A New York Times article reminded me of my love/hate relationship with Firefox. The article points out that Firefox 3 will be released next month with a bunch of new features. While the new feature list seems impressive on the surface, the truth is that I love Firefox for its extensions more than its features.
Right now, though, I get frustrated with Firefox 2 at least weekly due to lock ups and slow downs associated with memory leaks. A couple times it has frustrated me to the point of switching to another browser (including the beta of Firefox 3). But in each of those cases, I’ve switched back within days. The price I pay in lock ups and slow downs still feels less than the price I pay in loss of functionality by giving up my extensions when switching to another browser.
Along with the new feature set, Firefox 3 apparently runs faster and uses less memory. Don’t get me wrong, fancy new features and better performance is exactly what I want. But will I have to give up my current usability to get it? How long after Firefox 3 is released will I need to wait before the extension problem is fixed?
Firefox, mostly via its extensions, is my browser of choice. But as long as I have to take two steps backward before taking one step forward, I’m going to be disappointed with each new version release every time.
For more on this topic, check out A Tale of Two Betas: Firefox 3 and Internet Explorer 8 and Extensions are a double-edged sword – A Firefox 3 Preview.