Major Web Browsers Getting Facelifts


One From The AP on all the major Web browsers getting facelifts as they increasingly become the focal point for handling business transactions and running programs over the Internet rather than simply displaying Web sites.WebSideStory analyst Geoff Johnston said Firefox must continue to improve just to maintain its share. Because IE automatically ships with Windows, he said, users satisfied with IE7 may not find enough reasons to download and install Firefox when they buy a new computer.

"It takes a lot of energy to switch technology," Johnston said. "You really have to care. It comes down to the `If it ain't broke, don't fix it' mentality."


I've started using the Flock browser. It's essentially at its core a Firefox clone, with a lot of nice goodies... A interface to blog directly from the browser, it recognizes different major blogging APIs so you can blog without being on your blog's home page. It allows you to upload pictures to flickr, has a built in aggregator, and allows you to tag and share favorites/bookmarks through del.iciou.s, quickly and easily. I've been pleased with how easy it is to use.

It could be a big contender when it's fully grown (it's in beta now). If they could integrate myspace blogging and cruising capabilities somehow, I think this could be explosive. (How they could do that, don't ask me. My creative juices are somewhere else at the moment.)

Yes, there are Firefox extensions that do the same (or very similar) things, but once you pile too many extensions on Firefox, it inevitably crashes. Flock comes nice integrated.

I prefer Opera as well although there are problems with cookies I have never had enough time to figure out and correct. There are just some sites Opera won't let me go to because of the cookies.
I keep Firefox for those times.

If it sounded kind of snide, your response may show why. I'll guess that 90% of those who use Firefox think of it as Firefox, and certainly not "Mozilla" by itself. Yes, the full name may be "Mozilla Firefox"--there's your name and model, if you want. (I'm guessing mechanics don't say they're working on a GM when they're working on a Pontiac. Heck, I'm guessing most iPod owners don't call them Apples, and probably don't even say Apple iPod all the time.) So, yes, I'll say using "Mozilla" by itself is Inside Baseball. Nothing wrong with Inside Baseball (in your doctor example, a typical doctor would refer to the proper name of a finger joint instead of saying "finger"--and then helpfully explain what she meant when the patient asks "What the heck is that?"), but you may as well admit that's what's going on.

Oh, that's right: You did. "They're really not showing that they know more than anyone else. Rather they are demonstrating a certain knowledge of their field through the expression of vocabulary directly related to that field." In other words, showing that they know more than other people.

As to your lengthy discursion on why fixing 75% of the problems may not be good enough: You don't have to convince me. I was just saying that the person being quoted--who DID NOT say "IE7 is all anyone needs"--was, in my opinion, correct in saying that IE7 might be good enough that most people wouldn't bother installing anything else. (For something like 80% of users, even IE6 seems to fit that category.) I didn't say most users would be right--just that most users wouldn't bother. You're preaching to the choir here--although, if Blake's reading this, I'd guess he could verify that by far the bulk of LISNews readers use IE as well.

So, now that you've thoroughly demolished what I didn't say...

Mozilla? As opposed to Firefox? Or does using the organization's name show that you know more about the industry than us mere Firefox users?

Wow, that sounded kind of snide. Reminds me why I don't post on here more often.

I use Mozilla's name because that's the organization responsible for Firefox. Would I be strutting my knowledge of the industry if I referred to Microsoft when I spoke of Internet Explorer? I'm a geek, and I call things by their names and I sometimes refer to who makes these things. I think you'll find similar behavior amongst mechanics referring to autos by make and model along with pilots who refer to planes by their full names with manufacturer and model numbers. They're really not showing that they know more than anyone else. Rather they are demonstrating a certain knowledge of their field through the expression of vocabulary directly related to that field. Much like you probably wouldn't want a doctor calling a painful growth on your leg a "thingy."

Meanwhile, if IE7 does in fact fix two-thirds of the problems found in IE6, that only leaves one-third of the exploits, zero days, workarounds, overruns, and other gaping security holes on which crackers may work their special kind of magic. I'll be extremely surprised if IE7 is all that secure compared to 6. There are several well known security holes in Outlook and Outlook Express. Microsoft has yet to fix those and they've been around for years. Besides, how secure can a browser be when it's tied directly to your operating system? Have you ever noticed that almost all the hacks and cracks Microsoft patches on IE and other products aren't the kind where someone can just give you a virus? No, they usually allow the cracker full access to your computer. Also, Microsoft's policy of security through obscurity is well known. Heck, it wasn't all that ago when news broke that a cracker could take over your computer because you accessed a page with a compromised image.

References here.

And here.

Isn't that great? View an image on a website with a simple img src= tag, and an attacker could, let's say it together, "take complete control of an affected system." Microsoft's words, not mine.

And then it turns out that Microsoft knew about this bug for ages. So let's be generous and say that IE6 has only 100 security flaws. We all know it probably has far more than that, but let's just go with that number. So IE7 does one better. It fixes not only two-thirds, but four-fifths of the flaws. That only leaves 20 holes for a cracker to exploit. Oh and let's not forget about the promise of IE7 bringing a whole new hive of bugs on its own.

I don't claim to know more about anything than anyone. Not even the "mere Firefox users." But I do keep my ear to the ground and understand that at least 90% of the PC users out there don't know that IE6 is broken, was broken, and remains broken. All I know is that I get a call every so often from a non-techie friend who has no idea why their computer stopped working after visiting a website. IE will continue to be broken as long as it's tied to the operating system. Sure Firefox has flaws, but they are usually nowhere near as dangerous simply because Firefox doesn't have direct and insecure access to the OS.

I don't want to get into the old browser wars thing, but ...1. Most people don't know that IE6 is broken, so they don't see the need to replace it with Firefox/Mozilla/Opera/etc. And lets be honest, most things work in IE6. The things that are broken are not the things that most people would care about, notice or understand.2. Installing Firefox may be easy but ... most people don't know that. We're really talking inertia here, not difficulty. Many people could easily bike to work, but still drive.3. I used to love Mozilla. Upgraded to Firefox and missed several things. And found it slow to start compared to IE6. I have it, but I rarely use it now.4. As a developer, I have to produce something that 90% of users can use, so I have to develop with IE6 in mind. Yes, I love all those Zen Garden type CSS techniques, but ... if only a few like-mided dweebs can appreciate it (or see it), its just another form of wanking.If IE7 is much improved, then be pleased, if not for yourself then for the 90% of users who will benefit.

I was fooling around with a Beowulf cluster of 8 boxes with different OS. It worked more or less. Some of the boxes have since died so it is down to half that now, but I still play with it.

Calling me a geek reminds me I do need to get outside once in a while, but at least I'm not in my mom's basement.

You run Solaris at home? wow, I thought I was a geek!

Aren't newer builds of Mozilla available before a stable release of Firefox is made?

I think I also have Mozilla on an old Solaris box at home. I don't think Firefox had a release for Solaris.

I'm really an Opera man myself and I even paid the small license fee to have the ads go away. I use it several hours a day thirty bucks seemed reasonable.

I'm as much a Firefox fan as the next person (if the next person is among the 10%-20% who use Firefox), but the guy was talking about IE7.

That's IE7 as "not yet released, new, much less broken version of IE, with tabs, better security, etc., etc."

And the comment's right on the money. If IE7 fixes two-thirds of the problems with IE6, most people won't be bothered to download something other than IE7.

Mozilla? As opposed to Firefox? Or does using the organization's name show that you know more about the industry than us mere Firefox users?

"It takes a lot of energy to switch technology," Johnston said.

A lot of what now? To switch browsers you basically need to what, click the mouse a few times? Maybe type a URL? Open up IE, go to, download, double click to install, and... that's it. I really wouldn't call that a lot of energy. Especially since browsers make it easy to import bookmarks and the like.

It takes a lot of energy to switch operating systems, build a computer from scratch, reformat using a different file system. It takes nothing to switch to a different browser.

As for the "if it ain't broke" mentality: Internet Explorer is broken.

The FIRST thing I do when I get a new computer/reinstall my old one is download a non-Microsoft browser. Mozilla, usually. And since I use a non-Microsoft email client (Eudora), I don't have much trouble with viruses. Eudora doesn't have enough of a market share to make it worth the time to write a virus that works with it. So they come in as attachments, do nothing harmful, and I just delete them.

Because IE automatically ships with Windows, he said, users satisfied with IE7...

Who is it, tell me and I'll go over to his house and install a decent browser.

I am going to have a Jameson whiskey.

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