Sunday, February 24, 2008

Firefox is bloatware

Firefox has officially outlived its usefulness.

I have three computers and 5 operating systems**, each of which has Firefox installed. Now I'm no historian but I seem to remember Firefox promising to be a good web browser and all that jazz. Sure it's better than IE in several ways however it's my firm belief that Firefox has become bloatware.

You might be thinking that I've always felt this way, never really liked Firefox and there for never gave it a fair chance. However this is not true. I didn't start seriously hating Firefox until about five minutes ago.

So here's my story. I'm on an old laptop (400mhz 192mb ram, win2k) out and about on vacation connecting through a whiz-bang Sierra Wireless 595U AirCard. So I boot up Win2k and the first thing I do is start Firefox since I know it takes forever and a day to load.

So after I hit Firefox I opened up the Sprint Mobile Broadband connection thingy and connect. Firefox STILL hasn't opened. By this point it's taking so long I'm thinking perhaps I didn't click the icon. A few moments later Firefox finally opens. By the way that Sprint connection tool isn't even on my desktop like Firefox. I gotta navigate the start menu to open it then the program has to go through about 5 steps before I can even CLICK connect - then there's another two or three steps before it's totally connected. I was able to do all of this before Firefox even showed up on the screen.

You're probably thinking "big shocker, you're on an old laptop". Wrong. On my 1.5ghz with 512mb of ram Firefox is slow, on my 2ghz machine that has 1gb of ram Firefox is still slow ! Now if 2ghz + 1gb of ram isn't enough muscle to open Firefox swiftly I'd like to know what in gods name is.

On the other hand Opera, Safari (Windows beta) and the dreaded IE all run worlds faster than Firefox. Perhaps I wouldn't care that much if FF and all its fan boys weren't constantly beating that drum which says Firefox is the greatest, fastest and most secure.

Let me state this part again; previous to about 5 minutes ago I liked Firefox, I was using it upwards of 50 times a day. But as of right now no more, screw Firefox. It can't keep me logged into sites for crap, it loads and operates slower than Christmas and somewhere along the way its spell check has gone to hell.

For an example I just opened FF and misspelled vegetable on purpose. I typed "vegitabe" which is exactly two letters off. This should be easy. If you put "vegitabe" in Google it knows right away which word you meant. Here are the suggested spelling corrections Firefox gives me : veritable, veritably, ignitable, inevitable and inevitably.

None of these are EVEN CLOSE to what I typed and out of this whole list "vegetable" isn't mentioned. Way to fail Firefox. And this kind of crap happens to me all the time. I've had dozens of instances where I was one or two letters off on a commonly used word and Firefox "suggest" words totally unrelated and fails to give me the correct spelling.

I decide to run a little test. So I fired up Firefox and disabled the few addons that I use, rebooted the computer and the ran Opera + Firefox at the same time to see what the load difference is. I put both desktop icons side by side and each time I started Firefox first, then press the right arrow key and hit enter to load Opera.

Initial load time : Opera shows on the taskbar a full 5 seconds before Firefox appears.

Round two load time : Opera pops up a full 4 seconds before Firefox shows up.

So for me that's it. I'm tired of Firefox's slow performance, I'm making a full switch to Opera. By the way, it's worth noting that a lot of features people love about IE7 and Firefox started off in Opera. Opera has always been way ahead of the game and has managed to keep their browser small, fast and customizable (Opera 9.26 installer is 4.7mb, Firefox 2.0.0.12 is 5.7mb).

**
Windows XP Pro
Windows XP Pro
Windows 2k Pro
Damn Small Linux
Puppy Linux

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

My biggest complaint is the memory footprint. When FF1x was the thing, it was much better at keeping the amount of RAM in use at a minimun, beating IE6. Now either way, IE7 or FF2x - both take up way too much ram. My FF instances often run over 150mb or 200mb of ram in use. Thats a bit much for me. I link FF1.5 still, it seems to keep the footprint around 20 - 30mb.

Haven't used opera in a long time, last I used it I was disapointed, but maybe its time to try again.

Admin said...

Opera, like every browser, has its good points and bad points. It's very fast but has its own rendering bugs and spell check isn't built in out of the box as with other major browsers.

Besides those two complaints I love the way opera works.

I agree with your comments on the memory usage. I often find Firefox using over 150 MB of RAM and that seems a bit excessive.

It seems as if developers have gotten lazy in the memory management department because they know many people now have at least 512 GB of RAM.

I can remember a time when developers made it a point to get their applications as small as possible, when memory usage was a concern which received a proper amount of attention.

Since memory got cheap it seems the developers who previously worked on memory usage now focus most of their efforts on "making it look REALLY cool".

Andrew said...

Wow, amen. I'm so incredibly happy somebody actually hates firefox too. It has such a stupid cult following now. Everytime I mention I hate it, people act like I devoured a baby alive. It's good for web development, which I do a lot of, but I've been using Opera more and more.

The biggest problem for me, as mentioned, is the horrible memory leaks. This "feature," as Mozilla puts it, can take upwards of 800MB of my ram. After about the 200MB mark, videos jump, tabs take forever to open, and every page load needs 4 seconds to gather its thoughts before it can scroll.

Some feature. Firefox sucks and it should be canned. I hate Mozilla for calling buggy shit features so morons can think "Wow, this is great!" every time they have to kill and re-open firefox.

Nazri Awang said...

I hate to admit it but YES..Firefox had absolutely turned into a bloatware..

Many times using more than 800 MB of my RAM..

and always crash to..

when I tried to open it again.. got the msg,

Firefox is still running but not responding...always like that

now, I'm turning to Chrome..way way faster

Lennart said...

I'm aware of the fact that this post is older than a year. But I just want to say two things:
1. I like your blog. Already found some useful tips here.
2. I partly agree with what you said about Firefox. I really like Opera, on Windows and Linux, and would prefer it over Firefox if it wasn't for Gmail. Somehow Opera and some Google services just don't seem to like each other...

Sam said...

I have to agree... I concur. Firefox has evolved into the product it originally claimed it wasn't, a slow and broken browser. Starting it up with no toolbars installed, it grabs 40MB off the bat. 1 search and it's up to 56MB. At the same time I have MS Word (in an XP VM, ahem) occupying 40MB. And it's a fairly large doc I'm working on. Anyway, just wanted to say that I agree. Why must all good things eventually turn sour!?! My guess is too many cooks in the kitchen. Okay, Linux is the one exception... Maybe the person or group overseeing FF's development needs to be canned.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree. My heart is sad to leave firefox to which I was faithful for 5 years. But now I can launch chrome and do a few search and check my mail before firefox even loads the home page.

I really hope that FF get their act together cz i am not comfortable about having all my software from google inc. but i just know it's bad for my health to wait around for firefox to load or close or open a new tab ...

Anonymous said...

I was actually brought here because I did a search on bloated Opera, aah, the Irony.
i'm not a Fx user because I never got lucky with that program and for some reason it constantly crashed on me (must've been my system).
at any rate, I switched to Opera 8 years ago and liked it ever since. Speeddial, sessions, making your own searchengine, spellchecker now...
my problem now though is that since 10.50 Opera has his own memory isseus. 10.53 did some good, but i'm here with four tabs and 100mb memusage that's simply too much.
so alas, Fx ain't the only one falling for fancy stuff instead of decent memusage.
Cheers