I was a devoted Firefox user for many years but recently, the list of annoyances with Firefox started to pile up.
Some of this is self-inflicted like the Proton redesign that changed the UI for the tabs in what I thought was a step backwards. Google also started to purposefully break things on Firefox including stuff like background blur on Meet calls and fullscreen viewing in YouTube.
I switched to Brave for a year or so and enjoyed that browser quite a bit. It’s Chromium underneath meaning that it shares the open source core that Chrome is built upon. Extension support is excellent and the look and feel is nice.
But Brave comes with a weird crypto play called Brave Rewards built around the Basic Attention Token (BAT) which is a cryptocurrency coin. You can disable all that stuff, but it’s not something I think belongs in a browser.
That left me looking for something new. I tried Safari but the lack of good extensions (especially for ad blocking) made that a non-starter. Orion is a new browser that looks a lot like Safari but adds Chrome/Firefox extension support. It’s in beta and it shows – it’s far too buggy to be an everyday browser.
Microsoft offers Edge that is also built around Chromium, but like Brave, they layer on a whole load of unwanted stuff. In the case of Edge, there’s shopping and other crapware built in that I don’t want.
What’s left? Vivaldi.
I’ve resisted Vivaldi a bit over the years because I don’t like the look and feel of it. I find the tabs and icons to be a bit weird looking, especially on the Mac. But I thought I would give it another go, partly because I like the direction things are going with Vivaldi but also because I learned that the UI is quite customizable.
Vivaldi’s UI is built using HTML and CSS meaning you can tweak things to your liking (to a certain extent). I’m not doing a whole lot, but I added a bit of padding on the left side of the bookmarks bar and bumped up the font size a half a pixel to make it look just a bit better to my eye.
One thing I still don’t like is that the tabs in Vivaldi are a touch narrower than I would prefer. I haven’t been able to figure out how to add some width yet, but I suspect it’s possible with the right CSS bits.
I’ve deleted all the other browsers from my laptop (except Safari) and I’m using Vivaldi full time now. So far so good.