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Back to Chrome

Regular listeners to the TuxRadar podcast will know that I switched to Firefox 4 a few weeks ago, after a couple of happy years with Google Chrome. Initially I was very happy with Firefox's performance, and really wanted to like it, but... Well, read on.

In preparing the LXF coverdisc, I came across an incredibly annoying problem that also pushed me away from Firefox a few years ago. WHY won't it let me save certain files automatically?! (Like this one for instance.) Why does it let me download .zip files automatically, but greys out that choice for certain .tar.gz and PDF files?

Really poor. I remember having these problems with Firefox ages ago, then switched to Chrome and finding it just downloaded stuff and left me alone. Firefox keeps getting in my face, telling me it knows better and stops me doing things that are important to my workflow.

So back I go to Chrome for a few years at least.

Your comments

Works for Me!

That's odd: I don't have that problem in Firefox 4.0.1. Here's a screenshot:


Go on and admit it, Google paid you off didn't they :)

Strange behaviour

Note that it doesn't do this with all .tar.gz files; just some. For instance, it always greys me out with: -- click on the "Ratpoison 1.4.5" link in the News section


There's definitely some

There's definitely some weirdness going on here, because I found a file for which this happened for me. Switching to the Flashgot option (I have the addon) and back to Save as enables the checkbox for some reason.

Either way, it's possible to change the behaviour in Preferences => Applications.

Re: There's definitely some

Thanks for the Preferences > Applications suggestion Paul, but it still doesn't seem to work. Both options for "Gzip archive" (application/x-download and application/x-gzip) are set to "Save File", and yet it still prompts with the tickbox greyed out.



Why Chrome and not Chromium?

Why Chrome and not Chromium? Isn't Chromium more open?

Aside from sharing browsing behaviour with Google, what does Chrome have that Chromium doesn't have?

I find myself switching between Firefox, Opera and Chromium every few weeks. Why doesn't one of them (or better still, all of them) just do everything right? They all seem promising at first, with each new release, but then, within a few days, it turns out that there is something that doesn't work (eg Opera doesn't work behind my employer's firewall and nothing but IE will render my employer's intranet pages correctly - they're unusable on Opera and Firefox) or some performance problem (eg Firefox keeps clagging up/freezing since the last release).

Yours sincerely,


It worked 4 me.. did it?

Even though I've gone back to Iceweasel 3.5 and Chromium. I cant remember that minor annoyance you've described as even featuring on my radar.

For me the problem was 99%-100% CPU every time I scrolled a page or opened another tab.
I really wanted to go back to Firefox4 and I really wanted to love it. Sadly its has been superseded by its own predecessor and Chrome.

I think were gonna be a long waiting for Firefox to get it's Mojo back, if ever?
When it finally gets it's shit together will any body care about it?

Bring back Firebird Guilty of being brilliant.

Howdy, I'm not logged in as


I'm not logged in as yet.

Iceape in deb does that as well, regardless if the mime type is
set. And the config is to vexed for me to bother with.
Opera dosen't give any problems though.

Would it have anything to do with some sough of default
black-listing on the site, or on the name 'ratpoison' ?.
Just a couple of stabs.

It is one of those things that would be really good to get to
the bottom of, one of these days, is it not :).

Could you show some other examples ?


Mike, I *think* it works

Mike, I *think* it works like this:

1. if you always want to save files, not open them and always want to save them to the same downloads directory, then :
fill in the path of the dir in your downloads preferences,
General -> downloads click on always save files to and browse to desired dir
and it will then always save without prompting
2. (Here it's not intuitive)
if you always want to save files, not open them but might want to save them to different dirs each time, then :
proceed as in 1, filling in some dir in the always save files to prompt (must exist but doesn't have to be any particular one)
then click on always ask me where ...
(which greys out the dir you specified)
and then it will always prompt you, and (I *think*) will always offer you that "from now on" option in the prompt.
This is the one you want.

I haven't verified this with your rat poison but seems to work for the ones I download.

Cheers, John

Re: Mike, I *think* it works

Sorry John, but I've already tried those and they have no effect. Still the same problem.


Re: Mike, I *think* it works

I tried that particular ratpoison url and I see what you mean. Then I don't know!

Cheers, John

not a showstopper is it?

Emmmm... I see the problem and it doesn't work for me either (FF 4.0.1) But I do think this is a minor issue, not worth to spend too much thought about it and certainly not one to change browsers for. I mean, please.

The Download Bar in Chrome

Bloody annoying

Reported by timstar69, Nov 15, 2009

Re: not a showstopper is it?

Er, your definition of "minor" might be very different to mine, you know. Different people have different workflows. I do a LOT of downloading for the mag and coverdisc, and it's a very frequent source of annoyance. Don't do the typical thing of dismissing someone else's problem just because it doesn't affect you directly.

Blacklisting might be right.


I think John * might be right about the blacklisting. Maybe the problem is actually a feature, that prevents you from downloading unwanted spam. This explains why it only happens to some files. Are there any connection between filename "naughtiness" and the problem?

Andreas From

Re: Blacklisting might be right.

But it doesn't prevent you from downloading anything. It lets you download, and just puts something temporarily in your way. And that doesn't alert you to anything, so I can't believe it's deliberate (unless it's really badly done!)


Well, let's fix it

Not to be too flippant, but why can't we fix it instead of just not using it? Is it something we/you/someone can fix? After all, it's not IE where we're stuck with how something works.

Re: Well, let's fix it

Maybe it is. Maybe I can spend hours/days going through the Firefox source code trying to locate the cause of the problem, write the appropriate code to change it, submit the patch to Mozilla (so that the fix gets into subsequent browser updates), and hope that the patch gets accepted.

Or I could spend 10 seconds switching to another browser that works properly.


Stupid question, probably, but ...

Ok, given that you get prompted to save these files even though you want to save them automatically, is it at all possible that while the file extension is indicating a pdf or a tar.gz, the link/URL/whatever it's called this week, isn't setting a correct MIME type?

It's been a while since I did any HTML stuff, so I could be barking (Ask my wife, she thinks I am!) but it may be that the MIME type is telling Firefox that the file is something that you don't have configured to automatically save.

Just a thought, please mock me gently! ;-)


I went back to Firefox

I never noticed that before, though I stopped using Chrome as it kept breaking features. Chrome seems to have a on/off relationship with FTP and this fault goes back a long time too. And that issue is a lot more annoying than the one in Firefox. I've sat for minutes that I'll never get back waiting for a download to start only have the download to start immediately in other browsers, including Konqueror.

This link might be relevant.

helpless and hopeless

Why don't you all just use Opera instead?

I have had the same issue

I have notice this too with firefox. One thing that always bothers me is when something tells me what is best rather then letting me get the job done. I am moving on back to chrome.

Had this happen also,but ...????

This behavior has regularly happened to me , but I have the funny feeling that it is somehow distro or desktop specific, rather than firefox specific, as it only shows up some of the time,in my case anyway it does it only happen on a machine with a box with an Ubuntu+gnome setup, and does not show up on a paralell installation on the same box with a different distro and a Kde front as default f.ex from where I am sitting now, clicking on the link to the ratpoison.tar.gz file provided in Mike's entry comment opens the download choice menu without anything grayed out, ( browser is Firefox 3.6.11 distro suse 11.1 and the desktop some pre-plasmoid-disaster version of KDE (3.5 I think but not sure really)).


Maybe cause the filenames include more than one dot?

If it dont work bin it

I agree with Mike, if any piece of software fails to work the way I want I will use another. It irritates me so much I will not even keep it on my hard drive, uninstall straight away.


Er, your definition of "minor" might be very different to mine, you know. Different people have different workflows. I do a LOT of downloading for the mag and coverdisc, and it's a very frequent source of annoyance. Don't do the typical thing of dismissing someone else's problem just because it doesn't affect you directly.[/quote]

Emmm... I think you're right on that, Mike. My workflow differs from yours and your annoyance must be higher than mine. So, I may be a bit too harsh in my judgment. Sorry.

(forgot that I posted here 4 weeks ago)

Try with a blank profile? Or it could be the server.

The link you provided works here (i.e. I have the option to Save File and check the always do that thing...).
Something you might try is check if it works with a new blank profile. If it does some add-on/setting in your profile might be causing the trouble.
Also this (rather old) article mentions possible badly configured MIME type on the server as a couse:

This wouldn't explain the random behavior though...

Good luck ;)

I smell something brown and smelly....

Having read this short blog, and just finished reading the Web browsers Roundup in issue LXF150, I have to say that this all comes across far too one-sided.
Yeah Chrome is still fairly new and (pun not intended) shiny. But people seem to bang on about 1 or 2 quirks or only getting 97% on the Acid3 test and then launch into an attack on Firefox.
What really miffs me most is that Firefox has been a shining light of good free software that's cross platform and has done quite a bit for the adoption of Linux from other operating systems. Also there's the fact that Firefox is the only browser with a sensible selection of add-ons that actually make using the internet useful.
Don't get me wrong - I do have Chrome installed. But I don't use it as my main browser as there's just not enough in it to make me move away from Firefox. I'll continue to trust my browsing experience to Mozilla thank you very much, and not take the Google is Great trip...

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