Thursday, October 20, 2011

Buh Bye, Mozilla

I've been running Mozilla Firefox pretty much since the first day it was released. At the time, the only other options on Windows had major issues of compatibility, speed, security, etc. Since then, Microsoft seems to have mostly gotten it together with IE and Google Chrome came on the scene. I have all three browsers pinned to my taskbar, but I still used Firefox almost exclusively. Part of that was inertia; the devil you know and all that. Part of it was annoyances with the other two options: Chrome's zoom feature doesn't remember what you zoomed a page to from one visit to the next, and IE is still noticeably slower than either Chrome or Firefox. So I stayed with Firefox in spite of its recent problems with releases, speed, memory leaks and whatnot.

About a month ago, Firefox and Adobe seem to have gotten into a pissing match, at least on my computer. Freezes, hangs, crashes (both Adobe and Firefox) became a routine part of my web browsing. I've put up with it mostly because I've been up to my eyeballs in tax code and just didn't want to deal with it. Today, I decided to take a break from all things IRS and try to fix the problem. Adobe has a separate uninstaller app that is supposed to remove all traces of Flash from a PC. I ran that, then did a clean install of the latest version of Flash (11.something). As soon as I started Firefox, I knew there was a problem; Firefox informed me that I was missing a plugin. Specifically Flash 10.something "or higher." Now I'm not a math genius, but I'm pretty sure 11 is "higher" than 10. I tried to play some videos; some would play, but fullscreen still showed the Firefox window and the taskbar, or the video would randomly freeze. Others would refuse to play at all saying I needed at least Flash 10.something to play this video. Again, did I miss the memo that made 10 greater than 11?

I still had no idea if the problem was Firefox, Flash, or the combination of the two. I fired up Chrome and... well, long story short, the problem is almost certainly not Flash, unless the folks at Adobe have declared war on Firefox and added code to Flash that borks Firefox. (There is precedence for such a thing; Microsoft's software team's unofficial slogan in the late 80's and early 90's was, "Word's not done until Lotus won't run.") So Chrome it is, annoying zoom malfunctions and all. Maybe Firefox will fix the problem, but by then I may be over my anti-Chrome pissyness and won't bother switching back.

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