Happy 10th birthday Firefox! Thoughts on using Firefox, abandoning it, and returning to it again

Today Mozilla launched a 10th birthday celebration for its Firefox Web browser. Mozilla just released both a developer version of Firefox as well as a new feature in regular Firefox to help users control their privacy

Check out their video “Firefox: Choose independent”:

My use

I use Firefox daily on all my work and personal machines (including my Android phone), have it installed on Abby’s, and on the computers of my parents as well as my parents-in-law! I love Firefox for its independence, adherence to open standards, high performance and reliability, syncing of my preferences and other data across multiple devices, and fantastic ecosystem of extensions.


I have used Firefox since before it was called Firefox. I used it when it was Phoenix. I used it when it was Firebird. (For a long time, the user profile information was still stored in a directory named “phoenix”!)

Before Firefox, I started using the Web twenty years ago through Netscape Navigator, the ancestor of Firefox. It was so exciting using the Web in 1994 when the Web was brand new; I would dial up through my modem hooked up to my Macintosh SE/30 and patiently wait for pages to load.

I continued to use Netscape in the late 1990s (when I switched to Linux for my personal and work machines) until it started stagnating, and I switched to Galeon around 2000. I switched to Phoenix in 2003 because Galeon was just too buggy, then lived through its short rename as Firebird before it became Firefox.

Confession about a brief abandonment

At some point in 2012, Firefox entered an unstable phase in which it was slow and buggy and became unusable to me. I was very sad. In fact, for the first time in my life then, I tried out Google Chrome. It worked great, and I ditched Firefox. I was very sad about my decision, because I want Firefox to succeed, it being a truly independent browser, not owned by any for-profit corporation. Microsoft used Internet Explorer to damage the open Web, and I do not want a repeat of the same story. But the reality was, Firefox had become unusable to me, so I had to switch!

Luckily, several months later, when I tried out Firefox again, it was usable again, and also kept improving as well, being no longer just adequate but very reliable for me, and I switched back happily.

I am grateful that Firefox exists and continues to thrive. Thank you, Mozilla!

Which is your preferred Web browser? Why? Do you care about the implications of independence, or do you only care about the technical and user-end aspects of Web browser choice?

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