So, I’m at the point where I want to take Firefox and shove it straight into my Powerbook’s trashcan. It’s become an unpredictably unreliable application, and it’s not clear to me that there’s anything I can do about it except trawl Bugzilla, add my experiences where possible, and hope and pray that sometime it’ll all get fixed. Some of my current frustrations:

Occasionally, issuing any keyboard-based shortcut command (e.g., CMD-T to open a new tab, or CMD-W to close a tab) issues that command twice. And while this is merely annoying at times, it’s downright infuriating at others — like when I intend to close the currently-open tab, but Firefox instead closes it and the one beside it containing something on which I’m actively working, completely losing whatever it was I was doing. (Oddly, when Firefox finds itself in this state, certain other keyboard shortcuts stop working entirely, like CMD-Q to quit.) There’s an entry on Bugzilla for this, but it’s still listed as an unconfirmed bug. That entry also links the behavior to the use of Java, which I’m not sure is the only cause, since there are times that I’ve seen the behavior when there isn’t anything Java-related open in any tab or window.

At other times, Firefox stops allowing me to enter any text whatsoever into any text box, including the address bar, the search box, or any text input field on a web page in a window. (There are times when I have multiple Firefox windows open, and interestingly, when the bug happens, it only happens in one of the windows.) About 75% of the time, I can “fix” things by switching to another app and then back to Firefox; the other 25% of the time, there’s nothing I can do but close the affected Firefox window entirely, losing all the tabs that are open in that window, including any work I might be doing in those tabs. (There’s a Bugzilla entry on this one, as well.)

Then, there are certain bits of Flash content that will bring Mac Firefox to its knees, and (in a common theme) force me to force-quit the browser and lose all of my work. As far as I can tell, there are a bunch of open Bugzilla entries for this (172175, 233702, 244987, and 106397 are the ones I found in my not-so-quick survey), all of which have in common the fact that if you can see the Flash object that’s causing the problem, holding down the mouse button lets it continue to run, but doesn’t let you salvage your browser or your work.

And lastly, there’s the occasional thing that, while still a bug, has less to do with reliability and more to do with good ol’ missing, broken, or just plain odd functionality. My best example of this is that on the Mac version of Firefox, you cannot open a new window — or do any menu-based tasks — when the only window open is the either the Download Manager or the Preferences window. The interesting thing to note about this is that, in its most basic causal form, the original bug was filed on December 9th, 1999, and around 50 other bug reports have been marked as duplicates of this bug, meaning that people have run into it over and over again without the error being fixed. (And that doesn’t count the five or six currently open bugs that look like they’re headed to being classified as duplicates, nor does it count the bugs that were classified as duplicates of other bugs which were then classified as duplicates of this one. Holy recursion!)

So, lately I’ve found myself having both Safari and Firefox open, and using Safari whenever I need to do any real work. That’s sad; I like having the same browser on my Macs and PCs, and I like the openness of Firefox, but I don’t like the number of times I’ve lost important sites or work to its bugginess.


Jason says Firefox is pissing me off for a variety of reasons — all of which I have observed on this machine I am currently writing this on. I quit using Firefox about a month ago because of them and moved back to Mozilla 1.7.3. The problems with som…

• Pinged by blivet 2.0 on Jan 25, 2005, 5:45 PM