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[vox-tech] Four week test of Firefox versus Opera
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[vox-tech] Four week test of Firefox versus Opera

Opera was segfaulting quite a bit, so I decided to try Firefox for a month.

Previously, I used and loved Galeon.  Then they rewrote the browser about
the time when the GNOME2 framework started, and made it pure crap.  So I
know that you don't really get "comfy" with something as personal as a
browser in just a week, so I decided to give Firefox a month.  Here are my
perceptions of Firefox, 2 weeks into a month:

1. Not as fast as Opera, but still very fast.  Sadly, I think the MS Windows
   version of FF might be faster than the Linux version.

2. Mouse gestures suck badly.  Too unforgiving -- I get many "mouse gesture
   aborted" messages.  Sometimes it registers a L->R gesture as a R->L
   gesture.  Go figure.  Like tabbed browsing, this should be part of the
   browser proper, not an extension.  I much prefer mouse gestures on Opera.

3. Rendering is wonderful: pages render more faithfully under FF than Opera.

4. Configuration is easier than Opera.  But this is a double edged sword.
   The reason why Firefox is easier to configure is that there's less to
   configure.  Things that are normally extensions on Firefox tend to be
   built-in on Opera, making the Opera preferences menu more "busy".

5. The Adblock extension is reason enough to use Firefox.

6. Some extensions really belong in the browser proper.  For example, since
   Firefox is a tabbed browser, the functionality of the "Tab Clicking
   Options" extension ought to be part of the browser.  Similarly, mouse
   gestures and "Launchy" should be part of the browser.

   A rant about Launchy.  I *hate* the fact that I need an extension to
   handle mailto: links.  Hate, hate, hate.  When I click on a mailto link,
   I want to run mutt in an xterm.  There's no excuse to 1) need an
   extension for this and 2) have to write an XML stanza.  I'll be damned if
   I spend 20 minutes figuring this out, although if I stick to Firefox, I
   guess I'll have to at some point.

7. Javascript is much more mature on Firefox than Opera.  Opera Javascript
   could be a nightmare sometimes.  Much better on Firefox.

8. Opera has many undocumented features and features you have to enable by
   *adding* undocumented stuff (not changing, but adding) to config files.
   That sucks.

9. The password manager works better on Opera.  There are pages that the
   password manager on Firefox doesn't appear to recognize.

10. FF is MUCH more stable than Opera.  By an order of magnitude.  Which is
   a shame.  Opera used to be the most stable browser on Linux.

11. One of the things I really liked about Opera is that, no matter what, no
   new browser windows would open.  Everything opened in a tab, under all
   circumstances.  There seem to be certain types of links that cause FF to
   open the page in a new window.  Bleah.  The only time I ever want a new
   window to open is if *I* instantiate it.  I don't want the browser to
   instantiate a new window, under any circumstances.

12. Printing is much better on FF.  The pages print more faithfully to what
   you see on the screen.  Printing pages was always a hinky thing on Opera.

The items that are most important to me are:

2 - Opera has much better mouse gestures
5 - FF has Adblock
6 - The mailto: link thing on FF is a real annoyance.
7 - FF handles Javascript better.
10 - FF is more stable.
11 - FF doesn't put all links into tabs.

So after week 2, it's a dead toss-up between FF and Opera.


The mathematics of physics has become ever more abstract, rather than more
complicated.  The mind of God appears to be abstract but not complicated.
He also appears to like group theory.  --  Tony Zee's "Fearful Symmetry"

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