James Governor's Monkchips

Clearly Contrarian: On Issues for Firefox

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There are a few things that drive me nuts about Firefox. One is the PDF hang (you know what i am talking about). Another is when i open too many tabs and the whole thing just crashes (thus losing the ten blogs i had set aside to read later). But i have to say Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols raises what look like far more pressing concerns here.

While i wouldn’t say the bloom is off the rose, it is clear that the hard work starts now for Firefox, in terms of resourcing, “business model” and so on. It will be interesting to see what major vendors step in as a sugar daddy (most successful open source projects have a sugar daddy or two to keep things ticking over, think IBM and Linux, or Sun and Star Office, or even SAP and MySQL). Now Google, as we know, is already paying some Firefox salaries, but who else is coming to provide resource? I have a sneaky feeling Intel might step up to the plate. The stories i am hearing indicate the firm is more aggressive about requiring ISVs to support Firefox than most firms. Or perhaps IBM can kick in some of its 100m Linux desktop investment.

One way or another I think Firefox has a bright future. It will find the resources required to compete on patching and install. It will keep IE on the treadmill… but that’s not to say it won’t have to odd out of breath moment; it is running pretty damn fast.


  1. James, I actually don’t know what you mean. I have yet to experience a crash or hang with Firefox on JDS (Linux). I do not use a PDF plugin and opt for the external viewer, something I started doing 4-5 years ago when the plugin constantly hung netscape. I have never dared to go back 🙂

    I do wonder how FireFox QA compares on differing platforms.

  2. I have had easily over 100+ tabs open across 2 firefox instances and never once experienced a crash. This was with either 1.0 or 1.0.1, I don’t remember when exactly I upgraded but this event occured only last week. Openinig a PDF is sometimes slow, but I think (at least in my cases) it was attributed to just waiting for a large file to download. I have been using Firefox since it was called Phoenix (somewhere around version 0.6) and can count the number of times it has crashed on me on both hands.

  3. Ben Rockwood has a similar concern posts here: http://cuddletech.com/blog/pivot/entry.php?id=118.

    How many open source projects would survive if one (or two) developers simply “moved on”. A quick look at “/usr/local/bin” makes me wonder.

    Steven does bring up the excellent point of a project reaching maturity. At some point either corporate investments need to be made or a whole bunch of folks with spare time and spare cash need to come forward for a project to scale.

    I hope it does happen because I FireFox is one great product.

  4. I also encountered the occasional crash of Firefox when I had a lot of tabs opened. To remedy that, I would highly recommend the “SessionSaver” extension. It remembers your opens tabs after a crash and also allows you to save named sessions. It is an extension that, in my opinion, should be part of the default installation. You can find it at:

  5. I too have noticed the “hang” associated with PDFs, but it’s no worse than the one I get with IE. I’ve never had it crash on me either, but then I’ve never stress tested the tab feature.

    Besides, Firefox has Pimpzilla:


    Which makes it the coolest thing ever. Evar!

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