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back to article Chrome passes Firefox in global browser share

The latest data from internet-monitoring firm StatCounter shows that Chrome overtook Firefox in November as the world’s second-favorite web browser. Number one? Still Internet Explorer. As predicted, the company reports Chrome’s market share rose to 25.69 per cent in November, squeaking past Firefox, which was at 25.23 per cent …

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Memory footprint counts for something

As the title says. While the memory footprint of Chrome is still bordering on disgraceful, it is still half the size of Firefox's.

Now if only somebody wrote a good, properly functioning NoScript for Chrome...

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RE Memory footprint counts for something

Yes, memory footprint counts for something. And if people would stop posting crap that hasn't been true for ages, they'd know that Firefox has a comparable if not lower memory footprint than Chrome. Couple of links below for those who haven't been keeping up, but you know how to Google. Both those links refer to Firefox 7, and there have been more memory and performance improvements in Firefox 8.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/firefox-7-web-browser,3037-14.html

http://techpp.com/2011/09/28/chrome-14-vs-firefox-7-memory-footprint-comparison/

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Anonymous Coward

Unused memory is wasted memory

Oh no, my megaramz

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re: Memory footprint counts for something

> While the memory footprint of Chrome is still bordering on disgraceful,

Like .. who says ... produce examples .....

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Ru
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Holmes

Who cares?

I'll bet that the fabled 'average consumer' has never so much as peeked at taskmanager or its equivalent to see how much memory a program is using up, and if they have done so a) don't know whether the number is good or bad and b) haven't fired up a second web browser to compare memory footprint.

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Vic
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> they'd know that Firefox has a comparable if not lower memory footprint than Chrome

I'm on a slightly older branch of FF (because that's what Fedora ships) - do the newer versions leak memory any less? Because that would be a very pleasant change...

Vic.

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Boffin

That lame excuse is not valid for every occasion

"Unused memory is wasted memory"

If keeping junk data indefinitely in RAM was good, then Garbage Collector related research would not have been needed.

Why fill up RAM with junk data about Tabs that was closed 15 min ago ?

Not everybody has 4+ GB of ram.

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Pint

So Google's strategy IS working...

They have 3 browsers - Firfox, Chrome (happens to be in house) and Opera eating away from microsoft... effectively ending M$ monopoly on the road which leads to Google Mall.

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Trollface

Wow. I guess we can now look forward to full version releases of Firefox on a weekly, if not daily basis. Mozilla better switch to the exponential version numbering system they have been holding back on right now... </sarcasm>

@gordon "Now if only somebody wrote a good, properly functioning NoScript for Chrome..."

See, there's the rub. My Mozilla browser (switched from FF to SeaMonkey when the FF team started the idiotic version churn) is (relatively) securely locked down not because the Mozilla browsers are intrisically secure, but because of the availability of add-ins like AdBlock Plus, NoScript, Better Privacy, Request Policy, Httpseverywhere, etc., and because I have taken the time to research the about:config parameters and learn how to utilize them. It will take a lot more than changing browser use statistics and slimmer memory footprint (_how_ much does RAM cost per GB these days?) to get me to switch to a browser that does not allow this customization (and, moreover, is developed by a company that, like Facebook, has as its business model marketing information harvested from its users that, given the explicit option, those users would arguably not voluntarily divulge to an unknown third party). Do I wish that Mozilla would modernize the core browser code while retaining the ability to lock it down? Sure, as long as they remain sufficiently open that the code can be audited to confirm that they haven't deliberately introduced their own "harvesting" mechanisms. But for now, I'll stick with the devil I know for everyday browsing. If I want real privacy, I'll fire up Tails.

-VinnyG

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dear VinnyG

Please invent paragraphs ....

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Anonymous Coward

Tails

Thanks - hadn't heard of that before!

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Gold badge

"_how_ much does RAM cost per GB these days?"

Depends whether your motherboard has space or not. If you're using a laptop (or smaller) and it's already maxed out, that extra gig of RAM is going to cost you several hundred smackers.

On the other hand, surely there is no browser out there that uses more than a gig displaying a single page, so if you are stuck on a small device you can just live within your means and have fewer pages open at once. (It's not like having fifty tabs open actually *creates* screen space.)

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Definition of "usage"

Surely if browser "usage" is the benchmark here them Firefox plus Adblock and/or NoScript will naturally have less results than Chrome and its umpteen adserver connections.

Methinks the results have been skewed.

A far more meaningful survey would be site visits surely.

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Paris Hilton

A point less taken

I've only ever given a glancing thought to how those metrics are contrived, and I think you raise a good point. I would estimate that a vast number of Firefox users are using configurations and/or add-ons which would confound metric gathering in some form or another. The configurations and add-ons come from either self investigation or recommendation from another savvy user. If the metrics are by way of cookies, web bugs, Google data, third-party advertisements, JavaScript, etc., there's a config or add-on to break those and more. And forget about trusting the User-Agent.

Paris, forget about trusting...

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Holmes

Re: Definition of "usage"

>>Surely if browser "usage" is the benchmark here them Firefox plus Adblock and/or NoScript will naturally have less results than Chrome and its umpteen adserver connections.<<

That depends on how many Firefox users have Adblock and NoScript installed and enabled.

The geek tends to assume that everyone else will customize their software the same way he does --- while most may never add or change a single thing.

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FAIL

10 Chrome fails:

1. no master password

2. phantom installs without consent

3. the worst cache control I have ever seen. (client complains can't see changes.. are you using chrome? grrrr that's why)

4. browser inline ads. what? are you f*cking kidding me? oh right yeah it's from an advertising company where ads make up 96% of their revenue

5. installs in the user directory. do no evil? do me a Favour!

6. weird css eccentricities that no other browser seems to have problems with. can't you follow the current standards google?

7. auto updating. yeah thanks let's break stuff in the middle of a busy work day to waste my time.

8. new release number should be major new features not a couple of patches.

9. E.T. phone home. nuff said

10. web2.1orhea UI... it's like a toy.

My worry for Firefox is what happens if/when Google pulls their $5m annual funding... help!

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Gold badge

"My worry for Firefox is what happens if/when Google pulls their $5m annual funding... help!"

I thought they already had done. No matter. If and when Google decide they don't need Firefox anymore, it will be because Chrome has replaced it as the main rival to IE, at which point perhaps Microsoft will reckon it is worth sprinkling some small change ($5m is surely a fraction of what they spend on IE development) in the direction of a Chrome-killer.

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Linux

"1. no master password" -- I have a screen-lock that requires a password and the door to my office has a lock on it ;)

"2. phantom installs without consent" -- huh? Any particular apps ?

"3. the worst cache control I have ever seen. (client complains can't see changes.. are you using chrome? grrrr that's why)"

-- No way, I find that firefox is the one that won't let go of cached items. One Shift+Refresh is enough for my copy of chrome to release any cached files.

"5. installs in the user directory. do no evil? do me a Favour!" -- It was possible to install in the programs folder using google pack. Unfortunately Google Pack has packed it's bags.

"7. auto updating. yeah thanks let's break stuff in the middle of a busy work day to waste my time." I don't get that problem on Ubuntu, as it is updated from a repo not from the browser itself.

"8. new release number should be major new features not a couple of patches." -- I'm not bothered, who really cares about the actual version numbers ?

--

"4. browser inline ads. what? are you f*cking kidding me? oh right yeah it's from an advertising company where ads make up 96% of their revenue" -- absolutely, a total PITFA. YouTube has been totally mauled along with other sites.

"10. web2.1orhea UI... it's like a toy." -- you can tone it down a bit, it's called customisation.

"My worry for Firefox is what happens if/when Google pulls their $5m annual funding... help!" -- Let's hope that won't happen - I still need firebug!

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"1. no master password" -- I have a screen-lock that requires a password and the door to my office has a lock on it ;)

Ok for anyone working on their own. Not in a public place. If you save passwords in the browser you should be prompted to use a master password. This is just plain common sense.

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"2. phantom installs without consent" -- huh? Any particular apps ?

Flash player for one. There are countless others.

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"3. the worst cache control I have ever seen. (client complains can't see changes.. are you using chrome? grrrr that's why)" -- No way, I find that firefox is the one that won't let go of cached items. One Shift+Refresh is enough for my copy of chrome to release any cached files.

Shift+Refresh - is not good enough. period. Just learn to see changes Google. If everyone else can do it why can't you?

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"8. new release number should be major new features not a couple of patches." -- I'm not bothered, who really cares about the actual version numbers ?

My extensions care. It is a PITFA for many FF users. They only did this because of bloody Chrome.

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WTF?

What actual google chrome is this?

My Google Chrome is a clean neat interface much simpler than the other browsers. Loads software very fast much faster than waiting for Firefox to load for 30 seconds.

Updates in the background so its less annoying.

Inline ads? again what version are you using as this does not happen on mine.

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Anonymous Coward

Iron?

Would be nice to know what percentage of the Chrome browsers are actually Iron.

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Happy

Or Comodo Dragon. Or Chromium. Or <another less invasive variant> Etc

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Anonymous Coward

The same paymaster?

It's quite hard to find in Mozilla's website, but here: http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/foundation/annualreport/2010/faq/ you will find their 2010 Financial statements. On page 5 it shows of the $123m revenue they made, all but $2m came from "Royalties", and further in the report on page 20, Note 9 - "Concentration of Risk", it talks about a contract with a "Search Provider" that provided 84% of royalty revenue. I am fairly sure that the search provider isnt Bing or Yahoo!, so it seems that Mozilla is dependent on one of its largest competitors in the browser business. According to the document, that arrangement is due to expire in Nov 2011 - with such a dependency, Mozilla would likely collapse if it were not renewed.

There is a lot of affection for Firefox especially among tekkies, but I think nobody should be confused on who it is that pays the majority of the bills at Mozilla.

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@ashdav It depends on how you measure "usage", and the details of how the measurement was made is conspicuous in it's absence from this article - so it's impossible to say how valid the comparison really is.

@tony72 I just opened FF and Chrome side by side. Both clean with no plugins and FF was twice the size of Chrome. RAM may be cheap but the time I spend waiting for them to open is not.

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@davidsom

Did you count all the Chrome processes?

I opened FF & Chrome on the same machine, with the same sites loaded and, roughly, the same plugins. FF used 220,496K over 2 processes while Chrome's 9 processes used 241,576K.

OK, that's nowhere near a scientific study, but I don't think the issue is as one-sided as people made out.

I did try Chrome, and it had some nice features, but there were enough downsides (including the master password issue - it IS important) to make me return to Firefox.

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Bring back NN :)

To compare vanilla installs (mostly) - and just with this page opened in a new instance (all in MB):

Chrome : 93 (3 processes)

FF: 121 (add-ons) / 69 (vanilla)

IE: 78 (2 processes)

Opera: 84

Safari: 44

(All latest releases)

And for people still living in caves:

Netscape Navigator 9: 53

So, it's official NN9 is only beaten by Safari. That's progress for ya ;)

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Where are the phones?

Is this only about desktops? How are smart phone browsers (and apps) factored in? Is phone access not yet significant yet?

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Well of course

Firefox isn't packaged with everything and the kitchen sink.

Almost every non tech computer user I know has chrome and doesn't know how they got it. Many just use it until I am there and they ask me where it came from and how to get rid of it.

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Agree with you there. IE, Safari and Chrome have a habbit of being inmstalled without you realising if you dont read the small print. Its actually one of the more common bits of foistware along with ASK.COm and McCrappee Security Scamyouintobyingourshit centre.

Chrome installs a hell of a lot of other crap with it too.

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Anonymous Coward

Chrome took over South America...hmm wonder why.

... oh yes. Since the IT department won't install another browser besides IE just because you asked, you have 3 choices:

- Keep using IE. Yeah, right. Since Windows Update is disabled, you are stuck in version 7.0.0.0.0.-1 or whatever came with the last image. Have fun.

- Portable Firefox. Doable, just install it in your pendrive at home, copy over to your Desktop, and profit. But the flash thing will break with every update. It is a hassle, but it can be done. But still a hassle. If you can use pendrives in the first place.

- Chrome. It just installs, and God helps you if the machine gets borked. Alas, it won't, since you don't have admin privileges, so doesn't the browser. Hope not. It won't update by itself, because the googleupdate.exe can't embed its key in the registry behind your back. Just run the about screen once in a while. And the flash thing is already shoved deep there somewhere, so it just works. Hope so.

Most users don't even take a second glance at admin privileges if they can install it, without asking permission first. The remainder won't bother and use IE. The geeky ones will go for firefox if convenient to them.

And home users, well... no comments.

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Google-owned Orkut social network site perhaps reason for Chrome popularity in South America.

Presumably Chrome is promoted through Orkut like other Google's products - e.g. when you go to google in Internet Explorer, you are invited to install Chrome. Also on YouTube - sb.tv promo. Some statistics show Orkut as being popular in Brazil, though that said, I see facebook catching up.

For me the overriding appeal of Chrome is 2 things: speed and uncluttered UI. Firefox comes second with speed, Internet Explorer 3rd.

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Silver badge
Pint

I'm not letting Firefox go

Too many good addons to make it just the way I like it.

It works fine for me.

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The real issue, it seems to me, is that Chrome (or Chromium in my case) is simply very much quicker at loading web pages that FF, and feels even a little quicker than Opera. And that is probably the main reason for migration.

In my case I run FF as my main browser and Opera for certain sites because it seems to handle them quicker. However I've recently done a reinstall of Sabayon linux, and that came with Chromium as the default browser. It really did seem very quick, but I just can't bring myself to put up with that horrible Safari-like interface.

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@The Reg: Better Reporting Please

Whilst I don't dount the rise in Chrome users*:

1) StatCounter statistics are derived from hits, as opposed to unique visitors.

2) The article states 'market share'.

It may just be me, but I find it difficult to correlate a true reflection of market share against the number of raw hits. i.e. How do we know that Chrome users aren't just more active?** Surely raw hits are not exactly the best indicator?

Also, what the article does not mention is that IE made a larger gain in share from October to November than Chrome.***

IMO - and like I said, I don't Chrome's rising popularity - this article is slightly flawed, uses inaccurate data (hit based) and is focused solely on one thing - the rise of Chrome.

Let's hope any future articles are better reported.

--

* From what the kids say, many school age kids use Chrome because 'my friends say it's cool' (cool as in kewl-aid but not necessarily as in 'good') and 'my friends nearly all use Chrome, so I switched'.

** The kids waste many an hour trawling that YouTube (and similar) tosh watching inane videos whilst using Chrome. They probably exceed my hit 'hit rate' by a factor of at leat 25:1 for this very reason. So from my house, Chrome would have a massive market share when based on hits, but in reality this is not the case.

*** Combined desktop and mobile stats from StatCounter show IE increasing by 3.13% and Chrome by 2.13%. Now, I am not suggesting that I believe IE will continue in this fashion, but it is something that article totally fails to mention.

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Silver badge

@Old n Cynical

"StatCounter statistics are derived from hits, as opposed to unique visitors."

That's a point. Chrome prefetches everything it can lay its hands on.

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Big Brother

Flip that graph on its head...

And you'll have the average inteligence of each browsers clientele.

Opera deserves more but then, if people are stupid enough not to see its benefits thats their loss not mine..

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Holmes

Predicted on first try.

On my first test run of Chrome beta, before anybody I talked to even knew of it's existence, I predicted it would live, it would overcome Firefox first and would overcome IE about 5 years after.

Not sure how long ago that was, but I can now predict that Chrome will overcome IE in about 2-3 years.

I just want to say - and I don't mean to brag, and I know it will come across as me giving it pretty thick nonetheless - but for some reason I've always been good at accurately predicting major trends based on what I would say is about 70% intuition, 20% information and 10% luck; with a score of roughly 90%.

- I could hear a song on the radio for the first time and predict it would be a hit.

- I could look at a store being built at a specific location and predict it would take over its competition.

- I have predicted that marriages would fail, including within which period.

- I have predicted regimes would fall and withing a certain time frame.

- I have predicted a certain company's stocks would go up, certain start-ups would fail, certain business models wouldn't live the year.

- The list goes on and on..

It's been this way since I was 9 years old as far as I can remember.

Although I know I do not have - of course - any special powers, I do believe that I'm one of rare few who knows they have such an ability who can actually put it to work in a consistent matter.

- Flood

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Pint

You are my man!

Could you please predict the winning Lotto numbers for next week, so I can bring me out of my misery? I promise to donate 15% to you, spend 15% to buy ElReg shares and another 15% for charity.

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Anonymous Coward

Ahhh, Selection Bias

Well done for remembering the cases where you were right. It is a well known point in psychology that people who believe they are prescient in some way just have a more selective memory for the cases when they are right than when they are not.

If you honestly believe you are prescient in some way, why haven't capitalised on it and become rich? If all your stock picks are correct you could rapidly bootstrap yourself to billionaire status.

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Anonymous Coward

Caching

Chrome caches in circumstances I.E, and Firefox simply do not . If you're writing a dynamic application, relying on AJAX responses , shift-reload is simply not an option, half way through a set of transactions.

Other than that - its speed, and built in developer tools (which demonstrate the same caching problems) - are great!

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Joke

but in the US both Google and Mozilla’s browser

have seen their market share slip in the face of a move to IE,

Is that because as the person commenting in a Czech newspaper earlier this year considers the American voters as a confederacy of fools who voted for Obama, the prince of the fools?

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Linux

IE usage is not that high

I do not believe the stats for IE usage that high, I do not think the user agent is reporting correctly.

Example, on Linux distro's a lot of people use a user agent switcher to display Windows with IE and so on and so forth.

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Black Helicopters

I don't care about the stats

Even (I'd say especially) if Chrome becomes #1 in popularity, I'd never consider another browser.

The internet is already a VERY dangerous place and so far the only full armor browser is FF + the aforementioned plugins. Yes, plugins do need memory and make FF run much slower, but the certainty of being safe and private is priceless. FF is as mandatory as having an Internet Security AV suite. As they say, better safe than sorry.

FF plugins will eventually be ported to Chrome, but again, a browser that still has no internal proxy support (and most probably will never have) for me is out of the question.

As a commenter in Reddit put it recently, Mozilla treats you as their customer, Google treats you as their product.

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IE in the workplace

Form a support point of view, IE is just easier than Chrome or FireFox. There are aspects of browsers which don't really matter at home but are important in the work-place. For example, if Chrome doesn't work properly with a website at home you just write it off as "one of those things". If Chrome doesn't work properly with a website at work, you'd be on to tech support asking them to fix it. At home, the inadequacies of FireFox and Chrome are hugely outweighed by the advantages, but in the workplace the inadequacies are much more significant and the advantages much smaller. You may not see the difference as a user, but to a support tech in a large company with a network built upon an MS infrastructure they're a big deal.

One thing about the stats:- considering how many people are allegedly spending all their time on the web using their iPads, and that this is the year of the tablet, why has the growth in Safari been so small?

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Linux

Google Chrome

Google Chrome works great on Linux distro's, Firefox works great as well I use it on my Scientific Linux workstation daily.

That being said, Internet Explorer is not the most use browser on earth. It is down in the 25% rating.

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Silver badge

hits vs users

Wouldn't the 'number of hits' metric favour browsers that are more likely to allow pop-ups? Just sayin'.

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Anonymous Coward

Goes to show

It's not the quality of your browser, but how much money you have to tell people about it.

It's ironic and slightly sad that the best browser has the smallest marketshare, but then I suppose that's life. The worlds most popular car is the Toyota Corolla(Chrome), a very average car. Me, i'm more than happy with my Audio R8 (Opera).

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FAIL

Firefox has jumped the shark

I run Ubuntu Natty in a VM here at work and Firefox is a bloated, memory leaking mess. It get's slower and slower as the hours pass, requires frequent restarts and refuses to remember my tabs.

By coincidence, I just switched to Chromium this morning and it absolutely flies in comparison.

Mozilla need to debloat Firefox and stop with this insane major version update every two weeks madness.

I don't know what is happening out there in OSS project land but I don't like it. Not one little bit..

The people in charge of Ubuntu, Gnome and Mozilla have clearly gone batshit insane over the last couple of years.

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As Chrome is also included with a lot of software people will install on their computers without thinking (and I've never seen Firefox bundled in that way) I'm not suprised at the results.

Call me a cynic but....

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For us Mac fanbois It just works ..

unlike f*ref*x which hoses for no readily apparent reason every half hour - or when I ask it to do something complex like render a picture or scroll some text quickly .. Now if the Chrome chaps would like to turn to that other former favourite bit of Open Source 'productivity' software, Thunderbird which exhibits similar behaviour to the aforementioned, and write for us a leaner, meaner mail/calendar program ..

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