I have had it with Firefox under MacOS

I have been a Firefox user for at least 4 years now. I generally enjoy the unrivaled flexibility Firefox offers. Firefox can be tweaked in so many ways. As far as I can tell, for standard-based web development, it is the best browser around. It also does pretty well on standard compliance, while Opera can give it a run for its money.

However, at least under MacOS, Firefox has becoming too annoying to use, so I have switched to Safari for the time being. I think that Firefox supports a wider range of sites and features than Safari, but here are some things that I cannot live with:

  • Firefox, presumably because of its spellchecker, can’t keep up with my typing. I type fast. I type all day. I will not tolerate any noticeable delay between the moment I type a letter and the moment it appears on my screen. Sorry. I have crazily fast CPUs, there is no way a good programmer can’t get rid of these delays unless the application is bloated. In fact, I have noticed that several modern applications can’t keep up with my typing. Am I the only one who types too fast for Firefox?
  • Downloading a PDF or Word file is a pain. Some dialog box appears and there is a long delay while Firefox does something, before I get to see my file. No good. I am a busy fellow, do not make me wait for a dialog box 3 seconds 50 times a day.

What I’ll miss the most? Firefox has customized search boxes, so that you can quickly search wikipedia, for example. Thankfully, it is possible to have similar feature with Sogudi under Safari. Not quite as nice, but close enough.

And Safari is fast. Oh yes, very fast.

Now, if someone could take the bloat out of NeoOffice, I’d be a happy fellow.

(This should not be seen as a vote against open source. I was a Konqueror user when Apple came in, took Konqueror and made Safari out of it. To a large extend, Safari is open source software. We just do not notice as much.)

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

8 thoughts on “I have had it with Firefox under MacOS”

  1. I’ve never been a big Firefox on OS X fan myself. There has always been something I’ve like about Safari more. With that said, I love Firefox on Windows and even use it over the new Safari Beta and I will still use Firefox on OS X when something doesn’t work right on Safari (which is rare).

    As for the customizable searches, have you looked at http://www.inquisitorx.com/safari/ ? I use it and love it. You can created whatever custom searches you want, plus it looks nice!

  2. I never could get used to firefox either but have been using Camino happily for the past year.

    PS.for someone griping about not being able to spare 3 seconds, your spam protection is quite time-consuming!

  3. Daniel, I had a horrible time with Firefox on the MacBook Pro, leading me to general hatred of the Mac. A colleague tried a few experiments and came up with the following: he created a new user (System Preferences->Accounts), moved his home directory under that user and chown -R’d to the new user, and removed the old user.

    I tried the same and am getting much better performance overall, including in FF. The typing delay is gone and FF is now generally usable.

    Are you using antivirus software by any chance? That’s also been thrown around as a possible cause. Since creating a new users seems to resolve a lot of the slowness, I’m guessing it’s something loaded in the normal user’s profile.

  4. I’ve found the PDF viewer called “PDF Browser Plugin” http://www.schubert-it.com to be excellent. No more opening in Preview.

    Downloading in general in Firefox is a pain. I havent managed to do something similar for my Linux workstation. And why should it take 5 seconds to open a new window.

  5. Daniel,

    I have not noticed Firefox being particularly slow compared to Safari on either my newer MacBookPro at work or older 1st gen. eMac at home.

    No problem typing but 1) I barely ever type anything significant in Firefox and 2) I am not a fast typist.

    Handling of downloads is indeed odd, but nothing I tried did significantly better.

    Probably the one feature that makes me go back to Firefox despite its flaws (it seems to hang a lot more often than Safari) is the handling of cookies. And the handling of tabs, in particular the way it remembers your session, is great.

    In the end the best thing about Firefox, Camino, etc. is that they offer us the luxury of having one (or several) favourite browser.

  6. I’ve just configured my wife’s new PowerBook and chose FF rather than Safari for its Google plugins (Calendar / Toolbar) which I assume Safari doesn’t have. No problems so far with typing. But I have noticed the download-delay bug on both the OS X and the Windows version. Strange.

    If Daniel doesn’t mind, I thought I’d “post” my experience here with MacOS and our Linksys wireless router – for the benefit of those who are bound to run into this problem.

    It appears that there is a bug in the default firmware of older Linksys wireless routers, which causes some DHCP devices to crash the router, requiring a re-boot every 15 minutes or so. It never manifested with a WinXP device, so I didn’t notice it until we acquired a MacBook.

    Suffice it to say that upgrading the firmware for the Linksys (v5 and lower) solves the problem (just download it from the Linksys web site.) The Readme documentation obliquely refers to the bug, but doesn’t mention OS-X specifically.

    The reason this is worth mentioning is that I saw some references to this problem in discussion groups but people were making suggestions like “turn off security” or “buy an airport” – which weren’t terribly helpful.

  7. I just discovered a very annoying bug with Firefox on the Mac (and not present on the PC.) When you mouse-over the favicon on a link in the address field in order to drag the link into a bookmark folder on the bookmark bar, if the target folder happens to be located under the mouseover text, you can’t drag the link until the text display has timed out. It’s most irritating!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

To create code blocks or other preformatted text, indent by four spaces:

    This will be displayed in a monospaced font. The first four 
    spaces will be stripped off, but all other whitespace
    will be preserved.
    Markdown is turned off in code blocks:
     [This is not a link](http://example.com)

To create not a block, but an inline code span, use backticks:

Here is some inline `code`.

For more help see http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/syntax

You may subscribe to this blog by email.