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After spending one week trying to use Safari as my default browser, I decided to go back to Firefox. I was able to find numerous substitutes for my favorite Firefox plugins and features, but they never lived up to the real thing.

First of all, although Safari was generally faster, I assume that Firefox 3, when it comes out later this year, will catch up. And while Safari was generally kinder to my system, there were situations where it was actually worse. A few select web pages caused my entire OS to grind to a halt – something Firefox never does.

Second, although I was able to find substitutes for features like AdBlock Plus, Flashblock, Greasemonkey, del.icio.us Bookmarks, and Content Preferences, they just didn’t work as well. But most important, for research I needed tools like Switch Proxy and Zotero, which don’t exist for Safari. (See my previous post for a full list of substitutions.)

What finally allowed me to switch back, however, was the discovery of two very useful tools: FEBE and ProfileSwitcher. Over time one’s Firefox profile can get gunked up and it can slow down performance, even stop some extensions from working properly. Switching to a new profile helps, but you don’t want to spend hours reinstalling your extensions, reimporting your bookmarks, etc. That’s where FEBE comes in. Its a nifty tool to backup and export your Firefox profile. Its a little complicated to use, but if you are a hardcore Firefox user its definitely a must-have extension. Using these two tools together, I was able to create a lean-mean web browsing machine containing just those features I really need.

Below the fold is an image of the FEBE list of currently installed (and backed up) extensions. (Not listed is 1Password, which is added directly by the 1Password application.)

FEBE Results - Mozilla Firefox (Build 2007112718)