For the last few years I kept with Firefox, although it became slower and bloated along the way, for one simple reason: its plug-ins! So far, Firefox has been the king of extendability because of the vast array of available plug-ins and many of these plug-ins where not available in other browsers. But all of this has changed now; Firefox is revamping its plug-in system and the bleak result is that most of the currently available plug-ins will stop working in the next few months.
As most plug-ins are a labor of love from independent developers, who dedicate their limited available time for free in developing these plug-ins, it is to be expected that porting a plug-in to the new Firefox plug-in standard will take a serious timespan for the more complicated plug-ins. And many plug-ins that are no longer supported (and therefore no longer updated), where happily running still in the current version of Firefox. But those will stop working without any solution.
I looked around for the next best thing (on Linux, but don’t get me started on Edge anyway). I don’t like Chrome (Chromium on Linux) for several reasons, but mainly it is just too bare bones for me and would take a lot of extensions (and I mean A LOT, I tried it) to get it functional for me. So I landed on Opera. I know, it is build on top of the Chrome engine. But it has a lot of stuf build in natively that don’t need any extension/plug-in that can break at the next browser update. Getting it functional at the level I had with Firefox took basically four or five extensions, where my Firefox installation currently runs over twenty. Admittedly some of those I didn’t use that many so I didn’t install a similar plug-in in Opera, but that still leaves around fifteen in Firefox that are now functionally covered in Opera wit a lot less extensions.
Opera does feel a lot smoother and much faster than Firefox. Which is to be expected going from the many published benchmarks on browser speed comparisons. It also is the only browser that runs on Linux natively without a window caption bar (which maximizes workspace), both windowed and maximized. Both Firefox and Chromium needs plug-ins or KDE-desktop tweaks for that, and then it only works when they are maximized.
In addition to the above, Opera brings a few privacy/security related options that are not available in Firefox, at least not natively. The first thing is native add-blocking. The add-block plug-ins for Firefox have been an ongoing debacle for several years with developers striking deals with tracking companies, negating the actual functionality of add-blocking. Of course this could happen with Opera as well, but with the browser add-blocking (or better, not blocking certain companies) is not a primary option for revenue, while add-blocking in itself is part of the security focus that promotes the actual selection and use of Opera over other browsers. The second, for me pretty big thing is integrated VPN connections which goes a long way in preventing the tracking or even detecting your actual internet location.
My transition from Firefox to Opera was smooth and swift. I use FVD Speed Dial for quick access to a lot of websites and portals I work with and found it also available for Opera. It neatly synced all my dials and also all bookmarks from Firefox to Opera and got me up and running with Opera almost instantly.
So if you have the same idea about the future of Firefox, or you are done with the continuing slow-down of both Firefox itself and its development, take a look at Opera. It looks sleek, runs much faster than Firefox, has add-blocking build in natively and loads Chrome extensions (besides its own native extensions) so everything you need plug-in wise is there.