Firefox Lost Almost 50 million Users: Here’s Why It is Concerning

SpongebobFan1994

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While there are concerns about Google trying to monopolize the internet (or possibly create a duopoly with Amazon), Big Tech's controversies are digging it's own grave. On the other hand, Mozilla's been also digging it's own grave in recent years because of it's own controversies. What I see happening is Google's going to make Microsoft, Apple, Brave, and Mozilla gradually become irrelevant (which is already happening in one way or another), but because Google has a graveyard in it's closet, they're going to continue to lose users in terms of YouTube, Android, search engine usage, Google Services, Chromium, Chrome, etc, and that's going to eventually kill them (which is also already happening). As that trend continues, other search engines, operating systems, video sharing sites, browsers, and services are going to develop more of a presence (and that's slowly becoming a reality as I type this). Even if Amazon does jump on the bandwagon, they have a mountain of controversies as well, so it won't take long for them to become replaced by something else.
 
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Tolkem

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In one distro(KDE Neon Testing), I use 5 browsers; Chrome, Firefox(beta and release/stable), Brave, Seamonkey and Vivaldi. I use Firefox(beta)most of the time, mainly because it's easier to access the websites I visit the most(just click in the search/URL bar and select from the list). One thing I don't like about FF, is the fact that it uses a SQL database, which can slow it down at times, particularly when closing the browser; the Firefox process may take a few seconds to close. Brave it's nice, but I don't find it any better than the rest. Seamonkey, it's fast and lightweight, but it lacks some features, and I only have it to use composer(HTML editor). Vivaldi, latest version added a command-chain feature, which can be invoked by pressing some keys, similar to what you can do in some text editors like sublime or VScode, by hitting Ctrl + Alt + p, this feature is also available in latest KDE pressing Ctrl + Alt + i, to get a popup menu to access various settings and actions, in Vivaldi is a different combination(can't remember and not in Neon right now). Vivaldi comes with a built-in ads' blocker, however, it didn't block anything for me. Chrome, well, people may say whatever they want about Google, and I agree for the most part, but Chrome is actually a great browser, pretty fast and responsive with lost of features and a wide range of add-ons available. I also use Chromium, Opera and Slimjet in the other 2 distros. I find Chromium quite fast, faster than Firefox. Opera, I might just remove it, since I don't find it particularly good. Slimjet, same thing than with Opera. I also have Links 2, which is really handy if I just want to search some text or images, but GitHub is a no no lol as well as other sites, but for text and images, is really nice; memory usage is around 80 MiB. :)
 

craigevil

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That's a good question...

They're probably counted as Chrome. You can check with those browsers easily enough.


That's the result I got for checking user agent but it said it hates my VPN and I didn't feel like turning it off.

More advanced analytics would probably tell if it was Vivaldi or Brave - and I have seen Chromium as itself and not Chrome.

Those are also only the most common browsers used. Depending on where I look, like 5 to 20% of them are 'unknown'. Analytics aren't nearly as good as the people afraid of them think. No, no they are not.
Vivaldi's useragent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux aarch64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/92.0.4515.126 Safari/537.36

Firefox is my main browser on Linux. But on my android phone I use Vivaldi same for my Kindle Fire.

firefox:
Installed: 90.0-2
Candidate: 90.0-2

vivaldi-stable:
Installed: 4.1.2369.11-1
Candidate: 4.1.2369.11-1


I also have Min, LibreWolf, Tor Browser and Netsurf installed. I might use on of them a couple of times a month.

I have used Firefox since back in the day when it was called phoenix/firebird.

It seems like every few releases Mozilla screws with the layout or the way add-ons work.
 

dcbrown73

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I did an 'my three favorite text editors' article. I should do the same for browsers.
I would be interested in doing an article. My issue is I work a lot of hours with almost an hour commute each way. Then I have a family and on top of it. I'm a hobby junkie. (whatever I find interesting) I seriously do not have time to start another hobby. lol
 

KGIII

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I would be interested in doing an article.
The sentiment is great. I make it work. What I do is publish an article every other day - but I write the articles when I can and use the scheduling feature of WordPress. I only gotta make it a year before burning out. That's how long I've committed to the project. We'll see where it goes after that year is up.
 

Condobloke

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What a mess.

It is a can of worms...no matter which way you look at it

Possibly one of the biggest threats as fas as security for the user is concerned is that javascript is enabled. Why you ask??....try turning off javascript on whatever browser you are watching Linux.org with and see how you like the result. Hint: you won't

This poses the question....is there a logical, working alternative to javascript?
I think not.
Website owners use it to harvest all sorts of data..... as @Nelson Muntz would say "Everybody / everyone / every website has their hand in your butt plain and simple." That is FACT.

Some users use noscript (The NoScript Firefox extension provides extra protection for Firefox, Seamonkey and other mozilla-based browsers: this free, open source add-on allows JavaScript, Java, Flash and other plugins to be executed only by trusted web sites of your choice (e.g. your online bank).)
.....to clean scripting up on their pc's
Is it effective?....YES (since 2005)....Is it a pita to set up?....YES

So there is the thing. How much convenience are we willing to trade for a really secure browser?

if you dont give a rats ass re data collection and the other myriad of ways that your info is harvested so that the monkeys can make mega bucks
....then just continue on as you are.
Installing something like noscript is likely to give you sleepless nights anyway.

If you do give a rats ass, then either install no script or similar.....or give up using a PC.

IT IS THAT SIMPLE.

Oh....you want to know what I do ?!
At my age I dont give three flying f's what they know about me. My information is all a matter of public record. hint:....read the telephone book cover to cover and you will now more than most people....(or whatever passes for a phone book now.)
If 'they' rub their hands together in glee upon learning that I eat a brand name peanut butter or that I prefer slip on shoes above all else.....etc.....and are waiting for me to rush out and buy a truck load of some product because they have targeted me via info gained from their unscrupulous dealings.....they will be sorely disappointed.

On to Firefox.

I am using Brave Browser.
Why? ....because I require speed and no obtrusive ads.....and very few extensions

I gave up on Firefox approx 2 montha ago....maybe a little less than that.....I had been using FF religiously since around 2006..approx

Why?........(quote)
  • Constantly breaking the user experience with major overhauls
  • Lack of significant performance improvements in the recent years
Worse than bloody hopeless.
How does a major corporation allow a whiz bang browser to deteriorate to this extent???!!!
There can only be one answer

Money.

From where and from whom....I dunno....but there must be truckloads of it.

I acknowledge the inherent truth in @dcbrown73's post....
I have little trust in the Brave browser. Everything about their model and issues that have arisen all point to what they say and what they do being two different things.
I must admit to wondering the same thing when I have had a look at the 'Brave Summary' which is emailed to me.....all it contains is whinges....."where is my money"??....etc etc......I unsubscribed from that email. Depressing.

@Nelson Muntz .....""I've always been a Firefox user and still am however it's hard to ignore what Brave browser offers and pretty much blows Firefox away""......That says it all. At some point, we are willing to trade the feeling of insecurity (we are being played for suckers) for the convenience offered by anything attached to Chrome (google) in any way.
We are constantly reassured that Chromium and Brave do not share anything with Chrome. (@KGIII ....poll?)

That begs the question.....Do you Trust Google? or would you be more likely to trust Firefox?
@KGIII ....another poll?


@dcbrown73 ...I won't even go through all the issues that have been pointed out over time about Brave, but let's just start out that Brave is an advertising company #1. That by itself is a contradiction to *ensuring your privacy*. Brave was caught auto-completing / rewriting URLs to URLs that they earn money off of.
When ??... By Liam Tung | June 8, 2020 -- 14:19 GMT (00:19 AEST)

So,
are they crooked?....Yes...as a dog's hind leg. They had to be caught to stop their dishonest practise, otherwise it would still be happening.



@stan ...
Maybe there is a reason that Linux devs choose Firefox? ;)

So there it is. Thank you Stan.

We came to Linux, because in some form or another we have lost faith/trust etc etc etc in Windows.
We also attempt to convince newcomers of its trustworthiness (and we do a bloody good job of that)

We have come to trust Linux....with all its foibles and wonky bits, we trust it.
Personally, I absolutely enjoy the challenge that Linux presents.

I further enjoy Linux just because it works, and it is fast
My browser need to achieve exactly the same result




All that remains is for Firefox to get their act together.

I will welcome back the Speed and lack of Ads. (without having to add on so many extensions which ultimately slow FF down to a crawl).....are you listening Firefox?

I will switch back from Brave, in a heartbeat.








@Tolkem ...excellent post !!!!.....you have really opened a hornets nest....one that NEEDED opening too, btw.
 
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Tolkem

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I agree with @Condobloke and @Nelson Muntz on that we're already compromised, best we can do is try and not give much more info than we already have. BTW, I don't install Firefox using the pkg manager, that is, I don't use the one provided by the distro, I downloaded the .tar file from mozilla's website, extracted to /opt, then add it to my system, so it is available from the menu. I've been doing that for a while, and I do the same thing with Seamonkey and used to with palemoon as well. Also, I read in some post from one of mozilla's devps, Gabriele Svelto, that, and I quote:
Every time Firefox crashes, the user can send us a crash report which we use to analyze the problem and hopefully fix it ... This report contains, among other things, a minidump: a small snapshot of the process memory at the time it crashed. This includes the contents of the processor’s registers as well as data from the stacks of every thread. Once the user submits a crash report, we have a server-side component – called Socorro – that processes it and extracts a stack trace from the minidump. To extract a meaningful stack trace from a minidump two more things are needed: unwinding information and symbols. In regular Firefox releases, we extract this information from the build files and store it into symbol files in Breakpad standard format.
When it comes to Linux things work differently than on other platforms: most of our users do not install our builds, they install the Firefox version that comes packaged for their favourite distribution.
This posed a significant problem when dealing with stability issues on Linux: for the majority of our crash reports, we couldn’t produce high-quality stack traces because we didn’t have the required symbol information. The Firefox builds that submitted the reports weren’t done by us. To make matters worse, Firefox depends on a number of third-party packages (such as GTK, Mesa, FFmpeg, SQLite, etc.). We wouldn’t get good stack traces if a crash occurred in one of these packages instead of Firefox itself because we didn’t have symbols for them either.
To address this issue, we started scraping debug information for Firefox builds and their dependencies from the package repositories of multiple distributions: Arch, Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE and Ubuntu. Since every distribution does things a little bit differently, we had to write distro-specific scripts that would go through the list of packages in their repositories and find the associated debug information (the scripts are available here). This data is then fed into a tool that extracts symbol files from the debug information and uploads it to our symbol server.
With that information now available, we were able to analyze >99% of the crash reports we received from Linux users, up from less than 20%.
Basically, he says that by using the FF's pkg provided by the distro, you can't get significant information to file a bug report properly. Here's the article https://hacks.mozilla.org/2021/05/improving-firefox-stability-on-linux/
Regarding search engines, again, people can say whatever they want about google, but, I find everything with it, easily, with duck is a hit-and-miss, sometimes the results I expect to be at the top, because it is what I'm looking for, are in the second or third page, and sometimes there are no results, at least not in the first 3 pages, and I'm sorry, but if a search engine is going to hide the thing I'm looking for 10 pages down, I don't really want to use it.
 

Tolkem

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kc1di

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KGIII

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@KGIII ....another poll?
Hmm...

I'm pretty sure nobody is going to pick Google over Mozilla as far as trust goes. Hell, Chrome and Chromium are my two most-used browsers and I'd still pick Mozilla over Google as far as trust goes.

The real question is by what margin and how much one values the various trusts in their decision making.

We need one of those poll-writing experts to do a weighted poll with a ton of questions if we want any hope at getting meaningful data!

Example:

I keep everything compartmented and don't really do any banking online. The cards I used online are all to limited accounts or a pre-paid in a fake name. The closest I come to banking online is using PayPal and that isn't even attached to a bank account. If I want to take money out of it, I use their debit card.

I just don't trust the 'net, regardless of browser. As such, I'm quite comfortable using Chrome, but my degree of trust is pretty low.

I have no idea how to encapsulate that in a poll.

Lemme ponder. It may require using some sort of poll service that lets me ask multiple questions.
 

LiLiu

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I have used Firefox as my web browser since ... well, since the time I have been using computers, the article is enlightening, and the idea of a Google web browser monopoly sounds ... worrisome, to say the least.

Nowadays it is nigh impossible to avoid Google entirely, they have got their hands in everything it would appear like.
 

dcbrown73

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The sentiment is great. I make it work. What I do is publish an article every other day - but I write the articles when I can and use the scheduling feature of WordPress. I only gotta make it a year before burning out. That's how long I've committed to the project. We'll see where it goes after that year is up.
Okay, I made a quick tutorial for the hell of it. :p
 

KGIII

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Okay, I made a quick tutorial for the hell of it. :p
Nice! I read through it and it was well-written. I'm gonna check it again tomorrow 'cause it's Friday night and I'm sipping rum instead of wine. If you ever wanna do an article for L-T, we can set that up! Heck, there's even a handy form you can fill in!

If I'm drinking rum, I try to not be all that active online. Lessons learned... Lessons learned...
 

Tolkem

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Beginning in M94, Chrome will offer HTTPS-First Mode, which will attempt to upgrade all page loads to HTTPS and display a full-page warning before loading sites that don’t support it. Users who enable this mode gain confidence that Chrome is connecting them to sites over HTTPS whenever possible, and that they will see a warning before connecting to sites over HTTP. Based on ecosystem feedback, we’ll explore making HTTPS-First mode the default for all users in the future. Mozilla has also shared their intent to make HTTPS-only mode the future of web browsing in Firefox.
 
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