Firefox 57 Review – Two Weeks Later

Mozilla’s Firefox took the media by storm with it’s new and improved Quantum engine and redesigned user interface. Despite being “30% faster than Chrome”, many of the users have been left disappointed with the lack of extensions from the get-go due to the WebExtension requirement. In this article, I’ll be sharing my experiences with the Firefox and how it has impacted my work-flow.

Performance

It’s no doubt that Mozilla has had a performance overhaul with it’s latest iteration and that is always welcome in a time where software is becoming more bloated. Mozilla claims that it is “30% lighter than Chrome” however, it is unknown in what context they mean this. Assuming that Mozilla means this for the memory usage however, after my personal with Firefox v57 and Chromium v62 side by side, there was no difference in memory usage. Both browsers consumed identical amounts of memory and they had the exact same extensions on both of them. Although I was disappointed by this, Firefox now runs much smoother than it’s previous versions.

Usability and Appearance

Firefox was always well known for its customization and ability to be tweaked beyond recognition. With version 57, Firefox now only supports WebExtensions which initially is a major letdown for some. I know that I too was affected by the lack of Fire Gestures and Tab

Mix Plus however I found alternatives. In spite of this, many developers are now or have already rewritten their extensions in WebExtensions such as NoScript. Much of Firefox has remained the same when it comes to appearance however the theme has had a flat makeover with it’s square tabs. This was quite controversial as the legacy themes such as those who completely change the look and feel of the UI which has limited the options for the users.

Success or failure?

Privacy

Mozilla has been an advocate for privacy since the dawn of Firefox and we are thankful that Firefox is able to be tweaked to make it work the way you would want it to. By default, Firefox is set to send “technical and interaction data” back to Mozilla and “install and run studies”. Although it never is a pleasant sight to see things like this being opt-out, it’s good to know that once can easily turn it off. I’ve played around with some stuff in about:config and it turns out that there are somethings that we could turn off that we didn’t even know of! Despite having questionable defaults, it’s no doubt that Firefox is the choice for Privacy enthusiasts.

It’s good to know that Firefox has improved considerably in performance but has also stayed true to its customization.

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