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Falling out with Firefox

10th May, 2010

I’ve had a long-term loving relationship with Firefox probably since about 2000 when a web developer friend introduced me to it. Since that point I’ve not used another other browser for day to day surfing, other than testing designs or at my day job (corporate, so forced to use IE6…shudder). It’s fast, secure and flexible. Everything you could ask for in a browser. I’ve been faithful.

The break-up

I’ve been running XP on my machine at home for ages and was getting bored of it’s dated look, lack of driver support and just how damn sluggish it was. So a week ago I ordered Windows 7 and proceeded to install the 64 bit version. The rationale being I have a relatively new rig with 64 bit processor so why the hell not take advantage of the processing power? This is where it all started to go wrong.

Turns out Firefox doesn’t run on a 64 bit system. Well duh! you might say, but I had assumed that one of the most loved and advanced browsers in the world would support the latest computing architecture. How wrong was I? Turns out it doesn’t work on a 64 bit system. Bang go my saved password, bookmarks, browsing history and plugins.

The new partner

So WTF do I do now? I thought. IE is definitely not an option. Ever. Not sure about Safari or Opera, although they are excellent browsers. I’ll just try Google Chrome and see what gives.

Turns out all is well again, apart form saved passwords. I’ve managed, via a long winded backup restore process using my children’s PC, to get my profile data from Firefox into Chrome format and onto my machine. Chrome installed without a fuss and just works and for that matter, is bloody quick to render. Javascript in particular seems to be quite speedy, although there are some CSS3 elements not supported yet.

The divorce

I have to say that I am hugely disappointed and very surprised that Firefox doesn’t work on a 64 bit system. Frankly it beggars belief and so far I’ve not seen any firm commitment from Mozilla to address that imbalance. I’ve used this browser for ten years and through no fault of my own am rewarded for that loyalty by being forced to choose another web browser. As and when a 64 bit compatible version comes along I will have to seriously think about going back to Firefox. If Chrome holds out and becomes embedded in my day-to-day habits I don’t see the need. So long Firefox. It was great while it lasted.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Wills Bithrey permalink
    10th May, 2010 9:03 am

    Hi Rob,

    I can assure you Firefox does work on a 64bit system. Ok so it runs in 32bit mode, but seriously what advantages are you going to get out of a 64bot firefox apart from some slightly faster image processing etc.

    How do I know this? Because I run Firefox on Windows 7 x64 myself on my main PC.

    I Still love Chrome for everyday browsing however, so fast. But I can’t live without my FF plugins either πŸ˜‰

    • 10th May, 2010 9:27 am

      Well it doesn’t work on mine! I can install it, but it refuses to work, even with compatibility mode enabled. I’m not looking for 64 bit advantages, I just want it to work. 😦

      • Wills Bithrey permalink
        10th May, 2010 9:36 am

        Well that is very odd. No error messages or anything? And which version are you running? Did you try a different version, pretty sure 3.6 is what I’m running at home.

      • 10th May, 2010 3:30 pm

        Just says FF is already running, despite reboots and reinstalls. Will try one last time but don’t hold out much hope.

        As for IE8, no chance! It doesn’t support even the most basic of CSS3 elements which I need for designing. Also the ui is counter-intuitive with items spread all over the screen.

  2. Dchaps permalink
    10th May, 2010 9:35 am

    Yep, Firefox on Windows 7 x64 here as well.

    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.1; en-GB; rv:1.9.2.3) Gecko/20100401 Firefox/3.6.3

    Working well although I think some of the add-ons are less stable than on 32 bit Firefox on XP. Had a few more oops screens. Remember the 32 and 64 downloads are different exe’s. πŸ˜‰

    Chrome works well and is fast but still a lot of sites don’t render correctly.

    Also, forget the past and baggage we have all had with IE and take another look at IE8. Using that on a few systems and it really has become very good – if I had to choose a single browser for everyday it would now be IE.

    Dchaps

    • Wills Bithrey permalink
      10th May, 2010 9:38 am

      I agree with you, IE8 is miles better than anything before it, but in my opinion it’s still far from a good browser. Especially from a developer/designer viewpoint…

  3. 20th May, 2010 8:37 pm

    I’ve been using Google Chrome for all my main day-to-day browsing for quite a while now, so can highly recommend it. It is faster and more secure than Firefox so just makes more sense for random browsing.

    However, I still use Firefox for work as I love the Web Developers toolbar & Firebug too much.

    I can assure you though, FF does work on x64, I have three machines running x64 Win7 and it installed with no problems on all of them!?

    Did you manage to get it fixed?

    • 9th July, 2010 2:14 pm

      Eventually got it fixed, but only by dumping all of my profile data 😦 Started using Chrome and liked it so much that I decided to stick with it. Still doesn’t do some things Firefox can (ScreenGrabbing software is a bit poor, some extensions can be limiting, password storing is inconsistent) but otherwise am happy with Chrome.

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