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Firefox vs. Safari

November 11th, 2005 · 8 Comments

So, ideally, I’d just be using one Web browser for everything. But I end up using both Firefox and Safari, because while I generally prefer the former, there are some significant gaps in what Firefox does that require me to switch to Safari for certain things. Here’s the breakdown:

Firefox beats Safari

  • The status-bar search function, where it continuously searches for the best match based on the characters you’ve entered so far, is much nicer, faster, and less obtrusive than the standard “find” dialog box.
  • Keyboard shortcuts for switching to a specific tab are nice; faster than clicking to it.

Safari beats Firefox

  • The Movable Type backend for the Reason blog won’t render properly in Firefox—though, oddly, my own site’s shows up fine.
  • I can’t freaking alt-click to copy a Web image to the clipboard in Firefox, which is really convenient when I’m making images for new stories on the Reason front page.
  • Plug-ins don’t seem to work all that reliably with Firefox. For example, I can’t get PDFs to open within the browser. Worse, Firefox doesn’t seem to want to let me change the program associated with a file type. So, for instance, while Acrobat opens PDFs by default in the OSX environment, Firefox only wants to let me save ’em or open ’em in Preview.
  • The little “x” in each tab in Safari allows me to close tabs I’m no longer using without moving to that tab first.

So: Some of these problems, I expect I could probably remedy in Firefox if I knew how. Or, alternatively, maybe somewhere out there is a magnificent uberbrowser that combines all the right features. Advice is appreciated.

Tags: Tech and Tech Policy



8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Patrick Nielsen Hayden // Nov 11, 2005 at 11:58 am

    PDF Browser Plugin.

    It’s free for home or non-profit use; makes all browsers (save for MSIE) load PDFs into the browser window.

  • 2 NG // Nov 11, 2005 at 12:37 pm

    How ironic. I just wrote about my own browser struggles.

  • 3 Lane // Nov 11, 2005 at 1:34 pm

    Have you tried Camino? you might really like it.

  • 4 opera // Nov 11, 2005 at 4:57 pm

    how about opera? compared with firefox

  • 5 Luka // Nov 12, 2005 at 5:17 pm


    So it sounds like you have an Apple, right? I’m getting ready to get an ultraportable/thin and light notebook and am thinking about getting the 12 inch Powerbook (despite the fact that I wish it was widescreen and had a brighter screen).

    I’ve never owned an Apple before. I was wondering if I might ask how long you’ve been using Apple, what kind of Apple you have, and if you recommend it…

    I know this isn’t really on topic. Sorry about that. But your post made me want to ask.

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  • 7 John // Jan 22, 2006 at 6:22 am

    it IS possible to close the tabs without moving to them first.
    Just click on the tab with your scroll-wheel button.

  • 8 otto Van De Steene // May 3, 2006 at 7:41 am


    I’ m a powerbook 12′ user. (I have the latest one) I bought it a year ago and it still works very fine. A powerbook 12′ will still work better than a windows pc. Apple is real good because of its user-interface. The OS makes it the best. Also the design is very usefull.
    But the 12′ powerbook will soon update to a 13′ widescreen Macbook. It will be before September, I guess. It are still rumours, but I would wait. If you can see what an Macbook pro doas more than it little brother the powerbook. With the intel-chip you can make a dual-boot when you have an only-on win application etc.
    Maybe their will also be an webcam and frontrow in it.

    these are still rumours. But they are already fabricating them, so…