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Browser Wars: The Truth about Firefox 4.0

I was just reading Maximum PC’s article reviewing modern browsers and they crowned Firefox 4 the best browser out there.  This is extremely unfortunate for a multitude of reasons and this post is my rebuttal.  It feels like Firefox 4.0’s feature list was created in response to using Opera and Chrome.  To put it more bluntly, Firefox 4.0 is nothing more than Firefox catching up to the competition.

I just heard a bunch of geeks gasp and clutch their mouse in complete horror.  How dare I say such a  thing! It has GPU acceleration out of the box, for christ sakes!   It’s gotta be good!  (Yes, thats a Maximum PC article dig)

Firefox copies features:

  • Firefox copied Opera’s menu in the top left-hand corner.
  • Firefox copied Chrome’s rapid development schedule.
  • Firefox copied Opera and Chrome’s simplistic interface motto (For example, Firefox now has tabbed extensions).

Firefox Improvements Debunked:

  • Firefox is FINALLY competitive in Javascript performance to Opera and Chrome.  However, Firefox 4 is not the fastest.
  • To improve security, Firefox 4 implemented something called HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security). The only problem is that no one supports this yet.
  • Firefox has GPU acceleration.  There actually is nothing wrong with that, but so does Chrome if you enable the labs feature.  In fact, I leave it disabled because GPU acceleration means little to nothing to me right now.
  • Firefox scores a 97 on the ACID 3 test, hurray!  Chrome and Opera only managed to get 100.  That was close.

Firefox’s Downfalls:

  • Firefox does not run plugins and tabs into separate processes like Chrome does.
  • Firefox does not bundle Flash with the browser for improved stability and security.
  • Firefox still takes longer to open on a PC than Opera or Chrome.

So how exactly is Firefox the best browser?  Because of their 1,000,000 extensions?  By now, 99% of the good ones are available on Chrome too.  If you want to tell me Firefox is better for web developers then I agree.  Firebug, yslow, and pagespeed all kick butt.  That is what I use Firefox for, but not for daily browsing.  There are plenty of subtle things that Chrome does that I love, but I don’t have time to get into them now.

Now don’t get me wrong, I want to praise Firefox for finally doing some development work.  They must feel really good finally catching up to a 1 year old browser (Chrome).  Boy I sound bitter huh?  Maybe because I was a huge Firefox fan for 5 years and then a brand new browser came along and opened my eyes to Firefox’s flaws.

Sorry that this post sounds amatureish, but I don’t have time to develop a well thought out article.  I just had to get this off my chest. Feel free to leave comments about your thoughts.  I’ll be more than happy to update this post.