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Why Firefox Is My Browser Of Choice

Posted to my Google Plus account (https://plus.google.com/115784859563110525602/posts/cwwMBdh4iPL):

Let's talk browsers. Specifically, Opera 11.51, Firefox 7.0.1, Safari 5.1 and Chrome 14.0.835.163. I don't have access to Internet Explorer 9. Ordered best to worst.

JavaScript standards compliance: http://test262.ecmascript.org (lower failures is better):
Firefox: 191 failures
Chrome: 425 failures
Safari: 832 failures
Opera: 3,750 failures

HTML5 standards compliance: http://html5test.com (higher is better):
Firefox: 313 and 9 bonus points
Safari: 293 and 8 bonus points
Opera: 286 with 7 bonus points
Chrome: 284 and 2 bonus points

CSS3 standards compliance: http://acid3.acidtests.org (higher is better):
All score 100% with fluid animation.

JavaScript benchmark performance: http://webkit.org/perf/sunspider/sunspider.html (lower is better):
Firefox: 211.9ms +/- 1.3%
Opera: 258.2ms +/- 2.7%
Safari: 291.4ms +/- 0.9%
Chrome: 298.3ms +/- 7.1%

In every test, Firefox 7 came out on top. I realize it's the newest browser of the bunch, but it's fairly clear that it's holding its own against its competitors. It performs, it's standards compliant, and it's still my browser of choice. Further, it's interesting that Firefox beats the pants out of Chrome in 3 of the 4 tests, and yet Chrome is gaining market share. Go figure.

{ 28 } Comments

  1. Tachyon Feathertail using Firefox 7.0 on GNU/Linux | September 30, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    You'd think Chrome's advantages didn't require a benchmark to discover, or something. ^.^

  2. Tachyon Feathertail using Firefox 7.0 on GNU/Linux | September 30, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Er, I'm using Firefox because I just reinstalled Ubuntu. >.>;

  3. kahping using Firefox 7.0.1 on GNU/Linux 64 bits | September 30, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    What about other JS benchmarks?

  4. fRIOUX Schmidt using Firefox 7.0 on GNU/Linux | September 30, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    I think a couple major things to point out are that firefox has an excellent addon ecosystem, and (most importantly I think) the backing of an awesome non-profit, unlike every other major browser out there.

  5. dAnjou using Safari 533.1 on Android | September 30, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    One thing that is not really measurable, but I think is more important to users than those compliances is usability. Don't you think? Go figure :P

  6. Etric using Google Chrome 13.0.782.215 on Ubuntu 64 bits | October 1, 2011 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    wow cant believe how bad chrome ended up there. oO seems things change again

    13.0.782.215 works a lot better btw always shortly above/below firefox.

  7. BeSlayed using Mozilla Compatible 5.0 on Debian GNU/Linux | October 1, 2011 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    I wonder where the IE versions fit in though.

    [Not sure how the Browser/OS detection script will read my setup. For the record, "using Conkeror 1.0pre w/ XULRunner 7.0 on Bodhi Linux 1.20".]

  8. Anonymous using Internet Explorer 9.0 on Windows XP | October 1, 2011 at 2:29 am | Permalink

    I agree with #5 - it's not all about performance or compliance on four benchmarks... I've never liked FF's "building block concept". I want to install a browser and then use it - without the need to get tons of add-ons first.

  9. Anonymous using Google Chrome 14.0.835.186 on Windows 7 | October 1, 2011 at 4:04 am | Permalink

    To provide you with some numbers for IE9 on Win7:
    test262: 323 failures
    html5test: 141 and 5 bonus points
    acid3: 100% with almost fluid animation
    sunspider: 1412.9ms +/- 8.5%

    Chrome has relieved Firefox as my browser of choice for the last months, not because of how standards compliant the browser is, but because of better usability and handling of third party plugins. It happened to me quite often that Firefox as a whole would hang because a flash advertisement in one tab was loading. This is not acceptable in this time and age. Another point is the whole addon breakage with every new release, which happens quite often now by design. Or the effect of "Firefox is still running without showing a window, so you cannot open a new instance without killing the process first".
    While I appreciate the effort Mozilla and all contributors are putting into Firefox, I really have to say that Firefox has stagnated for quite some time now usability-wise, and it starts to show in the browser market share, where Chrome will be overtaking soon.

  10. stefan using Google Chrome 12.0.742.112 on Ubuntu 64 bits | October 1, 2011 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    I use Firefox 7 and Chromium 12. Chromium is faster in displaying the page I want to visit! Why? Because Chromium loads the most probable page while I type the address. Since my typing is slower then the actual page load, the page is loaded before I finish typing the address! So: while the tests you ran are interesting, they measure the wrong things.

  11. KOSHrf using Google Chrome 14.0.835.186 on Windows 7 | October 1, 2011 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    I just ran the HTML5 test on chrome 14, 341 with 14 bonus points.
    Firefox 7.0.1 298 with 9 bonus points.

    Did the other tests and chrome beat Firefox on all of them, I'm not sure if it is because it was ran on Windows, but that would explain why Chrome is gaining market. Windows is still the most used OS.

  12. alindt using Google Chrome 14.0.835.186 on GNU/Linux | October 1, 2011 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    The thing that caught my eye is the low score for Chrome/HTML5 test because I remember that even Chrome 12 scored 320+, so I tested again:

    Chrome 14.0.835.186 (Official Build 101821)
    Firefox 7.0.1
    Opera 11.51 (Build 1087)

    == HTML5 standards compliance ==
    Chrome: 340 and 13 bonus points
    Firefox: 298 and 9 bonus points
    Opera: 286 and 7 bonus points

    == JavaScript performance (Sunspider 0.9.1) ==
    Firefox: 262.3ms +/- 0.7%
    Chrome: 344.6ms +/- 2.5%
    Opera: 366.0ms +/- 2.1%

    In Sunspider it's rather funny because Chrome seems to use both cores on my laptop (177%) but Firefox uses only one (98%) and still manages to be faster. Even more interesting is that Opera uses (needs?) only one core but the load on that one core is lower than the other browsers' (62%) and yet the results are not that much far behind Chrome's.

    Can anybody else confirm this?

  13. wh using Firefox 3.6.20 on Gentoo 64 bits | October 1, 2011 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    I am using firefox and can't take it anymore.
    I plan to use surf and/or vimprobable2.

    Many todays standards are just broken. Extensive use of JS is IMHO very bad.
    But unfortunately it's not browsers per se that are broken, but WWW is now broken.
    Web is so broken, that I need many extensions to get the job done.
    Why, oh why in order to even browse web with decent comfort I need now: NoScript, AdBlock, BetterPrivacy, Controle de Scripts and Linkification? Why, oh why to overcome firefox brokenness I need: Perspectives and Unfocus? Why, oh why I need: Nuke Anything Enhanced, Link Alert and Download Helper?
    I would also need Vimperator/Pentadactyl, but that's irrelevant.
    Now web is broken by design, new fancy firefox is not going to change that. By supporting this broken standards, they even make things worse...

  14. David using Firefox 7.0.1 on GNU/Linux | October 1, 2011 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    On Ubuntu 11.04 I get the following for the HTML5 tests:
    Firefox 7: 298 and 9 bonus points
    Chrome 14: 325 and 13 bonus points

    I still use Firefox as my primary browser though, mainly because of Firebug, although Chrome's developer tools are getting quite good.

  15. alindt using Google Chrome 14.0.835.186 on GNU/Linux | October 1, 2011 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    @wh: what is a "broken standard"? At most the standards' implementations in browsers are broken/incomplete to some degree. I hardly think ads and ad-blockers are solutions to broken web standards. The plugins/extensions you talk about are merely enhancements to a browser that deal with one's personal preferences, but they don't deal with standards and their brokenness.

    Can you name a few of these "broken standards"?

  16. Aaron Toponce using Debian IceWeasel 7.0.1 on GNU/Linux 64 bits | October 1, 2011 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    @Tachyon Feathertail- So, what are those advantages then?

    @kahping- The others are V8 by Google and Kraken by Mozilla. V8 is only designed to test Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine. It's not meant to be a cross-browser benchmark. Also, I was unaware of Kraken when I posted this, but on running those browsers against that benchmark, Chrome outperforms Firefox:

    Chrome: 2885.6ms +/- 0.7%
    Firefox: 3820.6ms +/- 0.9%
    Opera: 6981.2 +/- 0.9%
    Safari: 11116.9 +/- 0.6%

    @fRIOUX Schmidt- Yes. I would much rather support a nonprofit than a mega-corp.

    @dAnjou- Sure, usability is very important, of which all the browsers on the market have. I find Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari all very usable, but this post was about metrics, rather than subjection.

    @Etric- How bad it ended up where? On the benchmark or elsewhere?

    @BeSlayed- No idea. I don't have access to a Windows 7 machine to test (with the rest of the browsers, of course).

    @Anonymous- Other than the benchmark, those are interesting results. Of course, the benchmark would mean more if it were on my machine where I tested the rest of the browsers as well. I have no idea what hardware you have, nor do you know what I have. :)

    With regards to your other comments about Flash crashing, usability, and breaking extensions, I've not had a problem with any of them. I've heard people complain about Firefox being so unstable, but I've not discovered it. In fact, I've had crashed tabs more often in Chrome than Firefox. And with breaking extensions, that's not the fault of Firefox, but of the extension developer.

    @stefan- Other than DNS prefetching, of which Firefox has, I'm not familiar with this enhanced page loading before you're done typing the URL. Is there some documentation on this?

    @KOSHrf- It appears that you have a more recent build of Chrome than I do. Are you running the stable build, or beta? Or development even?

    @alindt- Hmm. Interesting. It appears I have an older build. I'll update, and see if that has an effect on the HTML5test.com results. With regards to the cores, that's an interesting find, something I didn't pay attention to.

    @wh- "Extensive use of JS is IMHO very bad". Then complain to the web developer? That's not a standards problem, and the standards certainly aren't broken. With regards to your complaint about "needing" extension, none of them are "needed", you just have different expectations about privacy on the web than others. I use AdBlock, but that's it. Other than that, the web is fairly usable for me. To each their own, I guess.

  17. Aaron Toponce using Debian IceWeasel 7.0.1 on GNU/Linux 64 bits | October 1, 2011 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    @David- Yeah, I guess I either need to update my Chrome to the latest build, or every one of you are running a beta or development version. :)

  18. Aaron Toponce using Debian IceWeasel 7.0.1 on GNU/Linux 64 bits | October 1, 2011 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Everyone-

    So, that's interesting. Updating to the latest release yields the following results from http://html5test.com:

    "your browser scores 325 AND 13 BONUS POINTS out of a total of 450 points"

    Interesting that from 14.0.835.163 to 14.0.835.186, there is that much difference. Either that, or something else is going on.

  19. Neil Broadley using Firefox 7.0.1 on GNU/Linux | October 1, 2011 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    I used Firefox for years, then Chromium for the past two. But with the arrival of Firefox Sync, I'm back again and very happy with Firefox.

    But despite moving back to Firefox, I miss Chromium's performance. I'm running 11.04 on a reasonably powerful laptop, but try visiting http://www.ninjago.com (needs must with a 7 year old son) using Firefox 6 and the animations are appalling - useless in fact. Same with Firefox 7, albeit ever-so-slightly faster. Now try the same site on Chromium - perfect. In fact, this goes for just about any flash game. They're all better on Chromium.

    It would seem that the benchmarks aren't telling anywhere like the whole story.

    And it doesn't help that sites like Amazon's Cloud Reader require Chome or Chromium.

  20. Alexi Helligar using Firefox 7.0.1 on GNU/Linux 64 bits | October 1, 2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    I have noticed a few quirks with Firefox 5, 6, 7 when rendering web graphics, especially on Android devices. One thing about Chrome that is surprising is how often it mangles scrolling in Gmail. Go figure.

  21. dAnjou using Google Chrome 14.0.835.126 on Ubuntu | October 1, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    @Aaron Toponce: You wrote "[...] this post was about metrics, rather than subjection." Well, then you should say that in your post because I can see that you posted some measured results but things like "Why Firefox Is My Browser Of Choice", "Let’s talk browsers. [...] Ordered best to worst." and "Further, it’s interesting that Firefox beats the pants out of Chrome in 3 of the 4 tests, and yet Chrome is gaining market share. Go figure." do not sound like this is ONLY about metrics. If it's about standards I'm the first who wants things 100% accurate and I started using Chromium because at that time Firefox had some ugly problems with JavaScript. And now I'm happy with Chromium but once in a while I have a look at Firefox and the one thing that keeps me from using it again is usability.

    PS: I wasn't using Safari on Android before (what the ...?). It was Dolphin HD on Android.

  22. darkduck using Google Chrome 14.0.835.187 on Windows XP | October 4, 2011 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    I still prefer Chrome, even though have Firefox Aurora (alpha-channel) installed and run sometimes.

    By the way... there is a way to make FF look almost similar to Chrome: http://linuxblog.darkduck.com/2011/08/chromofox.html

  23. Jim using Firefox 7.0.1 on Windows XP | October 5, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Firefox maybe the most compliant looking at your stats, but it takes the longest to startup and crashes more often than the others. I have to run it, wait 5 minutes, shutdown the process and run it again...every single morning!
    The new version 7 has started randomly crashing while surfing now. If only Google Chrome had Firebug.

  24. Aaron Toponce using Debian IceWeasel 7.0.1 on GNU/Linux 64 bits | October 6, 2011 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    @Jim People keep saying that, but I don't have these massively long startup times, nor do I have the instability. With 6 tab groups and about 50 tabs currently open, Firefox and Iceweasel both are ready to go in a second or two. And my uptime is days, without a single crash.

  25. Jason Bunting using Firefox 7.0.1 on Windows 7 | November 9, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    I've been and continue to be a die-hard Firefox fan, although I admit that I'm using Chrome more and more, but until they have the exact same version of Firebug running in it (or a tool that does the _exact_ same things that Firebug does), I'm not going to make the jump in any permanent sense. Of course, as a web application developer, I unfortunately have to run IE on my development machines - esp. for one of the largest software clients in the valley, the LDS church, since IE is their "official" browser. Blech.

  26. Aaron Toponce using Debian IceWeasel 8.0 on GNU/Linux 64 bits | November 10, 2011 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Yeah, Firebug is one sweet tool. Although the Chrome developer tools rival it fairly well, there are some Firebug-isms that I've grown accustomed to, that Chrome doesn't ship.

    I'll admit that I'm a bit concerned that Google is Mozilla's "nest egg" financially, so-to-speak, and if Google decides to drop support for their search engine as the default, what the future of Mozilla might be. So, I was a bit relieved to see the Twitter search integration with version 8. I'd be willing to bet that Mozilla isn't doing that for free.

    At any event, my support for Firefox isn't waning any time soon.

  27. Firefoxxx using Opera 9.80 on Windows XP | November 20, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Opera 12 Scores: HTML5 TEST: 325 VS 299 of firefox - PEACEKEEPER - Opera obtains the best score ACID3 - Opera 100/100 GRAPICS ACCELERATION is best which firefox in Opera, and opera is best

  28. David using Google Chrome 23.0.1271.97 on Windows XP | December 13, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    I switched from Firefox to Chrome on my desktop PC. Chrome runs faster where page loads and overall usage are more responsive with fluid transitions, plus YouTube videos run much smoother without stutter effects.

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