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Getting fed up with Firefox

Posted by Richard on October 14, 2005

I’m about fed up with Firefox, so allow me to vent about one particularly frustrating problem I’ve had for a couple of months now. In fact, I posted much of this in the support forum in August. I revisited there today, and the situation hasn’t changed much — more users with the same problem, more arrogant, condescending, and defensive non-answers from the "experts" who blame the stupid users, the stupid sites, everyone and everything but Firefox. The problem is that you point Firefox to a site and wait for it to load, and you get this error message:

Redirection limit for this URL exceeded. Unable to load the requested page. This may be caused by cookies that are blocked.

If you search the Firefox knowledge base for "redirection limit," there are no matches. But if you search the support forums, you’ll find over a hundred threads, most of them containing a dozen or more messages. After you’ve read a few of them, you’ll feel like you’re in Groundhog Day. The "experts" endlessly repeat all the same crap — change the redirection limit in about:config, allow cookies, delete cookies, clear your cache, rub your belly, pat your head, and chant "om mane padme hum."

In virtually every instance I’ve read, the poor sap with the problem tries the proferred solutions and none of them help.

The "experts" then inevitably fall back on "it’s a problem with the site, they’ve coded the page wrong so there’s an endless redirect loop; FF is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do." When someone dares to say "it works in IE," the "experts" say the site must be serving different pages to FF and IE.

B.S.

If the site is serving a different page to FF, why doesn’t spoofing as IE6 solve the problem? Why does the page served to IE6 (and which IE6 has no problem displaying) produce the same redirection limit error? If there’s an endless loop or other problem with the page code, why does the page initially load correctly in FF and then one day stop (with no config or other change)? Or load correctly in FF on one PC, but not another?

So, I’m not convinced that the problem is "poor coding" — if the page for FF has a redirect loop, the problem should occur at all times for all installations of FF, and that’s not the case.

But even if it is "poor coding," so what? Maybe  the way FF handles these allegedly "wrongly coded" pages is "correct" and "standards-compliant," but I don’t care. I want it to show me the page I’m trying to get to, not frustrate me in some anal-retentive quest to punish sites that don’t meet its uncompromising standards.

FF is supposed to serve the needs of its users, not punish poor coding of websites. At a minimum, if it can’t resolve the problem posed by the alleged poor coding, it should at least offer a more meaningful error message and/or propose a workaround. I don’t believe that the problem can’t be resolved — if you can identify the "poor coding" that allegedly causes the loop, then you can handle it in a way that doesn’t punish the user. I suspect the "community" simply doesn’t want FF to do something it’s "not supposed to do" and thinks people shouldn’t visit sites that aren’t coded the way they’re "supposed to be."

I’m not the W3C, I’m a user. If you’re creating software that you want me to use, then my needs had damn well better be more important than the W3C’s frickin’ standards. I’m tired of running two browsers and pasting URLs from one to the other when a page fails to come up. The hassle is beginning to outweigh the advantages.

IE7 is in beta, and it’s reported to have tabs, be fast, have better security, and fix all (or most) of the rendering and CSS positioning bugs in IE6. Guess which browser I’m likely to settle on?

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3 Responses to “Getting fed up with Firefox”

  1. Libercontrarian said

    I gave up on FF because I detected the same fascistic “punishing” behavior in the software’s creators and it’s “enablers.” I am glad you have the emotional courage to come out and say something against the Emperor, as he apparently is not alone in his mistaken belief that he is indeed clothed.

  2. Steve said

    I’m a long time netscape/firefox user (10 years) and did run across this problem once with Sitemeter about a year ago…it was a sitemeter problem. They tweaked something and the problem went away.

    My experience with ff has been about 95% good…it does get loopy (sucking up cpu) once in a while. Usually when I’m in full browse/read mode with half dozen windows and 50-60 tabs loaded.

  3. Bert Wiener said

    I’ve seen the ‘redirect limit’ problem repeatedly, but only for links to the New York Times. I assumed that the NYT had limited redirects from some sites. My beef with FireFox is that it is a gigantic memory hog. I recently had it taking 85m of memory, while my IE-like browser, NetCaptor, was taking 5m. But I still love it, mainly for the extensions.

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