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Fonts, Resources and Scrolling
I've got a couple of (not so) small pet peeves.
I'm somewhat used to Chromium based browsers - in particular, I've been quite close with the Brave for a bit now. It's beginning to crumble in my eyes, ever since the somewhat unpleasant incident happened, with people discovering that the Brave team has been injecting their own affiliate links into the sites of different cryptocurrency exchanges, without any prior notice. Anyhow, I digress.
I like Firefox. I like the fact that I can keep all of my passwords safe behind one master password. I like the customization features that Firefox can showcase. I'm not particularly thrilled with 10 different versions of what's supposed to be, as it seems, just one product - from Firefox to Firefox Developer Edition, to Firefox Nightly, Firefox Focus, Firefox Entreprise, but I can understand why they seem to coexist together as one whole. I like the mission that the team of Firefox aligns itself with and I'd love to be able to contribute to it. And for me, contribution to anything starts with becoming a fan myself.
Unfortunately, I've got a couple of things that keep tripping me up. I'm using Windows 10. I've got Firefox installed. I've configured it to my liking. And yet I keep going back to Brave, after every single attempt to remain on Firefox only.
There are 3 reasons why.
1) WTF is wrong with the fonts?
I've configured Brave and Firefox to have the exact same font preferences.
Same fonts. Same size. Same settings.
Same website, for the sake of an example:
Brave paints fonts normally. I don't know why, but it does.
Firefox displays the exact same text. But bolder. Jaggier. And uglier.
Showing them separetely won't help much, so here's a side-by-side comparison.
If it looks the same to you, try to open the images in a new tab and looking at them at full, 100% resolution.
What is true for this site is true for any other application. What looks quite pretty and smooth in Brave looks bolder, heavier, "in your face", rugged, ugly, jaggy in Firefox - and I have no clue what to do about it. I've tried playing with about:config for days and days - nothing changes, no matter which font_rendering mode I pick. I've tried to play with extensions - they have no effect. I've tried to disable hardware acceleration. It does nothing. Fonts in Firefox keep looking like something, made for displays of 2000. Not 2020. If there's anything you can recommend me here - I'd be very grateful.
P.S. Tried and tested on both Firefox and Firefox Developer Edition. Nothing changes.
2) WTH is wrong with RAM consumption?
I remember reading somewhere a whole lot of articles, claiming that Chrome (and Chromium based browsers, therefore?) loves to keep as much RAM to itself as possible. While Firefox, on the other hand, is much lighter on resources. As much as I'd like to believe it to be true, my observations tell me the exact opposite.
Here's a screenshot from the Task Manager of Brave and Firefox with the same tabs and websites opened.
Compared to Brave, Firefox consistently holds 2 to 5 times as much RAM. Furthermore, it's much more active in terms of CPU load as well, making the task manager claim that the electricity consumption is much higher for Firefox than it is for Brave.
I'd love to know why.
But I'd love even more for Firefox to simply be (a lot) less greedy when it comes to resources.
The fact that the extension library for Firefox is already much more reduced, compared to what's available for Chromium based platforms, I see very little sense in using Firefox if, in addition to making the websites I've gotten used to - uglier, it requires more RAM and CPU power in order to do so. There's just no point.
3) What's the deal with the freezing every X scrolls?
I don't like making these comparisons. I don't want to make these comparisons. I'd love to be able to say with confidence "Firefox rules! Everything else can be dumped."
Instead, however, I'm typing this text, to say that every 5 or 10 "smooth" scrolls on Firefox inevitably produce a not-so-critical, but oh-so-much-annoying lag, where the page that's supposed to scroll smoothly momentarily freezes and then jumps in one go to the next place, totally ruining what's supposed to be a completely "smooth" scrolling "experience".
I've tried disabling hardware acceleration here as well. Does nothing. Tried to play with setting. Doesn't help.
I tried to disable the smooth scrolling feature altogether. In addition to make the browsing experience more unpleasant, it becomes even more painful, as the scrolls that are supposed to be regular and continuous, moving the page up or down in regular intervals of time, happen to suddenly freeze once again and they try to "recover" the lost ground by "pushing" the page forcefully in the direction of the scroll. This is just painful. Brave doesn't have these issues. Chrome doesn't have these issues. Vivaldi is perfectly smooth. What's the deal with scrolling on Firefox?
If anyone can guide me here to solve all of the issues I've just described - once and for all, I'll be genuinely grateful. I've tried to find solutions to these problems over and over. And either I didn't find any answer that could help solve these problems even slightly, or I found somewhat amusing, to me, answers directly in the Firefox's wiki - asking, for instance, to simply "Restart Firefox" when it becomes too much of a hog for RAM: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/firefox-uses-too-much-memory-or-cpu-resources?redirectlocale=en-US&redirectslug=firefox-uses-too-much-memory-ram
--- QUOTE ---
Firefox may use more system resources if it's left open for long periods of time. A workaround for this is to periodically restart Firefox. You can configure Firefox to save your tabs and windows so that when you start it again, you can start where you left off. See Restore previous session - Configure when Firefox shows your most recent tabs and windows for details.
--- END ---
I am sorry, but what kind of BS is that? It "may use more system resources"? And it may not? Who's in the charge of this? What makes it impossible to look further into this, and make sure there's no need for any "workaround"s? Is it impossible to program it once and for all to avoid using more resources, especially when it remains perfectly still? Because I've seen it myself going from 1'200 MB in RAM to 2'400 MB in RAM - WITHOUT ME DOING ANYTHING. AT ALL. Is it impossible to fix? With all the manpower that Mozilla possesses? Is it such a low priority? Or is it just my PC having fun at making Firefox resource greediness go out of hand?
Pardon me, I had to let this out. I genuinely want to use Firefox. I feel much more emotionally connected to your browser than to any other, guys.
But I don't want to experience pain each and every time I use it.
The ugly fonts are not pleasant to look at. And they distract me from my work.
The RAM consumption makes the whole experience heavier. And it bothers the heck out of me. I don't want to restart Firefox just for "workarounds". If I have to restart it, I want it to be for a valid reason. Not because it "just so happens" that the browser "may use more system resources" (with a dropped "than necessary" at the end) - and no one even bothers to fix it.
Finally, I don't want to get distracted by lagged scrolling. If I'm browsing the page, I want to be focused on the content. Not on what my browser is doing. And as of now, every time I use Firefox, I'm forced to think of why is the screen not moving up or down the way I expect it to, instead of thinking about what is on this screen.
If there's anything you can advise me, please do.
If you feel the need to troubleshoot this further, I'm willing to provide as much data as I can.
If these issues pertain only to my system, then the bug is on my machine - and I'd be happy to fix as soon as possible before switching full-time to Firefox once and for all.
Going through the support tickets though, it appears I might not be the only one. And if this is the case, perhaps a more deep investigation into the current Firefox experience, at least pertaining to modern machines, running Windows - might be necessary.
Modified by Bruce William Collins
All Replies (2)
Hi Bruce, please ignore the unofficial support solicitation that someone posted. We have no idea where that leads and don't want you to get scammed.
Hi Bruce, regarding fonts, could you take a look at these threads about tweaking the subpixel aliasing:
- "Enhanced Contrast": https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1177634#answer-1011713
- "Rendering Mode": https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1115938#answer-860588 (experiment with the values)