February 21, 2002 12:07 AM   Subscribe

Blogzilla is a blog about, you guessed it, Mozilla! Why Mozilla? Because IE sucks. Agreed. I've been using Mozilla and IE interchangeably for the last month, and giving serious consideration to going Mozilla full-time. Very serious.
posted by sillygwailo (41 comments total)
What platform do you use? What version have you had the most luck with?
posted by allaboutgeorge at 12:20 AM on February 21, 2002

I've been using Mozilla as my primary browser for months now, and as my email client at work. 0.9.8 is quite stable under both Linux and Windows, and runs nicely so long as you have the resources to throw at it. For example, it's a bit sluggish on my P200 Linux box, but my PII-333 handles it nicely.

If you do find it a little slow, try one of the alternative browsers that uses the Mozilla rendering engine (Gecko), such as Galeon for Linux (which runs very nicely on my P200) or K-Meleon for Windows (which I have not tried, myself).
posted by Lionfire at 12:31 AM on February 21, 2002

I had problems with the win32 0.9.8 build (I've been using it as a primary browser since 0.9.2) so downloaded a nightly build which works just fine.

I wonder if they update the blog with this fine Mozilla based tool?
posted by nedrichards at 12:36 AM on February 21, 2002

I don't use applications with a version number less than 1.
posted by bingo at 12:56 AM on February 21, 2002

I feel the need to make the obligatory pitch for opera. It runs faster than IE, crashes less than Netscape, has good crash-recovery and rescues kittens caught in tall trees. Although, I must admit Mozilla is running quite well now. Too bad it doesn’t support the wheel on my mouse and is disqualified automatically.
posted by Gary at 1:16 AM on February 21, 2002

Since I'm lazy, and don't want to look into it, do these browsers support DHTML as well as IE? Do they use th old netscape style DOM? From what I'm hearing it sounds like this could renew/support the interest in getting Microsoft to separate its browser and OS.
posted by tru at 1:27 AM on February 21, 2002

Be sure to check out the DoubleYou interview, which contains some sentiments on Netscape...

For me Netscape can leave existence... It makes budgets more expensive producing a work that is visible for everyone. We are suffering from it and so are our clients. Instead of concentrating on doing something better you have to do something universal, and that doesn’t benefit us at all.


I like my IE filters. Hurry up Mozilla!
posted by aaronshaf at 1:37 AM on February 21, 2002

Well, bingo, that certainly is a fine way to make decisions, based on an arbitrary designation chosen by the vendor rather than empirical analysis. I find you an impressive character!

You should know that the dictum not to buy any dot-zero product applies mainly to Microsoft, who are notorious for not having a really stable release until dot-zero-one or dot-one, depending. Not everyone subscribes to this practice of labeling clearly late-beta software as gold.

I've made Mozilla my primary browser since around 0.9.3 or so, and especially once they made the jump to stripping out most of the debugging code, which tremendously improved the speed. With each release the product gets closer to a commercial-ready browser (since there was a fork, it's already a few iterations better than Netscape 6!). The -turbo feature allows it to leave most of its foundation resident under Windows, so you can start up a session quickly, the same way IE does. And though I didn't take to tabbed browsing under Opera (a few things about its interface just bug me), the tab feature in Mozilla is now completely second-nature. I click on a link with my middle mouse button, and the page automatically loads in a new tab in the background. This is absolute heaven for reading Metafilter or weblogs and beats multi-window browsing by a huge performance margin. I love having a keystroke to change font sizes -- I just wish more designers used relative sizes instead of specifying points, which I then can't change. Argh! All my style sheets use percentages.

There are one or two glitches, yet -- I seem to consistently "lose" cookies (mostly when my system locks up), requiring logging back in to websites and boards. But the password manager has a 100% record remembering, so it's not a huge hassle. There are occasional crashes, but now definitely no more than when I use IE (and I always seem to run out of GDI resources much faster with Redmond's "native" product, which is what caused me to try Moz in the first place). The text box code used to be wonky, which drove me nuts, but they've mostly fixed it (I dearly miss ctrl-shift-a for hyperlinks here and in Blogger, though). The sidebar/search pane is actually useful and much more configurable, and BlogTracker now lets you use a Netscape-style window -- another can't-live-without-it tool for weblog-reading. I've missed the Google bar, and I'm glad to see the blog point to a substitute; I'll have to try it.

Javascript has been improved to the point where a preference checkbox exists that lets you eliminate almost all pop-up windows that you don't intitiate with a mouse-click. Alas, javascript still fails some significant places, like the Javascript news menu at MSNBC. Also, I've recently had some blogs using the getElementByID trick to determine if I have a standards-compliant browser fail and serve me a low-band page. I dunno why that is, since it's definitely supposed to work.

I must say that 0.9.8 is a very fine release in many ways. Just beware that they have admitted that they've fallen into a cycle where the even-numbered releases are beta quality and the odd-numbered ones are more alpha. They've been throwing in useful features recently that have been found useful and stable, and it really doesn't seem to be slowing the development process down -- they've been keeping to their targets quite closely since last summer.

If you really don't like trying unproven software, once Mozilla reaches 1.0 it will certainly be released in commercial versions by vendors starting with Netscape. And that is likely to happen by late spring.

tru: Ever since they switched to using the Gecko engine, the overriding mission of Mozilla has been to deliver the most standards-compliant browser on the planet. It is completely rewritten from Netscape 4.x days, and full CSS works just fine. I'm not competent to judge DHTML, but some who are feel it falls short -- but that was several beta releases ago.
posted by dhartung at 1:55 AM on February 21, 2002

Not much to add to dhartung comments. I have been using Mozilla awhile and have had very good luck with it. My mouse wheel works just fine. Logitech mouse.
posted by bjgeiger at 2:44 AM on February 21, 2002

Gary: My mouse wheel works too but better mouse wheel support is due in 0.9.9, which should be relased next week.

Mozilla's DHTML support is better, if a little slower at present than IE. They use the w3c DOM, not the dodgy old Netscape thing. Obviously this means that Microsoft extensions/changes won't work but standards compliant coding will...
posted by nedrichards at 3:12 AM on February 21, 2002

Obligatory: now fully-built Opera for Mac. IE 5.0 running on 9.2 os is pretty damn good and fast (avec modem). No alternatives....
posted by ParisParamus at 4:29 AM on February 21, 2002

I meant NO fully-built.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:30 AM on February 21, 2002

I've just upgraded from 0.9.5 to 0.9.8 and the extra options with controlling JavaScript - being able to stop pop-up, pop-unders, etc should come in very handy.
posted by salmacis at 5:18 AM on February 21, 2002

I've missed the Google bar, and I'm glad to see the blog point to a substitute

What's to miss? Just set the the Moz default search engine to google (Preferences->Navigator->Internet Search->Default Search Engine). Then you can type your search parameters in the address bar, hit the down-arrow, then return and voila. I've never bothered with any of the other features of the IE Google bar.

(I've been using Mozilla as my primary browser since 0.7 and my e-mail client since 0.8.)
posted by jburka at 5:45 AM on February 21, 2002

Actually, PP, Opera 5 went final for Mac about a month ago. I've been using it off and on, and it's not bad. (Especially with IE 5.1 going super-sluggish after loading a few pages.) I like its popup control, except that it blocks even user-initiated popup windows—Mozilla still has the edge there. Much faster than IE on large pages, too, but it hogs all the CPU if you try switch apps while a page is loading. Still, it's worth a shot.
posted by darukaru at 5:45 AM on February 21, 2002

I would just like to note that the morphology of "Blogzilla" is all wrong--that should mean "a Mozilla-based blogging tool." What this guy wants is "Zillablog." (Everyone knows about Mozillazine, right?)
posted by rodii at 5:56 AM on February 21, 2002

Uhh... why? Just so you don't have to use IE?

I actually *like* IE 6.0. It's stable. Everyone codes for it. It deals with privacy standards, blah blah blah.

(I do, btw, use mozilla on my linux box, but I have a hard time understanding why anyone would use anything other than IE on a windows machine.)
posted by ph00dz at 5:58 AM on February 21, 2002

Well, ph00dz, I'm one of those people, so I'll respond. I *actually* like IE 6.0 too, but it has 1 infuriating 'feature' that I can't get around: I like to put my bookmarks on the toolbar, but in IE, clicking on a toolbar link will sometimes load the requested page in a differrent window or even open a new window.

Long story short, I downloaded Mozilla 0.9.8 and have been happily surfing away in it ever since. The nifty tabbed interface is just the icing on the cake.

BTW, a sad fact of life is that Mozilla runs better on Windows than either Mac OS, Mac OS X or Linux. It's more responsive, more stable and launches faster, even without quickstart enabled.
posted by boaz at 6:43 AM on February 21, 2002

Everyone codes for IE ? Last time I checked, only lazy coders do, oh and coders who think there isn't any other browser too.

Why not IE on Windows ? Because it's MS ? No, because it sucks. I use it only when a site is not browsable at all using a non-IE browser (gotta love wrong browser-sniffing and only-in-IE DHTML menus).
Oh, what's that other problem with IE ? IE's homepage sports a nice " Download the latest Security Patch" link. While IE does set a new standard in privacy, reliability, and flexibility, it forgets about security. Ever thought about General Motors saying "Look how shiny and fast our cars are !" but in footprints saying "Come install the latest security fixes so that you will survive a car accident" ?

Opera's interface is terrible. The only thing I'm told about Opera is that 'it is fast'. Wow, big deal. Now what about supporting css-styled HTML forms ? Maybe it's useless. Which is why Blogger in Opera is a joke.
posted by michel v at 6:57 AM on February 21, 2002

though i can't speak for mozilla users, i use opera instead of IE for a lot of reasons... speed (even though i have a broadband connection, i can still see the difference). mouse gesture navigation, toolbars/appearance customization out the "wazoo." when i want to search on google or amazon, i type in "g shibby" or "z tobaggan porn." more reasons? ctrl-alt-v, + and -, double clicking on words, f12, etc., etc... the UI works extremely well for me, and basically my only complaint lies in handling of flash. which i don't care much for in the first place. btw, 6.01 came out the other day.
posted by lotsofno at 7:04 AM on February 21, 2002

I just wish more designers used relative sizes instead of specifying points, which I then can't change. Argh! All my style sheets use percentages.

A man after me own heart! Too stylesheets lock-in the font-size. I have no problem reading xx-small, but some people need larger text. This issue is one of accessiblity and usability, but too many sites completely disregard it.
posted by StOne at 7:47 AM on February 21, 2002

Too many stylesheets lock-in the font-size, I meant. (It was off-topic anyway. Nevermind.)
posted by StOne at 7:50 AM on February 21, 2002

I'm so sorry your cat died.
posted by bryanboyer at 8:17 AM on February 21, 2002

Well, if you moved to Mozilla you could use text zoom regardless of the text being set in pixels. IE/Mac allows you to do this too.

IE6/PC is on my sh*tlist due to jumping a major version (however fictitious a label that is) with virtually no change in its standards support (specifically CSS2). There is an awful lot of CSS 2 (selectors, generated content, min/max dimensions) that if i used a huge majority of the browsing public wouldn't notice. And the few notices on the MDSN site re: future standards don't give me much hope for it. So I'll continue to use Mozilla as my primary browser on my PC, and flip between Moz & IE on my Mac (whichever is open).

As an aside, those who do choose to use Mozilla should really familiarize themselves with bugzilla. It's great for both real bugs as well as "evangelism" requests for such things as dhartlung's MSNBC navigation problem. I get a warm fuzzy feeling on the inside everytime I get an email that a bug I filed has ben fixed & closed.
posted by 10sball at 8:30 AM on February 21, 2002

A man after me own heart! Too stylesheets lock-in the font-size. I have no problem reading xx-small, but some people need larger text. This issue is one of accessiblity and usability, but too many sites completely disregard it.

If you're trying to lay blame for this, here's a possible culprit.

This is perfectly on topic WRT the ongoing browser war. Mozilla, IE5/Mac and Opera all allow you to resize text specified in pixels. Only IE/Windows and NN4 don't. That's be considered a browser quirk if those browsers didn't have ~90% market share.
posted by boaz at 8:33 AM on February 21, 2002

btw. Mozilla is looking to land the compact p3p (which is what I assume you mean when you talk about IE's 'privacy' support) soon. And they did support it 'first' (whatever that means) although that buggy code has now been removed.
posted by nedrichards at 8:48 AM on February 21, 2002

10sball: I was talking about Mozilla -- but now it appears I can't reproduce it. Perhaps I was running into something that was fixed recently? Or maybe I really am misremembering, since I haven't been able to fully give up on IE.

10sball: I tried filing bugs, but they always turned out to be duplicates (with entirely different wording I wasn't able to find) or unreproducible, so I was demoralized against participating. And I'm a fairly smart guy.
posted by dhartung at 9:05 AM on February 21, 2002

who's the genius behind the Mozilla installer? if their FTP servers are busy, you have to go through the whole install dialog all over again, just to retry the download.
posted by badstone at 10:15 AM on February 21, 2002

michel v: Blogger seems to be working better with Opera 6.0.

Lotsofno: Thanks for pointing out the double-click thing. Now it’s a lot easier to look up the big words people use around here. =)
posted by Gary at 10:23 AM on February 21, 2002

Advise a novice, please? I need to upgrade my browser. I'm using an antique Netscape 4.77 (I thought the MetaFilter sidebar was a myth until I saw it on my husband's system), and I was about to install Netscape 6 (I won't use MicroSoft IE) but both Opera and Mozilla sound more useful. I love the idea of being able to resize the type easily. Looks like both these will run on my Windows 98 PC but.... Uh, I know enough code to post a link to MetaFilter only because a MeFite kindly stepped me thru it. Would Opera or Mozilla be out of my league?
posted by realjanetkagan at 10:33 AM on February 21, 2002

realjanetkagan: Netscape and Mozilla are closely related, so the interface will feel more familiar to you. I like Opera better, but the interface can be daunting at first. There’s probably no harm in installing both and seeing how they treat your favorite sites.
posted by Gary at 10:45 AM on February 21, 2002

I can't seem to keep up with downloading the Mozilla builds so I downloaded Netscape 6 awhile back and it's been working very well, with no crashes and allowing me to do most anything that I usually do with a browser (I'm not that much of an ace on computers anyway so NS6 might have limitations that I'm not aware of. . .)
posted by Danf at 10:51 AM on February 21, 2002

the biggest stumbling block i have for mozilla, right now, is that i can't visit my site's email or anything as i can with IE. maybe it doesn't seem like much, but it really is.
posted by moz at 10:52 AM on February 21, 2002

dhartung: Well, bingo, that certainly is a fine way to make decisions, based on an arbitrary designation chosen by the vendor rather than empirical analysis. I find you an impressive character!

I was under the impression that the label of version 1 was a more or less universal indicator that a product is ready for people who are unable or unwilling to fix or compensate for major functional problems. I definitely fall into that category, and the fact that you even have a middle mouse button suggests to me that we are living in different universes in terms of the way we see computers and how they are integrated into our lives.

You berate me for believing in an "arbitrary" designation, yet you also eventually say:

If you really don't like trying unproven software, once Mozilla reaches 1.0 it will certainly be released in commercial versions by vendors starting with Netscape. And that is likely to happen by late spring.

So are you suggesting that I should go with version 1.0 because I will be comforted by the arbitrary number, or are you saying that, in fact, version 1.0 is more or less guaranteed to work properly?
posted by bingo at 11:27 AM on February 21, 2002

Opera's interface is terrible

On the contrary. Opera's interface is one of the main reasons I use it 99% of the time on the PC. Bring up my site's Links page, Alt-Shift-Ctrl-click my way down the list of blogs, they all open up in separate tabs. Shift-click the tab to close a tab. It's changed the way I surf the Web. Now when I have to use another browser, it feels awkward (and sluggish) to me.

Mouse gestures, too, are the greatest thing since sliced bread.

It does have some interface clutter, but you can turn off or customize the geegaws so they don't get in your way.
posted by kindall at 11:29 AM on February 21, 2002

Gary: "[N]o harm in installing both" sounds exactly like what my guy would say . Of course, that means I have to screw up my courage twice...but I'm so intrigued by your thoughtful note that Mozilla would be more familiar to a Netscape user (but that you prefer Opera) that I'll have to try both now. Much thanks!
posted by realjanetkagan at 1:24 PM on February 21, 2002

This is a bit off topic.. but can anybody explain why none of these browsers offer the ability to customize themselves as, say, Microsoft Office does. I'd like to put commands where I want them... for example be able to send page with a right click - but no browser since Netscape 4.7* has done taht, and no browser is flexible enough to let me put the command there myself.
posted by gspira at 2:41 PM on February 21, 2002

What do you mean "send page"? Send it where?

iCab for the Mac does give you a pretty decent amount of control over what shows up on your context menu.
posted by kindall at 3:04 PM on February 21, 2002

bingo: I'm saying that 0.9.8 works very well for me, and that is based on empirical testing. I feel it works better than the arbitrarily-designated Netscape 6.0 (which forked from Mozilla a few builds back, so there are many bugs that have been fixed). Other than the minor glitches I highlighted, which don't seem to be universally shared, I'd consider it a Release Candidate. As it is, the Mozilla team is sticking to a schedule where they get two more months to do bug-squashing.

I was under the impression that the label of version 1 was a more or less universal indicator that a product is ready for people who are unable or unwilling to fix or compensate for major functional problems.

If that is your standard, I would submit that Internet Explorer, version 6, has functional problems that require fixing or user compensation strategies. That's why I no longer use it. See, it is arbitrary.

kindall: I tried Opera's mouse gestures, and while I agree they're neat, they didn't feel natural to me.

context menus: I agree, being able to customize them more easily would be great. For me it isn't so much adding features as getting rid of the ones I don't want and rarely use. I'd like the ones I do use to be the ones that show -- maybe with an Office-style expanding menu for the others, or bolding them and setting them off. Actually, the XUL underpinnings of Mozilla should allow this, but presently that requires a bit of programming.
posted by dhartung at 4:13 PM on February 21, 2002

btw Netscape 6.2 is the latest Netscape build of Mozilla. I think that was based on 0.9.6 which was rather cool. Basically they're the same thing but Netscape is slightly easier to use for the uninitiated and has the AOL Time Warner bells and whistles added.

And the reason why Mozilla 1.0 is important? Because then there's an API freeze (at least on that sub-branch) and people can get coding around with the browser, knowing that they're hard work won't be wasted when some Mozilla hacker changes the way things work next week. I know I'm going to learn XUL and do a theme/skin.

As for Opera, I like it on the Symbian OS myself, where it's the only real browser (CSS, XHTML, JavaScript etc). Has anyone tried the Opera Composer? That might allow you to customise your browser to your hearts content.
posted by nedrichards at 5:29 PM on February 21, 2002

kindall - send page as in by e-mail. I can, of course, still click File and then Send Page, but I'd rather have it available by right clicking.

Sounds like i'd like icab, but i've been a pc user user since my apple ii plus died.
posted by gspira at 6:13 PM on February 21, 2002

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