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Mozilla The Internet

4 Years Later, The Mozilla Tide Has Turned 923

dave writes "In 1999, I editorialized that the browser was the battleground that would win or lose us the whole thing. 4 years later, in light of the excellent Firefox 0.8 release it is time to update the article with a slightly more optimistic view."
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4 Years Later, The Mozilla Tide Has Turned

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  • i fucking fail it (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:12PM (#8250009)
    i have dishonored my family AND that DEAD PALESTINIAN GIRL
  • droves you say!? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by actionvance ( 635238 ) * on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:14PM (#8250037)
    "For the first time since Internet Explorer 3.0 was released, I am seeing people switching browsers in droves"

    Droves you say?! is that future sight?! firefox comes up less than WEBTV in most of the webtrends reports I am seeing. I look at the statistics for a number of frequently used (100k visitors a day) sites and do not see firefox gaining users. (note - Ill happily eat my words if the statistics show a significant increase.) but still... droves?

    Joe User does not give a fuck about standards... in fact - he is HAPPY to view websites that have broken table tags and still display in IE. Joe user wants to continue not thinking and have stuff given to him. for that reason alone, Internet Explorer will continue to be the most used windows browser, and until the tides turn on the desktop operating system situation, IE will stay in its comfy place.
  • by etLux ( 751445 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:14PM (#8250038) Homepage
    Grudgingly, albeit, I must admit -- Netscape 7.1 is pretty snappy. Technically, it still doesn't offer a great deal of what IE does... but one wonders sometimes if Microsoft's browserworks elves have gotten a bit carried away, anyway -- as extraordinarily few websites ever actually *use* a great many of those bells and whistles. Anyone for an "IE Light"?
  • by Suppafly ( 179830 ) <slashdot@sup[ ] ['paf' in gap]> on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:15PM (#8250052)
    I always use firebird to check my exchange webmail for work.. The basic features seems to work better in firebird than IE.. Now if I could just figure out what the firebird setting for "Check for a new version of the page everytime" like there is in IE, so I'd stop getting cached versions of static pages from our proxy at work.
  • Re:I remember... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by gcaseye6677 ( 694805 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:16PM (#8250063)
    Remember who the parent company was, at that time.
  • by emanumail ( 612839 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:19PM (#8250110)
    Too bad more people have heard of google and the google bar that blocks popups in IE.
  • by seldolivaw ( 179178 ) <> on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:20PM (#8250129) Homepage
    Tabbed browsing is addictive, standards support is wonderful, but the feature that makes people go "oh, this is SO much better than Internet Explorer!" is the automatic popup blocking. I don't have to sell any of the other features to the people I recommend FireFox to; they discover them on their own.

    My only current quibble is the new way FireFox handles download in 0.8... I liked that "launch" button dammit!
  • by scharkalvin ( 72228 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:20PM (#8250130) Homepage
    Having a good browser for Linux was the point here. The fact that the SAME browser works on windows is a good thing since it means that no mater which os you run, you are not stuck with MS standards on the web.
  • by gururise ( 263174 ) <> on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:21PM (#8250137) Homepage
    With the 0.8 release of Firefox, the OSS community has achieved, no, surpassed browser expectations that many have had.

    The question now remains.. With IE the default on Windows, what compelling reason does Joe User have to go through the trouble switching to Firefox? I can think of a few: tabbed browsing, security, NTLM compatibility, popup blocking.

    But what about Joe Users' activeX sites? Will Firefox work with sites that use activeX? Unfortunately not. Will Joe User see this as a failing of Firefox? Probably. So what can we do to address this issue? Any thoughts?
  • Re:Lets help (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Des Herriott ( 6508 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:22PM (#8250149)
    Because the only phrase that should follow "Best viewed with " is "any browser".
  • From the Article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SpyPlane ( 733043 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:22PM (#8250153)
    I must say that the Mozilla project has breathed new life into the web, and as a side-effect, into the Linux desktop.

    Indeed. I was laughing the other day about how I am excited to go browse a webpage again. I was tinkering with the features of firefox, and was just loving it. I had used Mozilla on my Linux box at home, but to be using firefox at work on my Win2k machine is absolutely refreshing. Keep up the good work guys.
  • by pytheron ( 443963 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:23PM (#8250161) Homepage
    and still chokes on a number of websites

    If 'programmers' adhered to well documented standards, and stopped trying to make eye candy by biting on the non-standard hooks in IE, then you'd find that the problem of choking would pretty much vanish.

    It is a very clever strategy of microsoft to release a non-standard adhering browser, since as they currently control the vast majority on desktop machines, they puppet 'programmers' into doing their dirty work for them (keeping people on the MS platform).

    The less tech-savvy of us will of course assume "this browser sucks, it can't render this page correctly", when it is the page itself that can't be rendered properly within standards guidelines.

  • IIRC they have suspended further development of MSIE and will only release security patches.

    This is a far cry from the days when hundreds of developers worked on making MSIE one of the fastest and smartest browsers out there.

    You really have to wonder whether it was worthwhile for Microsoft. What would have changed if Netscape had continued to sell their browser? Fewer people using Windows? Hardly. A less powerful browser platform? Not really: the browser never could be the operating system.

    Personally I thought the whole browser war was part of the same hype that caused Oracle to invest so much in web terminals, or whatever they called them.

    The browser is just one more applet, fundamentally. Comes in all shapes and sizes, and so long as it respects the rules, no-one cares what logo it shows in the top corner. I come here for Slashdot, not for the browser.

    So, since development on Mozilla and its cousins continues unabated, it's only a matter of time before Microsoft start to play catch-up. Will they, I wonder? What can they gain?
  • by Killswitch1968 ( 735908 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:23PM (#8250168)
    Way back when, Microsoft poured tons of money into IE to kill of Netscape, Netscape was simply too entrenched. "Bundling" helped but people would have downloaded Netscape if it was indeed a significantly better product.

    Fast forward to today. The only looming threats are Opera and Firefox. The problem with all Open Source is that they have absolutely no marketing. It solely relies on word of mouth. 1 person tells another, who tells his friends, etc. and the usage theoretically increases exponentially (subject to gross errors of course). But even exponential growth is tiny if the current user base is small.
    Until the Firefox usage rates increases to a threatening rate MS will sit on its shoddy browser and milk it for all its worth.

    I'm sure MS knows FireFox is better, but why spend money to update their browser when the competition can't effectively communicate to a target market? A great product is no good if no one knows about it. Eventually the 'diffusion' of FireFox will increase enough to cause MS to grudgingly update. Then you will see a TRUE browser war.
  • I'm still lost (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr. Darl McBride ( 704524 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:23PM (#8250170)
    Serious question: Why is Firefox supposed to be "better" than Mozilla?

    Firefox takes away the master password from the personal security manager, so it's just as much of a personal liability as IE if your machine's compromised. This makes it a spectacularly bad idea for the office if you deal with sensitive websites, and for casual home user who may not know security well.

    Firefox takes dozens of basic features like animated GIF removal away from the configuration panel -- instead you have to know what undocumented value to insert in a hidden configuration screen. Even Internet Explorer offers this option in a mouse-accessible location!

    Why are the Firefox folks hiding features? Why not add an "advanced options" chevron for the things you think only 2% of users use? Removing 50 options from the mainstream configurator altogether means that you've disappointed a different 2% of your users with each new annoyance.

  • Re:i have FROSTED (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:24PM (#8250178)
    I just fucked a living Jewish girl. But she was shit. The dead Palestinian I had last week was better. Those hook-noses are really a turn-off.
  • by mhlandrydotnet ( 677863 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:25PM (#8250190)
    The war is still far from over, but the tide of this crucial battle has most definitely turned.

    I'm relatively new here, but maybe someone could explain why so many people use these metaphors. I like GNU/Linux and OSS as much as the next guy here, but why do I keep hearing about the desktop wars, browser wars, etc?

    I use firefox because I like it. It is more secure than Internet Explorer, no popups, and is extendible to what seems like no end.

    I use thunderbird because I like it. Nearly all my spam gets filtered and I don't have to worry about any outlook insecurities.

    I use MEPIS at home on my desktop. When you install MEPIS, everything just works. Click on a file and it opens in whatever you think it should open in. I love the ease of keeping everything up to date: apt-get is incredible. I love the stability: I haven't rebooted my computer more than a few times (3 max) since I finished the install.

    Most here use Linux/OSS because we like it. Isn't that enough? Why do we keep seeing articles about how some Linux/OSS product is going to take over the world in x years? Why does it matter if everyone on the planet using Linux/OSS? If you don't like it when people preach to you about religion, why is it fine to preach about OSS? More than once I have seen people referred to as "Linux Evangelists" ...

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:25PM (#8250192) Homepage
    ...and MSIE is still dominating the market. Firefox (sigh) is an excellent product, but very few are using it all the same. If anything, it's the success of Linux that is their core - if there hadn't been a real need to get a good browser on the Linux platform, I don't think they'd be anywhere near where they are today.

    But, as long as the standards are winning, I really don't care what browser is winning. Personally I prefer Opera, but it's yet another of those browsers that are "not MSIE". And as long as there's many enough of us, hopefully Microsoft can't embrace and extend.

    Though I fear what will happen once the DRM shit comes. "This page requires Internet Explorer 7.0 with Enhanced Content Security Pack(TM) running on a Trusted Computing System(TM). Please upgrade to take full advantage of our site."

    I only hope Linux will push through and become at the very least a minority they can't ignore before that window of opportunity closes. Once shut out of the market, there's no easy way coming back in.

  • by Dark Lord Seth ( 584963 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:25PM (#8250196) Journal

    I dare to disagree. IE is the most used browser, that I agree with. But not the most well known or commonly known one. Non-techie people I talk to don't have a clue what IE is and only once I mention it's the thing they use to go on the internet ( Remember, talking to a non-techie here... To most of them the web IS the net. ) I'll get an "Oh yeah..." as reply. People don't use IE because it's well known, they simply use it because it is there.

  • Re:Lets help (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cozziewozzie ( 344246 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:26PM (#8250202)
    "Best viewed with..." ads are evil, even if the browser you're supporting is great. People should be coding according to the standard because the web exists to present information, not tell you what you should be running. I prefer the any browser [] and W3 [] logos.

    What you might want to do instead, is to have a 'tested with' list somewhere on your page, which lists the browsers you tested your page with. It shows that you take your work seriously, and mentions a lot of browsers people might want to try.
  • by 1000101 ( 584896 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:26PM (#8250213)
    I'm not trolling here, but if you are still getting pop-ups just because you use IE, well, you're an idiot. There are so many pop-up blocking apps out there that it should be a non-issue. The pop-up blocking feature that is built into the browser (soon to be added to IE) is nice, but this is hardly a feature to brag about for trying to convince someone to switch.
  • by BenjyD ( 316700 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:27PM (#8250217)

    Is the reason it gets nowhere near the press Mozilla does that Opera is not open source?

    Erm, yes. Opera isn't free beer or speech. Open source projects can't be bought by MS, can't be destroyed in the way MS did to Netscape.

    Hence the article - the web browser is absolutely key to the desktop market, and this time we're wise to what a bad idea relying on a company (however well intentioned) to supply that key component is.

  • Firefox on OS X (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Slowtreme ( 701746 ) <> on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:31PM (#8250283) Homepage
    I've been ignoring Mozilla since the Mozilla project started. IE for Windows was great for me, and I didn't like Navigator. Having moved to OSX last year and having Safari to use, I never even bothered with IE. Then the other day I responded to the /. story for Firefox, and gave it a shot.

    I thought "Wow this is just like Safari without the metal." I mean, common it's a web browser. What I dont like is that the scroll bars are screwed up on Firefox if you load anything other than the default theme (Under OSX anyway). So with nothing to add over Safari, I probably won't be switching. But if I was using Windows at home, I'd love to have the tabbed browsing that IE doesn't provide. Then again, in windows I have a task bar...
  • Re:Browser wars (Score:3, Insightful)

    by QID ( 60884 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:33PM (#8250302) Homepage
    "We've got to fix these problems before Linux becomes big on the desktop, or the users will not have a good time."

    I think you misunderstand--if problems like these aren't fixed, Linux simply won't become big on the desktop.
  • by Ernest P Worrell ( 751050 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:33PM (#8250303)

    If 'programmers' adhered to well documented standards, and stopped trying to make eye candy by biting on the non-standard hooks in IE, then you'd find that the problem of choking would pretty much vanish.

    I like how you enquote programmers, as if those who do not adhere to the standards are not worthy of the title ...

    IE didn't wait around for the standards to catch up to the demands. Example, (dropDownList.selectedValue vs. the unecessarily complicated, dropDownList.options[dropDownList.selectedIndex].v alue). Who cares that the former example doesn't utilize the proper OO Struture? It's quicker, easier, and for a "disposable" application, a better solution.

    MS added the features as a result of developer demand. I mean, real developers. Those of us with jobs. Those of us who can develop solutions quicker, faster, and with more functionality than other "developers" who gripe about how lame VB et al are.

  • by Frymaster ( 171343 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:33PM (#8250313) Homepage Journal
    I assume that she's an average user?

    the tragedy is that real "average" users use whichever browser ships as the default on their operating system.

    a not insignifcant chunk of computer users aren't even aware of the concept of "applications". they don't see "explorer" it's just "the internet".

  • by mm0mm ( 687212 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:35PM (#8250338)
    Even if a good number of Windows users come to realize uselessness of IE after all years and begin switching, the story is not over yet. There still are very many sites that are readable only with IE, and for these sites Windows/IE is the standard, regardless of w3c. Not to mention WMP9 and DRM, Microsoft has planted enough propriatery lock-ins to the Internet in the last several years so that it is impossible to get rid of IE (and Win) over night. I hope none of commercial mp3 download sites using IE/WMP [] will become a success, as they are endorsing this business strategy.

    Maybe I'm too pessimistic. At least I can wish that the world is better place than what I think it is.
  • by Loconut1389 ( 455297 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:37PM (#8250356)
    While web browsing is a major part of what people do with their operating system, somehow I think the battle for linux on joe-user's desktop lies in other areas. Major improvements in ease of use have taken place in gnome and kde, as well as in the os installers such as redhat and fedora. The key to getting joe user is first getting the install to be plopping in a cd and putting in some minimal and straight forward information and letting it go wild.

    Konqueror has been showing my webpages well for quite some time now, and is my primary browser though I do use Firebird/FireFox on occasion.

    Granted, web browsers are significant part of the application base of a functional os: in my honest opinion, mozilla itself hardly matters in the war of linux vs windows.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:37PM (#8250360)
    It has little to do with actual HTML. The vast majority of compatibility problems are javascript related, when people either ignore Mozilla/5 completely, or try to treat it like Netscape 4. Sometimes the "IE code" they're using would even work fine in Mozilla if they gave it the chance.

    I personally don't get crashes with Firefox more than once a month, and usually not even that. And, I've never had a problem with the Flash installer finding my installation.
  • by tiger99 ( 725715 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:37PM (#8250366)
    "The Gecko layout engine seems unbreakable and is reportedly more standards compliant than Internet Explorer." The understatement is the latter part of the sentence, for those who may be new to this issue.

    The Convicted Monopolist, having supposedly wiped out opposing browsers, have been utterly negligent with Incompetent Exploder for years now. It has fallen way behind in useful features, and it never made any attempt at standards compliance. As for the security holes..... I know they claimed the other day that it was now the most secure because they had fixed so many problems, but anyone who has ever done any software QA will know the utter incompetence of statements like that, in fact the number of bugs discovered is more likely to correlate with th elack of quality of the underlying code, much of which still remains, so it is almost certainly still very bad indeed. IE was another case of "decommoditising the protocols", as described in the infamous Halloween Memos, delibarately breaking standards compliance and reducing everything to the lowest common denominator of quality and interoperability.

    The big problem is that ignorant or indolent web designers have churned out buggy code that works (sort of) in Inept Eradicator, but will fail in any standards-compliant browser, the closest to that ideal of standards compliance being Mozilla, Opera and Konqueror (not in any order, and apologies to any I missed). Some designers have apparently used that other utterly useless M$ product, Frontpage, which AFAIK has never had a good review in any magazine. Standards compliance is absolutely essential, that is why the Web grew so quickly, but now growth is jeapordised by the ill-defined non-standard set by the Monopolist and the fact that incompetents have chosen to work to it.

    The way forward is of course to make sites which are fully standards-compliant (relatively easy, there are lots of better tools than Frontpage, some of them free, and a free validation service at The trash that went before such as IE is best forgotten, otherwise we will forever be infested with bugs, security holes and Billisms. (A Billism is a feature which is illogical, unwanted and ineptly implemented, which forces itself upon you because Sir Bill presumes to know better than you what you want to do. Word is particularly full of Billisms.)

    Mozilla and its relatives, not forgetting Netscape is an excellent base from which to move forward once more, without deviating into the closed, unstable and constantly changing world of Illegal Monopolies and their badly deficient producta. (Point to ponder - a monopoly is only necessary when a company can not succeed on the strenghts of its products, therefore th eneed to create one is in fact an admission of abject failure.) I use Mozilla at home, as do all my friends, and we are all quite keen to recommend it to others. It has also been getting favourable reports in the press. Long may it continue.

  • by dtjohnson ( 102237 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:38PM (#8250377)
    Using Internet Explorer for a brief interval after steady Mozilla use makes IE look pretty tiresome here. It's amazing that IE still has such a large market share, its major security problems notwithstanding.
  • by Xabraxas ( 654195 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:39PM (#8250389)
    You missed the point entirely. The author is a Linux advocate who originally wrote an editorial (4 years ago) explaining that he believes Linux will never take off if everyone else is using IE because Microsoft will use it to creep into the webserver market. Now, years later, Moz is really outshining IE. This is good for Linux because it will force people to start coding standards compliant pages if they want their audience to be able to view them. This will give Linux a chance to take hold of the desktop. Even Windows users who use Moz are helping by leveling the playing field.

    This article was about Linux, and how the use of Moz will help it. It was not about Moz specifically, so get over it.

  • by BenjyD ( 316700 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:39PM (#8250398)

    You really have to wonder whether it was worthwhile for Microsoft. What would have changed if Netscape had continued to sell their browser?

    It's another way for MS to make other platforms less attractive and to lock users into Windows. If they control 95% of the browser market and therefore all the crappy web developers write IE only pages, it's that much harder to switch to another platform.

  • by Ernest P Worrell ( 751050 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:40PM (#8250411)

    Anybody with a clue programs to a web standard, not a browser

    Anybody with a clue programs to the specific requirements of the project. If the project is an Intranet where desktop standards are IE5.5, then program to only IE5.5 Who cares if doesn't work in Firefly? If the Internet site owner doesn't care less about the 3% of non-IE users, why should you, the developer?

    You will always loose functionalty or efficiency when trying to make sure your system can port to everything.

  • by NutscrapeSucks ( 446616 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:43PM (#8250451)
    Nobody would have started using IE if it didn't incorporate all the non-standard quirks of old versions of Netscape.

    First of all, let's be clear -- Mozilla accepts all sorts of non-standard stuff. However, they don't accept non-standard stuff when it was invented by Microsoft, rather than Netscape.

    If Mozilla were to make a couple minor tweaks, they could easily be compatible with the majority of "non-standard" IE sites. However, they decided they were not going to be compatible with IE when they had a 50% marketshare, and apparenlty that's the decision they'll stick with even with a 1% marketshare. Their choice, but Mozilla Advocates shouldn't not be suprised because adoption is very slow.

    (This is ignoring all the sites that don't want to work in Mozilla and actively sniff browser strings. That's basically a marketshare issue.)
  • by krmt ( 91422 ) <therefrmhere&yahoo,com> on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:43PM (#8250457) Homepage
    Wow, that article brings back memories. Anyhow, the fact that the population doesn't use or know about mozilla or firefox right now isn't a big deal. They'll continue to use IE because that's what they know. They even do this on the Mac (which is really sick, given IE's crappy state on the Mac).

    When Linux starts to move in to more and more corporate desktops, people won't be able to rely on their IE habit anymore, and will be forced to use a Linux browser. This is when you'll start to see it in greater force.

    And even further down the line, when Linux starts to invade the home desktop space also, we'll be glad the Mozilla project (and the KDE/KHTML project) has been around for so long. These things will come, it's only a matter of time.
  • by bogie ( 31020 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:43PM (#8250459) Journal
    Short answer, Opera is closed source and payware. Nobody wants to see some small company in Norway get control over the browser market. We've been down that path and the result is a browser that is bug ridden and hasn't been updated in years. In case you don't know what I'm talking about its Internet Explorer. Who wants to see yet another commercial entity force its ever whim upon us just because they have a majority. With Mozilla if we don't like where the project is heading we just fork it. With Opera there is no out.

    To borrow a phrase "The Future is Open". Nobody wants to root for something like Opera when a better Open Source alternative is out there. Opera is exactly what the IT world is heading away from where possible. Also you won't see a closed source browser like Opera riding on the coat tails of the Linux Desktop revolution, however slow that may be.

    Lastly and to go back to my first statement Opera costs money. Its been ingrained in consumers heads since the 90's that browsers are Free. If Mozilla costs money you could bet that it never would have stood a chance and IT Press would not be rooting for it.

    Frankly Opera just don't have much of a future for general Internet browsing.
  • Shipping News (Score:4, Insightful)

    by epine ( 68316 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:43PM (#8250466)

    I'm rather unimpressed by this about face. I thought the original artical back in 1999 was way off base.

    The author seems to have taken the Shipping News to heart.

    "imminent storm threatens village"
    But what if there's no storm?
    "village saved from deadly storm"

    Only it's worse, because the deadly storm was entirely manufactured by a combination of personal insecurity, unrealistic expections, and a "complain until some one else fixes it" mentality.

    It was obvious to me that the Mozilla developers were going to have to pay the price for a few years to get their house in order before their hard work became obvious from the external perspective.

    Developers are supposed to know better than to run around complaining "the sky is falling" while the people involved are wrestling with really difficult structural problems. What's amazing is that the people involved stayed involved, while having to read this kind of crap in the first place.

    It always saps my strength when management runs around saying "nothing is happening fast enough" when I've just spent a month of long hours excavating down to the bedrock.

    Just what is this guy taking credit for?

    "falling sky threatens village"
    But what if sky doesn't fall?
    "village saved from deadly sky"

    It doesn't get much worse than that.
  • by Haxwell ( 229790 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:45PM (#8250489) Homepage
    We know that, but the average user still doesn't care.. its not worth the effort for them to download and install another browser.

    I think until IT departments come around and start installing Mozilla on their desktops, for mail and web browsing, most people will not care/know about alternatives to IE. Regardless of how many viruses they get. Really, just think how long people have been getting viruses through Outlook/Outlook Express/IE. How many of those people have switched?
  • by GoofyBoy ( 44399 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:48PM (#8250516) Journal
    >IE is the most used browser, that I agree with. But not the most well known or commonly known one.

    If the users of IE can't even notice the name of the product in the title bar, how will they the name of browsers they don't even use?
  • by ktulu1115 ( 567549 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:48PM (#8250521)
    ...keeps deleting features from their browser, and making it less and less standards compliant...
    The growing number of security holes in IE does nothing but help as well. :-)
  • by tommut ( 123314 ) <<tommut> <at> <>> on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:50PM (#8250530) Homepage
    I liked the "launch" button too. But you can double -click on the icon in the downloads window and it will launch it. Guess that works.
  • by orthogonal ( 588627 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:50PM (#8250531) Journal
    You idiots are turning an excellent browser into a weapon in your imaginary war. Why would you isolate it from Windows users with your shitty "us vs them" attitude? Firefox has nothing to do with the Linux "movement." It apparently works great regardless of the OS.

    I'm afraid you've missed the point, AC. Linux isn't about linux.

    No, really, I mean that.

    That is, linux isn't about "the linux movement". I can see how the opinions of some super-zealot linux fanbois might have given you that impression, but they're a tiny minority.

    But you're right about one thing: the fact that Mozilla works under linux -- or as you note, it "works great regardless of the OS" is the point.

    Because linux isn't about linux. Linux's about the freedom to make up your own mind.

    Let me explain by contrasting linux with MS-Windows. MS-Windows is about vendor lock-in, embraced standards that are extended to be proprietary and ad hoc, and above all making blanket decisions for all users that don't take into account individual variation among users.

    Microsoft gives you XML that only Microsoft Word can read. Microsoft gives your disk formatters that can but won't format partitions lagrer than 32GB -- because Microsoft believes that partitions larger than 332GB should be NTFS. Microsoft's browser can't conceive of a situation where its proxy settings shouldn't apply to all programs -- so rather than have it's own proxy settings, it alters the settings for the overall network connection. And so forth.

    Linux says to you, it's your computer, you can do whatever you want with it, if you're willing to take the time to figure out how, or -- if it can't yet be done -- figure out how to code it.

    And Firefox is about that philosophy too. That's why Firefox runs regardless of OS: because your choice of OS shouldn't be dictated by your browser.

    And that -- the browser dictating the OS, by means of embracing and extending the HTML markup language -- was what dave was complaining about in the first place.

    The reason I use Firefox is two-fold: one, it's a better browser in most ways than IE (it's worse in others, especially Mozilla's doctrinaire insistence on not compensating for obviously incorrect mime types on mis-configured servers).

    But the other reason I use Firefox is the same reason I use cygwin and Open Office and ScITE: Microsoft has put me in a corner one time to many, a corner where Microsoft couldn't or wouldn't llet me run my computer as I needed to.

    And so I turned to linux-style tools. Cygwin, because Windows doesn't support command line tools or development well. mkfs (yes, a version of mkfs compiled for Windows!) in order to make a 60GB partition for my mp3s -- because, as I noted above, Windows could but would not write a partition bigger than 32GB, and I didn't want to and couldn't use NTFS for my mp3 partition.

    Open Office and SciTE because it's clear that MS-Windows is going to keep restricting me. While I'm not ready to move to linux yet, I am making sure that my transition will be easy: Open Office and SciTE both run under both MS-Windows and linux, so I won;t have to learn news apps when I transition.

    So Firefox's philosophy works hand-in-hand with linux's philosophy, and Firefox supports linux by giving it a browser that doesn't care what OS you're using. And that's the point.
  • by adrianbaugh ( 696007 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:51PM (#8250542) Homepage Journal
    Yes, probably. By and large most of the people here are interested in open source software. If there's a choice between two comparable products we'll rave about the open source one.
    I'm sure Opera is a very competent browser, but I find it hard to get excited about because Firebird is also a very competent browser - but it's open source. Whether one or the other is "marginally better" doesn't really matter a hill of beans, they're both "good enough".
    By the way, Mozilla can be made faster if you turn on pipelining (off by default) and get rid of the 250ms delay before it bothers rendering anything (this helps on old computers but not on modern ones).
  • by jsebrech ( 525647 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:51PM (#8250549)
    Creative Criticism: The DHTML or whatever is used to give the advanced editing features of Exchange 2000 web mail, msn hotmail, yahoo mail, and the geocities web site editor don't work in Firebird;

    The IE-only way of doing this doesn't work. The standards-based way however does work. Most blogging tools support rich text in gecko browsers. That MS uses its own proprietary stuff instead of the standards is hardly surprising, and I suspect yahoo and geocities are just suffering from inertia (because admittedly, mozilla hasn't had this capability for more than a year).
  • by websensei ( 84861 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:51PM (#8250551) Journal
    your post seems a mix of trollishness and insight. I agree that IE's security holes are a huge problem and a very good reason (among several others) to switch to mozilla. but you're completely wrong about IE support for web standards.
    "[IE] never made any attempt at standards compliance"

    this is simply not true.
    IE6 is remarkably web-standards-compliant (honoring doctypes, rendering valid markup appropriately, providing excellent CSS1 support, etc). the fact that its "quirks mode" (triggered by the absence of a doctype against which to validate the page) continues to backwards-support IE4x hacks does not change this mostly-standards-compliant status at all.

    your pro-mozilla arguments will be stronger when you educate yourself and stick to the facts.

    Here are some good places to start:

  • by amightywind ( 691887 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:52PM (#8250562) Journal

    Why be so crude? Firefox has everything to do with the free software movement. It is proof that a group of talented and determined developers can out hack Micro$oft or any other commercial outfit for the benefit of all. It means the future of computing can be dominated by openness and understanding, not coersion and marketing. Let the war continue unabated. I would like to paraphrase a speech George C. Scott gave in the movie "Patton".

    "We're going to hold onto them (Microsoft) by the nose and kick them in the ass. We're going to kick the hell out of them all the time and go through 'em like crap through a goose..." ...Windows is the enemy! Wade into them. Spill their blood! Shoot them in the belly!" , figuratively speaking.
  • by double-oh three ( 688874 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:53PM (#8250568)
    I have to disagree. IE's integration with the windows OS hurts it, and it's image. Why? because image-wise it makes it seem like the 'basic' or 'generic' version of the product, and once people start getting into in they want to move away from the 'generic' product and into a 'specialized' one; a catagory that firefox seems to fit into.

    The other thing is that Mozilla is being spread by word of mouth. I do the regular comp. geek favors for neighbors, and more than a few of them have been asking me about Mozilla because "the tech guys at work use it." People want to use it because the specialists use it, and I makes them seem more into computing image-wise. Throw in the popup blocking, bug support, cookie management, and the host of other features and you have a product that's very easy to switch to. And it's free, as in 'free beer' and 'trouble-free', not 'free headaches included' or 'free viruses'.
  • Re:Easy to solve (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EvilStein ( 414640 ) <(ten.pbp) (ta) (maps)> on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:53PM (#8250574)
    Grandmother & family do not care about "open source" or otherwise - they just want stuff to work.

    Get them to use Mozilla, and explain open source later. Works well. :)
  • by DeadSea ( 69598 ) * on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:55PM (#8250596) Homepage Journal

    FireFox features I can't live without:
    1. Middle click to open link in new window/tab
    2. Find as you type
    3. Themes/Skins/Chromes
    4. Customizable toolbars
    5. Plugins that allow me to put just about anything on the toolbars
    6. Great development tools - javascript console, venkman debugger, live-headers plugin

    All that boils down to:

    1. Easier to use
    2. Easier to customize
    3. Broader advanced feature set

  • Re:Browser wars (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:56PM (#8250614)
    I appreciate the contents of your comments but I do get slightly annoyed by people who expect Open Source software to always be released as finished, feature-rich products that do everything every user could desire the moment they install them. This is not the way the Open Source community works.

    If you buy a piece of commercial software, you're making the assumption that you have a product that "does what it says on the box" that the vendor will support with fixes and future upgrades. As a user, you probably have very little input into the future development of that product because future enhancements will be dictated by what is commercially viable to implement.

    If you use a piece of free software, then you must take an entirely different attitude. Firstly, the product may not be a finished one (as is the case with Firefox) but has been released early for anyone who wants to to have a go at using. The expectation from the developers is that you report problems with that software back to them and suggest enhancements. It might be that any enhancements you suggest are not deemed as good ideas by the development team but if enough people request an enhancement, and it's a good one, then it usually gets implemented.

    No software can be "all things to all men" and many browsers users will actually think of Flash as being a pointless graphical exercise that simply consumes bandwidth - neither you or they are right or wrong, it's just a difference of perception of "usability".

    The real point I am trying to make here is that if you're expecting to suddenly wake up one day and find a desktop Linux system that you deem to be ready "for the desktop", then that is the wrong attitude to take, I'm afraid.

    The Open Source developer community does not have an agenda to displace Microsoft from the desktop, despite what many people seem to believe. The community's only agenda is to make good, free software and to listen to users of that software to make it better - remember that much of that free software is available to run on Windows as well as Linux or a BSD OS.

    If you (and others) want to have a Linux OS that you consider is ready to displace Windows from your own machines, then it is your remit to let the Open Source developers know that you need "this feature" because "this commercial package" already has it.

    The only important thing is that you have a choice, albeit that to use an Open Source alternative may require extra effort on your part or being more involved in the development of that alternative by giving feedback as to what you want out of it.

    The so-called "revolution" in software is not just about free software but a change in the mindset of the people that use software. Although there has always been an "underground" Public Domain/Shareware/Free Software/Open Source movement, most people have gotten into the mindset of going into their local computer store and browsing the shelves of pre-packaged software products until they find something that fits their needs at a price they're prepared to pay, exactly as they would select food products at the local supermarket - perfectly fine if that's the way you want it.

    However, you do now have a voice in getting the software you want if you care enough about it and speak up enough - that's the mindset change.

  • by Graelin ( 309958 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:58PM (#8250628)
    That is not a tragety at all. It's proof that computers are serving their role well. As tools.

    Just as you could probably care less about the thickness of the heating wire inside your toaster, most other people on this planet could care less about what browser they use. They just want to get their pr0n|warez|stock info|etc.

    Can you blame them? NO. They have more important things to be doing.
  • by supun ( 613105 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:58PM (#8250632)
    True, however there are people like me. When ever friend complains about popups and virus, I install something like Fire[bird|fox] or Phoenix. His problems are gone. Now when his sister computer does the same, he suggests what I did for him. And so on, and so on.

    Word of mouth is slower, but in the long run is more powerfull.
  • by yerfatma ( 666741 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:59PM (#8250657) Homepage
    Anybody with a clue programs to the specific requirements of the project.

    I disagree with that statement in the realm of HTML. We have a new project where we'll provide HTML templates to be integrated into an application. They application only supports IE5.5+ (and they're willing to move that to IE6 only). I explained that was fine but my templates will be compliant with web standards so they don't get screwed when Longhorn or some other "advance" in IE comes out and Microsoft fixes a bunch of fuck-ups in their rendering engine that breaks templates built to IE's current rendering mode.

  • by MindStalker ( 22827 ) <> on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @02:00PM (#8250670) Journal
    Actually that is not true, Mozilla incorperates the W3C standards, and it tried to also incorperate as many of the non-standards as it can. BUT, it will not incorperate any IE standards that breaks W3C or in some way is incompatible with rendering a standard website correctly.
  • by crimethinker ( 721591 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @02:03PM (#8250718)
    But what about Joe Users' activeX sites? Will Firefox work with sites that use activeX? Unfortunately not. Will Joe User see this as a failing of Firefox? Probably. So what can we do to address this issue? Any thoughts?

    I'm sure that MS has a shload of security vulnerabilities waiting in the wings. These will only help the argument to switch away from MS.

    I got into a pretty heated argument with the help desk when their POP3 server went down. My mail client, Sylpheed, couldn't get mail, but everyone with Exchange could still get their mail over MS's proprietary protocol. "We only support Outlook 2000." I finally gave up, told him I would install it, then didn't and waited for the POP3 server to come back to life (it came back 8 hrs later). A few weeks later, it was time for the outlook virus-du-jour, and everyone except me got hit. In your face, Mr. Helpdesk.

    Similarly, if you are trying to convince someone of the virtues of using non-MS solutions, either point to last week's vulnerability (there seems to be a new one each week) or wait one week for the next one. "Did you know that OpenOffice reads MS Word files, except for the virus part?" "Did you realize that Sylpheed doesn't run VBScript viruses that come in your e-mail?" "By the way, only IE is susceptible to that malformed URL exploit." Pretty soon, people come to hate your smug attitude, but deep down inside, they know you're right.

    And right is more important than being popular.


  • Re:Lets help (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dalcius ( 587481 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @02:04PM (#8250724)
    Or even better:

    Best viewed with an Open Standards compliant browser.
  • Re:overrated (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FrostedWheat ( 172733 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @02:05PM (#8250741)
    No rendering problems here. There's a good chance it's a problem with your machine. Slashdot renders well on pritty much every browser on the planet. Possibly because many of the people who make them are readers.
  • Re:Lets help (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DJ Rubbie ( 621940 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @02:08PM (#8250781) Homepage Journal

    Actually, on my personal site, I have something like 'View with any XHTML 1.0 and CSS2 compliant browser' and somewhere down the line 'strongly not recommended: Microsoft Internet Explorer, all versions', because it consistently break my layouts.

    Then again, that is why I have the <!--[if IE]><link rel="stylesheet" href="main-ie.css" /><![endif]--> at the head part to 'fix' up most of the idiotic errors IE makes...

    Only if people would actually follow that advice.

  • by rudy_wayne ( 414635 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @02:15PM (#8250889)

    After using Mozilla for 18 months I started trying out
    Firebird a couple of months ago. Just as I was really
    starting to like it and make it my browser of choice they
    go and pull another boneheaded stunt.

    Firefox - really stupid name. Really really stupid.
    Not only stupid, but breaks continuity with the naming of
    it's e-mail partner, Thunderbird. The new offical logo
    isn't so hot either.

    The release of the latest version was delayed almost 2 months
    for "reasons unrelated to the code". That's all they would
    say. The "reasons unrelated to the code" turned out to be the
    name change. Instead of working on making a better browser,
    way too much time and effort was put into searching for a new
    name, designing a new sucky logo and applying for trademarks,.

    And speaking of all the time and effort they supposedly put into
    the new name -- this is the second time they've changed the name
    because somebody complained. Want to bet how long it will be
    before there's another name change? Just go to Google and type
    in "Firefox".

    Although Firefox is Open Source. the new official logo isn't:
    ".... this new artwork is not licensed under the same licenses
    as the source code. You are not granted any rights or licenses
    to the trademarks of the Mozilla Foundation, including without
    limitation the Firefox name or logo".

    What the heck is up with that? You can download the source and
    build your own Fire[bird][fox] -- many people do -- but you can't
    have the new logo. That's strictly top secret hands off.

    All of a sudden, their sucky name and logo is really really really
    important and needs to be protected.

    According to lead developer Ben Goodger, the official explantion
    for keeping the new logo under strict lock and key is: "we're
    just trying to prevent people from identify themselves AS us, or
    create builds that masquerade as official builds."

    Yeah right.

    99.9999999% of the people in the world use MSIE and you're worried
    that somebody will start turning out bootleg copies of Fire[bird][fox].

  • Re:Ironic that... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dalcius ( 587481 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @02:16PM (#8250909)
    "When will the bigwhigs realize that open-source does not necessarily mean risky, dangerous, or taboo in some way?"

    When they see more IBM commercials and read about somebody making millions with Linux (besides, perhaps, IBM).

    The info is out there, the PHBs just have to see it. Linux is already a positive buzz-word but the big iron will move when someone strikes oil with Linux.

    Props to IBM for pushing a clean message of Linux to gain the OS more mindshare. As much as I can dislike some big companies, IBM seems to be playing a good game. "Linux is wonderful. Use it. If you like, we can help you." But, I digress...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @02:18PM (#8250944)
    IE has filled its purpose: it killed Netscape, and ended that threat. It's usefulness has expired.

    Microsoft should dump it, then embrace and extend Mozilla. That would give them a better browser at less expense. And anytime Windows gets blasted by some new internet-related exploit, Microsoft can say, "It's not our app. It's not our fault." Even if the real problem is in the OS.

    They could add ActiveX abilities for a fraction of the development costs they are sinking into IE. They could create whatever plugins they wish. Like a Windows Update plugin.

    They could turn OSS into a Microsoft winnning strategy. They don't make any money on IE, anyway. It's just a resource drain for them. They could think seriously about doing the same with Apache and other OSS projects that don't threaten a revenue stream. The more involved they are in these projects, the more they could steer them to the best effect for their own purposes.
  • Re:Lets help (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gnu-generation-one ( 717590 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @02:26PM (#8251047) Homepage
    "Best viewed with..." ads are evil, even if the browser you're supporting is great.

    Do people imagine that their users are going to go off and download another browser (10MB or so), install it, reboot however many times Windows needs, and then remember to come back to your site?

    Seems if they've spent their day installing a browser on the reccommendation of a website, the last thing on their mind will be whatever the website was?

    "Hello, I already have a browser. See, if I didn't have one, I wouldn't be at your website. So why bother telling me to download another one?"

  • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @02:32PM (#8251131)
    no, see, that's where the zealots are wrong.

    Standards are being ignored and shoved to the wayside. Sure, make a website that conforms and blah blah blah, but does it matter? No, not really... People use IE. People will probably continue to use IE. If a website is "correct" and IE is "broken" because of ignoring standards and the webpage displays incorrectly the IE people are going to complain. The IE people will win, hands down.

    It's unfortunate but it's true.
  • by el-spectre ( 668104 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @02:41PM (#8251242) Journal
    It's not just a matter of zealotry. We've been doing this thing of supporting "non-standard" browsers for 10 years now, and it's a major pain in the ass. In addition to MSIE not implementing certain standards fully (like CSS) sometimes they just plain do it wrong. It's very difficult to work around that kind of randomness.
  • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @02:43PM (#8251273)
    It's a nice idea but I don't really see it happening.

    True, Microsoft have no interest in IE anymore because it fulfilled its job in destroying Netscape. Add to that the fact that IE is a free product, there's no commercial sense to them expending any effort into developing it further.

    Also, in theory, Microsoft could take the source code to Firefox or the Gecko engine, develop it for a new Windows browser and as long as they released the modified source code, be perfectly within the remits of the GPL.

    Unfortunately, Microsoft's own arrogance will stop this happening - with Ballmer having declared Open Source a "cancer", MS embracing Open Source code would mean a huge U-turn and loss of face in the eyes of the public.

    My guess is that MS will just work harder towards proprietary lock-in and DRM to simply stop any other browsers working on their platforms for reasons of "security".

    The future of the browser simply depends on getting the word out to "Joe Public" on the alternatives and hoping that IE eventually becomes the "minority" browser, even for Windows users.

  • "Firefox" catches (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @02:50PM (#8251341) Homepage
    I think it's interesting to see all the people saying how they use Firefox, love Firefox, tell their friends about Firefox, etc. When a mere 50 hours ago they had yet to even hear or see the name.

    For all the handwringing and then the grousing about the name change, if /. is any indication, it seems to be going over pretty well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @02:52PM (#8251368)
    Yeah, but why should we have to.
    I'm getting real sick and tired of having to edit esoteric scripts in every damned OSS application I want to run, which are in half a dozen different locations on a hard drive.
    If the application has an option it should be at the very least under a tab labeled ADVANCED.
    Perhaps a popup box saying "Consult your son or grandson before editing this tab, anything and everything you do on this tab could render this application useless." would be usefull.
  • by miffo.swe ( 547642 ) <daniel.hedblom@g ... minus city> on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @02:58PM (#8251446) Homepage Journal
    Well i think you are wrong on several layers. There are a wast number of pople who dont play games and dont download mp3's and whatnot. They just browse the web, pay some bills and essentially use the computer as a hotted up library. For those people linux/mozilla is good enough today, especially since those poeple NEVER ever is the ones installing or fixing their computer. Ease of use to them is clicking on an icon and be in the right program, the web browser that is.

    Second, how many ordinary users of windows manage to install windows, antivirus, firewall and office successfully? They arent the ones installing, the darn thing comes preinstalled from the shop. In the box lies some images bringing the computer to the state it had from the factory. Any problems and support tells you to use the discs and that is how much help you get.

    The biggest advancement linux could do is to be preinstalled by Dell, HP or Fujitsu actively. The day people can get linux preconfigured and preinstalled is the day linux will be really appealing to joe the surfer. Not having to deal with viruses and crashes etc is something most poeple would see as a selling point.

    PS. There are people who dont like tinkering with their computer, they just want to use it. DS

  • by STrinity ( 723872 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @02:59PM (#8251453) Homepage
    firefox comes up less than WEBTV in most of the webtrends reports I am seeing.

    It's only been out for two days. Give it time.
  • Re:W3C standards (Score:4, Insightful)

    by valkraider ( 611225 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @03:09PM (#8251584) Journal
    What are those sites? Help the developers improve Mozilla, and help the websites support more browsers... If we don't know which sites cause problems, they can't be fixed, right?
  • by JimDabell ( 42870 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @03:19PM (#8251684) Homepage

    I did mean to write "[IES is remarkably standards-compliant in comparison to earlier versions of IE".

    That I can agree with a bit more, it does manage to get a bit more of CSS 2 right. The majority of the things I mention are still just as big of an issue in Internet Explorer 6 as in previous versions though.

    it is now possible to write compliant web documents that validate and appear virtually the same in ie6, mozilla and opera.

    Absolutely, yet you can't simply write to the standards and forget about it. You need to write to the standards, avoiding all the bits of the standards that Internet Explorer ignores, and then find hacks to work around the issues where Internet Explorer tries to get it right and fails miserably.

    at least some of the specific issues you describe are problems in other browsers too. (e.g. http1.1 preservation of request method in a 302 response is a problem in mozilla too, as is robust css2 support)

    302 responses, as described by RFC 2616, are effectively dead since so many web applications rely on its traditional behaviour. That is why it was obsoleted and replaced with 303 and 307 responses. I was mostly thinking of things like disregard for the Content-Type header. I would describe Gecko/Mozilla as having robust CSS 2 support for quite some time. It could be improved upon, but it's miles ahead of anything Internet Explorer can handle.

    So I still contend it is completely false to say that IE6 makes no *attempt* to comply with web standards.

    I agree with that, but I'd also say that once it was clear that Microsoft had won the browser war, they completely gave up on Internet Explorer development. It had served its purpose.

  • by TheTimoo ( 658067 ) <TheTimoo@ g m x . n et> on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @03:20PM (#8251687)
    uhm... about:config is not some kind of esoteric script. Actually it's more like the thing you described, without the warning.
  • standards (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Semi-Lagrange ( 684792 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @03:26PM (#8251760)
    Make that "best viewed with any STANDARDS COMPLIANT browser".
  • by djeaux ( 620938 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @03:33PM (#8251824) Homepage Journal
    I've noticed those problems, too. But I attribute the issue somewhat differently from you. Run a DIFF on our subject lines ;-)

    How about it, Slashdot? It may be time to revisit the templates...

  • by sremick ( 91371 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @03:42PM (#8251945)
    One solution is to download and install the User Agent Switcher Extension. You can then have FireBird/Fox/Mozilla send the IE 6.0 User Agent string.

    Except by doing this, you're casting your vote as "I am an IE user so no need to fix your website." instead of "I use a standards-based browser and my experience on your site sucked." Webmasters DO use logs to see what percentage of their visitors are using what browsers, and this information is used to decide whether revamping the site to standards is worth it. By faking your UA string, you're skewing the stats against yourself, and are actually hurting your cause instead of helping. It's better to leave the UA alone and work with the site in other ways... this way you're investing in a long-term fix, not a short-term one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @03:46PM (#8251986)
    Lack of a decent browser USED to be a reason for users not moving to Linux, but it is becoming increasingly irrelevant as browsers are becoming very close in performance and compatibility. Sure some sites don't work with Mozilla but i think generally compatibilty is getting very good. Personally i find there's very little difference in the user experience with IE, Safari, Mozilla, Opera, Firefox etc.

    What users expect for desktop functionality these days has changed a lot since 1999 and i think it's these other areas that should be more of a concern:

    People now expect to be able to:
    1) Download music off Kazaa
    2) Listen to online radio stations
    3) Put a dvd in the drive and for it to automatically start playing
    4) Click on a movie on a web page and have it play automatically no matter what format (eg. never underestimate the popularity of porn)
    5) Import pics and from their digital camera and be able to easily view them and email them to their friends
    6) Be able to view mail from their friends with greeting cards, movies and other attachments included
    7) Print out pics on their inkjet printer
    8) Scan photos on their scanner
    9) Import video from their video recorder, edit the movies and burn them onto DVD
    10) Easily rip cds and burn new ones
    11) Easily sync calendars/contacts to their palm, phone, ipod etc
    12) Purchase music online and burn it to cds
    13) Play all the popular games of the moment like the Sims online, Warcraft 3 etc
    14) Keep schedules of appointments
    15) Do their taxes
    16) Chat to friends on Aim, MSN messenger etc.
    17) Be able to do everything through the desktop (never having to use the command line)

    They also expect to be able to download a program from the net, click on an installer icon and have the program install and run.

    I think the Mozilla project has done a fine job in producing a browser that is so close to IE in performance that most people wouldn't notice the difference. It's the other areas, esp multi-media and the digital-hub functionality where Linux lags behind.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @03:46PM (#8251989)
    XFT and GTK2: Anti-aliased fonts are beautiful, and Firefox now has a version that is built against these libraries. The difference is astounding, as you can see from the screenshots below:

    Amazing difference. The screenshot on the left is annoyingly fuzzy, much less readable than the screenshot on the right which happens to pack even more text in the same space!

    If your browser looks like the one on the right, it's time for you to upgrade.

    What? He means "left", right? Upgrading to the fuzzy big letters? Is this guy drunk or what?
  • by tgd ( 2822 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @03:46PM (#8251993)
    The real value of that isn't for rich-text e-mails. In enterprise apps, its the ability to cut n paste Word documents directly into a web form.
  • Re:Lets help (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cyfer2000 ( 548592 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @03:47PM (#8252005) Journal
    We should also make sure our webpages are available to people with disability. So, it should be "Best presented by any browser!"
  • I disagree (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Skim123 ( 3322 ) <[mitchell] [at] []> on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @03:52PM (#8252080) Homepage
    So if someone says, "I'll only use FireFox if it works on this one Web site," and this "one Web site" requires IE. You would tell them, what?

    (a) Use IE
    (b) Use FireFox but ban the Web site (perhaps not plausible, especially if it's work related)

    I would choose (c) Use FireFox with the User Agent Switcher. Yes, a short term solution, as you put it, but, dammit, the user just wants to have the site work with the browser they'd like to use. Yes, your idea is best for the long run, but my grandpa doesn't care about the long run - he just wants the "Internet to work."

  • by hkmwbz ( 531650 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @04:00PM (#8252160) Journal
    "While Opera is a "next gen" browser it isn't as polished and perfect as Firefox is."
    Please. FireFox has quite a few problems to iron out before 1.0. I am glad the developers and most FF fans aren't like you. They actually recognize that FF has problems, and they work together to remove those problems to really make it polished. But it will never be perfect. No program will ever be perfect.

    And not only because of bugs, but also because people have different needs. With FF, you have to download and install extensions, which isn't exactly easy for newbies. Opera, when installed, has everything right there, including a full email client. Firebird requires additional downloads.

    Claiming that FF is perfect is a disservice to the FF developers and the community. Actually, it is disrespectful towards the people who contribute to make it better!

    "Ask the guy who invented tabbed browsing (forget his name). I read an article where he pretty much said "yeah, I made tabbed browsing in Opera and Safari and Phoenix (this was way back)."
    That is completely wrong. Opera has had MDI since version 1.0. Opera 4.0 came with tabs - before Mozilla, and the guy who implemented it still works for Opera.

    Opera has true MDI. You can tile and cascade pages, and it keeps everything within one window by default. FireFox is far more limited, especially before downloading extensions.

    "In fact, anyone who I've gotten to seriously try out Firewhatever has never looked back. Nobody who browses the web can resist because it is just so objectively superior in all ways."
    Is that so? How come FF doesn't open the previous page instantly when going back, like Opera? How come it is a bigger download, but still has fewer features? How come you have to download extensions to get functionality that is considered to be essential in other browsers?
  • by Xawen ( 514418 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @04:05PM (#8252217)
    I work in a 100% Windows environment and frequetly have to tune systems to meet very strict security standards (yes, I realize the irony in that...).

    I spend a significant amount of time digging through "half a dozen different" registry locations (pretty similar to browsing a filesystem in gui) "to edit esoteric" value names to activate/deactivate hidden or complely undocumented features in software and even the OS. Yeah, it's really annoying. Yeah, it's not necessarily user friendly. But, no, it's not limited to OSS apps.
  • by cyborch ( 524661 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @05:05PM (#8252913) Homepage Journal

    Everyone knows why not to put a cat in the oven.

    In Denmark we have a concept of an "average person" in our legal system. If you did things that the "average person" should know are stupid then you cannot sue. The average person should know not to put cats in microwaves, yet some people still do equally stupid things and get away with sueing companies for the damages these people do to themselves.

    I have no clue how infrared communication works, nor do I care, but I know that when I push the buttons on my remote, the tv should come on.

    Do you send angry letters to the company that made your remote when it stops working or do you know enough to change the batteries? what about when you cannot shoot the infrared signal though a wall? Knowing just a little bit about how things work make your life a lot easier.

    Do you know exactly how the ignition system on your car works?

    I am required by law to know, if I want to have a driver's license. Also I am required to know stuff about how quickly I can bring a car to a full stop at various speeds. I am required to know enough not to hurt myself and others.

    Likewise, if a user double-clicks on the IE icon, they may not know that it's IE that opens up, but they know that "the interweb" should come up and their home page should load.

    Again, I know enough not to hurt myself or my software. People should know that they are actually putting their software and data at risc when installing untrusted software. We teach our children not to talk to strangers, let's also teach them not to install strange software.

  • Flawed premise? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sixpaw ( 648825 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @05:19PM (#8253090)
    My conclusion was that if Microsoft was able to dominate the web on the desktop, it would be a short matter of time before they could extend and dominate the web on the server. I knew that Mozilla was our last and only hope for winning this.

    Guess what? Microsoft *does* dominate the web on the desktop. They have since Netscape went down (I know, I know, but everyone knows what I mean) and that really shows no fundamental sign of changing. IE is overwhelmingly the #1 browser according to all of the usage statistics out there; Mozilla is making huge gains, unquestionably, but the last I saw it was still under 10% of the market and, more to the point, its gains have come from cannibalizing older browsers (Netscape 3/4) more than IE (which seems to be maintaining a steady market share in the low 80s even despite Mozilla's gains).

    But amazingly, and more to the point, that's had virtually no bearing on the web server world. Unless one takes 'a short matter of time' to be 8 to 10 years (twice as long as Netscape's dominance held out!) then there's no indication whatsoever that Microsoft will win the 'web war' server-side. IIS is eternally mired in the 20-30% market share range, while Apache has been a majority leader for more than a half-decade now (at least, according to NetCraft []). I have no problems with the FireFox browser itself, but the original premise the author is touting, that MS browser dominance would lead inexorably to server dominance, seems even more absurd now than it did at the time.
  • Re:I remember... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tin Foil Hat ( 705308 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @05:26PM (#8253171)
    That is one of the drawbacks of open source projects. New code is usually buggy, slow, and unstable - just like mozilla in the pre-1.0 stage. Since the development process is open, everyone gets to see exactly what a mess it is at first. Some people immediately start loudly proclaiming how much the project sucks.

    As time passes though, the project makes extraordinary progress precisely through the same open process that allowed earlier, unfair criticism. Which, incidently, will have been largely silenced by this point because everyone can see exactly how much progress has been made.

  • by Stormie ( 708 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @06:34PM (#8253895) Homepage

    I'm getting real sick and tired of having to edit esoteric scripts in every damned OSS application I want to run, which are in half a dozen different locations on a hard drive. If the application has an option it should be at the very least under a tab labeled ADVANCED.

    If you'd bothered to read the comment you're replying to, instead of launching into your canned and ignorant rant, you'd know that Firefox does it exactly the way you recommend. Except the tab isn't labelled "ADVANCED", it's labelled "about:config".

  • by OldManAndTheC++ ( 723450 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @07:05PM (#8254165)
    it's not limited to OSS apps.

    I remember reading somewhere that design is the art of making choices. Well designed apps (or products for that matter) make good choices. Apps that don't make choices are passing the buck, in a way. Many open source developers seem reluctant to make those design choices, and pass the responsibility on to the user. Sometimes they can forget who is their target audience. Note that I don't think the Mozilla folks are in this category - Firefox is remarkably easy to install and works great with the default settings.

    The best approach IMHO is to make the hard choices and bury the option settings where the geeks can easily get at them, but where Grandma is not likely to Ctrl-Alt-(whatever) her font settings to Cyrillic by mistake. (Of course if Grandma is a geek who reads Cyrillic then by all means go for it...)

  • Re:I remember... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Saint Stephen ( 19450 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @07:08PM (#8254197) Homepage Journal
    Well, whatever, but don't forget the main point is Phoenix was started as a "lite fork" because the main fork was bloated and going nowhere.

    A couple guys are responsible for Moz succeeding.

    Now, everyone else helped -- but don't think it was a linear progression from there to here. These guys backed up and went in a different direction.
  • Fireb^Hfox has a HUGE number of :config options, many of which rarely (if ever) need to be used. They can't make a GUI option for all of them. In addition, it's still beta, even though most people seem to forget. So if it really bothers you, file a feature request [] for that specific option, and/or wait for the final release.
  • Re:I'm still lost (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jesser ( 77961 ) on Thursday February 12, 2004 @02:01AM (#8255811) Homepage Journal
    If you mean what I think you mean by "if your machine's compromised", having a master password makes you no more secure. The attacker just has to install a keylogger to get your master password.
  • by Miamicanes ( 730264 ) on Thursday February 12, 2004 @09:41AM (#8257253)
    That sounds kind of like the argument that McDonalds limits the freedom of consumers to eat healthy food by being too convenient and cheap, and thus luring poor helpless diners into gastronomic slavery by pandering to their laziness and frugality. Bull$hit.

    The fact is, Microsoft shipped a JVM that blew Sun's implementation out of the water insofar as the execution of web page applets (and most consumers) was concerned. It didn't, however, support RMI (something that most JAVA developers, even relatively advanced ones) have never bothered with either).

    Microsoft's biggest sin, however, that drove Sun up the wall, can be summed up succinctly as "*". That innocent-sounding package hierarchy gave Java apps running under Windows direct, native win32 API access. That's right... no need to screw around with JNI and all its related ugliness. DirectX? Simple. Embed IE in your own app? Trivial.

    Sun freaked out. It was pure politics and religious zealotry. Sun WANTED it to be hard and painful for Java apps to directly interact with native code. Sun didn't sue microsoft to force them to incorporate RMI... they sued them to force their JVM's castration and removal of*.

    As for why Microsoft doesn't just bundle the 1.4 JPI with Windows XP, it's simple: Sun tried to bully Microsoft into accepting a new EULA that imposed MORE restrictions on what Microsoft is allowed to do than the old one that Microsoft can still legally get away with, and Microsoft told them to F**k off.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.