Over the last few months, I have com­plained a whole lot about Firefox and GNOME. It turns out, this was due to a prob­lem with my de­vice and not with the browser. More specif­i­cally, I ac­ci­den­tally found out my lap­top had been run­ning with its CPU locked at 800 Mhz for what I be­lieve was close to 13 months!

What a waste for such a good lap­top by Dell.

Let’s walk through this story.

Switching to Vivaldi

I had moved to Vivaldi, then to Brave, and quite quickly, back to Vivaldi.

I left Firefox be¬≠cause I de¬≠cided that my per¬≠sonal pro¬≠duc¬≠tiv¬≠ity was im¬≠por¬≠tant to me, and spend¬≠ing 10-15 sec¬≠onds wait¬≠ing for each page to load was not done. With Vivaldi or Brave — both based on Chromium and there¬≠fore us¬≠ing Google‚Äôs Blink en¬≠gine — the web was ~2.5x faster for me.

There was no go­ing back.

Switching to Cinnamon

Doug Belshaw re­cently moved to Cinnamon on his Pop!_OS in­stall. I fig­ured if he likes a no-non­sense com­put­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and is will­ing to switch, I could do. So, I quickly went ahead and in­stalled Cinnamon in con­fi­dence.

Becoming fa­mil­iar with a dif­fer­ent DE

I rec­om­mend GNOME to a lot of peo­ple - be­cause it just works! The work­flow can take a bit of get­ting used to, but there’s noth­ing wrong with it at all. It’s just… dif­fer­ent.

This kind of dif­fer­ent struck me on Cinnamon.

I re¬≠al¬≠ized it did not of¬≠fer a night light fea¬≠ture out of the box, and so I went look¬≠ing for Redshift — a tool I used to use on Xubuntu 16.04.

Then I re¬≠al¬≠ized it did not of¬≠fer any easy way to switch be¬≠tween power pro¬≠files — Balanced, High Performance, Battery Saver — and so I went look¬≠ing for an ap¬≠plet and in¬≠stalled it. It is here that I found out my CPU was locked at 800 Mhz. No power pro¬≠file would change this, nor any kind of work¬≠load - ca¬≠sual or de¬≠mand¬≠ing.

Searching the web

Naturally, I went look­ing on the web, and found a red­dit post from three years ago. Fingers crossed it was­n’t stale ad­vice. Although the orig­i­nal post rec­om­mended re­plug­ging the bat­tery by open­ing the lap­top, some­one in the com­ments men­tioned you could drain the bat­tery to the same ef­fect.

I spent a day drain­ing the bat­tery - Pop!_OS shut me down at 3%. I logged into Windows which ran a long time even though the bat­tery had hit 0%. When it fi­nally did shut down, I gave it some 5 min­utes, pow­ered it on just to make sure it’s fully drained, and then plugged it back in.

A whole new com­puter

When I logged into Pop!_OS, this time with GNOME, I quickly in­stalled a CPU fre­quency in­di­ca­tor from the GNOME ex­ten­sions store. Thanks to be­ing such a main­stream desk­top-en­vi­ron­ment, there were sev­eral op­tions to pick from and one of them worked. I could now see that the CPU fre­quency even while idling was hov­er­ing around ~1 Ghz. Success!

I opened Firefox and the lag was gone! Opening Calendar, Contacts or Mail on GNOME is now in­stan­ta­neous.

It truly feels like I have a whole new com­puter again. I love it!

Supporting a healthy web

Since hav¬≠ing a fully func¬≠tional proces¬≠sor again and mov¬≠ing back to Firefox, I have not even at¬≠tempted to use Vivaldi, even to check its speed now. I re¬≠ally don‚Äôt care — Firefox is good enough, I am sure the speed dif¬≠fer¬≠ence is min¬≠i¬≠mal with all the work Mozilla has put in re¬≠cently, and we need to sup¬≠port it for a healthy web. I would claim we have a moral oblig¬≠a¬≠tion to do so.

That starts by show¬≠ing up on an¬≠a¬≠lyt¬≠ics as a Firefox user and hav¬≠ing it make sense for com¬≠pa¬≠nies to make a busi¬≠ness de¬≠ci¬≠sion and sup¬≠port Gecko for their web¬≠sites and web-apps — just like they do Blink or WebKit with¬≠out think¬≠ing all-that-much about it.

Get the browser that pro­tects what’s im­por­tant. No shady pri­vacy poli­cies or back doors for ad­ver­tis­ers. Just a light­ning fast browser that does­n’t sell you out.