Y U No Use Firefox?

Published by marco on

Updated by marco on

Every once in a while, I feel bad for not using the only remaining truly open-source browser: Firefox.[1]

Opera is my go-to browser, but that’s been bought up by the Chinese, right? So far, things haven’t changed but who knows what’s going on under the hood? Chrome is a decent testing browser, but offers me nothing better than Opera and its memory profile is, for whatever reason, consistently worse. I’m a very happy Opera user.

Still, Firefox is, in version 57, supposedly much faster and uses less memory, finally putting it on-par with the other browsers. Cool. Let’s check it out.

Y U no speak English?

 I start Firefox and it thinks I want to speak German. It’s a mistake more than a few applications make. My location is Switzerland, but the language of my operating system is English. Why does Firefox choose German instead of English? It’s not alone, but it’s a boneheaded mistake—if you’re going to make a guess, then guess the language I’ve chosen for my whole operating system.

No problem, though. I’ll just go find the setting where I can change the UI language.[2]

Y U no have UI-language setting?

 There’s no way of searching preferences.

I guess I’ll just click through every page of the settings, hoping to find the language settings.

Damn, I can’t even find the area where I could change the list of preferred languages for web pages.

Y U no Upgrade?

 Which version of Firefox am I even using?

Wait, how the heck do I figure out which version of Firefox this is? Let me type about:. Oh, that doesn’t work anymore. Back to the kind-of confusing menu on the right-hand side. None of those little pictures look right … maybe if I click “help”? Ah, there it is.

Apparently, I have an update pending. I’m surprised that wasn’t more prominently displayed.

Restart Firefox to apply updates.

I have a new start page and new settings! Now I can find the list of preferred languages for web pages, but still nothing about the UI language.

Y U no Helping?

 I guess I’ll have to give on Firefox helping me and will ask DuckDuckGo.

I find the article Firefox in your language? Here’s the tutorial. Apparently, it’s possible without re-installation, for which I suppose I should be grateful…but there’s a tutorial. Sounds ominous.

I have to install an add-on. Whatever. I’ve already sunk enough time; let’s get this done.

I jump to the link provided for language packs and the one for English is right at the top.

This add-on is not compatible with your version of Firefox.

Flips Table

 How is that even a thing? How is it possible for Firefox to release a version on their stable branch without having the English language pack available? I’m running the latest stable version.

It was already a long-enough slog to get here in the first place, but now I find out that it’s not even possible to change the language of my browser’s UI without re-installing? Or that I get to “Download anyway” and take my chances?

Once again, I admit defeat and stop using Firefox. Who cares how fast it is[3] when the user experience is still so balky? It continues to feel like an unpolished product.


[1] This isn’t hampered by a lack of understanding of German, luckily, because I’m fluent.
[2] Just this morning, It’s Time to Give Firefox Another Chance (TechCrunch) showed up in my Reddit feed, exhorting people to try out the latest beta. You have to download and install a separate executable for now. After my experience with the stable channel, I’m not going near the Firefox beta channel. If the English-language add-on isn’t available, what the odds that any of the other plugins I use are?
[3] And the promise of speed is only that it is now on-par with the other modern browsers and tat it no longer wastes memory like it used to.