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Why does Firefox 9 s*ck so much?
January 17, 2012 2:17 PM   Subscribe

I "upgraded" (sic) to Firefox 9 and now cannot do the most basic things I am used to doing.

I just upgraded to Firefox 9.0.1 and I hate it. I suddenly can't see how to do the most basic things, like open a new tab (I used to right click on a tab and select Open New Tab). My webmail constantly reloads (which I am assuming is FF since it never did this before) and I hate that my desktop picture shows through into the browser, I find it very distracting and pointless. I cannot even see where to stop page loading! I liked the giant reload and stop buttons that used to reside at top left of my browser, and I cannot for the life of me see why they should have been taken away.

My questions are practical as well as philosophical:
1. Practical: how do I do/fix the above issues? Or do I just go back to the previous version and ignore the popups that bug me to upgrade?
and
2. Philosophical: Why in the world do companies release "upgrades" that just rearrange everything or even remove important functionality with no apparent benefit to the consumer?
posted by parrot_person to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Go to Tools, Options, Tabs, click "always show the tab bar." Then all you have to do to open a new tab is click the plus sign next to the right-most tab.
posted by postel's law at 2:21 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


how do I do/fix the above issues?

Over Christmas I fixed my mom's laptop by reinstalling firefox. Apparently some browser plugin was crashing and made it not work at all. Removed and reinstalled FF 9 and it worked fine again.

Why in the world do companies release "upgrades" that just rearrange everything or even remove important functionality with no apparent benefit to the consumer?

Obviously this is an aggravated rant. But to answer your question, it's because they've read the Innovator's Dilemma. Anyone who lets their existing customers dictate design will fail to gather new customers and slowly bleed their existing ones. If it's not obvious, their goal is to adopt things from Google Chrome and IE to make browsing the web simpler, less cluttered. They've also chosen to adopt Chrome's more rapid release pace.

What remains to be seen is if they can actually keep up, or if their release cycle means more things break faster. Chrome has a massive test suite to hopefully catch bugs, that I don't think Mozilla has yet matched.

(Of course, the FF UI is entirely different on Linux than Windows. Makes phone support a nightmare!)
posted by pwnguin at 2:38 PM on January 17, 2012


The reload and stop buttons are now the same button (it's stop while the page is loading, and turns to reload when the page stops loading), and it's on the right end of the address bar.

To answer your two questions:

1. Your old version is bugging you to upgrade because it's out of date and is not getting security updates, leaving you open to worms/viruses/etc. So it is a good thing to stay current. Anyway, the buttons and transparencies are just part of the currently installed theme. Perhaps try the Firefox 3 theme. I just tried it and it seems to do the job. As for the tabs, clicking the plus sign next to the right-most tab is the standard way all browsers do it these days. Or you can press Ctrl-T.

2. Mozilla is not a normal company; Firefox is an open source project with an increasingly fast release schedule, and they like doing things differently from time to time in new releases. Google's Chrome is a bit more uniform with new releases, but they also change things up occasionally. Even Microsoft, the slowest one to release new browser versions, is speeding things up in order to emulate Firefox and Chrome.
posted by zsazsa at 2:43 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just upgraded to Firefox 9.0.1 and I hate it. I suddenly can't see how to do the most basic things, like open a new tab (I used to right click on a tab and select Open New Tab).

The tab mix plus add on will solve this. Extensively configurable right click menu and click/middle click/double click behavior for tabs.

My webmail constantly reloads (which I am assuming is FF since it never did this before) and

No idea here.

I hate that my desktop picture shows through into the browser, I find it very distracting and pointless. I cannot even see where to stop page loading! I liked the giant reload and stop buttons that used to reside at top left of my browser, and I cannot for the life of me see why they should have been taken away.

These two will depend on the theme you're using. I use fxchrome and I have reload/stop buttons in the top left. Also, my desktop does not show through, but that may just because I have my windows theme set so nothing (not just ff) does that.
posted by juv3nal at 3:22 PM on January 17, 2012


Yes, the problem with the window showing the desktop is due to Windows Aero. Firefox 9 (and even back to four, I think) enabled it. You will need to change your Windows theme or your Firefox theme if you don't want it to show through. If you would like to keep the transparency in other Windows applications then you will need to change the Firefox theme. As said above, changing your theme may help restore some of the old buttons too. If you want to get the "File, Edit..." menu at the top instead of the Firefox button, right-click the strip where the tabs are and check "Menu Bar".

To open new tabs, you can use an extension to manage them, click the "+" symbol to the right of the tabs you have open, or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+T. Right-click a link to open it in a new tab.

My guess for the webmail is that it's reloading to check for new messages. I don't know if this would be a Firefox issue or not.
posted by tatma at 4:04 PM on January 17, 2012


And I just noticed that View Source is no longer where it has always been either.
posted by parrot_person at 7:33 PM on January 17, 2012


It's under "Web Developer" if you are still looking for it.
posted by ropeladder at 8:02 PM on January 17, 2012


It's under "Web Developer" if you are still looking for it.

Or just right click on any blank part of a page and pick "view page source."
posted by juv3nal at 11:36 PM on January 17, 2012


I too get annoyed by seemingly-random interface changes. I've found though that I don't notice a bunch of changes because I'm used to doing certain things through keyboard shortcuts (ex. ctrl-t to open a new tab, ctrl-u to view source, ctrl-r or F5 to reload, Esc to stop loading, etc.) Shortcuts seem to change much less often, so it's a relatively future-proof habit.

That said, aside from installing new themes you can move the stop/reload button back to the left by right-clicking the chrome (say, next to the menu buttons) and clicking on Customize. Then you can move around, add, or remove a bunch of interface elements.

Some other changes: Bookmark All Tabs is for some non-intuitive reason now in the menu you get when you right-click on a tab. Manage Bookmarks is now Show All Bookmarks (?!). The status bar is now mostly gone; if you want the old status bar back, install the Status-4-Evar extension. The Switch To Tab No More extension disables the new behavior that seems to expect you to never want to open the same page on more than one tab. Anyone know what happened to Close Window?

For what it's worth, I agree with you that most of these changes seem either unintuitive or functionality-reducing to me. There are ways to streamline menus without just removing functionality wholesale or hiding things elsewhere. I don't think many people ever complained about Bookmark All Tabs being -too- findable; I think the biggest complaints have always been around stability, speed, memory usage, and rendering ability and wish the changes made there would be half as noticeable.
posted by trig at 5:29 AM on January 18, 2012


like open a new tab (I used to right click on a tab and select Open New Tab)

Center Clicking (clicking the scroll wheel on the mouse) will open a link in a new tab in nearly every browser by default.

But I feel your pain. FF hasn't significantly changed as far as I can see (in fact, I've experienced none of the problems you have) except that some of my add-ons still don't work on the new version.

I've pretty much switched to Chrome* except when I'm doing web development.
posted by coolguymichael at 8:14 AM on January 18, 2012


...and I don't have the ability to select a certain page to go back to from the back button anymore.
posted by parrot_person at 3:16 PM on January 19, 2012


I appreciate the help in finding things. I really do.

I still have issue with the fact that I have to go through figuring out all the seemingly random changes to the things I do every day. None of these changes seem to be for a good reason that I can tell, and I'm not going to devote time to hunting down FF's rationale for making me do things differently.

As for Anyone who lets their existing customers dictate design : any company who annoys existing customers too much will lose said customers. And all changes are not automatically warranted changes.

The problem with the window showing the desktop is due to Windows Aero. Firefox 9 (and even back to four, I think) enabled it. You will need to change your Windows theme or your Firefox theme if you don't want it to show through.

It never showed through before in any other version of FF for me.

My guess for the webmail is that it's reloading to check for new messages. I don't know if this would be a Firefox issue or not.

It never did this before and doesn't do this in IE or chrome.
posted by parrot_person at 3:22 PM on January 19, 2012


Center Clicking (clicking the scroll wheel on the mouse) will open a link in a new tab in nearly every browser by default.

I use my laptop and the touchpad doesn't seem to work that way. But thanks for trying to help.
posted by parrot_person at 3:24 PM on January 19, 2012


...and I don't have the ability to select a certain page to go back to from the back button anymore.

Right clicking on the back button doesn't let you do it? It does for me (as mentioned earlier, FXChrome theme if that makes a difference).
posted by juv3nal at 5:55 PM on January 19, 2012


Click-and-hold on the back button lets me choose which page I want to go back to — have you tried that?
posted by Lexica at 6:19 PM on January 19, 2012


...and a site I often frequent always gives me a message that Quicktime plugin has crashed. Never did so before, always does so since I upgraded.

No one can convince me that shuffling around all the common functionality that users are familiar with is for the greater good. At the absolute, bottom-of the-barrel, very very very least, FF should have some sort of brief guide of what's changed automatically pop up, or at least optionally come up, or maybe be visible when one hovers over a tool for the first time. Just changing everything with no explanation or apparent reason is horrendously unfriendly.

Ok, I am done ranting.
posted by parrot_person at 1:43 PM on January 21, 2012


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