Update: See also Tab Utilities. IMPORTANT: The code at the end of this post works again as of Beta 6 with browser.tabs.animate on false.
Firefox 4 does not allow you to change the width of your tabs through the about:config setting. You must add the CSS code yourself. Now, I’m not averse to picking up some code here and there; it’s fascinating. If I don’t know exactly how to put something, I can look it up. But here’s the problem: it’s a basic setting and the settings were already there. For the average user, who may well find any sort of code daunting, about:config would certainly be a lot quicker, if not simpler (even about:config isn’t apparent unless you like to mess around). It’s not broken; it’s not a bug. Why are you “fixing” it?
What irks me more is the attitude behind the reason given: “I don’t think the prefs are worth it.” That statement makes me uneasy beyond the tab issue, because it reinforces an assumption I felt they were making from the beginning: that they were the norm for all users. It was as if they thought everyone would be a developer and would automatically know where and how everything was.
The breezy “Oh, just put in the CSS if you really want it” makes me wonder if they’re going to do the same with other basic options down the line that may affect physical accessibility more than the tabs do. I’m not saying Firefox should stop being a geek’s browser; I learn things by tinkering with it. But not everyone is physically or cognitively able to be a geek. If you want the CSS for tab width, copy and adjust as needed:
max-width: 100px !important;
min-width: 40px !important;
1. Your userChrome folder (in XP; this probably varies) is located in C:/Documents and Settings/your name/Application Data/Mozilla/Firefox/Profiles.
2. Choose the default profile that comes up when you open that folder. Then open the Chrome folder. There should be a file called userChrome.example.CSS.
3. Open this file and paste whatever snippet you want to use.
4.Go to File, then Save As. Name the document userChrome.CSS.
Anytime you want to make a change to how Firefox looks or acts, this will be the file in which you will paste the script.