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Should I go for the Mozilla FireFox 2 download? - Comparing Mozilla FireFox 1.5 and 2.0

I downloaded Mozilla FireFox straight after its release at the end of November 2006. After a couple of days using it, I started writing a (somewhat negative) review. Because I was distracted by other stuff, I never got around publishing it. I've been using Mozilla FireFox 2.0 a while longer now and thought I would finish writing up the review.

This review compares FireFox 1.5 with FireFox 2.0. If you are still using Internet Explorer 6.0 or 7 I would recommend upgrading (yes, upgrading :) now!

FireFox 2.0 tabbed browsing

In the original write up, my main criticism was how the new tabs worked. It took me a while to get used to the new tab system. When working with multiple tabs I didn't like that it's no longer possible to position the mouse in the top right corner and just click away to close the last opened tabs. That's the only criticism I've got left on the new tab system. I've gotten used to it after a couple of weeks use.

Mozilla FireFox 2.0 plugins, extension and addons

A risk of updating early after a release is that a number of plugins have not been updated yet. Within a few weeks most plugins for FireFox where released and worked. The only exceptions of the FireFox plugins I list on my site are Clone Window and Switch Proxy. I used Clone Window mainly for it's ability to mimic the use of Internet Explorer. It starts to become a bit repetitive, but I've also gotten used to opening a new window and not having the current website loaded. I haven't had the need to use Switch Proxy for months, so that not much of an issue either.

Memory use

An issue that I hoped would be solved, but still remains in FireFox 2.0 is its memory use. I notice on a regular basis that FFs memory use increases to over 80M. When writing this I thought I'd better check how FireFox performs compared to Internet Explorer. I did a quick test by opening both browsers and recording the memory usage reported by Windows. I then opened three websites in separate tabs and recorded the memory usage again.
Memory usage of FF and IE
Browser & VersionStart-up3 tabbed sites*
FF 231M43M
IE 625M45M
IE 727M53M
*For IE 6 three separate windows were used instead of tabs

It appears to me that FireFox's memory use isn't as bad compared to that of Internet Explorer. -It might just be my browsing habits of opening loads of tabs that sucks up all the memory-.

Good FireFox 2.0 stuff

The most useful new feature in FireFox 2 is the built in spell checker! If your first language isn't English, - or even if it is but you're in the UK, Canada or Australia - there are a large number of dictionaries available. You can find the complete overview of available dictionaries yourself. Not all technical terms are included by default, but you can easily add those technical terms when you come across them.

Download FireFox 2.0