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Making Firefox sane

After installing Firefox, there are things I must do every time to make it behave sanely. Thank God for about:config. Strange how all of these things are disabling some feature of Firefox. Maybe Firefox tries to do too much.

browser.formfill.Enable => false. This prevents those little pop-up drop-down lists from appearing every time you try to type something in an input field. I detest that drop-down list. It steals focus too often. If your mouse happens to be in the wrong place and the drop-down list appears underneath your mouse, it seems to automatically pick an entry from the list, unless you perform some arcane combination of keypresses to avoid it. And the history remembers typos and stupid crap. Trying to use phpmyadmin with those drop-down things enabled is torture. Type a 1 and it suggests 1, 10, 17, 124, every number I ever typed starting with a 1. And you have to hit tab or click around randomly 14 times to get the stupid list to disappear. Argh.

browser.tab.autoHide => false. This prevents the tab bar from disappearing when you have only one tab open. Why in the world isn't this the default? Tabs are one of the main strengths of Firefox. I always thought this was turned on by default so that people migrating from Internet Explorer, used to having no tabs and such, would feel comfortable. But IE7 has tabs. Everyone should be used to tabs by now. And if they aren't they should be MADE used to them, in my opinion. I think also that the "new tab" button on the toolbar is not there by default. Again, this is kind of annoying that I have to add it manually every time. But such is life.

browser.enable_automatic_image_resizing => false. Ugh. Need I say more? (As an aside, it's interesting that about:config options seem to be a completely random mixture of CamelCase, underscore-delimited, and dash-delimited identifiers. Just trying to keep us on our toes, I guess.)

middlemouse.ContentLoadURL => false. This prevents middle-clicking on a random spot on a page from doing a Google search on your copy-paste buffer contents. I can't imagine anyone really wanting this kind of middle-click behavior. "Hmm. Let me just add this text into my copy-paste buffer, and then middle-click on a random website in a random location so that I can do a Google search and jump directly to the first result!" No. Especially for compulsive clickers like myself, this is painful. There are also privacy concerns obviously. I'm pretty likely to have things in my copy-paste buffer that I don't want to be firing off to random servers somewhere.

browser.tab.closeButtons => 3? This gives back the single close button for tabs, rather than one button on each tab. I'm still a bit conflicted which version I like better. I think I like my close button to remain stationary so I can keep clicking to close multiple tabs quickly, rather than hunting down the close buttons on each tab. But on the other hand, sometimes closing multiple tabs easily is a bad thing, because I can close them by accident. I could go either way on this one.

November 12, 2006 @ 3:45 PM PST
Cateogory: Linux
Tags: Firefox

18 Comments

Cameron
Quoth Cameron on December 03, 2006 @ 5:42 AM PST

The tab auto hide feature is highly preferred among most people that use it because it gives more screen real-estate when you only have one tab open. If you want a new tab, press ctrl+T. It takes less effort(don't have to take your hand off the keyboard), and the address bar gets focus automatically.

The middle mouse button google search thing is actually the result of the linux standard of "middle click means paste". So whatever you have in your clipboard is effectively being placed on the page. Firefox interprets it, and if it's not a web address it does a google search(like it would if you pasted something random in the address bar). It's a logical reason, albeit not a well thought-out one.

The image resizing wouldn't be so bad if it has some form of antialiasing feature to minimize the jagged lines that form, in my opinion.

Brian
Quoth Brian on December 03, 2006 @ 6:12 AM PST

Thanks for commenting. I see logic in what you've sai.

I tend to open new tabs either by middle-clicking a link or middle-clicking a bookmark on the toolbar. And I hardly ever have only a single tab open. The address bar gets focus when clicking the "Open a new tab" button that you can add to the main toolbar, also (though this button is not on the toolbar by default; another annoyance, in my opinion). I can see your argument however.

jim
Quoth jim on December 05, 2006 @ 12:27 PM PST

Good stuff.Is there any way to keep firefox 2.0 from gobbling up ram at a break-neck pace.Clearing private data helps but doesn't solve.Oh i run windows xp sp2. Wonder if there's a workaround in about config?

Brian
Quoth Brian on December 07, 2006 @ 9:10 AM PST

Not that I know of, sadly.

s427
Quoth s427 on December 11, 2006 @ 5:14 AM PST

About the drop-down list in forms : I like it because it remembers my email address and such info that I use quite often (for instance just now, in this very form : name and so on). Did you know you can remove any unwanted item in those lists just by selecting it (with the up/down arrow keys) and pressing Shift+Del ? It's a good way to get rid of typos (and stupid crap ^^).

Mike
Quoth Mike on January 13, 2007 @ 11:26 PM PST

For some reason my firefox had contentloadurl off, and this page helped me find it thanks.

Ever since a browser supported x-middle-paste, i've used it, and it's a pain without it.

Mark
Quoth Mark on January 26, 2007 @ 9:48 AM PST

I am having a problem with tabs in Firefox 2.0.0.1, saw the discussion here and thought you all might be able to help.

Problem is when I click a link it opens in a new tab, which is cool, but it switches to that tab away from the tab I want to stay in. In Tab preferences I have the notation "When I open a link in a new tab, switch to it immediately" unchecked, which I thought would keep it from doing this, am I wrong?

I have tried it with that notation both enabled and disabled, restarting Firefox after each change as well as just Applying the change and closing Options dialog, nothing seems to stop this behavior.

Recently upgraded the Firefox version on this machine and in the previous version, it did not do this.

Any help?

Brian
Quoth Brian on January 28, 2007 @ 3:14 AM PST

In about:config, browser.tabs.loadInBackground = true will give me the correct behavior. I'm also using 2.0.0.1.

Help.me.Brian
Quoth Help.me.Brian on February 14, 2007 @ 6:37 AM PST

Brian:

If you have a direct line to the developers, could you ask them to stop auto-hiding the tabs? If I hold ctrl-T for a while, I want the tabs to get smaller and smaller. I call this my "privacy feature". If it keeps hiding the new tabs, the width stay the same after a while. This reveals the titles of my sites!!!

Word up brother. Please help.

Brian
Quoth Brian on February 19, 2007 @ 1:22 PM PST

I don't have a direct line to anyone. :) I'm just a random guy with a blog. Try going to about:config and edit browser.tab.tabMinWidth to be a small value like 1.

Anonymous Cow
Quoth Anonymous Cow on March 06, 2007 @ 11:42 AM PST

to Help.me.brian change browser.tabs.autoHide to false. then the tabs will just keep getting smaller and smaller...on another note though, anyone figured out how to get rid of that drop down list on for the tabs?

Brian
Quoth Brian on March 08, 2007 @ 4:48 AM PST

You can possibly put something in your userChrome.css file to hide that drop down list. I have not tried it. (See this if necessary)

Demonkunga
Quoth Demonkunga on April 14, 2007 @ 7:19 AM PDT

Hey, I was wondering if anyone here would know how to set my about:config back to default settings. I have a bunch of things in there from addons and such that I no longer use and I want to restore the default settings and then edit the few things I want edited. Thanks :)

Jack
Quoth Jack on December 17, 2007 @ 10:44 PM PST

No Tabs option! I already have "tabs" for windows at the bottom of the screen taking up space, why do I want a smaller browsing window? When I center click it should open a NEW WINDOW, BEHIND the current one. Mozilla used to do this and it was great. How hard would it be to let me go back to that. I used to have many windows open and could keep track of them with mouse overs to see the title of the page etc... Please, please, prevent me from going mad by adding the option to turn off tabs and center click for "open in new window" (instead of my current right click then select new window). Help!

foo bar
Quoth foo bar on March 28, 2008 @ 4:26 AM PDT

i know this is late late late but

you frikken rule!

middlemouse.ContentLoadURL is evil and has pissed me off forever.

Dyne
Quoth Dyne on March 30, 2008 @ 11:08 PM PDT

i have a problem with firefox. when i first open my browser, everything is hunky-dory. after about five minutes if i try to type something in my address bar that starts with www. or if i try to type anything in my google search bar firefox either freezes to where i have to force quit or it just automatically closes my browser. know what i can do bout that?

Eduardo
Quoth Eduardo on April 22, 2010 @ 5:29 AM PDT

Old post, I know, but I'm one of the people that actually love middlemouse.ContentLoadURL! I never use it for googling, though; I just like to put an URL into my paste buffer and then click my way to it instead of CTRL+T, paste, enter. It's one of the missing features for me on Chromium along with adblock.

Brian
Quoth Brian on April 22, 2010 @ 5:39 AM PDT