at the beginning of the year, i upgraded from firefox 3.5 to 3.6, not for any particular feature, but because i do web development and like to test out the site with all available browsers.

i’m a tabbed-browsing fanatic (most of my sessions have 20+ open tabs), so one thing struck me right away: new tabs don’t appear where they used to. in all prior versions of firefox since they added tabbed browsing, new tabs appeared at the end (far right) of the tab list. suddenly, in 3.6, they changed the default model to one in which the new tabs are inserted right next to the current tab. this is seriously flawed, but not for the reason you may think.

i don’t have an issue with the behavior itself — Google Chrome and IE 8.0 both have this behavior for their tabbed browsing. it doesn’t even deeply bother me that they changed the default behavior rather than rolling the feature out as an option in this release and then changing the default in a future one (a model i prefer). my chief complaint is that they took a core browser behavior, changed it without notice, and didn’t provide an option in the preferences for changing the behavior back!

i’m not the only person to complain about this, and luckily there is a fix. however, your average firefox user is not going to know that they can hack the about:config registry.

frankly, this is poor product management on Mozilla’s part — and a rare miss for a team that has historically done an excellent job of keeping their users in mind.

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