Browser 2014 reviews – firefox

“Firefox” is a familiar browser.  The original “Netscape” was the first browser that I used, and the mainstay of my browsing for many years.  That changed to “mozilla”, and then to “firefox”.  And I continue to use “firefox” for much of my browsing, though I have recently been using “konqueror” for browsing pages initiated from “akregator” (the RSS reader).

I normally use “firefox” with the “noscript” and “flashblock” extensions.  I disabled those for this review, to better compare with the way that I tested other browsers.  However, I kept the “secure login” extension, since that does not have a noticeable effect on most ordinary browsing.  I set “firefox” to be the KDE default browser, and allowed “akregator” to pick that up for showing pages in an external browser.

Overall impressions

“Firefox” probably works the best of all of the browsers that I have been testing.  No doubt this is partly a matter of personal experience and familiarity.  During two days of testing, it did not falter.  It never crashed.  It is fast in loading pages — perhaps not as fast as “midori”, but much faster than “konqueror”.

The only negative was that a couple of advertising popups appeared when opening pages via “akregator”.  The popup blocker is turned on, so someone must have found a way of defeating the popup blocker.


With “firefox” there is a normal bookmarks menu.  Or you can have a bookmarks toolbar.  I prefer the menu, so used that.  It works very well.  I often open a bookmark with middle-click, which opens it in a new tab.  Several of the other browsers also do that, but “firefox” is the most congenial.

Private browsing

Firefox handles private browsing very well.  I can open a private browsing window from the main menu.  Or I can right-click on a link, and open that link in a private browsing window.  Either way, it works well.

There does not seem to be an ability to right-click on a bookmark, and choose to open that bookmark in a private browsing window.  So, for privately browsing a bookmark, I must open the private window first.

Spell checking

The spell checking in “firefox” works well.  A dubious word is underlined in red.  Right clicking on the word provides suggestions.  In practice, I often ignore it.  I’m reasonably good at spelling.  And sometimes it flags words that are correct, though unusual.  Flagging such words is probably good practice.  It gives me the choice of whether to do anything.

Unfortunately, the spell checker does not catch my inconsistencies, such as sometimes putting “firefox” in quotes and sometimes skipping the quotes.


I have “firefox” configured to use a master password.  That’s the way of having the saved passwords kept in an encrypted file.  When I first use a saved password, I am prompted for the key (the master password).  And “firefox” remembers that until I shut it down.

With the “secure login” extension that I am using, “firefox” does not automatically complete a login form.  I must click the “secure login” button for that.  I prefer to have that choice.  And there’s an extra benefit.  If the password has been saved, then this works even when the web site says not to save passwords.  However, firefox will not prompt to save a password from such a site, though it might be possible with the password editor extension.


Since I mentioned this for other browsers, I’ll mention it for “firefox”.  Here, copy/paste is working well.

Tabbed browsing

In my opinion, “firefox” is the champion for tabbed browsing.  It does almost everything right.  There’s a close button one each tab, if there is more than one tab.  You can also close a tab with middle-click on the tab.  A middle-click on most links will open them in a new tab.  And closing a tab takes you back to the previous tab.  The one downside is that the memory of the previous tab is only one deep.


“Firefox” is highly configurable.  If the menu bar is showing, choose “preferences” from the “Edit” menu.  If the menu bar is hidden, then there’s a “preferences” menu item in the main menu.  Within the preferences, there are several tabs for setting different kinds of preferences.  And, if you are missing a preference, you can browse to “about:config” for a more extensive list of settings.

And then there are the extensions.  The mozilla extensions site has a large number of “firefox” extensions.  I normally use only a few of these, to avoid bloat.  Many “firefox” users go with a larger set of extensions.


Firefox is still the best browser around, at least for this user.  It makes me think of switching to do everything with firefox.  However, I’ll probably revert to using “konqueror” in assocation with “akregator”, and “firefox” for everything else.  As a linux/KDE user, I should be spending at least some of my time with the native KDE software.



About Neil Rickert

Mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

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  1. Browser reviews — 2014 | Thoughts on computing - 2014/02/11

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