Why I dumped Firefox for Chromium

Why I dumped Firefox for Chromium

Summary: After using Firefox for six years, I've finally come to the end of the road with it. Learn why, as well as why I chose Chromium to replace it as my primary Web browser.

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My relationship with Firefox has been on the rocks for a while. It officially ended this week. Time to move on.

While Firefox started out as a small, fast, and secure browser -- everything that Internet Explorer wasn't back in 2004 -- in the last several years Firefox has unfortunately become a bit of a slow, bloated, resource hog. Nevertheless, since I've been such a long-time Firefox user, I've been hanging on and waiting for the final release of Firefox 4, hoping that would give the 'fox some new life.

After using Firefox 4 for less than a week, it's clear to me that Mozilla hasn't fixed the speed issues or the resource problems, and I've finally reached the point where I'm tired of fighting with Firefox. I'm tired of constantly looking at my open processes to see what's bogging down my system and virtually every time it turns out to be Firefox.

The situation finally came to a head on Monday and Tuesday of this week when both cores of the CPU on my system were at 80% for big chunks of the day on both days, and the culprit was, naturally, my newly-installed Firefox 4. The clincher was when I took all of the tabs that I had open in Firefox (about 10 of them) and copied and pasted the URLs from Firefox into Chromium. Then, I closed down Firefox. The CPU utilization immediately dropped under 20% and everything on the system started running at normal speeds again.

I used Chromium all day on Wednesday as my primary Web browser for all of my TechRepublic tasks -- content management, blogging, selecting articles for our front door, creating photo galleries, running reports, and doing Web research. Chromium performed like a champ, opening most pages faster than Firefox and never bogging down the processor except for two occasions when I played large videos.

I'm sure some of you are asking, "What's Chromium?" or "Why Chromium instead of Google Chrome?"Chromium is the open source project that serves as the foundation for Google Chrome. Think of Chromium as the bleeding edge version of Chrome created by the open source community. However, Chromium is not for everyone. It's not nearly as polished or bug-free as Chrome, and while Chrome silently updates itself in the background, Chromium has to be updated manually (and there a new builds available almost every day). The process of updating to the latest build of Chromium is made easier by tools such as Chromium Updater.

However, my biggest motivation for choosing Chromium over Chrome is security. While Google promisesthat Chrome isn't reporting back to Google with any additional data about your browsing habits -- at last no more than any other Web browser -- I don't completely trust Google in that regard. The company has too much to benefit from gathering as much data as possible from every single user. Because Chromium is open source, if there was any kind of supposedly-harmless data collection going on, the open source coders would likely spot it and alert the community and the public. That, and the extra speed boost from running the cutting edge software builds, are what led me to Chromium.

I had been using Firefox as my primary Web browser for six years. That's certainly the longest I've ever stuck with a single browser -- I was on Netscape and then IE for 3-4 years each before jumping to Firefox in late 2004. Still, I'm not going to be uninstalling Firefox. I'll keep it around for occasional testing -- especially for new TechRepublic features. But, I don't see much chance of it regaining its spot as my primary Web browser.

The About pages for Chromium and Chrome show the open source roots and legacy behind Chromium.

Also read

The is article was originally published on TechRepublic.

Topics: Browser, Google, Open Source

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143 comments
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  • RE: Why I dumped Firefox for Chromium

    Personally, Firefox is still my preference when it comes to browsers. I do occasionally use Chrome and IE(9 only). I did notice that it has slowed down a bit and since making some changed(see http://www.softwarecrew.com/2011/04/10-great-add-ons-for-tweaking-customising-and-improving-firefox-4/), I have gotten better performance.
    ddiggity
    • RE: Why I dumped Firefox for Chromium

      @ddiggity
      I heard about Pale Moon today. Apparently, it is a stripped-down version of FF. I would try it but it is only available for Windows :-(
      Wakemewhentrollsgone
      • RE: Why I dumped Firefox for Chromium

        @ptorning I wouldn't doubt if they come up with a Mac version soon. It has gotten good reviews and is gaining popularity. The problem with browsers is that the competition is so intense, I think they sometimes forget the basics and try and give the browsers super extreme capabilities. I like how Pale Moon is so simple and focuses on what's most important...speed and efficiency.
        ddiggity
      • firefox slow?

        I have around 20 tabs open 24/7 with no issues... EXCEPT when I sit on a site with poor scripting or heavy scripting.
        pskill firefox open all tabs cept the bad one and life goes on
        domma
      • Deleted by user, (duplicate)

        Deleted by user, (duplicate)
        Joe.Smetona
    • RE: Why I dumped Firefox for Chromium

      @ddiggity
      Stick with IE is the only wb what is 100% for all websites.
      I am in the finnace world. and most online banking sites are not chrome friendly. too many security and encryption issues with it.
      rparker009
      • RE: Why I dumped Firefox for Chromium

        @rparker009
        IE?! IE is the one that I can't log into my bank or my work with (unless I use IE6 which is insecure). FF3, FF4, and Chrome all work there.

        The biggest problem I found with FF3 and FF4 was that the AdBlock Plus add-on screws up some web forms even when it's turned off.
        mheartwood
      • RE: Why I dumped Firefox for Chromium

        @rparker009 - I agree. there are certain transactions on some financial sites that will not tolerate Chrome. Other than that, chrome outdoes all other browsers in speed, user interface, recovery from crashes, updates, etc.
        pmishler
      • RE: Why I dumped Firefox for Chromium

        @rparker009
        Hmm. I designed a web site and specifically ignored IE-testing. I know, I'm a bad boy, but I was working cheaply and fully disclosed to the client the limitations of my service. I kept it simple, so it's probably good enough.

        I mention so you may amend your percentage to 99.999999, though, I think the number is a lot lower, especially when one applies more granularity to "IE," as in 6 or 7 or 8 or 9.
        DannyO_0x98
      • RE: Why I dumped Firefox for Chromium

        @rparker009
        Are you joking? Nah, probably just American... The *only* browser any bank here recommends against is any IE version - also I've read many people write about different "safe" login systems of various US banks and at least those I would never log in online - and security issues with Chrome? Recommendation of IE? Seriously!?
        robsku
      • My bank (TDBank) recommends Firefox.

        @rparker009 ...If you write web pages, IE doesn't follow standards (intentionally, for proprietary reasons) and makes a mess of your work. So, if you use either FF or Chrome to do your work, it will look fine. If you bring it up on IE, your stuff is all over the place and you have to start adjusting to make it (somewhat) work on all three browsers.<br><br>Also, IE still uses Active-X controls which are programming tools to allow developers write code which gives the program "extra special" access to your computer, in effect, letting the program control your computer to various extents. Firefox, Chrome and Linux do not use or recognize Active-X at all.<br>Yes, there is a Santa Claus, and it's not IE.<br><br>If you bank has properly written (adhering to accepted web standards) Web pages, Chrome and Firefox will work. If some Web developer skewed the code to accept non-standard, IE, than that would explain your problem. But, you are looking at it the wrong way. From what I have seen in the industry, web pages are being designed to adhere to the standard. And this is the majority. Really, how can you have different ways of writing Web pages?. One web site for the Microsoft crowd?<br><br>Check out this link for Browser usage. Firefox is leading by a mile with 42%, Chrome and IE with around 25% each.<br><br><a href="http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp</a></a>
        Joe.Smetona
      • RE: Why I dumped Firefox for Chromium

        @Joe.Smetona
        Exactly how are FireFox add-ons more secure than ActiveX programs?
        dotwhynot
      • Reply to dotwhynot.

        Active-X controls can only be used by Microsoft products. Firefox, Chrome, Linux, Opera and other products like Open Office don't use them for security reasons. Programmers use Active-X when writing programs to gain access to Windows functions that control the computer. Namely they work in conjuction with Com objects and OLE (object linking and embedding). So Active-X is also a function of Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office products.

        The main problem is Windows by nature is not secure and Active-X only compounds infections. Many articles have been written over the years to show how to disable Active-X on Windows for security reasons.

        At this point it is important to realize that the popularity of Firefox on Windows can be primarily attributed to recommendations from technical users. They would recommend it to their friends because it helped avoid virus infections in Windows due to the absence of Active-X.

        Add-ons for Firefox primarily relate to scripts that are equivalent to programs running on the OS, rather than like Active-X, which has deep tentacles into the main elements of Windows. However, many articles at ZDNet will blame Firefox for security breaches with Windows, when a Windows hole in security is the actual issue. An OS should be secure enough to prevent applications or programs from infecting it. Windows is not and as proof it needs AV protections. Linux does not need AV and doesn't get viruses or botnets. Firefox for Windows has sister applications that run on Linux. These don't have any infection issues like Windows does, so the difference is not in Firefox or any other application, but in the integrity of the OS.
        Joe.Smetona
    • RE: Why I dumped Firefox for Chromium

      @ddiggity Maybe you may want to look at SeaMonkey. Even though it is an internet suite, it uses the same rendering engine as Firefox. SeaMonkey is NOT a resource hog (at least on my Mac running OS X 10.6.7). SeaMonkey's browser IMHO is designed the way I believe Firefox should have been designed. SeaMonkey solves many of the problems users have complained about with Firefox. A bonus with SeaMonkey is that you get a great email client built off Thunderbird.

      Firefox originally arose because many felt the old Mozilla internet suite was too bloated and needed to be slimmed down. Currently it is Firefox 4 that is bloated and SeaMonkey (which is the continuation of the Mozilla internet suite) is the slimmed down app.
      paul351
    • RE: Why I dumped Firefox for Chromium

      @Jason .. you can try Srware iron also .. its as stable as the latest chrome version and yet free from any google code ;
      Personally i have been using FF4 from the release and found it a tad bit faster from the previous versions. I have been using the same window for over a week now .. and still not noticed the signs of sluggishness .. though the memory usage is quite high 650 mb for 12 tabs - this i think is a the main letdown here .. the cpu usage is just 9 % at the max ..
      swapnil.jaiswal
      • RE: Why I dumped Firefox for Chromium

        @swapnil.jaiswal
        Yes, Chromium with 15 tabs currently uses >1GB while Firefox port Swiftfox with <b>120</b> tabs uses less - both running currently and smoothly too...
        This is on Linux but it should not matter.
        robsku
    • Memory Fox 7.03

      @ddiggity---I searched in vain for Memory Fox 5.7, but it had disappeared into the nether regions of cyberspace. It had worked well with F.F., before a complete OS reinstall.<br>I fortunately found Memory Fox 7.03, after much searching, it being submitted for testing now. <br>It works very well, with my XP MCE 2005. It can reclaim memory, for all processes as well, if configured to. <br>No guarantees, but asking idevfh@gmail.com for a copy, may work for you.
      PreachJohn
    • Message has been deleted.

      PreachJohn
  • RE: Why I dumped Firefox for Chromium

    I know firefox slows down things, but I love it. Dumped chrome (and chromium) when it failed to encrypt my stored passwords and I think I love Firebug a lot (much more than Chrome Object Inspector) and I can do with a little lag in speed for a browser that gives me the exact functionality I need.
    xkizer
    • RE: Why I dumped Firefox for Chromium

      @xkizer Heads up. I think that I saw on a site(I think that it was Engadget) that Firebug slowed FF down up to 75%. they recommended disabling it until you really needed it.
      ddiggity