Firefox needs to raise its game before IE 7 goes mainstream

This content is 18 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

At the risk of offending almost 27% of the people who visited my website this month, I think Mozilla Firefox has lost its way. The last couple of times it has updated itself on my Windows XP SP2 machine, it’s crashed (taking with it all of the tabs that I have open – possibly representing a couple of days worth of work in progress or things to look at further when I get a few minutes).

Add to that the fact that too many developers are still producing badly-written websites that are not standards-compliant (not the fault of the Mozilla developers, but still hindering me as a Firefox user) and we have a very unhappy user who keeps on having to go back to using Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). It’s not just people like me who write bad sites either – according to SiteMorse, the worst site belongs to Tesco (the biggest retailer in the UK, which now accounts for more than £1 in every £8 spent on the high street). If I have to use two browsers I might as well stick with the one that works with every site I go to, and unfortunately, that’s the one produced by everyone’s favourite monopolistic software company.

It doesn’t get better when you look at vulnerabilities either. James O’Neill (who, admittedly, works for Microsoft), highlighted a report by Bit9 that lists the top applications with critical vulnerabilities. Surprisingly for me (and for many others, I presume) IE is nowhere to be seen and Firefox (v1.0.7) tops the list (although v1.5.0.4 is the latest release as I write this).

Open source had its chance to take back the web. If the Firefox reliability doesn’t get better, then we’ll just see Internet Explorer 7 take it back (IE 7 seems very good, although despite Microsoft pledging a commitment to web standards it still seems to be lacking in the standards compliance department – the version in Windows Vista beta 2 fails the ACID 2 test, but so does Firefox v1.5.0.4 on Windows XP SP2).

Even if Windows Vista encounters further delays, IE 7+ (and IE 7 for Windows XP users) will hit the streets soon (beta 3 of Internet Explorer 7 was released yesterday).

Mozilla needs to raise its game and further increase its share of the market before Microsoft wins the latest battle in the browser wars (ownership of the domain name is not going to be enough).

3 thoughts on “Firefox needs to raise its game before IE 7 goes mainstream

  1. You said it all when you point out that the folks at bit9 dot com are critiquing an out-of-date version of Firefox. Their list of “vulnerable applications” is dated 2006, but the version of Firefox they criticise is old.

    And these are touting themselves as knowledgable advisors to corporate system administrators??

    My bank (Wells Fargo) has denied me access to my account online, running Linux and Firefox because of inaccurate advice from people like those at bit9.

    BTW IE6 on my XPpro laptop doesn’t pass the Acid2 test either.

  2. I’ve just discovered that Firefox (un)reliability is not an exclusively Windows issue as v1.5.0.6 has just crashed on my Mac, taking 8 tabs with it (I’d previously postponed a request to restart Firefox after it spontaneously updated itself to v1.5.0.7). When it restarted it said that:

    “Firefox has been Updated

    You are running Firefox with the latest updates for stability and security.”

    Hmm… let’s hope that Firefox v2.0 is more reliable.

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