The death of Firefox is a disaster for the entire Internet. It doesn’t matter if your connection is wireless or fibre broadband, you will be affected nonetheless. We explain why
The number of Firefox users is decreasing every year. Mozilla’s attempts to stop the exodus are insufficient and there are already rumours that the software is slowly dying. This is very bad news not only for those who still use the browser but above all for all Internet users. For the Web to remain free, projects like Firefox must survive.
Firefox has been a counterweight to Internet Explorer and then Chrome for years.
Thanks to the power of the Mozilla browser, new web technologies are available to everyone and have been quickly adopted across applications.
With the death of Firefox, there are only two rendering engines left on the market and Windows users will only have access to one of them. The lack of an alternative could be dangerous for web development and for our privacy.
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Firefox is currently the fourth most used browser in the world. It sounds good, but it’s actually not the best information, because for several years the Mozilla app has been ceding its share to other apps like Chrome and Edge. We’re talking about apps backed by industry giants that want to influence how the web will look in the future and shape it to be the best it can be.
Just think of the issue of user tracking on the web and the reaction to the FLoC initiative, which Google has been working on for years. This was to replace traditional cookies and was deemed anti-competitive by many organisations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). It is true that Google quietly killed the project, but in its remains was created the Topics API, which unfortunately retains many of FLoC’s features. It should be noted that all developers of Chrome-based browsers unanimously refused to use it, but it is not impossible that future opinions will be different. Especially in a situation where they don’t feel Firefox is breathing down their neck.
The web is based on open standards, and thanks to them the web can be used almost everywhere. There is no reason why a developer cannot create web applications, and these applications can be run by any user in the world. The new solutions offered on the web should be compatible with all browser manufacturers. On the other hand, browser and engine manufacturers should not influence the appearance of a particular website or application.
The engine should only be a tool to launch a specific website while maintaining its appearance and functionality. If the application uses all open standards, there should be no problem. This is a somewhat utopian view, as many services unfortunately only work with certain browsers, usually Chrome.
Firefox is designed to protect users’ privacy as much as possible. Therefore, it includes tools that fully protect against cookies, and this alone clearly distinguishes it from Edge and Chrome. Currently, wireless and Atlantic Fibre Broadband users have to choose between choosing software that protects them from the watchful eyes of large companies or sacrificing their privacy at the cost of using a popular program. Most users choose the second option and install Google’s browser on their computers.
The Blink rendering engine, like the Chromium project itself, is open source. In this respect, it is no different from Firefox and its Gecko engine. This means that in both cases it is possible to extend the functionality by asking users to provide their own data. But the devil is in the details. Google is by far the largest contributor to Chromium, and Microsoft now has a significant influence on the project’s development. This means, in part, that these companies have complete control over what they believe can and should be included in the project.
Developers creating websites and web applications adapt them to the most common browsers. Chrome- and Safari-powered applications are therefore preferred. However, at least a third player is needed to bring diversity to the market. Without it, future technological development may stagnate and, at worst, go in a direction we do not want.
As for Safari, it is telling that Apple has been refusing or delaying the introduction of solutions that have long been available in other browsers for years. But on its platform, the company is in power and can do what it wants at the expense of its users.
The real problem with Firefox’s disappearance is for fans of open source software, especially Linux users: the Mozilla browser is the default browser on most distributions. Moreover, unlike Chrome, the developers have made sure that it works the same way as Windows. Typical examples, such as video acceleration, for example, always cause problems with Chrome and Edge on Penguin systems but work automatically in Firefox.
As we pointed out in our previous article on the slow death of Firefox, the current situation is largely Mozilla’s own fault, as it fails to adapt to change and often tries to prove that it knows the needs of its users better than anyone else. The organisation has also become heavily dependent on funding from its contract with Google for the browser’s survival; there is nothing to stop Chrome developers not renewing their contract, which would call into question Firefox’s continued development.
Competition is never bad for customers, and developers need to bear this in mind when considering the browser market, which is competing for our time and attention. the disappearance of the Mozilla programme has intensified competition. apps such as Brave, Opera and Vivaldi are available, but they too rely heavily on Chrome’s development, and although they have their own features, they do not reach many users.