Firefox and I nearly came to blows this weekend over a weird proxy issue. It was pretty rough, and almost ended in divorce. However, the grass isn't always greener on the other side as they say and after flirtations with Safari and Chrome, I've decided I'll be sticking with Firefox.

Here are 5 main reasons why:

1. Bookmark Handling: I used Xmarks to load my bookmarks into Safari and Chrome and they simply don't display them in the same way. For example, in Safari, the RSS feeds use Feedburner which don't display the headlines instantly as soon as you mouse over them - you have to open an extra tab to read the headlines of a particular feed:

In Firefox, I can read RSS headlines directly in my Bookmarks toolbar which is much quicker and convenient. Meanwhile Chrome didn't even load my boomarks toolbar - instead it loaded them all into my Bookmarks menu - not very accessible!

2. Extensions: Sure, many extensions are now available in Chrome that are available in Firefox but not all, and some of them I've come to rely on. A good example is FireFTP which you can't get on Chrome. I'm sure there are other FTP extensions available on Chrome but I have all my settings loaded into FireFTP, I know how it works and I trust it.

3. Familiarity: Having used Firefox for several years now, I know how it works, how to fix certain problems and how it behaves. I don't want to have to go through the time consuming process of learning how an entirely new browser works or work out any strange error messages that it throws-up. Of course, I'm also all too familiar with the memory leak which has plagued Firefox for years but as long as it doesn't crash the browser too often, I'm willing to put up with it.

4. Stability: Ok, the aforementioned memory leak is a bit of a pain and when it consumes 100% of resources, often leading to a crash. But I'm finding this is becoming less and less of a problem over the years as Mozilla improve the browser and it has taught me to keep tabs to a minimum which is no bad thing. My experiences with Safari and Chrome have always been met with considerably more crashes although maybe I was just unlucky.

5. Mozilla: I like the fact that Mozilla is an non-profit organization with an aim to keep the net as open as possible in a time when net freedoms are under attack. Although I have nothing against them, I don't like the idea of being locked into using Apple's Safari or Google's Chrome - I think both companies already have enough influence over my online time as it is!


  • DaGal |

    Nothing special. Look over here.


  • bobdobbs |

    The new firefox4(using the ubuntu ppa) takes a while to get used to the layout and no status bar on bottom(replaced by the go-to link window)but it performs admirably well.

  • nicholasmead123 |

    @bobdoobs I've tried Firefox 4 and I don't think it takes much getting used to if you're used to Firefox 3. I'll be switching as soon as it supports all of my Add-Ons.

  • lefty.crupps |

    This seems like reasons people give for sticking with Microsoft Windows when there better alternatives available:

    1. Appearance - I don't like the way DistroX shows my photo previews so that lessens any chance that I'll use it.

    2. Programs - I know how the programs on Windows work, why learn new ones?

    3. Familiarity - I know the broken parts of XP and I know how to fix them; better the devil you know than the devil you don't.

    4. Stability - "Ok, the {occasional BSOD} is a bit of a pain and when it consumes 100% of resources, often leading to a crash. But I'm finding this is becoming less and less of a problem over the years as {Microsoft} improve the {OS} and it has taught me to keep {running programs} to a minimum which is no bad thing.

    5. Microsoft - I like the fact that Microsoft is such a big and trustworthy company who has no intentions to do me wrong.


    Don't get me wrong, I love my Mozilla and dislike Microsoft plenty, but the reasons you gave don't seem to be enough for a logical geek to stay with a specific product. What about the Free and OpenSource code base? What about the work to push open standards? What about staying out of Google's advert revenue stream by not using their browser and their DNS? What about the cross-platform push (MS, Linux, OSX, Android) by Mozilla which some companies ignore? Or a preference of rendering engines?

  • Nick Mead |
    Nick Mead

    I understand why you've taken my arguments to mean I'm sticking with the status-quo rather than try better alternatives. But the fact is I've tried the alternatives, and it made me realise how much Firefox suits my particular needs despite a few flaws.

    As regards Mozilla, I'm a "logical geek" :) enough to realise that they're no angels but my point was I use a Mac and I use loads of Google products so I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket. Plus I think on balance, Mozilla probably have a more genuine commitment to keeping an open internet than Apple or Google.

  • Luigi |

    I am also sticking with Firefox. I briefly switched to Chrome for a couple of months, but there were no real adblock plus alternatives with full functionally (even now there is none despite Palant new Chrome project) and switched back.

    Lately the newest Firefox 4 beta is stable enough for me to use extensively and I like what I am seeing with the only problem being horrendous cold start up performance. I hope they fix that in the stable release.

  • Michael |

    you might have a point for reason number 1. but not for the other. after using chrome for a day or two you're already familiar to it. there are lots of extensions under chrome. they even have a web store. firefox doesn't. i trust the extension web store more than some random site that i've never heard of before. as of reason number 5, google chrome browser is a compilation of the open source project chromium. i see chromium more open than firefox.

  • Karl |

    Nick --

    You should try maxthon 3. It's a great browser, faster than chrome even, has cloud-syncing and even has a mobile client. The whole thing is driven by a community like the one that used to drive firefox.


  • Dave |

    Karl: Nick seems to have a Mac. Maxthon is Windows only.

  • Nick Mead |
    Nick Mead

    @Michael, Thanks for the comments. The familiarity I've built up with Firefox over the past 5 years is far deeper than any familiarity that I could build-up with Chrome over a couple of days. Sure I could be a white belt on Chrome after a couple of days but I'm at least a brown belt on Firefox by now which is much more useful :) Chrome extensions are developed by third party developers just like Firefox extensions so I don't see them as anymore trustworthy. Plus there is a "Get Add-ons" feature in Firefox now which is similar to the Chrome extensions store. Finally, while Chrome may be fundamentally an open source project, that's not what concerns me. It's that I use so many other Google products that I don't want all my eggs in one basket. @Karl, Thanks for the tip but as Dave noted, I am on a Mac and Maxthon is Windows only.

  • W Tran |
    W Tran

    Firefox is the most unstable browser today. I don't know what you are thinking.

    - Firefox fails in Acid 3 tests - will not render pages correctly - Crashes hard and often - Eats up memory and runs javascript very slow - Lack of updates and continually missing patches. They said that Firefox 4 was suppose to be release in Oct 2010. Still nothing. - Dropping popularity - Flash crashes - Full of bugs

  • Nick Mead |
    Nick Mead

    I don't think Firefox is the most unstable browser out there. It certainly guzzles CPU but surely IE is a lot worse for example. As for your other points, I haven't suffered from many Flash crashes, bugs, page rendering problems etc. I also think there are more than enough updates for Firefox - anymore and it would just become a nuisance.

  • lefty.crupps |

    > What about the Free and OpenSource code base? > What about the work to push open standards?

    I guess if you're running OSX, these things aren't important to you. But they are to me which is one reason I stay with Firefox (and Iceweasel) !

  • Ryan |

    Firefox is great! Props for sticking with Yellow Dog Linux on the PPC/PS3

  • Briar |

    Honestly, I think that which browser you ultimately prefer the most has more to do with what you use the browser for, than the browser itself. I use Firefox for work mostly, and no other browser has what I need when it comes to web dev tools. But if I want to cruise around YouTube, then I'll go with Opera, because it has the best download tools. Meanwhile, if I'm just doing general surfing, then I go with Chrome, because it's hands down the fastest. Plus, I never feel so locked in that I'm unwilling to try new browsers--Rockmelt is a dream when it comes to Twitter and Facebook.

    Sure, there are disadvantages to multitasking browsers this way--I have to save all my bookmarks to Delicious versus using a native tool. But the advantages are that I get the most functionality out of whichever browser I'm using for the specific task at hand. And not getting locked into a specific browser spares me the agony of having to use unstable builds, or dealing with excessive crashes. It's the best of all possible worlds.


    IMO--firefox is by far the best of all offerings as a general browser,

    I have tried ie--chrome--flock--several others--none can compare to the versitality and features of firefox.

    That is why there is chocolate AND vanilla ice ream--something for everyone


  • PanamaMo |

    Google Chrome loads much quicker than Firefox...

  • Peter Gilbert |
    Peter Gilbert

    I get narcolepsy waiting for it to load and after shutting it down it won't reboot until I restart.

    This is why I use Opera and that was before the new Opera 11. Opera is the best of the bunch and the most secure against viruses. Opera is the party that sued Microsoft in Europe, to not have Explorer be the installed default browser.

  • *tom |

    <strong>I agree</strong>

  • Smith |

    Firefox 4 is so stable I use it as my daily browser as is for other users. FF4 is Amazingly Fast, improvements everywhere, and the GUI is great. My add-ons work great and if you want to force the add-ons to work, follow these steps:

    1)"about:config" in the address bar. 2)Right-click on empty space, Select New>Boolean 3)then enter "extensions.checkCompatibility.4.0b"(without quotes) 4)finally set to False. Restart browser

    All add-ons work on Firefox 4. Runs great, no problems.

  • ghch |


  • dragon legacy |
    dragon legacy

    i could give at least 10 valid reasons to use safari over firefox while only 1 of your reasons are valid: the stability basically firefox is built to handle browsing in upwards of 50 tabs at a time, it pretty much uses roughly the same amount of memory, regardless of whether you've got 1 tab open or 100 tabs open. the point is each additional tab uses very little memory. so the only time you ever need to use firefox is if you're gonna have at least 50 tabs open at a time, or maybe even more considering you're running a mac and stability is less of an issue. there are also plenty of ftp clients available that you don't need to use an entire web browser just for ftp. reasons for using safari include but are not limited to: in no particular order:

    top site and coverflow reader (especially if an article is 10 or more pages long) snapback activity window auto extracts downloaded zip files and trashes them doesn't start loading flash videos opened in background tabs until you navigate to them ablity to save loaded pictures and pdfs straight from the cache without having to download them it passes the acid3 test the scrolling in certain websites ie youtube isn't a total bitch supports download resuming over multiple session EVEN WITH PRIVATE BROWSING ON or EVEN if you RESET SAFARI or REINSTALL OSX provided you keep a copy of the partially downloaded file backed up somewhere ( in firefox if you start private browsing whilst downloading something/s, it will cancel all your downloads. Also if you start a download during private browsing, it is not resumable over multiple sessions.)

    also has a built in user agent switcher with a reasonably up to date list of user agents can choose to open any page in another browser that's installed (opera by default is already installed) plus mac and safari were made for each other, thus there's a whole bunch of other unique features that apply to mac only.

    but overall you should wait til firefox 4 is released before you make up your mind.

  • Steven Wallcot |
    Steven Wallcot

    If Google Chrome had the Firefox 'BetterPrivacy' extension I would probably move.

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