Default Browser Follow-up

Gibson, H <> hgibson at
Fri Jun 28 07:25:37 UTC 2013

Hi Abral

You make some very good points about Firefox.
But from a users perspective, I find Google Chrome extremely useful because of the way I can easily sync my bookmarks etc.. between my work computer and home computer and mobile device.
I think this speaks to device convergence as Mark has so often mentioned, as a primary goal for Ubuntu.
I do not normally intercede on this list but I feel the goal of device ubiquity and how an internet browser deals with it is very important.
Perhaps if Firefox could be "configured" to automatically sync using the cloud "Ubuntu One" service then it would be on "useful" parity with Google Chrome.


Hilton Gibson
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From: ubuntu-desktop-bounces at [ubuntu-desktop-bounces at] on behalf of Abral [abral at]
Sent: 28 June 2013 03:00 AM
To: ubuntu-desktop at
Subject: Default Browser Follow-up

Even if I think openness and freedom should be the main reason why
Ubuntu should have Firefox by default, I won't talk about this here.

This is a non comprehensive list of "non-philosophical" reasons:

1) Firefox is a lot more familiar than Chromium for Linux users. It's
always been the default and it's the default in almost all the
distributions. Most of the people that don't prefer Firefox are using
Chrome, and not Chromium.

2) Firefox has a built-in PDF reader.

3) Firefox is better integrated with GNOME.

4) Firefox is going to support GStreamer soon

5) Firefox is going to support GTK3 soon

6) Firefox has made a great effort to hunt down responsiveness issues,
seen in pauses and jank. They have made significant improvements seen
both in current releases as well as current nightlies, with more on the way.

7) When it comes to JavaScript performance, there is no clear winner. In
some tests, Firefox is faster. In other tests, Chromium is faster.

8) Mozilla is working on a project called OpenWebApps, that looks
similar to Unity webapps. You could reuse Firefox code to make Unity
webapps run in chromeless windows.

9) Firefox supports more architectures.

10) Firefox is more customizable than Chromium.

11) Firefox memory usage is a lot better than Chromium's and has
improved even more in the latest releases (that would be shipped with
Saucy), for example see

12) Mozilla is working on some cross-platform technologies that could
benefit Linux users. For example, Shumway (that is a replacement for
Flash), pdf.js (a pdf reader written in JavaScript), asm.js (that could
enable interesting applications and games to run on every platform, so
also on Linux).

13) There's good support for Firefox in Ubuntu. There are some (or, at
least, one) Canonical developers that are experienced with the Firefox
code base and are working on it

14) About web developers, I think it's a matter of taste. Firefox has
good web developer tools, and Chromium has good web developer tools too.
Firefox has also the addon Firebug, that is one of the most used by web

15) Firefox has smooth scrolling, some people are used to it and
wouldn't like the worse Chromium's scrolling experience.

16) There are other Linux distributions developers that are working on
Firefox. Canonical would benefit from it for free.

I can't see any reason why you should switch to Chromium.
The responsiveness issues that Chow Loong Jin was talking about have
been mitigated a lot in the latest releases and will continue to improve
(there are some projects to improve this, like there was a project to
improve memory usage).
The GLES issue that Oliver Grawert was talking about will be likely
fixed soon enough, see They're considering
switching to EGL instead of GLX.

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