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Beyond each platform toolkit of course.

How come Firefox UI looks, mmhh well, not that good on Linux, it's pretty decent in Windows and it definitely rocks on OSX?

Is it a single product recompiled for different platforms? Is it coded completely in JavaScript?

Does anyone else have the same perception?


I think a clarification is needed.

I was referring to the performance/ behavior of course, but also to the GUI.

It is quite different on those platforms.


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I don't have a Vista/7 screenshot at hand, that's why I use XP


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In what way does it suck on Linux? The only problems I have had have been with misbehaving extensions. The core browser is solid and just as good as the Windows version in my experience using it... – Russell Heilling Jul 15 '09 at 9:37
I wouldn't go as far as to say FF sucks on Linux, but I do see your point. On windows I love FF, whereas it just isn't quite as brilliant on Linux. It's a little clunky in places sometimes. (Middle click scrolling doesn't work for example - maybe it's just my setup) – Simon P Stevens Jul 15 '09 at 9:40
@Simon P Stevens: I have the same middle-click problem, but I think KDE or something else is to blame. Most apps treat middle-click as paste. Firefox used to open links in a new tab when middle-clicked, but I've disabled it now. – Nikhil Chelliah Jul 15 '09 at 9:50
+1 for the screenshots – Mercer Traieste Jul 15 '09 at 10:43
Anyone else notice that the only version displaying the "how to close a tab" strip along the top of the page is the Windows version? – Andrew Scagnelli Jul 22 '09 at 3:57
up vote 10 down vote accepted

Apparently, it's because Linux users want it that way:

The reason Linux isn’t shown above is that all of the feedback we’ve received so far indicates that Linux users would be happier with a theme that uses native GTK icons in the navigation toolbar, which rules out this type of customized visual treatment.

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This was exactly the answer to my question. ( probably poorly written [ the question of course ] ) I didn't knew why it looks good on other platforms but "old" in linux. – OscarRyz Jul 22 '09 at 15:17
If Firefox is looking "old" in Linux for you it's because your GTK theme is set to an "old" looking one - and let's be honest the default ones are kind of bland if you're using Gnome. In Linux however you are free to customise your GTK theme, and there are hundreds of ready-made ones available using various engines. These include not only look and feel, colours, gradients, etc but also icons. So not only can you apply a sweet theme to Firefox but in Linux you can apply a sweet theme to your whole system (at least, those apps that use GTK themes). This is why Firefox on Linux follows that. – thomasrutter Mar 17 '10 at 4:36
BTW I'm glad Google Chrome did the right thing and looks great on the three platforms and still respects the default l&f – OscarRyz Jul 11 '12 at 2:02

Firefox doesn't suck on Linux. It might eat up some resources, indirectly, if you don't use Gnome or GTK and have limited hardware. Or perhaps you've lucked out with a bad build/hardware combination. But from my limited experiences, I don't see a problem.

Edit: Looking at your updated question, I'll say this much: that's different HTML. I get the same image (balloons) every time, so it's not just random. For some reason they chose to have a different background image and layout for each platform; maybe the fonts are slightly different but that's a non-issue.

Or if you're talking about the GUI itself, well, I'm glad it changes per platform. UI integration is always a good thing.

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What about back/forward, reaload buttons? :) – OscarRyz Jul 15 '09 at 10:07
What about them? Fairly plain, I suppose, but I'd say they fit in. – Nikhil Chelliah Jul 15 '09 at 10:52
"Fairly plain, I suppose" -- Then it fits perfectly with Linux. ;) – Sasha Chedygov Jul 22 '09 at 3:24

It's a single core code base but there are different pieces of code for platform specific features (UI, for instance). No it's not completely Javascript. There's plenty of C++ in it.

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Each version uses a different front end. For example on Mac OS X firefox uses a Cocoa UI - which means it can integrate with other Cocoa applications and the system more easily than if it were written with another API.

Depending on what GUI APIs are used on Windows on Linux (I don't know about windows, but I assume Linux is GTK+) you will see different levels and experiences of integration.

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Linux is GTK+, but I've heard of a Qt version. Nokia created it, but it isn't maintained. – KovBal Jul 17 '09 at 8:49
GNOME is GTK+ , on the other hand,KDE uses Qt – Mahmoud Hossam Sep 15 '09 at 11:29
KovBal meant to say that the Linux version of Firefox uses GTK+, not that the entirety of Linux uses GTK+... – Jasarien Sep 16 '09 at 13:34

I wouldn't say it rocks on OS X... it's slow, the UI doesn't match the rest of the OS, and so on... I'm using Safari and it works well. I use FF when things don't work (not very often) or when using a download manager to speed up large HTTP downloads.

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I was never a huge fan of the icons on Firefox Linux, so I installed the Camifox skin, which is really nice. I'd also suggest reducing the system font size (System > Preferences > Appearance > Fonts). The default on Ubuntu is very large compared to Windows. In that dialog you can also play about with the theme, which Firefox will inherit.

There are loads of other browsers you can install on Linux. Opera is a solid choice, though its default skin is worse than Firefox. Google Chrome v3 is also available - technically in alpha stage but I haven't had any problems with it.

If you really want to you can install IE6 on Linux! Look up ies4linux.

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