Update: OK guys, it's been fun! We'll answer questions intermittently, but we've been doing this for 10 hours now, and need some food. You're all great, thanks for all the questions! :)

Almost three years ago, we hosted a session here on Reddit where you got to tell us everything that annoyed you about Firefox 3.6. This led to an effort at Mozilla called “Paper cuts”, see blog post and slides. We got over 2000 comments back then, and we'd like to hear from you again!

What we're after is the “paper cuts”, the stuff that gets in the way or annoys you about Firefox on a daily basis, and that we could help get prioritized.

Ground rules: (of course, you can ask us anything, but this will save some time)

  • One idea/papercut per comment, please — that way they can be voted up individually.
  • No trolling in bug reports linked from this thread, please — if there’s already a bug in Bugzilla for it, we take it seriously, no need to post “why hasn't this been fixed yet‽”
  • We love all the other browsers on the market (yes, really!), and several of our close friends work on competing products. Competition makes everyone better, and the web is better off for it. No “browser X sucks, browser Y is the best” comments necessary.
  • Make sure you have tried a recent version of Firefox (preferrably with a reset profile) before commenting. Firefox has come leaps and bounds lately, and has best-in-class memory usage, massively improved startup time, etc. So make sure you're commenting on the product we're actually shipping, instead of the Firefox you used a year ago. :)
  • We will not answer any questions about Rampart.

People from Mozilla participating in this thread:

  • limi — Alex Limi, Product Design Strategy — @limi
  • bwinton — Blake Winton, Firefox UX Engineer — @bwinton
  • dolske — Justin Dolske, Firefox developer, bacon enthusiast, and snuggler of kittens — @dolske
  • madhava — Madhava Enros, User Experience Lead — @madhava
  • shorlander — Stephen Horlander, Visual Design — @shorlander
  • weinjared — Jared Wein, Software Engineer — @weinjared
  • yuanwang — Yuan Wang, Designer — @yuanwang1
  • wselman — Bill Selman, UX Research — @wselman
  • Boriss_Firefox_UX — Jennifer Boriss, Designer — @boriss
  • fryn — Frank Yan, UX Engineer — @frankyan
  • gregglind — Gregg Lind, UX Quant — @gregglind
  • zhenshuo — Zhenshuo Fang, User Experience Designer — @zhenshuofang
  • brampitoyo — Bram Pitoyo, UX Designer — @brampitoyo
  • good_grief — Mike Conley, Firefox Engineer — @mike_conley
  • darklight001 — Tyler Downer, User Advocate — @tylerdowner

The Mozilla UX blog is here: https://blog.mozilla.org/ux/

TL;DR — some questions that are asked repeatedly:

  • Problems? Slow startup, slow shutdown, lots of memory used? Reset Firefox fixes most issues.
  • If that doesn't fix your problem, talk to our awesome support team.
  • Private browsing without shutting down the current set of tabs is coming in Firefox 20 (get the beta if you want it right now!)
  • Flash issues are hard (focus stealing keypresses, volume control), due to the way Flash works. We're still trying to find ways to fix this. We hear you!
  • We are currently working on Australis (the visual redesign), here's a screenshot of the UX build this morning: http://i.imgur.com/VdQ99bc.png

Remember, Firefox is your project — it's the only mainstream browser not owned by a massive corporation — so help us make it better!

Comments: 5608 • Responses: 102  • Date: 

VanillaBraun2192 karma

It's quite annoying when you exit out of Firefox then immediately try to open it again it gives you the "Firefox is already running in another process" error. Other than that, love Firefox!

good_grief1155 karma

Yeah, that does suck indeed.

What's happening is that Firefox is still in the process of closing, even though the window has disappeared. When you try to re-open Firefox, it flips out, because the first process hasn't finished up yet.

The performance team is working hard on this on the "exit(0)" project. It's a P1 goal. You can track our progress in this bug. (make sure to follow Bugzilla etiquette if it's your first time).

limi119 karma

Yeah, this sounds like it is not shutting down fast enough. Try a reset?


turtlesan65 karma

Ending the process, I find, works like a charm.

limi55 karma

Yes, but it shouldn't be necessary! Try the reset. :)

Sam_Kablam1395 karma

Not a peeve, but an idea I'd like to see: Being able to easily identify which open tab is producing sound. More than once I've had to close down my browser because some ad with sound started playing and I couldn't find which ad on which page was playing it.

bwinton704 karma

Curiously enough, I just got email about this. Someone has a patch that adds a global volume control, and controls to mute all the tabs, or all the non-visible tabs. So that's certainly something we'll be looking into… :)

[deleted]857 karma

I use Firefox for porn, thanks.

EDIT: Fuck yeah, thanks for the reddit gold!

weinjared909 karma

If you're not using Firefox Beta, Aurora, or Nightly, then you're in for a treat when you check them out.

We now have a new implementation of our Private Browsing that will open in a separate window instead of swapping your current browsing context.

good_grief991 karma

Engagement rings for everybody!

ieatfishes30 karma

Awesome! Any idea when it make it into the release version? I currently open Chrome when I need a clean private session.

good_grief62 karma

According to the release calendar, Firefox 20 moves to the release channel on April 1st. (And no, I'm not joking. :) )

skyroket28 karma

I was kinda confused when I would do my normal Ctrl Shift P and it now pops up a Private WINDOW instead of closing the regular window altogether and opening a purple private one. Now it's just too easy to close up when you're done. You don't have to restart all your tabs!

bwinton33 karma

I get kinda confused when I hit Cmd-Shift-[ to switch tabs, and get a new Private Window, cause my fingers are shifted over a key… ;)

oyouareatubeo763 karma

When I have too many tabs open (aka always), everything is smooth as butter for several hours. Then, after that, everything gets laggylaggylaggy. Until I restart. Then its fine. I hate this. I love Firefox. Also, I never know if Firefox is going to remember my tabs from last time or not. It's a complete mystery. I love you guys, thx so much.

limi577 karma

smooth as butter for several hours. Then, after that, everything gets laggylaggylaggy

One thing we are considering is to unload tabs you haven't used in hours/days from memory, similar to how we restore background tabs on-demand when you restart.

I never know if Firefox is going to remember my tabs from last time or not.

Preferences -> General:

When Firefox starts: Show my windows and tabs from last time

kernco171 karma

I agree about never knowing if Firefox is going to remember by tabs or not. But I've actually figured it out. The problem is that I use Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X on a daily basis, and the behavior isn't consistent between these operating systems. On Linux and Windows, when I close the Firefox window, Firefox exits and so when I run it again my tabs are all still there. But on Mac OS X, when I close the window it closes all the tabs, but Firefox is still running, so when I open a new window, it's blank. I have to actually quit Firefox with command-Q or using the menu to get it to remember my tabs next time.

I don't know if this is something you will "fix", because it's not actually a bug. Firefox behaves exactly how programs are supposed to behave on these different operating systems. It's just annoying because these different OSes have different expected behaviors.

limi211 karma

Yup, this is correct. On Mac, you don't actually quit the session when you close the last window. And that's how we need to behave on that platform.

bwinton66 karma

I'm sure our performance team would be interested in the output of the built-in Profiler, if you can capture it when it's lagging…

edit: removed outdated link

weinjared22 karma

Here are docs on how to report a performance problem when you come across them: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Performance/Reporting_a_Performance_Problem

The data submitted helps tremendously when it comes to fixing the bug.

sigmabody727 karma

Pet peeve:

When Firefox loads a page which needs an addon I don't have (and/or have disabled), I get a bar on the top for notification. However, there are no options other than installing the addon or closing the bar (manually). Where's the option for "I never want to use this addon, stop telling me about it"? I'd also like "I know this crappy site runs things I don't want on every page, you don't need to remind me every time". Or maybe "just show notifications for this addon as an unobtrusive icon on the status bar I can ignore".

Heck, at least a "this is more information about what addon is missing" would be nice.

Like I said, pet peeve...

limi738 karma

We're ripping out that thing, and you're right that it is annoying. :)

damianlz336 karma

i like you guys

limi440 karma

We like you too.

CuntSmellersLLP280 karma

Now kiss.

sigmabody106 karma

What are you replacing it with?

Feel free to take my notes as suggestions for operations which I hope are [easily] possible with whatever mechanism replaces this.

limi331 karma

I don't think we'll be encouraging plugins at all, it's not something we believe is part of the web. It was a necessary evil back in the 90s, but browsers can do pretty much anything a plugin is capable of these days.

Sizzle-Chest587 karma

Hey, folks. No question here. I just wanted to let y'all know, I work IT, and a high percentage of my tech support calls involve me telling the customer to switch from IE to Firefox to resolve their problem.

I also wanted to say thank you to the whole team of devs. Netscape, and later Firefox have been a staple of my browsing experience for as long as I can remember.

dolske354 karma

Aww, thanks! (▰˘◡˘▰)

good_grief220 karma

You just made my day. Have an upvote!

limi209 karma

Thank you!

xawe422 karma

Once upon a time an alert box was made tab modal. Now please make also the authentication box to behave the same way as an alert box. It bothers me a lot when I need to restart a browser with a page that requires HTTP authentication and the browser freezes until I click it away or enter my credentials. Another use case is when one need to copy credentials from another tab.

limi307 karma

Yup! Modal dialog boxes must die!

HopelesslyNice372 karma

I love Firefox, and it is my primary choice for browsing. The one feature that bothers me though is that if I want to go to Private Browsing (Ctrl+Shift+P), my current window disappears. This can be annoying especially when I have a video open and when I get back to normal browsing it starts from the beginning and not where I left it. Have you thought about changing this practice so that a private browsing page opens completely on a new window? Thanks.

darklight001288 karma

Yes we have, and you can try per-Windows private browsing in Firefox 20 beta, http://www.mozilla.org/firefox/beta/

limi168 karma

It has been fixed, and is coming to Firefox in version 20, if I remember correctly.

fryn97 karma

Starting in Firefox 20 (currently in beta), we support per-window private browsing! You can get the beta here to use it today: http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/beta/

duke9509352 karma

Hey! Glad you guys are doing this! This actually caused me to join Reddit! XD

Anyway, I am currently a junior in highschool with a passing (read: unexplored, as I sadly have yet to have the opportunity for really learning techniques or other common practices) interest in graphic design and UX design (If I ever get such an opportunity, and decide that it's something I'd like to pursue, I will say that Mozilla would be one of my dream "whom to work for/with"s just because of how pioneering you guys are and how willing you are to experiment and take risks rather than just do what everyone else is doing. The web is the center of modern life and we need some less stagnant ideas to get the waters moving. So bravo!).

Anyway, I am also a very detail-minded person and can be bugged by little details that I'm probably one of the few people who notices but that I'm sure enough do to make them matter. DEFINITELY "paper-cuts." They're not particularly important, but they do add up in their effect on the user's impression of the product quality.

A few such things I've found in Firefox (some of which have been around for a while, some not):

  • This has been around the longest: The prelight button style that is used on the tab and add-on bars has no corresponding "pressed" state. This is inconsistent with all the other button styles used which do animate when pressed. (http://img16.imageshack.us/img16/7431/pressed.png) Likewise, the buttons used in the add-on manager press but have no prelight.
  • Pop-up windows have no top window border! (http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/8056/linesj.png)
  • On Windows 8, the highlights in the Firefox Menu for regular items use the new, flatter Win8 styling, where as the hybrid submenus still use the more 3D Win7 styling: (http://img6.imageshack.us/img6/7312/highlightf.png)
  • This has been fixed in OSX, but not in Windows. The ugly corner you see here: http://img41.imageshack.us/img41/410/notrounded.png
  • This would be almost impossible to screenshot (plus I don't feel like rebooting, haha), but with the new doorhanger download UI in OSX, on the "download complete" animation, when the expanding arrow hits the invisible border between the window's contents and the titlebar proper, it disappears behind it.
  • Another OSX one: If the forward button is caused to appear by any action other than pressing the physical back button (say swiping with two fingers to the right), it appears half grayed-out and ugly looking. This can be corrected by clicking it.

Now, I have seen the interactive Australis mockup and other design docs for it, and I can't WAIT! Great job! (Insert very small and subtle request for a Windows Phone Firefox here ;) )

And then I was wondering if any of you guys would be at all interested in hearing the silly feature ideas of one highschool kid who likes to play around with reworking programs and interfaces in his daydreams, haha. The idea I'm most proud of at this point is one of abandoning linear history in favor of "Threads" grouped by tab (Because, if you open an article in one tab, do something in another, and then go back to the first and click on a link, the original article and its child webpage are separated in the History view by the other tab's unrelated URLs, because those URLs were opened chronologically between them, even though, logically, a history should allow you to retrace your thought processes). Oops. I think that was a pretty big "snippet," haha. Anyway, if there's somewhere where idle ideas like that wouldn't fall on deaf ears (knowing you guys, I'm sure there is), I'd love to know about it because I love coming up with stuff like that! And if there's any other way an eager but unfortunately inexperienced tech-savvy teenager could help out, I'd love to hear about that too! :D

Sorry for the long message, I get carried away sometimes, haha. Hope you guys are still there by the time I'm done typing this! Cheers and thanks for all the awesome! :D <3

limi178 karma

This is great feedback, you definitely have an eye for details. Keep it coming, and file bugs at http://bugzilla.mozilla.org!

duke950996 karma

Whoa! I've always wanted to do that but in the past Bugzilla has been really confusing and I haven't been able to make heads or tails of it (I've missed the going bye-bye of the "Feedback" button in Nightly for that reason). I just looked again and WOW is it more user-friendly than it was a few years ago (or has my mind just had a wake-up call?)! I'll definitely do more to report stuff now. :)

limi60 karma


dolske88 karma

Mmm. Clear, articulate, and a half-dozen good UX papercut catches. Please keep us in mind! :D

It's never too early to get started in open source communities -- there are lots of young contributors doing excellent work far beyond their years (need I even mention Aaron Swartz as one example?) It's a great way to learn skills, work with real people on real problems, and build up experience that will say more than a resume ever can.

Everyone's inexperienced when they start something, so don't let that hold you back. http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/contribute/ is a great starting point for finding ways to help out around Mozilla.

fryn84 karma

I haven't triaged all your points yet, but thank you for the feedback! The screenshots will be very helpful. We like detail-oriented people like you! :)

Getting involved does not necessarily require a lot of experience. On the technical side, I started out in high school just by trying to push a few pixels around (with CSS) and fixing little papercuts like the ones you listed.

Edit: Also, yay for joining Reddit for us! :)

falldowngoboom304 karma

One wish: manually control if i want a PDF to be viewed in firefox or downloaded. It seems that the website usually decides this and it is annoying as hell when they guess wrong. Thanks!

good_grief208 karma

You can tell Firefox what to do with PDFs in the Options (or Preferences) dialog, under the "Applications" pane.

Find "PDF" in that list, and then set the action on the right.

HarryLeeSmith296 karma

I wish sync was easier to use/understand. I just want to to put in my username and password and have my browsers sync across all PC's that use.

limi276 karma

Yup, Sync is a bit of a mess, and is being re-done.

JWSdidWTC80 karma

sync is such a mess im amazed it got the get-go to roll. I'm an IT guy myself, but even I hate it so much that I use chrome at times when I need this functionality.

limi115 karma

You're not the only one. I don't think anyone likes it in its current state. (and yes, then the question is… why did it ship?)

madhava69 karma

We definitely agree and there is very active work going on to make this happen. Please stay tuned!

wselman60 karma

One of the things that I wanted to tackle when I started at Mozilla was re-doing sync because I thought it was really cool, but an impenetrable user experience for most users. Turns out, looking at our data it is an impenetrable user experience for most users.

It is in the process of being completely redone and integrating other data services that you would want to sync among your devices.

spanktar257 karma

I would like the ability to print web pages as displayed. This means more than simply disabling the print CSS, but also switching all screen-related CSS media type to all. I couldn't even find a decent add-on to accomplish this. Most folks I know are simply slicing together screenshots. I used Firebug and was able to accomplish this manually. I hope we can see something like this in the future, if not as a main feature in the print dialog, as a developer feature in the dev tools.

@limi you know about this from Plone…it's almost impossible to print a Plone page "as is" without seriously mucking with the CSS attributes on-page.


limi117 karma

Yup! Good one.

Squeezer99241 karma

Can we get a version of Firefox that can be installed in corporate/enterprise settings? I'm talking about an .MSI based installer with support for silent installations, auto-updates are disabled by default, updates are handled via System Center Updates Publisher, and firefox can be configured via Group Policy Objects in Active Directory. Right now I'm using Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager and some hacked together scripts to handle it.

good_grief176 karma

marc0303239 karma

I use a dark windows theme. Any way to fix this?

limi151 karma

limi101 karma


JayPetey225 karma

I don't know if this is a known bug, but anytime I'm on a page with a Flash player, particularly YouTube, I can no longer use my computer's volume control buttons.

Works fine in IE, and Chrome, but not in Firefox.

I feel like it's the only thing that truly bugs me about the browser. Other than that, great work, I don't think I'll be changing anytime soon.

limi181 karma

Flash integration is always a pain, and especially around focus issues. Flash is allowed to steal keyboard shortcuts etc, which is very frustrating. It was our #1 paper cut issue three years ago, and it still is.

Luckily, Flash is slowly disappearing. That doesn't mean we shouldn't do everything we can to fix this issue in the meantime, though.

(Both IE and Chrome have a different version of Flash than the one we have to use, which makes things complicated.)

Nordron39 karma

Have to use? Are you limited in what version of Flash you can use?

limi88 karma

Yes. The NPAPI version. IE does ActiveX, Chrome does Pepper.

weinjared101 karma

This has been a reoccurring issue since Flash 11.3 was released. Can you go to about:addons and see what version of Flash is installed?

I just checked mine and I actually had 2 (?!) versions of Flash installed (11.5 and 11.6). Uninstalling Flash through the Control Panel (on Windows) and reinstalling clean from Adobe's site gave me Flash 11.6 and I can no longer reproduce the bug.

I hope that helps.

Godort187 karma

Why is there no Windows 64 bit version of Firefox?

darklight001118 karma

64bit Firefox isn't a priority, as there are few benefits, and it's alot of work when there are other, large and more important projects to work on. 32bit Firefox runs well on 64bit windows for the time being.

dustlesswalnut167 karma

Stop updating when I open you. When I open the browser I need it now, schedule that shit for when I close it or when I don't have it open at all.

limi132 karma

We fixed this quite a while ago, I believe. The only thing left to eliminate is the dialog checking for add-on updates.

kwierso38 karma

Yeah, last I knew, the update is "applied" on shutdown to a temporary folder. On startup, it should just be a quick file copy from the temp folder to the main program folder, instead of doing all of the patching then.

limi22 karma


dgauss142 karma

Hey guys. Long time Firefox user but it is a bit of a memory hog. Any plans to slim it down?

good_grief158 karma

We've been slimming down Firefox a lot in recent months - we call it the MemShrink project.

And we've been making pretty decent strides! See areweslimyet.com for a graph of our progress.

I should also point out that add-ons are almost always the first suspect when it comes to memory leaks and consumption. We've made that a bit better in recent versions of Firefox (since Firefox 15).

limi103 karma

At the moment, Firefox generally does better on memory than any of the other browsers in independent tests. So yes, it's a lot better these days, and we keep working on it! Check out the MemShrink project.

bwinton53 karma

Yep, we've been tracking that, and have made some improvements. Of course, if you have the memory, doesn't it make sense to trade some higher memory usage for better speed?

darklight00117 karma

We are always working on improving memory usage in Firefox (we have a team called memshrink working on it in every release). Have you tried Firefox 19 after a Firefox Reset?

superwiggy135 karma

I am a user of google chrome. what would make me switch to firefox?

good_grief496 karma

Here's my take on it:

Firefox is built by Mozilla, a non-profit organization who's mission is to make the web better, more open, and more accessible, for everybody.

We have no interest in making money off of you. We're interested in making your web experience better, safer, and more secure.

If a choice came to us where we had to choose between making boatloads of money, or making things better for our users, we would 100% always choose making things better for our users. Every time.

If we had shareholders, they'd probably crap themselves. That's why we don't have them, and will never have them.

So, I guess there's my pitch. Our browser is built for you, and not as a vehicle to make us money. We'll never compromise on your safety, privacy, or security.

Plus, we're community driven. Come join us. :)

achshar21 karma

Now lets talk on the technical side, Why switch from chrome to Firefox from a technical point of view?

good_grief29 karma

There are a couple of angles on this. First of all, we're 100% open source. You can read all of Firefox's source code. Every byte in the compiled binary is public for you to gawk at. And help with.

Chrome is not this way. The Chromium project, which Chrome is based on, is open-source, but then they take the Chromium code, pump in some other things that are closed (their own home-brew of Flash, and some other stuff), and that's what becomes Chrome.

Other technical reasons...our add-on ecosystem is far richer, and our add-ons framework is far more powerful... we tend to use less memory than Chrome (I'm serious) since we don't copy the process per tab...

There are more reasons I could list, but I also have a huge backlog of questions to answer. :)

dangerpigeon2119 karma

One last pet peeve of mine is the new tab page. It's pretty awful. It looks bad design wise (on mine it's just empty gray boxes on a gray background) and isn't very functional. You can't edit what's on there easily. Maybe make it so we could set our own images and decide what goes on there?

Part of the problem is that google's new tab pages look fantastic. If it isn't something you have the resources to do right i'd say remove it all together. It's a very minor feature, and probably not even used by most but everyone sees it. And since it invites a negative comparison to a competitor if you can't invest the resources to make it comparable to chrome's you might want to consider removing it by default.

zhenshuo75 karma

We have people working on it as we speak! You will see a better new tab soon. And for now you can hide the boxes by clicking on the grid thing on the upper right of the page.

bwinton52 karma

A terrible-looking example of one of the designs we're looking into is at this prototype page.

Clovis69107 karma

I support Firefox in an Enterprise environment

Awkward to get to options and requires more mouse movement than Google Chrome or Internet Explorer 9

Having the options and settings in the upper left hand under "Firefox" is confusing and the opposite of Chrome and Internet Explorer in Windows, which leads to training headaches with users.

The Firefox homepage - http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/fx/ - defaults to Android, even if the user is on a Windows, Macintosh or Linux operating system, makes zero sense.

Those are the things that make me tell my users "Just use Chrome, it's easier to deal with right now."

limi104 karma

Having the options and settings in the upper left hand under "Firefox" is confusing and the opposite of Chrome and Internet Explorer in Windows, which leads to training headaches with users.

We're moving the menu to the right side, see the Australis redesign project.

The Firefox homepage - http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/fx/ - defaults to Android, even if the user is on a Windows, Macintosh or Linux operating system, makes zero sense.

I agree, this is ridiculous, and I complain about it every chance I get. Can you say "pet peeve"? :D

Upio67 karma

Moving tabs around, especially from screen to screen is horribly inferior to chrome. Its not smooth at all

limi33 karma

We've gotten better, but obviously still some way to go. We're aware of it and working on it!

GigglesMcSlappy67 karma

Keep your strong stance on user privacy and you'll have me as a user forever

dolske113 karma

But how will we know? ;-)

GigglesMcSlappy49 karma

Install a tracking cookie that alerts you to when I try do download another browser and then makes me click a whole bunch of "are you sure?" windows.

dolske68 karma

Good idea. Maybe throw in a toolbar too. :D

limi9 karma

We do our best!

good_grief8 karma

You can count on it.

sn7x58 karma


limi111 karma

We have lots of people that are school dropouts, so it's certainly not a requirement. If you're talented, we'd love to talk to you!

bwinton85 karma

A link to our careers page would probably be useful here, too… ;)

appcat57 karma

Now I just want to know what Rampart is.

Probablynotclever51 karma

You broke the ground rules! You promised not to answer questions about Rampart!

limi53 karma

I don't see any questions about Rampart. None. Nada. Zilch. You must be imagining things. ;)

A_Shitty_Hippo44 karma

Hey, not really much of a poster, but I love Firefox and as a graduating senior (related to this field), I figured I might get in on the act. What do you guys see as the single most important thing a person trying to get into the UX field can do to better themselves?

Thanks for doing this!

limi93 karma


Build a product with someone, put everyday people in front of it, and watch it fall apart as they try to use it. Then, iterate until it doesn't. :)

shorlander35 karma

This, definitely. Start making stuff. Then get it out there and start getting feedback and then make more stuff :)

Phexx44 karma


limi72 karma

So would we! Unfortunately, it's pretty hard to do when Flash works the way it does.

ts9139 karma

Are any of you guys working on Firefox OS?

If so how do you feel about jumping into this field as its a huge undertaking!

good_grief76 karma

I've contributed a teeny-tiny thing to Firefox OS, but that was just in my spare time.

I don't want to speak for the whole community, but I think it's safe to say that we're pumped. According to some of the old hands in the community, this feeling very much resembles the one we had before diving into the desktop browser world, and taking on IE.

Gonna disrupt mobile and open it up. Feels good.

shiv4m38 karma

I'm a Google Chrome user myself, but I have to tell you that you are loved by Amazon employees.

limi54 karma

Also, which aspects of Chrome make you not switch back to Firefox? Have you tested it lately?

shiv4m8 karma

Yes I have been using FF at work for quite some time now until recently they allowed us to use Chrome. What I like about Chrome is just for the simple fact that it comes from Google. All of my bookmarks and other data are synced with all of my PCs and and mobile devices.

No downsides with using FF. I just enjoy using Google products overall.

limi31 karma

Fair enough. (and disclosure: I used to work for Google :)

GreenieXP5 karma

Speed, Google Account integration. Interface to an extent (it feels cleaner/less obtrusive to me)

limi9 karma

Hopefully you'll like our new interface, it's cleaner than Chrome, IMO:


dropshot38 karma

Why doesn't audio go through the browser as a middle-man so the browser knows which tabs are blaring music, etc? (And so you could mute a tab).

limi84 karma

Because Flash.

(Yes, I'd love to have this fixed too)

good_grief65 karma

Because the NPAPI that Flash uses to hook into Firefox doesn't allow for this.

And we could spend resources altering the API and convincing Adobe to change Flash to work with it (unlikely)...

Or maybe it's time to do something a little webbier with Flash, like we did with PDFs...

MighMoS38 karma

Saving images is slow, and I cannot figure out why. I usually just save pictures that are ALREADY DISPLAYED. Why is copying the file out of the cache folder 1000x fasater than right-click->save as?

limi13 karma

That's a good question. Did you file a bug? http://bugzilla.mozilla.org

g269mm36 karma

A corporate deployable MSI would be nice. Firefox is loads better than internet explorer, we currently go through a major hassle to create our own msi to push it out to the company. I have read many times that the official stance is it's not supposed to be a corporate browser... Why not? If it's Our browser, We are asking for a deployable MSI version :D

Thank you

bwinton17 karma

There was a company that did that, but it turns out no-one wanted to pay for it, so they shut down. I think you can get their code, though, to make it easier for you to create the MSIs…

faithful_sta11ion32 karma

What happened to Australis? Why we have different tab style between Thunderbird and Firefox?

limi79 karma

It's coming! Here's how my browser looks like, live screenshot from today:


Antarioo30 karma

i have to restore last session to get my tabs to reopen

if i somehow miss a stupid popup window (why do some websites still use those fucking things?) when closing firefox i lose that session, its annoying as all hell

limi24 karma

Ah, you mean that if there's a stray window and you close what you think is the last window, you lose your session. There is a timer (I believe) that is supposed to fix that, so have you experienced it lately?

dirice8723 karma

Jesus christ this AMA is the extreme opposite of the IE team's AMA, in the best possible way. I feel like I'm actually talking to the people in charge of the product, instead of marketing shills.

Thanks for doing this!

good_grief10 karma

Our pleasure. Having a blast doing this.

ThisIsSoWrong21 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA, and developing my #1 browser.

My biggest pet peeve with Firefox is that there's no safe, easy way to store your passwords. Anyone can simply go into my settings and pull up a list of all my accounts/passwords per website. If I want to keep them from doing so, I have to set a master password, which I have to type seemingly every 5 minutes to do random stuff, and which cannot be stored, so it does not save me any trouble! I would love to hear the reasoning behind this mechanism.

limi25 karma

Yeah, the master password approach is broken. We'll have to fix that.

dolske17 karma

Other browsers have exactly the same issue, they just obscure the fact by not exposing any UI. If you don't trust other people using your computer, so should make a guest account, lock the screen, use disk encryption, etc.

ModafinilRacetam20 karma

I used to love firefox, but it started crashing on me.

First every week or so, then every couple of days, etc.

Now, it happens within 10 seconds-5 minutes of opening up the browser, with just one window, and one tab.

I've reinstalled firefox, updated all my add-ons, disabled every add-on (yes, everything.) uninstalled and re-installed flash (yes, I've disabled that too), switched from 32-bit to 64-bit (and back again.), run it in safe mode...

None of this made a difference.

Now, I have moved on to Chrome. I miss Firefox--bookmarks were better, searches stayed between tabs (and you could highlight one searched phrase, then search again), and the general layout was better.

I'll probably try to reinstall it again, just to check if a new version actually works for me now.

As for improvements to it, my biggest issue was that if you opened a ton of tabs\windows (to the point where it became slow), you couldn't speed it up again by just closing tabs\windows.

The only reason I can think this happens is that the tabs are kept in memory until you restart the browser. Perhaps I'm wrong, but if that's the case, couldn't you just keep a list of the closed windows\tabs page addresses, and re-connect to them?

As for general layout, I think the zoom in\zoom out (+ -) buttons should be on by default. I know ctrl +- does the same thing, but it's sometime easier to just use the buttons up top.

limi10 karma

jesterpuck20 karma

The way you do updates is a pita for the a managed IT environment. Because of the almost monthly version changes, we keep having to rollout updated versions of your browser to all the employees. The integration of both Flash, Java, Reader, and Silverlight is also less than desirable because the components need to be installed externally unlike Chrome which is also more lightweight.

The new update scheme from you guys involves an elevated service that runs to keep Firefox updated which is a huge security concern for a corporate network and is basically awful.

darklight00115 karma

The Mozilla Maintenance Service only starts up when there is a Firefox update to apply, it won't start up any other time, so it's not running all the time.

You should try looking into the Firefox ESR for Enterprises, it might be more what your org needs to deploy Firefox.

hugeney18 karma

When I close my laptop and a flash video is on, it crashes and I have to reload it when I open my laptop.

good_grief47 karma

Ouch. :( Classic Flash.

Have you made sure your Flash plugin is up to date? Go here, and we'll check for you automatically.

rcglinsk17 karma

I understand that your main source of revenue is referral fees from the search bar at the top right of the page. I like google as my search engine. I'm wondering, if I set my homepage (or go) to google and search from their bar directly, does Mozilla still get the referral fee?

limi27 karma

No, you have to use either the built-in search box, enter your search in the URL bar, or use our built-in home page (about:home). At least as far as I know, I'm not on the business development team. :)

rcglinsk4 karma

Thanks for the reply! I'll keep going top right.

limi15 karma

Top left works too. :)

[deleted]9 karma

What kind of user testing do you guys do? Do you do in-lab studies, field work, focus groups?

wselman16 karma

Hi! I'm a Senior UX Researcher at Mozilla.

We use a huge range of user research techniques. The primary ones that we use (in no particular order):

  • Qualitative, ethnographic interviews in the field (esp. in participants' home or office)
  • Diary studies
  • Quantitative surveys
  • Studies of user behavior using Test Pilot and Micropilot
  • User testing

In terms of how we implement and use these techniques, we prefer to use multiple techniques within a single project (for example, a series of qualitative interviews, a diary study, and a quantitative survey). Using multiple approaches, allows us to answer questions that we can't answer with only one technique. Also, multiple approaches allows us to triangulate and validate the results from the different techniques among one another.

We do not have a lab nor do we intend to use one in the near future. As much as we are able to do so, we are firm believers in observing and understanding the actual context in which people use our products.

mmclark7 karma

In Chrome, I can close a pinned tab with Ctrl-W. In Firefox, I'm unable to. It's a small thing, but I hit it several times a day.

limi28 karma

This is actually intentional. Pinned tabs are supposed to be harder to unintentionally close. I'm sure there's a setting or add-on that will fix that to your liking, but the behavior isn't a bug.

TheRealKuni5 karma

My biggest annoyance with Firefox was the size of the Android app. For older android phones, where most storage was on the SD card, this filled almost all of my phone's internal memory. Has there since been any work done to shrink the size of this app?

limi4 karma

Yes, there was a total rewrite quite a while ago, and I believe that shrank the size considerably. I don't work on the Android product, but I'm sure others will chime in!

iluvatar4 karma

You broke middle click ages ago. I found an extension that restores somewhat sane behaviour, but it doesn't work quite right. I'm all for moving things forward, but doing that by breaking existing behaviour is bad.

Specifically, if I middle click on a page, I expect the following behaviour:

  • If what I'm clicking is a link, open that link in a new tab
  • Else if what I'm pasting looks like a URL, go to that URL
  • Otherwise, go to whatever keyword.URL is currently set to, filling in whatever it is I'm pasting.

This behaviour was perfect. Please consider restoring it.

limi5 karma

So what does it do now? (Sorry, I don't have a middle button on any of my laptops)

Skeezypal3 karma

My #1 gripe is the decision to pump out major release after major release when each version is actually just a minor update. I hate that Firefix tries to force me into an update that will break my addons when it could've been handled much smoother as just a patch or minor build. It seems like its just a PR thing to boost version numbers.

limi6 karma

Add-ons don't really break anymore. It was a problem in the first period, but it has since been fixed.

It's just a counting system. Don't get hung up on the way we count. Releasing new features, security updates and standards improvements every 6 weeks is HUGE for the ecosystem of the web.

Naaloq3 karma

Hey everyone!

I have used Firefox for a long time, but about a year ago I switched to Chrome due to the Firefox startup speeds at the time being monstrously slow (Using vanilla versions of both). Do you have any information about how the newest version of Firefox compares to current versions of other Browsers, in terms of speed and stability?

Im really itching to get back to Firefox simply because you guys really fight corporations' need to snoop in on my information, and Google refuses to even try.

limi6 karma

Yes, startup times have been MASSIVELY improved, everywhere. For stability, I have Chrome and Safari crash a lot more often than Firefox does — even though I use Firefox more — but this of course depends on if you have mis-behaving add-ons or graphics drivers, etc.

Try resetting your profile and give Firefox another try!


vettenyy3 karma

I'll start by saying I love Firefox. It's my primary browser, because I'm the type to leave my computer on and my browser open with 10+ tabs for months at a time. Chrome and IE can't handle being running for that long. Eventually even Firefox needs a break, but I don't blame the little guy, I expect a lot.

If I have a complaint, it's the side-scrolling tabs. I don't like when I can't see see all tabs at once. I use to just tweak the browser.tabs.tabMinWidth setting in the browser to allow the tabs to shrink smaller so I can see more because their icons are generally all I need to know what is on each tab. It would be nice if this setting were just in Options. I also would be interested in expanding the row of tabs to be two rows perhaps (I do this with my Task Bar in Windows Classic), since I use a large monitor it's not really sacrificing much real estate. Scrolling to view tabs that are out of sight is just extra clicking that I prefer not to do.

limi2 karma

Yeah, the clicking to get to the tabs out of view is suboptimal, for sure. We're looking into it.

gruffi2 karma

I make a lot of use of folders in my bookmark bar, but I'd love for them to auto expand when I mouse over them, rather than having to click. Can this be an option?

limi5 karma

No UI-on-hover on my watch. ;)

gruffi2 karma

It can be an option!!!

limi4 karma

There are already too many options in Firefox. :)

I'm sure someone wrote an add-on that does something like that, though!

sigmabody2 karma

Pet peeve:

Is there a way to close the browser in a way such that it will prompt me to restore my browsing session on next startup? I know it does this sometimes on crashes, but it would be nice to be able to trigger this manually (eg: when I'm restarting the browser to reduce its memory footprint)...

limi2 karma

Go to Preferences (or Options on Windows) and select General. Then:

When Firefox starts: Show my windows and tabs from last time

rugbystud1372 karma

I always close the wrong damn tab. I wish there was an undo button that would open it back up without having to look at the history or go about navigating to that page right away. Maybe a history of the last 10 tabs?

limi5 karma

There is! History -> Recently Closed Tabs.

Or just hit Cmd/Ctrl-Shift-T to re-open the last closed tab.

W3dn3sday2 karma

Guys I really do not have any. I love firefox. But if I had to ask you....You guys ever thought about incorporating ghostery into the standard package?

limi4 karma

We've made several changes in that direction (e.g. Do Not Track), and stopped accepting cookies from third-party providers (unless you have visited their site already). Implementing all of what Ghostery does would probably massively break the web. When you have a few hundred million users, you have to move carefully with these things. The web is (for better or worse) an advertising economy.

As for me personally — yes, I think we need to do even more. But it's more complex than it appears at first glance. :)

rincon2132 karma

Hello! Thanks for doing this. Here's my thing: I am not a fan of how downloading anything opens up its own window listing the downloads.

limi5 karma

This has been fixed! You can test it in the Nightly builds.

andrea_person1 karma

My pet peeve with Firefox (Linux, don't know if this applies to other platforms): In any "Save" dialog, when I try to type a different filename, sometimes it doesn't overwrite the selected part of the filename input, but redirects the keyboard to that file-type pulldown on the lower right (I hope this makes sense?)

I cannot imagine a reason why anybody would want to type there, so could you just disable that "feature" and keep the keyboard focus in the filename input field? Seems to happen mostly when I change directories before deciding on a new name... very annoying imo

limi2 karma

Pretty sure this is a Linux issue. I have never seen this.

Did you report a bug? http://bugzilla.mozilla.org

nj24v1 karma

Hey firefox. Sometimes when I am downloading a file, the download window will pop up, it will download all the way, but by the time it scans for viruses it freezes. This causes my entire browser to not respond. Is there any way to fix this issue without turning off virus scanner in about:config?

limi2 karma

Sounds like a problem with your antivirus software.

SanguineHaze1 karma

Your InPrivate/Incognito/whatever you call it mode.

Having it close my current window and open in it's place is so so annoying. As someone who predominantly uses this feature when designing websites... It has driven me to use Chrome.

Plus, the Chrome dev tools seem to be a lot better than even the FireBug option.

If you guys fixed those two things alone, I'd be right back to having FF as my only browser. (Currently, I still use FF at home for regular browsing, just not for anything that can... you know.. make me money.)

limi2 karma

The Private Browsing issue is fixed in Firefox 20.

Firefox dev tools are rapidly improving, try the ones in our Nightly builds? http://nightly.mozilla.org

stockborg1 karma

Not a question about Firefox, but as the UX team, how do you guys feel about windows 8?

limi3 karma

It's a mess. It's very compromised, and I'm really not a fan. It is good-looking, though — I'll give them that. But a mess interaction-wise.

(This is my personal opinion, not necessarily shared by everyone else! :)

OD_Emperor1 karma

It's almost impossible to change my search provider. I have to go through 50 menus, then I can't find it.

limi2 karma

You mean, if you want to add a provider that isn't one we ship with?

Or did your search get hijacked by e.g. Ask.com? (which is a common problem)