Firefox suckyness

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 06/25/2008 - 09:32

I have to agree with Wouter regarding Firefox Iceweasel 3's suckyness. It might be a superior product in many fronts (I prefer it overall to its predecesor), but were it not for the usefulness of its many available extensions (most notably Web Developer, which has become an integral part of my everyday life), I'd have jumped ship for basically any other browser.
I'm just... adding an <AOL>ME TOO!</AOL> on Wouter's comments... WTF, just go to about:config...

So... Are you telling me that Firefox (even if it were the original, Mozilla-blessed version) has a warranty? No? Didn't think so... Go to about:license. You will see the very familiar and expected:

7. Disclaimer of warranty
Covered code is provided under this license on an "as is" basis, without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including, without limitation, warranties that the covered code is free of defects (...)

Other than this downright stupid issue (which by and large goes against the regular Free Software culture), my main gripe is the number of active regions in the location-entry boxes - Yes, I can jump straight to the search box with Ctrl-K and to the location bar with Ctrl-L, but if I happen to try to move between them with good ol' Tab, why must it be inconsistent?
What do I mean? Go to the search field, press Tab. As expected, you are in the Location entry. Now, press Shift-Tab. For 5 points, where are you now? Bzzzt, no, you are not back where you began - You are in a stupid button which looks like your favicon giving you the identity information about the page you are looking at.
Having this button is a great idea - but why does it have to sit in the way of my tabulation? Were it because, in an inspired moment, the Firefox interface designers decided that buttons should be keyboard-accessible, I'd be most happy (it is by far my most mouse-intensive application, and I hate that... But it's just a button embedded in what should be a clean text-entry box.
And for that matter, it is not even a consistent button - Shift-tabbing from the search field will not get you to the search engine selector. And no key combination will lead you to the noisy (and also, mutually inconsistent) iconic buttons at the far right of both fields... Which, again, have no reason to be inside a text entry field!
Oh, and I found another pretty little jewel: Go to any site which has a self-signed SSL certificate. Of course, Firefox will go to great lengths to make sure you understand how unsafe is it for you to trust anybody who didn't pay big bucks to Verisign... But this is enough reason for me to send a bug report:

I am connecting through a crypted HTTPS connection. The site is providing identity information - not certified, right, but it does provide something. And the connection is crypted. Firefox/Iceweasel 2 showed me the URL in a light-yellow background showing the connection was secure - Now it just denies the right to call itself secure.
(Yes, I am not an interface designer... But it seems neither are they)
[update]Bug filed. Any comments will be welcome in Bugzilla. The bug with the Debconf site (and I do regard it as a bug) is that Iceweasel displays that Your connection to this web site is not encrypted because some of the elements (i.e. the CSS, images..) are sent in the clear - Even though the real information is crypted. Ever heard of data/visualization decoupling?

( categories: )
Anonymous's picture

security information doesn't

security information doesn't equal to identity information. it even doesn't equal to fiscal information or any other kind of information, however secure you may want it to be.

gwolf's picture



Anonymous Coward's picture

They copied MSIE!

Yes, I agree with you in the case of the SSL warning page. They copied that page from Internet Explorer, making it even more unintuitive. I certainly preferred the old dialog box! :-/

Regarding the keyboard, well, I prefer tu use the mouse, but you have a point here.

And the warranty... well, it looks ridiculous... better a warning when you try to commit the config changes, like "You are about to change the option X, this could affect Y, causa a flooding in China and detonate an atomic bomb. Do you want to continue?" (just kidding :) )

BTW, have you tried Opera 9.5? it rocks!

Anonymous's picture

I guess the humour was

I guess the humour was completely lost on you...

gwolf's picture

I do get the humor, but...

(reply goes as well for Damog's post, just adjacent to this one)
By implying there is a warranty, lots of less-tech-savvy users might be lead to believe there is a warranty of some kind. There are some things we should learn not to joke on.

damog's picture

I think the thing about

I think the thing about voiding your warranty is more a sarcastic pendejetic joke :P

Alex's picture

"not encrypted" connection

Ok, the "not encrypted" text is definitely a bug IMO. However, I'm not even getting that screen. What I get is one of these really paranoid error screens that force me to go through 12 steps to actually open the page:
Page Load Error
Well, ok, maybe not 12. But from that screen it's another 3 clicks to be able to add a security exception and then a reload before I can actually see the page. Making sure the user is informed of the issues is one thing, but this overbearing hand-holding (much like the about:config dialog warning) is really annoying.

asv's picture

firefox is designed for general use

I think both the new ssl interface, and the about:config warning make complete sense when you look at the vast majority of firefox users. While the execution might be a bit off, both "features" make sense.

Raphael Geissert's picture

that's why...

I've been using Opera since the 6.x versions were out there. It has always been faster and satisfied most of my needs (except for some sites that really suck and really want IE, firefox (those that make some progress), or even an ancient netscape!).

What I really like about Opera is that you don't have 'add-ons' wasting your time, is fairly simple (unless you make it complex :), is fast, is standards compliant, and even has a nice community. You should give it a try.

I'm afraid that other browsers like konqueror still need some more work, although I prefer them over firefox/iceweasel :)

gwolf's picture

And what shoudl I do with my freedom?

I prefer Gnash to Flash, and it's way inferior. I prefer an Intel video card to a nVidia one. Over ten years ago, I decided to switch to Linux over Windows...
I have tried Opera, and it's nice. But I won't use it for any serious work.
(Bah, I even use MSIE under Wine for serious work - ensuring my systems work for 90% of the users!)

Raphael Geissert's picture

freedom, it depends...

Of course Opera isn't open source, but it is nice, they usually implement what users want (the way users want it, or they offer options to change them :) and more. I have to admit that they have done a great work to satisfy most people's needs and wishes (i.e. usability, cross-platform, etc).

I often prefer FOSS but if none of the available solutions fit my needs I won't go and hack them (it would become a never ending story, you know). So when talking about web browsers, the free (as in free beer) Opera browser is my choice.

And this is not just a matter of whether it is khtml, webkit, gecko, or presto.

Laurens Holst's picture

Cannot reproduce

Strange thing, I am using Firefox 3.0 (not Iceweasel or something like that), and I can not reproduce most of your issues:

- Warranty void page; when I type about:config, I get directly to the about config page? I don’t see such an intermediate screen. Maybe it was a one-time thing and I forgot that I encountered it?

- Tabbing from search box to location bar; I don’t have this issue, my search field is to the right of the location bar here (which is the default setting). I think that positioning of the search box in the is an Iceweasel extension? Seems like they added a special-case for directly tabbing from the search box to the location bar, but never did that for shift-tab.

This issues seem to illustrate *exactly* why Mozilla wouldn’t rubber-stamp the Debian-modified Firefox with the name and logo.

Gunnar's picture

Reproduceable - And reproduced!

I'm writing from a fresh, official Firefox install on a Windows machine. The about:config page does get me to a click-through warning. Exactly the same warning I captured, but translated into Spanish (as expected, of course).
The default Firefox install provides, as you say, the search box to the right of the address box - I moved it, as my usual layout makes more sense (at least for the way I work). But still, as it is now, I can reproduce my report - although it is a bit less bothering. Want to try it? Ctrl-L, Shift-Tab, Shift-Tab, Tab.
What does it illustrate? Click on the address field. Shift-Tab gets you to th button that displays the identity information and favicon. Shift-Tab leads you to the last link on the currently active web page. Tab leads you to... The address field. So, it is much less likely to bite a user who obeys the default settings... But that does not make it consistent behaviour!
No cookie for you ;-) Debian Iceweasel acts exactly like Mozilla Firefox, thankyouverymuch.

Anonymous's picture

the fscking joke happens on

the fscking joke happens on iceweasel too, and I have been using succesfully the web developer add-on for month now on every beta and RC.

I agree with you on most of it, I just don't find it awful unbareable, firefox is going just the way de Icaza went a few years ago, its sad.

Anonymous's picture

I have maybe 20 add-ons and

I have maybe 20 add-ons and a skin on my Firefox that makes it run super smooth and look gorgeous. Your gripes seem almost arbitrary to me. The fact of the matter is, Firefox is a completely different style of browser than its competitors. Of course it might lack features, and of course only the add-ons make it worth it, but that's the entire point. Saying Firefox lacks default features is like saying Wii is less powerful than an X-box 360. You're missing the point.

gwolf's picture

You are missing the point as well ;-)

I agree with most of what you say. Wholeheartedly. I don't have that many extensions (10 on this machine), but I love them - and it's precisely the extensions that keep me with Firefox - Were it not for them (most specifically, for the great Web Developer extension), I'd have probably switched away some time ago.
However, what I am complaining about is not at all llack of features - it is misimplementation of things that should be done better. Even worse: Regressions, as they were better not too long ago. The worst offender is the identity information fiasco I ranted about here (ok, I concede: the about:config thing is quite unimportant, although it is misleading). FFS, I have almost made natural the five-click response. This will scare away users. Many sites (i.e. many intranets, and even several services as such) have a self-signed certificate. And those certificates should not be presented as if they were error conditions! A warning should be raised, yes, but what FF3 does is just too much.
Oh, and of course - You can probably override it. I will sooner or later look on how to do so. But I care about the average user, who wants Just A Browser, and if Firefox is more troublesome, he will go back to MSIE. Which is not that bad anymore.

sexy costume's picture

Were it because, in an

Were it because, in an inspired moment, the Firefox interface designers decided that buttons should be keyboard-accessible, I'd be most happy (it is by far my most mouse-intensive application, and I hate that... But it's just a button embedded in what should be a clean text-entry box.