Wednesday, December 22, 2004

As we all know, I had Thanksgiving week off, and I proceeded to completely waste that week. Why the fuck am I talking about Thanksgiving week nearly a month later? Well, I've got this piece of shit in my drafts folder, and I want it the hell out of there.

Anyway, there were at least a few hours that week, though, where I had a semi-legitimate excuse for not doing something classically productive, and that was when I was busy experimenting with new software. Yeah, that's how cool I am; other people experiment with drugs and kinky sex things, and I experiment with software. Then afterwards I go do all that experimenting purely in my mind online with lonely men twice my age pretending to be girls half my age.

Anyway, one thing I decided to give another spin was Firefox, the other web browser produced by the Mozilla people. If you read Slashdot, you'll undoubtedly remember the time of the release of Firefox 1.0 when we saw the front page turned into nothing but one huge Firefox propaganda machine. Goebbels would have been proud. But of course, all the attention was well deserved. You did know that Firefox is actually the single greatest boon to mankind we've ever seen, right?

Well, actually, it isn't. Now, if you've been using Internet Explorer for awhile as your primary web browser, Firefox probably is just about as good as a cure for cancer to you (assuming you have cancer, that is). Compared to Firefox, Internet Explorer is just fucking unusable.

Being someone who primarily uses Mozilla and Netscape versions based on Mozilla, I found Firefox to be an unusable piece of shit. I like the principle behind Firefox -- a lean, fast, feature-rich browser. The problem is, compared to Mozilla, it's too lean. There are a lot of little things in Mozilla that I'm just used to, things that I can't lose without feeling as if I've lost a limb. Well, maybe not a limb, but a finger or a toe.

The first thing is that on the tab bar in Firefox, there's no "new tab" button at the far left. Yes, you can still double-click the tab bar to get a new tab, so what's the big fuckin' deal, bitch? Well, it's just one of those things that once you get used to it, you're used to it, and you don't want to give it up unless you have to. Now, you can get the "new tab" button in Firefox if you go and download an extension. But I shouldn't have to go and download an extension for something so goddamn basic.

Another thing that was intolerable is the personal toolbar. In Mozilla, not only do you have a bunch of quick links on the PT, but there's also a drop-down menu for all of your bookmarks. Again, you can just go up to the "Bookmarks" menu and get the list right there, but if you're used to it on the PT... Well, you're used to it. Things just feel wrong if it's not where it's "supposed" to be, especially if it's something you use constantly. I also couldn't find an easy way to get this functionality back; the closest I could get was an icon that opened up a list of bookmarks in a sidebar. I FUCKING HATE SIDEBARS.

Also, the bookmarks menu wouldn't keep place of where I was last time I was perusing the list. I tend to have a long list of unsorted bookmarks, and typically I want to go to one that's at the bottom of the list. Having to scan down through all the bookmarks I simply refuse to organize is simply not acceptable.

Fonts looked like fucking shit in a lot of places. At first I thought I had a version that was running without anti-aliased fonts, but I don't think that's what it was. Fonts just looked either A) weird or B) shitty. When I download Mozilla tarballs and unpack them, everything magically looks just like I want it to. But if Mozilla is set up via RPM or I'm running Firefox, things just look like shit. So I'm tired of fucking with that.

Fonts and font control have always been a sore spot with me, anyway. It seems like ever since the first Netscape, modifying the font preferences never seems to do a fucking thing. God, I hate that. If it doesn't do anything, don't bother putting it in there. If I wanted a placebo I'd start getting involved in pharmaceutical test studies. But shit, even people getting sugarpill sometimes at least think the "medication" is doing something, as opposed to worthless fucking browser font controls which I know do precisely nothing.

I didn't care for Firefox's text-box completion shit, either. I find it useful in the URL bar, but that's about the only place. Auto-complete gets real agitating anytime I'm at a search engine or something, trying to type out what I need to, and a fucking pop-down menu with a bunch of irrelevant shit shows up. I couldn't see an easy way to turn this off, but I didn't look too hard (not that there are a lot of config settings in the preferences to begin with, though) since my toying around with that came towards the end of my little foray into Firefox land.

Having the Google (or whatever engine you prefer) search on the main toolbar is almost a useful thing, but it's so small that after typing more than one word you can't see what you had already typed before. I much prefer to just click Mozilla's "search" button and go to the engine front page. You can also type in Google searches on the URL bar, but it's obnoxious doing that because it just feels wrong putting anything but a URL up there.

Then there were just some plain infuriating operational bugs. I was able to import things like bookmarks and stored passwords just fine from Mozilla, but Firefox decided it was just going to keep losing all of my stored passwords. After that happened about a million times, I just blew Firefox away and went back to happily using Mozilla.

I played around with Firefox about a year ago when it was known as Phoenix (and these are only two of about 80 names that the browser project has had), and the results were pretty much the same. Firefox made too many compromises (most of the ones I'm pissed over are just little shit that they could have left alone) from regular ol' Mozilla, and I just can't handle it. Yeah, so much of my grudge with Firefox is based on the fact that I've been a Mozilla user for a long time, and, like I said, I am just way too used to it. So Firefox is pretty much screwed with me unless they get a couple of things fixed (or at least easily configurable). I'm not holding my breath, since I'm pretty sure that's exactly what I was saying a year ago. Mozilla versus Firefox: Mozilla wins.

The other thing I wasted a bunch of time on that week was fucking with Fedora Core 3, but my bitching session on that got way out of hand and I don't even think it was the least bit amusing. So maybe I'll bust that out around the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday since I clearly don't give a shit if my posts are amusing anymore (not entirely true).

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