Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Late post #1

So, it seems that somehow, in the rush to finish my networks project, the frustration of having it fail for no reason, and the eventual realization (five minutes before the project is due) that the bug I'm chasing is actually in their code, I forgot to blog today. :( Lame justification: not asleep yet, so it's still the 5th. >_>

Here is a blog post which I have only just realized that I have wanted to write for a long time.

5 things I hate about Firefox:
  1. Memory usage - I know, I know, people have been whining about this forever. I have heard time and time again the arguments in favor of Firefox's memory use: It aggressively caches stuff to make browsing faster, it scales its memory usage based on the amount of RAM you have, blah, blah, don't really care. The least it could do is free memory from closed tabs, but apparently un-closing tabs is a common enough case that Firefox needs to keep them around basically indefinitely. On my system the other day, after having Firefox open for only a few days, it was sitting on over four hundred MB of RAM, with one tab open. Here's an idea: Let me manage my own damn RAM. :(
  2. Image scaling - This one stands out pretty badly, now that Firefox 3 supports page zooming. When you zoom in on a page, the text looks really nice, and the images look like blobs of massive oversized pixels. For some reason, Firefox can't do any better than nearest-neighbor scaling; meanwhile, mplayer can do Lanczos image scaling in real-time on an HD video stream. I've heard that image scaling actually looks much better on linux, though, which brings me to the next point...
  3. Halfhearted Linux support - I'll give an example. On Linux, if you don't have Gnome installed, the application selector is just a big blank box. This is a known bug, the solution is pretty obvious (have some kind of KDE and/or generic fallback), but somehow nobody's actually gotten around to fixing it. If you're going to support a platform, then actually support it; don't just put something together that will work for most users, most of the time.
  4. Malicious web pages can really mess you up - Can somebody please tell me why web pages were ever allowed to create windows, move them around, resize them, and do various other things that can crash Firefox, or even your computer? This bug is my favorite example - the problem is well understood, the solutions are well understood, people are actively exploiting it, and it's no closer to getting fixed than the day it was reported. Also, look at the date on the bug. If you know your history, you'll realize something else neat - this bug is almost twice as old as Firefox. The bug was reported eight years ago today, and Firefox was first released as Firefox in mid-2004.
  5. Plugin compatibility breaking - I'm usually an early adopter, so I always have the latest version of Firefox when it's released. Unfortunately, with major upgrades, this usually means a few weeks spent without some subset of the plugins I use. Since plugins are a major reason I'm still on Firefox, this is kind of a big deal. It's not only a pain for me; plugin developers also have it rough, since they have to choose between keeping their plugin constantly updated for API changes, or letting it die a slow death. Is it really that hard to make a consistent plugin interface and stick to it?


Kiriska said...

Counting days from when you get up to when you go to sleep can be very troublesome, though I suppose I'm the only one that goes to bed at 5am only to get up for my 8am class two hours later, after which I'll "nap" from 11am to 5pm. Where my day actually starts and ends I have absolutely no idea.


I have more memory issues in IE than Firefox. Occasionally closing Firefox is a good enough way to clear out some RAM-hogging, and now that it can finally save all your open tabs, occasionally closing the browser doesn't really bother me much.

I suppose I can't really say much about Firefox on a whole though because I haven't taken the time to really scope out many of its competitors (the fact that I may soon need to add Chrome to my cross-browser compatibility checks annoys the shit out of me though). The plugins I use on Firefox are most of the widespread ones, so they're generally updated quickly after major upgrades.

But hey, it's kindasorta open source right? Go fix it. :P

Frank Church said...

Firefox! Why does Firefox 3 crash so much for me? It's weird and annoying. I tried using Google Chrome, though, but I didn't like it. It's too minimalist for me and I need my Adblock.

Also, I am pleased to report that Sarah Palin was confused about whether Africa was a continent or a country. I am not making this up.

P. Static said...

kiriska: Chrome is freakin' awesome. :3 Also, it's webkit-based, so compatibility should be the same as safari, mostly.

I could fix it, but bitching and moaning is way more fulfilling. :p

frank church: Yeah, adblock is the one thing I miss in chrome. (Well, that and Linux support obviously. >_>) I don't think there's anything you could say about Palin that would surprise me anymore, btw. At this point I am half expecting her to break into the White House and cuff herself to the desk in the Oval Office, or something.