Firefox on Macs giving people fits

I thought it was just me. Firefox has been hanging on me, refusing to load Web pages, partially loading Web pages, and other stuff that’s just been making my life very frustrating. So, I went off to Twitter and asked if anyone else is having the same problems. Lo and behold they are. Tons of people say they are having problems. Are you?

The reason I can’t use Safari for everything is it is DAMN SLOW on Google Reader. I mean DAMN SLOW. Can I say that again? DAMN SLOW. I wish the Safari team would figure that out then I wouldn’t need Firefox at all. I’ll go try Camino or something else.

190 thoughts on “Firefox on Macs giving people fits

  1. I’ve been doing a lot more research and experimentation in the past couple of weeks. I stuck with the BonEcho FF2 builds for a while, but to be honest they’re not much better than the official app, and their support for embedded media is flaky to say the least, with lots of crashes and hangs. I’ve also tried out the FF3 alpha and the developer nightly builds of it, and it’s just as slow as FF2, although the text render is a LOT better. Safari 3 is just as slow. But then someone reminded me of Camino, which I haven’t used for ages. What a result. It boots in a couple of seconds, uses only a percentage of the RAM and CPU of FF and is WAY quicker. It’s a breeze to import your FF bookmarks too. I’m sticking with it for now, but it doesn’t support del.icio.us extension, nor StumbleUpon, and there’s no developer’s toolbar of course… However, it does support 1PassWd. I hope FF improves to the point of being usable again, but if my experience of FF3 so far is anything to go by, I think I may have a long wait ahead.

  2. I’ve been doing a lot more research and experimentation in the past couple of weeks. I stuck with the BonEcho FF2 builds for a while, but to be honest they’re not much better than the official app, and their support for embedded media is flaky to say the least, with lots of crashes and hangs. I’ve also tried out the FF3 alpha and the developer nightly builds of it, and it’s just as slow as FF2, although the text render is a LOT better. Safari 3 is just as slow. But then someone reminded me of Camino, which I haven’t used for ages. What a result. It boots in a couple of seconds, uses only a percentage of the RAM and CPU of FF and is WAY quicker. It’s a breeze to import your FF bookmarks too. I’m sticking with it for now, but it doesn’t support del.icio.us extension, nor StumbleUpon, and there’s no developer’s toolbar of course… However, it does support 1PassWd. I hope FF improves to the point of being usable again, but if my experience of FF3 so far is anything to go by, I think I may have a long wait ahead.

  3. i have a powerbook G4 and when i close the lid with firefox actively running, the computer is frozen when i wake it up again. the mouse moves, but i can’t get out of firefox. not even with force quit.

    i’ve removed the firefox folders from application support. the problem still happens. any thoughts on what i can do to stop it?

    thanks.

  4. i have a powerbook G4 and when i close the lid with firefox actively running, the computer is frozen when i wake it up again. the mouse moves, but i can’t get out of firefox. not even with force quit.

    i’ve removed the firefox folders from application support. the problem still happens. any thoughts on what i can do to stop it?

    thanks.

  5. @Aljuk – I think it’s definitely down to something up with Firefox 2.0.0.4 lately (or more likely its interaction with some other commonly used software).

    The good news is that, on my XP system at least, I’ve found that reverting to version 2.0.0.2 has done the trick, see http://www.consumingexperience.com/2007/07/firefox-2004-makes-computer-freeze-or.html, so I’m now sticking to that despite the security issues. I’d be interested to know if Mac users who try reverting to 2.0.0.2 also find relief.

    I may try 2.0.0.5 when it’s officially released to see if it’s better, but as you say it now seems to be a question of waiting for Opera to catch up on extensions.

    I never took to Opera fully because the cookie control wasn’t as good or as easy as I’d like – if they’d sorted that out early on I might never have tried Fox. Opera’s improved on the cookie front since, but I’d still want to be able to batch delete selected cookies e.g. through checkboxes or even Shift or Ctrl-clicking to select them (it’s too painful doing it individually), before I’d be willing to fully switch to Opera.

    If only Firefox can reverse what now appears to be a slow but increasing slide towards IEdom.. (shudder).

  6. @Aljuk – I think it’s definitely down to something up with Firefox 2.0.0.4 lately (or more likely its interaction with some other commonly used software).

    The good news is that, on my XP system at least, I’ve found that reverting to version 2.0.0.2 has done the trick, see http://www.consumingexperience.com/2007/07/firefox-2004-makes-computer-freeze-or.html, so I’m now sticking to that despite the security issues. I’d be interested to know if Mac users who try reverting to 2.0.0.2 also find relief.

    I may try 2.0.0.5 when it’s officially released to see if it’s better, but as you say it now seems to be a question of waiting for Opera to catch up on extensions.

    I never took to Opera fully because the cookie control wasn’t as good or as easy as I’d like – if they’d sorted that out early on I might never have tried Fox. Opera’s improved on the cookie front since, but I’d still want to be able to batch delete selected cookies e.g. through checkboxes or even Shift or Ctrl-clicking to select them (it’s too painful doing it individually), before I’d be willing to fully switch to Opera.

    If only Firefox can reverse what now appears to be a slow but increasing slide towards IEdom.. (shudder).

  7. @Improbulus – I second all of that. FF2 slows down my whole system, and although BonEcho (a developer build of FF2.0.0.5) is slightly better, and has about half the official FF2 memory footprint, it’s still pretty poor. I’m just waiting for Opera to catch up on the extensions side and then I’ll switch.

  8. @Improbulus – I second all of that. FF2 slows down my whole system, and although BonEcho (a developer build of FF2.0.0.5) is slightly better, and has about half the official FF2 memory footprint, it’s still pretty poor. I’m just waiting for Opera to catch up on the extensions side and then I’ll switch.

  9. [... People tend to talk about how crappy Microsoft's products are but I don't see much of talking about Firefox being such a crappy thing on a Mac as it is (well at least Scoble made it public), but sadly as it is Safari is even worst so we are sticked to it... or how pathetic the tab management is... Firefox is just a good browser as IE used to be, with IE7 Microsoft tried to get its act a bit together but there is still lots of room for improvement ...]

    Pingback from Samiq Bits on my previous post & why do you have to hate every single approach from Microsoft.

  10. [... People tend to talk about how crappy Microsoft's products are but I don't see much of talking about Firefox being such a crappy thing on a Mac as it is (well at least Scoble made it public), but sadly as it is Safari is even worst so we are sticked to it... or how pathetic the tab management is... Firefox is just a good browser as IE used to be, with IE7 Microsoft tried to get its act a bit together but there is still lots of room for improvement ...]

    Pingback from Samiq Bits on my previous post & why do you have to hate every single approach from Microsoft.

  11. I have a PC not a Mac but oddly enough, just these last couple of weeks, Firefox has been hanging on me too. And it’s not only pages within Fox – my ENTIRE PC has been slowed down. Everything freezes for a minute or two at a time, I can move the mouse but nothing happens on clicking, can’t use the keyboard, occasionally it beeps at me, i.e. the classic freeze really.

    I disabled all my extensions, still got the same problem. Firefox subjects everything on my PC to the occasional (but far too frequent) freeze when it’s open – except if it’s open on a blank page and nothing else, which is no good is it. When I shut down Fox, or close all pages on it but leave it open, everything else on my PC starts working again.

    It’s been driving me nuts. If I can get my fave Greasemonkey scripts to work on Opera (I can’t yet), I’m giving up and switching to Opera. I’ve already had enough of unresponsive script problems, and increasing dom.max_script_run_time didn’t help (I think I narrowed it down to a recent extension).

    Point is, once upon a time Fox was a speedy, useful tool. Now…?

  12. I have a PC not a Mac but oddly enough, just these last couple of weeks, Firefox has been hanging on me too. And it’s not only pages within Fox – my ENTIRE PC has been slowed down. Everything freezes for a minute or two at a time, I can move the mouse but nothing happens on clicking, can’t use the keyboard, occasionally it beeps at me, i.e. the classic freeze really.

    I disabled all my extensions, still got the same problem. Firefox subjects everything on my PC to the occasional (but far too frequent) freeze when it’s open – except if it’s open on a blank page and nothing else, which is no good is it. When I shut down Fox, or close all pages on it but leave it open, everything else on my PC starts working again.

    It’s been driving me nuts. If I can get my fave Greasemonkey scripts to work on Opera (I can’t yet), I’m giving up and switching to Opera. I’ve already had enough of unresponsive script problems, and increasing dom.max_script_run_time didn’t help (I think I narrowed it down to a recent extension).

    Point is, once upon a time Fox was a speedy, useful tool. Now…?

  13. Addendum: I should mention that Safari is the better bet, not least because it renders text properly, unlike FF, which is abysmal in this regard. But I’m a webbie and can’t do without the Dev Toolbar, Firebug, Tidy etc.

  14. Addendum: I should mention that Safari is the better bet, not least because it renders text properly, unlike FF, which is abysmal in this regard. But I’m a webbie and can’t do without the Dev Toolbar, Firebug, Tidy etc.

  15. Robert,

    I’m not sure why you’re experiencing slowness with Safari. On my PowerBook G4 (no MacBook here yet), Google Reader flat-out screams in Safari. The only reasons Safari isn’t MY browser of preference is that are still some sites it won’t load or at least load properly that Firefox handles fine and there are two plugins I rely on in Firefox for site development that have no equivalent in Safari.

    For everyday browsing experience, Safari seems faster and superior in many other ways to Firefox.

    (BTW, anecdotal evidence suggests that when Firefox starts misbehaving, restarting it will often recover. I suspect they’ve got one or more nasty memory leaks in that sucker.)

    Dan

  16. Robert,

    I’m not sure why you’re experiencing slowness with Safari. On my PowerBook G4 (no MacBook here yet), Google Reader flat-out screams in Safari. The only reasons Safari isn’t MY browser of preference is that are still some sites it won’t load or at least load properly that Firefox handles fine and there are two plugins I rely on in Firefox for site development that have no equivalent in Safari.

    For everyday browsing experience, Safari seems faster and superior in many other ways to Firefox.

    (BTW, anecdotal evidence suggests that when Firefox starts misbehaving, restarting it will often recover. I suspect they’ve got one or more nasty memory leaks in that sucker.)

    Dan

  17. I’ve been using Firefox trouble free until the last upgrade. Now It hangs
    forever on certain pages like an e-commerce site I regularly update.
    I have to use Safari for this now. I’m not sure what’s causing this.

    I’m using an Macpro Quad 2.6 Machine running OS X 10.4.10.

    Jan

  18. I’ve been using Firefox trouble free until the last upgrade. Now It hangs
    forever on certain pages like an e-commerce site I regularly update.
    I have to use Safari for this now. I’m not sure what’s causing this.

    I’m using an Macpro Quad 2.6 Machine running OS X 10.4.10.

    Jan

  19. I have a year old MBP17 and from day one, Safari has been blazing – noticeably faster than freshly installed Firefox. I know most people love Firefox for the extensions but I don’t have much use for them and if you get a bit carried away it *really* slows down the browser. Anyway, Safari has been my browser of choice on OS X for the last year with the only complaint being that if I accidentally miss the “w” and land on “q” with the Apple button down, it makes my blood boil for about 30 seconds. Apparently this will be “resolved” in Safari 3, at which point I will have to say it is near perfect. Safari == f a s t browsing.

  20. I have a year old MBP17 and from day one, Safari has been blazing – noticeably faster than freshly installed Firefox. I know most people love Firefox for the extensions but I don’t have much use for them and if you get a bit carried away it *really* slows down the browser. Anyway, Safari has been my browser of choice on OS X for the last year with the only complaint being that if I accidentally miss the “w” and land on “q” with the Apple button down, it makes my blood boil for about 30 seconds. Apparently this will be “resolved” in Safari 3, at which point I will have to say it is near perfect. Safari == f a s t browsing.

  21. @Chris Kelly: AHA! I thought I was going nuts myself, with my MBP recently having really dodgy wireless networking. I gave my poor IT admins a hard time as well ;)

  22. @Chris Kelly: AHA! I thought I was going nuts myself, with my MBP recently having really dodgy wireless networking. I gave my poor IT admins a hard time as well ;)

  23. If you try the latest WebKit nightly, you’ll see that even the Flash clipping problems in Google Reader have been fixed.

  24. If you try the latest WebKit nightly, you’ll see that even the Flash clipping problems in Google Reader have been fixed.

  25. Safari Beta 3 all the way. Keyboard navigation is fixed for Google Reader and the scrolling is so much faster then Firefox. The flash video still escapes the browsing area on Google Reader but it is a minor annoyance.

    Oh, and about the fonts in Firefox 2.0? Safari generates much more readable web pages!

  26. Safari Beta 3 all the way. Keyboard navigation is fixed for Google Reader and the scrolling is so much faster then Firefox. The flash video still escapes the browsing area on Google Reader but it is a minor annoyance.

    Oh, and about the fonts in Firefox 2.0? Safari generates much more readable web pages!

  27. Right! After several sessions of multiple pages/multiple tabs, FF slow down to an unbearable drag. Right-clicking, I had to wait and wait for the context menu, then after clicking a selection, had to wait and wait for the menu to close, then wait for the command to execute. Sometimes twice a day I’d had to quit FF then relaunch. FF would go back to being fairly fast, for a very short while.

    So, so long, Firefox!! A sad end to what started out as a passionate love affair…

    FYI: All this with a plain-jane 2.0.0.4–no extensions, no themes added.

  28. Right! After several sessions of multiple pages/multiple tabs, FF slow down to an unbearable drag. Right-clicking, I had to wait and wait for the context menu, then after clicking a selection, had to wait and wait for the menu to close, then wait for the command to execute. Sometimes twice a day I’d had to quit FF then relaunch. FF would go back to being fairly fast, for a very short while.

    So, so long, Firefox!! A sad end to what started out as a passionate love affair…

    FYI: All this with a plain-jane 2.0.0.4–no extensions, no themes added.

  29. Ditto. FF is much slower than it used to be. Tends to go belly up if I open more than a few tabs. Something changed.

  30. Ditto. FF is much slower than it used to be. Tends to go belly up if I open more than a few tabs. Something changed.

  31. Setup: iMac DV SE 400Mhz, 1 gig RAM, Tiger 10.4.10. I had Firefox 1.5, liked it, fast, reliable. Went to 2.0.0.4 and MY GOD, what a slow dog FF turned into (I have dialup, can’t get hi-speed, which REALLY compounded my frustration). Thought about going back to 1.5, but, after research, installed Camino. UNBELIEVABLE. Faster than a speeding bullet! No crashes! Camino, I love you. Don’t do whatever Firefox did. Stay lean. Stay mean. Stay fast! I’m telling all my friends.

  32. Setup: iMac DV SE 400Mhz, 1 gig RAM, Tiger 10.4.10. I had Firefox 1.5, liked it, fast, reliable. Went to 2.0.0.4 and MY GOD, what a slow dog FF turned into (I have dialup, can’t get hi-speed, which REALLY compounded my frustration). Thought about going back to 1.5, but, after research, installed Camino. UNBELIEVABLE. Faster than a speeding bullet! No crashes! Camino, I love you. Don’t do whatever Firefox did. Stay lean. Stay mean. Stay fast! I’m telling all my friends.

  33. Beware Camino; it crashed on me on a regular basis (system 10.3.9 here). FF on my Mac works like a dream most of the time. I agree about Safari; it makes me feel like I’m on dial-up, and I have DSL. It also caches everything so you have to constantly refresh if you visit pages which change regularly, like blogs or messageboards.

  34. Beware Camino; it crashed on me on a regular basis (system 10.3.9 here). FF on my Mac works like a dream most of the time. I agree about Safari; it makes me feel like I’m on dial-up, and I have DSL. It also caches everything so you have to constantly refresh if you visit pages which change regularly, like blogs or messageboards.

Comments are closed.