Firefox 29 has been released and it’s causing quite a wave of controversy among Firefox users. Firefox 29 comes with a new interface called Australis that features rounded tabs, along with a menu icon in the top right corner. As you might imagine, some users are having trouble adjusting to the new interface and are making their feelings very clear to the Firefox developers.
I checked the Firefox Input site and found a huge number of negative comments from Firefox 29 users. There’s also a chart that shows a large spike of negative sentiment among users. There are also sporadic positive comments posted about Firefox 29, but the vast majority seem to be from angry Firefox users who are not warming up to the new version of Mozilla’s browser.
Image credit: Firefox Input
Image credit: Firefox Input
Firefox 29: Change is hard to accept
Change is always hard for some folks to accept, particularly when it comes to browsers. We all depend on our web browsers so much each day that when something big changes it can be extremely aggravating. We have to change our long established habits and adjust to new ways of doing things as well as visual changes that may or may not be pleasing to our eyes.
But I’ve found that if you give yourself some time to adjust you can usually get through it eventually. That requires some patience though and a willingness to be open to new ways of doing things. And it also helps if you can hang in there as further development may tweak some of the things that are causing you issues or problems.
My upgrade from Firefox 28 to Firefox 29
I upgraded Firefox from version 28 to 29 today in Lubuntu 14.04. I actually found myself liking Firefox 29 a bit more than 28, for the most part. I think the interface is cleaner and easier on the eyes than before the update. I didn’t find it any more difficult to use than before the switch. However, I don’t tend to do a lot of customizing so that concern really isn’t an issue for me the way it seems to be for some other users.
If I had to pick something that I’m on the fence about, it would be the rounded tabs. I’m not really a big fan of that sort of thing. It would be nice if there were an option to square the active tab instead of having it rounded, but all in all this is a very minor complaint. I can live with the rounded tabs and I’m sure in a few days I probably won’t even notice it.
You can see for yourself in the two screenshots what Firefox 28 and Firefox 29 look like in Lubuntu 14.04.
Nerd rage about Firefox 29 much ado about nothing?
Firefox 29 is certainly not the first software update to cause hard feelings among users. I remember when Apple updated iOS 6 to iOS 7 and many people loathed iOS 7. They could not deal with the color changes, functionality changes, user interface design and other things. Some vowed never to upgrade to iOS 7 or that they would switch to Android to send Apple a message.
Well these days the iOS 7 adoption rate is nearly 90%, according to MacRumors. So its clear that iOS users ended up adjusting to the changes over time. I believe the same thing will happen with Firefox 29. Users will adjust, and the Firefox developers will no doubt make some tweaks to Firefox based on user feedback, the same way that Apple did with iOS 7.
GNOME 3 is another example of major software changes that resulted in a backlash among users. Upgrading from GNOME 2 to GNOME 3 freaked a lot of people out, and some abandoned GNOME altogether and moved to KDE, Xfce and other Linux desktop environments. GNOME 3 also caused vociferous flame wars among many in the Linux community.
But as time went on some people that had abandoned GNOME because of GNOME 3 later returned to it. They decided to give GNOME a second chance and took the time to get used to what it had to offer. And some users never abandoned GNOME in the first place, they changed their habits and soon found that GNOME 3 worked as well for them as GNOME 2 ever did.
For the time being it seems that Firefox 29 will continue to generate quite a lot of nerd rage. This will change over time as it usually does, and a year from now we’ll probably look back at the controversy over Firefox 29 and wonder why anybody was so upset about it.
What’s your take on this? Tell me in the comments below.