Is Firefox Losing its Focus?

Firefox is a great web browser, certainly the most extendable. In the beginning, one of Firefox’s strong points was how lightweight it was. It wasn’t full of extraneous features, it was pretty snappy. It did one thing, web browsing, and it did it well. But lately it has become rather heavy, especially in comparison to newcomers to the browser field like Google’s Chrome browser. It eats up a bit of RAM, takes awhile to start, and it just doesn’t feel as quick and nimble as Safari or Chrome.

I have to wonder, is Firefox losing its original focus? Is it time for a massive overhaul?

It has become apparent that the average user values startup time and UI responsiveness far more than extensions or other power features. Maybe it’s time that performance be given the spotlight once again, and extensibility given a back seat until the issue is sorted out.

My ideal browser isn’t Chrome, Opera, Safari, or even Camino; it’s a faster Firefox. I haven’t jumped ship because I would find it hard to get things done without certain extensions. I can’t see Chrome having similar extensions any time in the near future, and I’m not a fan of how Google has given Mac support a lower priority.

Edit: Just two days after I wrote this, Firefox 3.6 was released. Already, it’s a step in the right direction. The latest version uses significantly less RAM.

  • Steven Clark

    We’ve noticed the Firefox sluggishness as an increasingly frustrating barrier, too. I think I stick with Firefox partly out of loyalty for what it stands for (or stood for) and partly because several extensions are very handy as a web developer. I’m just updating again now, any speed up with the browser would be great.

    I vote for speed as the main priority for the next version of Firefox, too.