What Should Mozilla Do As Firefox 4 Performance Problems Persist?

by Sam Dean - Apr. 05, 2011Comments (25)

Mozilla's Firefox 4 browser was one of the hotly awaited open source releases of the year so far, but reports continue to flow in about slow performance, and even inexplicable crashes. During the long beta cycle for the new browser, there were far fewer performance issues, probably because many users didn't have their full arsenal of Firefox extensions running. Now that they do, many are claiming that extensions themselves are slowing the browser down, and Mozilla is making some concessions in this direction. The company has a running list of the slowest performing extensions, available here. In the face of these problems, what is the best course of action for Mozilla to take?

Mozilla's disclosure of slow performing add-ons is admirable, but let's not forget that browsers are one of the most competitive application categories, and the open source Chrome browser from Google is breathing down Firefox's neck in terms of market share. Chrome is widely lauded for performance, while Firefox 4 is taking criticism precisely on the performance front. 

Datamation suggests that Firefox development itself needs a reboot:

 "Let’s have a spinoff of Firefox that is to that browser what Firefox itself was to Netscape. Not just another iteration in Firefox’s development, but a clean slate – a way to get back to the basics that the original iterations of Firefox prided itself on and were valued for in the first place."

Actually, one of the best things about previous versions of Firefox was that they achieved a good balance between browser performance and availability of add-ons. Chrome has closed the gap in this area, though, as more and more popular extensions are available for it, and it is a very fast browser. 

One thing to keep in mind is that Mozilla has promised a new, rapid release cycle for Firefox that will more closely resemble Chrome's development cycle. In fact, there are four versions of Firefox slated to arrive this year--far more than Mozilla ever delivered in any previous year. Upcoming versions may solve some of the problems with add-ons, but not necessarily quickly. And, it is essential for Firefox to run extensions smoothly, since doing so has been one of the perceived advantages to the browser for years.

Mozilla's publication of a list of slow-performing add-ons seems to imply that the company is resigned to the fact that user configurations of the browser can bring its performance down significantly. Instead, Mozilla needs to address performance problems from the ground up, so that Firefox retains an optimal combination of performance and extensibility. Until Mozilla gets that combination right again, without pinning problems on users, the door for Chrome to continue gaining market share while Firefox's stays flat is wide open.

 



Handrus Nogueira uses OStatic to support Open Source, ask and answer questions and stay informed. What about you?



25 Comments
 

FIREFOX WITH 25 ADDONS ... RUNS SO VERY NICE AND FAST NO CRASHES ... HOW ABOUT UPGRADING COMP .. TO ALL THE WHINERS OUT THERE ..I HAVE NO PROBLEMS AT ALL AND WILL CONTINUE TO USE THE BEST BROWSER THERE IS .. FIREFOX 4


0 Votes

So I'm not the only one how thinks that Firefox 4 sucks big time. It is slow and eats a lot of CPU sometimes without rendering rich content, it freeze without a reason and surprise flash player is not involved.

My default browser is Chrome and it's great.

I think that we have to much browsers and a good thing for html5 future will be if some of them will go away. I wont miss Firefox and Opera.


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I tried updating to Firefox 4 today. I am using Fire FTP and was prompted that it needed to be updated for version 4, so I checked the box to update Fire FTP. However, as soon as I tried using Fire FTP, the software hung and crashed. There is a fix, but it hasn't been approved yet. So, I am back to 3.6.


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I'm also having problems with this firefox 4 when i am opening some websites like my ebay on ebay it will go to yahoo search and says page not found.. even in facebook it sometimes just goes to yahoo and 404 page not found.. I am really pissed with this new firefox.


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I've noticed that uninstalling a few add-ons decreased loading times(like my SEO toolbar) and freed up some RAM but, didn't realize it was 10%.I like the idea that they will provide a warning for add-on toolbars. I never download these and always pay careful attention to any SUN install that I do(hey, they have to make money some how). We also wrote a post about some add-ons that improve the Firefox experience. You can check it out here:http://www.softwarecrew.com/2011/04/10-great-add-ons-for-tweaking-customising-and-improving-firefox-4/


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Firefox 4 is quite disappointing, especially when it can't render fonts properly without disabling hardware acceleration (on Nvidia cards).


Ever since jumping ship for opera and then chrome, I've kept FF for use as a fallback browser for the odd site that did not support chrome (aka my university's webmail), but seeing the recent mess makes me sad. Shame they have to sacrifice stability and speed to play number catch up and showboat the other higher numbered browsers :(


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Firefox 4 - Unistall it, as I did on my Mac and likewise on my wife`s PC - before you comment - everything ` up to date ` ! Reverted to 3.6.16 on both machines - still some issues and crashes, but not as widespread as with version 4. SHOULD HAVE REMAINED IN BETA UNTIL ALL ISSUES WERE REMEDIED!

IF YOU USE INTERNET BANKING AND THE 3D SECURE SYSTEM - VERSION 4 DOES NOT SUPPORT SAME.

THE ONLY ONES WHICH DO, AT THE MOMENT ARE AS FOLLOWS ( AND THIS IS FROM THE HORSE`S MOUTH ) :-


I.E 7 & 8 FOR WINDOWS

FIREFOX 3 FOR WINDOWS AND MAC OS 10.4 +

GOOGLE CHROME FOR WINDOWS ( NOT MAC )!

SAFARI 4+ FOR MAC OS 10.4 + ( NOT WINDOWS ) !


SO THERE YOU HAVE IT - TO MY MIND, EXTREMELY BIG MISTAKE ON MOZILLA`S PART!


TIME TO DIVERSIFY, AND CREATE AN OPEN SOURCE, SUPERLUMINAL ( FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF LIGHT ) BROWSER, FOR ALL OS, WITH NO COMPATIBILITY ISSUES, NO ADD ONS, NO TWEAKS - BACK TO THE BASICS! AM SURE IT CAN BE DONE - BY SOME PEOPLE, AT SOME TIME IN THE FUTURE, BUT GOODNESS KNOWS WHEN.


UNTIL SUCH TIME, WILL BE USING ALTERNATIVE BROWSERS, WITH NO INTERNET BANKING COMPATIBILITY ISSUES! C`EST LA VIE!


0 Votes

I have recently updated to Firefox 4, having used previous versions for several years as my default browser. Since updating, I am unable to open or delete any email messages. I can open other sites.

I can access my email via Internet explorer.

I have restored my system to a date prior to updating Firefox but this has not fixed the problem.

I still find my system still shows that I am using Firefox 4.

What can I do?

Richard


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I have found Firefox 4 nothing by a pleasure to use. When I read articles like this reporting that "Performance Problems Persist?" and they link to fanboyish articles as their only evidentuary support, then I have to question the motives of the author.


0 Votes

it crashed on me a few times.


0 Votes

Why wait for Mozilla to repair its increasing slow, buggy, under-performing browser? I resisted Chrome for a long time, but after using it for a few months and then experiencing yet another problem plagued Firefox version it has become my preferred browser. Much faster, and does not get slower the more hours I use it. I can shut it down and it does not take 40 seconds to over a minutes to shut down like FF4.


Mozilla started out well. Has gotten worse with each version. Supposed to be the other way around isn't it?


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Why does Ostatic post lies like this? One stupid site mentioning problems doesn't mean everyone is affected. I use Firefox nightly builds and they are far more stable than buggy as hell Chrome nightly builds.


0 Votes

Everyone here needs to get a life.


0 Votes

Does the article reflect the author's experience?


0 Votes

Up graded to version 4. Firefox will not take it. . I now have various attachments to Yahoo. Why? I do not want Yahoo in my computer. Now unable to access e-mail, except g-mail, Cannot access ANY web site that requires a login. and password even though properly registered. Has stopped my access to B of A bank accounts accounts. The only thought I have is to back up and load a lower version and dump #4 At the moment Firefox has become usless to me. Thank god I only upgraded one of four computers.


Any thoughts??


Andy Quinn775-577-4626


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Unable to access any web site that requires signing in. No more access to e-mail. Where did yahoo come from? No my request. Should I go backward and go to an older version


Andy775-577-4626


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Dumped F4 on PC and Mac - crashing constantly. Went back to 3.6.16

For all who want it first uninstall or trash F4.

Install the pevious version for either PC or Mac from the drop down list -

mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/all-older.html

Hope this helps!


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Thank you anonymous! I upgraded to Firefox 4 and was pleased with its new look and speed. A few days later, it nearly causes my laptop to crash and I haven't been able to open Firefox in over a week. I switched to Chrome, and was pissed by the brush-off Mozilla has given users who've complained about the crashing and bugs in their new upgrade. I'm still going to use Firefox, but not as loyally as I have in the past.


0 Votes

I don't know what everyone is talking about. My Firefox is fine, hasn't crashed once and I have been using it since the early beta's.

@chantakan Firefox was in development since around June of 2010, It was finally in March that they released the browser. That is a long time. I have seen the progression of Firefox, and, atleast on my computer, Firefox seems to be great, fast and reliable. It's my #1 browser right now. I can't use the other browsers, I've tried them all, but Firefox feels right.


0 Votes

Anonymous User, entry dated April 12th 2011 - as I previously stated, use Mac - OS 10.6.7 - Version 4 downloaded and set up correctly - but alas, crashes galore - even stated it could not find the server at Google!!! Same thing with neighbours who have downloaded the version to either PC running Windows 7 or Vista, and Mac likewise. We ALL got similar crashes!

Why? - Inexperience - NO - not in my case - been with the Net,since commercially available ! Been with computers - 41 years! - showing my age now! Netscape Navigator user initially!

No my friend, consider yourself one of the lucky ones, for whatever reason, but you cannot deny that the general concensus of opinion here regarding the new version is somewhat - NEGATIVE! - to say the least!

Also tried some of the version 4 Beta downloads - unimpressed!

Further note, and have had this from my Internet Banking Provider - THIS BROWSER IS NOT SUPPORTED RE TRANSACTIONS - THEY, IN THEIR REPLY, DO NOT STATE EITHER AS TO WHETHER OR NOT IT IS LIKELY TO BE! I am of the opinion, after having received that reply, that many hiccups prevail, and that version 4 should have remained a Beta release, until ALL COMPATIBILITY issues were resolved, which is obviously the case.

DO NOT ALWAYS BELIEVE THE HYPE!


0 Votes

I have also reverted back to Firefox 3.6 after trying to use Firefox 4 for only two days. Several times in those two days, the application would continue to run but was unresponsive to input (wouldn't change to a new tab, wouldn't open a new window, wouldn't display the contents of windows, reported that sites were unavailable even though I could get to the same site with a different browser). Running on OS X 10.6.7. Viewing site such as att.net, MSN TV, ABCnew.com, MSNBC.com, CNN.com, CBSNEWS news websites. No add-ons. It wouldn't even quit and had to be forced-quit each time it became unresponsive.


0 Votes

Ever since upgrading from Firefox 3.6 to Firefox 4, I have had some trouble playing CityVille on Facebook. Whenever I try to send a request, the list of friends to select is EMPTY!! The game works fine on Internet Explorer 9 and Google Chrome. I wouldn't be surprised one bit if I have similar problems with Zynga's other games, such as YoVille, FarmVille, and Mafia Wars.


However, for most of the other websites I visit regularly, Firefox 4 works without a problem. I really wish Mozilla will fix these issues as its very irritating to switch to a different browser to do certain things that I was able to do in Firefox 3.6.


0 Votes

Most of the time if firefox 4 crashes because of the plugins the user has chosen to install. Uninstall and reinstall the browser will fix the problem.

http://backspacetab.com/2011/04/14/firefox-4-crash-tips-to-fix-firefox-4...


0 Votes

"has a running list of the slowest performing extensions" - And #1 on that list: Firebug... The single most important add-on to any web developer.


Firebug with FF4 is a pain in the ASS. If you have ANY large page with a lot of elements, with jQuery or other DHTML attached to it (like the Blocks list in the Admin section of a Drupal web site), it locks up - at best for ONLY several seconds... at worst - about a quarter of the time - you have to use Task Manager to kill the browser and start over.


There's NO WAY that Firefox and its devs can just sweep Firebug under the table and simply say, "Just disable problem add-ons (like Firebug) and deal with it. It's not OUR fault that FF 3.6.x works fine with Firebug but FF4 sucks with it - it's Firebug's fault."


If they don't resolve these issues, Firefox 4 will become the browser's "Netscape 4" - the buggy death knell that eventually led to the creation of another browser to fix the problems. Hopefully that 4.x won't be the same bad omen...


0 Votes

Firefox 4 and above versions are night mare and has many issues with many website jquary plugin which use to do great in 3.6 versions but after that it has become hell to support firefox browser for our web application. Upto 3.6 version of FF it was great to support FF chrome opera safari without much problem but after FF4 release it looks it has come form some odd and now we are putting it in the category of non supported browser for our web app. I i think many company will do the same as very difficult to support many features. So FF4 and above and IE5,6 are put in the same category of unsupported browser. I suggest Mozila corporation should think about this or else in a year time user of FF will be nill. It is sad to write such comment but unfortunately for now we are leaving such a great browser in unsupported list.


0 Votes
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