Why I Broke Up With Firefox

I had a long love-affair with Firefox.

I never liked Internet Explorer at all. It was too dowdy. Not flashy enough. Dull. Feature-free. Lacking in essentials like tabs (which it eventually received.) Tired and corporate. Firefox, which sprang from Netscape like Athena springing from the head of Zeus, was hot and sexy and fast. It rendered pages at speed. It introduced blessed, glorious plugins like AdBlock and No-Script and Firebug. It was the first with tabs — how did we live before tabs?

But Firefox had a hidden addiction, an actual disease. It was addicted to memory. At first it was a fun high and then slowly it would consume all the resources on a machine. Soon the high wasn’t for fun, it was just to maintain — I had to use Firefox because it was better than the alternatives but it kept crashing my machine. Eventually I could have three tabs max open if I wanted to do anything else. And woe be if I needed a browser and a memory or CPU-intensive application open simultaneously!

Firefox was stripped of all but essential plugins but yet it still brought my machine to its knees. And I was full of woe, because I like to use my machine for things other than the browser. We will not speak of the unspeakable slowness of Firefox upon the Netbook, for it was embarrassing.

Then came along Chrome with a whole new set of web browsing guts.

Sure she was a little unsteady at first. Crashed. Didn’t render things right. But then she got flying straight and I could open 20 tabs without it breaking a sweat. Chrome didn’t have plugins and, on the Mac, didn’t have a bookmark manager, but it still rendered pages at lightning speed without crashing my machine. “My,” I thought, “maybe this Chrome thing has something to it.”

And then the updates came out. A bookmark manager. Plugins. Adblock. Stability. It can open a whole raft of things at once. A dozen tabs takes as much memory as 1 tab open in Firefox. If one tab went haywire with javascript closing it did not bring down the whole browser or the whole box. And it is fast. So very fast.

I sucked up my pride and, after many years, I broke up with Firefox and switched to my primary browser to be Chrome. It runs on the Mac! It runs on the Ubuntu Netbook! Acceptably fast! Amazing!

I feel a little dirty. But it is time to move on.

As for Internet Explorer, she’s been looking okay with her new incarnation but she still lacks plugins, she’s slow, and she’s a closed universe. She’s still very corporate and likes to wear a suit but she’s rapidly becoming the ultimate also-ran.