I now officially take back any bad suspicions I may have cast over Firefox’s stability in the previous post: after I replaced the temporary profiles hack with properly isolated ephemeral profiles, Firefox has been rock solid. I would even venture so far as to say that it’s now more stable than Chromium was for me back when I still used it, though the comparison is slightly skewed to Firefox’s favor by my removing of Adobe Flash at the time of the switch.
V42 has already been supplanted by V43, and it broke the userChrome tweak I also mentioned in the last post, but in a good way: the irritating, obtrusive full-screen warning pop-up is so much more subtle in V43 that I no longer mind it at all. In fact, I should remove the CSS tweak altogether now that it no longer serves any purpose and, even if it did, doesn’t work.
Another major change that I made that coincided with the switch from Chromium to Firefox was to move from Startpage to Disconnect.me’s Search page. I first became aquainted with the latter when trying out Tor Browser, which defaulted to Disconnect Search. I felt like experimenting with an alternative so I decided to give it a go as my default in regular Firefox too.
Unfortunately Disconnect’s results don’t feel as good as Startpage’s do for me. Disconnect apparently employ some kind of quick filtering which is triggered by an immediate (or -ish) return from a site you’ve picked from the search results listing, hiding or lowering the page/site in question from the search results listing from there on. I found it would often degrade my search results near or entirely to uselessness, as I tend to skip back and forth between the results listing and found pages themselves, and only settle for what I deem the best source after sampling a few of the top results. I obviously can’t do that if my search provider keeps hiding the links I’ve visited from me.
Sometime between the last post and this one Disconnect Search also began to occasionally show remarkably poor results for very basic searches — searches I would then take to Google proper to find that Disconnect had left out a huge portion of raw Google results (I exclusively used Google as Disconnect’s backend). Note that this was not caused by the aforementioned “quick filtering”, as these inferior results would also show up in a fresh, clean Firefox window quite often (that was the first thing I tried when I began to notice these poor results).
Hence I’ve now returned to Startpage as my search provider. It may very well be that Disconnect could be configured to not do the “quick filtering” thing it does, but I can’t be bothered to investigate the possibility, as switching back to Startpage is a much easier route out of this problem while also resolving the “generally poor results compared to Google proper” issue. (Doing an identical search in clean windows of both Disconnect and Startpage only seconds apart clearly showed Startpage’s superiority in this too.)