back to article Firefox Quantum: BIG browser project, huh? I share your concern

Mozilla has been rolling out a major change to Firefox during the last year, the results of what the company calls its Electrolysis project. Electrolysis gives Firefox something Chrome has had for years now – multiple processes (in the best case scenario that's per tab). The change is a boon for speed – somewhere Firefox has …

  1. Charles 9 Silver badge

    I don't know about lynx and w3m

    But if weren't for the fact the Web as we know it is being controlled by uncaring corporate interests, perhaps it's time to rethink how the WWW is working and take a few steps back to what it once was: a more-passive protocol that wasn't about cramming everything including the kitchen sink into it and more about simply conveying information.

    I mean, when you think about it, why is it that we ended up with an interactive WWW protocol rather than delegating this interactivity to other, more-dedicated protocols like VNC?

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

      Hear hear.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

        BTW, can anyone point me in the direction of a bare-bones web browser that has absolutely no capacity for interactive stuff like JavaScript that I can download for Windows. It would make both a good test browser for web work as well as a safer browser to use with alternative nets like Tor and Freenet.

        1. Buzzword

          Re: a bare-bones web browser that has no JavaScript

          You can disable it in the settings of all the major browsers.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: a bare-bones web browser that has no JavaScript

            And someone or something can secretly turn them back on behind my back and then LIE to me. No, the only real way to make sure you can't run JavaScript and so on is to not have the functionality to begin with. Last I checked, a browser isn't able to run JavaScript without a JavaScript engine built into it, and that's what I want. Not to mention it seriously cuts the memory use.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: a bare-bones web browser that has no JavaScript

              Its an open source project. It will be almost trivial to permanantly switch off the Javascript engine. If there is enough people interested in a version of Mozilla with Javascript completely severed then I am happy to take a look at doing this.

              Anon for now.

              1. bombastic bob Silver badge
                Devil

                Re: a bare-bones web browser that has no JavaScript

                noscript plugin and cookie blockers. that should do it.

              2. dbtx Bronze badge

                Re: a bare-bones web browser that has no JavaScript

                Note that Firefox uses JS under the hood and throughout the chrome for (apparently) as much as possible besides web pages, IIUC. If you had a real, successfully-compiling, JS-free Firefox, that's going to be somewhat useless at first. Not aware if how it compares but I'd very probably start with Midori instead, just to avoid that entire jungle of abstractions.

                Don't forget extensions and WebExtensions. And don't say almost trivial, in the words of JWZ -- "the universe tends toward maximum irony." And it's listening. And he worked for Mozilla.

            2. Joe Drunk

              Re: a bare-bones web browser that has no JavaScript

              Off By One browser has no Javascript or plug-in support, just a bare-bones HTML 3.2 web browser. I only remembered this browser because it was included in Bart PE bootable environments.

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: a bare-bones web browser that has no JavaScript

                "Off By One browser has no Javascript or plug-in support, just a bare-bones HTML 3.2 web browser. I only remembered this browser because it was included in Bart PE bootable environments."

                It also returns a 404, meaning it's no longer maintained. As for Lynx, I need a graphical web browser, just a baseline one, so Lynx won't do it.

                1. Joe Drunk

                  Re: a bare-bones web browser that has no JavaScript

                  It also returns a 404, meaning it's no longer maintained. As for Lynx, I need a graphical web browser, just a baseline one, so Lynx won't do it.

                  True it hasn't been updated since 2006 but it can still be downloaded from the offbyone.com download links (hover your mouse over the middle links in the download links and you'll see, I just downloaded from all three).

                  In any case this and Lynx are your only two choices for Windows browsers with no JS.

                2. Charles 9 Silver badge

                  Re: a bare-bones web browser that has no JavaScript

                  "It also returns a 404, meaning it's no longer maintained. As for Lynx, I need a graphical web browser, just a baseline one, so Lynx won't do it."

                  Updating my own post, which raises a curiosity. It may not be gone but rather so deprecated that modern browsers return a 404. If you browse to the same site using its own browser, it shows up. That said, one of the download mirrors is Gone.

                  UPDATE:

                  "True it hasn't been updated since 2006 but it can still be downloaded from the offbyone.com download links (hover your mouse over the middle links in the download links and you'll see, I just downloaded from all three)."

                  Link #1 returns "As of September 30, 2014, the Verizon Site Builder tool has been decommissioned and all online Personal Web Space pages have been deleted." #2 and #3 work, and I eventually got a working copy off Softpedia.

        2. Whiskers
          Happy

          Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

          @ Charles 9:

          I think the most Lynx-like text browser for Windows is probably Lynx <http://lynx.browser.org/lynx.html>

        3. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

          can anyone point me in the direction of a bare-bones web browser that has absolutely no capacity for interactive stuff like JavaScript

          I quite like Netsurf, mainly because it started life on RiscOS. It is still being developed slowly, and as far as I'm aware still has no plans to add Javascript support.

          Tools like "NoScript" can, of course, be used to turn off Javascript in Firefox...

          M.

        4. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

            I don't want to have to deal with settings that could be reverted behind my back. Especially for stuff like TOR or Freenet where you're already strolling the dark web. I'll stick with Off By One and Links for the time being, but this is something that should seriously be addressed in the name of security: a browser with no capability to leak things because the potential leaks never exist (meaning there's no way to secretly turn them on, either).

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

                Linux is not an option because I use Steam, and most of my library is Windows-ONLY.

                1. JMcL

                  Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

                  @Charles 9

                  "Linux is not an option because I use Steam, and most of my library is Windows-ONLY."

                  Linux VM?

                  1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                    Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

                    Thinking about it, but I have an 8GB cap and regularly do some heavy work (media encoding, 3D, etc.). Currently keep an XP VM knocking around for legacy apps.

            2. Getmo

              Re: a bare-bones web browser that has no JavaScript

              @Charles 9 What in the name of satan is your ultimate purpose with this 'ultra-secure' web browser? Real life security is a trade-off between convenience and being more secure. If you have specific planned activities for this type of web-browsing, that changes the goal posts.

              Firstly I'd be more skeptical about a browser software connecting to today's public internet that was last updated in 2006.

              If you're that paranoid, just switch to Qubes OS where every application window can basically can be it's own "VM / sandbox" to be destroyed and re-created at whim.

              For regular everyday browsing, I think most would be more happy with a modified Firefox using Ublock Origin, HTTPS Everywhere (not in FF add-ons, visit eff.org/https-everywhere ) and NoScript. The NoScript project is the most interesting, is now a "security suite" I've been using for happily 6 years. It takes the whitelist approach, so everything is gets blocked first, then you choose which sites you trust to enable individually. Nearly every site you visit will be broken at first, due to the high dependency on Javascript of the modern internet just to display text/images properly, so you will have to fiddle with enabling sites to get it right. Rarely do you have to enable all the sites with Java/javascript/Flash elements, and many ads get blocked in the process. My whitelist today is a baby years in the making.

              But what if you're a budding druglord kingpin trying to get your empire off the ground, and are just worried about that pesky NSA finding your whereabouts? Stick to a series of VPN's, TOR, disable all cookies forever, and worry obsessively about DNS leaks. Put all this on a burner laptop wiped with your favorite flavor of penguin, and no links or credentials to any of your personal resources.

              And if your evil genius doomsday plan requires the utmost security to prevent your volcano lair from being discovered, wipe your burner laptop with Qubes and do all of the above.

        5. Tom 64
          Windows

          Re: a bare-bones web browser that has no JavaScript

          try curl

        6. Manu T

          Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

          Perhaps this is what you want?

          http://www.netsurf-browser.org/downloads/windows/

          Some info about this program. http://www.netsurf-browser.org/about/

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

            Thanks for pointing me to a Windows port. This seems to be the best of the lot compared to Links and OffByOne, especially when used together with Freenet, making it my browser of choice now for that purpose. Might also be a nice option for a Tor browser since it has internal proxy support.

        7. cca

          Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

          There is d-plus on sourceforge, built, I believe, from the dillo sources. https://sourceforge.net/projects/dplus-browser/

        8. cmaurand

          Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

          You might try Vivaldi

    2. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

      My gopher server is still working nicely, thank you.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

      Nope, because then the proprietary app platforms will eat the web's lunch.

      I don't install mobile "apps" ever because I don't trust them, and it's reassuring to know that the web page's execution context will be torn down and destroyed when I close the tab. Also I can view the source.

      I bet you're a massive hypocrite (anti-javascript types *always* are), and have all sorts of shitware installed on your android or iOS device.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

        If the content is a video, a Flash video, or an externally-retrieved piece of JavaScript, it's going to be hard to view the source of the thing that'll nail you. Plus with EME endorsed, this is only going to get harder. And all this bloat is spreading like a plague, making the entire Web much harder to accept. My feel is that if you don't trust their dedicated and legally-liable app, you don't trust the company and shouldn't be doing business with them at all. At some point, you have to jump.

        "I bet you're a massive hypocrite (anti-javascript types *always* are), and have all sorts of shitware installed on your android or iOS device."

        Not really. Most of my stuff comes from F-Droid. Plus with explicit apps, I have more control over them since I can prune.

      2. barbara.hudson

        Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

        Someone's sounding more bitter than 3-day-old coffee. If you are depending on everything from a web page being completely destroyed when you close the tab, you are incredibly naive. There's tons of malware that says you're totally wrong.

        Having to download everything every time you visit a web page (including all the ads and trackers from over 100 servers in some cases) is defective by design. I'm not going to use a web-based document editor, spread sheet, or graphics program when I have free versions that only update (and possibly change the way they operate) when *I* tell them to, and keep my local data local. Not being able to cache content because they added an extra line-feed without making any other changes is dumb.

        No web site that dynamically injects javascript or css from another site can offer any sort of guarantee that it's secure. The big ad networks serve up crap all the time.

        1. Dinsdale247

          Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

          And worst, none of the major browser makers have any real incentive to protect the user because they make revenue on the searching and ads. Where do you think Mozilla got all it's money?

      3. dbtx Bronze badge

        Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

        I bet you're a massive hypocrite and viewing the source of a web page accounts for all the times you ever had to look source in the eye, like me more than half my life ago.

      4. Jonathan 27 Bronze badge

        Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

        In my opinion, owning an Android or iOS device automatically makes an anti-javascript type a hypocrite. Guess a huge percentage of mobile apps (including bundled ones) are running behind the scenes?

        Besides, there are so many sites now that require JavaScript to even be usable.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: I don't know about lynx and w3m

          "Besides, there are so many sites now that require JavaScript to even be usable."

          I make it a point to avoid websites that require JavaScript to operate, as they could be drive-by sites in disguise. If it's a place I can't avoid (like a manufacturer's website), I tend to inform them on the strongest of terms how I feel about not using a simple HTML link listing like in the old days.

    4. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
      Gimp

      What WWW procotol??

      The crazy little thing called web consists of thet HTTP protocol and the HTML markup language. A browser like Lynx is an interactive tool in the sense that the user supplies an 'URL' and the browser decodes and sneds it to a server, and the server sends a reply that usually contains some HTML. The user wats & waits & waits. Eventually the data have arrived and the browswer displays the text. This interactivity is a huge waste of time and bandwitdth, compared to smarter protocols. Why not send a request to a server, which forwards it to another server, and eventually returns the HTML, perhaps in an e-mail message.

      Consider that all the Mozilla project has to do is to remove excessive features from the Netscape browser and fix the bugs in the remaining code....

    5. Christian Berger Silver badge

      VNC

      Well the problem with that is that it would make web-app development as simple as desktop development. You suddenly wouldn't have to worry about login procedures (built into VNC) or cookies. You wouldn't have to use framework over framework over framework.

      That would demotivate the current web-developers who are working on or with frameworks, always on the edge of their capabilities. Those people would be relegated to writing code they actually are able to manage. They'd have to think about whole new ways to make things complex.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: VNC

        They'd have to think about whole new ways to make things complex.

        Nailed it. The whole point of the early days of the Internet was that almost anyone could learn how to build a website.

        Hell, anyone remember Netscape Composer? I built my first websites with that.

        Now? Do we really need literally dozens of scripts and languages to create a damn website? No. It's just nerd boi circle jerking at the gates of the priesthood of the temple of corporate mammon to REALLY bad pron, at this point.

        Dial it back from 11. It's my bandwidth, not yours.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: VNC

          Actually, it's BOTH of yours, as BOTH ends have to give and take. That's why there are data caps and peering agreements.

    6. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Libvnc

      https://libvnc.github.io/doc/html/examples.html

      What's missing is a simple, but flexible toolkit for GUI applications. Perhaps modeled a bit after the one in Delphi (which apparently was copied by C#) with hooks to satisfy design constraints.

  2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Colour me baffled...

    It surprises me that Firefox seems to take such ongoing criticism and constant negative comparison against the like of Chrome and IE/Edge for what amount to such minor functional niggles. In my experience, Firefox and 3rd party forks and derivatives such as CyberFox are as equally performant and stable as either of Google or Microsofts offerings.

    But the killer for me is that (A) Firefox doesn't have the shady tentacles of some data slurping and privacy invading behmoth hard baked into it by design, and (B) the sheer amount of add-ons and/or secure custom forks allows me to assure myself that I can keep my browsing habits private as far as practically possible.

    Which is just the way I want it.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      "It surprises me that Firefox seems to take such ongoing criticism ..."

      This is the Internet - there's always some vocal minority taking a stand and, as soon as you do something, somebody will be unhappy about it.

      For me, I see the proposed orientation favorably, if I can keep using NoScript and uBlock Origin, that is, because those two add-ons are the keystone to online security. Without them, I am exponentially more vulnerable and I don't like that.

      So go for the changes, Mozilla, but keep things secure where at all possible.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Colour me baffled...

      "Doesn't have data slurping built in by design"

      Oh really?

      https://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox/Data_Collection

  3. MikeHuk

    Surprised that speed is still an issue

    With the general standard of hardware today I don't see browser speed as an issue anymore, even on my old 2009 vintage pc, loading and web access is almost instanteious whether it is Chrome, Edge or Firefox.

    I much prefer Firefox and find nothing to complain about.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Surprised that speed is still an issue

      When they talk about speed they're more referring to the fact that your phone / tablet / PC might have a GPU and 2, 4 or 8 cores and yet the browser does most of its work on the main thread. So stuff like relayouts, animations etc. is a lot slower than it should be and potentially wastes more battery in mobile devices because the CPU is doing stuff the GPU could do.

      Retrofitting concurrency is a virtually impossible thing to do with the existing code base. So they're writing a new layout engine which is multi-threaded and takes advantage of the GPU from the ground up.

      1. Len Silver badge

        Re: Surprised that speed is still an issue

        Don't confuse multithreadedness with multiprocess.

        Firefox has been seriously multithreaded since version 4.0 with many process offloaded off the main thread. My Firefox is currently running 57 threads divided over my two cores.

        What Mozilla is currently working on is spawning more than the standard two processes (one for the browser and one for plugins such as Flash) that it currently uses. That has some stability benefits although it comes at a price of more overhead. Chrome's multiple processes are one of the main causes for it being one of the biggest resource hogs.

        Mozilla has probably now decided that, with multiple cores and multiple gigs of RAM as standard, it doesn't hurt to become a bit heavier if aids stability.

    2. kmac499

      Re: Surprised that speed is still an issue

      Never mind sorting the speed out; please please take a bucket pitch and caulking hemp and start plugging memory leaks.and CPU useage.

      If I leave it running most of the day it can use over 1Gig of memory and regularly peg the CPU at over 70%

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Surprised that speed is still an issue

        "If I leave it running most of the day it can use over 1Gig of memory and regularly peg the CPU at over

        70%"

        IINM, that's mostly the websites' fault, not Firefox's, unless you can show the same thing leaving it open for a whole day using nothing but about:blank.

    3. Mage Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Surprised that speed is still an issue

      They need to stop messing with the GUI.

      Why do I have to:

      1) Install Classic Theme Restorer

      2) Install Noscript

      3) Disable built in PDF

      4) Disable various stupid URL bar options in about:config

      5) Disable 3rd party cookies

      Etc.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Surprised that speed is still an issue

        The millenial ADULT-CHILDREN, who view everything through social media on a 4-inch screen, had way too much influence on the project. Fat-finger-friendly spacing, hamburger menus, all of that. BLEAH.

        If I want to view a PDF file I'll download it first and use 'evince'. That should be an easy option to set up. But it's not.

        (yeah I have my list o' plugins, too)

      2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Surprised that speed is still an issue

        Why do I have to:

        1) Install Classic Theme Restorer

        2) Install Noscript

        3) Disable built in PDF

        4) Disable various stupid URL bar options in about:config

        5) Disable 3rd party cookies

        Etc.

        Because the "customer"/end-user base for Firefox these days is other Firefox developers, not people who need to actually use it.

        What I have to wonder is **WHY** it seems that **ALL** modern browsers suck to extreme levels. The web is broken.

  4. AJ MacLeod

    Keep shuffling those deckchairs...

    Mozilla's problem is not that Firefox has ever been a bad browser, or even any less good than Chrome (I use both daily and have always found FF consistently more responsive and less RAM hungry than Chrome)

    No, Mozilla's main problem is that they have long ago lost sight of the fact that without users of their products they have no purpose at all - and they have made it clear time and again that they are not in the least interested in what those users actually want.

    For example: users on every platform are crying out for a truly good email client - Mozilla decide to abandon Thunderbird altogether because email is not fashionable. A certain IT-savvy userbase loves FF for its amazing customisation and extension capabilities - Mozilla decide to chop all of that out and dumb down the browser, aiming at a particularly dumb Chrome clone.

    I have borne with this kind of rubbish for a few years now, sticking to the ESR versions; but in the past month Mozilla have finally managed to push me, a two-decade supporter and promoter, overboard. They can find the resources to buy up pointless rubbish like Pocket that nobody uses, but they apparently can't find the resources to maintain basic ALSA support on Linux! Mozilla's response to the stream of pleas from users to rethink "fixed" by locking down the bugzilla item...

    Anyway it's not my problem any longer as I've finally switched to Pale Moon and it's perfect for me. Long may it last!

    1. DJV Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Keep shuffling those deckchairs...

      Totally agree.

      At the moment I use both Firefox and Pale Moon but, as Mozilla have deprecated XUL, this means that essential (for me) add-ons such as Classic Theme Restorer, which restore a bit of sanity to the total abortion that is the Australis theme, will no longer work. At that point XUL dies, Pale Moon is likely to become my main browser and Firefox will be relegated to "IE" status - i.e. installed but used only when something doesn't work in Pale Moon.

      Unfortunately, Mozilla have become every bit as "good" at listening to their users as Microsoft. Sigh...

      1. barbara.hudson

        Re: Keep shuffling those deckchairs...

        Actually, Microsoft has become VERY good at listening to their users. Even when the users don't want to be snooped on. Who do they think they are - Google or Facebook?

        More to the point - the web is mostly crap nowadays. That's one reason why the people writing the crap are pushing bling on their web sites - hopefully you won't notice the crappiness. If instead of spending most of their time on the bling, and devoted it to content, they wouldn't *need* the bling.

        1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Keep shuffling those deckchairs...

          Actually, Microsoft has become VERY good at listening to their users.

          They'll listen, then they'll just go and do whatever they damned well please anyway.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Keep shuffling those deckchairs...

      Bugzilla is super hostile. Talk down to users.

      Meanwhile Chromium team are pretty cool, and will discuss bugs with normal end users and developers. Seems to be a huge cultural difference.

    3. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Keep shuffling those deckchairs...

      "For example: users on every platform are crying out for a truly good email client..."

      Evidence? I use an old version of Opera as a standalone mail client. But not enough people are "crying out" for this stuff.

      1. xj25vm

        Re: Keep shuffling those deckchairs...

        You might be using an old version of Opera - but many of us really need a more capable piece of email software. Thunderbird is pretty damn good, in spite of being neglected for so long. It's strong points are:

        1. Good imap support - compared to many other email software.

        2. Ability to cope with large mailboxes - I have clients with 75,000 emails per folder - and Thunderbird is chugging along surprisingly well.

        3. As with Firefox, the various add-ons are a major bonus.

        What it desperately needs is proper Exchange/ActiveSync protocol support for email, calendar and contacts. Without this it is seriously hobbled in the business and advanced users environment. If it would have this support, it could be hooked into something like Horde in the back end, and share and sync all emails, calendar and contacts data with mobile phones, tablets etc. This would make one hell of a setup - and I am pretty sure there are a tonne of people out there who need this. I know all my clients would. Then again, the conspiracy theorist in me is inclined to wonder if Mozilla haven't been "told" to leave support for Thunderbird aside, as it would cause too much competition to Gmail/Google Docs if it was improved too much.

      2. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Keep shuffling those deckchairs...

        >I use an old version of Opera as a standalone mail client. But not enough people are "crying out" for this stuff.

        I think you can blame corporate security for that one. Boneheaded policies such allowing http but not imap lead to webmail being the only reliable external mail you can use. The lag in switching between server-to-server mail on port 25 and client-to-server mail on 587 for clients fed fears of worms using open mail relays didn't help. Blocking mail protocols allowed Security plausible deniability when it came to enforcing the use of corporate mail systems. The latest craze for "Application Awareness" (checking the "CONNECT" string) finally has the chance to enforce the intended policy, but now there are few players left in the market for standards-based email and calendaring and everything runs over https. The established players like this, because it means you have to already be important to get an entry on the web-filtering (or web-allowing) databases in security products. It just keeps the status quo in place.

  5. g00se
    Unhappy

    Multiprocess

    I've got FF ESR 45.8.0 on Linux. No sign of any n-process to n-tab stuff (mores the pity). When will it start for me - or have i missed something?

    1. src

      Re: Multiprocess

      The latest FireFox ESR has e10s.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Multiprocess

      It could be an incompatible add-on. Use about:support to find out if it's disabled and the Add-on Compatibility Reporter extension to check which add-ons are incompatible.

    3. Havin_it
      Unhappy

      Re: Multiprocess

      I don't think any of the multiprocess code was rolled out as far back as 45.* (could be wrong).

      If it is, you should be able to check in the about:support page. If it's present but not active, then as someone else said, it will be because you have an add-on installed that's not compatible with it.

      To see which addons are and aren't compatible with multiprocess, you can install a Mozilla add-on called Add-on Compatibility Reporter; once installed, this will add (in-)compatibility labels to each installed add-on's listing in the add-ons screen.

      Sadly, if you've been collecting add-ons for a while, you'll probably find quite a few marked incompatible. I'm using quite a few that are pretty indispensable, both at home and work, and which all evidence suggests are unlikely to be ported to WebExtensions* as the developers have long-since moved on. It will be a real wrench and I'm honestly not sure my fondness for the Fox can endure it; I fear the add-on catalogue will be a shadow of its former self soon, and with that goes a lot of what made it awesome. Sad times.

      [* Because it's not just a question of replumbing extensions to work with multiprocess, oh no. The whole extension architecture is being thrown out and replaced with something [semi-]compatible with the WebExtension format as used by Chrome and Edge. So far, I've seen nothing to suggest that the possible gain of ease of porting addons from those browsers will outweigh the loss of the existing massive and diverse AMO collection.]

  6. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Render CSS?

    >Right now, for example, any CSS file in the head of an HTML document must be downloaded and rendered before a page can be displayed.

    I don't quite get this. CSS files aren't rendered, instead they affect how the HTML is rendered. I suppose you could load them incrementally, but since each CSS file can override the previous, and there are also default rendering rules, wouldn't the effect be that of the the formatting of the page twitch and shudder strangely, until all CSS has been loaded and interpreted?

    (Actually I have already seen that happen if the CSS for some reason loads slower than the page).

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Render CSS?

      Your understanding matches mine. And you can see Chrome pipelining CSS if you open the developer tab. Scripts, however, can stop rendering.

  7. Pirate Dave
    Pirate

    "Quantum will also see Mozilla going back to the drawing board to "rethink many fundamental aspects of how a browser engine works". "

    I just wish they'd go back to the drawing board and quit fucking with the UI. Maybe give us back the old-fashioned menus. And clear out the fucking downloads history when we close the browser. Simple things like that. But that requires listening to the requests of the users with an open mind, which Moz team do not have anymore.

    The rendering engine itself - meh!

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      give us back the old-fashioned menus

      "I just wish they'd go back to the drawing board and quit fucking with the UI. Maybe give us back the old-fashioned menus."

      100 thumbs up for that!

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      "I just wish they'd go back to the drawing board and quit fucking with the UI."

      Except it's the SAME UI Chrome used to steal most of Mozilla's users. Sounds to me like Google hit upon something we hate but MORE people LIKE.

      1. Pirate Dave
        Pirate

        "Except it's the SAME UI Chrome used to steal most of Mozilla's users. "

        Don't know if I agree with the extend of "most". Mozilla has been snubbing users for several years now, so I don't doubt many previous FF users switched out of anger at the direction Moz was going more than because of Chrome's UI. But among new users, with little investment in which browser they use, yeah, Chrome's UI might have lured them. Or the fact that it's the same browser they used on their phone/tablet, so let's use it on the PC too.

        I've been a FF user since Phoenix, which if memory serves, was begun as a grassroots, anti-bloat Mozilla hack to give users what they wanted faster than the old Mozilla team could. Those days are long over. Mozilla might as well be a federal bureaucracy nowadays - they love telling us what is good for us.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          But at the time, most smart phones were iPhones (Android only took over a few years ago), meaning that they would've preferred Safari, not Chrome.

  8. iTheHuman

    Threads != processes

    Your might want to brush-up on your knowledge of rust (very important here for a reason I'll get to in a moment), servo and project quantum.

    Most importantly they AREN'T going to spawn a process per tab but only start a few processes that handle content duties (I believe four is the current goal) and handle the different pipelines of the frames (and tabs) using THREADS. This is where rust is important. It allows enough thread isolation such that a single thread can't affect the other threads in the process. THAT'S one the big changes relative to the other browsers. The others are webrender and Stylo.

  9. Zolko
    Pint

    Kutie

    Hum, if that picture isn't a click'n-bait, I don't know what would qualify.

  10. E 2

    "Electrolysis"

    More like electroshock, I'd say.

    </sarcasm>

    Mozilla has done the web and the world a lot of good over the past 15 odd years.

    But the code needs serious help, it uses too much RAM and too much CPU. Time for a rewrite, preferably clean room.

    And let this be my public plea to bring back "hide the tab bar when only one tab" support regardless of what some particular snarky @sshole FF developer thinks.

  11. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    Please don't F up the UI

    That is my main concern with Chrome--I hate the UI. Please don't redesign the UI just "because you can" like Microsoft did with Edge. I'm willing to give Quantum a chance. I have been a FF user for years (well over a decade) and owe them that much, for sure.

    1. WatAWorld

      Re: Please don't F up the UI

      Yes Unicornpiss, Chrome has speed and supposedly security (although I've read that now Edge is supposedly even more secure). That is what Chrome had and has, speed.

      I switched to Chrome 3 times before I finally gave up on FF. I loved the FF UI, the add-ons, the company's and developer's friendly non-arrogant attitudes, their openness, and that they actually often responded to bug reports and feature requests by dwebby outsiders like myself.

      But objectively Chrome just had so much more speed, so third time I stuck with it.

      Now you've got me thinking sentimentally. I wish Mozilla luck. Maybe they can get me back.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Please don't F up the UI

      "That is my main concern with Chrome--I hate the UI"

      Your sentiment seems to be in the minority since Chrome is the dominant browser currently instead of Mozilla, which seems to be behind the proverbial 8-ball.

  12. WatAWorld

    It is more work to regain lost customers than to retain customers

    They should have completed Electrolysis and the 64-bit versions several years ago, before so many people abandoned FF.

    In the 2009 to 2012 timeframe they had 26% of the browser market share.

    But now, due to people losing patience and moving to faster products, they've down to 11.7% market share on desktops & laptops, and only 0.72% on handhelds.

    https://www.netmarketshare.com/browser-market-share.aspx?qprid=1&qpcustomb=0&qpsp=194&qpnp=24&qptimeframe=M

    Now they've got a tough job to attract their disenchanted and disappointed former customers back.

    It is a non-zero effort to switch browsers, to get used to the new UI, to get employees used to the new UI -- so they've got to come up with something that is a considerable improvement over Chrome (and Edge).

    And then they've got to find a way to get the word out so potential customers will switch before Google and MS copy, and maybe build on, their improvements.

  13. dbtx Bronze badge
    FAIL

    seems legit

    I thought people knew better, that anything with the word 'quantum' is suspiciously good at playing Buzzword Bingo and is probably snake oil.

    oh how far you have fallen. I witnessed the mandating of a Chrome-wannabe-UI and the semi-deprecation of ALSA in favor of that Windows-kmixer-wannabe-soundserver, and I was not amused. But I'm just one user and I didn't build this scenario and I certainly am not a champion of the free web so please just ignore the hell out of me, kthxbai

  14. Zap

    Firefox needs a roll back

    Often I see software that needs a rollback (Win10 to 7 a prime example), Lastpass is another (almost unusable now) and Firefox is definitely one.

    I use an addon called Tab Memory usage, this usually gives a clue to which tab is grabbing memory, the worst offender are MICROSOFT websites, Outlook/Hotmail uses more than 10 times the 7.1m this page is using and it gets worse as it climbs with use.

    I got rid of adblock plus and replaced it with Ublock Origin which helped.

    I avoid logging into Lastpass until I need it as it makes FIrefox tediously slow even if you turn a lot of options off.

    I use another addon called Free Memory 2.0 to clean up memory but it can only do so much.

    I have an 8GB system, I have to terminate Firefox from Task Manager when it gets to 2.5gb to 3gb. Most of this memory has actually leaked, which is why it needs a rewrite.

    As well as Memory there are CPU processes, this is where I see the best improvement in the per tab option. right now one bad webpage can take CPU usage to a constant 50% which makes the PC unusable. However, if Mozilla want to make this helpful they would to well the name the tabs a different name to the core browser, e.g. FFtab2-4 which would be the 4th tab of the 2nd firefox window (from left to right).

    Lately I have just shifted some sites i visit to Opera (which I find faster to start up and with many sites too).

    I do not use Google Chrome becaue it is effectively spying on me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Firefox needs a roll back

      "Lately I have just shifted some sites i visit to Opera (which I find faster to start up and with many sites too)."

      Last I checked, given who owns Opera now, doesn't it concern you THEY could be spying on you, too?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Firefox needs a roll back

        Google is world's largest online ad company, everyone knows why it distribute free browsers and OS. It's privacy record is very filthy, it's not easy to stay on top. Opera software itself is now a little known mobile based ad company but it's record and terms are nowhere near Google. It is now owned by a Chinese company, but that's not an ad company who'll sell data to other companies(for now) or desperately try to track everyone. Maybe it'll track some people for Chinese government but to some people "Liever Turks dan Paaps":-)

        But yes, the browser of a privacy concerned normal netigen should always be Firefox. It has 1 less tracker. But more conscious people use Tor. It may not protect one from NSAs but easily from Googles.

  15. Kapudan-i Derya

    Wondering..

    As I understand from the article that Mozilla's plan is to recreate a whole different rendering engine from scratch. I wonder then what's the point of "Servo", which is in many ways different than Gecko but still a rewrite of Gecko in Rust? Does that mean a large portion of Servo will soon become useless, then why waste time of contributors?

  16. Zap

    No Point Unless..

    There is NO POINT in doing the per process unless the task manager tells the user the heading of the tab so you know which one is bad.

    However, the real thing that is needed even more than that is BETTER memory management for the user, that means to recover lost memory when tabs are closed.

    Right now I have 8gb of Ram, Firefox is currently using 1.9gb, it becomes unusable and I have to terminate from task manager before it gets to 3gb because if it crashes I sometimes have to go undelete the recover files in the profile. So that is Gripe 1, not being able to use more than 3gb on an 8Gb machine with plenty of memory free.

    Gripe 2 is that the memory leaks away and cannot be recovered, I have a plugin that does Garbage collection etc but it only recovers a fraction. If you need to reproduce a memory leak just use firefox, open four windows, with typical sites, epecially YouTube, play videos, open suggested tracks in new tabs. Make a note of memory usage, close down all those tabs except one in each window, now try to recover your ram. YOU CAN'T

    I have Tab Memory plugin and this tab is using 13mb, if I add up all the tabs in place, they of course will NOT add up to 1.9gb nor even a few hundred MB.

    The other thing they need is for the plugins, they slow the load time of Firefox, so how about the default is that they load 15s after Firefox to give it appearance of speed, give user chance to nominate some that are immediately opened.

    To be honest the only thing keeping me with Firefox is the plugins, they better hurry up with this update and it better be GOOD!

  17. codger

    Secure way to browse the web - old idea, any takers?

    Hi all,

    If the problem to be solved is a secure way to browse the web regardless of what it runs on your computer, javascript / other, then how about

    - on your real computer, burn a live image of your favourite Linux to a DVD

    - insert into a hard-drive-less old box and boot it up.

    -your isolated browser computer is connected to the internet but hopefully not to your private network

    - browse to your heart's content

    - when you turn off this dedicated device, any nasties evaporate into the bit bucket.

    - this does not solve/avoid root-kits in your EFI firmware, I'll let someone else advise on how to prevent that

    - one would avoid doing internet banking on this device.

    Is that secure? Comments welcome, flames not so much

    Have a great day

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Secure way to browse the web - old idea, any takers?

      Most users don't have two networks, which is the only way to prevent your browser device connecting to your LAN. Also, you have to be able to trust the distro as well. What if it was hacked and they change all the keys by pretending it to be an updated version and so on? Plus as you've said, it does nothing to firmware attacks which are becoming more common (since they're both OS-agnostic and nuke-resistant).

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't give a rats Azz

    I hope Mozilla falls flat on their face. Bunch of left wing nut jobs. I would never use Firefox if Chrome didn't crash KDE on Debian for me. F^&ck them and what they did to Brendan Eich.

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