a 3rd party Office 2003 style GUI for Office 2007 etc. LibreOffice has proper user editable toolbars and proper menus and the stupid Ribbon is off by default.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: What sort of interface would you like?

          See icon

        2. jason_derp Bronze badge

          Re: What sort of interface would you like?

          Im using Firefox RIGHT NOW, and I have all of those functioning just fine, with the exception of Android. Browsing the internet on a phone is like a heroin addict saying "I love methadone!" when it's just nowehere near as good. Browsers come customizable, you can customize Firefox from the menus the browser ships with to have or not have all those things. I'm so confused. It's like yelling at a running tap for not being wet.

  35. DrXym Silver badge

    It has nothing to do with looks

    Firefox is declining because Microsoft and Google can force their browsers on ways that Firefox can't. For example Google would recommend their browser on people from search results and given how awful Internet Explorer / Edge were, this wasn't a hard sell. Firefox didn't have that prominence.

    But then Microsoft just ripped off Chromium and made it the default browser. Suddenly the tables are turned on Google because why should anyone install Chrome when they basically have Chrome. But again Firefox hasn't got that option.

    So that is why Firefox is fading. For people who actually use it, it has very obvious benefits. It's an excellent browser in its own right and the privacy controls are far stronger than in either Edge or Chrome. I doubt that moving where tabs appear will make a difference one way or the other.

  36. Mage Silver badge
    Flame

    Stupid

    You should never design a GUI based on Telemetry. Only use it to fix bugs. Because it doesn't tell you WHY people click on things. Some rarely used things may be very important occasionally.

    FF GUI has became a bad copy of Chrome. Menus dumbed down, configurations disabled, setting removed, vital plugins blocked, mobile centric design to desktop and mobile version settings and plug-ins dumbed to near useless.

    Also too many websites are designing for Chrome and also too many using Google resources.

    1. Muppet Boss Bronze badge
      Devil

      Re: Stupid

      Yeah they simply changed the theme again, and again it feels horrible, everything is slightly bigger and takes valuable space. I wonder why they keep pissing off people by changing the UI, is this a part of the Google deal?

      Update: they seem to remove toolbar compact density option, bloody people, why?

      Update2: about:config -> browser.compactmode.show = true -> Options -> More Tools -> Customize Toolbar -> Density = Compact (Not Supported).

      F**kers... You'll make me switch one day.

  37. pip25
    Thumb Down

    "Simplified", "streamlined", "based on telemetry"

    In other words, just the usual nonsense that's been going on for years.

    Well, have fun losing even more users, Firefox. It's a shame, but I can't even feel sad about the insanity you're pulling anymore.

  38. Grinning Bandicoot

    Cynical Question

    Having read the first page of comments and noted the points about Google was curious about the use of google-analytics and googletagmanager here or is it assumed that the money behind this site is altruistic?

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