I Want To Love Firefox 3.5, But It Keeps Crashing On Me

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Ever since the new Firefox 3.5 came out about a month ago, I’ve been using it as my main browser. Generally I am very happy with it. Pages load a lot faster than they did before, the plus-sign feature in tabs which launches a new one is a godsend, and I am very excited about the prospects for all of the open video technologies built into it. But there is one persistent bug that might push me to another browser: it keeps crashing on me.

This usually happens when I have too many tabs open (like 15 or 20, which is not unusual for me towards the end of the day). The whole thing will just freeze and I’ll have to force the browser to quit. When I relaunch I get a message like the one above, sheepishly saying, “Well, this is embarrassing.” Yes, it is embarrassing. A modern browser should be able to handle dozens of open tabs, and if there is a problem with one, it should be able to isolate it and allow you to carry with your business in the other tabs.

Without basic stability, none of the other great features or add-ons really matter much. Mozilla needs to fix this issue fast because Firefox 3.5 is already gaining a lot of traction. Net Applications has it at a 4.5 percent market share at the end of July, while StatCounter has it at 9.4 percent as of today. People are using this as their main browser, despite the beta label, and there are plenty of other powerful choices out there from Safari to Chrome to, yes, even IE8.

I realize that Firefox 3.5 is a just came out of beta, and to be fair, it has become slightly more stable over the past month (it was crashing every day in the beginning, now it is just every few days). I’ve been patiently waiting for the crashing to stop as Mozilla releases patches and updates. And I’m on a developer build, so maybe I’m just asking for crashes. But plenty of other people are complaining as well. Is Firefox 3.5 crashing for you?

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