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 is 5.7mb).

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