This is a pretty dire assessment of Mozilla

Firefox usage is down 85% despite Mozilla's top exec pay going up 400%

Mozilla recently announced that they would be dismissing 250 people. That's a quarter of their workforce so there are some deep cuts to their work too. The victims include: the MDN docs (those are the web standards docs everyone likes better than w3schools), the Rust compiler and even some cuts to Firefox development. Like most people I want to see Mozilla do well but those three projects comprise pretty much what I think of as the whole point of Mozilla, so this news is a a big let down. [...]

One of the most popular and most intuitive ways to evaluate an NGO is to judge how much of their spending is on their programme of works (or "mission") and how much is on other things, like administration and fundraising. [...] Mozilla looks bad when considered in this light. Fully 30% of all expenditure goes on administration. Charity Navigator, an organisation that measures NGO effectiveness, would give them zero out of ten on the relevant metric. [...]

Mozilla now thinks of itself less as a custodian of the old Netscape suite and more as a 'privacy NGO'. One slogan inside Mozilla is: "Beyond the Browser".

Regardless of how they view themselves, most of their income comes from helping to direct traffic to Google by making that search engine the default in Firefox. Google make money off that traffic via a big targeted advertising system that tracks people across the web and largely without their consent. Indeed, one of the reasons this income is falling is because as Firefox's usage falls less traffic is being directed Google's way and so Google will pay less.

There is, as yet, no outbreak of agreement among the moral philosophers as to a universal code of ethics. However I think most people would recognise hypocrisy in Mozilla's relationship with Google. Beyond the ethical problems, the relationship certainly seems to create conflicts of interest. Anyone would think that a privacy NGO would build anti-tracking countermeasures into their browser right from the start. In fact, this was only added relatively recently (in 2019), after both Apple (in 2017) and Brave (since release) paved the way. It certainly seems like Mozilla's status as a Google vassal has played a role in the absence of anti-tracking features in Firefox for so long.

Honestly, I've given very little thought to Mozilla since I left, but two thoughts I have often had are:

  1. Firefox is kind of crappy, actually;
  2. They have an entire building full of people. What do all of those people do???

And I've asked! Before lockdown, I used to regularly have lunch with a friend who is a current and long-time Mozilla employee, and I've asked "what do all of those people do?" and I have never gotten an answer that I either understood or was able to retain.

(I have the same question about multi-building companies like Pinterest too -- how does it take more than 300 people to run that entire fatuous business? But I digress. And also don't really care.)

Back to Mozilla -- in my humble but correct opinion, Mozilla should be doing two things and two things only:

  1. Building THE reference implementation web browser, and
  2. Being a jugular-snapping attack dog on standards committees.
  3. There is no 3.

And they just completely threw in the towel on standards when they grabbed their ankles and allowed W3C to add DRM. At this point, I assume Mozilla's voice on the standards committees has all the world-trembling gravitas of "EFF writes amicus brief."

By the way, one dynamic that the cited article missed is that a huge part of the reason for Google's "investment" in Mozilla was not just to drive search traffic -- it was antitrust insurance. Mozilla continuing to exist made Chrome not be the only remaining web browser, and that kept certain wolves at bay.

Google has decided that they don't need to buy antitrust insurance any more. Wonder why.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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65 Responses:

  1. Dude says:

    Huh. I used to joke about it, but it looks like I really am the only person who uses Firefox.

    And now I'm curious to ask friends who work at both Mozilla and Pinterest what they do... though a lot of them have been at home for six months, so I wonder if they'd even remember what goes on in those now-empty(?) buildings?

    • Not Frank says:

      I still use Firefox... and Thunderbird.

      Of course, I've been concerned about the funding thereof for a while.

    • George Dorn says:

      I alternate between Firefox and Waterfox, depending on which is pissing me off more on any given day.

      I'm about to switch back to Waterfox, now that they have achieved parity with the post-webextension-switch version of Firefox.

      I imagine the death of Mozilla-the-company might be great for Mozilla-the-project. Bring these other developers working to keep the browser usable and unencumbered by bloatware and optimize the main browser to be, you know, a browser, and ditch the Mr Robot tie-ins and the Pocket clutter.

      So long as the Foundation continues getting sufficient funding to keep the lights on, anyway. AMO and downloads aren't free, but I'm willing to bet they're a fraction of a percent of the whole org's current expenditures.

      • Bill Moyers says:

        The Mozilla Foundation will fire every single core developer before they cut even one dollar from the funding for their worthless 'Mozilla fellows'.

        • Jim says:

          They are apparently expanding Common Voice into more languages, but only keeping boolean fluency assessments instead of listener transcriptions, meaning that the data is useful for speech recognition system training (and therefore valuable to parts of Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Nuance, et al.) but nearly useless for pronunciation intelligibility assessment and remediation, which is why those products aren't mainstream yet.

    • Lloyd says:

      You're the only Firefox user?

      You're a brave man.

      Oh wait, you're not a Brave man.

      • Dude says:

        I've actually had very few problems with Firefox the past couple of years (yes, I remember when it was glitchy as fuck). I've actually never tried Brave.

        Just don't ask me to do Opera again... THAT has given me all the problems people usually say they have about Firefox.

        • Lloyd says:

          At this point Opera is just Chinese spamware. Avoid.

          Obviously, American spamware is okay, and essential to their and our societies. In these COVID times, only Facebook can restart the economy.

    • phuzz says:

      I administer a bunch of Linux desktops in shops, that require web access, so I use Firefox to do that. I guess the other option is chromium? I've not looked at it really, but I'm guessing it's got even less human readable config files than Firefox does these days. I'm not sure there's any other options of linux aside from spinoff versions written for bragging rights by a handful of people.
      As for my personal use, I've used Firefox since it was Firebird (or something?) and I'm too fucking stubborn to change. I do tend to use other browsers for certain things though, just so they're separate from my main browser, eg Chrome for streaming the radio.

  2. dk says:

    A couple years ago, as I looked around the cube farm of my Fortune 150, I had a momentary flash of insight. I could see row after row of cube walls that had these huge, multicolor posters for all sorts of causes and programs, and I realized that, corporate-wide, there must be a small army of people designing, printing, distributing, hanging, and refreshing these things... which no one pays any attention to anyway!

    I wrote a program that was going to automate a job that took WEEKS of digital paperwork, and the users fought against it, and eventually got management to stop working on it before I could put it into production. The small group of boomer-age women that do the work feared -- and probably rightly so -- having several of their number made redundant because of the program. So they continue to download mainframe reports, cut, paste, and rearrange the data in Excel, then send that Excel spreadsheet back to ANOTHER group of (likely) boomer ladies, who enter that information BACK into the mainframe.

    Of course, those are 2 examples from a monstrous multinational with 60,000 employees, but the same thing exists in any company that's bigger than you can know everyone at. But it strikes me that this is exactly the sort of answer that doesn't stick with a person as a valid reason for paying people.

    • margaret says:

      boomers are the worst. don't you just fucking hate anyone older than you?

      • bob says:

        Well, the boomers are known for the quote "Don't trust anyone over 30."

        We didn't realise until recently that it was a warning.

    • margaret says:

      ladies are the worst. don't just fucking hate anyone not the same sex as you?

    • Krzysztof says:

      Eventually someone will write a program to replace you.

      • Nick Lamb says:

        Let us hope so. The Protestant Work Ethic is poison, it suits those who own things to persuade others that it is virtuous to work while they remain idle and grow wealthy off that work because they own things.

        It's always weird to me when I run into people who write software and haven't realised that from the outset this was the whole point. The theory side blows up after Kurt Gödel, but the practical implication comes to fruition with Grace Hopper. She's the one with an actual programmable computer who says, wait, no, this is stupid, why am I doing the symbol manipulation? That's the computer's job, let's program the computer to program the computer for us instead, much better.

        Everything after that is just iterating. I am just part of an inner loop and once I'm optimized out that's good news for everybody.

        • Bill Moyers says:

          As someone who has actually dealt with how people of this ilk conduct their jobs, I love that you see 'automation' as the problem here.

          Had Soviet Russia not been stabbed in the back, they would not now be paying people to do a fulltime job that an Excel macro could do more accurately and better. The Communist Party of China does not ignore technological progress. If technological advance causes unemployment, the political system should be socialist and find something actually worthwhile for those people to do.

          • George Dorn says:

            If technological advance causes unemployment, the political system should be socialist and find something actually worthwhile for those people to do.

            Including staying at home and doing nothing. Bullshit jobs aren't just a waste of time and money, they contribute to climate change.

          • Nick Lamb says:

            I love that you see 'automation' as the problem here.

            Um, what? Once in a while something I write to this blog gets a response that I can only really imagine happening as a result of people just not seeing any of the text I actually wrote, and this is one of those cases. Did you maybe mean to reply to a completely different part of the thread?

          • Thomas Lord says:

            > "the political system should be socialist and find something actually worthwhile for those people to do."

            That's silly. The worthwhile thing people should instead of wage slavery is have free time to develop themselves, their families, and their communities properly.

            The Soviet Union initially planned first, to have state capitalism that made it an industrial super-power; second, to then start cutting working hours, boosting efficiency, until they had communism. One big problem is that by the time they got to the point where, to solve economic problems, they should have cut hours -- instead they did what you suggested and tried to prop up long-hours wage slavery. Oops. Of course, our society is making exactly the same mistake only moreso.

            Cutting working hours (e.g., aim for 3 jobs for every 1 essential job now) will wipe out lots of inefficient capitals, it will crush profits, it will force capitalists to invest even more in further efficiency boosting, it will eliminate 2/3 of all daily commutes, on and on. It is the greenest, most human good thing we could, en mass, do in the present emergencies.

    • k3ninho says:

      The small group of boomer-age women that do the work feared -- and probably rightly so -- having several of their number made redundant because of the program.

      And management wasn't going to jeopardise their roles by having these domain experts supervise the work done by the automation.

      The thought tempts me to create a dada-ist work movement buying people early retirement (topping up pension investments) and replacing their jobs with a program that does the work better. Dada-ist because nobody expects the Boomer Liberation Front.


    • JJK says:

      ... Company did the wrong thing ... you are supposed to hire an outside, junior developer on contract who is keen to do any kind of programming (not necessarily seeing the bigger picture) - you give them a very finite set of requirements and constraints and let them build the solution... It gets implemented...

      ... and then, 6-months later that junior developer finds out - to his horror, that his 160 hours billable "side-project", ended-up putting an entire department of 40 people permanently out of work...

      It was a nifty project though...

  3. Big says:

    Turns out a likely answer to thought #2 was just a few spots down in my RSS feed...

  4. Mozilla as a source of innovation, either in browser implementation or in standards?


    Twelve years ago! I suggested the best way to do the tab user interface, with many tabs in limited space as drivers. It was pretty obvious to me, but it got dismissed, rapidly.

    Today, Safari in iOS 14 now does exactly this, which means that everyone still employing programmers will rapidly copy it. But no, not Mozilla.

  5. G says:

    Yeah, EFF is the worst, why should anyone even bother to defend anybody's freedom or even make a statement when it looks like particularly shitty things are likely to happen.

    Our poor fucking horse is dessicating, and you're maligning the ones pointing out where the water is. Keep it above the belt, Jamie.

    • jwz says:

      Hey, I still donate money to them every year, because hope springs eternal. I just think it would be nice if they'd win a case every decade or so.

      • Jim says:

        I'm afraid parts of EFF have become infested with lawyers who aren't willing to stand up for the right to speak with an attorney, which pretty clearly indicates they are working for the government, possibly under national security letter-style dictates, while accepting money to nominally execute on the mission of the EFF, which they most certainly are not. They aren't even giving people good advice on the use of VMs and concealed microSD cards at border crossings, very easy and effective for laypeople to do these days, which is why those who are in league with border guards are in effect supporting the most totalitarian regimes in the world by failing to effectively communicate these easy and legal techniques.

    • jwz says:

      Also I think it's a really good analogy even if it hurts your feelings.

    • EFF isn't the worst.

      The Center for Democracy and Technology is the worst of the worst.

      Still, it's good that all the US problems with voting machines, elections and whatnot have been fixed so that the CDT can focus on the important issues.

      • Aidan Gauland says:

        That's your example of why CDT is bad? An article on problematic terminology in standards documents?

        • Lloyd says:

          A CDT alum invested in that work is currently chairing the IETF.

          The fish rots from the top down...

          • Aidan Gauland says:

            I really don't see the above example as a bad thing. Quite the opposite.

  6. Chris Adams says:

    I think the DRM point was important for marking when Mozilla no longer had enough influence to block anything substantial. Firefox had already lost a fair number of users because they didn’t have H.264 support, falling for Google’s unkept promise that it’d be removed in Chrome, and a stronger version of the same dynamic was unfolding with DRM where users were switching in droves to the browser which played Netflix better.

    It’s not clear to me that there is a way for Mozilla to recover market share at this point short of a major upheaval at Google. I like the privacy angle, but it’s just not popular enough.

  7. LonMabonJovi says:

    Your users correctly predicted the end of Ad-Block seven years ago, but failed to predict the creation of U-Block to replace it. It's a constant war between competing algorithms, sometimes there are lawsuits or bugs, but overall the Firefox browser is the clear winner in terms of privacy and control over what you see.

    What did the 85% of Firefox users switch to? I'm happy to follow the herd if there is a better alternative.

    • tfb says:

      Almost all of them switched to Chrome, because for the ten seconds that was and is their planning horizon it was more convenient.

    • Penguin Pete says:

      My theory is that it's more like 85% of users switched to _mobile_, where Chrome is already native on Android. The people who need laptops for work are what's left.

  8. cmt says:

    Well, they _do_ have a Chief Innovation Officer - now you know where the inoovation went. (we may have mixed feelings about her track record, though).

    But to be fair: all web browsers suck, and this one just sucks a little less.

    • Kansas City says:

      This. All web browsers suck. Firefox just sucks less than the other options. I have literally been using Firefox as my main browser everywhere I can for as long as it has been a thing (and even before that...). I espouse the wonders of it at work. I use it on my mobile device (Android; no Google account -- OK, so I'm a rare fucking beast). And Firefox sucks.

      I am still annoyed that (the Firefox extension) RequestPolicy (and a number of others) got killed.
      I am still annoyed RSS feeds got killed (and the extensions are not good).
      I am still annoyed that I lost my always on status bar (another "legacy" extension, which shouldn't have been needed in the first place).
      I am still annoyed by the ever increasing major version numbers (what will they do when they hit 100?).

      I am regularly annoyed by Firefox resetting and adding shitty search engines (e.g. Amazon, Twitter and eBay), especially if it's not the version for my region. I don't use these websites, and I'm not going to start. However, I understand that Mozilla gets paid for doing this.

      I am still annoyed by many other stupid decisions made over the years. But when ever I hold my nose and use Chrome or some other browser, it's worse! (And that's not even counting all the privacy issues.)

      I also use Thunderbird. But only because Evolution had some issues a few years ago that I couldn't be bothered spending hours fixing.

      And I wish that Mozilla would make Firefox kick-arse again.

      (To be fair to Mozilla, things I do love:
      * That, with the correct extensions, I can have 100s of tabs without issue.
      * That I can quickly, easily, and without worries about privacy, syncronise my browser profile across multiple computers (only applicable for work).
      * That Firefox is (mostly) Free and Open Source.
      * That Firefox mostly does most stuff correctly and without issue.)

  9. Kyzer says:

    I would not be averse to the old times of Firefox being paid by Google to work on undermining Google. But the trouble is that Google successfully undermined the undermining with stunts like this.

  10. Elektro says:

    Formerly firefox user, since 2004, here.

    The web is dead for me and I just don't care anymore about FF. I used to use FF everywhere and relished in having real ublock on my sony android phone etc. As the years have gone on I realize that any site requiring a plugin to be enjoyable is not worth my time. I now read the news with apple news+ app and get my basic sites for banking, bill pay, shopping, etc, on my ipad with safari. I don't have a social media except for twitter with 2-3 followers. I skim the popular page of reddit a couple times a week. I go to blogs like this one among others for opinions and current events. I've started buying magazines again at the store (real paper).

    I just use edge on my computer and safari on my ipad and phone now. I don't think I am missing out on anything.

    Heard about the latest security faux pas on android firefox (SSDP lan attack) makes me glad I don't have to worry about any of this BS anymore.

    It was a good time but there are more important things in life to worry about than computers and especially web browsers.

  11. o.o says:

    Tangential at best, but can anyone explain why it's so much easier to find media sources in Firefox than it is in Chromium-based browsers? Trying to download a picture from Instagram is a PITA at best in Chromium using the dev tools, and videos are impossible AFAICT (and yes, I realize that IG is intentionally doing their best to obfuscate, and no, I don't care), but Firefox's info popup shows the actual source for pictures and videos and makes downloading trivial. Am I missing something? I left Firefox for Vivaldi a while back, but I keep FF around just for downloading embedded media. I also kept it for RSS feeds for a long time, but I made the mistake of upgrading a few months ago and it clobbered my Sage++ extension and all the feeds without warning.

    • db48x says:

      I think you're talking about Page Info? I wrote that back in ’98 when I was first learning Javascript. I had been annoyed to discover that Netscape 4 could show that kind of information about the page but that the Mozilla Suite couldn't. I also learned a lot about version control systems (CVS!), collaboration, code review, continuous integration, and so on. Good times.

      • o.o says:

        I think you're talking about Page Info?

        Yes! I use it almost exclusively for finding media sources, but it's a really handy feature. Good job!

  12. Spiffy Voxel says:

    I'm a Firefox and Thunderbird user here on macOS, and still support the Mozilla Foundation. I really hope that Mozilla can sort themselves out and stay in the game because I don't want the future of the web to be primarily in the hands of either Google or Apple. Google only care about moving the web forward in ways that benefit that, and Apple might be big on privacy but their focus is on getting people using apps instead of the web.

    If I had to jump to a different browser, I'd probably go with Vivaldi as they're willing to talk back at Google and are working on ways to improve browsing. Brave gets more coverage, but I'm not sold on their approach to advertising. As for Microsoft, I won't mourn either Internet Exploder or Legacy Edge, and I'm not holding out hope that they'll actually do much to push back on Google on the Chromium front.

    • o.o says:

      I left FF for Vivaldi; I used to like it, but they keep breaking solved problems like playing audio in embedded video and their responsiveness to bug reports is shit. I just installed Brave to give it a go.

  13. Not Frank says:

    One thing I've seen somewhere about this, but not in the article (wanted to review it more carefully), is that Google's payments to Mozilla served to some degree as a sort of golden handcuffs/money trap. They encouraged team sizing and other maneuvers (acquiring Pocket, anyone?) to make use of that money, and now Mozilla can be starved with it -- and it isn't trivial to up and replace that money with donations/subscriptions/whatnot. Not to mention that while that money scaled with use to some degree, it only imperfectly did so, because Google got to set the rate/multiplier.

  14. Frank Hecker says:

    I wrote a couple of blog posts on Mozilla's fortunes a couple of months ago, but will just summarize them as "Mozilla was/is a research lab funded by (Google's) monopoly money, that is staffed (and management compensated) as if it were a real Silicon Valley software company, and that portrays itself to the world as a nonprofit."

    Re JWZ's advice that Mozilla should be "Building THE reference implementation web browser": That was presumably what Servo was intended to be. Its funding was cut, and I presume its future is uncertain unless someone else picks it up.

    Re Not Frank's comment that "Google's payments to Mozilla served to some degree as a sort of golden handcuffs/money trap", I think that's not too far off the mark. The influx of search engine money was so large and so rapid (see the graphs in my posts) that I think it encouraged an overly grandiose vision of what Mozilla could accomplish.

    There were/are legal restrictions on moving that money to the Mozilla Foundation nonprofit parent, but to my knowledge it would have been possible for the Mozilla Corporation to bank that money itself and use it to fund a high level of Firefox development in perpetuity. But that would not have been compatible with the vision and ambitions of the Mozilla board members and senior management.

    • jwz says:

      I have never heard the word "Servo" before your comment, so their PR on that effort appears to have been outstanding as well.

      • db48x says:

        Servo was never intended as a reference implementation, or as anything a user would ever use. It was only ever intended to be a test-bed for trying out new ways of writing a browser rendering engine. Specifically, they were investigating ways of safely increasing concurrency.

        For example, it's long been known that CSS style resolution could be parallelized. Several heroic attempts were made over the years to parallelize Firefox's style system, but the style system was written in C++ and so none of the attempts succeeded; they always ended up introducing bugs, race conditions, and memory corruption. Servo on the other hand was written in Rust, which has a type system that prevents most of those problems outright. The Servo team wrote a complete style resolution system that both worked correctly and was highly parallel, so that subsystem was put into Firefox as a replacement for the older one written in C++. It uses work-stealing queues to spread the work over as many CPUs as your computer has available. That was released back in 2017, I think. Search for "Stylo" to get more information about it.

        Many releases since then have included components from Servo or otherwise written in Rust as replacements for components of Firefox that were originally written in C++.

    • Anonymous says:

      THE reference implementation web browser": That was presumably what Servo was intended to be

      Hard for something to be useful as a reference implementation when it's written in a dumb research language that nobody else understands and it's still trying to figure itself out, and even the team building the thing doesn't really know how best to apply it to make software.

  15. Nick Lamb says:

    Being a jugular-snapping attack dog on standards committees

    Fighting though you know you'll lose is something you should do only when there will be no other battles to save your strength for. DRM would be in Chrome and Safari and IE anyway, and no-one would run the "DRM over our dead bodies" Firefox because Netflix doesn't work. So Mozilla would have to cave, and now it's defending a U-turn. How is that better?

    Did you notice everything using TLS 1.3? The author is Eric Rescorla, CTO for Firefox. Now, of course Ekr didn't come up with a new version of the core security protocol for the web on a napkin while waiting for a plane, it's the work of dozens of people listed as contributors and more besides. But Ekr owns RFC 8446 and will own 8446bis whatever that gets called when it's published.

    It sometimes feels like every third document I read these days basically says "We used to have a way to snoop on more stuff and TLS 1.3 took it away - Fist shake"†. Attack dogs are not how you get the friends you need to make that sort of thing inevitable by having it deployed on everybody's browsers and servers.

    † People writing this type of document are going to be really angry about both QUIC and Encrypted Client Hello. Fuck off eavesdroppers and middleboxes. Nobody likes you, even the people paying for you don't like you, go away.

    • db48x says:

      Agreed. There are some aspects of Mozilla that have turned out a lot better than we ought to expect. Perhaps they should be publicized more.

    • Yan Svendick says:

      An interesting perspective.

      I wonder how much Rescorla got paid under the table for making Google's cloud-account synced browser history data that much more valuable to the CIA? I'm guessing it's a lot.

    • jwz says:

      One of the things that differentiates a commercial enterprise from a political, mission-based nonprofit is the ability to say: We are doing Thing X not because it is the most expedient way to increase market share, but rather because


      So no, I don't have any sympathy for your position of, "Boo hoo, but Netflix." None.

      However, this horse in particular left the barn years ago, burned the fucking barn to the ground, died, was kicked, and died again, so there's no future in us continuing to debate it.

    • Jonathan says:

      I don’t disagree with you necessarily but your illustration is interesting to me because I do use Firefox and Netflix doesn’t work for me, but I don’t mind. I have other devices for that purpose.

  16. Andrwe Elmroe says:

    I use Firefox on my personal devices, including Android, MacOS, FreeBSD. I like it!

    Seems to me Mozilla is trying to figure out alternate revenue streams and build their kingdom. What I would really pay good money for, is a secure and well-supported opensource cross-platform browser.

    This seems like a good example of Douglas Rushkoff's concept of needing to "Get Back in the Box".

  17. Thomas Lord says:

    I can't get over the hunch that the underlying problem here is that the core web standards are simply far too complex to do any good. The barrier to entry for a browser starting from, say, a raw OS and some generic window system is just too high. Were it otherwise, who would need to care of Mozilla blows up? 5 more could pop up in its place.

    The web stack tries to do way to much and is fairly incoherent. This is largely the fault of 1990s silicon valley venture crapitalists who, early on, decided that somehow their goal was to displace Microsoft from "the desktop" and "the browser" was the critical tactic to do it.

    That's where we got such heavy chaos around CSS, a rush to Java-er-no-javascript, and other disasters.


    • jwz says:

      It wasn't just the VCs, us bleeding hearts also thought it sounded like a pretty good idea to do an end-run around the hardware-and-operating-system monopolies by building a network-distributed operating system on top of them that treated the "computer" as just a peripheral that makes your keyboard and screen work.

      • Thomas Lord says:

        I don't have a lot of room to talk. At that same moment I was the idiot who believed an SV start-up that (I see in retrospect) was built in part to attack the GNU project would back the building of new cleaned up Emacs-in-scheme-with-fancy-graphics-capabilities. The web was interesting but my level of thinking about it was typified by my wondering why HTML browsers lacked really basic features I was used to from info-mode. I assumed the industry goal was to make really robust code bases that would last for decades, like the ones I loved to used. We all made mistakes, OK? </wallow>

  18. I've used Firefox as my preferred browser almost from the time when it first became known as Firefox. I'm greatly chagrined to say that my reasons for continuing to do so are gradually slipping away and have been ever since they started the rapid release nonsense.

    I absolutely detest the user interface of Google Groan. Yet it's fast. Really, inspiringly so. Firefox has narrowed the gap, but it's still not as sprightly and their doing so has come at a terrible cost. How many times have we been promised that the extensions would stop breaking? "This time for sure!"

    Why do they have to keep messing with the user interface, taking away things I've found extremely useful and convenient? (A single tab close button, at the end of the tab bar, was extremely handy. I'm not a programmer and I don't think there are any "hacks" to put it back there.)

    Most recently, the disclosure triangle and drop down underneath the address bar showing frequently visited sites both bought the farm. (I've read of ways to maybe get them back, but none seem current nor have they worked.)

    I've long been one to preach to people about never disabling software updates for reasons of security, yet I'll admit I've done so to Firefox at various points (v24, v28, v52, v68) just because I was so tired of them screwing with the UI or breaking yet another extension that I was willing to make a risky tradeoff.

    Firefox 3.6 was...just about perfect in every way to this end user.

    It'll be a sad day when I finally give up on Firefox completely. It's probably coming sooner rather than later. Several Chromebooks have snuck in lately in spite of my knowing better. They're probably the thin end of the wedge that'll do it as I actually rather like them...and this comment was posted from one.


    • Elusis says:

      I've used Firefox as my preferred browser almost from the time when it first became known as Firefox. I'm greatly chagrined to say that my reasons for continuing to do so are gradually slipping away and have been ever since they started the rapid release nonsense.

      I no longer recall exactly what chronic bug it was that finally sent me to Chrome, but, this was basically my story as well.

      Now I keep Firefox installed so that I don't have to go through a whole circus of logins and cookie purges just to occasionally use my professional Facebook account, and for downloading YouTube videos via Video DownloadHelper, and occasionally checking to see whether a page that doesn't work for me in Chrome is due to Chrome, my plugins, or the page. But FF managed to drive me off after ~15 years of use which is a real feat.

    • Jonathan says:

      It’s surely a point proven that your post and another are at opposite ends of the “where should the close tab button go” debate.

  19. Penguin Pete says:

    Chalk me up with the regular FF users! I'm going to need this as my main browser forever, or hop to IceWeasel or something when this dies off.

    I need my bookmarks, and I need them in customizable folders, and I need the web-developer plug-in, and I need adblock on tap, and I need customizable everything. I need tools. Google is not tool-friendly, it pushes you around too much and makes you do everything the Google Way.

    I just can't believe I'm seeing the end of the FF era! Granted, FF has made some mistakes, but don't tell me you're all going to march into the lion's mouth of Google without a thought?

  20. I just came to say that I appreciate your use of the word "fatuous" in the original post.

  21. mattl says:

    I use Firefox because it’s the best free software browser on Linux. On a Mac I just use Safari now because everything else is terrible. Firefox on iOS is pretty good even though it’s just using the WebKit engine.

    I do think Mozilla should go full non-profit with a mission and everything else be damned. Cut the executive pay and hire developers to make the browser of record.

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