Use Firefox On Your Netbook, Without Pulling Your Hair Out

firefox logo

Chrome is just a ridiculously better browser than Firefox at the moment (and is likely to stay so), but there are a couple of reasons that make me go back to Firefox every so often.

  • Firefox Sync. Chrome has its own sync feature that’s shaping up to be really good, but it is yet to get password sync, which is what I really want from a syncing app. And no, don’t point me to the LastPass or Xmarks extensions – they’re both extremely crappy on Chrome, thanks to all the lockdowns issued upon extensions by Google.
  • AdBlock Plus. I’ve stopped using ad blockers (hey, I’m a content publisher too!), but sometimes a lot of times I stumble across a website that has more ads than a daily Oriya newspaper. Chrome has ad blockers too, but yet again, they suck. Browsing with Adblock Plus turned on is a pristine feeling, although I try to refrain myself from using it too much.
  • Flexibility. Firefox screams flexibility at your face. Even if it has anything that you don’t like, there are like a dozen ways to have it fixed. The interface is designed to be modified to your liking.There is about:config. With Chrome, you’re more or less stuck with what you get. There’s almost nothing not to like about Chrome, but then there is so little in there in the first place.
  • Loyalty. I’m a loyal Firefox fan. I’ve been using Firefox since July, 2006 – just a month after I started using the Internet. As with most other open source projects, Firefox feels fresh and lively. Chrome, despite being based on Chromium, somehow doesn’t feel open.

So yeah, I use Firefox now and then. But thanks to Mozilla’s ass-like attitude in recent times, Firefox has been spectacularly falling behind other browsers when it comes to performance. Yeah, there’s that webpage rendering thing that everyone is crazy about. I’m not talking about that. Frankly speaking, I can barely see how faster Chrome or Opera is compared to Firefox – it’s a matter of few hundred milliseconds after all.

What I’m talking about is the speed of the software – how well it runs on your machine. Firefox has always been a slow browser, but lately it feels even slower as it has practically achieved no speed improvements, while its rivals have been trimming down like they are on some super-effective diet.

On a Windows 7 netbook, every browser – Safari and IE 8 included – is usable except Firefox. Give it more than five tabs and a couple of add-ons, and it gives your Atom processor a frightening seizure.

As long as Chrome’s shortcomings aren’t addressed, I need Firefox. At first, that didn’t seem possible on my new netbook. So I set down to tweak some settings and make the damn browser without getting paralyzed way too often. Surprisingly, I was successful! Firefox 4 beta 2 on my netbook still doesn’t match Chrome, but it’s much, much better than how it worked before.

Here’s how I tweaked my Firefox on my netbook. It also happens to be my biggest and most tenacious post ever (probably barring this). If you’re a netbook owner and Firefox fan, you may want to read it.

The Ultimate Guide To Making Firefox Run Smoothly on Netbooks [Guiding Tech]