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My random knot in the Web

Chrome versus Firefox

After trying google chrome (technicaly “chromium”) for about half a year, I switched back to mozilla firefox.

After Firefox started requiring the rust language to build, I thought it might be a good idea to check out google’s Chrome browser, in the form of FreeBSD’s chromium port.

I quickly discovered that building chrome takes ages. Since I could live with the default options, I switched to installing it as a package. The downside to this was that I sometimes had to wait a while to update my installed ports until a new package for chromium was available.

What I found was that Chrome tends to render videos on slightly more sites then firefox. (Things like Youtube and Vimeo work fine on both.) For the rest the performance of the two seems to be on par.

On the other hand, chrome tabs tend to frequently and annoyingly become unresponsive, for no apparent reason. In general this not only affects one tab, but also the tab that is was opened from plus other tabs opened from the same source. Fixing this requires closing all affected tabs. This gets old pretty fast. Firefox also has more fine-grained controls. The ones that I find most important are privacy and rendering. I used chrome exclusively in incognito mode because it doesn’t have more fine-grained setting. Also, firefox allows me to override the fonts used to render a page. This is a feature I like because I prefer serif fonts (I find them more readable) while a lot of sites use sans-serif.

On FreeBSD, chromium isn’t updated all that frequently. This is perfectly understandable since maintaining ports is a volunteer effort, and I’m not complaining. But it does mean that the current version in ports often has known vulnerabilities, which makes me uncomfortable.

The last straw was that I don’t use firefox with non-default compilation options. This means that I can use a package for it and I don’t have to install the Rust language since it is only a build dependency.

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