take the browser plunge
June 18, 2004 1:31 PM   Subscribe

"It's time to tell our users, our clients, our associates, our families, and our friends to abandon Internet Explorer". Mozilla Firefox 0.9 and Thunderbird 0.7 are out, and today is a great day to make the switch from Internet Explorer and Outlook Express once and for all. Microsoft's own Set Program Access and Defaults feature makes it easy to set everything to use Firefox/Thunderbird and hide IE/OE completely.
posted by reklaw (82 comments total)
For everyone taking potshots at Microsoft for releasing buggy software, someone please explain to me why no one is bitching about Firefox 0.9's problems with SSL, extensions (any extension), etc? Even if the problem is just with the Windows Installer version, surely it's hypocrisy to overlook these bugs.
posted by riffola at 1:35 PM on June 18, 2004

Is it not possible that more security holes have been discovered in IE simply because it's more popular? And maybe endusers would be more keen on the switch if the version numbers started with a more reassuring 1 instead of a 0.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 1:45 PM on June 18, 2004

opera 7.51 > firefox
posted by lotsofno at 1:46 PM on June 18, 2004

I liked it when I installed it to my work PC and it copied all my settings and bookmarks over from my previous installation. I liked it less when I installed it to my home PC and it didn't. I miss my bookmarks. (Still love the tabbed browsing though).
posted by chrispy at 1:47 PM on June 18, 2004

I doubt many IT shops would roll out beta software. Yes, Firefox and Thunderbird have promise but let's wait until the bugs are fixed in the beta and we have 1.x versions before making a call to abandon IE. Firefox is still doughy in the middle.
posted by birdherder at 1:51 PM on June 18, 2004

Riffola, I don't think the bugs are being overlooked. This forum certainly indicates otherwise. I also think that people's attitudes towards the bugs are different; because there is an easy to access official forum for discussing the bugs, not to mention bugzilla, people feel more proactive and can see progress on the defects that concern them. Microsoft's development program, however--even assuming it wasn't stalled on 6.0--is a black box. That transparency, I think, makes people more comfortable with suing the software.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:52 PM on June 18, 2004

someone please explain to me why no one is bitching about Firefox 0.9's problems

Because we can do something about those problems. Firefox is open source, and thus, can be patched much easier. Visit the bugzilla section of the Mozilla site. You'll find lots of people bitching about Firefox bugs...but you can also see that most of these bugs have already been reported and are being fixed. When was the last major update to IE? How many security holes have been found in IE since that update? When does Microsoft plan on addressing any of these security problems? Firefox escapes our rather because A) it's not Microsoft and B) they're completely open about their bugs
posted by fatbobsmith at 1:52 PM on June 18, 2004

Umm, make that "using."
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:52 PM on June 18, 2004

...yeah, what monju said.
posted by fatbobsmith at 1:54 PM on June 18, 2004

Pretty_Generic: I disagree, seeing as Mozilla et al are open source they are likely more secure due to peer review. Security issues are generally patched the same day an exploit is found whereas we have no way of knowing how long IE security holes are left sitting.

I just find Firefox and Thunderbird much more enjoyable to use.

The real killer is that the 'zillas all run on everything (win/linux/mac/os2/embedded systems, etc ...)

On preview, what monju said.
posted by dotComrade at 2:06 PM on June 18, 2004

Is it not possible that more security holes have been discovered in IE simply because it's more popular?

Maybe. But there are plenty of other bugs besides security ones, and they will not be fixed. You'll have to buy a new OS to get them resolved. Moreover, Firefox isn't integrated into the OS.
posted by yerfatma at 2:07 PM on June 18, 2004

IE isn't as open as open source, but, via Zeldman and the WSG, Scoble tells us the IE team is listening.

Also, one of my favorite anti-IE desktop guerilla screenshots: "I am silly, don't click me."
posted by brownpau at 2:08 PM on June 18, 2004

Phoenix lost all my bookmarks, so I upgraded to Firebird, which lost all my bookmarks twice, so I just upgraded to Firefox. With the bookmarks that Firebird lost the first time.

However, each time I got the program to work, even this time, I've loved it. If you do go the Firefox route, do yourself a favor and install tabbrowser extensions, which gives you great control of the tabs and, even better lets you slip the tab bar to the bottom of your screen, which keeps your viewing area the same even if you open a second tab.

And they've added a slick looking download deal. But I could never recommend it to an average user until you can be certain that it's not going to lose your whole deal.
posted by CrazyJub at 2:09 PM on June 18, 2004

You people know you can just copy the bookmarks.html file in your profile folder and save all your bookmarks, right? The bookmark manager even has a import utility to migrate IE or mozilla bookmarks to Firefox.
posted by Hackworth at 2:36 PM on June 18, 2004

This is the 1st Mefi post for me after upgrading MOz to 1.7.

It doesnt want to launch from systray, quick launch or desktop shortcuts. It crashed when I tried to post to usenet just now.

Moz 1.5 hardly ever crashed. I may acquaint myself with the reporting agent, which i didnt in 1.5

So, Firefox: I need persuading (so I'll read the thread now...)
posted by dash_slot- at 2:38 PM on June 18, 2004

I've always been a Microsoft detractor (for better and worse) and I've tried time and time again over the past 5 years to get away from using IE. I've always come back to it before, much to my humiliation and frustration. It just worked so transparently, and all other browsers either required tolerance of occasional snafus/faults, or lacked advanced features I decided I couldn't live without.

But Firefox has completely and totally, 100% served all my needs, and it runs faster. I have yet to find the site it doesn't work with, or the IE feature I miss that I can't add with a simple plugin. I'm also hooked on loading all my "morning surf" sites in tabs with one click. I feel a little safer, considering all the IE security bugs that continue cropping up. I'm not looking back.
posted by scarabic at 2:44 PM on June 18, 2004

dash_slot, did you remove your previous profile mozilla 1.5 profile before upgrading to 1.7, or at least create a new one? re-using profiles tends to create problems, unless you delete your chrome folder from your profile folder.

if you are upgrading, consider using mozilla backup to save all your info, then delete your profile folder altogether before upgrading.
posted by Hackworth at 2:49 PM on June 18, 2004

metafilter: your favorite browser sucks.

On OSX firebird .9 is a miracle of speed and grace. I've set the minimum font size to 12 and (unlike other browsers) it doesn't break everything. I'm in love. Also worthy of note firefox really seems to make gmail look a lot better than Safari or Camino do.
posted by n9 at 2:51 PM on June 18, 2004

What scarabic said.

Plus, it's prettier.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:52 PM on June 18, 2004

If anyone needs more motivation to move over, consider some of the great extensions avaliable for firefox, like the sage rss reader or the web developer bar, as well as built-in popup blocking and tabbed browsing.
posted by Hackworth at 2:52 PM on June 18, 2004

Hackworth: Yes, that's how I got my current set of bookmarks. It's just that I'd rather not have to backup my bookmarks on a regular basis. And I know most people wouldn't.

dash_slot: well, it is pretty cool. the pop up blocking is really nice. From tools|options|web features, you can manage the popup blocking, disable javascript and java. The blocking can also be managed from an icon in the browser. Google search from toolbar, nice tabs and tab management - like you can drag your tabs around to reorder them, do a ton of things with each tab's settings. With extensions, that is.

Tons of extensions which are all really quick installs that cover a wide range of nifty features, like calendars, card games, livejournal clients, but also stuff like mouse gestures. Things to sort of customize the feel of the browser. You can also get, I now see, a bookmark backup extension, which turns out to be a 6k download. It's a nice development model, I guess, in that lots of people can solve problems like this with quick apps.

You may experience troubles with flash. I don't really do much plugin-intensive browsing, so I can't really comment. on that. Overall, cool, configureable features, requires regular maintenence. A fun hobby of a browser. VERY small download - 4.7 meg on windows. Certainly worth a try.
posted by CrazyJub at 2:59 PM on June 18, 2004

When I went from Mac to Windows for my main PC (for several reasons, which would be too long to explain right now) the one thing I missed was Safari. I loved it.
posted by benjh at 3:03 PM on June 18, 2004

Is it not possible that more security holes have been discovered in IE simply because it's more popular?

It's possible. If that is the case, isn't that better? Instead of loads of ActiveX controls constantly trying to install adware you get the lone XPI adware prompt.
posted by revgeorge at 3:22 PM on June 18, 2004

I don't think its time yet. How about we wait the few months it'll take to knock up the version number to 1.0 for both apps, and get around the "unfinished" claim that'll inevitably rise from a >1 number.
posted by Phatbank at 3:24 PM on June 18, 2004

I just wish Shockwave and Java would work out of the box.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:26 PM on June 18, 2004

I have been using .9 for a couple of days now. I have been using since .3 (Phoenix) and have .9 to be great for my Winders box. I have it installed on my Mac, primarily when Gmail didn't work on Safari. Safari keeps me on Mac for my primary browser, but I have been installing Firebird/Fox on machines I work on since .7 and have not had one complaint since Real started to cooperate better with it around .8 somewhere. 1.0 will be an easy sell.
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 3:28 PM on June 18, 2004

I've been exclusively using Firefox as my browser since it was called Phoenix, but .9 still ain't a final release, and it's certainly not ready for prime time. For several versions now, it's had a consistent problem where long pages never finish loading, especially on forum sites. At least that old bug where every few days your toolbar bookmarks would disappear got fixed. It also leaks memory, and after the second or so time it crashes from a long page, my whole system needs a reboot. OTOH, it is damn fast, and, if I am not mistaken, is the least bloated browser available. It does make Gmail look awful pretty....
posted by jbrjake at 3:31 PM on June 18, 2004

You people know you can just copy the bookmarks.html file in your profile folder

Hell, even easier than that, Bookmarks > Manage Bookmarks > File > Export (it doesn't sound easier, but it beats trying to find your profile folder).
posted by yerfatma at 3:34 PM on June 18, 2004

So far, I'm finding the smaller, faster and more clever Slimbrowser to kick Mozilla' dodgy ass six ways to Sunday. All the joys of a tabbed browser, none of the Mozilla headaches. I recommend it to people who find the Moz claims a little tall for the delivered experience.
posted by dong_resin at 4:11 PM on June 18, 2004

I downloaded .8 a few days before .9 came out (on Windows). The only issues I have had is .9 doesn't want to run Flash and my intranet log in doesn't auto submit/remember my l:p. But I think that is an NT security issue. I prefer it over IE loads.

On the Mac side I have had no issues with .9. I am also using 5b7 of Omniweb. I see Firefox as Safari with web/non-native widgets for the most part. It is nice to have genuine choice on the Mac when it comes to browsers. :)

From a HTML author standpoint I want Firefox to succeed simply because it helps the web grow. I don't think it has been in MS' interest to push web technologies nor do I think we will see this change until after Longhorn ships. But web standards should have maximized implementation.
posted by infowar at 4:18 PM on June 18, 2004

Y'all realize that (a) Opera has had all that and more for years; and (b) Opera is still ahead of Firebird.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:38 PM on June 18, 2004

Someone explain the appeal of tabbed browsing to me?

I admit, I haven't tried Firefox, and I primarily use IE. I do use Opera from time to time, so I'm not totally unfamiliar with tabbed browsing.

For me, if I want to have multiple web pages open at once, I don't see much functional difference between having them in multiple "tabs" in a single window, and having them in multiple windows. It's not that I think tabbed browsing is worse, I just think it's neither better or worse--nor really much different--than the multiple windows model. In my admittedly limited experience, that is. But I often see people talk about tabbed browsing as if it's the best thing since sliced bread. What am I missing?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:48 PM on June 18, 2004

Firefox .8 would never keep bookmarks for me, nor most of my personal settings.

I download firefox .9 and it won't even open. I completely uninstall and reinstall firefox, and all is well.

Don't get me wrong, I love firefox, and now my bookmarks are even working, but it's going to have to be a lot more stable before I suggest it to my family and friends, many who have trouble turning the computer on by themselves.
posted by justgary at 4:50 PM on June 18, 2004

I like tabbed browsing better because I tend to have a lot of different apps running at once, and so by organizing all the Internet windows I have open into one controlled space, it's a bit easier to control my desktop overall.
posted by dong_resin at 4:55 PM on June 18, 2004

Folks I have been using Moz for about 6 or more months. I love the no popups/tabbing/ speed of browsing.

I followed exactly the instructions on install.

If they want me to uninstall some chrome profile or other, it would be professional of them to at least tell me. No?
posted by dash_slot- at 4:59 PM on June 18, 2004

I also wish that the effing newsreader would d/l the effing posts every 1 minute, like I effing told it to.

posted by dash_slot- at 5:00 PM on June 18, 2004

Devil's Advocate: it is to some extent six of one, half dozen of the other. But here's how I use it.

In my links/bookmarks bar there are several folders, each full of various categories of bookmarks. When you click on one, you get a drop-down list of the bookmarks in it. Just like IE so far.

Firefox has an option at the bottom of each of those bookmark folders: "Open in Tabs." When you click on this, *all* of the bookmarks in that folder get opened in one window, in stacked tabs.

One of my folders is titled "morning." It's got about 20 bookmarks in it. Opening them all in tabs, first thing in the morning, allows me to read #1 while pre-load all the others behind it. And it doesn't create 20 windows on my computer (which is windows) . This allows me to keep my email, etc. also open and available in the taskbar without 20 other windows burying them.

It's not a huge difference, but it's one additional layer of windowing that you can use to your advantage.
posted by scarabic at 5:01 PM on June 18, 2004

Just crashed for the 3rd time tonite. Always as I try to post to usenet (free.uk.tv.bigbrother).

I do use feedback. I am running win98, with 192mB of RAM (I know, but its what I got). Anyway, its supposed to be lithe right?

When it crashes, it disappears from the systray - which makes the so-called quick launch option from resident memory a load of toss, too.

posted by dash_slot- at 5:08 PM on June 18, 2004

I love Firefox and Thunderbird. I hate MSIE and MSOE. My love/hate is purely based on experience - very negative with the MS products, very positive with the filthy commie open source hippy wares.

That is all.
posted by chrid at 5:09 PM on June 18, 2004

OK, no more from me. I'm gonna look for a roll back, somehow. Any advice - my emails in my profile.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:10 PM on June 18, 2004

Come on, now. What five fresh fish said and...mouse gestures.
posted by jaronson at 5:21 PM on June 18, 2004

Firefox has a number of mouse gesture extensions. Just saying.
posted by yerfatma at 5:27 PM on June 18, 2004

Someone explain the appeal of tabbed browsing to me?

For one, lots of windows clutters the desktop and the taskbar.

It fits the way I read lots of sites. When I read Metafilter, frex, I open the front page and then middle-click on all the stuff I want to read, so it loads them into new tabs.

By the time I get to the end, even when that only takes 15 seconds, the first comments page is up and running, even when there are 100 new messages. Then I (x) through them, and the (x) is always in the same spot on my screen, and the tabs are in the order I expect. That is, I get to the linked site, and read what's of interest, and then the next tab is the comments page -- I don't have to depend on XP to have layered the windows in the correct order, which it almost certainly won't for more than 15 windows.

Ditto if I'm googling for something -- I tab-open candidate links behind the scenes that keep loading as I peruse the google results, and they're all in the same place, and they're in page-rank order.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:29 PM on June 18, 2004

I want to have multiple web pages open at once, I don't see much functional difference between having them in multiple "tabs" in a single window, and having them in multiple windows. It's not that I think tabbed browsing is worse, I just think it's neither better or worse--nor really much different--than the multiple windows model.

Honestly, it mostly has to do with the fact that the 'back/forward' "metaphore" or whatever is broken. Websurfing is actualy more of a tree. I don't want to lose my place in a pace if I click a link, so I end up opening a lot of browser windows. Tabbing just helps me group things together, although I usualy forget to use it when I could.
posted by delmoi at 5:38 PM on June 18, 2004

Is anyone else tired of the constant Mozilla pimping? Look, I'm really glad that you're just so darn happy with your choice of browser, but how would anyone look at my posting constant exhortations to dump Firebird or Firefox or whatever they're calling it today and switch to IE?
posted by kjh at 5:38 PM on June 18, 2004

So, one thing I haven't quite heard yet - If I already use Mozilla (which I do), is there any reason Firefox would be better? It looks like it's pretty much the same thing with a different name.
posted by dnash at 5:40 PM on June 18, 2004

Firefox is much lighter and more nimble than Mozilla. I've been using it for about a year now, and this release is the first one that I'm recommending to others. It's free, and it performs noticeably faster than Internet Explorer. I can't see a reason not to use it.
posted by m'die at 5:44 PM on June 18, 2004

I would love to try out that thunderbird software but, "The requested URL /pub/mozilla.org/thunderbird/releases/0.7/thunderbird-0.7-macosx.dmg.gz was not found on this server." Been that way all week.
posted by cmacleod at 5:55 PM on June 18, 2004

dnash: it's a small thing, but I like having the googlebox in the same "line" as the url. Saves more space for the actual page over using a googlebar. Ay-und it's also an imdb-box and an amazon-box etc.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:19 PM on June 18, 2004

I ditched IE for Firefox when it was called Phoenix! That must have been about three years ago.. so all those people bleating about how Firefox isn't smooth enough to replace IE yet, whatever!

That said, now I have a Mac too.. and I'm using Safari because it renders text better and has a nicer way of closing tabs with the mouse. Its search bar is a lot suckier than Firefox's though.. and that search box is what makes Firefox so great, IMHO.. you can search IMDB, Amazon, Google.. whatever :-) (as explained by ROU above)
posted by wackybrit at 6:33 PM on June 18, 2004

Oh, and against the Opera bleating.. yes, it's a good browser, but it suffers a few flaws. We're not used to paying for Web browsers.. and you have to pay for Opera for it to look right. Secondly, it's closed source and they take longer to fix bugs (although they do tend to have less in the first place). It's no way near as extendable as the Mozilla family.. extensions *drool*
posted by wackybrit at 6:36 PM on June 18, 2004

How Microsoft lost the API war.
posted by moonbiter at 6:40 PM on June 18, 2004

Firefox is much lighter and more nimble than Mozilla.

I've not noticed Firefox to be much more nimble than Mozilla. But then I have a pretty fast Windows box, so maybe that makes up for it.
posted by moonbiter at 6:42 PM on June 18, 2004

I'm showing up a bit late to the party, but if you want to see a nice side-by-side comparison of the differences in page rendering speed between IE and Firefox (or any browsers, really), you should check out iconsurf.com. They've set up a page which selects 250 favicon.ico files, the little icons which appear by the URL in the location bar, and loads them inline on one page. The exercise of loading 250 small images from different servers provides an interesting, if not particularly typical task upon which to base a benchmark.

I picked up the link on Slashdot a couple of days ago. It's interesting in an anecdotal sort of way.
posted by mmcg at 7:08 PM on June 18, 2004

We're not used to paying for Web browsers.. and you have to pay for Opera for it to look right.
Not true. It depends on where you put the ads and the navigation buttons. The interface is fully customizable.

It's no way near as extendable as the Mozilla family.. extensions *drool*
One could argue that Opera doesn't need extensions, and also that relying on external code that may very well be broken by a new release for functionality you consider key is a bit silly.

Also, Opera is smaller, both in download size and in installed size, than Firefox. And Firefox needs extensions to be installed to match what Opera can do.
posted by sailoreagle at 7:33 PM on June 18, 2004

i downloaded firethorn and thunderball, i'll see if roger moore can answer my mail better than i can. i haven't installed fireball yet, so is it easy to open links in new windows/tabs and also, do those damn scripts that keep me from opening links in new windows cause a problem here? because if i can open links in new windows on pages with no-right-click scripts, that's one thing in firestorm's favor
posted by bargle at 7:35 PM on June 18, 2004

It took me a long time to switch from Moz to Firefox (at the time, Phoenix), but unless you need a newsreader and IRC agent, there's no reason to have the whole Seamonkey suite (I just wanted to add one more name to the cacophony).
posted by yerfatma at 8:02 PM on June 18, 2004

i love firefox for the tabbed browsing but it doesn't read a lot of the css many people use on their websites. so i keep using ie as well, to view sites the way they were really built.. also, i can't use firefox to edit html can i...? i build all my webpages using notepad in ie, and i don't see a feature like that in firefox... am i just not looking in the right place...?
posted by t r a c y at 8:09 PM on June 18, 2004

also, i can't use firefox to edit html can i...?

You can with it's uncle Mozilla, but I don't know about Firefox.
posted by moonbiter at 8:16 PM on June 18, 2004

holy freaking kittens, i just installed 0.9 and it all went to hell and won't even launch. they better have a download for 0.8 i can go back to, because they've lost me for the 0.9 round. dammit, the site won't load...
posted by t r a c y at 8:39 PM on June 18, 2004

Tabbed browsing: Recently I find myself forced to use Windows XP again and one of the things I find highly annoying is that when you start having lots of windows open, suddenly a window is two clicks away rather than one. (Behavior that seems to be echoed by OSX by default.) Tabbed browsing is one way to keep things in nice order. Usually I run Firefox with two windows, one to hold all of the web pages I check whenever I get bored, and a second to search whatever I'm looking to search for.

Opera: Tried it and thought it was OK, but ran into a deal-breaker with printing under unix that would have taken me too long to figure out. Also while both Oprea and Mozilla have a quick search function, Mozilla feels more intuitive to me for keyboard browsing.

MSIE and notepad: Bwah? Last I checked these were two separate applications?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:16 PM on June 18, 2004

One could argue that Opera doesn't need extensions,

Except for the fact that there are many features available through firefox extensions that aren't avaialable at all in Opera (and I've been using Opera since the days when it fit on a floppy).
Personally, I can't live without my Adblock.
posted by signal at 9:30 PM on June 18, 2004

So far, I'm finding the smaller, faster and more clever Slimbrowser to kick Mozilla' dodgy ass six ways to Sunday.

Slimbrowser is not a browser. It is more like a toolbar, with much tighter integration to Internet Explorer and many more features than your standard toolbar. It is software that runs in addition to Internet Explorer, not instead of it.
Win95+IE4 is the minimum requirement. Win98+IE5 is recommended. Slim Browser runs on all 32-bit windows systems, i.e., Win95/98/ME/NT/2k/XP/2003. A few minor features may not be available under win95. (1)
All the joys of a tabbed browser

It's tabbed browsing is vastly inferior, though different enough that some people may prefer the UI. The Gecko based browsers have access to a host of free extensions, not to mention the free API and source code, that allow users and third parties to change the behavior if they wish to.

none of the Mozilla headaches.

I don't know of many people with Mozilla headaches. There are a few websites that require Internet Explorer. These are sites who made a decision to not support browsers that make up a tiny fraction of their user base, not because Gecko based, KHTML based or other browsers won't work.

The Netscape branded Gecko browsers were widely distributed and by some estimates are more commonly used than Mozilla itself or Firefox. The Netscape versions lag significantly behind compared to Mozilla, but there's no real need for most users to use release candidates, alpha or beta releases.

And if you happen to be talking about the fact that Mozilla has a very different release schedule than IE, you need to understand that most people don't upgrade frequently, IE or Mozilla. Many people never upgrade IE. Upgrading IE through Windows Update can entirely trash your Windows install, requiring a reinstall in the worst case. In fact, I'd say in sheer numbers and in percentages, more people have IE headaches than Mozilla headaches.

I recommend it to people who find the Moz claims a little tall for the delivered experience.

Mozilla is an innovative browser and I've used it for years seemlessly on most sites. I didn't switch because of tall claims or any marketing at all. I switched so I could help. I admit, I don't fill out nearly as many bug reports as I used to, but I like to think that's because there are fewer bugs.

Opera is also an innovative browser, but I have no compelling reason to actually pay for it and even less reason to watch ads for the free version. I have various versions installed for testing, but I don't use it otherwise. It's a suite, not just a web browser. If you are hesitant to use Mozilla (the Gecko based suite), don't just use IE with some extra code running, like SlimBrowser. Use Opera.

I'll make these claims about Mozilla and Firebird:

1) The number of popups I've seen since starting to use Mozilla is effectively zero. (The reason for it being non zero is my line of work. I don't ever see popup windows I didn't create in the first place.)

2) Tabbed browsing changed the way I surf. I use one browser window, period. Nothing ever shows up that I don't explicitly give permision to. I prefer Mozilla's tabs to Opera's. None of the IE piggy back software is even close.

3) I've never had a security problem, despite the fact I don't run AV software. I've never had spyware, adware or other types of malware or viruses that are installed through IE or Outlook.
posted by sequential at 9:33 PM on June 18, 2004

1) The number of popups I've seen since starting to use Mozilla is effectively zero

ah yes, the total lack of pop ups - this is a thing of beauty and makes my heart glad.

MSIE and notepad: Bwah? Last I checked these were two separate applications?

yah, no kidding 8-) i like using them at the same time - opening notepad via ie to code, viewing the html in ie as i make changes to my code.

(i fixed my 0.9 installation by deleting my profile and rebooting)
posted by t r a c y at 10:13 PM on June 18, 2004

Since getting my laptop, I've been unable to use mouse gestures in Opera. It was a little distressing at first: I found mouse gestures pretty darn handy.

Then I learned to use the keyboard.

Wow. Screw gestures, Opera's keyboard rocks. (Except in mail, where it's lack of support for tabbing between panels continues to piss me off.)
posted by five fresh fish at 10:48 PM on June 18, 2004

Opera is a decent browser, even if its default toolbar/layout settings are odd-looking and (as is usual for almost all software) far too large. Unfortunately they made version 7 a paid-for upgrade after I had just shelled out for six (previously they had always given out one free upgrade), so they lost me there.

I still find Mozilla's interface too clunky, but Firefox is (almost) just right. Having to go back to IE when using other people's boxes is just painful now. Tabbed browsing is a signifcant factor in this.

Tabbed browsing *is* useful as a way of managing related web pages in a group. However it's still useful to have multiple windows as well - one group of pages for idle browsing, one for programming docs, and so on - which is why I didn't enjoy the old version of Opera's "use MDI *or* SDI but not both" interface.

I also think, though, that tabbed browsing is an interface strangeness that is nothing to do with web browsing and shouldn't be part of a web browser. I believe it should be possible to group any arbitrary application's windows together like this, at a window manager level. But given that this isn't going to happen putting it in the browser is reasonable for now.

As for more security holes being found in IE because it's more popular, there's definitely some truth in that, but it's not the whole story by any means. IE's basic design philosophy is just not geared to security, and it has a number of really boneheaded features, for example:

- access to all URL protocols, including dangerous Windows internal ones;

- access to parts of the OS through ActiveX controls, and inability to turn dangerous ActiveX controls and downloads off without IE constantly complaining that you should really be using ActiveX;

- the culture of adding more and more non-standard scriptable features of questionable usefulness without checking whether they might have security implications. See MSDN ex-Web-Workshop for the scary maze of objects and properties IE has sprouted;

- building browser UI from HTML with cross-site-scripting holes;

- the My Computer security zone, in which web pages on the local filesystem are displayed. The main problem with this is that any page stored locally has the ablilty to download and execute any code at all, and there is - unless you like hacking the registry - no way to make this Zone more secure.

Every browser has occasionally had cross-site-scripting holes, but the My Computer Zone makes most of IE's (non-occasional) cross-site-scripting holes into full-blown execute-arbitrary-code holes. MS have finally took notice and claim to have locked down the My Computer Zone in the forthcoming XP Service Pack 2. Hopefully this will improve things a little... we'll see.

Some aspects of XUL and XPI worry me a little, but I haven't yet seen the level of poor design in Mozilla as I have researching and reporting IE bugs. Not to mention the speed of fixing of course...
posted by BobInce at 11:02 PM on June 18, 2004

3) I've never had a security problem, despite the fact I don't run AV software. I've never had spyware, adware or other types of malware or viruses that are installed through IE or Outlook.

Nor have I, and nor do I, and I use IE/Outlook/OE. It's not rocket science.

I think the gecko engine render makes HTML look like ass, which is purely and completely subjective. It's a feel thing, and I don't like the feel.

This is why I use MyIE2, which, like the Slimbrowser dong_resin mentioned, is a wrapper for the IE renderer. In conjunction with Admuncher and a modicum of intelligence, all is well, and the web looks the way I like it to look (which is not the way it looks through the mozilla lens, unfortunately).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:06 PM on June 18, 2004

I just upgraded. It is much cleaner and faster. Along with my regular extensions, I added Moz calendar. Any opinions? I know there are a lot of bugs yet to be fixed, I just need a simple organizer and this seemed to fit the bill.

I'm having trouble sharing the calendar so that it is accessible at work and at home... I created an account here, but have not been successful linking to it.
posted by BentPenguin at 11:29 PM on June 18, 2004

Sequential, the major Mozliila headache is the messed up way it sees many personal sites, and also the often slow loading it does. Also mine issue lost my bookmarks.
Slim Browser zips along and renders pages as I'm used to seeing them. If it is in fact a only a lowly toolbar, then it doesn't feel like one, it feels like Mozlliza without making my harddrive grind for 20 minutes when I click an icon. Mozliila simply doesn't seem to integrate very well and often seems buggy.
In the month I've used Slim I've gotten no pop ups, no security problems, only pleasant zippy performance. I don't really care what architecture is in fact running underneath, gecko or whatever, I didn't switch browsers out of a zealot hate for Microsoft, I just wanted a better browser for windows. If you're in windows, particularly on an older machine, Slimbrowser kicks both IE and mozilla's ass completely.

Now, these only my opinions, so try to take it easy if your experience has been different. If as a species we can't remain passionless about our browser choices, soon we'll get into wars over goofy shit like religion or economic disparities. We can't have that.
posted by dong_resin at 1:45 AM on June 19, 2004

"my issue", I meant. The last one before the current release.

Or, reading back a few entrees, what the Wonderchicken said.
posted by dong_resin at 1:50 AM on June 19, 2004

avantbrowser for life!
posted by mcsweetie at 5:03 AM on June 19, 2004

skallas: IE uses a trick where they keep a socket open to a server after loading a web page, so that there's no delay between loading a page and loading a link from that page on the same server. It's a good trick for the client but can murder a web server.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:22 AM on June 19, 2004

Except for the fact that there are many features available through firefox extensions that aren't avaialable at all in Opera (and I've been using Opera since the days when it fit on a floppy).
Personally, I can't live without my Adblock.

This page on the Opera Wiki explains how to block ads in Opera. Pity filter.ini isn't documented - it's there, though.
posted by sailoreagle at 7:59 AM on June 19, 2004

I'm sticking with Firebird .7

I just can't stand Firefox .9's extension manager. It needs to be taken outside and shot.
posted by Veritron at 9:48 AM on June 19, 2004

Anyone having problems with .9 might want to check the release notes... the profile location has changed, and they recommend you disable all extensions before installing .9.

I haven't noticed many differences between .9 and .8... or between Thunderbird .7 and .6 for that matter. In any case, I haven't used IE on a regular basis in a long, long time.
posted by cratchit at 9:59 AM on June 19, 2004

I always hated blinking ads when reading news sites. Now I have Mozilla set to loop animated images only once. I recently installed the flashblock extension. Instead of a flash ad, I get a plain box saying "Flash (click to play)"
posted by jjj606 at 10:38 AM on June 19, 2004

What someone else said; I'll wait until Firefox reaches at least version 1.0 and the deafening roar of people complaining about crashes and lost data dies down. Until then, it's the stability of Mozilla for me.

The cutting edge is aptly named.
posted by Blue Stone at 10:48 AM on June 19, 2004

I find that Mike's Ad-Blocking Hosts file does the trick pretty nicely for me.

I always browse with GIF animation turned off, and I've recently turned all plugins off: the number of Flash advertisements has increased to the point where it's more a nuisance to have it enabled than disabled. And it's a, what, three-key sequence to re-enable it on an as-needed basis (F12 quick options, enable pl*u*gins, F5 reload page).
posted by five fresh fish at 12:58 PM on June 19, 2004

I'm with mscsweetie. Avantbrowser is great - fast, blocks ads, tabbed windows, mouse gestures (not that I use them), an active skin-making community, google/yahoo integration - really, it doesn't lack much and it's freeware! I found Opera aesthetically-challenged and I've never tried Mozilla, but with extra plugins to install, bugs, and the little tricks you often need to learn, Mozilla and the like just aren't appealing to me yet. I'll stick with the IE wrapper apps for now.
posted by Onanist at 11:33 PM on June 19, 2004

0.9 is the worst milestone ever. This is not the release you tell your friends about.
The thing is, it's "feature full" or whatever it's called, meaning all the features have been packed in but the bugs are still there (a lot more bugs than 0.8).
Stay off the "switch" talk until 1.0, 'cause this release sucks.
posted by mr.marx at 11:49 PM on June 19, 2004

Good guy, except when he releases a version that sends everything to, what was it, Something like that. Had me really puzzled as to why I kept getting not-found errors...


Always read his Everything Isn't, too. Should be required MeFi reading...
posted by five fresh fish at 12:10 AM on June 20, 2004

I hate to jump into this thread so late, but for the record, my company has switched to FireFox on my recommendation for many of the reasons alread stated here. We've had problems with people screwing up their PCs with adware, spyware, and viruses that were installed without their knowledge or through inattentive clicking, and FireFox has eliminated them. That alone is worth the price of admission. The fine-grain JavaScript controls, no ActiveX support by default, few, if any, security holes, and not being tied in to the operating system make it great for the IT guy who has to clean up users' messes!
posted by billpena at 5:48 PM on June 20, 2004

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