Thursday, January 26, 2006

FireFox myths

There’s an interest web page called “Firefox Myths” that takes some of the more common claims associated with Firefox (it’s faster, it’s more secure, it’s a floor wax and a dessert topping) and examines each claim. While I’m sure that busting all of those myths is going to bug a lot of people who prefer Firefox, I think he’s dead on.

While I like the idea of Firefox, it’s implementation bugs me. It’s slower than IE and much slower than Opera. IE gets a startup boost by being part of the OS, Opera is just fast. I also prefer the Opera UI, it handles the MDI tabs much better than Firefox does. You can extend Firefox to get the same functionality with extensions, but I prefer that nice shiny out of the box experience.

I do have Firefox running on the iLamp. It’s arguably less annoying than Safari.

I fully admit to being an Opera bigot. It’s faster and more secure than the other two, and I prefer the UI. The latter reason is purely subjective, but the other two reasons are real. There are plenty of sites that don’t fully support Opera, it’s mainly a sin of ommission. Opera supports the web standards as the others and it lets you change the user agent string on the fly to get past some of the sites that don’t allow Opera.

And the people behind Opera have a good sense of humor. Three years ago, Microsoft’s MSN portal changed it’s code and deliberately excluded Opera users. When Opera Software found out about, they complained to MS and then released the “Bork” edition of Opera. It worked just like the regular edition, unless you were visiting the MSN site, there it would translate all of the text into the language of the famous Swedish Chef from the Muppet Show: Bork, Bork, Bork!

[Edited 2/28/06]
I have disabled comments on this post because S/N ratio was starting to drop. There were some good comments, but I didn't want this post to turn into a "Bash FireFox" post. That was never my intent.

7 comments:

  1. You sound like a reasonable person, and I totally agree with your post. Unforunately, the FirefoxMyths site uses very clever wording to "tell the truth", while it's actually spreading outright lies or half-truths for 9 of the posted "myth busts".

    For example, WITH TWEAKS firefox can connect to servers faster than IE, and render faster than IE, but in its default configuration it is slower. PortableFirefox(optimizations done for the idiots) also starts much quicker - about 4x faster in my tests, which according to their pages makes it start faster than IE.

    Hundreds of sites reported over 10% market share for Firefox.

    And it has useless and utterly false security info with NO COMPARISONS - they should add this link:
    http://secunia.com/product/11/

    For example, if money were used....what good is saying "WARNING - COMPANY A's profits showed a severe decline to $16,000,000!" when Company B's profits declined to -$180,000,000? Telling one side of the story with no comparisons is bad and leaves people with false senses of what is true.

    And then there's a few other things that are more nitpicky....but yeah, don't take it for face value. When I re-read it, I started noticing all the outright mis-informations, and it started annoying me more and more.

    I hate it when people spread propaganda, on either side. It sucks even more though when someone is so skilled at it. At least with firefox fanboys they don't sound reputable, and the flaming ruins their credibility.

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  2. You have to take the FirefoxMyths site with a grain of salt. It was obviously written by someone with a Firefox axe to grind, by he did raise some good points. Firefox still has some security issues of it's own (see http://secunia.com/product/4227/).

    Since I'm an Opera bigot, I have to mention that Opera fares a litte better than Firefox on that site (http://secunia.com/product/4932/).

    The speed tweaks for Firefox usually include having it opening multiple connections to a site. While that may speed up a single user's experience, the increased demand on the server means fewer users can be served. It's "robbing Peter to pay Paul".

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  3. There are other speed tweaks besides multiple connections. Getting the fasterfox extension and going into the custom settings will show many of them.

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  4. There's an interesting take on the site here:

    http://nanobox.chipx86.com/FirefoxFables/

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  5. Part's of http://nanobox.chipx86.com/FirefoxFables/ were amusing and he nailed the bias in the FireFoxMyths site.

    Give the choice between IE and Firefox, I'll take Firefox. But I'll still take Opera over eithor one of them. It's faster out of the box and is more secure. I do use all three, but mostly Opera.

    I know that with the right extension, you can get a lot more functionality out of Firefox, there are two big disadvantages with extensions.

    When you upgrade to a new version of Firefox, you often have to get new versions of the extensions. That's nothing specific to Firefox, but it's just one more thing to keep track of.

    The other problem is the potential security risk of installing a 3rd party extension. The Greasemonkey extension at one point had a huge hole that could have exposed every file on your pc to a site that you ran a Greasemonkey script on. Granted, that was the exception to the rule, but it illustrates the risk you take installing extensions to a browser.

    Security is always going to be a moving target with browsers. IE was the biggest target, but with the increased market share of Firefox, that browser took a few hits of it own. Opera's market share is still way below Firefox's share, I have wondered what would happen if it became a hacker target.

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  6. I must say, that site is a little arrogant for my taste. They basically say, "We're 100% right, everyone else with an opinion is obviously 100% wrong". Which makes them no better then the Firefox evangelists. I also noticed, on the first read, that they *attempted* to be crafty with wording to make firefox look inferior. IE, they say that firefox doesn't protect from manually downloaded viruses and spyware. Well, as far as I know, no browser does/can do so without interupting normal and typical downloading. However, Firefox has, at least for me, reduced the number of involuntarily downloaded viruses that I get with IE.

    I must also point out, much of what he said was either unoticable to my browsing experience (and I browse frequently for long periods) or does not effect the browser or its quality anyways (for example, I fail to see how market shares really effect the browser other then profit and popularity, with profit being the only one that could effect the service noticably).

    In short, I really think this guy is a rambling idiot, or just plain arrogant. Maybe both.

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  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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