Posted by z3d | in technology

There has been a lot of discussion lately about the decline of the Firefox browser and numerous articles about it losing 50 Million users in the last two years.

When inundated with user complaints about the change, the response I received from a lead developer who shall remain nameless was “We have hundreds of millions of users. 5000 people complaining doesn’t represent the majority of users”. Those complaints had one common sentiment, “If I wanted my browser to look like Chrome I’d just use Chrome”. And so they did. Constant removal of features “that no-one uses”

Every change made to Firefox had the same pattern. The default feature was changed, but there was a menu setting to revert it. Then the menu setting was removed and you could only change it via about:config. Then the about:config option was removed. Every protest from the userbase met the same response “You’re just a tiny minority, most people like the change”.

75% is not a minority. Almost everyone hated the changes and each change pushed more users away, and the arrogant, condescending responses from Mozilla staff left a bitter taste in their mouth ensuring they would never return. Looking closely at the user numbers you could see a visible drop with every removal, only stabilising when a third party add-on or CSS would revert the change. Over and over, year after year. No lessons were learnt.

To this day, Mozilla still claims to want to hear from their users and after 12 years they still keep ignoring us, the awful default Proton UI being the latest foolish choice forced upon an unwilling userbase. (Type in “Firefox Proton” on Google to look at the most commonly searched suggestions if you think I’m in the minority). Fortunately it can still be mostly fixed with userChrome.css but even I’m getting sick of having to repeatedly patch together new code to keep up with constant deprecation and format changes.



You must log in or register to comment.

Wahaha said ()

Isn't it because Firefox is made by Mozilla who is paid by Google who created their very own spyware Chromium and has an interest since then to slowly strangle the life out of Firefox?

It all started around 2011 and all the decisions since then cannot be explained away with coincidence or mere incompetence.


dontvisitmyintentions said ()

Proton is the end of a long-overdue overhaul of the UI to fit with the modular, quicker backend, if I understand it correctly. The addon API was more painful but similar. Both should have happened a long time ago, and would have saved countless developer time spent on the old codebase.

They could have done it all at once with a full experimental browser again, which is what Phoenix originally was. But that doesn't fit with the branding and telemetry obsession Mozilla has.

It's not as bad as they make it out.