What Makes Firefox So Great, Anyway?

Charlie Gavin (Blank Pixels) has compiled a simple four-item list as to What Makes Firefox  So Great.

With all this talk about Google’s impending “revolutionary” web browser and it’s potential threat to Mozilla’s best selling (er… open-source) web browser, I think it’s time to go back and take a look at what made Firefox so great in the first place. A direct descendent of the Mozilla Application Suite (and the only current surviving member) Firefox has been favored by geeks — and most everybody else — since it’s initial release in 2004.

Here are Charlie’s reasons:

  1. It’s Reputation
  2. It’s Competition
  3. Customization, Customization
  4. It Just Works

While all four are valid and great reasons I am strongly drawn to reason #3: Customization, Customization. Back on Christmas Day 2005 was when I took a look at Firefox for the first time. I had grown tired of Internet Exploiter with all its security holes and bugs. Someone had told me about Firefox so I decided to try it out. Once I got it downloaded, installed and running, it was then I discovered the extensions and just how powerful and customized they can make Firefox.

I have grown so accustom to my customized Firefox I use at home that I feel lost when I am at work using Firefox (I have limited amount of network space so I need to keep the number of add-ons to a minimum) or worse yet Internet Exploiter. It is amazing how much customizations can be made to Firefox just with the Greasemonkey, Personas and Stylish add-ons. Even more customization is possible via About:Config and the userChrome.css file modifications. Of course there are 1000’s of other add-ons just waiting to be discovered at AMO.

Chances are some time in the future (may be when Google moves it out of ‘Beta’) Chrome will support and have its own add-ons. After all, Internet Exploiter does and so does Opera. In the meantime, I am going to stick to Firefox as my primary browser, much like many others who have tried out Chrome.

See the full story at BlankPixels.com

7 Comments on What Makes Firefox So Great, Anyway?

  1. Although I like Firefox very much, I’d consider moving to Chrome when it becomes mature enough, if Firefox doesn’t improve significantly by then.

    Firefox has ancient and annoying problems that the devs apparently can’t manage to fix, such as slow startup time (slowest of all modern browsers?), bad performances with fixed elements (which got worse with Fx3), or the fact the firefox.exe process has to be killed in the task manager every once in a while (like, when restarting the browser too fast…). Chrome has none of these issues, and is overall clearly faster.

    But let’s wait and see if the next versions of Chrome are as fast as the first public beta, once it becomes more featureful… For example, it has no RSS support at the moment, so obviously no time is spent checking RSS feeds. Or if browser updates are available, and so on.

  2. Guru,

    Chrome has been in beta for a couple of days. I think your pronouncements about it are somewhat hasty. How could you possibly know what “many others who have tried out Chrome” have already decided about it? Could it be that your “guru” status feels threatened?

    Firefox is great, of course. But methinks you protest too much.


  3. @Jim that is being based on the comments and what I have seen in the blogs. More of an observation. I am not saying I don’t like Chrome it has it uses such as YouTube and other videos which I have problems with in Firefox from time to time.

  4. @Stifu yes Chrome starts faster. But that is because there is not much to load, just the browser and a plug-in or two. Slow start up is the price we pay for making Firefox more customizable with all those add-ons. But I am not really concerned about start-up time unless it gets really bad. It is kinda that same as Windows start up the more stuff it needs to load up the slower it is going to be. However, much like Windows sometimes a clean install is what is needed to clean up the bloat and slow start up. After having to do a clean install of Windows and Firefox last week I noticed a major speed difference. I might not have all the add-ons I had before, but still loads faster.

    I don’t foresee a change to the firefox.exe process structure anytime soon as that would require a major rework of the entire application. That is one major design improvement that Chrome has to offer that most (if any) other browsers don’t offer.

    Yes, Firefox has problems as I said in my comment to Jim, I’ve had trouble with YouTube & Google videos in Firefox. Worse yet was with QuickTime (shuts down Firefox). For cases like that I am going to use Chrome as it seems to be able to handle these videos with little protest.

  5. Your Youtube/Google video problems sound like either Flash problems, or a buggy add on. Try reinstalling Flash (and possibly try the Flash 10 RC, it solves many problems), and/or try disabling your extensions one by one…
    Surely there are reasons for your problems, it can’t be too hard to solve them. How could a “guru” just shrug these important issues off? :p

  6. @Stifu LOL! The odd thing is it does not do it all the time. This is a fresh install of Firefox too so I still may not have all the needed plugins. I am thinking it may have been related to the Flash Block extension preventing the videos from loading correctly even though I had unblocked. I have since added YouTube and another site that uses Google Video on the whitelist and seems to be working fine now.

  7. firefox runs on win 2000 cant get any other modern browser that does

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