lunes, 7 de junio de 2010

The Epic War of Browsers

Since Symantec released its report in 2005, Microsoft lobbyists have quoted the old document to make people believe that Internet Explorer is the safest browser today. Their idea is to tell users that Mozilla Firefox might make one's computer vulnerable to attacks.

Symantec, the company that flags Norton Antivirus, stated back then that there were 25 vulnerabilities in Firefox while Internet Explorer had only 13. This is the part that supporters of IE love to repeat. The part that they don't want us to consider is this:

1. The Mozilla Foundation started in 2003, so Firefox was a fairly young browser back then. Yet, its problems were solved in a period of THREE DAYS. Some of the noted problems of IE are still there today.
2. From the 25 problems in Firefox, only 8 were considered as real threats by Symantec ...the SAME NUMBER OF PROBLEMS THAT WERE FOUND IN INTERNET EXPLORER. This means that the young Mozilla product and Microsoft's 10-year-old browser WERE TIED REGARDING PERFORMANCE.
3. According to Secunia (a Danish company that checks the security of software products), up to 2010, IE keeps a total of 19 vulnerabilities that have not been fixed, while Firefox has only 3.

I have learned everything I know about computers empirically. Being a heavy Internet surfer, when I decided to use Firefox three years ago (I still used Windows back then), I discovered that IE was sluggish, prone to crashes and, above all, UNSAFE. I had little control over the browsing experience, which meant that I would catch lots of viruses by merely going online. I had to format my computer at least once every two months. By switching to Firefox, the number of infections decreased considerably. Of course I got viruses, but these came from USB drives, not the Internet. Thanks to the security add-ons in Firefox, browsing the Web became a less problematic hobby. I used (and have kept using) three add-ons:
1. WOT. It alerts you if you are visiting a dangerous site by blocking the page BEFORE you get in.
2. AdBlock Plus. This add-on blocks ads, which lets you browse faster and, at the same time, gives you protection against malware masked as Web page elements.
3. NoScript. It prevents Java script from executing. This might be problematic in some pages that require Java to run properly, but you can always choose to enable the scripts temporarily when you visit them (security implies a mild inconvenience, you know? Otherwise, we wouldn't have gates or locks in our houses. PROTECTION DOES NOT EQUAL COMFORT, BUT CONTROL!).

The argument that IE is the best browser because it is the one used most widely constitutes an AD POPULUM fallacy and a false perception. Many people use IE simply because it comes bundled with Windows OS and they know no better. However, if numbers justify anything, Firefox took 30% of the Web browser preference in November 2006 and kept going up. As a result, Microsoft launched its desperate spy campaign (I bet you have seen the dialog "Your system is vulnerable because the original settings have been changed, blah, blah") to make users who had installed Firefox commit to IE. Microsoft is saying that the slight decrease on the usage of Firefox in March 2010 represents satisfaction with IE8. I disagree. Firefox opened the eyes of users, so, depending on their preference, they now use Opera, Google Chrome, Safari, and even KDE's Konqueror.

This is the reality: In May 2010, the IE family (6, 7, and 8 combined) had a 26% usage while Firefox ALONE had a 46.9% usage. Combining Firefox, Opera, Chrome, and Safari, the IE defector percentage goes up to 64.9%. Times change, Ballmer...

As for me, I'm not going back to IE. Much less with IE8...Who wants a browser that requires 4 Gigabytes of space to try to emulate the browsing experience you get with one that needs less than 8 Megabytes??

By the way, a firefox is NOT a fox, but a kind of panda (Ailurus fulgens)! This is it:

This site has many good pictures of the cute animal:

16 comentarios:

  1. You wouldn't be able to install IE8 anyway!
    One can't help but wonder why so much resource-consumption just to browse the web. Is it all devoted to security and to enhance the browsing experience? Give me a break!

  2. Estrada, K
    I have to admit that I am one of those people who stopped using Internet Explorar and started usind Firefox, instead! It is true that people should be free in terms of choosing the kind of browser they want to use. Nonetheless, I must highlight the fact that Firefox is much safer and does not put your computer in such jeopardy as Internet Explorer does. Microsoft and Internet Explorer want to gain (or should I say "regain"?) more and more users, but they simply do not do anything worthy to improve their security resources. Firefox, instead, has not only improved its means of security, but it also has created other types of browsers so people can DECIDE which one they want to use. Besides the security aspects,this is, to me, one of the most important characteristics Firefox has.

  3. Good point, Karen. Diversity is healthy because it lets us ponder pros and cons to decide.

  4. Valerín, A.
    Windows, in fact, has created a mind game with its users meaning that if one should ever considered installing another type of browser into ONE’s personal computer you will experience a lot of problems: The blue screen attack!!!! Moreover, web browsing could be an unpleasant experience because of the amount of viruses your computer could get as well as the low performance experience from IE. However, I wondered why there are so many people who still hold on to IE? But then I realized that they are not holding on to it; on the contrary, that’s the only way they happened to know how to browse on the web. As a result, Microsoft has proven one more time that its monopolized empire owns people’s computers without their knowledge and they tell you exactly how to run it. Wake up! People have the right to choose. According to Symantec report IE’s “active-x” technology is considered one of the most vulnerable towards dialers, Trojans, spyware and adware on the web; technology that is not present on Firefox.
    In my personal experience, I read this publication three days ago and I decided to install Firefox on a mini laptop that I bought six months ago. I couldn’t be happier!!!!! Firefox has made my web browsing experience more pleasant; it has more than five thousand complements which makes it the most powerful browser I have ever seen: it is faster, virus free, and most importantly you can customized it according to your personal taste!!! What more can I Ask for?

  5. Logan, R
    I have tried Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox mostly because I had to share one computer with four other people whose tastes differ in great manner; fortunately I recently bought my own laptop. As a consequence of this new acquisition, I just kept using the browser that “came with the computer,” which, as you may already know, was Internet Explorer. In fact, I had never stopped to think about the other options available on the Internet and their benefits until I read this article. Without doubt, after learning the advantages Firefox has (screen customizing option, blocking, better security elements, and others) I committed myself to try it and compare it to Internet Explorer.

  6. Cuadra,R.
    It is true that Mozilla’s Firefox and other lately developed, mostly open source browser packages have greetly exceeded Internet Explorer in performance and security features; what’s more, most, if not all of them, are portable to different operating systems as well as portable gadgets. This in itself contributed to a much more rapid and quality centered progress of the competitor’s of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which is tied to only certain versions of its Windows platform. Although I think Microsoft has done a great job with their new Windows 7 operating system, the one thing they haven’t invested enough time in is making a secure and painless internet browsing experience, which has become the most important application in any operating system in the past years. I also know this wasn’t so when the first versions of IE appeared bundled with Windows 95, but times have changed considerably since those first days of internet, and Microsoft needs to catch up if they would like to remain a key player in this field.

  7. Ureña,M.
    I consider that the information and facts that you presented about these browsers are very accurate. There is no doubt that Mozilla Firefox has become one of the most used browsers due to its benefits and due to Internet Explorer vulnerabilities. In 2004, an Internet Explorer flaw almost caused a massive attack from a Russian server that could have compromised the security of the Internet. As a consequence, even experts from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) have questioned the usage of Internet Explorer when there are safer alternatives. Thus, why to continue using IE when there are better and safer possibilities? I already stopped using IE and the number of viruses in my computer has decreased significantly and, above all, I really like the possibility of PERSONALIZING my browser (something that you cannot do with IE)!!!

  8. be fair, I remember that long long time ago, when the dinosaurs were rampant on the land, IE was also customizable...but you had to go through a lot of hassle and the results were not satisfactory. I guess that's why MS dropped the idea.

  9. Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.

  10. Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.

  11. Ramirez, B.
    Even though Mozilla Firefox is a safe browser and can be customized, I use Google Chrome because it also has great security features and can be customized. In addition, I have seen a dramatic decrease in the amount of viruses in my computer since I stopped using IE. Moreover, I agree when you say that IE is an open gate to all kind of infections and undesirable software. When I used IE, I had to reinstall the OS on average every three months, and that was very annoying. In fact, I have more than one year using Chrome, and I have not reinstalled the OS. On top of that, my GC is customized as I want. Furthermore, I can even hide all bookmark bars and have a wider sight of my webpages. Finally, my GC does not allow those pop-ups to bother me anymore because it blocks them. I consider that people must know that they have access to different, safer, and higher-performance browsers, and they can choose the one they prefer.

  12. Hernández, S

    When I entered the university, I was not aware of the existence of Firefox. In fact, it was my 1002 professor who started using this browser in class and I was extremely interested in knowing how to use it. Some years later, I used Internet Explorer, and I experienced several problems when trying to download information; additionally, any time I surfed on the internet, my computer got thousands of viruses. As a result, many people prefer to use Firefox because users avoid this annoying experience and because Firefox offers the safety that IE DOES NOT PROVIDE. As I mentioned before, Firefox internet connection is fast, the spyware does not get on the machine, every user can change the look of Firefox ( By the way, I cannot do this with my current operating system, Windows Starter), and the most important aspect is that this browser is free! I truly believe in the advantages that open sources provide to users, and I suggest all the people to change their browsers; there are many more options out there! Break this marriage with Windows and all of its products, I will do it soon!

  13. castro, V.

    I definitely agree with you, Mechatotoro. Some years ago, I had a similar experience when I decided to start using Mozilla Firefox. At the beginning, I was afraid to use Firefox because many people claimed that this browser was unsafe. Then I realized that it was better than using Internet Explorer. Firefox is very stable, safe, and easy to use. It also comes installed with extraordinary browser add-ons, which are also known as extensions, and the capability of downloading new ones. Users may feel that they are the ones who have the control not only over their computers but also over the browser they are using. So, why do some people continue to use Microsoft's IE? Why are they not using Mozilla Firefox? Sometimes, people are afraid to use new browsers, but if they do not decide to leave their fear behind, they will never enjoy all the advantages that a browser like this one can bring to them. Since Firefox has more advantages and is more flexible than Internet Explorer, I must confess that even though I am still in the process of learning about internet browsers, Firefox has already fulfilled my expectations. Ironically, some years ago I was afraid to use it, but nowadays I just love it. Those who have already stop using Internet Explorer and decided to adopt the charming kind of panda (Ailurus fulgens) or Firefox will have a similar affection towards it. Once you experience the benefits it brings to you, you will find it irresistible.

  14. Vargas, P.

    I believe that everybody has the right to choose the browser they like. Two months ago, I asked a friend if he could reset my computer due to the great amount of viruses that it had. I turned on my computer after I gratefully thanked him for his help. To my surprise, I found that the IE icon was there instead of Mozilla Firefox! How could that be? Right now, viruses appear like magic! I have never thought of the different browsers and their features. I did not know whether they were customizable or not. Nonetheless, the desire of having a higher level of security and a satisfactory experience while using the internet is undeniable. I was very pleased when I had Firefox because it was faster than other browsers that I have used (and I meant IE when I say other browsers). In addition, viruses were not such a big problem when this “panda” was there; in fact, I did not have to reset my computer for MORE THAN TWO YEARS! The fact that my friend installed IE back then proves that there are people who still are under the dominance of IE and who, consciously or not, drag others down with them to a lifestyle in which changes are unacceptable.

  15. I just installed in my computer, epic browser is very beautiful and i loves facebook, orkut and gmail service of this browser.