A few weeks ago I decided to give Chrome a good ride on my main machine, a Debian Linux unstable. I use it a lot, every day, and I of course use my browser during a large portion of my time in front of it. I’m a long time Firefox fan and when I’ve heard and read other people converting I’ve always thought it’d be hard for me due to my heavy use of certain plugins, old habits and so on.
(Of course, in Debian lingo the browsers are actually called Chromium and Iceweasel, but I’ve decided to ignore that fact in this post.)
Here’s the story on how it went, what’s good with Chrome and what’s lacking in comparison to Firefox. As compared on my Linux box here.
- Less wasted window/screen estate. The tabs up in the window title is brilliant.
- Faster. It’s generally faster in almost every aspect, but what’s most noticeable is when starting it.
- Less memory hungy. At times I’ve found my Firefox installation to spend an annoying amount of my precious RAM (I have 4GB installed) and even though I would expect Chrome’s a process-per-tab concept to be more expensive memory wise, I’ve had less such problems with it.
- The unified address/search bar, back to how Firefox once had it, is only sensible.
- In my Firefox I’ve had two minor quirks for a while that have annoyed me: 1) when I start to search for something, I get a few seconds “freeze” immediately after I’ve started searching. Like I enter a few letters, waaaaaaait, then I can continue. This is certainly nothing life-threatening or something I can’t live through but it is annoying. 2) I occasionally get problems with flash video playbacks that the video pause or studder, most often a few seconds into it. Chrome has not given me these quirks.
- Mailman! I administrate more than 20 mailing lists on the same host (cool.haxx.se) using mailman. Each list has its own URL and its own password. But Firefox just cannot remember them separately!!! These are pages I visit several times each day to ack or reject posts etc. Chrome remembers the passwords excellently for all the individual lists. This makes me a much happier person.
Problems I didn’t get:
- The adblock version for Chrome is as good. I’m not sure exactly how well they compare but I haven’t noticed anything that’s given me reason to get annoyed.
- The resizeable text edit areas in Chrome is excellent and removes the need for some of the fancier edit plugins in Firefox.
Things still nicer in Firefox:
- I love the plugin to force unknown content-types to still be displayed by the browser. Far too many resources are still done using the wrong one and Chrome’s only option is to save it locally and then force me to run a local tool to display the file. Sure, it works fine but when I want to do that on many files it gets tedious.
- In general Chrome, is a bit worse at handing content it doesn’t know about. I’ve managed to fiddle with my /etc/mozpluggerrc so that at least PDFs are now saved instead of saying “missing plug-in” but so far I’ve failed to get evince to display them directly. Even if it still is possible to make it happen, it is certainly a bit quirky to have to manually edit a text file to make it happen…
I’ll be running Chrome here now for a while!