Firefox 2.0 RC – the thing with the tabs

Two things I don’t really like about Firefox 2.0 RC: the tabs each have a close button now, and when I open a large number of them in one window, I need to scroll right and left to see them all (sure, I can also use that tab list menu, but that’s yet another metaphor for working with tabs). I understand the reasoning behind these new features, but I just don’t like them – sometimes I want to close a bunch of tabs at the same time, and now I need to hunt for each of the close buttons with the mouse instead of just clicking ten times in one location. I’ve started using Ctrl+F4 instead, which works, but it solves a problem I wouldn’t even be having were it not for this change.

The scrolling tabs thing is similar – I see that tabs used to get extremely narrow after a while, but I’d rather have that than having to scroll to see them all. In general, if new features like this are introduced that change existing behaviour, why is there no option to switch them on and off? Developers have to understand that users get attached to a specific behaviour of an application, and that it’s not a good idea to just take it away.

That said, there is actually an option for the close button placement, only it’s not in the options dialog. If you want it, navigate to the URL about:config, enter “tab” in the filter field and look for an option called browser.tabs.closeButtons. The default is 1, which shows a close button on every tab. As far as I could see, it’s possible to set this to 0 (only a close button on the currently active tab) and 2 (only one close button to the far right, like it used to be). For some reason, there doesn’t seem to be a combination option for a close button on the right plus one per tab – I would have liked that, I think.

There doesn’t appear to be an option to switch off the tab scrolling, though… there are some that sound promising (tabMinWidth? tabClipWidth?), but I don’t see that they do anything useful in this regard. If you have an idea, please let me know.

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