Since I’ve been cycling continuously between the three browsers that annoy me the least lately (Opera, Firefox 3.6, and Chromium), I’ve been utilizing each browser’s extensibility to make it a bit more usable.
In a previous post, I discussed the various things I do to recent releases of Firefox to make it behave itself. In this post, I’ll be discussing the process I go through with the Chromium browser, namely with respect to extensions (since there really isn’t much one can configure in Chromium natively).
So I keep ranting about Firefox here, and for good reason: the Mozilla team is going above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to driving users to other browsers.
However, try as I might, I simply encounter too many dealbreakers in Chromium.
When I think about it, the last version of Firefox that didn’t drive me crazy with crashing, incompatible add-ons, and stupid UI changes and features removed, it would have to be Firefox 3.6.
I keep forgetting how to do this, so I’m posting this here as much for my own reference as for anyone else’s. This is how to downgrade newer versions of Firefox to 3.6 and keep it that way, at least until things settle down a little, or until another browser comes along that can actually be a viable replacement for it — unlike newer versions of Firefox, sadly. This works with Mint 11, which means it will also work with Ubuntu 11.04.
Okay, since I’m starting to realize that it’s time to bail on Firefox as my primary browser, the next one down my list in order of browsers which annoy me the least these days is Chromium.
However, it’s still pretty annoying and still lacks a lot of functionality and flexibility. Since The Linux Critic is the best way I know to reach out to the community, I’m counting on you guys to give me some extension suggestions, because on my own so far I’m really not finding anything I need, no matter how hard I look.
So in keeping with the direction the devs at Mozilla have been steering the Firefox browser, plans include more feature assassination (of course), this time in the form of obfuscating useful information — arguably the most important information for users of a web browser — in the address bar.
For the last year and some change, I’ve gone from using Opera as my primary browser to using Mozilla Firefox. I have a variety of reasons for this switch, and it was a somewhat gradual one, but as I detailed in a recent post, despite it being my browser of choice, I still feel that it has a lot of shortcomings, and as such, it needs a lot of tweaking out-of-the-box before I find it usable.
So this is a writeup of the things I do to Firefox — in this particular case Firefox 4 — immediately after I install it. It used to be a much shorter list, but these days it’s getting more and more involved, so this writeup is as much for my own purposes, as a checklist of sorts, as it is to share my thoughts with others on how to tweak Firefox 4.
Let’s face it. Browsers suck. In my ongoing search for a browser that meets all my needs, I’ve frequently found myself compromising in one way or another, and while I have good things to say about almost any browser, I can’t say that I “love” any of them.
So this is less of a list of “my favorite browsers”… I don’t have one of those. Instead, I present you with my list of The 5 Browsers That Annoy Me The Least.
In my ongoing search for something with which to tinker, I’ve occasionally run across the Midori browser, a fully GTK+2 integrated, WebKit-based browser with a focus on being lightweight and simple.
It had been a while since I gave Midori a try, so I thought that since they had released a few updated versions since my last look, I’d install it and give it a new look, because it seemed to have some promise the last time.
I did most of my testing on my 64-bit Mint 9 laptop, and I installed Midori 0.2.6, which was the version in the repositories. I used it for a week as my primary browser, only resorting to Firefox when I had to do something that I couldn’t get to work in Midori, which is my usual approach to evaluating browsers.
Those of you who have been following my Linux Critic blog know that I’ve been on an app-hunt to replace some of the applications to which I’ve grown used to in KDE, mostly so that I can break my ties with that desktop and move forward completely without it. So far I’ve had some measure of success in this task, so I thought I’d do a writeup in case anyone else out there is moving on from KDE and needs some ideas about how to do that.
In my post expressing my disappointment in the direction Slackware is heading I had mentioned that I would be seeking replacements for a number of KDE based applications to which I have become attached over the years, and would have to learn to live without.
One of those applications is Kontact, which is a combination mail client, contact manager, calendar, scheduler, task tracking application (called a “Personal Information Manager” these days, I suppose). Kontact isn’t a perfect application, but I like it, and I’m unhappy with the version in KDE 4, so I started looking for a replacement some weeks ago.
The closest thing to it in the non-KDE universe is Evolution, which for those of you who have never used it, is a very full-featured Microsoft Outlook clone. I used Evolution on my Ubuntu laptop for a couple of weeks and had quite enough of it. It was constantly failing to connect to my POP servers, constantly locking up, constantly crashing, and was just all around unreliable.
There aren’t many other Personal Information Management applications out there that can do as much as Kontact or Evolution. So I figured a good spot to try and “make do” is Thunderbird. I had a pretty bad experience with Thunderbird the last time I tried it, but that was a couple of years ago now, so I thought it was high time I gave it another chance.
I was pleasantly surprised!
I know, I’m a Linux guy, and an advocate of Free/Open Source Software.
However, I’m also a user, and I’m a right-tool-for-the-right-job kind of guy. I’m picky as hell about my software, and I think the simple fact that I choose Linux for my day-to-day desktop use says a lot about its ability to meet my needs.
However, I’ve never been in on the big love affair the open source community has with Firefox. Yes, I think it’s great that it’s taken enough market share away from Microsoft to spur them into action — it’s been argued that IE7 and IE8 would never have existed in any form approaching a “modern” browser if it hadn’t been for Firefox pushing them to catch up.
However, like Linux, Firefox needs critics. It may still be better than what Microsoft offers, but it isn’t perfect by a long shot. It doesn’t meet my needs as an end user, which is why I’m still using a closed-source browser as my primary web surfing tool. So why does an open source advocate like myself use Opera instead of Firefox? Read on.