Sunday, July 30, 2006

Why Firefox is NOT 'Safer, Faster, Better' | Gil's Method

IE is built into Windows, and my feeling is that that was done primarily to win idiotic "Which browser loads fastest" benchmarks that Ziff-Davis and the like ran back in the 90s. All you have to do to not have to wait for your browser to load is to never exit it completely. Generally I keep my browser (Firefox) open all day, particularly these days when so much of what I do is web-based. Netscape once had (may still have) a gadget that loaded when you started Windows and kept the Netscape browser resident and ready to go too. Worked just as fast as IE. But I really don't want that, and there is a good reason.

For anyone that has programmed complex systems or even has a smattering of computer training (that would eliminate the author of the original article I think) you know that there is an advantage to completely closing down an application from time to time and that is to free up buffers, de-fragment memory a bit, and (again) these days, terminate all those nasty hidden background activities that so many web sites start up and forget to terminate themselves (or intentionally leave running for that matter).

No, you can't completely restart IE without re-booting. Poor Windows users. I no longer -R- one of them. Which brings me to the biggest advantage of Firefox: It runs on everything. I run Firefox on OS X, I run Firefox on Linux. When I dabble in one of the BSD based systems I run Firefox there. I run Firefox on my old iBook running Debian and I've run it on PCs loaded with Red Hat, Suse, Linspire, and a few others. With the exception of specific version differences, it's the same in all these environments. I can even run multiple versions of Firefox on different computers at the same time from the comfort of my desk. Try that with Windows without using some pig-slow special purpose program. Of course if I HAD to run Windows for any length of time, I could run Firefox there too, and not have to deal with the nagging defects in IE (like no tabs for the last three years, no pop-up blocking, dozens of controls on by default that need to be turned off for security, and so on).

Sorry, but after you've seen what you can do with a real operating system, these Windows users look like they need training wheels. Get off the information superhighway! You don't belong here. Maybe the best thing after all would be for Microsoft to have a special "kids" network for Windows users to play in. I'm sure it will be a big success, and it will keep the children out of our way. Run along and play with your IE7 now. I want to see you back home and washed up for supper young man. Now scoot!

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