The long love affair between Linux users and Firefox appears to be over as the developers of Ubuntu talk about dropping the browser and replacing it with Chromium.
Of course you will still be able to run Firefox in Ubuntu 13.10 it is just that it will not be the default. The reason is that the Ubuntu Touch stack is being powered largely by Chromium/WebKit so they now have a vested interest in its success.
It was not an automatic choice. According to Phoronix, some felt that data migration from Firefox isn’t too obvious, extensions don’t migrate between browsers, and Chromium isn’t supported on all architectures. Chromium doesn’t work with the Orca screen reader and doesn’t integrate well for accessibility reasons, there is no native PDF plug-in, and Chromium is said to have worse performance under memory pressure. There were also some concerns expressed about differences with WebApps in Chromium.
But Chromium currently provides a better user experience for the desktop and surpasses Firefox in its features and performance. It is not a unilateral change. Ubuntu developers are planning a discussion on an Ubuntu mailing list to solicit a more broad range of feedback on switching from Firefox to Chromium.
But as far as Firefox is concerned, it is another sign that it is slowly falling from grace with the IT community.
Increasingly, message boards are filled with complaints that Firefox has evolved into a “bloated resource chewing monster”. After all, its existence was to provide a better browser than IE – but it is now a “memory hogging CPU killer” which hijacks the entire PC resources and “crawls along at the slowest pace” if more than four or five tabs are in use. It also does not give back memory after it has been closed down.