Holding off on Firefox 3

By | June 21, 2008

If you’re one of those who haven’t downloaded Firefox 3 and planning on doing so, you might want to consider holding off for a while. Firefox 3 seems to have some issues and maybe more to come. You might recall the mania preceding the Firefox 3 Download Day; I haven’t even downloaded Firefox 3 to my personal machine, and won’t be doing so (yet). It took me a long time to upgrade to Firefox 2 from Firefox 1, and I’m going to hold off on this one again. When it comes to software, a sound practice is to hold off and let the bug reports filter in first. Also, it’s because the new features in Firefox 3 are things I can live without, for now.

I do like the ability in Firefox 3 to store my favorite sites, zoom in on small pics, and resume downloads, namely the Smart Location Bar, Zoom feature, and Download Manager (which has been a standard Opera feature from the start), but these things are not that important to me as the issue of memory hogging, which have so far been the bane of Firefox 1 and 2.

FirefoxEven as Mozilla attempted to achieve a non existent world record amid a lot of hype, Firefox 3 still has some issues which seem mostly carried over from Firefox 2. One of the perennial problems with Firefox is memory hogging, and memory hogging seems to (still) be present in Firefox 3, unless my initial observations are wrong. The memory consumption might have improved, but in Firefox 3, if you open too many tabs in Windows XP, the browser can still become a little unstable, especially with opening many pdf and javascript files. This is also one of the (small) nagging problems that I’ve seen with Firefox 2. In Firefox 2, I’ve noticed the browser simply crashes if it’s stressed too much. It seems other people elsewhere have noticed similar memory consumption issues in Firefox 3 to date.

And there’s a vulnerability report from Tipping Point about an arbitrary code execution weakness which affects you if you visit a malicious webpage. This problem however, is long overdue, just like other persistent security flaws with Firefox stemming back from Firefox 2. That said, these insecurities are easily sidestepped if you employ healthy surfing habits, and should not be an issue for most people.

A smart way to check out Firefox 3 is to use it is via a portable application, and currently Firefox 3 is available in Portable Apps. I’ve talked about Portable Apps before, and personally, I like the bundle of software that they’ve assembled over there. You don’t have to install Firefox 3 to your personal desktop or laptop, but you get to preview it at the same time, and compare the two. With software, it doesn’t always mean an “upgrade” is a great thing. Best example I can think of would be Windows Vista!

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