back to article Firefox takes top marks in browser stability tests

Web app testing-as-a-service company Sauce Labs has released its latest browser crash data, and remarkably enough, the least stable web browser today probably isn't the one you think it is. True, by this metric as by most others, Internet Explorer 6 is the worst browser out there. It topped the crash rankings in Sauce Labs' …

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Anonymous Coward

But to be comparing IE vs Chrome and Safari means using Windows and most people seem to agree that Safari sucks on Windows.

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Anonymous Coward

Firefox does crash a lot -- when you have 400 tabs open.

Anon to hide my idiocy.

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But to be comparing IE vs Chrome and Safari means using Windows and most people seem to agree that Safari sucks on Windows.

Given that Safari doesn't appear to be developed for Windows any more, and Safari 6 isn't on Windows, I'm thinking these Safari 6 results might be from a Mac.

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Silver badge

At my work nobody has found a browser that allows you to keep ~100 tabs open and not either crash outright or soak up >8GB of memory and so page the machine in to oblivion.

I close mine every night and keep to ~20 tabs max for that reason :(

Back to the WTF point of this, even 400 tabs & 8GB or memory is approx 20MB used per tab, really how do you get that usage from a few 100kB of download per open tab?!

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Anonymous Coward

You lot with a 100+ tabs open... do you really need all those tabs open simultaneously? Wouldn't bookmarks and fewer tabs be a better option?

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Silver badge

"You lot with a 100+ tabs open... do you really need all those tabs open simultaneously? Wouldn't bookmarks and fewer tabs be a better option?"

But bookmarks are clunky and complicated in comparison; a tab is a much more natural way to do it - you don't do anything, you just open a new tab. (And for the record, I only have 50 tabs open - but some of them are tab groups so may contain more pages.)

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I knew a dev who did this. Literally shed loads of tabs open.

When I asked him how that helped him in his role, he said it did. So I asked him what he was working on, and he spent 10 minutes trying to find it.

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Opera?

Opera 12.xx, free, is pretty good for lotsa tabs open without running out of memory. You can have tab groups that concertina open or closed, and several browser windows to manage session state together or separately. (If you close one window without saving its state, I think it isn't easy to get back, unless it is; I try to avoid doing that.)

Opera 15 and later seems to be an attempt to take Chromium and add Opera features to it, initially rudimentary. Version numbers are the crazy kind - you can try out Opera 16 or Opera 17 with more features added but they are not yet built to be relied on. Each web page in O15 has its own process in Task Manager, plus one for the window.

Opera 12 will be maintained as it requires for the time being.

Opera 12 crashes on my Windows 7 tablet computer if I use the Google Groups web site, but I'm blaming that on the tablet, which is buggy at hardware or OS level.

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Anonymous Coward

100kb of download probably expands to many megabytes of bit-mapped surfaces.

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I knew a dev who did this. Literally shed loads of tabs open.

When I asked him how that helped him in his role, he said it did. So I asked him what he was working on, and he spent 10 minutes trying to find it.

I'm a dev myself. I normally have around 10-15 tabs open, which breaks nothing. I might have more if I'm searching for something, but usually if I'm above 15 I decide that I must be getting distracted, and force myself to close anything irrelevant.

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Re: Anon to hide my idiocy.

Just for the honesty you got a thumbs up.

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@AC 21-Aug-2013 8:16 GMT

I find my limit is about 20. After that I have trouble finding what I'm looking for.

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JLV
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>I'm thinking these Safari 6 results might be from a Mac

Upvote from me. And regarding your downvote - leave it to a fanboi to downvote a simple statement of facts.

Personally, I loathe Safari 6 on my iPhone, where it hangs at least once a day.

It never errors out on my Mac however. Mostly because I never use Safari if I can help it and Firefox and Chrome work just fine on a Mac. Why would you want to tie yourself to Apple when not necessary, even if you do use their hardware?

Safari. Just. Say. No. *

* among other reasons for my loathing is Safari past decision not to support http put and delete methods. A behavior since then corrected, but quite worthy of IE6's "our way or the highway".

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Re: >I'm thinking these Safari 6 results might be from a Mac

Upvote from me. And regarding your downvote - leave it to a fanboi to downvote a simple statement of facts.

I was wondering about that... Oh well, that's the reality distortion field for you.

While we're discussing Safari features that make my piss boil - how about not only blocking popups by default, but not informing the user in any way that you've blocked something? There's a section of our site that has a popup by necessity, and we had to add a blurb for Safari users telling them that yes, the site is in fact working.

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Happy

Nice results generally

This shows what a healthy competition can achieve.

Internet Explorer 6 is a fossil from the (luckily short) time of Microsoft browser dominance and the tests show what a monopoly leads to.

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Re: Nice results generally

Agreed. IE began visually improving in leaps and bounds from IE7, and from IE9 onward I've really had no problem with it. The public at large still slags it off because it's unfashionable, but at a technical level the recent ones are vastly improved. I never tend to have stability issues with any browser any more, really, except reKonq, but while reKonq is a vast improvement over Konqueror, it's still shit, and that's coming from a KDE fanboy.

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Re: Nice results generally

I can't agree more, we all need to give a hat tip to Mozilla for restarting the browser wars. There was a time when most of us would be using either IE or Netscape, and now all the major browsers are viable choices with only subtle pluses and minuses. As for all the trollish comments elsewhere, if whichever browser pisses you off so much, quit using it and use a different one. Or get your head out of your ass, learn how to code, and develop your own 'perfect' browser.

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I use all 4 major browsers on my computer because I'm fed up with them crashing when I have too many tabs open in any one of them. IE9/10 is the worse. I'm guaranteed it will hang at least once every 2 days, sometimes twice in a day. Grrrr.

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Anonymous Coward

Firefox

Firefox damn well better be stable, otherwise it would have no excuse for updating every time you looked at it.

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Re: Firefox

Indeed, I'm already on FF 23.0.1, so their tests are out of date

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Re: Firefox

23.0.1? Latest? Pfft, I'm on 24.0*... probably 25 by the time I've finished typing this! ;-)

* Admittedly, the Beta channel release.

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Big Brother

Chrome; I am disappoint.

Maybe its me, but over the past 6 months, Chrome has developed a tendency to crash more than George Michael on an off day. Not even 'he's dead Jim', but after a while it will start thrashing the hdd even with only 3 or 4 tabs open. I thought it was one of the extensions, but all disabled, to no effect. And another new one which has started in the last few weeks - opening a brand new Chrome session, for some reason it can't navigate to www.google.co.uk. Bing (and every other site) works perfectly well, but not the 'integrated' search tool. Close and reopen and it magically starts working again.

Like a lot of Google products, they start off excellent and experience some kind of entropy over time which leaves them crap and unusable.

I've gone back to Firefox as my day to day browser, and IE10 for work stuff.

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Re: Chrome; I am disappoint.

I have noticed the same - Chrome's speed has dropped off and it's not as reliable as it used to be for me, and I don't use any extensions.

For personal use, Firefox has improved back to my no1 personal use browser (Chrome is our official work browser - beats IE 6!).

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Re: Chrome; I am disappoint.

I noticed this too until the last two updates. I was ready to pull the plug on Chrome and go back to Firefox due to the instabilities of Chrome on my system, but it is now running fine again. Guess they isolated the problems and fixed them. (I may still switch back to Firefox as I like some the the recent changes they implemented and it seems marginally more compatible than Chrome for my work)

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Anonymous Coward

Firefox is great! Also, unlike IE, Safari or Chrome it doesn't spy on you for the NSA or GCHQ.

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Happy

Not saying you're wrong, but I wouldn't hinge my plans for world domination on that assumption.

I know the Open Source, more eyeballs, better security argument, just saying: Blind trust in what others said is what led us all to now having a legitimate NSA concern. Six weeks ago what you said would have been an over the top joke.

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Re: "doesn't spy on you for the NSA or GCHQ"

I think you may be confused there.

The NSA doesn't give a flying monkey's what browser you use. It's recording your traffic, and that happens despite any precaution you may take.

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Re: "doesn't spy on you for the NSA or GCHQ"

Oh? How about snagging your traffic OUTSIDE any encryption chain? The browser must display the results so would be the weakest link.

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Anonymous Coward

Just counted my tabs

I have 55 open, and that is fairly typical of my use of Chrome browser. I also have Firefox installed, which I use if I've just exited Chrome and want to quickly look something up without re-opening 55 tabs. Usually happens when I'm logging off to go shopping, and suddenly remember I forgot to check my bank balance or some such.

I'm not likely to switch browsers, simply because my bookmarks constitute an enormous, hierarchical and carefully categorised set of pointers to items that have attracted my interest over a period of several years.

No, I don't have OCD. If that were the case, I would only open sites with matching favicons.

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Re: Just counted my tabs

I think there should be a (open) standard for bookmarks, open tabs, passwords, etc.; so that any browser can be used.

Chrome annoys me storing binary data unusable by other applications in my computer's (k)wallet.

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Re: Just counted my tabs

That's a good idea!

Now you just gotta get the browser people to put out standards compliant browsers.

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Boffin

Re: Just counted my tabs

Xmarks and Lastpass work on any browser.

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Re: Just counted my tabs

Xmarks. I too have hundreds and hundreds of bookmarks. Xmarks let me switch from Firefox to Chrome since Chrome lets me have hundreds of tabs open across multiple windows, I think the fact it runs separate processes helps with that. Anyways, Xmarks is great.

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Bronze badge

Another vote for Xmarks

Just to add my ten-peneyth worth to other posters' recommendations:

I use Xmarks to keep my bookmark/favourites up to date across the browsers I use. It works fine and without any interaction from me, keeps bookmarks consistent between my browsers on my computer and also safari on my iPhone whenever I sync.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Just counted my tabs

It would be nice; the only reason I moved from Firefox to Chrome is because it was nice to sync bookmarks between my S3, Nexus 7, home pc and work pc.

Whilst I don't like Chrome desktop as much as Firefox, the mobile version of Chrome is MUCH more usable than firefox mobile (in my opinion, it's just awful).

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Re: Just counted my tabs

instance 1 - 73 tabs

instance 2 - 27 tabs

instance 3 - 45 tabs

instance 4 - 14 tabs

instance 5 - 40 tabs

memory used between 400-900 megs per instance (of 28 gigs ram total)

firefox, capped memory caches at 1 gig to prevent some runaway leaks eating up all available memory and indirectly making some more important process to keel over :)

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Joke

Re: Hmm

Found your problem. You're not using Safari on your Mac.

The knock on your door will be your escort to a reeducation facility.

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Re: Hmm

Did Firefox by any chance update or did you install something new? Could be a borked up program or driver somewhere although I really cant say anything useful about it.

For me, this article seems to ring through, Firefox went through a lack of stability after 4, this was also when they started the whole 'One major version a month' thingy. Which is fine but confusing none the less. So far I havent had any crashes that cannot be attributed to flash in the past few months so that seems promising so far. I also use Chromium(Chrome with google stuff stripped) on the side which is also quite nice.

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Re: Hmm

Hmm, might be. I have Adblock plus and Noscript and am not experiencing those problems unfortunately... Might as well be FireFox itself though.

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Re: Hmm

I still am! I am glad your problems are resolved, although bugger me with a fishfork if I knew what was causing it.

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Environments? Useless results as they are now.

See the full report which says nothing about what machine & OS was being used...

http://sauceio.com/index.php/2013/08/the-surprising-worst-browser-the-reboot/

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Trollface

>Opera 12 didn't do so well

Who?

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Interesting that Safari and Opera have such high error rates while Chrome is so low, considering that all three use the Webkit engine as their foundation (ISTR Opera switched to Webkit a while back didn't they?)

Like others here, I have no problem with the modern incarnations of IE. Since Microsoft have been dragged screaming to the W3C table the job of web development has become a lot less hair-greying than in the days of IE6, when as I recall I became quite the Firefox evangelist on these very forums (and elsewhere) to try and drive standardisation. I'm very thankful that that battle, at least, is finally over!

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FAIL

Its not over when millions of people are still using old versions of IE and MS will only release the latest versions on Win 8. We have clients who are locked into using IE6 FFS (major telephone company from Britian, I'm looking at you!) so we STILL have to support that red-headed bastard child of complete and utter morons over a decade later than we should be!

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