Firefox 4 Fail


This is a little off topic for the creek, but maybe someone from Mozilla will pay attention here.  March 22nd, the first day it was available, I downloaded and installed Firefox 4.  I was able to handle the interface change.  It was annoying, but you get used to companies ignoring the vast majority of their users, who are happy with the software they have, and changing things around to be new and fresh.  New and fresh is so much more important than being reliable and consistent.

Firefox Logo

The real problem was the features that stopped working, or stopped working right.  The following is a fairly complete list of the things that finally added up to my backing out Firefox 4 and going back to Firefox 3.6.16.  Yes I still use Firefox.  It’s still the best browser in my opinion.  I hope someday they get Firefox 4 to work as well as Firefox 3.6.16.

  • Roboform would not work from the right-click menu.  The entries in the right-click menu were there, but when you selected them nothing happened.  You could enable the Roboform toolbar and fill forms that way, but the Roboform toolbar was not integrated with the other tools bars correctly.  It was below the Google toolbar and when you entered a search pattern in the Google toolbar, the Roboform toolbar would block part of the auto complete drop down menu.  It was ugly.
  • Bookmarks were not saved properly.  I would drag bookmark icons to where I wanted them in my bookmarks, and next time I looked they were not there.  This happened multiple times.  I never got a new bookmark to save with Firefox 4.
  • A second Firefox window wasn’t configured like the first.  If I opened a second Firefox 4 window in a virtual desktop (Dexpot) it wouldn’t have the toolbar and menu settings of the first window.  I had to reconfigure the tabs and toolbars all over again.  It behaved the same way even without using virtual desktops.
  • The IE Tab add-on was not working.  I even read more than one post that said you had to disable it to make other parts of the Firefox 4 interface work.  I tried that and it didn’t help.
  • The Google toolbar wouldn’t auto complete.  It would show auto complete choices in a drop down menu, but when you selected one, the menu disappeared and you had only what you’d typed so far in the search box.  This behavior got old fast.
  • The Google toolbar wouldn’t configure on second and subsequent windows.  I’ve configured a few buttons to the right of the search box on my Google toolbar.  The first window would show the buttons most of the time.  A second and subsequent Firefox windows would lose the buttons altogether.
  • I couldn’t pull a tab from the tab bar to open in a new window.  This worked prior to Firefox 4 and was a very nice feature.  In Firefox 4 it was a NOP, or it would open a new window with no content at all, and leave the old tab and content in the original window.
  • The address/location bar wouldn’t show the URL of the current page.  It would sometimes start out showing the URL of the current page, but eventually it just stopped showing anything, or even worse, it would show a URL from several pages ago.  In other words, the wrong one.
  • Eventually the back button would stop working.  Sometimes you could right-click to get to a Back selection in the right-click menu, but most of the time that would stop working too.
  • The reload button would stop working.  At that point the only way to reload a page was to type the URL in the location bar and hit enter, or click the corresponding bookmark a second time.
  • Prior to Firefox 4 the back button was a combination back/forward/history button.  This was very handy if you stumbled onto a frame based website that was determined to hijack your browser window.  You could click on the little down arrow and see the last several pages in your history.  Then you could pick a page prior to the bad site.  As far as I can tell there is no such feature in Firefox 4, unless you use history explicitly.  And as I said above, even the back button itself didn’t work most of the time.

So I’m back to Firefox 3.6.16 and happy with that decision.  Maybe someday Firefox 4 will be out of beta, but they seriously jumped the gun on this release.  Interesting, they don’t tell you how many of their 76 million plus downloads were removed after the first few days or weeks.  You can count mine in that list.

Later…

P.S. Another problem to add to the list:

  • Evernote doesn’t work right with Firefox 4.  If I right-clicked on a page and selected Add to Evernote, a window popped up and asked me to login.  I’d never seen that before.  I tried my Evernote login and password and it just popped the login window back up like the password was invalid.  The only way I could save a page to Evernote was to select everything on the page, copy it into the clipboard, and paste it into a new Evernote note manually.  Now that I’ve backed out to Firefix 3.6.16 Evernote works just like it should.
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2 Replies to “Firefox 4 Fail”

  1. I used Firefox passionately for years but around last summer it stopped memorizing my passwords forcing me to manually log into all sites all the time. No upgrades have changed this so I switched to Sea Monkey which is not as great as Firefox used to be but at least it remembers my passwords 🙂

  2. I upgraded to Firefox 4, but didn’t like the tabs on top which covered most of the screen and saved no room for personnas. So I went back to 3.16 and am constantly getting popups to upgrade. I checked out yesterday and found out my google tool bar which I love would not work with Fire fox 4. I found a solution for the personnas, but when I found out my google tool bar wouldn’t work I just decided to stay with 3.16 indefinitely.

    I don’t know why they have to keep upgrading when what they have works fine, and even if they do, why do they keep bugging you to upgrade when what you have is perfectly good,

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