I’ve always browser-hopped.
I was an Opera devotee for years. It ran well, especially on Windows, rarely crashing and always opening pages with pep. Even back when I had dial-up.
Eventually I left Opera for Firefox because of Firefox’s add-ons, which let me give additional functionality to my browser.
And if I had to pick an add-on that made me leave Opera, it would be the Web Developer’s Toolbar.
Eventually Opera did create its own version, but it just wasn’t as convenient as the Firefox one.
It seems silly to choose a browser based upon one particular function, but that was all it took to keep me a loyal Firefox user across multiple OSs.
For the past few weeks, though, I noticed a lag in my Xubuntu system. It wasn’t a huge thing, but menus were taking just a split-second too long to open.
I looked at top and saw firefox-bin taking up a decent amount of memory and CPU.
And that’s when I decided I should probably leave Firefox for a while, just to see if my set-up became more responsive.
I already had Chrome so I switched to that as my main Xubuntu browser and it’s been pretty great. It’s quick. There’s no system lag. And best of all, there’s even a decent developer’s toolbar.
Even better, Chromed Bird, a Chrome Twitter extension, is really nice. Even nicer than EchoFon, my previous browser-based Twitter client (and one that decided to stop supporting Linux, I might add).
The main issue with Chrome is that I’ve been trying to dial back my dependency upon Google (even as I use it for my RSS feeds, my calendar, my email, and my site analytics). Luckily, Chrome is configurable enough to use another search engine as the default search in the address bar. In my case, I’ve been using DuckDuckGo as my first search option. Plus, I realized Chromium, a slightly less privacy-invasive version of Chrome, is in the repositories, so I switched to that.
I run a virtual Lubuntu and the first thing you notice once it’s running is that Firefox isn’t installed. The default browser is Chromium. At first I thought it was kind of odd, but now I see why a distro, especially one like Lubuntu that prides on being fast and light, would opt for Chromium over Firefox.
Firefox is getting too big and slow for its own good and I think we might be a few iterations away from Chromium becoming the default browser for a lot more Linux distributions.
At the same time, I realize these things are cyclical, so I’m open to the possibility Firefox will one day become less resource-hungry and Chrome might start to bog down.
When Internet Explorer won the browser wars, browser development stagnated for a long time. It’s nice to see the war picking up again.