Smoothwall Firewall project

Thursday 15 October 2009

Chromium competition has been good for Firefox

It has been said many times that competition is good for the consumer, and it would appear that this is as true of the Linux browser as any other area of computing where competition is allowed to flourish and is not distorted by monopolies. Microsofts Internet Explorer being one of the most visible examples of letting a monopoly position badly service the requirments of the modern web.

Historically , due to many reasons dating all the way back to Netscape navigator, Mozilla firefox has ruled the roost on the Linux platform, and it has served it well, but has of late been made to feel a little long in the tooth due to the new kid on the block, Google Chrome or Chromium. Well this is about to change.

I have been testing the latest trunk build of Mozilla Firefox 3.7 on my Ubuntu 9.10 64bit machines, and it perform's extremely well, and is major improvement over the 3.5 version that now comes pre-installed with Ubuntu 9.10. They have also been watching the competition and have taken a couple of ideas that Google brought to the party, which is opening new tabs for clicked on links next to the original window, rather that at the end of all your open tabs. This is one of the nice features I really like about Chromium, and this does Firefox no harm at all.

I still think the designers for Firefox on Linux version could do a better job with the general layout of tabs and the icons in a default install. The other thing you get with Firefox today is the excellent Mozilla Weave cloud based bookmark/tab store, which makes switching versions simple, and the thousands of extensions and plugins you get with Firefox, which will take Chrome a good many years to replicate.

The one big thing that Chromium still lacks is the build in version check which firefox has had for years. On Linux to some extent this is mitigated by your software repositiories, but if you want to go off piste and test the latest versions, this is a very useful built in feature.

As I said at the top of this post, competition is good, and I'm sure the Chromium developers will deliver on their syncing software, and the extensions are already starting to appear, even if they are still a little basic.


Unknown said...

Excellent points. One thing that the current builds of Chrome/Chromium also do not provide is a built-in feed reader (or maybe I'm missing something?). Given Google popular reader service, this would seem to be a no brainer but I'm a bit baffled why it hasn't been built in to the browser by this point. Until that time, I may stick with Firefox for everyday browsing. One question about the 3.7 build of Firefox: Is it stable enough for exclusive use or have you kept 3.5.3 installed for everyday usage?

Codfather said...

John, I still 3.5 around just in case I find a web site around , but as yet I haven't. I have noticed with 3.7 that when you have lots of tabs open it starts to run the CPU a little hot, but as this is alpha code I can't really complain.