FirefoxSaturday, Jan 28, 2017 · 600 words · approx 3 mins to read
It feels absolutely ridiculous to write about which browser you should use in the face of what’s happening in the United States right now, but I need to do something to draw my thoughts elsewhere, and the theme of freedom I’m going to write about has appropriate parallels to what’s going on.
You should really use Firefox as your browser, especially where that means that it’ll be actual Firefox, not just the chrome around the system-provided embeddable browser. Firefox is the worst of The Big Four browsers today, by most anecdotal accounts. I can only install three of those four on my Mac, because it’s a Mac, but Firefox is still dead last.
It’s noticeably slower, clunkier and less integrated into Apple’s software platform and macOS than Safari. It’s less richly extendable now than Chrome, which is quite something for the browser that pioneered extensibility and taught the market how it should be done. Until recently it supported a weak execution model for modern tabbed browsing, and ran all tabs in the same process. Heck, multiprocess Firefox is still trivially defeated and disabled by plenty of common extensions you can install, even if these days it tries to enable it by default.
But it’s still the browser you should run. Mozilla works hardest to promote an open Web, and they’re the most pragmatic about your security and privacy. By open Web I mean one built on open standards and interoperability, where the user isn’t funnelled down a rabbit hole of proprietary vendor extensions to core Web technologies. A Web where Mozilla aren’t forcing content publishers to adopt proprietary content delivery technology under the auspice of a better experience for those on the end of low bandwidth, high latency connections, like Google is with AMP.
Mozilla is a company that actively cares about the privacy of the user, and attempts to embody that in Firefox. Google actively use Chrome to make you the thing they sell to their advertisers. Apple does a good job on privacy outwardly, but without the source code to the rest of the browser around the WebKit core, it’s impossible to tell what’s really going on.
With Firefox, the code is there. The freedom to take it and fix it, shape it, learn from it, audit it and learn from what it’s doing, is at the core of Mozilla’s entire being. It’s what they used to exist in the first place, post-Netscape. Firefox is developed out in the open with a view to keeping the most closed actors on the Web honest and moving forwards in an open way.
Without Mozilla and without Firefox I’m worried the Web will become an increasingly closed platform driven by Apple and Google. At least for me, it’s time to put Safari to one side on my Mac and use Firefox instead. It’s worse in almost every way for my simple use case and how I browse around, but it’s the right thing to do. Think of it as a principled vote for a more open Internet in general. It’s worse, but it’s not dreadful, and without an influx of new users to drive Mozilla’s own renewed focus on Firefox, it might not be enough to keep the Web free.
Get Firefox now and help bring back a better Web.