I have to say that Firefox is getting a lot worse lately. The user experience is in serious need of improvement and development is the pits. I installed the latest "big deal" Firefox update on June 30th. (For some reason they skipped a full four secondary updates, but whatever.) Upon restarting, which took several minutes, I began using Firefox 3.5.
At first, Firefox seemed strangely familiar. I thought they had changed very little unnecessarily until I visited the Acid3 test. Lo and behold, I was still using Firefox 18.104.22.168. What the fuck? I manually invoked Check for Updates… and repeated my first attempt only to find, upon restarting, the same thing.
Finally in desperation I downloaded the installer manually from Mozilla. The install ran surprisingly quickly and, after a few minutes, I was launched with the new version. I had to check, though, because again I thought it looked like very little had changed.
Well, after the three tries it took to upgrade, I found my profile wouldn't migrate. This was a mess, but I was able to eventually retrieve my bookmarks from a long, arcane file path in a hidden directory. But then upon visiting my bookmarked sites I found that almost none of my add-ons are compatible with it. Therefore my browser is almost entirely functionless.
The bookmark tool itself could use a polishing. It's a mess and has been since version 1.0. If a browser is meant to render and organize content, Firefox surely falls down in this area. Why does it take me several minutes to slosh through the GUI just to make a new folder and alphabetize some bookmarks in it? Not to mention the damned Bookmarks toolbar, which takes up too much damn space and can't be turned off.
And speaking of the GUI, it's slow as Hell! Get rid of the proprietary XUL and just hardcode the damned interface already!
I also have to mention memory use. On my system, Firefox was swallowing an incredible 400 MiB with only a simple HTML 5 page open. 400 MiB?! I blame this on the Firefox team's use of C++, where memory management is about as easy as herding cats. Likewise Firefox is a slow, bloated nightmare. (For a contrast, there's Safari, which is written in Objective C and is very small and efficient.)
With Firefox smelling more and more like crapware, I started to dig a little, first on Wikipedia and then on the Mozilla Development Forums. It turns out that my observations are part of a larger pattern of Firefox quality issues and development customs. The Mozilla developers are a bunch of arrogant, abusive shitheads.
For starters, they're still running all tabs in the same process. This is something IE7 and Safari 3 have had right for years. So if a plugin crashes or a page takes forever to finish rendering, everything's stuck. You can't even switch tabs to another page! And Firefox 3.5 is a "milestone" release? Firefox 3.6 and 4 are milestones too, and process-per-tab isn't scheduled for either.
Developer interaction with Firefox users is stilted too. Sometimes Bugzilla reports are dismissed out of hand, only to be reopened when something goes terribly wrong later. I also saw instances of reported security flaws sitting years before being patched. In one case, someone released an exploit to point out the deep holes in Firefox before anyone did anything.
One time, a user with some programming experience suggested a bugfix to the wishlist. One programmer, whom I will not publicly name, suggested the user submit patches "once his balls dropped," if he were even male. If this were a real company and not a bunch of arrogant hacker hippies, user antagonism and sexism would never be acceptable. When I read this particular incident I uninstalled Firefox for good.
If anyone else has complaints about Firefox, post them here. For a browser that's taken nearly a third of the market, it's doing so with an incredibly broken development model and backend. Just imagine if the Firefox team actually treated its users right or prioritized projects properly. Maybe then the web would move beyond the mess of incompatibile standards and site hacks it is today.
Until then, Firefox is just another out-of-control Open Source project that needs a good stiff slap in the face.