Firefox Problems

Here is an account of my latest browser switches, for documentation purposes.

In Safari I read a news item about a Firefox update, to 4 beta 10. The changelog listed some improvements which matched the reasons I moved away from Firefox: “Compatibility and stability improvements when using Adobe Flash on Mac OS X” and “Improvements in memory usage”. So I decided to give it another try. It’s really awesome! I think I feel most at-home in Firefox (at least on Mac; in Windows I clearly prefer Chrome and have finished juggling browsers).

But for a while now I’ve noticed that it develops a weird stutter. Like every few seconds, it will freeze for about one second; it’s not so noticeable when browsing, but when a YouTube video keeps freezing in place, well, it bugged me.

I got out a watch and found that it happened every 10 seconds. How convenient! There is a HUGE difference between doing a Google search for “firefox stutters periodically” and “firefox “every 10 seconds”“; the latter search returns every instance where someone has complained about Firefox doing something every 10 seconds, and I don’t imagine what else it might be other than freezing.

So I found some old articles. Apparently Firefox used to freeze every 10 seconds due to saving the tab session, which is the feature that will reload your tabs if the browser crashes or if you close and reopen it. There was a config option to change that, but it already defaulted to 15 seconds, so I didn’t think that was it. Nevertheless, I changed it to 300 seconds (5 minutes) and restarted Firefox. Soon after, the every-10-second stutter was back.

I couldn’t find anything recent or specifically relating to OS X. I then ran around my add-ons, looking for preferences set to do something every 10 seconds, but there were none. I never actually took the time to try and disable each add-on to find a specific one that might be causing this problem, mainly because I don’t think I want to sacrifice any of my add-ons. I don’t have any extras as it is; they’re trimmed down to only the essentials that I use all the time.

So I’m back in Chrome now, because Firefox in my Mac OS X was stuttering every 10 seconds in YouTube videos and typing and pretty much everything.

Chrome seems to be the browser of choice for many developers nowadays anyway. It used to be the too-lightweight browser without extensions, but now it’s a very full-featured browser which directly competes with Firefox and in many cases is still lighter-weight in a good way.

Plus, it integrates with my Google account for syncing and such. When I first got my Cr-48, I turned it on and logged in with my Gmail username and password. Immediately, it pulled down my theme, extensions, preferences, and so on from my Google account. The whole browser (therefore the whole computer) was all set up, just because I’d already set up my desktop copy of Chrome and it synchronized everything with my account.

So I’m now in Google Chrome. I don’t remember what made me change from it last time, but hopefully if I find it again, it will either have been fixed or I will remember to write it here so I can move forward instead of continuing to go in circles.

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