At zork*, I am still automating Firefox to perform front-end performance analyses, though barely thanks to instability in the latest versions of Firefox. With 28 and 29 I experience a lot of frustrating Firefox crashes. Our front-end developer also reports crashes with Firefox 28 and its recommended version of Firebug, 1.12. He reverted to 24 in order to get some work done.
On my Facebook feed, I read that a friend frustrated to madness by 29 had switched to a browser called Pale Moon. It bills itself as “an Open Source, Firefox-based web browser” and is currently based on 24, the same version that relieved my colleague’s frustration. So I gave it a try.
Pale Moon supports all my extensions: MozRepl, Firebug, PageSpeed, DOMInspector, Yahoo and NetExport. I can generate profiles programmatically with a few small modifications to the script (the profiles.ini is located in a different directory, for example, and palemoon -v doesn’t print ‘Mozilla Firefox’ obviously). MozRepl and its Perl interfaces work like a charm.
I haven’t measured it, but startup time is noticeably faster, and it’s much more stable. Since it’s being used in an automated fashion I am less concerned about UI and more about stability and speed, so these observations make me happy.
If you work in a shop that frowns on alternative browsers, or you wish to abstain from Firefox’s rapid upgrades, you may also consider Firefox ESR.
*work typed on an azerty keyboard. I switch keyboards a lot and the ensuing confusion erodes my grip on sanity.