Firefox Quantum – Firefox gets one hell of an upgrade!

Firefox Quantum is here! I’ve been using the browser in Beta for a few weeks but Mozilla launched their revolutionary, updated browser for everyone yesterday so I thought I’d offer some opinions on my experience so far.

Let me get this out there straight away – I LOVE IT! (But don’t worry – Vivaldi remains number one in my heart!)

I’ve used Firefox many times over the years but it has never been my primary browser….except for a few dark and terrible months in 2014 between grieving over my beloved Opera and finding my beloved Vivaldi. Mostly, I’d grown used to a slicker, quicker experience than Firefox was capable of delivering. Using Firefox always felt like being asked to drive a farm land-rover instead of my lovely polished Ferrari.

But now that Mozilla has spent the last two years rebuilding core parts of Firefox’s guts, iteration 57 – so special it gets its own name – proudly stands tall among the best of browsing experiences out there. Mozilla are keen to tell everyone that the browser is now at least as good as if not even better than many other major browser brands out there…coughGoogleChromecough. I wouldn’t use Google Chrome if you paid me – privacy-destroying, data-sucking black hole that it is – but when circumstances did force me to so demean myself it admittedly was faster to use than FF, both in page loading times and browser UI response. Happily, Quantum has [re]bounded to the front of the pack and I look forward to seeing Firefox pawing back market share from Google’s inexplicably popular people-eater.

I’m not going to go into the more technical aspects of Mozilla’s techno-wizardy (this is a fluffy opinion piece after all) but suffice to say the improvements made are very noticeable if you’re even passingly familiar with the old Firefox, and, says proud parent Mozilla, should scale well with future CPU developments as this is the first browser to make use of all cores present in a CPU, and not just the one.

However, what does warrant delving into is that many Firefox users were deeply unhappy about Quantum’s rejection of the old, huge library of Extensions. Firefox now favours WebExtension technology, a new framework which breaks all of the old extensions many users had come to rely upon and forces extension authors to rewrite their cherished code for the new system. To hear Firefox users moan, you’d think Quantum has murdered their children (and if you squint you can kind of see their point) but actually the situation is looking fairly healthy. Mozilla wisely provided lots of advance warning and it seems many authors have simply rolled up their sleeves and got on with it. Coming to Quantum fresh I had a handful of extensions in my regular browser, Vivaldi, that I like to use wherever I browse and I had no trouble finding either the exact one I needed or a suitable replacement. Yes, this change will royally antagonise the Firefox loyalists out there who’ve installed lots of painstakingly curated extensions, but I beg them not to let that deter them from staying with what is truly a world class browser.

Or come to Vivaldi, where people are lovely. 🙂

So yeah, try it out and see what you think. Me, I’m a fan of browser software in general and Firefox in particular, and while it’s probably never going to unseat my cherished Vivaldi I look forward to having it as a thrilling and very capable backup.

Speak your brains, friends, and I shall hear thee (and possibly even respond!).