Why I use multiple web-browsers

Using multiple web-browsers is kind of a power-user thing. Most people just stick with one, and only vary if they need to access a certain site that is doggedly IE only, such as Outlook Web Access, so they have to leave Firefox to use it. Since 51% of you, my intrepid readers, are Firefox users, someone you know well what I'm talking about.

A long time in Mozilla's past, it was possible to run multiple Mozilla instances running out of different profiles. This was handy if you desired process separation for browsing activity, or, ahem, didn't want to pollute your work profile with certain, ahm, sites. For that we now have Porn Mode Privacy Mode. Mozilla removed multiple concurrent profile support with Firefox, IIRC.

However, having multiple browsers is still useful. The reasons I do it:
  • I can stay logged in to multiple GMail accounts this way.
  • I can log in to Google in one browser, and do all of my other searching, browsing, whatnot in another browser and not have all of those searches directly associated with that one Google ID.
  • Sites that are browser specific (OWA is a major one).
  • The Opera email client is really very good.
  • I can have a different plugin-setup, which may help diagnose problems with sites.
  • Browsers on different operating systems behave differently. This can be useful.
The main problem getting in the way of sticking with a single browser is Firefox's insistence that only one profile can be active at any given time. Thus, the need for more than one. I've been using SeaMonkey, the Mozilla descendant and also a Gecko-based browser, for a lot of this.

The browser I use for most general purpose surfing I don't leave logged into Google, Facebook, Twitter, or anything else like that. It minimizes what these social networks track of my browsing habits, especially with Facebook Like and Twitter badges appearing everywhere these days. Ad-networks grab this stuff too, but at least I don't have a login with them that explicitly links me with my browsing habits; it's implicit for them. If WWU ever goes GoogleApps for whatever reason, this will be doubly useful.

The down side is I have to have enough RAM to support two browsers. I'm lucky enough that I do. Useful though!


You can actually run multiple Firefox instances simultaneously under different profiles, this is the easiest way I've found to solve the same problem you have.

Try 'export MOZ_NO_REMOTE=1' and then 'firefox -ProfileManager'... assuming my memory serves me correctly. Hope this helps!