Blog / Random thoughts and musings.

Safari vs. Firefox

Safari vs. Firefox

I’ve been a Firefox user… for as long as I can remember. It started because I was a Windows user, and FF was vastly better than Internet Explorer (and still is). Since switching to Mac about two years ago, I’ve stayed with Firefox. I gave Apple’s Safari browser a few tries now and then, but always ran into major complaints with how it worked, and didn’t see the need to investigate them.

Since I know most Mac people use Safari, and a fair number of “people who know what they’re doing” use it, I’m going to give it another try. One of my favorite things about Firefox is its plug-in architecture, allowing anyone to develop very useful add-ins to the program. Firebug is essential for any web developer, so unless Safari has something similar, I’ll still be falling back on Firefox for development.

Do you have any preferences one way or another?

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  1. Scott
    February 9, 2008

    I probably don’t count as a full-fledged Mac person yet, but you know that. :) I mostly use Firefox, only hitting Safari occasionally. A big reason is comfort-zone – I know Firefox. Another big one is Foxmarks, the add-on that lets me automatically sync my bookmarks with any other Firefox machine I use (in this case, my desktop PC).

  2. Alan K
    February 10, 2008

    I prefer Firefox. I prefer the look and feel. I also work on several machines and use Google Browser Sync to keep the same browser environment in all. It doesn’t support Safari.

  3. Nate J.
    February 10, 2008

    The killer app for me is bookmark synchrnization to a cloud or some kind of server storage. I have several desktops at home and work as well as my laptop, and keeping all those bookmarks available has always been an issue for me. I just don’t think I can convince my wife to shell out for .Mac, and that wouldn’t necessarily help me on my windows or linux hosts. The Foxmarks plugin ( gets the job done perfectly, and works flawlessly in my experience. Until Safari (or Camino) get that kind of functionality, I am Firefox-only.

  4. mike
    February 10, 2008

    I use the Google Bookmarks plugin instead of Foxmarks. It works in Firefox, MSIE, and Safari, so whatever browser I end up on, I have my bookmarks…

  5. Scott Nolan
    February 10, 2008

    I use four browsers regularly, each for specific tasks.
    I have OmniWeb with Java/Scripts/Cookies and Popups all blocked/off – I use that for checking suspicious websites.
    I have Camino for reading text blogs, it’s text rendering is very fast.
    I use Safari a lot for surfing photo sites and forums.
    I use Firefox for work, finances, trusted stuff.

    Firefox configurability is fun, but Safari’s interface is smoother and Firefox requires a LOT of cache/disk I/O… so if you do Firefox, you want very low latency hard drive or even a ram disk to use it from. There are many sites that seem to only work in Firefox though.

    I sync my bookmarks with korn shell scripts, though I am playing with .Mac synchronization (not happy, yet).

  6. Timojhen
    February 10, 2008

    Diehard Firefox user. Actively dislike Safari (which may improve if I used it more).

    Loves : Plug-In architecture : couldn’t imagine going without : google browser sync. Yslow, Web Developer Toolbar, Firebug, Download Statusbar, Downthemall!

    Dislikes : can’t leave it up forever, since it tends to become a black hole and consume everything around it (memory, cpu etc).

    Minor dislike (I just don’t leave it running for weeks, a la Java) so haven’t tried much else.

    Will be interesting to see if this rings true, since it might encourage me to explore Safari again…


  7. Vnend
    February 12, 2008

    Lazy Safari user here. I have Firefox installed and use it in two cases; the rare times when a page refuses to load under Safari and if I want to use Tor. I don’t use Tor all the time because of its speed (or lack thereof, if I wanted to surf at dial-up speed I could just dial-up…)

    Since I have gone to using the laptop 99% of the time synchronization isn’t an issue. I seldom boot into windows, so Firefox’s superiority over IE isn’t a big issue either. And since both Ellen and Ben use Safari on their machines I can better support them if they have a problem.

    That said, there are things about Safari that I wish were done differently, but isn’t that the case with everything on computers that you didn’t write yourself?

    Good luck deciding.