Et tu, Firefox?

For me and a lot of other people I’ve been talking to, the latest release of Firefox haven’t really been delivering.

Not exactly sure when it started, but Firefox began to get slow, over-think things and now and then crash. I’m using it on a Mac, and the spinning ball of death seem to occur at least once a day. To me, that’s way too often.

What really threw me was that with the 2.0.0.12 release, Firebug stopped working properly (to be more exact, when inspecting elements for the applied CSS). And, as we all know, Firebug is a vital everyday tool for web development.

And it just all makes me wonder: have I and my fellow developers been unlucky or have Firefox started to make releases without properly testing and doing necessary quality assurance?

I love Firefox, and think it’s definitely the best web browser out there: Therefore, I hope they get a grip on things again and continue to develop an otherwise fantastic product.

19 Comments

  • Jim says:

    I had a similar problems with an upgrade to 1.5 – CSS styles stopped displaying in the DOM inspector and firebug. I posted a solution on accessify forum. It was an old setting, of some sort, hanging over from the previous version of firefox. Editting one of the Firefox profile files in a text editor may fix it.

  • Filip says:

    Robert,

    I was also pretty dissapointed with Firefox 2 for Mac, and only used it because of Firebug :).

    However, I've been using Firefox 3 beta 3 for the past 3 days and it's superb! Looks better and it definitely works faster.

    There's also a release of Firebug for Firefox 3 which I didn't have any problems with, yet.

  • Sebastian Redl says:

    I think one of the issues is that the developers are really focusing on Firefox 3, so they just fix whatever grave bugs come up with the 2.x series and otherwise don't bother much.

  • Hayo says:

    I've had lots of problems with Firefox crashing on javascript overloaded websites. And each release seems to be getting slower and less predictable. I have to run gmail in a window of IE6 at work, because after an hour in a tab, gmail will KILL firefox in a fiery blaze of memory leaks.

  • Georg says:

    Guess the little Gecko needs a break now and then πŸ™‚

    I do a "clean sweep" whenever a browser acts up a little, but haven't noticed anything in particular for Fx 2.0.0.12 so that's just given a normal upgrade – on windows mind you.

    At the moment I'm more interested in what Fx 3 will deliver, which means Fx 2 gets less attention.

    As for Firebug: I hardly ever need/use it so I probably wouldn't notice any problems with it for a long time. Made a note of it now though, in case I do need it.

  • Well, after all is a relief to know that is not just me. I've been seen the spinning ball of death over once a day and I was starting to worry if it was something I did wrong.

    I started to use Opera more often. I always loved Firefox, but there's something on Opera that appeals to me. The reason I've been keeping up with FF was the existence of some plugins I can't live without, Firebug being one of them.

  • Dana says:

    I felt the exact same way and switched to the WebKit nightlies/Safari for a while. I tried out Camino, too. I just used Firefox for development. The others were okay, but there were some things in Firefox that I really missed.

    I tried out the Firefox 3 Betas, hoping the resource hogging had been curbed in that version. However, without Firebug or the Web Developer toolbar, it was useless to me.

    Happily, Beta 3 has changed all of that. It doesn't seem to hog my CPU cycles or RAM . . . even with Google Calendar and Gmail open in tabs. Firebug now works in it and, via a hack, you can also get the Web Developer toolbar to work.

    I'm back with Firefox and so far, I'm very happy. Try out the latest Beta.

  • Ceriak says:

    Same thing, Firefox is slow and unstable, crashes so often that I seriously considering to use Opera, at least for day-to-day surfing. Hope that FF 3 recovers its gloire. (I’m typing this comment for the second time – my browser just decided to give up work…)

  • Devon young says:

    A couple weeks ago, I switched to using Firefox 3 beta 2 as my main browser on Vista because Firefox 2.0.0.x just kept crashing every few minutes (literally). The beta hasn't caused any issues at all. Only problem is a lot of add-ons need to be manually altered in order to work in it. It's worth the pain though, 'cause at least the browser doesn't crash.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Thanks for the tips, guys! I think it's natural that they focus on Firefox 3, but at the same time, with Firefox having the market share it now does, version 2 will be around for some time, hence it has to be stable as well.

    To me it's just too much of a hassle to have Firefox 3 beside Firefox 2, hack the plug-ins etc. However, it does seem like there's still some way to go before version 3 actually is released, so maybe my personal web surfing will have to be in another web browser till then.

  • Nathan Smith says:

    I can sympathize. Firefox was my favorite browser on Windows, so when I made the switch to Mac, it was a logical first choice. However, Firefox just doesn't seem to perform quite as well on OSX. Instead, I now use Camino for all general purpose browsing, and Firefox only for debugging.

  • DannyB says:

    I love Firefox and will test out the new version. It really sucks that on Mac you can't run both versions.

    Firefox 2 crashes allot, i mean ALLOT, but only when Firebug is running. I find that disabling Firebug from the firefbug > disable DOES NOT help. It still does all it's magic but just doesn't display it. I wish the firebug folks would fix this behaviour …

    So my fix right now is "add-ons > disable firebug" restart and firefox works really great. Then when i need it (and trust me i need it often .. especially debugging) i enable and restart. Sucks but that's all I got.

    I keep web developer toolbar running at all times with no degradation as far as i can tell….

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Nathan,

    Yep, overall Camino is nice, but it's feels mike it's missing some parts. Also, their keyboard shortcuts are a bit awkward, and Find as you type (as it is in Firefox) is completely mandatory in my world.

    Danny,

    Actually, you can run both versions on a Mac. Drag the Firefox application from the mounted volume to the desktop, rename it (Firefox 3, beta 3 seems like a good name πŸ™‚ ), and then drag that application into the Applications folder.

    However, if you use both, you'll constantly get messages that some add-ons won't work in that version etc. Of course you can create different profiles, but then you need to synchronize your bookmarks and so on…

    Basically, just a little bit too much work.

  • Deborah says:

    Robert,

    I've had issues with Firefox for several months now, with unexplained crashes. I thought it was related to gmail and Firebug. However, I discovered the crashes occurred even when I wasn't logged into gmail and Firebug was disabled.

    Lately I've been using Opera as my main browser. I had not checked out the Firefox 3 beta because of my concern with add-on compatibility. Given other people's comments on your article, I think I'll check it out.

  • ramin says:

    With FF 2 I've noticed serious issues with memory leaks on Windows XP and to a lesser degree on Linux. After switching to FF3 (the betas naturally), the memory leaks disappeared and FF has been fast and responsive again.

    There are Betas for FireBug that work well on FF3, so that isn't an issue either. Many of the extensions I have had installed don't work yet, but compared to the problems with FF2 I'm happy with the trade-off.

    There is a difference in JavaScript support between the two, but I haven't had the time to test enough to see exactly what the difference is. There are also some small changes in rendering that I've noticed (e.g. long file paths can be split into multiple rows to prevent overflowing).

  • Yep Im with you all!!

    Im kinder glad that I am not the only one πŸ˜€

  • Robert Nyman says:

    So, apparently I'm far from the only one.

    After all the comments, though, I just had to try out Firefox 3, beta 3 at home, and at a first glance it seemed to work a lot better! Some font issues, though, which I will report.

  • Cheope says:

    Firefox 3 beta 3 is much better. I've already installed it on my main machine (a Mac), and it doesn'crash so frequently as the 2 release.

    If you're gonna use Firebug, here's the new beta working on FF 3 b3. You know, it's a beta… But I think it's better than older "stable" releases…

    You can also try to make your old extensions work disabling the compatibility check. But it works just for "simple" extensions…

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Cheope,

    Yep, the Firebug beta works just fine with version 2 and 3, as far as I can see. And Firefox 3 is indeed a lot better than before.

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