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Brad Fitzpatrick

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Firefox 3, a little rant [Mar. 17th, 2008|09:34 am]
Brad Fitzpatrick
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Dear Firefox,

We've been together now, what, 9 years? Remember back in the M18-ish days in 2000 when you used to shit your image cache? Aww, so cute. Yes, those were fun times.

You were new then, so I could forgive your kinda sucking.

But 8 years later I'd expect you to get your act together. In particular, a slow network operation should not beach-ball the whole goddamn application. Please go back to school and learn some basic networking, perhaps some threading, maybe some state machines. For Chist's sake.

When I visited the Mozilla campus a few months ago and did my little lunchtime presentation on why I'm breaking up with Firefox, this was my number one complaint, but I was happy with your guys' answer:
Oh, there are two APIs in OS X to do async networking, and we were using the wrong one in Firefox 1 and 2... the old, wrong one blocks the whole app. In Firefox 3 we're using the correct one!
So I temporarily displaced my frustration with Firefox and redirected it at Apple, for whom I'll always have extra capacity for frustration.

I waited patiently.

Then the Firefox 3 betas started to come out. "Holy shit!" I thought, "This stuff's getting pretty impressive. A browser on Linux that doesn't piss me off! Oh cute, they even fixed most the memory leaks!"

So yeah, I'm liking Firefox 3 (currently beta 4).

But you still fucking beach-ball all the time on OS X when the network is slow. That is to say, just about whenever I use my laptop, which is always over WiFi or EVDO.

Please fix.

Lovingly yours,

P.S. I'd open a bug, but my last bug has been open for 4 years or so now, so I'm not going to waste my time with that anymore. (I even funded a developer to fix the bug I'd opened a ticket for.... twice.)

Update, 2008-02-24: Turns out the problem is PAC files.

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[User Picture]From: loic
2008-03-17 05:03 pm (UTC)
I assume so, but I'm sure he'll be able to say the same about FF4b4 in a couple of years when they're done rewriting everything again. There seem to be no plans for making the hard CPU intensive bits of the Mozilla platform multithreaded. I have four cpus! By the time FF4 comes out I'll have eight or sixteen!
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[User Picture]From: dan_lane
2008-03-17 04:54 pm (UTC)
I switched to Camino a long time ago... but I don't use any fancy plugins so I wasn't already invested in FireFox in any way.
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[User Picture]From: jasonwert
2008-03-17 05:07 pm (UTC)
Is Firefox your preferred browser in Linux or would you recommend a better one?
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[User Picture]From: brad
2008-03-17 05:15 pm (UTC)
What else is there? :(

Yeah, I use Firefox on Linux. On a Mac I tend to use Camino or Safari.
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[User Picture]From: jope
2008-03-17 05:59 pm (UTC)
Hmm, the plugins comment has me wondering about extensions: If you have any extensions installed (I'd be surprised if you didn't), do you still get the beachball behavior when you disable all of them? Kinduva shot in the dark, but easy enough to test. As best I can recall, I have rarely gotten the beachball, even in poor Wifi conditions. Although it's also possible that I've just developed a blindspot.

Just trying to address the problem itself, rather than adding to the bitchfest.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2008-03-17 06:07 pm (UTC)
No extensions. Extensions are the fool's game. Quickest way to make FF suck.
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[User Picture]From: erik
2008-03-17 06:31 pm (UTC)
Say a little prayer for fixed ALT tags display, too. I can never read the full tags on the xkcd comics. :-(
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[User Picture]From: vadda
2008-03-17 06:37 pm (UTC)
Woohoo, great news! (Actually not so much since my Shredinger cat wen...
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(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: nedrichards
2008-03-17 09:40 pm (UTC)
Do you get waht you pay for with IE, Opera and Safari as well?
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[User Picture]From: mart
2008-03-17 06:33 pm (UTC)

If your async networking API blocks the app, then how can you possibly call it async?

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[User Picture]From: ioerror
2008-03-17 07:00 pm (UTC)
Seriously! WTF!
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[User Picture]From: yolospat
2008-03-17 07:11 pm (UTC)
So when you are hating on Firefox, what do you use as a default browser in OSX?
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[User Picture]From: brad
2008-03-17 08:56 pm (UTC)
Camino and/or Safari.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2008-03-17 09:25 pm (UTC)

death to the beach ball

It's amazing how many things on OS X just freeze EVERYTHING this way. It feels like there's one thread and the rest of them all went out to lunch. Especially during I/O and network operations, where the damned thing blocks like Windows 3.1 with Trumpet Winsock and a goose.

Between that and the window manager doing aleatory focus management, I'm having a really hard time with my girlfriend lately.
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[User Picture]From: infromthecold
2008-03-17 09:39 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm glad I have an explanation for the beach-balling, finally!
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[User Picture]From: pyrop
2008-03-17 11:12 pm (UTC)
I actually loled at the pic of Firefox shitting its image cache. Man, memories...
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[User Picture]From: xlerb
2008-03-18 12:53 am (UTC)
Ah, sweet memories of Netscape 4 on the old Macintosh System Software, where it'd block the entire system while thinking about how to render a page.
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-03-18 02:32 am (UTC)
Such an impressive string of buzz-words and ignorant generalizations. Say "beach-balling" one more time on this thread and maybe it'll catch on in some other jerk's lexicon.

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[User Picture]From: transparent_one
2008-03-18 10:27 am (UTC)
I also love firefox but it can get crappy at times I dont get it. eh..go figure..
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[User Picture]From: adamkills
2008-03-18 03:52 pm (UTC)
Just use Lynx.
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[User Picture]From: muerte
2008-03-18 05:10 pm (UTC)
Is this the issue you're talking about? I have this problem all the time, but it sounds like they're making headway on it? Slow and steady I guess.
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