Tech Quote Of The Day

TPM has a post asserting that Google Chrome has overtaken Firefox in frequency of use. That is a debatable claim, and TPM’s always lively commenters (to put it politely) were debating it yesterday, and of course tossing lots of brickbats at browsers they didn’t like. One user on the thread, TJF, tossed this one:

Is it still called “Firefox”? On my PC it seems to have changed its name to “Firefox (Not Responding).”

Regrettably, there’s some truth to it. Firefox 8.0 for Linux has pushed my poor old computer over the edge, from just barely having enough RAM to run things reasonably, to spending a great deal of its time swapping. Do any of you have an opinion of Chrome? Yes, I’m aware it supposedly tracks everything you do and reports it to Mother Google, but from a user standpoint, is it worth my trouble to install?

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  • upyernoz  On Friday December 2, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    when i was in kazakhstan last year, my internet access was through internet cafes. the one that was right next to where we were living (and thus was the one that i visited most often) had a whole bunch of different browsers installed on each computer (explorer, firefox, chrome, safari (for windows), opera). i visited at least once every day and each time i rotated through the various browsers.

    opera was probably my favorite, but only because of this. kazakhstan-specific concerns aside, i think i did like chrome the best. still, the difference wasn’t great enough to get me to download it when i got home. i still use firefox out of inertia/lazyness. also, even though i had my favorites, my browser round-robin also taught me that the difference between the browsers was not all that great. so while i think chrome is better than firefox, the difference is not so big to get me to bother to do the download and install.

    (oh and keep in mind that i was in kaz between december 2009 and november 2010. so my multi-browser experience does not include versions that came out since november 28, 2010)

    • Steve  On Friday December 2, 2011 at 2:25 pm

      Thanks, ‘noz, that’s a great comparative review. For years I used IE and Firefox (and eventually Firefox and IE) because that’s what clients insisted their web sites work well on. In my retirement years, I gave up M$ Window$, and from what I’ve seen of IE on Stella’s Windows Vista box, I am well shut of it. Now I use Firefox daily for all purposes. For security, I’ve kept up with upgrades, and I’m typing this into Firefox 8.0 for Ubuntu Linux. Life could be worse.

      But every piece of s/w, including a browser, has a life-cycle that leads developers to cram more and more features into it, each designed to appease a particular market, each with a champion on the spec’s committee… and each taking up more RAM, more cycles, etc. than in the previous version. This old computer… and I do mean “old”; it’s probably six years old… has very little RAM by today’s standards (1/2 gigabyte) and a not-particularly-speedy processor. So the difference of my latest OS upgrade (from Ubuntu 10.04 to 10.10) and browser upgrades (from Firefox 3.6.1 to 7.0.0 to 8.0.0) have taxed the old box’s capacity pretty much to the limit. Open two browser windows? fine. Open three windows, or two very busy windows? Prepare to wait… and wait…

      The obvious solution is to buy a new computer, and goodness knows it’s time… in my working days, I’d change my office computer once every two or three years. But the economic collapse left me without any contracts and little hope of obtaining contracts (nobody wants an old IT professional, and it probably doesn’t help that I’m crippled), so I count my pennies a bit more than I used to. I would simply go back to earlier versions of Linux and Firefox… what a godawful process that would be… but there are always security advances, and there’s the fact that older versions eventually lose support (free in the Linux world) after a few years.

      Well, that was a long ramble! Thanks again for the info; I still haven’t decided what to do yet.

  • Madeleine Begun Kane  On Friday December 2, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    I used to be a big Firefox fan, but no more. I’m a Google Chrome convert!

    • Steve  On Friday December 2, 2011 at 6:33 pm

      Mad, I’m thinking seriously about it. Having at least two browsers has some advantages, and of course there’s no IE for Linux… M$ would like to see Linux dead and buried!

  • Carl  On Sunday December 4, 2011 at 8:45 am

    On the five or six Windows computers that I keep going (though I look on them as being really only one computer and the five or six boxes are just partitions), I have never used IE regularly, though it’s always there — an unavoidable consequence of sticking to Win XP. IE works okay, but like so many Microsoft programs, it’s too stuffy and officious when compared to Firefox. I’ve used most of the Firefox versions as they come out, and the current version, 8.0, is doing great on my computers that are, on average, the same age as yours, Steve, and they have an average of between i and 2 gigs of RAM each. This is especially so since I’ve figured out to how to use Firefox in high contrast black — a great help to my 80-year-old eyes. Sometimes, especially during the early evening hours when the bandwidth gets cut down the most by the other Wildblue users, sites load slowly on Firefox, but I blame that on my having available here in the sticks for internet broadband only Wildblue, brought here on a small dish.

    I’ve tried Chrome from time to time, though not in the last year. because I’ve always found it to be much too hard to use and arbitrary. To me the best thing about Firefox is one of its add-ons, “Speed Dial,” a visual, graphic index that makes going from site to site really easy and actually a pleasure. Chrome had, and maybe still has, an approximation of Speed Dial on its home page, but the program instead of the user controlled what sites were put on it, a big drawback, plus the number of sites that can be put on Speed Dial for Firefox is almost unlimited, compared to the nine or so allowed on Chrome.

    • Steve  On Sunday December 4, 2011 at 9:53 am

      Thanks, Carl, and welcome to the latest of my blogs to which I was forced to move back in May.

      IE is literally not an option for me. As far as I know, Microsoft does not supply IE for any operating system other than Windows, and I have been running Ubuntu Linux for a couple of years now. I never much liked IE anyway, but it’s not a question I face anymore.

      Firefox 8.0 would be great if I had more than 1/2 gig of RAM on this ancient box. It’s still great if I confine myself to one or two sites at a time. But if I open three or four sites (as I typically do), I might as well go get coffee while I wait for it to load.

      Firefox 8.0 has App Tabs, tiny tabs that preload each with a specified web site when you start the browser. This works a bit like your Speed Dial… the sites are all right there, ready for you to view… but this old machine doesn’t have enough RAM to use the feature efficiently. That’s the story of my life until I replace this old box, and that may be a while.

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