Firefox Desperate To Mimic Chrome, Even Their Mistakes

Recently Firefox has been pushing a more aggressive upgrade schedule. There is little doubt that they are feeling the pressure from Google Chrome, which is becoming increasingly popular and has an aggressive upgrade cycle as well.

In the last year Chrome has become nearly as popular as Firefox. Many of the recent changes with Firefox, like the shorter release cycles, make it look like it is trying to play catch up with Chrome. Perhaps desperately so. Unfortunately with release of Firefox 7 it appears they are also desperate to copy the same mistakes Chrome has made.

It is no secret that I really don’t like the way Chrome broke copy and paste in the URL field. That was a horrible decision that irritates me on an almost daily basis. When I select something to be copied I expect to have an exact copy of what was selected, altering that under the hood completely breaks the concept of copy and paste.

So guess what new “feature” was added to Firefox 7? You got it:

The ‘http://’ URL prefix is now hidden by default

And it behaves in exactly the same broken way that Chrome does.

To the Mozilla team: look, I understand that you’re concerned about losing market share to Chrome, but please, please, please don’t mimic their mistakes. Now in order to copy and paste the URL properly I have to copy everything but the first character of the hostname, then manually type in that first character then paste in the remainder. Absolutely horrible. This is one feature of Chrome that no one should ever copy, and I’d be thrilled to see it removed from Chrome as well.

If you want to no longer show ‘http://’ in the URL field, fine, but please stop breaking copy and paste.

UPDATE: Turns out Firefox has an option for disabling this “feature” ( kudos to @ozh ):

  • Enter about:config in the URL field
  • Filter on browser.urlbar.trimURLs
  • Set the value for browser.urlbar.trimURLs to false

Not great that this is on by default, but at least there is an easy way to turn it off. Now, if only it were that easy to turn off this “feature” in Chrome.

Caching and Processing 2TB Mozilla Crash Reports

Mozilla processes TBs of Firefox crash reports daily using HBase, Hadoop, Python and Thrift protocol. The project is called Socorro, a system for collecting, processing, and displaying crash reports from clients. Today the Socorro application stores about 2.6 million crash reports per day. During peak traffic, it receives about 2.5K crashes per minute.

via Caching and Processing 2TB Mozilla Crash Reports in memory with Hazelcast

A peak of 40 crash reports per second and an average around 30 per second! I wonder what the distribution looks like for installs sending in crash reports. Are the majority of the reports coming in from a small portion of users or is it more spread out across the entire install base?


Plenty of talk today about Eric Butler and Firesheep. Remember the mid-90s when the Security Administrator Tool for Analyzing Networks (SATAN) brought down the entire Internet because anyone could down load it and run it against servers? Yeah, didn’t happen.

Hopefully all of this discussion about the potential implications of Firesheep will cause people to take a fresh look at the security precautions they use on their site.