Fed Up w/ Firefox

As much as I love Mozilla, and Firefox in particular, I just can’t continue to use a browser that functions so poorly and malfunctions too often (likely Flash-related issues, though).

I’ve had continual issues with Firefox on all my systems. It hogs CPU cycles and RAM like there’s no tomorrow. It crashes often when viewing Flash intensive pages such as Grooveshark and Photobucket. I’m almost missing Internet Exploder these days. 😉

Seriously, I’ve tried all the usual remedies: running FF in Safe Mode, checking/removing extensions, using up-to-date plugins, nuking it all and starting with a fresh profile, etc. Nothing seems to solve the issue. Even with the new profile, FF managed to begin its old (mis)behaviors within days. It’s frustrating. It was beginning to take the joy out of the Internet for me.

In a previous article here, I mention trying Pale Moon as a remedy to my FF problems. That went fine for a bit, but eventually Pale Moon began to display the hogging tendencies of FF. This is not to say that PM was the issue. It was most definitely the underlying FF browser functions that were causing these same issues in PM.

I’ve tried Webkit-based browsers like Midori. They’re fast, lean, and not at all greedy with resources; however, they’re also rather plain when it comes to features and customization potential. I like my FF. I like the way I had it set up. Unfortunately, the sleekest, coolest, most awesome hot rod car is nothing if it doesn’t run well enough to drive to the little store up the street for a pack of smokes. 😦

I’ve had many folks jump up and down and recommend Chrome/Chromium to me. Well, I wasn’t going to compile the branded Google Chrome for my Slackware system for two reasons: it required too many dependencies that I didn’t want to have to search for/compile/install, and I don’t particularly care to be sucked (assimilated) into the Google Collective at this time.

So, what I did was grab a Chromium .txz package that had been compiled by dedicated Slackware friend, Alien Bob (Eric Hameleers), to whom I still owe a big donation one of these days. You’ll actually find the link to Eric’s Chromium build on Google Chrome’s download site under “community supported versions” download link. Anyway, downloaded and installed. Now the fun begins.

I had to first off find compatible extensions for Chromium that were at least functionally similar to the primary ones I use in FF. That wasn’t a major problem. There are loads of extensions available at the Google Chrome Web Store. I found ad blocking, flash blocking, script blocking, and other security and special function extensions there. So, I’m all set there.

One thing that I couldn’t find was a decent version of Speed Dial for Chromium. The ones that were advertised as equivalent to the FF Speed Dial were far from being the same. I worked around this by creating my own custom dial page(s) that I serve on my locally. I do the same for my custom home pages, so that all worked out fine.

My Chromium w/ custom dial page

click for bigger pic

My next BIG issue with Chromium was the fact that it SUCKS at rendering fonts. I’m used to those crisp, clean fonts in FF. Not so in Chromium. They’re ugly. I tried some of the extensions out there that are meant to improve the fonts, but none are actually for Linux, so they didn’t really have any effect. While searching for alternative solutions to sucky fonts in Chrome/Chromium, I ran across this little gem by Aatish Neupane on his blog, Linux Tutorials and Reviews. Now my fonts are pretty again.

I don’t know if Chromium will be my long term browser solution, but for the moment it’s my default browser on all my systems. We’ll see how things go from here.



Further reading: The Chromium Projects

9 Comments on “Fed Up w/ Firefox”

  1. Josh Sabboth says:

    Very cool. I knew you would eventually come to (the opensource darkside) chromium!

  2. Oh, and I managed to find a decent little Speed Dial-like extension for Chrome/Chromium called Foxtabs. Seems to work pretty well. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty cool.

  3. Barnabyh says:

    Good to hear you found something that works for you. I do not use speed dial so cannot comment there but as you found, extensions are by now up to par in most areas or even better/ more choice. I managed to get the latest Chromium from Eric to run on Slack 14.0 too by adding a couple of libraries from the 14.1 repo (probably harfbuzz, can’t remember). He’s doing a great job, goes without saying.
    Thanks for the tip on the fonts rendering. I’m currently using Debian more on the desktop where Chromium renders fonts just as well as and looks really good but I’ll look into it next time.

    Alternatively, Qupzilla is really nice too and has become my backup browser or if I just need to separate certain tasks. It could easily be used as main browser. 1.6.6 has never crashed – so far, but beware of earlier releases.

    • Oh, I’m having lots of fun with Chromium. I even installed Google-Chrome the other night using the .deb 64 bit package from Google and the SlackBuild script and instructions provided by Pat V. in the Slackware “Extras” directory in the repos. Fun! 🙂

  4. M H Bell says:

    I have used firefox for years without problems on a home brewed computer with amd 64 cpu 4 GB ram ati 4200 graphics card and have not had any problems with it. Of course I use Mint for my OS. perhaps your problem with firefox is Slackware.

    • Nope. Sorry, Mel. It’s not a Slackware issue. It’s a Firefox +Extensions +Flash issue. Excessive RAM usage and crashing due to Flash related issues. FF just got way to slow and bloated for my tastes. I went to Chromium/Chrome and they both run like scalded dogs in Slackware with a very minimal resource footprint. I’m happy now. 🙂

      • M H Bell says:

        Hmm! strange, I have not experianced any of those problems with my minimal computer except that firefox used to be slower than midori or chrome, but that is not the case with the newer versions of firefox. At least in my case firefox is just as fast as Chrome. I am using both. I don’t use chromium because it lacks some utils that I need.

      • Hi again, Mel…

        I don’t really like to blame FF for all those ills. It was/is a bit bloated compared to the lighter Chromium/Chrome browsers (or Midori, for that matter), but I don’t think that was what was causing most of my grief. I really tend to believe it was the Adobe Flash plugin causing a lot of it. In Chromium/Chrome, I’m using the open source Pepperflash. I haven’t been having any issues with that plugin on those browsers, with one exception… I cannot see embedded Youtube vids on Scot’s Newsletter Forums, but that’s the only place I experience that. This leads me to believe that it’s a Scot’s board software issue and not me browser, but who knows? 😉

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