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FF is one of the only "independent" browsers left, but makes it somewhat hard to stay

Making moves

I have an increasingly annoying issue with Firefox's UX, utility and general practices:

Why the bother?

I know, there's more than enough exaggerated ranting and picky complaining all around, but I this discussion isn't meant to feed baseless outrage, merely want to share my experiences and concerns - and see if others might share them and have ideas for solutions?

I am very much an advocate of FF and want this browser to stay relevant and thrive. In my opinion, it is one of the last full-featured and trustworthy browsers left that is an alternative to a WebKit-only-Internet. A browser engine I have no particular issue with either, it's honestly a great piece of software! But it's manifold implementations are almost exclusively provided by huge monolithic company whose core business interest have nothing to do with "browsers", mandating a certain grade of suspicion when adopting a program of theirs that will be the interface for almost anything I search, read, buy, do on a daily basis.

This is the main reason I keep sticking with Firefox, despite experiencing reocurring alienation (through issues that are admittedly not that serious, but they compound)

About UX and utility:

Today I finally performed some overdue updates, and rebooted my machine to find Firefox prompting me to "Update Firefox to make it better!" -- or something abstract like this, I don't recall exactly.

Knowing how FF has a habit of dropping even my pinned tabs on mere reboots, I crossed my fingers and clicked, wanting to follow through with any delayed updates.

An interstitial pops up, shows a ton of green marks to assure me all prefs, sessions, histories etc where successfully migrated - ouah, first oof! I didn't know I'd be performing THAT kind of "major version update" kind of thing?

Anyway, cool, it reloads:

  • My state is gone, all windows, all tabs.
  • My pinned tabs are gone. Mailboxes, PM tooling, Messaging Apps, Calendars, Smarthome Ctrl, everything I pinned.
  • Oh, my "previous session" is gone too. Well ok, that happens every odd reboot or so, I'm used to it by now.
  • But ... all cookies, sessions, logged in apps ... Now being a web developer, THAT's annoying.
  • Launch my PW manager, spend the next half hour logging back in into all the dashboards & staging & prod envs I was actively working on, and half of the tabs i re-pinned.

Having a bit of an idea about software, I do know this might be a weird singular issue. But its not the first time. Larger FF updates, sometimes even simple reboots reliably f up all session I had running. Thing is:
I'm logged in though, the browser tells me the "synchronisation" is up to date ...

Continuing down the hour-ish-long pain-train of having updated Firefox: The extension icons in my toolbar are all gone, they now reside in a little menu. Except Firefox' own "Pocket" that is, a service I already confirmed I was not interested in, have no account, cannot uninstall. This one was on me okay. I did stupidly rummage in the setting menus for quite a while until realizing that I need to click the little cog on every ext in the small menu and "pin them" back to where I had them. Straightforward, but cumbersome, and another bit of UX that you have to know about.

About web feature support:

To conclude: I build webapps for a living, I'm mostly centered around UI/UX and end-level frontend, meaning: I'm that "early web-era guy" who's actually deep into CSS and leaves the actual webapp-stuff largely to smarter people. But I into CSS and paint, I do go deep.

And while I love meme-ing about Safari being the "new IE6" because of Apples OS-tied update policies, I hate to have to reconsider: Nowadays it's Firefox. When it comes to support of modern CSS features, time and time again I need to refrain from using them, because even Safari has managed integrating latest features months-to-half-years before FF. I've been waiting almost all of last year to finally being able to leverage `:has`, I work around using `rch` units because of FF, always. It's not BAD, but enough to have me chuckle by now, anytime a not-even-that-new module still only has partial support.


But don't take me wrong here, this is still not a CSS-nerd nitpicking about having to renounce cutting-edge features. This is someone who adamantly swears by having a last bit of diversity and competition in the browser market, not having to pick between Google/Microsoft/Apple or be SooL, and stumbling upon constant little annoyances that tell me:

Your "everyday user" will not care and just switch to a browser that has a transparent UX, "just works" when it comes to technicalities, and doesn't end up oddly breaking modern website every now and then.

And I think this is an issue that holds Firefox back, while i consider it of utmost importance to strenghen the distribution of "alternative, non big-corp software" in todays internet.

Am I exaggerating? Do you share my experiences? Do you have ideas (or plans) for how to make this situation better? Are there more pressant issues I'm not seeing?

I would love to know your thoughts on this!



Making moves

The Mozilla foundation's primary responsibility to society is making sure google doesn't solidify their grasp on a browser monopoly. All other political, moral, and ethical motivations are hypocritical in light of failure to do that. And I completely agree with your sentiment. The quality of the experience in using Firefox has been barely holding on.


I generally update within 2-7 days of a release and so far haven't lost data. Is it possible your Firefox performed a Refresh (sometimes described in the UI as a Tune-up)? The telltale sign is an Old Firefox Data folder on your desktop.