back to article Serious surfer? How to browse like a pro on Firefox

There are tons of choices in web browsers, and we're not going to try to persuade you that any particular one is the best. However, Chrome's ever-climbing market share suggests that a lot of people don't know how to get the best out of their browser, because there are still quite a few things you can't readily achieve in Chrome …

  1. Updraft102

    Mozilla has not just taken its eyes off the customizability goal of late. They have abandoned it. The new goal is to become Chrome, and to remove every feature Firefox has that Chrome does not. Their excuse is that they all increase the maintenance burden, and it just happens that the ones that are okay to remove are the ones that Chrome doesn't have, since that defines, for them, user expectation.

    I am not sure Firefox is the most customizable anymore. I would have to give that to Vivaldi.

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Vivaldi is Chrome, isn't it? (Well, chromium). I tried Vivaldi, but did not like it. At all. Choice is good, or would be, if we still had any. There's Chrome, the Apple-thing, and Firefox, which they are trying to break, actively. Their main aim seems to mimick Chrome, which makes me angry.

      Also, extensions I need / expect / enjoy no longer work. I'm using Waterfox at the moment.

      1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        [Author here]

        I *want* to like Vivaldi, but I don't get on with its UI either. But then, I never really got on with Opera, either. Vivaldi being some of the Opera team's effort to re-create it after selling the company to Kunlun & Qihoo 360.

        Actually, and it somewhat banes me to say it, Edge is well on its way to being the best, most effective, no-nonsense Chromium fork these days.

        I agree re Mozilla's deeply foolish and misguided efforts to ape Chrome, poorly.

        However, so far, it *is* still possible to bypass a lot of it, turn stuff back on, and then get it to work well.

        The new "webextensions" selection has caught up quite a lot since Mozilla's _also_ deeply foolish and misguided killing of XUL and its vast extensions ecosystem. The new ones can now do a lot of what the old ones can do, and while some have not made it across the transition, in many cases I have found replacements which work -- such as the Multithreaded Download Manager I linked in the article.

        1. Updraft102

          Me too re: wanting to like Vivaldi. I still use Firefox... I have tried to use Vivaldi as a daily driver, but (on Linux) it still frustrates enough to send me back to Firefox. The scrolling speed is way too slow (as on other Chromium variants), and addons only partly fix it. It also is nothing close to the glassy smoothness of Firefox when using a touchpad ("MS Precision" type, though again in Linux).

          The Vivaldi UI is not any more set in stone than the Firefox one, though. It uses .css to style it the same way Firefox does, and it is possible to use user stylesheets to change the UI. It is not the kind of thing a "regular" user would do, but neither is doing the same on Firefox.

          I have used .css with my Vivaldi (partially my work, mostly the work of others in the Vivaldi forum) to get the UI to look pretty much identical to my Firefox, which in turn looks like Firefox before the Australis misadventure, with the titlebar at top, then menubar below, then the URL/nav bar with discrete search field, then the tab bar (with new tab button at left and close tab button at right, in keeping with Fitts' law and the principle of important UI elements being in a predictable, fixed location), then the content, then the status bar with the addon icons on the right side.

          With the ability to style the Vivaldi UI, you can pretty much do whatever you want with it, just like Firefox. On Firefox, I use Aris-T2's custom CSS to make the bookmarks toolbar into a status bar (and it is possible to add the bookmark toolbar functionality to a second row of the URL bar, if desired... a neat workaround around Moz's decision to nix the status bar "because Chrome doesn't have one."

          Mozilla got rid of the unread tab state because Chrome doesn't have one (Vivaldi added it back in, where on Firefox or Chrome, it requires an addon now).

          Mozilla got rid of the option to not fire a select-all on a click on the URL bar (a single line of code provided that pref, and they removed it with the excuse that it reduces the maintenance burden on Mozilla, even though one person agreed to be the maintaner for that line of code to remove that burden). The official Moz response was that this is how other browsers (read: Chrome) do it, and that "all" operating systems behave that way, so they are just making Firefox behave consistently.

          My problem is that my OS, OpenSUSE Tumbleweed with KDE Plasma, does not behave that way, so in their zeal to force Firefox to behave consistently on "all" OSes, they made it behave inconsistently on the one I use, which is the only one that matters to me. On top of that, it should be up to the user whether the browser behaves consistently with the OS. What's it to Mozilla if I prefer my browser to act differently than my OS?

          There have been countless other such options that used to exist, that I used to use, before Mozilla ripped them out. This started long before the Quantum leap backward, when Mozilla removed the defining feature of Firefox (XUL addons that could do anything) in favor of... of course, Chrome's weaker addon setup. But with the XUL addons, I could put back anything Mozilla took away. It was always a sure bet that if I bristled when some important feature was removed, an addon to correct the issue would soon exist.

          With Quantum, of course, there are a lot of things addons cannot do to fix the UI. They can't truly add an unread tab state... the workaround is to have an addon change the tab title of an unfocused new tab, and then to style the tabs that have had their title changed. It's hacky, and should be unnecessary, but... Mozilla. Addons can't create an actual status bar (like the classic addon Status-4-Evar did)... instead, another hack to repurpose an existing bar has to be what we settle for.

          I imagine that someday Mozilla will lop off the ability to use userChrome.css, and on that day Firefox will be dead to me. They already hid it behind a pref, which is what Mozilla usually does before deleting a feature completely. They're also angling to remove the option for having a discrete search bar (because Chrome doesn't have one), which is another big one for me.

          Vivaldi is far from perfect, but it is not removing features and trying to be a minimalist browser (like Chrome) the way Firefox is. Firefox keeps losing features, while Vivaldi keeps adding them.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Firefox before the Australis misadventure

            Are you me? You sound like me. <g>

            Aside from the parade of new weird misfeatures and useless builtin addons, the only complaint about Firefix that I'd add to that list is the Search bar. I want an option to *both* turn it off, *and* disable search in the Location bar, not just shove the misfeature back and forth. IMO the entire concept is a solution looking for a problem, and it is a Thing I Want To Not Do At All Ever. If I want to do an Internet search of some kind, *I will visit a search site, or the specialty site in question*. (FWIW this alone is one big reason I don't use Chrome. Inability to actually turn JS off at all is another.)

            I finally gave up on FF as a daily driver when they permanently broke compatibility with XUL extensions that were propping things up by Putting Things Back Where They Belong. (Thanks Classic Theme Restorer!) I''ve been a Seamonkey user since it was Netscape Communicator, and I settled on Pale Moon for most of my secondary browsing, but both have increasingly been having trouble rendering some sites because Reasons (none of them good, IMO). I may have to check out Vivaldi; IIRC I did once quite a long time ago but found nothing compelling and a couple of nuisances FF (at the time) and Seamonkey didn't suffer from for my usage.

        2. Tech Cadet

          May I ask what you like so much about Microsoft Edge?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Not the OP, but

            #1 reason If you have to work in windows it's the new pack in browser. Figured I have to support it I may as well get used to it. Say what you will about it's many flaws(i'm about to) but it beats IE any day of the week.

            Edge is very much a mixed bag, and while it's been mostly de-googled, it was also Re-Microsofted. Both leak like a sieve, and even with basic blocking, I am seeing targeted ads and direct email marketing that never got through Firefox.

            I settled on it as a less Chromey chrome based browser for my "other browser window", It spends all day logged into the companies G-suite and the SSO linked apps. Everything else goes on in another tab. I also use it to open tabs that are terminally borked in the other browser(and vice versa). There are a couple of handy chrome extensions that run on Edge too. During lockdown we had users enable Chrome Remote Desktop as a backup remote support tool in case the main one was offline. Handy for crossing the mac/pc divide, and good for dealing with Mac during lockdown. (When in their infinite wisdom, Apple cranked up the per app permissions in the perfect way to block all our support tools and bury the checkboxes to re-able so deep half our users couldn't get to them with with two techs on the phone.)

  2. nematoad

    Not for me, I'm afraid.

    " Modern versions of Firefox hide the menu bar, in another of Mozilla's efforts to ape Chrome."

    And that folks is one of the reasons that why I am glad that I switched to Palemoon.

    Why fix something when it ain't broke?

    I tried Mageia not long ago to see how it was getting along. Not bad, but one of the programs missing from the repo was Palemoon, so I had to use Firefox in order to side-load Palemoon and let me tell you after a long time away from Firefox I was horrified. Having to scratch around to find the tools I needed was a shock and I was so glad to get back to Palemoon which despite its somewhat odd reputation has kept most of the things like visible menu bars and ditching all that Australis crap the first drove me away from Firefox.

    If you use Palemoon you will go back in time when Firefox was on top form without all the irritating "improvements", and that is a good thing in my opinion.

    1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Re: Not for me, I'm afraid.

      Easy to get it back. Right click on the tab bar or tool bar. There's a check box labelled 'Menu Bar.'

      1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Not for me, I'm afraid.

        Indeed so -- which I did specifically spell out in the article. :-)

        1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

          Re: Not for me, I'm afraid.

          Degraded memory goes with the beard colour.

        2. Corporate Scum

          Re: Not for me, I'm afraid.

          And thanks for that, there were a few gems in here. I still haven't quite given up on Firefox, but their all out war on UI customization has them hanging by a thread as far as I am concerned.

          Glad to see a version of Livemarks back, but while their RSS code was apparently toxic waste when it was abandoned, the new plugin model is a performance killer if you follow a lot of feeds. And in the time that it was gone a bunch of sites that had been long time RSS holdouts droppped their feeds permanently. (thanks to the Reg for keeping those lights on for us!)

          That said, the "edit the deep magic config file" secret squirrel settings are usually the last gasp of a feature before it is pruned from the code base. Seems like what the team does. So I'm not enthused about trying to live that way anymore.

          Feels like Firefox is a failed relationship at this point, where people stay together because they haven't met someone else yet. I don't date like that, but I can chose to be single, I can't choose to not use a web browser unless I also choose to be homeless. Still, friends keep trying to set me up with other browsers, most of which are just re-skinned versions of my exes.

      2. jobbautista9

        Re: Not for me, I'm afraid.

        Cool, now how do we get back tabs on bottom without any CSS hacks? :)

        1. Updraft102

          Re: Not for me, I'm afraid.

          That requires Waterfox, I am afraid.

      3. Al fazed

        Re: Not for me, I'm afraid.

        Don't you get fed up looking for the latest twitches in order to put things back how you liked them ?


        1. Nik 2

          Re: Not for me, I'm afraid.

          It's the bane of much modern software; operating systems, browsers, MS Office...

          I know users who keep updates switched off because they're convinced that things they can't find have been silently removed in an update for the sake of 'user convenience' And they're not always wrong.

    2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Not for me, I'm afraid.

      [Article author here]

      I tend to agree with you but my concerns are that Palemoon took an older version of the engine, which lacks important features such as multi-process support. Basilisk seemed to have something a little more modern, but also seems to have stalled over ownership issues.

      I know that many people were upset when the new themes were adopted -- twice -- but I didn't really care about that.

      If XUL addons are still important, then Waterfox Classic is still around, still gets updates, uses the last ever version of the core engine (not merely the last LTS version) that supports XUL.

      The Waterfox Project is open that there are security issues in it that they cannot fix and that they don't recommend or promote it because of this. The Palemoon/Basilisk project does not say this, but I am confident that the same issues and more also apply to them. That is one of my concerns.

      But if Palemoon works for you, then great.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Not for me, I'm afraid.

        It's more and more difficult to use Waterfox Classic with web 3.0 in all its jquery glory. I'm not clear what the advantage of non-classic Waterfox is over Firefox ESR though.

        1. jobbautista9

          Re: Not for me, I'm afraid.

          > I'm not clear what the advantage of non-classic Waterfox is over Firefox ESR though.

          Yeah, I'm curious about that. Wikipedia says it still supports all NPAPI plugins (not just Flash), but I wonder if that's still true. Mozilla has ripped out NPAPI entirely from their codebase.

          1. Updraft102

            Re: Not for me, I'm afraid.

            It has the option for tabs below URL bar, an option for a real status bar, and an option for bookmarks toolbar on the bottom. It replaces Mozilla's default "opt out" telemetry with "always off" telemetry, and prevents Mozilla from adding any experiments to your browser (you can turn this off, of course, like telemetry, but many users don't).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not for me, I'm afraid.

          Start looking at hacking together a proxy then my friend. I'm guessing if you are clinging to an older browser you are probably more interested in the ham on the page than the bling.

          Another bonus is your proxy can grab the page source using a faked chrome user agent, so all those sites that basically use some variant of a "IF NOT "Chrome" THEN LOAD=FAIL" code. (few things annoy me as opening a page, and seeing a perfectly legible splash re-write itself when the browser fingerprinting javascript kicks in).

          If the output has been defanged from scripts and cross site loads the security issues on the older browser won't matter as much.

      2. jobbautista9

        Re: Not for me, I'm afraid.

        > I tend to agree with you but my concerns are that Palemoon took an older version of the engine

        If you mean that Pale Moon (two words please) is stuck in Firefox 52, this may be true during the time of the initial fork, but right now, no. A lot of stuff has been backported from newer versions of the Mozilla codebase, such as AV1 support, newer JavaScript features like the nullish coalescing operator (which had been a pain for us in the past in terms of web compatibility, but we have it now since June this year), etc.

        > which lacks important features such as multi-process support

        52 had e10s; it's just not enabled by default for all users. But we've intentionally removed any support for e10s in our fork of the Mozilla platform, as we believe multi-process is a downgrade in browser security and a spit to decades of systems engineering. You can read the rationale of the lead developer in this forum post:

        Btw, just in case you don't bother reading the link above, this does not mean multithreading is not a thing in Pale Moon. Quite the opposite actually; we want to take advantage of multiple cores by focusing more on utilizing threads, not separate processes which the mainstream players are doing.

        > Basilisk seemed to have something a little more modern, but also seems to have stalled over ownership issues.

        Basilisk has the same exact platform as Pale Moon, so it's not "more modern". It does have more features enabled such as WebRTC and EME/DRM, which are intentionally disabled in Pale Moon. The Widevine DRM is currently useless however because Google refuses to give us a license for use of their content decryption module, and upgrading our in-tree DRM implementation would require a large and risky rewrite of the media code.

        Basilisk has a new owner by the way, and I'm looking forward to having it replace my Firefox ESR for WebRTC.

        > If XUL addons are still important, then Waterfox Classic is still around, still gets updates, uses the last ever version of the core engine (not merely the last LTS version) that supports XUL.

        56 may look better as a fork point instead of 52 if you look solely at the version number, but it isn't that simple. Otherwise we would've used 56 as well. But there are problems with 56 which prevents us from creating a platform for multiple applications, instead of being Firefox-centric. We also don't want any Rust code in the platform. Which is why 52 was chosen, which has less bustage and less Rust code, making it easier to deal with.

        > The Waterfox Project is open that there are security issues in it that they cannot fix and that they don't recommend or promote it because of this. The Palemoon/Basilisk project does not say this, but I am confident that the same issues and more also apply to them.

        If you see any bugs in that list ( that still applies to Pale Moon's platform, it would be appreciated if you report about it (PM Moonchild on the forum if it's a serious security bug). But taking a random bug from there, I could see bug 1558299 already being fixed on our platform for example:

        Anyway, I'm not here to evangelize and tell y'all to switch to Pale Moon. I know that some will be disappointed; we still don't have support for Google's proprietary extensions to regexp (which would require a wholesale overhaul of our JS engine), for example, nor do we still have support for the Google-centric WebComponents (which changes fundamentally our layout engine). There are also websites which in theory should be perfectly compatible with us, but refuses to do so (most likely due to useragent sniffing). For those websites dependent on those tricks, and workarounds such as the Palefill extension not working, I have Firefox as a backup browser. I believe we should all use the best tool for the job. And most of the time it's Pale Moon for me. :)

        1. nematoad
          Thumb Up

          Re: Not for me, I'm afraid.

          ...but refuses to do so (most likely due to useragent sniffing).

          Yes, this is a thing that has started bothering me lately. A number of sites now either plain refuse to work or even worse, advise me to install Chrome! NHS I'm looking at you! It has only just started in the past few weeks, maybe someone updated a config file somewhere along the line.

          For God's sake what are these people smoking? I always thought that the days of the "Best viewed in IE 6" were long in the past, but no, the evil of a browser monoculture is upon us once again and I for one am not happy.

          Oh, whilst on the topic of the user agent string, does anyone know what is in the string that seems to offend all these sites?

          1. jobbautista9

            Re: Not for me, I'm afraid.

            > does anyone know what is in the string that seems to offend all these sites?

            It could be the "PaleMoon" version string in the default UA mode. The server sees it, then doesn't know what to do with this "unknown" part of the string, then gives you a mobile version of the website if you're lucky, or if not, just refuses to serve you at all.

            It could also be the version of "Firefox" it identifies as. Currently it's 68, because it's the best compromise at the moment (but this will change in the next 31.3.0 version where it will now identify as a "Firefox 102" in the default UA mode). Maybe the server thinks it's too old. So we up the Firefox version number. It could also be the opposite, in that it is expected some shiny new draft features would be available in Firefox 68 that Pale Moon doesn't have yet. We could drop the version down to say, 60. That's rare though, but it can happen more often if you set the compatibility version higher than 68. Facebook would just straight up refuse to load if you identify as Firefox 102 for example.

            Useragent sniffing is a really BAD idea. It not only hurts Pale Moon, but SeaMonkey and other smaller browsers as well. Even Firefox sometimes get this problem from time-to-time; in their case it could be due to websites sniffing only for Chrome. Website developers should detect features, not versions.

            1. deep_enigma

              Website developers should detect features, not versions.

              Web developers should *not* be relying on (mis)"features" where the ink on the standards document has barely dried (assuming it even got that far before being bodged out half-baked in Chrome).

            2. Corporate Scum

              Hey thanks for taking the time

              It's rare to hear from someone involved in these projects speaking about the "what's and why's" like this. Maybe our host author will ping you for a follow up piece. I for one would love to read a deep dive into the alternative browser scene as well as more about your project. I am going to take a closer look at Pale Moon, as I hadn't looked closer at it primarily out of concerns it was to stale from a security patching standpoint. Glad to see you guys are closing bugs pro-actively.

              So again, thanks for chiming in. Nice to see a gem in the stream of bad politics and troll posts that fill any open web forum without overly aggressive content moderation these days.

          2. tiggity Silver badge

            Re: Not for me, I'm afraid.

            I'm surprised a user agent switcher add on was not mentioned as being vital in that article, for exactly the reasons you describe. A lot of "exclusionary" websites take the idle approach of only doing lazy pattern match on user agent string to decide if something is supported (the proper way, if you must use non standard / not widely supported features, is test if browser implements those not just look at what it claims it is).

            With user agent switcher addon, you can have a "trans" browser (i.e. my FireFox can identify as Chrome when required).

  3. AMBxx Silver badge

    Config files?

    If you're dumping your users into a text editor to change how your application works, you've already lost.

    Firefox is my main browser, but this stuff still annoys me. Just have and advanced option for settings and/or a search settings option. Problem is that designing a config application is boring, so nobody wants to do it.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Config files?

      Yes. You should never need to be editing config files by hand in this day and age... If it's necessary to offer that level of configuration, then it can and should be performed on an active screen with instant clarity as to what just happened.

      Even the existing config mechanism is less than friendly in that it is less than clear what any particular setting actually does...

      Fortunately I rarely need to change anything after first use, and the only add ins I use are ublock origin and noscript, so no great problem.

      It'd be nice though if there were an internal mechanism automatically to delete non whitelisted cookies and other tracking agents as soon as a new page is selected to a tab.

    2. Updraft102

      Re: Config files?

      Mozilla doesn't want you changing those settings anyway. I mean, Chrome doesn't let you change that stuff, so that means users expect whatever Chrome offers, nothing more and nothing less.

      It's like GNOME 3's file load dialog, which has no text field into which a person may type or paste a path. There is no UI element to make it appear... you just have to know to hit CTRL-L. It's completely undiscoverable and unintuitive, in violation of every user interface guideline out there, but GNOME devs say it's fine that it is not discoverable, because it is not an actual feature. It's an Easter egg for those people who happen to know about it.

      When you dumb down a bit of software to the point that core features are now Easter eggs, you may have gone just a bit too far.

      Obviously, I do know the secret, since I just mentioned it, but the way it is hidden bothers me so much that any desktop using GTK+ is immediately ruled out. Fix the dialog, fix the thinking behind the dialog, then we will talk. Otherwise, KDE it is (and in reality, I doubt I would change anyway, as I really like KDE).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Config files?

        Well said. GTK+ is a horrible UI toolkit.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Config files?

        Wow, that is a new low, I didn't realise things had gotten that bad... Again, all the good people must be leaving the projects... It's all been going to sh*t for the last 5-6 years or so... Well what do you expect if you alienate your core users, the power users, with all this faddish trend-following, low contrast, deliberately dumbed down garbage.

  4. trevorde Silver badge

    Waterfox website made me seasick

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      [Author here]

      What, the rippling background? Really?

      Well, one of the addons I like is Readability:

      It turns off stuff like that. So, another good reason, IMHO.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Wow, that's obnoxious AF. Where's their blink tags and animated "under construction" GIFs?

  5. status203

    Plenty of horizontal space?

    I use an ultrawide monitor and have browser windows at half that width. Even that seems to be 'narrow' enough for some sites to start collapsing and hiding stuff.

    1. Dave559

      Re: Plenty of horizontal space?

      Yeah, increasing numbers of website stylesheets now seem to be taking the utterly idiotic view that any window <1280 px "must" be a tablet, and then go and cripple the UI (shurely the exact opposite of accessibility)…

      Err, no. 800 px was good enough for a very very long time (including a sensibly arranged horizontal menu bar), and 1024 px most certainly still is.

      If you think you need more than 1024 px for a horizontal menu, either you are trying to squeeze far too many 'top level' sections into the menu, or your menu text is rather too wordy!

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: Plenty of horizontal space?

        Too true. I have a 1920x1200 monitor - i.e. portrait - that is great for reading PDFs and (most) long docs on websites. You'd think that 1200 wide would easily be good enough for any website, especially ones that are long, long, pages and pages of scrollable content.



      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Those aren't the idiots you're looking for

        It doesn't matter how much screen real-estate you have when the site builder paints a palm with bar of empty space on both sides of the the screen text. 4k Monitor? 2/3s wasted space.

        Yeah, I know ads. Do they or their CMS suck so bad they can't reflow text around the ads and side bars at the top? I can't even get the 80 characters an ASCII terminal or my old Apple IIe could manage on most sites(and a glare at you too El Ref).

        I spend most of my time in Reader View now, to the point that I wish I could trade "Private Browsing" mode for "Permanent Reader" mode.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A bookmark hack I swear by but not sure how common it is :-

    Is to have different set of bookmark folders based on time

    Morning set of tabs with the cartoons,

    Evening with the more in depth news (and the Register)...yes I got to these tabs early today

    Mid week, weekly, monthly, quarterly etc and 1st Oct, 1st Nov etc for information or events I want to check regularly, this way I don't miss much but don't waste my time randomly checking sites too much either.

    I have always been lousy with to do lists, the daily grind that swiftly builds up but this has really helped.

  7. nichomach

    At this point

    I'm seriously considering ditching Firefox completely. I spent about an hour this morning trying to get my history, settings, saved passwords and everything else back after Firefox sh@t the bed during a failed update and wouldn't load my profile, forcing me to create a new one. It's ditched my add-ons as well, which is a REAL pain in the posterior.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: At this point

      [Article author here]

      This may be one of the less everyday advantages of Waterfox. Since it is based off the Firefox ESR release, you only get minor updates in routine use, then a bigger one a few times a year.

      This is true of Firefox ESR itself, of course, but Waterfox just gives me a little bit less grief.

    2. David Austin

      Re: At this point

      Probably too late to help you, but the -allow-downgrade switch normally fixes issues with failed upgrades, or jumping back to an older ESR Version over the current standard version.

      1. Updraft102

        Re: At this point

        Any time you downgrade with 'fox, be sure to remove compatibility.ini in the profile folder. Firefox and Thunderbird are so fussy about that, while Chromium-based Vivaldi just works without complaint. Occasionally it asks if I am sure that I am the only one using the profile (the lock file is still present from another session), but I know that I am, so I just tell it to go ahead, and things work again. Firefox is always wanting to create a new profile anytime it detects even the slightest regression in version. I've deleted compatibility.ini and reverted to older versions (sometimes much older) without any incompatibilities. If my profile did get messed up, I have backups!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: At this point

      It is a brave man he who saves any data in the browser in this day and age.

      Permanent private browsing is the least worst option.

    4. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: At this point

      I'm not sure saving passwords in a browser is a good idea. The day there's a glitch all the passwords will be sucked from the web.

      There are good password managers without having to rely on browsers. Mixing both seems a security hazard to me.

      == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

  8. LenG


    Several people have mentioned Palemoon. This is still my browser of choice for many things but unfortunately there is an ongoing issue with various buttons (often in popup forms etc) in websites being unresponsive. The Palemoon response seems to be that they are doing the right thing and everyone else is wrong in allowing the button to be pressed. Which seems a little ... arrogant(?).

    1. jobbautista9

      Re: Palemoon

      Following well-known, sane, and mature standards is not arrogance in my opinion. The browser can only do so much, especially if it's being developed by a small team. The correct solution would be for those websites to actually follow the standards and not do some weird stuff with the JavaScript (which is often using draft features pushed by Google. I repeat, DRAFT features). This will not only benefit Pale Moon, but them as well, as it would be easier to maintain. Less is more.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Palemoon

        Your comments on this page have been technical, thoughtful, well-argued and courteous.

        So of course, this place being what it is, some little troll has downvoted you each time. Have an upvote from me to compensate, and thank you.

      2. LenG

        Re: Palemoon

        In an ideal world you would be correct, but two points arise:

        1. I am not in a position to know whether Palemoon is behaving correctly.

        2. The problem websites are numeroius, and include a number of banks and the NHS. Suggesting to such institutions that they change code which works perfectly in all major browsers for the benefit of a single minority-use broiwser is an exercise in futility.

        A suspect a good compromise would be for PM to detect this particular error condition and allow users to permit this error. Oddly, an early userland workaround, involving disabling HSTS via the Palemoon Commander utility, is no longer available as the disable option was removed from the utility.

        1. jobbautista9

          Re: Palemoon

          > Suggesting to such institutions that they change code which works perfectly in all major browsers for the benefit of a single minority-use broiwser is an exercise in futility.

          Perhaps. But their insistence on making support for shiny new draft features mandatory and not letting smaller, independent browsers catch up will eventually bite them in the end. It's going to be an unmaintainable, expensive mess, because you keep refactoring stuff for no good reason. If they stick with the established, sane, and matured standards, they will not have that problem at all, and smaller browsers would be happy as well. Everyone is happy.

          > A suspect a good compromise would be for PM to detect this particular error condition and allow users to permit this error.

          How would this exactly work? How would a browser know whether it's really a SyntaxError or a real feature that isn't supported yet?

          > Oddly, an early userland workaround, involving disabling HSTS via the Palemoon Commander utility, is no longer available as the disable option was removed from the utility.

          That has been moved to the main preferences window, which means you no longer need an extension to have a GUI option for toggling HSTS.

  9. chivo243 Silver badge

    Call me Danny Glover

    I'm getting to old for this sh!t. Brave was a good alternative when I started using it, now I read some not so flattering stuff, I always had FF as a backup, and use it regularly for all my 'inside the network stuff' modem GUI, NAS, PI-Hole, switch GUI etc... and should Brave not render or play nicely with a page, I'll give it a try in FF.

    Someone wake me when the Browser war is over, and let me know who won?


    I still remember Camino!

    1. RPF

      Re: Call me Danny Glover

      Camino - what a great little browser that was.

  10. RPF


    See title.

    Been trying to get away from Chrome/Brave/Safari and find something friendlier/more secure for some time. This helped a lot.

  11. Maryland, USA

    Tablet users need not apply

    I wish articles like this one would clarify that these benefits apply to desktop Firefox only. They are not available in Firefox for Android and iOS.

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: Tablet users need not apply

      Yep I was more than happy with Firefox on both Desktop and Mobile, but then they basically locked down the Mobile version, made it significantly slower than anything else, and basically said "Deal with it!".

      So I did, I moved to Brave for Mobile. Is it a better choice? It's faster for sure. It's far from perfect, but at least it's up to date (so less attack surface than Waterfox or the other forks), is not either from Apple, Google or Microsoft, and it doesnt get in the way of my browsing like Firefox seemed to continually want to do. If there was something else of a high enough standard I might try it, but for now it will do.

      On Desktop, Firefox is still winning but only because of the extensions. Mozilla really do need to stop shooting themselves in the foot though, every change seems to be designed to annoy their user base...

      1. Updraft102

        Re: Tablet users need not apply

        A mobile browser without robust text reflow is not fit for purpose, IMO. The only one that works that I know of is Opera.

    2. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Tablet users need not apply

      To be fair to Mozilla, they have little scope for innovation on the ios platform. Their hands are somewhat tied by Apple’s restrictions.

    3. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Re: Tablet users need not apply

      On Android, you can replace Firefox with fennec from the f-droid store. It's usually a version behind, but it removes a lot of tracking and the extension restrictions.

  12. Throgmorton Horatio III
    Thumb Down

    And this is so relevant to browser development.

    " Brave .... its boss, Brandon Eich, left Mozilla due his controversial backing of legislation against gay marriage."

    Fair comment about silently rewriting affiliate links, but is this really relevant to a discussion of browser functionality?

    1. unimaginative Silver badge
      IT Angle

      Re: And this is so relevant to browser development.

      It does fit in with the The Register's new obsession with US culture wars. Even a lot of the technology stories are not IT. Even a lot of IT articles have a political spin. Just glancing down the front page, there is an article about drones, two space related, one about a book being removed from a few schools in the US and one about protests in Iran.

      Its gets people worked up and keeps discussion going, Facebook style.

    2. YetAnotherXyzzy

      Re: And this is so relevant to browser development.

      I was going to say the same thing but you beat me to it. I can't speak for anyone else, but I prefer my IT and my IT news coverage to be about IT. Can't we all agree that friends and colleagues will have differing opinions about politics and the culture wars and leave it at that?

      Back to the quote from the article, this is actually why I switched from Firefox to Brave. Not because I agree with Eich's position on gay marriage (I don't). Rather, I found it frightening that a talented person could be hounded out (not "left", not "departed") for political reasons. Even (especially) when I respectfully disagree with those politics.

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: And this is so relevant to browser development.

        > I prefer my IT and my IT news coverage to be about IT.


        Well, except for Bootnotes, of course. Although those are losing their splendour as well; remember when they were so off-to-side that commentards used to have to be reminded they were reading a Bootnote after they'd flung an "IT Angle?" ?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And this is so relevant to browser development.

        If he hadn't been removed from Mozilla for political reasons, then every user would be passively funding his intolerance. The average person can't be relied upon to be politically informed and, worse, might choose an apparently better product from a problematic coder. You may not see a problem with this but, if intolerance festers, diversity will be impacted and gifted developers from minority backgrounds will be discouraged. It's why Github dropped the meritocracy aspirations.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And this is so relevant to browser development.

          > If he hadn't been removed from Mozilla for political reasons, then every user would be passively funding his intolerance.

          It's a bit of a stretch to suggest that someone not agreeing with your views (or mine) on a particular matter is an intolerant person.

          Says more about you than about anyone else, really. I feel sorry for you.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: And this is so relevant to browser development.

            Really? You don't consider funding campaigns to deny LGBTQAA+ people the right to get married intolerance? Please don't make that indecent, disingenuous argument I've heard that it is nothing to do with sexuality and just about gender.

            1. RPF

              Re: And this is so relevant to browser development.

              Are we up to LGBTQAA+ now?

              Binary is SO 20th century.

              1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

                Re: And this is so relevant to browser development.

                It's the new Godwin.

            2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

              Re: And this is so relevant to browser development.

              I'd prefer to regard the fact that you (possibly the same AC as the OP) deny an individual a right to their own opinion and more intolerant.

        2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

          Re: And this is so relevant to browser development.

          Fine - as long as any employee no matter what level in every organisation is forcibly prevented from having any views or opinions about anything!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And this is so relevant to browser development.

          "If he hadn't been removed from Mozilla for political reasons"

          And I find your political views, whatever they are, to be completely unacceptable, and so I demand that your employer fires you immediately.

          See how it works yet ?

    3. sarusa Silver badge

      Re: And this is so relevant to browser development.

      It's relevant to how trustworthy (or not) the people making your browser are. Since Brave browser has engaged in shady practices in the past and is run by sh@theel (this is hardly the only thing he's done) I'm not going to trust it. It's like trusting Elon Musk to drive your car.

    4. Fat Guy In A Little Coat

      Re: And this is so relevant to browser development.

      Also, judging by the link, he's throwing shade without providing proof about the rewriting of links. Given that Firefox competes with Brave and their history, take it with a grain of salt.

      My problem with Brave (Android) is that a recent update hosed .png files - they appear blocky half the time.

  13. Tascam Holiday

    Multirow Tabs Please

    I much prefer multirow tabs over vertical ones, but they're getting harder and harder to implement in FF, requiring a new bunch of modifications to userChrome.css which break every few versions.

    All this malarky fiddling around in files is a colossal PITA and I curse Mozilla for removing the ability for plugins to control the UI like this.

  14. Flywheel

    Lynx still works fine for serious web sites

    Just sayin'

  15. Dave559

    Where'd you put those bookmarks?

    One thing I really wish that Firefox would do is stop fiddling with bookmarks. In ancient times, they rightly and logically got saved into the Bookmarks Toolbar. Then they decided to put them hidden within a rather minimalist bookmarks icon as the new default location. And then they also got bored with that, too, and decided to make Yet Another and even more pointless "Other Bookmarks" menu the default place instead. So you quite possibly had bookmarks from 3 different eras of browsing history in 3 entirely different places!

    And now they seem to have finally realised once again that most people actually quite liked the Bookmarks Toolbar menu layout after all…

    The only thing that I would like them to do would be to make the "Add Bookmark" tool more usable so that when using it to choose where to save the bookmark you can navigate within your existing bookmark folder structure and also position the new bookmark exactly where you (relative to the other bookmarks in the same folder) want it, and not to only be able to choose the folder (and only from within a painfully small not very navigable navigation panel). It's a part of the UI that has always felt very very half-finished.

  16. sarusa Silver badge

    Some more fantastic mods

    FF's modability is the biggest reason I can't give it up. Other fantastic add-ons:

    Auto Tab Discard: Takes tabs you haven't looked at in x minutes and leaves the tab there, but flushes all the data from memory so it's not using any memory or CPU. When you finally switch to the tab it reloads the page. Totally customizable, so you can make sure your email tab or youtube music background tab stay alive. Now you really can have your cake (100 tabs open) and eat it too (low memory use).

    Dark Reader: Makes any web page dark mode. A real eye-saver! Of course real websites are complicated, so there are four different methods you can set per site for best results. Or you can disable it for any given site.

    Download Manager (S3): This is not for bulk download assistance, this is so your normal downloads just show up in bars at the bottom of your browser, then optionally disappear when finished (or not). So much nicer than having a separate downloads tab/window.

    NoScript: Javascript control. Everything off by default. No hidden cross scripting. This makes the entire web much faster and safer. Warning: this is for hardcore people only. Many sites are broken to start with with JS entirely off, and it takes some experience to know which ones you should allow (cloudfront) and which to leave banned (facebook - okay, that one was easy) when the site wants to run JS from 20 different domains. But the fact that the site wants to pull in spying crap from 20 different domains is one of the primary reasons you should be using NoScript! You could also use uMatrix for this.

    1. Updraft102

      Re: Some more fantastic mods

      Are those same addons not available for Chromium browsers as well?

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. two00lbwaster

    I just go for tab groups rather than trying to squeeze out more space by going vertical. I'm still pissed about session manager. Multiple times Firefox has eaten my data and the fucktards at Mozilla don't see fit to implement the feature set required for add-on makers to do their job for them (and they have zero interest in writing any more code to support that doesn't result in feature parity with Chrome), so we have a shitty restore process that almost never works and almost always results in lost data or we have to use an add-on that does the job well enough that you don't lose data but is pretty poor compared to what we had before 57 (bare in mind I'm not saying that native session management was any good before 57, just that we didn't need it because we had an add-on which was how it always should have been natively in the first place).

    1. Furbian

      Session Manager....

      I've been using this for years, it's excellent:

      Dirty solution if you have some session files left over:

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This article describes perfectly…

    …the about: config, user.js, userChrome.css, etc., dance that I have to perform every time the stupid thing updates.

    I have of course given up reporting their increasingly idiotic bugs years ago as they just won't listen to their users, ever dwindling in number.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This article describes perfectly…

      Best thing that could happen to Firefox is for Mozilla to die and the project to be taken over by a genuinely non profit, user oriented entity.

      1. Updraft102

        Re: This article describes perfectly…

        Mozilla used to be like that. When they were doing battle with Microsoft, they dared stand toe to toe with the corporate giant and made an unapologetically better browser. IE had 95% of the market share at its peak, and it was not standards compliant. Mozilla Browser and Firefox were, and that was a big deal back then.

        Firefox never won the top browser spot, but it was Firefox that knocked IE out of its "so dominant that webmasters need not worry about anything else" position. Firefox's market share was increasing, up to 30-something percent, while IE was falling. Even though IE was still in the lead, it was evident that it was in trouble. Mozilla presumably awaited the triumph of having their browser take the top spot.

        Chrome appeared at around that time. They were a fellow good guy, at that time; Chrome was standards-compliant and was mostly open source, both of which put it on the same side as Mozilla, and on the opposite side of IE.

        Right as Mozilla's victory seemed assured, Chrome took off, and Google ate Mozilla's lunch. IE's market share continued to drop like a rock, but Firefox's share began to decline as well. Chrome took over everything, and it became the one to take the top spot from Microsoft. Mozilla had been the one fighting the good fight against IE, only to have newcomer Chrome swoop in and take the victory Mozilla had earned, only to have Chrome become the new IE.

        That was when Mozilla lost its mojo.

        The Mozilla that was unafraid to stand before the corporate giant and offer something that was better was no more. The new Mozilla ignored its users, shunned the power users that were Firefox's biggest boosters, and instead adopted Google's vision of what a browser should be. They paid their CEO very well for supervising the controlled flight into terrain, blew whatever goodwill they had with their hostility and faffing about with trivial stuff like their logo as their product crashed and burned, and squandered the opportunity to convince people that Firefox was more private than Chrome (which it is, massively so, but Mozilla's behavior looks so shady that a lot of people think it is just as bad as Google).

        You would think that watching their market share go from 30% to 3% might wake them up, but they are still prattling on about how unfair it is that everyone gets to have their browser as a preinstalled default but them, even though the large majority of Windows users do not use Edge (demonstrating that Microsoft's ill-advised nagging to use Edge didn't make that much difference after all). They keep sticking to their idea that people really want to move to Firefox, but that there are just too many barriers in the way.

        Mozilla, get this through your head... you can only win on "just as good as the real thing" if your product is cheaper than the real thing (like with PC clones back in the day). If it costs the same, you don't create a compelling case to move by agreeing that Chrome defines what a browser is meant to be, and trying to convince people that your knock-off is just as good. "Just as good as the real thing" would not have gotten people to abandon IE back in the day... Firefox had to be better than IE, and even then it was a tough journey.

        If you think privacy is going to be enough to push people over to a Firefox that is supposed to be just as good as Chrome, well... it won't. Look around-- most people simply don't care. They should, but they don't, and many of those in the minority that do care about privacy don't trust you to provide it.

        I want that old Mozilla back... the one that dared produce a better browser, not just a pointless copy of the other guy's inferior product because the version with less features is easier on the devs. Yeah, you can reduce your workload as devs by lopping off all features that make it better than the market leader and cutting the size of your code base, but you also lop off any reason people have to use your product rather than the dominant one.

        Taken to its furthest extreme, you can have a project with 0 lines of code that is infinitely easy to maintain, but that has 0 users (because it does nothing, given that it has no features at all). Have you not noticed that your market share is scaling downward at a steeper angle than your maintenance burden? Your market share is a LOT closer to 0% than your code base is to 0 lines!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This article describes perfectly…

          I think that after Brendan Eich got fired all the good people left. Even if you strongly disagree with his politics, any decent person would understand you cannot fire someone for their personal political activities outside the workplace. So I guess all the really brilliant people at Mozilla eventually left, one by one by one.

          And the NSA surveillance scandal too, after that, the Internet was no longer the cool, amazing tech that it used to be, once we discovered the full extent of the government surveillance. So it all went to shit because people didn't care about it so much anymore? And we're left with corporate behemoths like Google developing the best browsers now????

          Just my speculation there...

          1. mdubash

            Re: This article describes perfectly…

            I suppose it might be that many people left before Eich did because they didn't like his attitude towards them or their colleagues. Let's compare apples with apples. Either way, it would be interesting to see the numbers.

  20. RegGuy1 Silver badge

    Directories please

    It's NOT a folder. It's a directory. Always has been, always will be.

    1. Dave559

      Re: Directories please

      Someone at some point in time might have been the first to decide to call them directories, and the name might have sort of stuck, but I always have thought and still do think that the folder analogy is a much better way to visualise it.

      Folder: a card sleeve in which you can file paperwork, and, without too much magical extension to reality, you can put additional folders within a folder (recursat ad chelonia). You can rearrange any of these folders as you see fit, as and when you need or want to.

      Directory: a one kilogram lump of densely printed paper pages, which, although starting at A and going in order to Z (or Ö, etc…), is strictly only one layer deep and cannot be rearranged. (Sadly, certain people seem to regard this as the one true way and mimic its structure by just piling all of their files in a single layer on their "desktop", with no actual file hierarchy whatsoever…)

      [Yes, I'm sure my dog-latin is very lacking in grammar, mea culpa…]

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: Directories please

        Ah, they are called "directories" because they literally *are* directories! Things that reference and provide metadata for other things. Nothing to do with picking an arbitrary name which then sort of stuck.

        And you may want to expand your knowledge about how paper directories exist and are (have been) used. One level deep? Can only be arranged in one way, alphabetically? There are a multitude of librarians, archivists and stock controllers, to name a few, who could help you there.

    2. that one in the corner Silver badge

      Re: Directories please

      But, but using the "folders" model makes it so much easier for the Users to understand! Ideas like nesting folders become so intuitive. "Directory" is too cumbersome an idea.

      I mean, how could you explain complicated things like multiple links to a file without using folders?

      You'd have to come up with some outlandish examples, like having one directory (in a big fat book) that gave you some kind of reference that lets you find, say, a person or a business - probably just use a number for that. Then have *another* directory that, say, only listed a subset of those, maybe just businesses, printed on, ooooh, yellow paper to tell the two books apart. Totally unworkable model for how files work on a computer, people would only push the metaphor too far, like jokingly suggesting you could a third directory that used the same numbers, but now gave them different names like "Mum", "Big Sis", " Old bloke down pub". The whole thing would be stretched too far.

      No, no, no-one would be able to understand what a "directory" means. Book on yellow pages, don't make laugh.

      Now, using the proper "folders" metaphor, you can explain symbolic links with the simple physical model of - um, well, if I cut here, glue this, now you hold that end and pull

  21. osxtra

    Hide Tab Bar via userChrome.css Does Not Work

    FF 105.0.1 64 bit, OSX 10.15.7

    Could be a conflict with another addon, or perhaps my version of FF, but the instructions on hiding the native tab bar did not appear to work.

    Per the post, updated about:config so legacy stylesheets would operate, and created userChrome.css in the profile folder with the suggested css code. No change. Native tab bar still there.

    Also, from your description of how to find the profile folder, it sounds like you folks are on WinDoze.

    On a Mac, there's no verbiage saying "Profile Directory" or "Open Directory". Instead, it's "Profile Folder", in the first big section, "Application Basics", with a "Show in Finder" URL and the actual path shown to the right. Also, after the "Important Modified Preferences" section there's "user.js Preferences", with verbiage about your profile folder and a URL to that file; examining this link also shows where your profile lives.

  22. Al fazed


    I got fed up reading this over glamourisation of Firefox,

    Honestly, the more recent versions are shit and really STINK.

    Firefox has been my browser of choice for many years - but hey ho - all things must go, in the end.

    It's called Entropy my friend

    A "Steady State", IBM coined the phrase and it is perfectly applicable to Firefox's Software Development Life Cycle as any other software development life cycle.

    You have gone too far already.

    I do not give a flying shit about your "vertical" tabs.

    The fucking tabs that had been working fine for several months have changed positions - AGAIN, maybe to accomodate the vertical Tabs ?

    I noW struggle to use Firefox as a web designer !

    WHY ?

    'cos not even with "no caching" and pressing Refresh too may times, the browser does not reflect the changes that I have just made to my web site.

    I had to, (1) close and re start Firefox several times (no good) (2) reboot the fucking PC (no good) (3) change to a different machine using Firefox (OK one time) (4) Use a different browser (OK getting somewhere) (5) Seriously think about giving up web coding as this happens too often for Firefox to be considered professional or reliable software.

    Gone too far you have. On the stuff that isn't fucking relevant. Even my Bookmarks have changed place on the screen (left to right), and no longer show the folder's gone too far.

    When I think of developers, I think of privileged people running amock, re-developing stuff because they can.

    EGO !

    Please get a life besides coding.............and stop this stupid willy waving and wanking in public, it's screwing with your image.



  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Using Chromium instead, I do not want to support Mozilla because of their far left politics

    I'm using Chromium instead because I do not want to support an organization that so openly advocates for Internet censorship and overzealous "codes of conduct" in open source software. Yes Google is evil too, however I feel that Chromium is the lesser of the two.

    1. jobbautista9

      Re: Using Chromium instead, I do not want to support Mozilla because of their far left politics

      Bold of you to assume that Google doesn't support censorship too (which they already do with their search engine), lol.

  24. PRR Silver badge

    > Modern versions of Firefox hide the menu bar, in another of Mozilla's efforts to ape Chrome.

    Hmmmmm. The hidden menu-bar, revealed with ALT, is in MS Word 2003. Slightly after the first FF (which did not hide menus) and long before the rise of Chrome. I have always assumed this is a Bill Gates invention, but if you say it comes from Mac then I'll believe you. Since I spent half the 2000s re-setting new Wurd installations to sanity, I hardly notice needing to do it now, it's reflex.

    > If I want to do an Internet search of some kind, *I will visit a search site...

    I like the search bar, and accept the ambiguous and risky business of searching in a URL bar. But I sure agree, if you want NO! search you should have NO! search. 99% of punters will let the default search infest their browser, and you/me don't go to kickback sites, so the lost revenue is near zero.

    > Auto Tab Discard: Takes tabs you haven't looked at in x minutes and leaves the tab there, but flushes all the data...

    I think this was (mostly/partly) implemented last week, 105.0?

  25. fredless

    FF does not support vertical tabs, extension makers try to

    > "the killer feature that Firefox does better than most Chrome-based browsers is vertical tabs"

    I find it hard to believe that this article first makes *this* particular claim, given that the Mozilla crew has all but ignored pleas for native support for the feature (while many of the Chromium-based offers have baked this right in at this point), and then goes on to provide a rather involved how-to (that is not for the weak of heart) on the tweaks necessary to semi-smoothly try to pull this off in FF (which goes way beyond just adding one of the many extensions). You lost credibility for this reader, sorry.

    TBH, the *lack* of this feature, and the apparent disregard for users who have been asking for it for a long while now, is the number one reason I stopped using Firefox as my primary browser. I like many other things about it, but all weirdness was just getting to be too much.

  26. ROC

    Side tabs cool, but limited for new private windows??

    Went through the "tutorial" on how to set the tabs on the side, but once I opened a new browser window session in private mode, I could not "manage" it to easily close it, or spin off child sessions. Now I will have to undo the changes, and hope that puts it back to the "ugly" FF I am used to...

    Can't win!

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