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Friday, September 01, 2006

Firefox creeps towards Opera's level of functionality

Firefox 2 beta 2 has been released. Note the many new additions to the browser - the ability to re-open closed tabs, session saving, and a few other bits and bobs. This is in addition to tab-drag-and-drop and a stab at a single-window mode in version 1.5.

These are all already standard features in Opera, and were features that Ben Goodger (lead developer of Firefox - one time?) said the browser would never have as it was "bloat". But even with these new features, Opera still far exceeds Firefox in terms of usability.

In another area it's likely that Firefox will never challenge Opera - performance. The notorious memory leak bug has been declared a "feature", leading to the need for daily restarts of the browser (or your system becomes horribly slow as it consumes all available memory), and in terms of raw performance Opera leaves Firefox standing. Not to mention Opera's better standards compliance - it's the only browser that passes the strict Acid2 test.

I'm amazed anyone still bothers with Firefox. And with the imminent release of IE7, which by all accounts is a very good browser, I doubt anyone will.

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Comments:
"Opera's better standards compliance - it's the only browser that passes the strict Acid2 test."

To be fair, Acid 2 is no big deal. Much of it is to be able to handle invalid code and guess what the author meant. Such an exercise is mostly academic.

Not that I'm a Firefox fanboy. Personally, I think the UIs for both Firefox and Opera are terribly gaudy.

"The notorious memory leak bug has been declared a "feature", leading to the need for daily restarts of the browser (or your system becomes horribly slow as it consumes all available memory)"
I leave SeaMonkey open for days on my Linux box and I never see a need to restart X (let alone reboot). Maybe it's a problem with toolkit or an extension you have.

"I'm amazed anyone still bothers with Firefox. And with the imminent release of IE7, which by all accounts is a very good browser, I doubt anyone will."
And are you serious about IE7 being a very good browser? It fixes some real annoyances and introduces many more, but in the end, isn't on par with either Firefox or Opera.
 
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