Comments for Why I don't recommend Firefox

Excerpt: Why Firefox isn’t ready for an aggressive marketing campaign. Read the whole article…

Benjamin Niemann
September 6, 2004 2:23 PM

I don't think that a user as you described him will ever visit the Firefox homepage - why should he/she without knowledge what this 'browser thing' is. These people probably don't know anything about the junk on their computer, until someone explains why it became so slow. The only way to get these users to use anything else than the pre-installed browser is by force - once their computer gets unusable because of spyware, dialers... they ask someone for help, who installs an alternative browser (e.g. Firefox) and gives them a few words of advice (just as you did for your wife). And when it comes to usability: if you list usuability issues for Firefox and IE side-by-side, the IE list will probably be much longer. Users just got used to it - and they will get used to Firefox, once they understand that this is the only way to keep their computer clean. That's at least what I hope ;)

Chris Beach
September 6, 2004 2:52 PM

After testing the 0.9.3 version of Firefox I was thoroughly disappointed. And not just because of the UI bugs. It concerns me that Firefox is being pushed as a "safer" alternative to Internet Explorer. It remains a beta product and has a serious spoofing issue as the browser is written in XUL (application markup language), yet will execute remote XUL with no warning. A spoofer can completely re-write the interface of the browser, right down to the auto-completing address bar (with any address you like!), and spoofing the SSL padlock and certification screen. Many Mozilla Evangelists (an organised phenomenon) are aggressively attacking the reputation of Internet Explorer in order to try to claw market share for their own product. I've seen some ridiculous arguments, like one chap who responded to a forum post about server outages on "it appears to be better in Firefox." And the problem is, the layman will see these and be none the wiser. It's a cynical campaign, and like you say, very counter-productive. Some of the UI bugs are very obvious. Ultimately, by making a fuss about security and spyware, the "evangelists" only diminish consumer confidence in the Internet. The open-source community used to demand that MS lock down security in Windows and IE. Now MS have spent almost $1bn and 1 year on this effort. The freely available Service Pack 2 for Windows XP seriously diminishes the threat from malware. And how do the evangelists and open-sourcists respond? They get straight to work trying to convince others that SP2 is "dangerous" and "flawed." I feel sorry for the computer industry as a whole to suffer at the hands of such self-serving zealots

Terrence Wood
September 6, 2004 2:53 PM

I've just installed FF 0.9.3 over the top of 0.9.1 and nothing broke... so there must be some improvement in upgradability. As a mac user it would be nice if FF worked the way it does _and_ used the cocoa framework (nice screen widgets, preference dialogs, emacs key bindings). As a web designer the plugins and standards support make FF an indespensible tool. I agree with your point that what FF is lacking is a convincing marketing campaign aimed at novice users. The benefits, while real, need to be expressed in terms un-web-savvy people will understand. The browse happy initative ( goes a long way to motivating people to upgrade their browsers. It is probably a better campaign to support than the 'get Firefox' one if you want to encourage people to upgrade their browsers.

Trackback from Gadgetopia
September 6, 2004 4:06 PM

Firefox: Only for the Geeks?

Excerpt: Why I don't recommend Firefox: Adam doesn't think that Firefox is ready to be unleashed on all users just yet. He makes some good points. Firefox right now is very good for an experienced net user, but is not at...

September 6, 2004 4:11 PM

Personally I see it like this, if you haven't used a program much, then keep your thoughts to yourself. Badmouthing a program does the rest of the interested people nothing but push them away. So far over have of our clients have "converted" over from IE and are extremely happy.

Adam Kalsey
September 6, 2004 4:50 PM

Personally, I see it like this... If you can't read (or won't be bothered to do so) and only want to respond with knee jerk flames to someone offering criticism of something you like, then you should keep your coments to yourself because they only serve to make you look like an utter moron. "I dont think I ever have recommended Firefox. *I use it* ..." But then again I shouldn't expect less from someone with an ego problem large enough to call themselves TechGod. You may also be interested to know that Asa Dotzler has expressed appreciation for the feedback. You see, most people are very happy to get advice on how to make their product and their marketing better. You go ahead and live in your fantasy world that all is perfect with Mozilla. But if you want to play with the big kids and overtake a product that is installed by default on 90% of new computers sold, you'll have to come out of your treehouse at some point and face reality. You'll have to build and market a product that's better than the competition by leaps and bounds. Because the average consumer isn't going to install a new piece of software that offers them very little perceived benefit over what they're using now. So why don't you take your pent-up teenage rage and put it to something constructive like fixing some of the Firefox bugs? Or you can just continue to pretend the bugs don't exist and go back to playing with your action figures. It's all the same to me.

Trackback from DaveDorm
September 6, 2004 5:10 PM

Firefox Opinions

Excerpt: Adam Kalsey is a highly respected blogger and developer. I take notice when he writes something, and I was a little surprised to see that he does not recommend Firefox for the Average Joe User. I have to disagree on this point with Adam. IE is dange...

Joe Clark
September 6, 2004 6:17 PM

Another in the long line of overcorrections to a surfeit of good press a new technology receives. People who are too clueless to know what a browser is should have their clueful friends come over and explain it to them. Then they'll know. Those same friends can switch them away from IE/Win. Seriously, you can't expect browser makers to optimize their products for people who (as is implied in the posting here) type every single thing they want to get to, even URLs, into the Yahoo search box. While many Internet concepts are hard (what *is* DNS?), the idea that you use a "browser" to "browse" Web sites is not hard. We can reasonably expect a certain degree of audience participation in the task of improving the browsing experience. On the other hand, Mozilla could easily write FAQs and benefits lists for non-technical people and for technical people. The same concepts can be explained in different terms.

September 6, 2004 6:18 PM

Chris, I tried to test that spoof in my Firefox install (out-of-the-box defaults, only extension is Web Developer toolbar which I disabled), and got... an XML error, choking on an unknown entity. Who would have thought that XML's draconian error-handling would come in handy like that...

September 6, 2004 7:19 PM

Chris: I would be very interested to hear about any unpublished security issues you've run into in Firefox (above and beyond the XUL issues mentioned).

Adam Kalsey
September 6, 2004 7:46 PM

_You can't expect browser makers to optimize their products for people who type every single thing they want to get to, even URLs, into the Yahoo search box._ Why not? What I'm suggesting is that we start to understand what the target market *needs* rather than just building something that sounds interesting. Who's the application designed for? Find out what they want, how they work. Spend a few hours or days in a usability lab watching users and what they do as the use the Web. Find out what problems they have and "fix the internet" for them. The only way to make a user stop using Internet Explorer is to give them something compelling to switch to. And the only way to do that is to find out what they really need. It's easy to forget the difficulty that most computer users have with understanding the most basic computing concepts. Again, it's not that they are stupid, but they don't spend all day working on this stuff.

Trackback from Cameron's Thoughts
September 6, 2004 8:27 PM

Adam Kalsey on Firefox

Excerpt: After reading Adam Kalsey's post about why he doesn't recommend Firefox, I can tell he really understands the general computer-using population....

Trackback from Fulton Chain :: Link log
September 6, 2004 8:40 PM

Kalsey on Firefox

Excerpt: Why I don't recommend Firefox. I disagree with every word, but it's an elegant argument....

Trackback from Funtime Franky
September 6, 2004 8:42 PM

Firefox ready for mainstream use?

Excerpt: Adam Kalsey obviously hasn’t bothered to actually use Mozilla Firefox for a reasonable amount of time before coming to the conclusion that Firefox isn’t ready for mainstream use. Had he done so, he would know that Firefox is already much...

Cameron Adams
September 6, 2004 9:09 PM

I think that it's pointless to target marketing at users who don't know what a browser is. The amount of education it would take to actually make them aware of the issues and what they have to do to get around them is an almost impossible feat. In my experience, those sort of people use whatever is put in front of them, so it is far better to target the people who organise the technology for these people, who have the greatest influence over their computing environment -- be they system administrators or just knowledgable relatives. It's much easier to reach these people, because we at least know *some* of their language -- but they're not necessarily web developers -- and I think that a lot of people working with the Web forget that there are lots of technology professionals who are not aware or don't care about the whole Firefox vs. IE issue. Convert *those* people before you think about converting the unwashed masses, and you'll have a powerful force at your side.

Andy Baio
September 6, 2004 10:45 PM

The problem is that "normal" users would love a replacement for Internet Explorer, largely because of the endless problems with spyware and popups. They don't care about tabbed browsing, extensions, or anything else... They just want a browser that works. My uncle was having those common problems with Internet Explorer, so I told him to install Firefox. The installation went fine, but he had several questions about using it. His first, unbelievably, was one that Adam mentioned: he couldn't figure out how to use the Search and Location bars because they lacked a "Go" button. I told him about hitting "Enter," and also added the "Go" button for the Location bar. (There's no button option for the Search bar.) His second problem was with a blocked popup window that he actually wanted. I showed him how to unblock it. His third was that he lost his "Favorites" in the transition, and couldn't figure out how to add new "Favorites." I imported his old bookmarks (which should have been handled by the installation, but weren't), and showed him that Bookmarks were his old Favorites. If the Firefox team really wants to make the leap to a complete drop-in IE replacement for all users, they're very, very close. They just need to sit behind their relatives while they make the upgrade, and make the appropriate changes.

Philip Tellis
September 7, 2004 12:26 AM

I configured firefox for my dad to use. Set up google as his home page (we have a 24 hour internet connection). If he wants to go somewhere, he can type whatever it is he wants in any of the text boxes on screen and it will get him there, or close enough so he knows what to do next. My dad is a clueful user. He will read stuff that comes up on screen and try to understand it. He'll make a note and ask me later if he doesn't understand.

September 7, 2004 3:57 AM

You fail to mention the one major reason why people are moving to Firefox - security. Any of the other "flaws" you mention about Firefox are pedantic when you consider the serious nature of the security flaws in IE.

September 7, 2004 4:09 AM

>Why not? What I'm suggesting is that we >start to understand what the target market >needs rather than just building something >that sounds interesting. Who's the application >designed for? Find out what they want, how >they work. Spend a few hours or days in a >usability lab watching users and what they do >as the use the Web. Find out what problems >they have and "fix the internet" for them. If it worked like that, all those people you are describing would be using set-top-boxes to use the internet, they wouldn't be using ("real") PCs. Apparently it does not work like that in this case. I also agree, that the Firefox Homepage is not doing it wrong, but they are simply not targeting the people you are describing. And they are not doing this by mistake, but for strategic reasons, as have been explained by lots of other comments. You have probably heard of chandler, which is supposed to become a MS Outlook Replacement. Have a look at their roadmap, and their strategy for adoption: Look familiar? I am not saying that chosen way is the best, but it helps the discussion go in a constructive direction, if some motivation beyond "they didn't know better" is assumed and argued with. >The only way to make a user stop using >Internet Explorer is to give them something >compelling to switch to. And the only way to >do that is to find out what they really >need. I can only comment from my own personal experience, and don't know wether this can be generalized, but: The people _I know_ that don't know what a browser is, and are only concerned with using their PC as a tool, would never install Firefox or any other Software no matter how good a job the Website did with finding out needs and delivering the perfect software with the perfect marketing. Instead they would ask me (or some other at least barely PC-literate person) to do it for them, because they don't want anything to break. The only people _I know_ that actually install Third-Party Software are, at least to a degree, interested in the technical side, that they will read and try to learn, or just simply experiment if it seems worth the trouble. And those are also people that would not be "totally" lost on the firefox homepage. IMHO the strategy that Mozilla is following with Firefox is OK. They are going after geeks or wannabe geeks, because they are the ones that influence the "regular" internet crowd. And this strategy is flanked by activities like and the like, that raises the interest of other people and IMHO achieves what you are expecting from Mozilla. Do I recommend Firefox for Novice-Users? Yes, although from a "necessity"-viewpoint IE with SP2 is no worse than Firefox, with some help and introduction in the long-term they are better off with Firefox, IMHO. Because IE Development is back into hiatus after the minimal imporvements of IE. Also: Installing SP2 also breaks some of the expected behaviour of IE users. So while they have to re-learn stuff anyway, I at least want to make sure it is worth their effort.

September 7, 2004 4:10 AM

Philip, a "clueful user" is, IMHO, what every web surfer should try to become. And this is not complicated but simply a matter of learning. My dad is such a user, either. Anytime he doesn't understand an error message (sometimes, there are errors. They are inevitable. Network problems is an issue the user has to learn about!) or sth like that, he asks afterwards. And next time it happens, he probably knows how to handle it. Or he simply asks again. No problem!

September 7, 2004 5:04 AM

I used to have IE and firefox visable on the desktop. I came home one day to find myself infested with spyware. Seems my husband had been using IE when I wasn't around (but used firefox when I was at home) No amount of cajoling worked on my husband until I had spent a couple hours cursing the difficult removal of some spyware. The guilt was enormous with offers of purchasing spyware removal tools etc. I'm an experienced computer user, my husband is not. He was forced after that experience to learn how to use firefox. If he has questions, he asks. I don't think your arguments as to why this is not ready for mass distribution are warrented. If my husband who doesn't understand that the right mouse button serves a purpose and can use firefox - anyone can. You just have to install it - go cold turkey on the IE and teach them ... ps: opera doesn't have a "go" button either

Trackback from Asymptomatic
September 7, 2004 6:33 AM

Switch to Firefox

Excerpt: Adam Kalsey is the first person I've seen who does not recommend Firefox as the default browser for the masses. I find this position curious because his point about what things do and don't work in Firefox are pithy for a pre-release product compare...

Trackback from sententia fredericiana
September 7, 2004 6:41 AM

Warum ich auch Otto Normalverbraucher zu Firefox raten wrde

Excerpt: In "Why I don't recommend Firefox" schreibt Adam Kalsey, warum er den jungen Mozilla Browser Firefox für den "Otto Normalverbraucher" für ungeeignet hält. (gefunden über Google Blogoscoped) Firefox bugs die dringe

Trackback from $ cat /dev/brain > /dev/blog
September 7, 2004 7:01 AM

Warum auch Frdric Firefox empfiehlt

Excerpt: Frdric schreibt in seinem Blog, warum er Firefox empfehlen wrde. Damit steht er auf ganz anderer Position als Adam Kalsey, der Firefox noch zu viele Kinderkrankheiten und Unzulnglichkeiten (auf Englisch) vorwirft. Tatsache ist doch, dass jeder Brow...

September 7, 2004 7:12 AM

The same people who might shy away from Firefox for the reasons you mentioned are usually the same people that figured out how to use Napster or Kazaa to download their music. If people want something badly enough, they'll figure it out. All these P2P file sharing programs didn't need a grassroots campaign. As you mentioned, most of the items listed on the website probably just go over the heads of regular people - Firefox needs to be much more compelling to be the next "must have" software for the average person.

September 7, 2004 7:31 AM

"I feel sorry for the computer industry as a whole to suffer at the hands of such self-serving zealots" Okay...who let the MS-zealot in here? Anyway don't fall for Chris Beach's straw man arguements. By any account Firefox is still a better, safer browser. The idea that migrating to Firefox from IE is anything but a massive win for standards and safety is only one that a total MS zealot could buy into. Notice his jabs at the Open Source community at large. This guy obviously has a grudge against OSS in general and just wants people to stick to commercial proprietary technologies better or worse. I've installed Firefox for many people including secretaries who somehow despite all is claimed problems have gotten along just fine. And sorry but making qualms about spyware IS the right thing to do. Millions and millions of dollars and workhours are spent by hapless consumers because MS couldn't be bothered to design a browser that is even remotely safe to use. The horror stories I've experienced because of IE are too many and too painful to recount. After I've spent hours working on a spyware infested machine and the client gets the bill suddenly the realization that using IE can cost real money in downtime becomes real obvious. Internet Explorer IS a threat to consumer and business saftey and should be avoided when possible. These consumers who Chris says that mozilla advocates take advantage of are much better off with Firefox then they ever will be with Internet Explorer.

September 7, 2004 9:10 AM

Since we're all having fun whacking Adam with trackbacks, here's a note about a Firefox bug that inadvertantly resurrects the most horrific HTML tag ever (see the bottom of the post): There, Adam, I threw you a bone. Now, back to bashing you...

Rakesh Pai
September 7, 2004 12:46 PM

I think you really go overboard in this article. I have still to meet someone who transitioned from IE to FF and had a bad experience. Most users have either found ways to do what what they wanted to, or adapted to better features. Users are probably not as dumb as you make them out to be!

Trackback from
September 7, 2004 1:06 PM

Why I don't recommend Firefox :: Kalsey Consulting Group

Excerpt: Why I don't recommend Firefox - Adam Kalsey sums up some of the troubles with Firefox. [via]

September 7, 2004 2:57 PM

While i use and love Firefox i tend to agree that it really isn't for novices and as such only has limited appeal at the moment. No matter what you think of Firefox and how much you may or may not love it,the point about the article is that in its current form it's not going be taken up by 90% of the people out there. I'm all for offering a small download but Firefox's initial layout and tab behaviour (it still opens seperate windows until you add change it or add an extension) will just confuse the initial convert. Firefox is the best browser out there in my opinion,but only for those with a moderate degree of net savvy,which is probably not a large percentage of the target market sadly.

September 7, 2004 3:40 PM

"Aggressively marketing Firefox before it is a completely stable product is dangerous." Are Windows XP, IE 6.0 or any Linux distro completely stable products? I don't think so.

Trackback from Musings
September 7, 2004 3:49 PM

Firefox is *NOT* Recommended?

Excerpt: Adam Kalsey is a well respected developer in the community. So when he wrote a blog post "Why I don't recommend Firefox", people sat up and noticed what he was talking about. So did I. Adam makes a strong comment and justfiably so that Fi...

Adam Kalsey
September 7, 2004 3:52 PM

Too bad I can't mod the trolls down on my blog. Is Linux being marketed to the general public? Is it a successful product outside the geek space? Firefox strives to be a mainstream product. In order to win marketshare from IE, Firefox must be better than IE. And not just by a little bit, but by leaps and bounds. If you want to overcome a product that comes for free with 90% of computers sold today, people need to be compelled to switch. Pointing out that IE isn't perfect is irrelevant. It already *has* the market share. Perhaps you've heard of inertia. Things tend to stay in the state they're currently in. People will tend to stick with the product they currently use.

Rob Foxx
September 7, 2004 3:55 PM

Although I have been a user of Firebird/fox for over a year now, and very happy with it, I have to say I agree with a few of the points made by Adam. The developers are an arrogant bunch, forcing a product to market on a meaningless, arbitrary deadline, rather than concentrating on nailing the bugs and usability pitfalls of the default install before launch. No technophobe wants to download extensions or customise their browser, yet they may find the default install of Firefox a bit too spartan forr them to feel comfortable. People are afraid of change - it's in their nature, and I don't think the Firefox marketing bods can see that through the rose tinted spectacles.

Mike Potter
September 7, 2004 4:11 PM

I see alot of comments about the avg. user. Either this avg. person is a complete dolt or most of you are mistaken about how smart your neighbour(friend,father etc.) is. let's face it argueing over a browser is insane. They are all basically the same. Its like arguing about where all the dials go on your dashboard

September 7, 2004 4:57 PM

I love Maxthon ( It's based on IE. My favourite feature is that i only need to drag a link an inch further to open it in a new tab. It's the faster way to open a window. I open hundreds of links, so that makes my day.

September 7, 2004 5:07 PM

"What I'm suggesting is that we start to understand what the target market needs rather than just building something that sounds interesting. Who's the application designed for? Find out what they want, how they work. Spend a few hours or days in a usability lab watching users and what they do as the use the Web. Find out what problems they have and "fix the internet" for them." I deal with people like this everyday at work. Internet Explorer doesn't necesarily work for anyone. Those people that "type everything into the yahoo search bar" do not know anything besides the "Blue E". I deal with people that have been using a computer for many years and when you tell them to adjust their resolution they say "how do I do that?" Trying to "fix the internet" for these people probably isn't even a possibility. I've talked with people that have broadband internet access and still keep their aol account not because they want the email address or the aol features but because they think they need it to connect to the internet. Are these people really going to know what they need or want in a browser. Not at all. All the know is, "I click the 'Blue E' and the internet comes up". Some people don't care enough to learn what they need to do to use the internet or their browsers features effectively. So why should my browser be designed around what they need? They don't know what they need!

September 7, 2004 5:50 PM

Yes and no. While i agree with you that those issues are there, i don't feel it is a showstopper for most at this point. Most of the users you talk about are not even aware enough to know that they have a choice. They picked up and used IE because that is what was fed to them. While FF is lacking in a few looks and feels areas, it is still very usable and with a few extentions, even more so. What? They wont understand this whole extentions crap? Things are too technical for them? Most of these users learned IE's idosyncracies, with a little help from us.... they can do the same for FF. Very few of the people we recomend FF to will switch... that's ok, because it's a start. While the browser is not perfect, it is also not tied into the kernel space, which i think it too big a flaw to ignore.

September 7, 2004 5:57 PM

I love firefox. I've made it a point to recommend it on my blog, to my friends, and am in the process of trying to convince my office IT that it would be a good choice for our company. That being said, I agree with Kalsey on some points. There's a huge population of users who equate the IE with Internet. Without a go button they're lost. They download free pop-up blockers from their ISP's, install spyware screensavers, and use emoticons in all their e-mails. Firefox doesn't stand a chance at gaining converts from these people unless 1) it replaces IE on their desktop as the default browser when they buy the computer or 2) It comes bundled with AOL/Earthlink/Roadrunner etc. After the last BHO scare I tried getting a few family members who regularly use online banking to give firefox a try. The furthest I got was "help you install a new browser..." and the eyes went blank. They were OK with installing BHO Demon, but a browser? No way. Maybe there's a way to make a dumbed down Firefox campaign that's along the lines of AOL marketing: Faster! Safer for your family! Easy to use! Combine it with a default theme that's full of people icons and you may have a contender.

September 7, 2004 6:46 PM

One point I forgot to make which zz touched on is the fact that I feel people don't choose IE it is forced upon them. They buy a new machine and it is there. No options, no choices. Maybe there are plenty of IE users out there that would love tabbed browsing but just do not know that it does exist, so like I said before IE doesn't necessarily work for anybody. It's just what they where given. I work at a little computer store and for the past 3 months now we have been installing Mozilla on every new machine and recommending it to everyone that brings in a machine loaded with spyware. I feel Microsoft made a big mistake by integrated the browser into the OS. I'll take my chances with the Firefox spoofing anyday over the swiss cheese that is IE. If Microsoft was to install an icon for Firefox on the desktop and the start menu with every new OS install next to the IE icons do you really think that current usage stats for the browsers would be the same??? Although, I do have to agree with the author because I don't recommend Firefox to most people. I usually recommend Mozilla. It is more complete for the average user. Like zz many pepole won't understand the extensions, but with mozilla I feel they aren't needed as much.

September 7, 2004 7:04 PM

> View more than one web page in a single window > > You have to be a serious power user to appreciate > that feature. Many people only have a single window > open all the time anyway. If they need another > window, they close the first one. That's not true, at least that's 75% wrong in my family since even my 2 kids (4th and 7th grader) they know and like to view more than one web page in a single window ... the other 25% is true is because my wife she never use any browser.

September 7, 2004 9:44 PM

I personally use both daily 50/50 and honestly agree with the author. ASP(.NET or otherwise) does NOT render well. Period. Since its a premier markup *hatchet-job* langauge that many developer uses: that's strike one. But FF DOES do PHP (and simple textfields in forms!) correct so I guess I can't really use either as my main 'browser' huh? FF's a geek's browser, plain and simple. If the OS guys think that Mom & Pop are going to install AND use a 'browser thing' AND replace IE with it, then "puff, puff, pass man!" Getting my mom to understand that the internet was a whole bunch of computers connected took four hours and she still asked 'so where are all the wires for the computers kept?' and 'does my cup go in this pop-out tray?'

Adam Kalsey
September 7, 2004 9:55 PM

The browser doesn't matter at all when it comes to the rendering of PHP or ASP pages. Both ASP and PHP are entirely taken care of on the server, which doesn't much care what browser you're using. Each of these server-side technologies sends plain HTML to the browser. The HTML that is sent to the browser is created by the Web developer, not the server-side technology. So if you're having a problem viewing an ASP page in Firefox, blame the Web developer for writing crappy HTML.

September 7, 2004 10:26 PM

Adam, I think you hit the nail on the head. It's obvious from a lot of the posts on here that the geeks reading your blog spend very little time with the unwashed masses. I'm a PC repair tech by trade, and on average talk to 100-200 users in a week's time. I've only recommended Firefox to a handful, for precisely the reasons you list. The average home or office user has barely enough of a clue to install a program, let alone migrate their entire online user experience from one app to another. Many people I talk to have no idea what a desktop is, what a browser is, how to search for something online, etc. These people open the "Internet" icon, type something into the box, and if it's not a url, let MSN find some links for them. That's literally all they can do. Firefox is totally not ready for those people. I guess the biggest question is if Mozilla is targetting these people as an audience or not. If not, then no big deal. Firefox is awesome for a lot of people, and while I still use IE more often, I find it to be the best non-M$ browser I've ever used. If the users above ARE the target audience, then Mozilla is in serious trouble.

September 7, 2004 10:47 PM

Also, I'd like to mention, that CSS doesn't work correctly in firefox. They claim it's not a bug. Maybe it's supposed to be a feature. But my css not only worked in explorer but also in opera and validated as compliant by the w3c. It's a mozilla bug that they don't want to fix or admit to.

Bardo Monitor
September 7, 2004 11:11 PM

"Why are they talking about engines here? I though this was something for my internet, not my car." You lose your credibility with a statement like that. How can you try to present yourself as someone who knows something and someone who knows nothing at the the same time. P.S Why is an e-amil address required??????

Adam Kalsey
September 7, 2004 11:17 PM

A number of people have had trouble understanding that my comments on the Firefox homepage are from the perspective of a typical person stumbling upon the site. I've added a sentance to the entry to clarify that. I added _Let's look over that page and put ourselves into the user's shoes..._

September 7, 2004 11:56 PM

Last year, I worked with some of the most clueless computer users I'd ever met, and we had to share computers. After repeatedly removing spyware and other crap from these computers every couple of weeks, I finally removed the IE icon from the desktop and Start menus, installed Firefox, and changed the name of the shortcut on the desktop to read "Internet Explorer." I never heard a complaint from anybody, and I never had to remove the spyware again. Let me reiterate: these were the most clueless people in the world. And they got by just fine with Firefox. This proves two things to me: (1) clueless users can use Firefox, and (2) as others have remarked, such users eat what they're fed, whether it's IE or Firefox. I use FF almost exclusively (99.5% of the time), but I have occasional problems with it. Nonetheless, these problems are minute when compared to the crap IE put me through.

Phil Ringnalda
September 8, 2004 12:17 AM

Actually, that's not quite true of ASP: it cares a fair bit what browser you use, and out of the box there are two browsers: IE, which gets HTML 4 with CSS, and every other browser on earth (known as "downlevel" browsers in ASPeak), which get HTML 3.2 with font tags and quite a bit of NN4.x-specific crud. Sometimes, the only difference is that the markup is even crappier, other times things break. I know someone, not a novice to blogging or Microsoft technologies, who wrote a comment script that looked just fine in IE, and thanks to the "downlevel" markup, rendered with a two line, twenty character textarea in Firefox. It's possible, with some care and effort, and some replacement third-party controls, to have your ASP look and work just as well in Firefox as in IE, but if you just fire it up and use the defaults, which is one of the biggest markets for ASP, it won't.

September 8, 2004 1:19 AM

Your... hum.. analyse is simply R.I.D.I.C.U.L.O.U.S There is NO NEED to be a power user to use browsers's mozilla familly... ----------------------------------------------------- "Firefox 0.9 is the award winning preview of Mozillas next generation browser. Whats a preview? Does that mean I cant use it. Is it like a demonstration or something? And whats a next-generation browser? I thought this thing was supposed to help me use the Internet." And what? I'm french and I understand english... So, I know what means "Preview"... like natives english-speaking people ----------------------------------------------------- View more than one web page in a single window You have to be a serious power user to appreciate that feature. Many people only have a single window open all the time anyway. If they need another window, they close the first one. You joke, No???? the wheel mouse is not enough bigger???? ------------------------------------------------------ Use the adaptive search system to allow you to search an infinite number of engines. Why are they talking about engines here? I though this was something for my internet, not my car. "search engine" the normaly people does the relation..... ppfffff... ------------------------------------------------------ "the new Easy Transition system imports all of your settings - Favorites, passwords and other data from Internet Explorer and other browsers. I dont know what that means. Maybe if I get this thing, the way I use the Internet is going to change. All I want is a way to use the Internet without getting all that junk. I dont want to have to change my passwords and stuff to do that." hum... What it means??? At the installation of Firefox (hum oh! that's true... IE don't need a installation... woh!) One Click---> all my prefered sites comes to the BIG BIG Button called "Bookmarks"... hum well ok, maybe the sheep-whitout-brain-people will not find the features usefull or understanding much... ----------------------------------------------------- I know nobody is perfect, there is no perfect paradise at Mozilla fundation... but, IE is old, not reliable... and so far, not funny at all... Let's rock

September 8, 2004 2:36 AM

i think FireFox is suitable especially for those users want to sruf the internet more seamlessly , more secure and more fun. i think everyone IE user think that: Loading a webpage in IE IS ULTRA SLOW......but in FireFox...the speed is much faster also IE have lots of about FireFox? NOT MUCH....just a little vulnerabilities....right? ps english may be too bad...right?

Ta bu shi da yu
September 8, 2004 2:48 AM

Personally, I feel that some of your points are valid, but some of them are not so valid. Your criticism of the naming of firefox as a "browser" in particular sounds a bit silly to me. What else are they going to call it?! I'm not entirely sure where you were going with the whole "big E icon gets me onto the Internet" - what's so hard about teaching them to click on the circular orange and blue icon on their desktop? It's hardly any worse a metaphor of browsing the web than the letter "e". As for integrating the search bar and the address bar - that'll just break the experience for more experienced browsers. Sounds like a bad idea to me - a better idea would be to put the search bar configuration into the View item - ironically sort of like with Internet Explorer. As for "The new Easy Transition system imports all of your settings - Favorites, passwords and other data from Internet Explorer and other browsers." - personally, I think that you're understimating most users. I don't think that sentence is all that terrible unclear, however I'm willing to admit I could be wrong on that one. The other things you mention were constructive, though I suspect if that's the best that you've come up with then FireFox really HAS come a long way! After all, I'm sure you remember the crudulence of Netscape 4.7x....

Trackback from Tales of Drudgery and Boredom II
September 8, 2004 3:18 AM


Excerpt: Griezelig, maar o zo waar. Veel mensen beseffen niet dat veel mesnen niet beseffen dat er een verschil is tussen URL en e-mailadres. Dat een mail-account niet vasthangt aan het mailprogramma of omgekeerd ("ik heb twee e-mailadressen: hotmail en outlook").

September 8, 2004 3:38 AM

"How about integrating the address bar and the search field? If what I entered isnt a URL, pass it to Google." uhm? Try type google in the adressbar? Google opens! Wow nice? How did this work? Well Firefox did a i feel lucky google search... tricky, isn't it?

Andy Davies
September 8, 2004 3:40 AM

I think you've hit several nails on the head... Developers (and technical people in general) tend to overestimate the technical capabilities of the population at large

September 8, 2004 4:14 AM

Wait a second, these so-called normal users are happening by your blog?

September 8, 2004 4:44 AM

Well now we know what you think of us. I am offended and I hope many others are too. I bet you most of the features you mention are already in the pipeline. I mean these guys just got started. ps check out if you don't like including your email address when you post something on the internet.

eric scoles
September 8, 2004 5:45 AM

I find it curious that so many people attack first and question later on this piece. Just take an honest look and get your elitist heads out of your butts and think about real users for 30 seconds, eh, folks? I've been working in user support (in one form or another) since about 1988, and I have to say, all the points Adam makes here here are quite salient. Folks, face the music: Firefox, like all the "consumer" Linuxes that I've seen, is not consumer-ready. It's close, but it's hampered by the fact that no real usability people have approve/disapprove authority on features. From a usability perspective, both Firefox and Thunderbird are substantially inferior to Mozilla. Mozilla, by the same token, is far superior to Firefox and Thunderbird in just about every important respect. Sure, the main download is a little bigger, but it still takes up a lot less disk space than Firefox+Thunderbird. (And why, pray, by the way, is disk space even an issue anymore?) It starts faster, its UI is consistent with older Netscape products, it's more stable (yes, FIREFOX DOES CRASH, guys), and -- here's the kicker -- it's not a "preview". I don't recommend Firefox. In fact, I recommend against it -- in favor of Mozilla. I recommend Mozilla strongly to anyone who's skilled enough to do a software install, with the caveat that things will be different from what they're accustomed to. Some of Adam's points apply to Mozilla, too, but they're relatively minor ones. BTW, comparing usability of any email app to Outlook is unfair. Outlook is far too low a target. Outlook is unusable. "Better than Outlook" is like saying "Better than a Stanley Steamer".

eric scoles
September 8, 2004 5:52 AM

To Phil Rignalda -- I'm quite sure I don't understand what you mean when you say that "...every other browser on earth (known as "downlevel" browsers in ASPeak), ... get HTML 3.2 with font tags and quite a bit of NN4.x-specific crud." I've written an awful lot of ASP, and it would have been real, real surprising to me if the ASP I wrote somehow dynamically modified the HTML that I told it to spit out based on the browser it was serving to. In fact, it would have been pretty nice if it could have done that. Would have solved a lot of browser-compatability problems. But it didn't. So I guess I don't know what you're talking about.

David Naylor
September 8, 2004 6:29 AM

Adam> Well... (a few of these things have already been pointed out) -Google Lucky search is already integrated into the URL-bar and has been for ages. -The spoof thing has been fixed in the last few days. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) -We're still at 0.9.3. Guess why the 1.0 final release has been postponed until late October? Because the Firefox lead team (Ben) has realised that all these UI glitches as well as install/update problems need to be fixed. I feel pretty sure that by 1.0 final we will have a prouct with close to zero UI glitches of the type you mentioned. Also, I'm pretty sure they will improve the Mac user experience too, since they've made a separate release date for Mac OS X. Right now, at 0.9.3, I agree that Firefox is only usable for no-clue people if they get help with installations and such, but once installed it does not really have many showstoppers for this group of people either. ps. I agree they should add the Go-button, as well as the New Tab button.

Trackback from
September 8, 2004 7:23 AM

Adam Kalsey Dares To See Through The Emperor's Cloak


Adam Kalsey has had the temerity to criticize the Kewl Kidz browser, Firefox, and thinks that maybe, just maybe, aggressively marketing it prior to "1.x" isn't such a good idea: "Aggressively marketing Firefox before it is a completely stable product i

Trackback from
September 8, 2004 7:40 AM

More Thoughts on Tech-Macho Bullsh*t


A few more thoughts on the Kalsey-Firefox Affair. It's another illustration of Tech Macho Bullshit in action: If you're not "clueful" enough to see how much b

Judi Sohn
September 8, 2004 7:43 AM

I use Firefox as my default browser on my PC, and I recommend it to anyone who complains about pop-ups and other IE shortcomings. However, I don't actively market it for all the reasons in this entry. Fact is, most of the folks I talk to who aren't computer geeks do not realize that the application you use to see websites is something that you can change. Once Firefox is at 1.0 and upgrading it is easy (no uninstalling and backing up profiles, reinstalling extenstions, etc.) then I will probably push it a little harder to people I work with.

September 8, 2004 8:14 AM

I do actively recommend people move to Firefox, (I also childishly mock Microsoft, on occasion). However, this article contains a couple of good points, well made. If Mozilla people are out there reading this, then they'll be sensible to make a note of these criticisms and address them.

blair millen
September 8, 2004 8:41 AM

I introduced my mother to Firefox (version 9) and she hasn't had ANY trouble using it as her default browser. Interestingly, she has not had much experience of using the web (and luckily for her not had much experience of using Internet Explorer) so to her she knows no better. She uses the built in search fine, and I never told her to hit return to get the answers.

September 8, 2004 8:42 AM

"Normal"users learn. Unless they are underestimated. It seems very odd to use something as incomprehensible as 'MyYahoo' to illustrate that people don't understand what an 'engine' is. Go ahead and recommend Firefox. The people you seem to think are dim-witted will likely thank you.

Trackback from Ministry Of Information
September 8, 2004 8:56 AM

I do recommend Firefox

Excerpt: Respected developer Adam Kalsey set a cat amongst the pigeons (well, maybe just a kitten) on Monday, with a blog post entitled 'Why I don't recommend Firefox'...

Adam Kalsey
September 8, 2004 8:57 AM

Certainly they can learn. But they won't. They won't even get that far. They'll click the "Get Firefox" link, maybe download it if they understand the tech mumbo-jumbo enough to see why they should. And if they do download it and install it, many will be put off by the many problems long before they give it a chance.

so Adam
September 8, 2004 9:03 AM

what the hell do you recommend? you've nicely pointed out problems in Firefox. that's fine. but I personally know people who have lost thousands of dollars, had their identities stolen, and were being cyber stalked. They weren't using any version of Mozilla. I know I know, the first thing you'll do is blame the people, you'll blame Outlook, you'll blame stupidity or whatever else you can think up. and probably a lot of that is true. but here's some more truth: stock xp+ie+outlook is what most people run, for better or worse, regardless of their ignorance. those people are screwed.

September 8, 2004 9:17 AM

What's sad here about all the pro-FF comments, especially the ones the so derisively snark at Adam's original post, is that most of you are saying things like "When I installed FF on my mom's computer..." How many of your parents or non-techie siblings and relations went out on their own and installed FF? Adam, after all, is a FireFox user and supporter and his post is intended to point out ways in which the group can improve. FF needs to get to the point where the non-techies are finding it on their own if IE is ever to be dethroned.

September 8, 2004 9:27 AM

to chris beach: yes, firefox is vulnerable, but IE is *also* (and arguably even more) vulnerable because IT'S PART OF THE OS. with the XPI vulnerabilities, you have to *actively install* those files. seems like a no-brainer: go firefox.

September 8, 2004 9:27 AM

Nice analysis. I look at the suitability of Firefox for average computer users this way: - I recommended then installed Firebird 0.7 on my sister's machine. She's not a developer or anything but she's sharp and picked it up without any problems. - I would recommend Firefox 0.9.3 to my dad. He's pretty familiar with computers, easily deals with the lack of "Go" button, and can deal with the few rare hassles in 0.9.3. - Assuming that 1.0 comes out and addresses those few issues you mention up top, I would recommend Firefox 1.0 final to my mother, who is about as computer-phobic as they come. So the usability curve with new releases goes from "younger sibling" to "dad" to "mom", if you get what I'm saying :) I agree that some of the wording on the Firefox home page could be tightened and de-jargoned. All of these problems are fixed or fixable.

Jonathan Holst
September 8, 2004 9:33 AM

This article indeed has *some* valid points. However, not all of them are. Especially your attack at the word 'browser' - to prevent them from knowing what that word is, you need to bundle FireFox to the OS. And I don't think Microsoft would go for that :-). Of course, many users may not know what a browser is - but if they're going to change their browser, they'll have to find out. After reading this, I do agree that some of the text on the FireFox-site is too technical. But since the users are looking for an improvement, my opinion is, that they learn just about the basics of Internet browsing. Though they may only use Yahoo! and Google, they need to know how to go elsewhere. A radio (or television) commercial don't tell the user to "Go to Google, and search for 'My Car Firm'" - they tell the address.

September 8, 2004 9:47 AM

Firefox is not the browser for anyone who regularly flushes their history or cache. I've been using Firefox two months now and accidentally erased my cookies five times because of the placement of the "Clear" button and the fact that then hitting "cancel" instead of "ok" is worthless because Firefox has already erased my cookies. Plus, if you like to resize web page fonts, you're stuck doing multiple clicks in the View > Increase Text Size menu (5 times minimum for me), or holding the CTRL key down while moving the mouse wheel. Firefox needs to be as customizeable at Internet Explorer (Hey, IE lets me add a text resizer to my toolbar, and a bookmarklet to kill Font Nazi web sites.) I have to browse two-handed with Firefox (if I want to be efficient) and that's a pain in the ass. I'm REALLY close to returning to Internet Explorer because it is more usable.

Michael Romero
September 8, 2004 9:49 AM

I remain fairly neutral on this topic. I agree that there are some things that need to be worked out before the release of Firefox 1.0. It's not ready for entirely general consumption yet, but I have several friends, some of whom are not the most advanced computer users you'll ever meet, and they very much like Firefox. Then again, some of my closest friends who are very experienced don't want to give up IE. I was a long time (long time!) IE holdout, even though I've kept Mozilla and Firefox installed for years. I'll even admit that after installing Windows XP SP2, I almost switched back to IE since they finally put in a popup blocker and made it less hellraising to get out spyware... until I realized how much I missed tabbed browsing. I think that some of the criticism is unfounded though. I don't feel like Mozilla is quite promoting Firefox to the masses to the degree that some people think that it is. My only criticism is that they're taken the words "next generation preview" off of the homepage. If you go to the actual Firefox release page, it still says that, but it doesn't on the main anymore. Will Firefox ever suplant IE as the dominant browser for Windows users? Doubtful, because as explained, MS has successfully associated IE with "the internet" in the eyes of most users. It certainly won't for Mac users who have fallen in love with Safari (a good browser that I feel is a bit too limited in its scope and is given a little too much "Apple made it" love--besides the fact that I feel KHTML is an inferior rendering engine to Gecko). Linux users might adopt the quickest, especially if the main branch of Mozilla is phased out in place of the Firefox/Thunderbird paradigm. All I know after all of this is that Firefox is a great browser. It's my default, and I have no hesitation in reccomending it.

Dave P
September 8, 2004 10:00 AM

Unfortunatley, as a fan of firefox, many of the points you make are bang on. I think we need to keep in mind though, that we're pre version 1.0 here; it's got a way to go yet. Personally, I've not started activley recommending firfox to the average user, or installed it on machines at work. It's still beta, no matter how "good" it is. I plan on changing this after the 1.0 release,depending on how well it works under my tests.

Jacques Surveyer
September 8, 2004 10:26 AM

Two months ago, my website saw 97% IE browser usage. Now its down to 91%. At 750,000 hits month (and growing, thank you) - that fairly well confirms trend that this malarkey piece in the genre of the Swift Boats Wrecking Crew simply will not be able "cover up", patch over, or otherwise. Simple fact, IE is the worst "bowser" by far and deliberate choice. Microsoft has refused to update it except for the many required security fixes since 2001. So much for a company supposedly out to meet its customers needs.

September 8, 2004 10:50 AM

Although I find this criticism of the Firefox experience to be a bit extreme, I have to agree with every point he makes. I have been doing end-user support for about six years now and I totally agree with his description of the typical end-user. However, I will still be pushing my customers to use Firefox (or really anything besides IE, I just prefer Firefox as the alternative at this time). End-users have daily challenges when it comes to using computers in general, so I don't mind giving them one more, especially if it will help reduce the amount of spyware/viruses on their systems. For about the past year now, the number one problem that I am called for is spyware removal. I don't mind getting paid to do that, but it's annoying to say the least. I would rather tackle other problems. I blame IE as a major contributor to the spyware problem, so I switch them to Firefox. It's either going to be their headache or mine, I choose theirs.

Adam Kalsey
September 8, 2004 11:36 AM

Jacques: Since your site is aimed at open source Web developers I'd expect that you'd see a significantly different proportion of browser usage than what is in use by the general population. That's like doing a survey at a steakhouse and then declaring that vegetarianism is declining. For the first 8 days of September, 55% of my site visitors are using IE and 25% are using Firefox. The large number of Firefox users is likely partly due to the fact that this article is drawing a fair bit of attention from Firefox users. Last month the numbers were 67% IE and 13% FF. Still, this says nothing of general market penetration because my audience tends to be the early-adopter, open source Web developer crowd. shows that all Mozilla versions make up 2% of the traffic to sites using their analytics software.

Nathan Huening
September 8, 2004 12:14 PM

Cheers, Mr Kalsey, for writing an article that I'm sure you knew would draw the passionate ire of Firefox users, but that needed to be written. Your points are spot on and it would do well for the Firefox marketing team to consider them. (Is that you, Stephen Garrity?) I've been rather devoutly using Firefox since 0.3 and recommend it to anyone who'll listen though didn't realize how dense the Firefox homepage would be to the typical user -- and let's not forget the vast population of worldwide internet users for whom English is not a first language! Keep up the good work.

September 8, 2004 12:17 PM

People who don't know what the browser thing is are currently either... 1) spending big bucks to have their PC's cleaned of viruses because their Norton subscription ran out in 1999 2)watching a purple monkey dance across their screen along with all the hundreds of other variations of spyware/Adware/Malware that is infecting the internet and causing their PC to run at the blinding speed of an old IBM XT. 3) wondering why their PC hasn't rebooted since Windows XP Service Pack 2 automatically installed itself. Or if it did come back up they are growing cobwebs staring at the screen wondering how to answer the security setting questions. 4) Still trying to figure out how to turn the damn thing on when the kids aren't around. I'm tired of the way we seem to need to dumb down everything just because people are too stoopid to learn. In my experience Firefox has been a very stable browser with relatively few security problems. And the few problems they had were fixed within hours instead of months (or never) as is Microsoft's response time with IE. The best part of this article (besides needing to be a super geek to want tabbed browsing) was complaining a program is unstable in Windows ME and blaming the program. That one just cracke me up.

Adam Kalsey
September 8, 2004 12:25 PM

_I'm tired of the way we seem to need to dumb down everything just because people are too stoopid to learn._ You don't. Unless you want them to use it.

September 8, 2004 1:54 PM

You just don't get it. You where asked 2 help promote Firefox. The more users Firefox gets the better the product will be. But no let's keep users away from Firefox, cause you want it 2 be just like IE, then just use IE, and let the new users decide for themself

Michael Romero
September 8, 2004 2:49 PM

One last bit of criticism here. It's not a big one, but I feel remiss not pointing it out. While I agree that most of what's on the Firefox homepage might be a bit dense for John Q. User, you seem to ignore the first point under the "Why Use Firefox" section of the main Firefox page: Popup Blocking Stop annoying popup ads in their tracks with Firefox's built in popup blocker. I don't know about you, but to me, that sounds pretty easy to follow and would definately be a huge positive for people. I've worked in tech support long enough now to know that a lot of people get extremely frustrated by popups. If I'm a user, that seems pretty unambiguous to me. Granted, it's more complicated than that, because most of the popups will come from spyware that serves popups, but that's an easy to follow first step. I think what's ignored even more is the fact that in order to fix a lot of the problems that the average user has, you have to change browsing habits. That's not easy. People WANT toolbars. People WANT colorful little smilies going out in their emails. People want all these things and unscrupulous spyware peddlers exploit this. While Firefox and other alternative browsers have stemmed that now, you probably never will, as people will always GO AFTER this software no matter what the browser is installed. So, we have a two sides of the coin argument here. Can they be changed? Yes, but it won't be easy. Will they be changed? Not if Microsoft has its way. We do, however, forget the most important thing here, and that's that no matter what we say, Microsoft has a good UI team hard at work all the time that creates easy to use UI's that people can pick up without a lot of trouble. Firefox breaks the MS mold that people are used to, and that's where the learning curve really comes in. I like Firefox's UI. I like how simple it is. I admit it. But, at the same time, I'm an experienced Internet junkie, not some grandparent who just got AOL to be able to see pictures of the grandkids. I think it's kind of sad that a lot of people simply saw the headline plastered around the Internet and assumed that this was a pure Firefox bash. It makes you wish people had read the thing all the way through and let it produce some actual interesting debate...

Trackback from dimensionsix dot net
September 8, 2004 3:01 PM

Have We Gone too Gung-Ho on Firefox?

Excerpt: In today's entry, our author explores the hottest topic of the techblog world: is Firefox really ready for mass consumption?

Marc Boivin
September 8, 2004 5:10 PM

You always get to the same point. I'm a totally stupid user that got to this site by error... Why would FireFox wants that kind of clients... I mean no way dumb user ar going to appreciate FireFox, but there's a great part of the pie that are initiate users. Thye don't know about FireFox but they are searching for a browser like this. At last but least, my grand dad is 88 and knows what's a browser... think you need to read the dictionnary more often... ;)

Bharath Moro
September 8, 2004 8:31 PM

Most of Adam's points are spot on and should be seriously considered by the Mozilla team. I have successfully migrated 100 people in my company over to FF and a lot of them appreciate it. However, here are some of the gripes heard in the first week. 1.) What's the multiple page in a single window thingie? How do i use it? The least the FF team could have done is put the 'new tab' button in the default toolbar. Same thing applies to the Go button. 2.) Where's the flashy animation gone? And why do i see an ugly grey/blue box instead. Are there any problems in bundling the flash player with the installation just as IE does.

Matt Gabriel, Mad Poet
September 8, 2004 8:45 PM

It's a pretty clear case of being unable to see the forrest for the trees. You get hung up on pointless minutia. No "go" button? Come off it. Big picture time: IE is fundamentally broken. It will seriously compromise your system to run vanilla IE on all platforms where it's available, resulting in serious perfromance and security issues without a lot, and I mean a lot, of preventative maintenance. It is the height of professional responsibility to suggest it's the best browser for users of =any= skill level than Firefox. Unfinished or not, it offers orders of magnitude more utility for roughly the same skill level. It's pretty much crap on MacOS X, tho... that's why we've got Camino. (Only needed because there are too many bugs in Safari.) If you meant that Firefox was not as good an alternative as Mozilla or Opera, then you needed to be more specific.

Asa Dotzler
September 8, 2004 8:50 PM

Looks like this is finally slowing down a bit :-) First, I want to agree with some of what Adam pointed out as Firefox shortcomings. We need to work on all of that and we are. Adam said "I use it and do talk about it on occasion, but I think the browser has some way to go before Id recommend it to the general population." and I think it's worth pointing out that my particular campaign to get an endorsement (and button) from weblogs wasn't a campaign aimed at "the general population". It was (is) a campaign to reach out to blog readers and other tech savvy people. I think there's little question that we're ready for this audience and they're ready for us. We still have some time left to fix bugs, clean up our help documentation, our website, our support infrastructure and our official marketing effort before 1.0 ships. The 1.0 Preview Release is swiftly approaching and that will be a nice trial run. I think we'll learn a lot from that but I think we're approaching "ready for primetime" status at a quick pace. The release of 1.0, and browser statistics a year after that will be the real test. I'm personally excited and enthusiastic . Thanks to Adam for raising some good points and thanks to all of you who posted reasonable and responsible replies. --Asa

Phil Ringnalda
September 8, 2004 9:34 PM

(Sorry to argue tangents in your comments, Adam) Eric: I know less than nothing about ASP, but I've been led to believe that Scott Mitchell actually knows what he's talking about: Me, all I know is the output, when I've gotten unworkable stuff aimed at NN4 in Firefox, and switched to IE where "it works!" (because it gets different HTML and CSS and Javascript).

September 9, 2004 2:44 AM

You said that firefox is null, because the inexperienced users, will not understand how to use it. Personally, then compared to your remark, I can say that YOUR website is null, and not adapted, with the users beginners. Indeed very little, can that the serrated roller can be useful, make ravel a text, or a page. The integrality of a section of your site holding on a page, quantity of information and too important, and the person reading that, will be to reject and close the window giving on your website. Before criticizing, the work of the others, one looks at if his is better to it... And small precision: click right on navigation toolbar, go on customize, drag&drop of "GO" on toolbar. You really take people for idiots, if you think that they cant do a drag&drop.

September 9, 2004 3:42 AM

That's pure FUD : I recommend Firefox to a lot of unexperienced users, and they have found it very simple and easy to use.

September 9, 2004 7:35 AM

I am not a fan of firefox. I do however and have migrated clients from OUTLOOK/IE to mozilla(with calendaring plug-in) successfully and this is my reccomended platform. I have one client who has a law pratice..since installaing and using mozill spyware and phising are at zero..and have been for the almost 1 year of installation. I use automatic updates to only download newest updates not to auto install them. With the exception of one client on one page no website issues have come up...:)

eric scoles
September 9, 2004 9:23 AM

Phil -- Ah, I see. You're talking about Web Controls. ASP, generically, doesn't do anything to its output; web controls are a different animal. They're server-side widgets that you don't use if you care about a clean application architecture... ;-) Seriously, though, there's nothing inherent in ASP that would change output code, anymore than there's anything inherent in PHP or mod_perl. A write statement is a write statement. So ASP is only browser-unfriendly if you make it that way.

Felix M. Liokumovich
September 9, 2004 9:30 AM

I use Firefox for over a year and a half now, love the speed, lack of popups, etc. Also run Mozilla, and no more IE for me, even with SP2. I have 40+ websites open all day. My observations are as follows: Firefox crashes at least once a day, Mozilla never does. When the error is encountered, all of my screens shut down, not just one, so I am stuck with reopening them again and again. This is a huge waist of time. So as far as I am concerned, Firefox has a few bugs, and will fix them at some point in a future, so for now a B+ from me.

September 9, 2004 11:00 AM

FIRE FOX RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DIE BASTARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

September 9, 2004 12:30 PM

Too bad some opinions be treated like troll posts. Without offense, but some writers tend to overestimate the knowledge of interested readers, omiting some important arguments and explications. "Is Linux being marketed to the general public? Is it a successful product outside the geek space? Firefox strives to be a mainstream product." As a direct market strategy, If general public means home user, take a look at As an indirect market strategy, I think the linux strives to be a mainstream product too, using enterprise and geeks as vehicles for that. So much people need to work on enterprises for money. Enterprises need to cut costs to survive. Some linux distros are marketed with promises of cost efficiency. If enterprises adopt a new tool, its workers need to adapt to it. This, normally implies on a scene where home users buy and use the same tools they use in their work. However, i'm not a clueless linux zealot and agree that it is not a successful product outside the geek space. Probably (mainly) because hardware manufacturers don't provide support(drivers) for linux. I know so much geeks that don't perceive that "general public" uses other devices aside from mouse, keyboard and display. Of course, there are other usability issues with linux distros. "In order to win marketshare from IE, Firefox must be better than IE. And not just by a little bit, but by leaps and bounds. If you want to overcome a product that comes for free with 90% of computers sold today, people need to be compelled to switch. Pointing out that IE isn't perfect is irrelevant. It already has the market share. Perhaps you've heard of inertia. Things tend to stay in the state they're currently in. People will tend to stick with the product they currently use." That's the argument that was lacking in the original article. So, I thank your for spending your time to clarify your opinion and give me some clues :) "Pointing out that IE isn't perfect is irrelevant." Again, I think that pointing out that Firefox isn't "stable" is irrelevant too. Relevant is to point that Firefox must be a lot better than IE. However, being far superior or not, bugs will continue to exist and I don't know how new non-geek users will respond to that. Sorry by sound like a troll or too harsh some times, HLZ.

September 9, 2004 2:03 PM

Bah, who cares about IE flaws. Not one of them has caused me any problems. Yes, yes I know, my time is coming. I'll throw caution to the wind, and deal with it.

September 9, 2004 2:55 PM

To a point, I agree, but then, people who don't know what a browser is, generally won't try getting a new one, hense why i think Firefox is more than ready for advertisement. In most respects, to an experianced user, it is better than IE at certain things and an experianced user would find tab browsing very useful (I know I do, I can get a hell of a lot done in a much shorter time, even now, I have 5 tabs open, and this is slow for me). Basically, even novice users don't click everything they find on a web page and is used to advertising buttons by now. If they findthemselves on the Firefox site and don't know what it is, chances are they'll get scared and hit the back button. But this will only scare the novices, and the chances of a novice changing his/her browser is slim anyway.

token majove
September 9, 2004 4:05 PM

FF is marketing their browser to everyone because it's always geeks who adopt first, no matter how you market it.. FF is trying to grab as many people as they can, because they need those people. They know that the only people who are going to listen to them are the geeks. Once 'zilla becomes more friendly to the joe blow users, 'zilla will have enough of a following to help promote it. Maybe I'm wrong or overread what they are trying to do.. Maybe this Kalsey guy really knows what he's talking about.. I dont ever try to read things like an average user.. I can't.. I'm a linux nerd, so I can't really put myself in the shoes of Joe Blow.. To me, compiling a kernel is second nature, and is one reason I recommend you use Firefox only if you are moderately comfortable with your computer, and base your own opinion on it. As for everyone using Firefox? Nah.. Not yet.. Give it time. Firefox is already powerful.. "Now if we could only get this 'ease of use' thing everyone's talking about down, we'd be in business".

Trackback from Links
September 9, 2004 6:18 PM

Why I don't recommend Firefox

Excerpt: Why I don't recommend Firefox by Adam Kalsey, I have to say he's exactly right especially his comments about the Firefox home page, I hope that the Mozilla people read his article in detail and take his advice before launching...

Regie Cuave
September 9, 2004 10:09 PM

WOW, where do I begin. I certainly agree with you that for the average user Firefox needs and must have an eaiser upgrade option. However, that is about the extent of our agreement. I HATE, lothe and dispise the Go button on IE. The only way people will learn to use the Enter key is to take the Go button away. You also suggest "How about integrating the address bar and the search field?" That is a horrible idea. The average user is confused enough so there does need to be a distinction between the address bar and the search bar. I find Firefox's present arrangement wonderful for the novice or experienced user. You also say "They just dont realize that they have an alternative to Internet Explorer." You are right because that is what Microsoft includes with Windows. Anyone who wishes to surf the Internet needs to educate themselves to a certain level or they deserve to be frustrated. I've seen computers totally wrecked and people ready to upgrade to a new computer simply because viruses and spyware were causing their present computer to run at a snails pace. Now I don't mean to imply that using Firefox will solve those problems. It won't. I'm just saying that is the result of having no understanding what so ever about what you are doing on the Internet. You must learn the basics if you are going to use the Internet. If you learn the basics, Firefox is no problem for a new user.

September 10, 2004 2:55 AM

"No technophobe wants to download extensions or customise their browser, yet they may find the default install of Firefox a bit too spartan forr them to feel comfortable." Actually FireFoxes spartan features with the ability to add extentions is one of the key things I love about this browser. There are reletively few bells and whistles unless I want bells and whistles. Compare it to Opera that's over bloated and resource hungry. OFC people want to customize their browsers. It's why we have yahoo bars, google bars, plug ins, animated emoticons that change cursors and dance across our screens. "2.) Where's the flashy animation gone? And why do i see an ugly grey/blue box instead. Are there any problems in bundling the flash player with the installation just as IE does." I've run across java applets that didn't load in IE and when I clicked on them I was sent to sun. Why not do the same for flash? Why does it have to be bundled with the software? I agree that making this something the IE crowd will rush out and get is daunting. But I'm not so sure fixing a few things is going to get them to consider using it. If anything the thing that prevents technophobes from being interested is their website. I've always viewed mozillas site as a "geeks" hangout and I'm moderately geeky myself. The one thing that strikes me about this is "make it more user friendly" - how much more does it really need? NONE of us were born with inate computer knowledge, well ALL had to learn how to turn the machine on, learn how to use a mouse and keyboard. We all had to figure out what the three symbols in the upper right corner meant. When I got photoshop I didn't have a clue how to run it. Same can be said of any other program out there. Sure it's daunting but how far does the Mozilla team want to go to hold peoples hands to get them to switch? Should anything be sacrificed? On another note. It's just not the technophobes who need convinving. I know web savy users who refuse to run anything but IE. On occassion I'll hear about their latest spyware removal session and I'll gently remind them I've been spyware free since I got firefox ...

September 10, 2004 10:01 AM

There are automobile drivers out there who don't know what oil is, or where it goes in the car. They usually buy shitty cars and go to shitty mechanics, who then rip them off. If a computer user is too stubborn (not stupid) to learn how to use an important modern device effectively, then fuck 'em. That segment of society is only good for fleecing, so let the for-profit people (i.e. Microsoft) have them. Developers should stick to innovation, leave the hand-holding to focus groups and marketeers.

September 10, 2004 12:28 PM

This is probably been said for a 1000 times, but FireFox DOES go to the first google hit when you type randomly in the addressbar. Just type "My name is Bob" and be suprised by the result.

Zachery Woods
September 10, 2004 2:58 PM

I've been an avid IE user for years and still am, I have NEVER had any massive spyware problems, but alas I dont go to sites with massive amounts of popups and get programs like "weather bug" and use P2P like kazaa and such. I've found the Firefox is still a bit of a memory hog more so than IE can ever be. It has some major issues with displaying a lot of images on a single page that are of large format, and just some other quirky things I do not like. Now that SP2 is out, I just use IE more and more for the few sites I used Firefox for, I am a web designer so I keep firefox, opera and some older builds of IE on my system to check code and make sure it looks good on each browser. Honestly, Mozilla based browser royally mess some code rendering up no matter how well formatted and how valid it is, it just shitty.

September 10, 2004 6:12 PM

I understood what you originally meant. And I have first-hand experience with average users being turned-off by their less than user-friendly first experience with firefox. Many also can't understand why the pages the view don't often look the same as they did in IE. While this isn't firefox's fault, it is something that could stop widespread adoption. Bottom-line, it ain't ready for primetime. If my mom, sister, or many of my friends can't use it then it isn't ready for mainstream adoption. If it isn't ready for mainstream adoption, then it shouldn't be marketed as such. Great article.

September 11, 2004 2:24 PM


michael gilligan
September 12, 2004 12:45 PM

Interesting piece. All I can say is that after using it since Firefox beginning of '04 and I really like it. I can't forsee me using MSIE ever again.

Ivan Raszl
September 14, 2004 12:24 AM

I agree with you that Firefox is not perfect. That's why it's version .9. However it's scary to see that even version .9 is still better than all the other browsers, except maybe Safari.

September 14, 2004 4:06 AM

Ahh zealots, criticse any thing OSS and out they come regardless of how accurate your comments may be. Andrew what you are saying here is the truth in many ways and its been noted by other people before but its also symptomatic of what many see as a blindness in community based development projects. These have such potential to develop new and exciting solutions and software but are hidebound in so many ways by their lack of control, focus and direction not to mention conflilcting standards and a total lack of interest in what the average consumer really wants or needs. Firefox is an excellent product but its not ready for the masses and calling anyone who says that a MS stooge or an idiot or any other variation doesnt change it. Instead the community must learn to take on board such comments openly and look at them. The very need to dive into attack or troll mode that so many people seem to feel is a characteristic of OSS in general and its a real pity. This is why linux is not a mainstream desktop OS but still so heavily confined to geeks and techies - because the appalling lack of standards and consitency in UI design and function isnt seen as important to the technically savvy people who dont mind hacking a conf file to get it to work, its also why installing software in so many linux distros is a pain in the butt for the average users. I would have thought profiteers like Lindows and their customer screwing click n run charge for free software might have woken up the linux world to some of these issues but it hasnt and i dont know what will. Firefox is great sure, i love it and i use it pretty much exclusively but IE isnt anywhere near as evil as people make out and SP2 makes IE a new kettle of fish. Please listen to people like andrew and others and help make it the best it can be instead of sticking in the boot every time.

Trackback from Null Sphere
September 14, 2004 1:44 PM

Why Firefox isn't recommended

Excerpt: Adam Kalsey has given his reasons as to why he doesn't recommend Firefox. This is has been the start of a heated argument mixing reasoning and zealot flaming of the man and his browser habits. I agree with him. Most people responding were saying th...

September 16, 2004 11:53 PM

Adam, I totally agree on the subject now. When I read this early this week (a link via Photomatt), I couldn't believe it. I am back here again this time with a total turn-around agreement with what you've said. I experienced this first hand at my company (a huge global staff of over 20000 people). We're in the process of converting to a web-based timesheet recording system and systems inform that getting people to use that blue E and fill their names is drawing tons of headache. People just don't KNOW how to use (even the blue E). It also makes us pause and look back on how far we've come without noticing.

September 17, 2004 1:42 AM

It would help a lot for the first-time audience if the installer introduced the features of Mozilla Firefox while it installed. One of the best examples is Nick Bradbury's FeedDemon. When FeedDemon installs, you know how it works before you start using it. Mozilla team could use a similar (simple) visual approach instead of compelling users to read off their website as FAQs or features.

September 17, 2004 2:34 AM

#Zachery Woods: "I am a web designer so I keep firefox, opera and some older builds of IE on my system to check code and make sure it looks good on each browser. Honestly, Mozilla based browser royally mess some code rendering up no matter how well formatted and how valid it is, it just shitty." Zack, I have a distinct feeling that you're one of those weekend web warriors who feel Frontpage is a gift from God. Proper HTML - have you ever heard of HTML validators, BTW? go check the one at - displays absolutely properly in both Gecko (Mozilla, Firefox) and Presto (Opera) browsers, as well as in Konqueror, Safari, et al. The only one that messed something up is you.

September 17, 2004 4:00 PM

Are you on some kind of vengence mission against firefox? I gladly welcome firefox and you give users no credit. Everyone knows what a next generation browser is. I have yet to encounter any major bugs in firefox. The installation of the 1.0pr version of firefox installed without incident. Mozilla has fixed existing security issues. You don't like the fact that there are no go buttons next to the address bar. let me remind you this is not internet explorer!. Word of mouth advertising is a necessity when you have microsoft spending millions pushing their products. Mozilla had to start now and take advantage while internet explorer is falling farther and farther behind. IE is a security threat to anyone and everyone is being told not to use it. Everyone knows pr means preview release since they tell you so on their website. Firefox has a way to go still as far as more features added to it. But it IS a stable browser, Much faster than IE and a very low threat level due to the nature of the gecko code.... not to mention TABBED windows. Firefox will be ready for a aggressive marketing campaign when it comes out of the preview release stage.

Chris Beach
September 17, 2004 4:51 PM

The new Firefox 1.0PR was an absolute farce when I installed it on my system. The developers clearly have lost the direction and coherence in their standards. First, most of my extensions stopped working, then I installed a skin and it broke the browser. Completely dead - "XBL binding error." A restart wouldn't fix it. A reinstall wouldn't fix it. In the end, after some hunting around on the net I had to go into my profiles directory and rename the chrome directory. Mozilla are deluded if they think the average user will have the patience to deal with UI nightmares like this

Mike B New Zealand
September 17, 2004 6:53 PM

Hi I am your average user and all these arguments dont help me, they just confuse me more. I have allways used Netscape and sometimes i get annoyed when i occasionally have problems on some sites. I have downloaded Firefox and thunder. When i have tried them i will give you a true novice opinion. I am allso going to try Suse linux 9.1 The main difficulty i am having so far with alternatives is in the names and not just from alternatives. My firewall (Sygate askes if i want to block Win 32 Kernal component) Whats that? so i block it. What is Gimp and Gnome? Im no expert but why cant a browser icon look like a globe and called something like Netlink instead of IE or Nestscape or Firefox or Mozilla which bear no resemblance to what the are or do. I agree that people just want to use a computer like they would a TV or car etc. I think it is good that the Linux community is finally resolving incompatability problems between the different brands but what happened to United Linux?

Mike B New Zealand
September 18, 2004 4:31 PM

Hi I have just loaded Firefox and using it now. No problems installing and working just fine so far. It has a round icon like a globe. Now i will try Thunder.

September 19, 2004 2:46 PM

according to your article the average user is a complete f*cking idiot that generally isn't smart enough to own a computer. i'd have to disagree. this is the year 2004 and the internet is an integral part of your average american's life. the people that aren't smart enough simply won't respond to a campaign. and if they do and they get lost, maybe they'll learn something figuring it out. if we used your logic, we should outlaw all school grades above kindergarten, simply for the fact that that those people in kindergarten aren't smart enough yet for first grade. you can't expect people to get smarter and keep up with the times by hiding everything new from them. that simply fosters more idiots. besides, we desperately need to get rid of internet explorer, or at least force it into some kind of standards-compliance. ask any web developer and he'll tell you it's one of their biggest headaches, and is generally holding back the web from what it could be. any action in this direction is a positive thing.

September 20, 2004 10:45 AM

users are stupid :) I do some very stupid things when pruchasing things online, installing things etc. I think it's safe to assume we are mostly stupid, and I don't feel belittled by someone saying it! I want things to be easy! I work enough as it is, surfing is for fun!

Shantanu Oak
September 20, 2004 9:24 PM

> Firefox right now is very good for an experienced net user, but is not at all ready for the average person. > If you plan on targeting the general public, you need to understand the general public. Agreed. I recommend firefox to anyone who is using the net for more than an hour a day. > They don't care about tabbed browsing, extensions, or anything else... They just want a browser that works. That's right. IE sucks. FF works. > The only way to make a user stop using Internet Explorer is to give them something compelling to switch to. Just say it's fast! > The least the FF team could have done is put the 'new tab' button in the default toolbar. Instead they should make the tab bar appear by default. (tools - options - advance - Uncheck hide the tab bar - Normally checked) > Are there any problems in bundling the flash player with the installation just as IE does. Agreed. FF can never replace IE unless flash player is bundled. > "Is Linux being marketed to the general public? Is it a successful product outside the geek space? No. > Firefox strives to be a mainstream product." There are long term implications of this. Once the people agree that they can live without Microsoft product, and everyone is living without it, doors of huge possibilities will open up.

September 21, 2004 1:42 PM

Good points, but the average user these days is getting completely blown away by Internet Explorer issues. I've been tentatively deploying it for novice users and can tell you that the feedback has been tremendous. And the most recent versions seem to upgrade very easily.

Lou Quillio
September 23, 2004 3:12 PM

The trouble with Mozilla's recent Firefox push is that it's *just a little ahead of the product*. It'll work out. Extensions (or themes) that break on upgrade -- or break the browser entirely -- are unacceptable. This seems nearly fixed with 1.0PR, and none too soon. The default config should be shaped for ordinary users, but I'm sure that'll happen too. Not bundling Flash is a tactical error and risks user frustration. But what does user frustration really cost, at this point, for Firefox? Is the risk that folks will try it, dislike it, and never return? I'm not so sure. I'd certainly agree that Joe Surf-pack may hit a snag with an independent Firefox install ... but he also might not. Seems as though Mozilla's adoption push caused _more_ traditional press coverage _sooner_ than expected, sooner than some important idiot-proofing could be done and a true 1.0 released. But it happened that way. No argument that the Firefox roll-out isn't perfect; no argument that common users mis-visualize the Web and their PCs. Although your grandparents selected their first TV on the salesman's advice, they later developed brand preferences and feature awareness -- not so much through the educational efforts of the devices themselves but shared consumer experience and the passage of time. Mozilla/Firefox will improve in this area, but getting 1.0 out the door is the higher priority. Users choose their own adoption path, and we'll get them next year if not this. Right now it's more important that when, say, Kim Kommando tells her listeners (as best she can) that their security, malware and privacy concerns will never be solved by a network client wedded to the kernel, they have somewhere substantial to turn. They wouldn't be listening to her or skimming technology articles without a purpose. Those who'd be flummmoxed self-select out -- for now, not for always. There's not really a problem here. Firefox marketing and packaging could be more refined. Mozilla accepts volunteers. LQ

September 24, 2004 5:59 PM

I have heard this arguement over and over and over again. I do realize your point though, the average user doesn't know ANYTHING about computers. Take my grandmother for example, she thinks the IE icon is "Google". The problem is that FF is designed well, and it has excellent coding. I have taken a look at the code myself, and it much cleaner than IE. I cannot pretend to understand half of the code in each of the browers, but I know enough about programming to comprehend the benefits of FF. Like one commentor before me said, users have gotten used to IE, and they can get used to FF. If userability becomes a problem, Motzilla could market a "dumbed down" version of FF to previous IE users and those that are not as computer-literate. I have to say, your commentary does somewhat surprise me. I am currently 16 years old, and I go to a gifted high school. I simply didn't realize that most people didn't know what a Browser was. That is my fault, however (afterall, I had to reinstall my Grandmother's touchpad in her laptop after she uninstalled it... I don't want to know how she did in the first place). Pressing "enter" after entering something in a field is like second nature to me; I thought everyone knew that. The sad thing is, I work part-time and go to school full-time, so I leave the house at 7 and get home around 10; I really don't have time for other things. Yet, I manage to be able to recognize many programming languages, and I can freely write 5, without a handbook. I also dabble in webdesign and graphic design with extensive knowledge of programs like Byrce and Photoshop. Well, I guess that is your take on all of this. Reguardless of how many computer users are "retarded" (at least in my standards), I am going to continue to rave about FF and other "evils" such as Gmail and Thunderbird. Thanks for bringing up the issue of userability though... I never thought of that.

September 25, 2004 3:02 AM

I think it is not a professional way of writing an article about Firefox. If you start from that point "in which window shall I type, or where is the GO button", i think that user should stay at Gameboy. I dont agree a lot points, though I am using Firefox and I am not 100% satisfied with it. I simply would NOT recommend YOUR article.

September 26, 2004 7:37 AM

As an internet user since the mid 90's i have to say i enjoy Firefox more than i ever have IE, its been stable, fast, and usable on most of the websites that matter to me.. Where i understand the shortcomings, i take those in-stride and realize that they will be corrected much sooner than IE's massive lingering faults. Then again.. you know what they say about opinions.

September 27, 2004 4:00 PM

I think the article comments are right on, and here's why. The BIGGEST mistake anyone in business can make, whether it's marketing toothpaste, promoting a political candidate, or introducing new software technology, is to neglect your end-user/audience. I'm a Technical Writer. I'm not a webmaster, or a programmer. I do, however, spend a great deal of time working with them to promote the concept that it doesn't matter how many bells and whistles (or in the case of Firefox, a lack of pre-packaged bells and whistles) they want, if it's useless to their end-user, there's no point at all. I downloaded Firefox 1.0 and while I'm no slouch in the computer world, I did find myself in fairly alien territory with some of the concepts promoted. One difference between me and the average (or below-average) user is that I am not afraid of screwing up...I know just enough to be dangerous but not irrevocably so. ;) In my experience, the majority of people who are too scared to download for themselves will be completely lost in this situation. Well-meaning relatives or friends may install it, but a good deal could be lost on the user. I think that Firefox is some pretty cool stuff. I think that it's premature to be screaming it from the rooftops for the average user. I don't think Firefox has decided on their target audience at this point; if they have they certainly aren't pointing to the lowest common denominator (which is okay), and subsequently, they aren't marketing this in a way that lends itself to reaching that target audience. This is essentially a free-for-all, and when something is marketed that way, chances are you'll have stragglers, some of whom may be so stressed by their experience with this 'beta' that they may not ever try it again. Oh, and I think the person who earlier commented about how "even the secretaries could use the browser" is a jerk. In my experience (on both sides of that job, as a secretary or as someone who has a secretary), most secretaries are way smarter than they are given credit for, and in many cases more together than the people they're slaving for. And people that can't see that are probably in need of a serious attitude adjustment. My 2 cents.

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September 30, 2004 11:42 PM

***token majove September 9, 2004 4:05 PM FF is marketing their browser to everyone because it's always geeks who adopt first, no matter how you market it.. FF is trying to grab as many people as they can, because they need those people. They know that the only people who are going to listen to them are the geeks. Once 'zilla becomes more friendly to the joe blow users, 'zilla will have enough of a following to help promote it. Maybe I'm wrong or overread what they are trying to do.. Maybe this Kalsey guy really knows what he's talking about.. I dont ever try to read things like an average user.. I can't.. I'm a linux nerd, so I can't really put myself in the shoes of Joe Blow.. To me, compiling a kernel is second nature, and is one reason I recommend you use Firefox only if you are moderately comfortable with your computer, and base your own opinion on it. As for everyone using Firefox? Nah.. Not yet.. Give it time. Firefox is already powerful.. "Now if we could only get this 'ease of use' thing everyone's talking about down, we'd be in business".*** This guy hit the nail on the head more than your article ever did. Mozilla perhaps doesn't want to advertise to everyone, because, as you have said, they are not at a final release. Chances are theyre looking for the tech pop. to adopt it first so that we can find the bugs, and they can find the bugs and then by the time the FR comes out, so many of the techs will have used the browser that the average user will know someone who has used Firefox. Then the word of mouth will do its work. And who knows, when Mozilla is really confident on their product, you may go to their site and see a giant button that says Upgrade to Firefox, because at that point they wont need to tell people why they should use it. And MS thought with their release of SP2 theyd be in the clear. I guess its not that hard to virtually pull the source code from Mozilla and slap a blue E on it. The way I see it is this: 1) I've told many novice users to install Firefox, some of them I didn't even give the link to the site. And just today one of those novice users told me he's loving the Firefox, he's got the Firefox calendar extension. This amazed me and nullifies your article, because the same guy who I have to show how to delete a file successfully installed an extension, let alone Firefox itself. 2) I felt like I had to argue, since you started and "argument" after all. So lets look at this way on a sub-argumentative level: A) I wont use your site again after this post because its too hard, and I definitely wouldnt recommend anyone go here, mainly because of fear and confusion. Youre a consulting group apparently (how can 1 person be a group?) So you consult what? Wait, I just found it on your site. You help people build websites that solve real business problems. It was kind of a problem to find that B) Your text box for posting is 10 pixels wide with a 72pt font, which is great. C) You knew by posting this article that you could sit back behind your monitor, with your right-handed J-mouse on the left side of your keyboard, and watch people get mad at you, while making sure your 5 friends comment on how amazing you are in the tech-world and youd get a pretty good rating on google. So now I got a few smiles going, and few heads getting hot, just like you, its kind of neat how text can do that. 3) Im just picking on you. My opinion is that Firefox is indeed the browser you can trust because since Ive installed it I havent had to run my Spybot, which used to be a weekly routine. But I like Firefox and other people like IE, so whos right? Neither, or both, its all an opinion, which nullifies all comments of people saying Yeah Firefox rules and Ive used IE with no problems. So the real problem is why you say FF is not ready. Because I bet the millions of people who thought Windows ME was ready were pretty upset when they realized, ME is faster! meant, ME is faster at crashing. Yet people still used it, but not for too long. They went back to 98 or to 2000. So really you just have to throw your product out there as best you can, and hopefully your idea of a good stable build is what the user likes. Because obviously Billy thought ME was good to go, but enough on that. You get the point? So your statements on all these bugs are also nullified because in reality you dont decide what a bug is, and neither do I. The fact that I could state Firefox crashed on me maybe doesnt take into account having WMP open and burning a CD at the same time. 4) So really in closing this means your site is mainly useless text that wastes peoples time and keeps climbing the ladder on the search engines. 5) Again all in good fun; just thought Id warm you up a bit, for arguments sake. And don't tell me you didn't want to stir the pot by writing that article.

October 1, 2004 5:10 AM

An interesting position -- and one I can agree with, to an extent. While it IS easy to customise Firefox if you know what you're doing, the initial setting-up of preferences and extensions can be confusing. It can also be tedious to close and re-open the browser each time an extension is installed, but adding too many at once can cause some extensions to corrupt. A complete novice would not know how to deal with that, nor be able to seek out hidden system files to customise their user chrome file, nor know where to look for help if something did go wrong. I would not recommend Firefox to my father (a cautious novice) unless I was there to talk him through the installation process. I have no doubt he would understand which bit does what once it's set up, but he is extremely nervous about installing anything himself. Then again, while he's still using IE, that caution works to his advantage. The only virus he's had recently is a spoof which came in by email.

Joseph Huang
October 2, 2004 3:15 PM

"It doesnt entirely act like a native application on all platforms." You mean on the all important Mac platform?

October 5, 2004 3:02 PM

I downloaded Firefox a couple of days ago, it's great. It loads faster then IE and all allows me to do alot more. But I agree with your points too, Firefox should not promote itself so early. My mother used to not know how to turn the power on for a pc! Lol. But when I told her I was downloading a new browser she's like, "what's that?... As long as it's free..." So I guess this runs with the idea of your 65 year old grandfather, but yeah... I'm not that inexperienced and do know what the address bar is and that you don't have to search for websites w/yahoo like others do, so I can see where some explaining is needed with Firefox. Also I believe they should keep working on firefox until they reach a point where's there's not so many issues as of know. Great article!

October 6, 2004 11:14 AM

Ok I know this is an old article and I didn't read all the comments but one thing that Adam is definitely right IMHO is the idea of a 'not final' release being offerred to the public. All the debate of who is the 'public' doesn't matter because honestly even a non-newbie (at least I think I am ;) ) web user/designer like me was pretty surprised and disappointed to see a PR as the primary download on the front page of Thats a huge mistake.

Trackback from :: daily ramblings ::
October 6, 2004 11:15 AM


Excerpt: I like it lots. Kalsey Consulting doesn't, but I can't say I agree with the reasons. Are average internet users...

Grigor Gatchev
October 8, 2004 2:08 PM

A very reasonable and serious article. And a very well-intended to Firefox, I might add. In the free software world, we often tend to be a little harsh on criticising people. You may often hear "Do yourself what you propose!". Indeed, some help may be not only of use, but very easy to do. For example, addressing these counsels to the Mozilla Foundation developers would help better than simply blogging them. (Offering specific ideas, even if non-programming, like "Use 'this' word instead of 'that' there", would be still better, but is not necessarily needed.) But, even only in a blog, this post helps - at least I think so. Thanks, Adam!

October 9, 2004 5:37 AM

1. Not everyone is as stupid as you think they are... 2. You make a summary of the problems with Firefox, do you really wish to get started on a list of Internet Explorer problems ??? 3. Firefox follows W3C standards, IE never has, it even tried to create some new "standards"... That's why lots of W3C incompatibilities are still polluting the Net... 4. People who really think that the "blue e" or the Yahoo starting page is "the Internet", shouldn't bother surfing without taking some proper computer classes!

Trackback from Linux Log
October 9, 2004 9:50 PM

Why I don't recomment Firefox

Excerpt: Firefox has a grassroots marketing campaign underway where they’re trying to get bloggers to add a Firefox button to their blogs. Asa Dotzler recently sent me an email asking me to participate.

Adam Kalsey
October 11, 2004 10:32 AM

Jeroen (and others with similar sentiments), Thank you for taking the time to not actually read the article before you commented on it. Argue against points I didn't actually make is a very effective debating technique. The fact that IE has problems with security, standards support, usability, or anything else is irrelevant. IE has the market share. If Firefox wants to take market share from IE, it must be FLAWLESS. It must be compelling to the average user. Proclaiming that your target market is obviously too stupid to use Firefox will not drive adoption. I'm grateful that people like you are not on the Mozilla marketing team. If you were, then ideas such as these would ensure that Mozilla products would remain forever obscure.

October 17, 2004 2:18 PM

A very true. I think, that I'm an advanced user. I have turned off static VXDs responsible for networking in my Windows, because I know, that everything work fine without them. I like to customize everything. But I don't like to f*** up with thousends of plugins and strange configurations. I want just my software to work perfectly. It's me, an advanced user. But very, very most of people don't even know, what VXD is, for example. Even if they are very common with computers. They don't need. Maybe this is something, what exists in open source software - most of it is created for people who love to configure, experiment and modify everything. FF is for that kind of people. Look at statistics: how many people are using Linux? About 1%? That are potential users of FF. An open source needs to be more simple, user friendly, and so over - if we want it to be something more, than a margin. Of course it's good, that alternative browsers are gaining popularity. But remember about simple users. They are the most of users! It's good, that there is something like FF. The other browser will need to get better, otherway they will be blown out. That is good. So, FF (and other browsers) developers: keep it up, talk less, be more average people friendly... and so your software will be too. (Sorry for my weak english)

October 19, 2004 10:44 PM

Wow, one of the most objective and constructive criticism I've ever seen on that topic. Thanks! I would personally describe myself as a FF evangelist, but I must admit that you're right on nearly every point. Let's hope this article spreads in the FF developer community :-) just my $0.02

October 20, 2004 1:46 AM


October 21, 2004 7:33 AM

I'm sorry, if the user doesn't know what the stuff is the user should research. I have never liked the idea that people should cater to the ignorant. If you want to know something you should put forth the effort to learn.

Olivier Labb
October 21, 2004 12:27 PM

You're probably right, Firefox isn't as userfriendly as it should be, but then again, MS et Apple didnt give much about userfriendliness of their browser too, ppl just get use to it because it came with their computer... and probably never updated it ... and since Firefox is OS you can suggest thing easier than with IE or Safari ... I use firefox and Thunderbird (mail client) and I suggest anything i can to them, even if its a little thing like being able to be 100% compatible with OLD Netscape javascript since it register as netscape in javascript... or being able to checkup mail every 20 minutes without having to have the whole software open... or adding alt+enter to get autocomplete .org (like ctrl+enter = .com and the fact is... they need more userstupidity roadmap of their software, and the best about that, if that YOU or anybody can contribute by suggestion if your not a good code-writer...

October 21, 2004 1:00 PM

I'm both a Firefox and Mozilla Suite evangelist, recommending it to all my techie friends. I've even managed to get it installed on our default work masters. The part of your article that made me smile, though, was about how many users think the big blue e is "the internet". That's true, but it's not just the big blue e. When my mom and dad each got computers a couple years ago, I set them up. I installed Netscape 7 for them, which they use for both web browsing and email. (Mozilla suite wasn't quite ready for prime time at that point...) Since then I've upgraded them to 7.2, and may at some point switch to Moz. What's funny is, when talking to my dad, he thinks that Netscape is "the internet". He's definitely one of those users. No idea what a "browser" is...just that to get to the internet, he clicks the big N. He doesn't even know what a big blue e is, because it's never been on his desktop.

October 21, 2004 5:00 PM

Excellent views.

October 22, 2004 7:56 AM

Enjoyed your clear, well thought out commentary. I'm somewhere in between a wannabe geek girl and a totally ignorant novice. You have the skill of wearing the mind of another for a moment. M

October 27, 2004 11:39 PM

I completely agree with you, Adam. I have been going to college for more than a year. I am taking an online course in windows xp, CIS 110, I have had introduction to computers, and have been using computers for just over a year. I worked as an aircraft mechanic in the military for ten years. I am just a bit on the slow side in my own opinion. Probably just about average. I don't spend a lot of time with FIREFOX. I downloaded some extensions for the browser a few weeks ago. I'm not sure what to do with them. Are they installed? I don't know. I don't have time to find out. I've got algebra, programming and other things to learn. And I will make time to listen to BEFORE Iplay with firefox. I am on a break from computers if I'm not studying, I want to do something other than wonder why the on button is not on the front of the television. Know what I mean, Vern?

October 29, 2004 2:23 AM

Man! You're just to lazy to lazy to customize Firefox! Even when you have IE you have to do it.

Trackback from Yosi Taguri's WebLog
October 30, 2004 2:29 PM

[Quote]Why I don't recommend Firefox


October 30, 2004 5:55 PM

I read your article and tended to agree at first. However reading some of those comments I changed my mind. You say that non-internet savvy people will have trouble with this product. These people will need to be walked-thru and tutored regardless of how well FireFox lays out their site. "My Yahoo" people will not go through the installation process if they reach the FireFox site anyway. Like you said they don't know what browser means. So your recommendation is not for them. What clinched it for me was this: >Last month the numbers were 67% IE and >13% FF. Still, this says nothing of general >market penetration because my audience >tends to be the early-adopter, open source >Web developer crowd. This is your crowd. This is who you're recommending to. So despite your explanations why you wouldn't recommend this to your father-in-law (FF isn't targeting him for the exact reasons you've laid out) you've failed to convince me why you wouldn't reccomend it to your crowd. After all FireFox can only reach "My Yahoo" people once it's established itself amongst the more savvy users.

Adam Kalsey
October 30, 2004 6:12 PM

That's a good point (and the first well-reasoned one left on my blog), but "My Crowd" isn't the only people that come by here. You'd be amazed at how many people find (through a search engine) an article I wrote years ago about Classmates and then procede to ask me for support, apparently thinking I'm Classmates. They give me usernames, passwords, even credit card numbers. I get the same thing on a number of other entries as well. Along with that, I'd think those that *are* my crowd are probably already well aware (and may be using) Firefox already. All I'd be doing is preaching to the choir. That said, the latest release of Firefox is MUCH better. Some extensions still break when you upgrade, but at least the browser tells you what broke and what to do about it. When popups are blocked, you're told in a non-intrusive way what happened. And the default theme is much better for the average user. I've had a number of conversations with the Firefox team and I know that my article and others like facilitated these changes. That's all I really wanted.

October 30, 2004 6:49 PM

Sorry to say, but this article is a bunch of ****. You criticism is not aimed at Firefox, but rather at the lack of knowledge beginners. You basically claim that if Firefox was to be more similar to Internet Explorer, it would be great. Well, if you were to look at it from another point of view, you could say that users should get so used to using Firefox, that if you were to put an Internet Explorer icon on their desktop and remove Firefox, they would get confused and wonder where they internet disappeared to. This is simply no reason not to recommend a terrific browser. Anytime I recommend ANY program to someone that has no idea of how to use a computer, I take the time to explain how to use it. No, unlike you, I would not expect a computer moron to be able to install and use a new program, no matter what it is intended for. These kind of blogs upset me, cause unfortunately they get attention from local (Israeli) internet portals, and your BS may be misunderstood by some people. /me gets off his soap box

October 30, 2004 7:09 PM

Someone else may have already commented on this, but I don't feel like reading all the comments :) ... Regarding: "How about integrating the address bar and the search field? If what I entered isnt a URL, pass it to Google." It actually does do something like this in the address bar, except that instead of giving Google results, it uses the I'm Feeling Lucky result. So if you type "john kerry" you get or if you type "microsoft developer network" you get It's quite nifty, although I know it's not exactly what you mentioned.

October 30, 2004 8:16 PM

Its a fact, FIREFOX runing a lot more faster then any other browser in the market on any OS. So please, I don't really know who paid you to write what ever you just did but perfect in the computer world exist only in the MOVIES.

Mark Wan
October 30, 2004 9:35 PM

My wife ain't no net-savvy type. Once I've installed Firefox on the home computer and told her to double-click that instead of the "E", she has been using it and had no problems (except when websites were written in a non-W3C complaint way). I can't what from a program management sense Firefox needs to do but as a technology it seems pretty mature to me.

raygol *
October 30, 2004 10:54 PM

One point: Most, or many website are not built according to specification, but after microsoft way. This force many people, if not too many, to utilse a dangerous, unsecure, breachable, and not updated browesr as Explorer.

Brant Gurganus
October 30, 2004 11:47 PM

Criticisms are perfectly okay, but wouldn't it better if problems were solved instead of complained about. Solve a problem today and there will be one less problem tomorrow.

October 30, 2004 11:55 PM

good going. I think FF (PR 1.0) is great. but I do think they'll get more users by being more "user friendly". somthing like a screen in the install process that says advanced/avarage Joe/donno. and I do think that if FF people will look here and they are open minded, they will learn somthing.

jovant snoop
October 31, 2004 2:03 AM

many site uses tag with microsoft syntax ("iframe" "div") not netscape syntax those will not going to adjust there code for FF (netscape) if FF will promise to be 100% compatible to IE they can success otherwise they waisting time & money

October 31, 2004 8:19 AM

The three points that you stated as to why you don't recommend Firefox are ridiculous. Please, allow me to take them down one by one: 1.) It doesn't run perfectly on Mac OSX. First of all, who cares about Mac users? Second, the three points that the linked article made are obscure (Emacs bindings?? What 'My Yahoo' type user knows what that is??) Also you found one thread complaining about FF on OSX, there are hundreds complaining about IE on OSX. 2.) No GO button. This is a valid complaint, but the benefits outway it. Basically, you're saying that you'd rather recommend the security-hole ridden IE to these people. 3.) So don't recommend it to Windows ME users. Let them rot. You're advice to the Mozilla team: "Its time to stop thinking like developers and start thinking like users." And here's my advice to Microsoft: "It's time to stop thinking like greedy tyrants and start thinking like the hackers that hate you."

Doug Ferguson
October 31, 2004 4:48 PM

I had to switch to Firefox to read these comments. I think the really long bugzilla URL on September 7 is messing up the formatting in IE.

Trackback from Ups and Downs and Everything Beyond
October 31, 2004 6:43 PM

Closing the Gap Between Users and Developers

Excerpt: I recently suggested to my father that he switch from Internet Explorer to Firefox. My father went and did a little poking around the internet as to the merits of Firefox and uncovered Adam Kalsey's blog entry about why he doesn't recommended Firefox...

Bill Gates
October 31, 2004 8:37 PM

The author of this article is completely clueless. Firefox is the best browser on the market for speed, security and features. Obviously, the article was written by a Microsoft employee who knows that MS never innovates unless they are forced to.

Chad Kempt
November 2, 2004 12:03 PM

I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed reading this article. I own a computer company and I support small business and end users with systems that I setup and install for them. I have users of all types, from the ... wheres the power the don't you dare try and build that for me...and why does it have a retail box?!? I wantd OEM. So I can understand where you're coming from with this article. About the only thing I've noticed is that by not "attempting" to get them to use firefox I am leaving myself open to many technical support calls because it seems 80% of my "home user" support is "cleaning up of pc's" which consists of formating / reinstalling to remove the tons and tons of spyware / malware that these users accumulate from the use of internet explorer. However, I seem to get calls as to why web pages don't load properly in firefox...I then tell them the page was causing there previous problems and they reluctantly oblige and don't use it. Anyway, Thanks for your point of view I found it very interesting, I too often think like a developer, as you say, and need to think more like the users I'm servicing.

November 3, 2004 10:18 AM

There is a go button, you just have to r-click the Navigation bar and chose Customize. the go button.

November 3, 2004 12:05 PM

If my wife can use and be comfortable with Firefox then anybody else can for sure. You don't give enough credit to the so-called everyday user. "Build it and they will come" comes to mind and surely they will.

November 3, 2004 12:20 PM

Hi Adam, I really enjoyed your blog and agree. Firefox is not ready for the Internet masses. Marketing Firefox like it is now is not a good idea. I'm foremost a programmer, but also have a usability and graphic design background. What really makes me understand your points is I also did IT\helpdesk work in my first few years of employment. I do not think many of the people spitting venom in the comments section have that perspective. Somethings to keep in mind for the Firefox lover before before posting a comment. Quite a bit of the people commenting bring in how they got one of their relatives\friends using Firefox. This doesn't really have much to do with the blogs points. Adam is talking about an regular user who doesn't have the luxury of somebody to call. Firefox is hurting itself by marketing too early before bugs and usability is fully worked out. Yes Microsoft does that, but they have tons of money, hire amazing marketing agencies and they are on almost every home pc. Some people comment on that such "morons" should not surf the web. Or that there really are not so many "incompetent" or "ignorant" people. That the general masses are really "smarter" than we give them credit for. So let's set this straight. The general masses is *not* interested in computers and programs. Unlike us computer people, they simply want to "use" not learn. The have their jobs and other pursuits. They are generally smart people, but when you develop GUI and programs, you have to think in general user terms. Lastly, the blog is *not* saying Firefox is a bad browser or that it is slow or technology lacking compared to ie. Still quite a lot of people seem to take that personally. Anyway hope that helps before you see red and rant about how this article is bad because....

Bill Windows
November 3, 2004 2:49 PM

I agree will Bill Gates: "The author of this article is completely clueless. Firefox is the best browser on the market for speed, security and features. Obviously, the article was written by a Microsoft employee who knows that MS never innovates unless they are forced to."

November 4, 2004 12:43 AM

That many people do not want to explore is entirely true. I have had to help people write down steps to check mail... like 1. Double click the "Blue E" , etc etc they stick to it and complain when it does not work. As for Spyware .. IE sucks big time... and my computer almost shut down due to spyware before I switched over to firefox. Even now , IE is infected to the core and am unable to remove it. Firefox in that manner isvery much better and configurable.. As for the average user... It might b like Stone age man with a calculator trying to figure out what it is... but it is possible that he will be able to do calculus on that ... when is anyone's guess.. Microsoft Beware... My two cents....

November 4, 2004 3:51 PM

You've got to be kidding me. Is it Firefox's fault that people have had IE shoved down their throat? The only reason they know to click the "Blue E" to get on the internet instead of the "Cute Little Fox" is because Microscam has brainwashed people like you! Get a life and start stamping out ignorance instead of catering to it. People need to learn. Computers are here to stay. Learn to use one.

November 6, 2004 12:18 PM

Here's another reason: I installed FF 1.0 RC2 last night and half my installed extensions are non-functional. This is one thing for sure that the devs need to fix before 1.0 GA and before marketing to non-techies--how can a minor version number change that makes no functional changes that come into play do crap like this?

November 6, 2004 9:49 PM

You are a Microsoft employee,are not you? Obviously,all my friends said:it is easyly to use firefox.They aren't good at computer,but they know firefox is better for them than ie.

Trackback from Retrophisch
November 6, 2004 9:59 PM

Kalsey on Firefox

Excerpt: Wes points to this analysis of Firefox by Adam Kalsey, which I think is brilliant. I am an Internet power user, and I still see no compelling reason to use Firefox, though I heartily use its kissing cousin, [Camino](). In the software requirements fiel...

November 7, 2004 10:55 AM

I agree with most of your points (despite the fact that I use Firefox myself). Galeon and Epiphany are actually far ahead in many of these respects. They have a close button on each tab (which I love), integrate the search and URL bar (Epiphany does, at least), and though they're not crash-proof, they recover beautifully. I still think it blows IE out of the water, though... even after the Service Pack 2 additions/rip-offs. Chris Beach: Your link to the potential XUL exploit was pretty scary. "Self-serving zealots," though? Isn't that called capitalism?

Dave Child
November 9, 2004 5:32 AM

I think Firefox is going the right route, personally. You're absolutely right that Firefox at the moment isn't appealing to many home users. They are very used to having things a certain way and are comfortable with what they are using. In that respect, you are spot on. However, I don't think that appealing directly to the home user is wise, yet. I think that first, you need to appeal to the techies. Once technically minded folk are on board, home users start to switch. They switch because when they call their technically-minded nephew over to fix a problem that person then installs Firefox and runs them through it. Appealing to the home user directly is a waste of time - most of them don't want to change, because they don't know why they should. Changing this situation is a matter of educating people, and the responsibility rests with people who understand why Firefox is better than IE, and can explain that to others.

Dave Bobb
November 9, 2004 4:10 PM

Good comments DC. Its good to be cautious, but BHO's have gotten so bad that I've spent dozens of hours removing them from other computers. Sometimes the computers are so scrambled that they fail to function anymore, and this is just from BHOs/Searchbars. Then I have to go clean up the mess, not that I mind the extra cash, but its so tedious and easily preventable, but nobody (the average person) cares. I've been watching Mozilla/Firebird for awhile now and from a user point of view I *hated* them because a lot of websites would look ugly or even crash the browsers, and I can say that Firefox 'Is finally ready', about as fast as IE, and does not use dangerous ActiveX controls. I know that i'm thinking like a developer/geek here but imagine when you can simply surf the internet without worry about 2 or 3 different search bars installing themselves onto your machine, and you don't have to do a thing. I bet that if I were to replace the firefox destkop icon to look like IE, users would barely notice a difference. Maybe then they would ask questions, get the one-liner answer that they can handle, and have some of their problems automatically fixed instead of surfing for porn and getting a bunch of garbage instead, and then calling me for some tedious browser bar removal again and again.

November 10, 2004 1:28 AM

Firefox rulezzzzzzz!!!

November 10, 2004 11:29 AM

I agree that Firefox isn't necessarily geared toward the 'newbie' user but for the Mozilla Foundation move to aggressively market this browser is, in my humble opinion, a good move. Getting as much feedback from a large demographic of users, from Advanced Users to Grandma & Grandpa Jones down the street, is the best way to gather the proper metrics needed to improve an already impressive product. If the developers only geared their product toward one type of end-user then they've put all their eggs into one basket which is a poor business decision to say the least!

November 10, 2004 11:34 AM

I think most websites of a techie bent should have a Geek Translator button. It woul reduce tech-speak to plain English by opening a real-folks-friendly version of the page.

GG Elitism
November 10, 2004 11:40 AM

Good. Let all the people that have no freaking clue what they're doing keep on using Internet Explorer. Let them keep getting their systems ruined by spyware. If their ignorance is worth all of that hassle and repair expense then I say let em go for it. For God's sake don't let that lame average user excuse ruin a powerful tool. Not everything has to be designed to sate everybody's ignorance. That's what Microsoft is for. Let them take on all the clueless users that have no intention of ever learning anything about the technology they use everyday. Let their call centers get innundated with tech support because the average user isn't going to put forth the effort regardless of how dumbed down it's constructed. In short, developers trying to chase the tail of self-imposed ignorance is a complete waste.

harey carey
November 10, 2004 11:42 AM

i know there is a difference between a beginner and a pro when it comes this stuff, but there is also a difference between a beginner and the monkey-like man you describe here. i work with a lot of beginners, and i have yet to have anybody say "i thought we were talking about my computer, not my car" when i referred to a search engine. give people a little more credit.

November 10, 2004 11:45 AM

I really appreciate what you have written about the Firefox interface and the general public. This is exactly where the microsoft EXCELS usability. But I was wondering has the time come to educate the end user to atleast a point where he is responsible for his actions!

November 10, 2004 11:46 AM

Blake Edwards
November 10, 2004 11:51 AM

I like the way your article portrays Power Users as people who've figured out how to open tabs instead of another browser window. the "regular home users" you describe sound more like mentally handicapped senior citizens than normal people. Most people have figured out computers by now

Adam Kalsey
November 10, 2004 11:51 AM

Once again, for those that didn't take the time to actually read the article before commenting, I did not once say that you (or anyone else) should use IE over Firefox. What I said is that the Mozilla team needs to make the browser appeal to average users if they want average users to actually use it. The idea that someone should learn more about computers so they'll appreciate Firefox is fine, but it's counter to the goals of spreading the browser. If you want people to use your product, you have to make it work for them, not make them work to learn it.

November 10, 2004 11:51 AM

I take it from the first half of your article ("I though[t] this was something for my internet") that you don't advocate Firefox for red-state Bush voters, but you do advocate it for others. Is this correct?

November 10, 2004 11:56 AM

Don't hate the player... hate the game!

November 10, 2004 12:00 PM

Seems to me that your really having a tough time thinking up reasons why people wouldn't like Firfox. You complained about there not being a GO button. Come on now. Why should the programmers but in a pointless feature like that. Should they also clutter up the entire interface with other items no one uses. You also complained that the Firefox team uses correct terminology to describe things. Do you suggest they dumb it down? Should they make the words sounded more cute, or make stuff up? I would just like to know when your check from Microsoft arrives in the mail.

November 10, 2004 12:03 PM

"This is exactly where the microsoft EXCELS usability." Haha, that is like saying BMW I-Drive is intuitive. Try using Apple software/hardware sometime. It is a lot more intuitive than Microsoft. The reason MS came out on top of the browser wars is that they made it difficult for the average user to launch another browser. They made theirs the default, as the author of the article said people hardly know what a browser is. They just want to connect to the internet. "But I was wondering has the time come to educate the end user to atleast a point where he is responsible for his actions!" That will never happen. It hasn't happened with anything else. People still don't change their own oil in their cars, don't repair their own plumbing, why would they learn how to use a computer? They simply don't care, and it is not important to them. They have better things to worry about. I think the release 1.0 is much improved over the recent preview versions. It is very simple and easy to use. I think it will be a huge success.

November 10, 2004 12:12 PM

I'm tired of whining morons who don't take the time to understand the things they use on a daily basis. As people grow more dependent on technology, they also grow dumber and more helpless. There is only a learning curve for Firefox because people are used to the established "Microsoft way". This way is not BETTER or EASIER. It is simply what has become habitual. People SHOULD learn to use hot keys and not rely so much on the mouse. It improves productivity. And it only takes 5 seconds to learn to press the enter key in the URL box to GO. This is not a valid argument against Firefox. With that said, I do agree with the author that Mozilla may have prematurely marketed out firefox. However, sometimes one must act when discontentment peaks, as it did earlier this year with IE

November 10, 2004 12:12 PM

My wife, who hasn't yet figured out the windows taskbar, happily uses Firefox. I told her the fire icon gets her to the internet and off she went. That's good enough for me. - Brandon

November 10, 2004 12:17 PM

Adam, As one of the "random people" who came across your blog, I thought I was going to have to get angry about someone ripping on Firefox. Instead, I found an insightful article that makes a very important point: if your customer does not understand your product, he won't buy it. Period. This is a lesson that the computer industry needs to learn if it expects to keep growing. People are not going to keep shelling out money forever just because their IT guy says you need this new gizmo or else. Sooner or later, someone will ask "Why?" and we're going to have to explain it. Well, I'm rambling. Don't take any crap, you are right.

November 10, 2004 12:25 PM

What we are witnessing is the inevitible re-engineering of the user, not the browser. Many of your points are well taken and I happen to agree about the upgrade (though I cannot see a way for Mozilla to reconcile the lack of desire of a programmer to update his extension (what if he's in jail?)). I have been saying this for years: there is nothing wrong with a user needing to learn a thing or two about the computer or "The Internet" they are using. If they can't learn, they'll be shaken out of the paradigm or be relegated to using out-of-date technology, such as their old AOL browser, Safari, ancient IE and so forth. IE has brought us 6 years of no innovation. Now that innovation is here, you are going to see users empowered to adapt this technology into more than a browser and we'll start seeing some really refined tools emerge. It's a testament to the technology that the best a serious critiquer (not critic) can come up with as flaws is that Firefox can't deliver a user-friendly (read: dumb dumb (read: IE)) experience. From where I stand, I'd say Firefox has targeted it's market pretty well.

Hans Petter Jansson
November 10, 2004 12:34 PM

I think you're basically right in that features that are helpful to non-technical people but annoying to experts should be present by default (i.e. the "go" button). Experts will just turn it off. So, thanks for sticking your neck out. This is constructive criticism, but some people are bound to get all worked up about it anyway. That said, I'm not sure if all non-technical users behave in the manner you described - from what I've seen, the expectations and learning rates vary wildly among people in this group. It'd be interesting to see a usability study for Firefox.

Omar Kamel
November 10, 2004 12:37 PM

All this article really does is explain to me how and why Bush won on Nov. 2nd. Well, okay - to get back to the's a very familiar point. I often have to deal with it at the end of a long conversation with friends, involving words like 'right', 'wrong', 'obvious', 'good', 'government', 'human', 'people', etc...and at the end of it - my friend - any one of them repeating to me that people are stupid. Well, I guess they are, but it's never seemed to me like a good reason to dumb things down. And yes, I *do* consider it dumbing down, the usability argument is nice and fine - but damn it - people should have *some* idea of what they're doing.

November 10, 2004 12:56 PM

Adam, you are dead on. I work with smart people who handle numbers, properties, projects... but don't know what a browser is and don't care. I'd go on, but I'd just be repeating your observations. Good work, man.

Mark Larsen
November 10, 2004 1:45 PM

Yeah, right... No, really... why the hell we use fork? Why can't we eat using hand? Fork is too complicated thing for average user...

November 10, 2004 2:08 PM

Being on a college campus I have talked to and helped people ranging from techie geeks sporting their firefox t-shirt to a guy who doesn't know what Windows XP is (the guy hadn't touch a computer until 3 months ago). It took about 1-2 minutes to explain the benefits of firefox, and not a single person I have helped has looked back to IE since. You make a point, but a minutes explanation to someone who doesn't know what they are doing is enough to bring firefox to non-technical people. And as the developers are relying on word of mouth to spread firefox anyhow, there is no reason that this explanation shouldn't happen. Maybe you should consider talking to your wife before making changes to her computer... and giving her a short explanation as to why IE blows. That would be more productive than giving us a lesson on how stupid Americans are. Let's look at this comment you posted: '"The new Easy Transition system imports all of your settings - Favorites, passwords and other data from Internet Explorer and other browsers.'" Now it does include the word browser... but beyond that there is nothing that even a public high school grad will not understand. I don't know how intimidating the words import and transition are to you, but most any non-technical person should know both words. And again, a simple explination will remedy any confusion. Talking down, as Omar pointed out, is no way to reach the end user and earn the respect of your customers. Overall I think you make a reasonable point, but I feel you article points out easily reconciled problems and blows your observations out of proportion.

John Wozniak
November 10, 2004 2:24 PM

As a frequent user (within a home network) of the most recent verisons of Linux, Windows and Mac OS' and testing my work (web) in a variety of browsers on all platforms (IE, Konqueror, Safari, Mozilla) I generally agree with Adam's comments about Mozilla. If you are fairly savvy, Mozilla is a great tool for the web and web coding. The bottom line is traditional Windows apps with "fancy" installers and the associated registy changes and .dll's are easier to install for most users by leaps and bounds. It is important to note that this same point and click ease also makes viruses easy to run, so this is a double-edged sword - it is all a compromise. If you want software that manages a lot for the user (installs, uninstalls, updates etc.) there will be more exploits/holes/"two way streets" inherent it its design. In time, and with effort, Firefox (or something it spawns) will be as easy to install and use as other commercial Windows apps - until then we can use it to help us debug .js and css etc. on any platform. There is no one best browser - just like there is no one "best guitarist" - they all do certain things well, and others not so well. Long term I think Google will get in the mix with Novell and make a Linux flavored OS with Google search abilites and a killer file browser - in the meantime I will keep digging Firefox and pray that Google finally rallies enough folks to the table to finally help the industry make some real progress with UI design instead of stagnating.

November 10, 2004 2:53 PM

I see where it is going. Opera 7.60p2 has [X] on every tab, stripped to bare bones menu and first it asks is to disable mail/rss/chat and all other "scary stuff". But when you get rid of all scary features, add useless "go" buttons you end up targetting dumb users. They are dumb, and they will remain dumb as long as you let them be. Whats that steering wheel and gearbox? Why so many road sings!? I just want to get to my work! It's good that browsers don't kill people.

Dave Telling
November 10, 2004 3:40 PM

I use Firefox 1.0 and Mozilla, with VERY few problems. However, your point about users is well said - so many people just don't know, and more importantly don't CARE about how things work - they just want them to work. I installed Mozilla on my two home systems, and both my wife (who has litttle interest in geek stuff) and my daughter (who is a bit more hip to geekdom) use them with no noticeable problems. The only thing I have found is that some embedded media stuff doesn't work right, and some sites (such as Launchcast) tell you that they won't work with "Netscape" browsers. At any rate - I agree that the marketing strategy should be focussed on the "average" user, not the geek.

Trackback from Technology
November 10, 2004 6:14 PM

Fairy Robot Fireball

Excerpt: I have received a bunch of email about my post about Firefox 0.9. All of your points are well taken. Kudos to Ben and Adam for having the guts to post their compelling opinions on the blog instead of sending...

November 11, 2004 7:04 AM

Great article Adam Kalsey and you have not blown anything out of proportion. You are right on target. I was nodding and agreeing the whole time while reading your article. Although it does seem that former comments were not written by the average user who probably wouldn't even be able to find your blog. What you wrote was so succinct and intutitive about the everyday user it was scary and true. I was amazed. Plus now not only do we have to get web pages working in IE and Netscape, there is Firefox, Breasy and probably others I don't even know about. It gets about as confusing as going down the cereal isle at the grocers. Anyway, I was glad to have found your site and will bookmark it for future visitations and insights.

November 14, 2004 5:21 PM

I have no choice but to use Firefox because my IE is hosed! For the love of god, I can not get rid of whatever worm/trojan that has assimilated itself into my IE where I can no longer surf other websites without being bombarded with pop-up's on every page. Since switching over to Firefox, my web surfing experience has been extremely tranquil and enjoyable. I definately give Firefox my vote of confidence! Dump that piece of crap Microsoft Internet Explorer today!

Steve Franklin
November 17, 2004 5:06 AM

Criminy! Folks who can't download an installer to a folder (or just the desktop) and click on it should be prevented by law from owning a computer. As for "go" buttons, there is one in 1.0 if you want it, but again, anybody who hasn't figured out by now you can search for a typed term by hitting the [enter] button should be given training wheels and told to stay off the net. These are the very doofusses who have made the web a worm's favorite habitat. Give me a break, fellah!

November 17, 2004 6:27 AM

I have read a hundred or so of the comments here. Seems a lot of developers have a lot of pent up aggression where Microsoft are concerned. Whatever your feelings, flaming their software in order to promote other software in my opinion is quite pathetic and to honestly believe the average joe won't see through a bad mouthing campaign such as this is ridiculous. They simply won't get involved. With the huge amount of viruses, hacking and cracking advice constantly bombarding the average internet user, this may ironically cause users to observe greater diligence when considering deviating from the software they currently use. There may come a point when it will be perceived that changing software is a bigger risk than keeping what you have! (and what they have will always be microsoft) If users do not experience the 'hyped' security problems with IE then where is the reason to change? I do not know anyone personally who has had a problem with using Internet explorer and thus they have no reason to look for an alternative. It is all very well saying IE is flawed but that is like saying one day the world will end, lets move to a new planet now!!?? I have downloaded firefox and use it to test new web designs, but I confess I still use IE. Firefox seems like a very capable browser but hey, so what. For those of you who are promoting this simply to try and fan the flames around Microsoft, forget it. Good software will speak for itself, and definatley doesn't need jumped up little prats trying to market it like it's a new taste better than coca cola. Chris

Joseph Huang
November 19, 2004 4:29 PM

"If Firefox wants to take market share from IE, it must be FLAWLESS. It must be compelling to the average user." I disagree and think this is a very unhealthy attitude. Netscape certainly wasn't flawless, and it took marketshare from IE. Think about this: no alternative product is flawless, therefore IE will never lose marketshare? Is it even possible for a browser to be flawless? IE certainly has flaws.

November 27, 2004 7:30 AM

I am not a techie, I am an average user and maybe my experience with Firefox can help (if not, forget about my comment or delete it; no problem with that,really). I was using the preview version of Firefox when the final version was launched; I knew about some problems with the themes and the upgrades so I unistalled Firefox, deleted the folder and the registry entries in order to download the new version. I did it: new folder, new entries and new firewall access. The program seems to work well (some minor bugs but nothing critical) so I did some research for a new theme (the original interface is not very user friendly). I downladed one and I did not like it ( you cannot see a screenshot in the Firefox web page so the process is almost and adventure) so I downloaded another one. All the themes were in the web page and were compatible with the new version (at least they said that) but when I closed the browser and double clicked the icon the famous "xbl error" appeared. The solution given by Mozilla (Mozilla Zine Forums) to fix this bug did not work (change the name of the chrome folder). I unistalled Firefox (Folders, Registry - manually and with 2 registry cleaners,...) and downloaded another one but the problem was still there. In the Forums nobody could help me so I tried everything: I downloaded many registry cleaners in order to search for some hidden keys or entries; system restore: It did not fix the problem so I gave up. Maybe I am dumb and this problem is easy to fix but I wanted a Browser and not a headeache. I know that this is a very strange problem but many average users have problems with Firefox and the helpers in the forums are not able to fix them (uninstall and install is not the solution to the complex problems) or some "helpers" are very rude and their solution is "go back to IE". I think that Firefox (and Mozilla in General) is a good idea but it needs some improvements. (I apologize for my bad english)

November 28, 2004 5:35 AM

The average user cannot expect to be helped in the Firefox Forums.Most of the helpers are Firefox Believers who live in their own world thinking that Firefox is perfect, so the users get this kind of response: "It is your fault,you are doing something wrong because there is nothing wrong in FF". Well, the users could have made something wrong or not, but the point is that they are asking for help (and they actually need it because FF has many bugs, yes, FF has bugs like the other browsers) . The "you do not deserve FF" attitude is a nonsense. The extensions/themes bazaar is a pain for the average user ; the FF hype will fade away because is not very user friendly (I am talking about the upgrades/extensions...)and the average users do not need a Totem, they just need a browser. Mozilla should fix this and try to offer more support (maybe some developers in the Forums?) to the users.Without this I do not think that FF could be an alternative to IE.

December 8, 2004 2:44 PM

*Without prejudice* My thoughts are as follows. Imagine we set start up a business - We would be in deep trouble if we were to restrict access to this business to defined segments of the population - The lawyers would have a field day. You wouldn't ever think of building a browser that only works for men, or an email client that only straight people could use? So what i don't understand is why people seem to think that it's perfectly OK to produce a browser that is only for people With a certain ammount of knowlege. Saying that people shuld get trained - learn about the internet is all well and good - however there are people out there that are incapable of learning such concepts - perhaps they are just too old to want to learn new stuff, or perhaps they physcally can't (I was thinking here about people suffering from mental illness etc) Whatever the status of the user - be it Cyber Geek - to complete novice the system shuold work and perform an appropriate task, and perform it well. If someone doesn't understand how the broswser works (and I'm sure there are some users who have never seen a broswer before) perhaps some interactive demo would be useful. Now - before you all get on your high horses and berate me for agreeing with the article - i also believe that these niggles will be easily fixed. I know that if the open source community is only 10% as pasionate about the products as it is about the rhetoric (and I KNOW it is...) then these teathing problems will be ironed out before what I would call a 'general release' I believe that usability will be paramount for any developer looking to capture an existing market. If there is a product that already does the job that your product does then you need a better way of selling it. Doomsaying, and prohpesising issues with IE is - in my opinion- not the way to do it.. What sounds better? IE is chock full of security holes or FF finds your data faster and better, is easy to install and features comprehensive training matterial. This is where FF would win out - what do you get 'out of the box' with IE? A browser... and that's about it. With FF there is the possibility to get much more. Basic Training, project ideas, guides etc Anyway - I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year... Mike Hingley - Systems Developer

December 14, 2004 9:04 AM

The day I can browse my computer with a windows explorer bar is the day that I will switch to FireFox. Tried to use Firefox to browse my C drive but that was a joke. If you are using FF only for browsing the internet, sure it's a great prog, but it is not much more than that. As for security issues/ spyware, is it because IE has crappy security or is it because it is the most popular browser. I am waiting for the day that FF becomes popular enough that people start writing malicious codes specifically for it. Just up your security setting in IE and you will never have a prob with spyware or security issue.

Brion Leverich
January 14, 2005 2:53 PM

In my opinion Firefox is far superior to Internet Explorer, for a number of reasons. I am a web designer and so am constantly checking pages work on a variety of browsers. Bearing in my mind that I first learnt to web design on Internet Explorer. In creating pages I have found that internet explorer does not always show the page in true form to the code. Mozilla, Netscape and Firefox seem to reproduce it correctly. For a web designer this is of upmost importance. When I first used Netscape and Mozilla, I was put off, and subsequently stuck with Internet Explorer as the browser of choice. Now firefox has its flaws no doubt, but think of the percentage of flaws compared to Internet Explorer. Spyware was of no end when using IE, constant crashes, and every week a new security flaw found my microsoft. Not to mention the shear outbalance of features. Tabbed browsing is very useful despite what people say. Yes in the old days, when you were finished with one window you closed it and opened another one, but this is hardly practical. As a "power-user" I often have 10 different things running at once. If I were to browse with internet explorer I'd have to have say 4 windows of internet explorer running, taking up taskbar space. At this point it becomes difficult to see which windows is at which site. Far easier then to have one taskbar "slot" taken up by firefox, with tabs clearly indicating the various sites I am visiting. A number of you have complained that the firefox forums are unhelpful. Have you actually tried to find the help you were looking for from Microsoft? Its a complete nightmare. Mostly theres a list of complex answers in the database, and searching for your answer in technical support gives no assistance. Every search winds up with the message "unable to service your request". The fact is no software is every flaw free. Every piece of software crashes at some point. New software is constantly released to replace the old. Photoshop, one of the most loved programs (despite its price) is always being renewed and revamped. In response to EJ's comment, Firefox is a web browser primarily, but this goes for Internet Explorer too. What can internet explorer do that firefox can't? Ok so you say it can't browse your hard drive effectively like IE. Yes you can do this with internet explorer, but this in itself is a security risk. Internet explorer and explorer are linked, thus opening the posibility of leaving your files accessible to those who would want to get at them.

January 20, 2005 2:47 AM

No doubt that FF is better than IE but I dont think this was the point of the article. Regarding tab browsing, Have you ever heard about Opera?. Many FF features are rip-offs but Mozilla has made a huge Marketing campaign (not very fair with Opera in many cases, i.e features first developed by Opera) and it seems they have made a revolution, which is not true, obviously. FF is hyped due to the Marketing policy of Mozilla (very similar to the MS ones by the way) and its very unfair because FF is a very good browser but its not the panacea as Mozilla tells. I agree that FF Forums are a mess for the average user; the probe of this is that Mozilla has started to offer direct support to the users if they pay some bucks. Saying that MS forums are not helpful (is there any MS product/service that is helpful?) has nothing to do with the MozillaZine Forums. The average user needs help with the extensions hell (lets hope FF developers could fix the upgrades issues) and FF Forums are ruled in many cases by zealots.

February 8, 2005 10:02 AM

Why do people think Opera invented the tabbed browser? The first tabbed browser EVER was Netcaptor, wich uses IE rendering engine...

March 10, 2005 7:38 PM

Firefox SUCKS!!!!It really SUCKS. It takes about 30sec to load. IE : About 3sec.

May 18, 2005 9:42 AM

to Paul: do you know why It takes about 3sec to load IE? BECAUSE IE is preloaded first when Windows starts - That's why!!!. I'm happy I can't have IE native on my system (I use Linux!!!)

May 18, 2005 9:44 AM

to Paul: Do you know why it takes about 3sec to load IE? BECAUSE it is preloaded while Windows starts! That's why!

May 23, 2005 1:26 AM

firefox really sucks. I do have a firefox. But I stop using it after using for 2 minutes. Guess what! 1) My email should authenticate with windows authentication now asks for password, but doesn't let me in. 2) Pages with CSS that works perfectly in IE now displays like completely not formatted. 3) see I use this site every day, the library tree doesn't even show up. How sucks it is. 4) most commercial sites supports IE ONLY. How can I trust a new browser to do my business when they don't support it? I stopped trying. I know it will never success in the browser industry. If it is to beat MS IE, it should at least implement all the features IE provides. Otherwise, who will change the browser, given IE can do all the things?

May 23, 2005 1:32 AM

just a follow up. forget to mention that. I am a developer. It really piss me off to know that ff always claim for their "standard" while not supporting anything else IE is supporting. Active X is cool, dhtml is cool, jscript vbscript are cool. Now what? I have to rewrite all my code? It is really rediculous in managing my projects that I need to spend a LOT more time and labour to get my sites to work in another weak browser. I think I won't spend time doing it until it can get some 20-30% market shares. It will save a lot just to add a javascript to detect for browser type and prompt users to use IE instead -- they are supposed to have IE anyway.

Al Rozzell
May 30, 2005 6:42 PM

I am no fan of any Microsoft software. I truly think Windows has a massive number of flaws and is far overrated. IE has been tested and has shown that it takes just 40 minutes of websurfing to get infected with some sort of spyware. Firefox takes weeks or monthes. I have been using FF for a short while now and would recommend it to any one.

June 16, 2005 7:16 PM

You sir, are a complete moron. It's ok for you to use it, but not others? You don't even know what activeX controls or an engine is? People like you should not be allowed to use a computer... And if your wife thinks the the 'blue E' is the only way to connect to the internet, she is a moron as well. Firefox (as well as others such as Opera) are far superior to IE, in virus prevention and other areas. If you don't like things like the tabbed browsing, DON'T use it... I just think this article is ridiculous. If you don't like it, don't use it and don't bitch, and to the person that says it takes 30 sec to load, your computer is a total piece of shit, and if you are still running windows ME, upgrade cuz ure comp is a POS as well!

bob sanders
July 3, 2005 9:00 AM

brion u suck IE is better than FF and this is not microsoft fanboyism IE loads faster, and the new IE7 will be the best browser ever

July 8, 2005 10:04 PM

I use Firefox most of the time, until every once in a while something will go wrong and the whole browser will crash, I'll lose bookmarks, it will go insanely slow, etc. Then I'll use Opera for a while until I stop being mad. I think a big part of the problem is Firefox's resource management. In any case, the browser is far from perfect, but it is a good alternative to IE, even from version 0.9 which this article refers to.

July 22, 2005 5:21 AM

I'd just like to comment on a comment by 'Matt'. Well your being a bit harsh mate, and you are the one bitching. You sound like a pommy poof. Secondly, you only get viruses if you go to porn sites, crack etc. If you are careful, avoiding viruses are completely avoidable... Thirdly, learn to spell brother! Keep on rocking in the free world internet, we love you

August 12, 2005 7:50 AM

I must say that I completely agree with your article although my opinion of the firefox pr strategy is positive. I think they don't target at the average user but at a more advanced user that already knows some of the things the average user does not.

Ambiguous Wanderer
September 2, 2005 3:12 AM

bob sanders, IE loads faster because it's preloaded when you start Windows. Blame MS if you must.

September 16, 2005 7:45 AM

How dear you talk bad about firefox! I have to add more coding in my css file just to get IE to display my website right, plus IE is not even CSS 2.0 supported. The reason why us bloggers and web designers like firefox is because it supports css 2.0 and we don't have to add millions of more lines to make a layout display right. Is it because i'm lazy? Nope its because its insane I have to do all that just to make my layout display right. I also rather have firefox crash and block all popups than have my computer infected with adware and spyware. So even though firefox is in beta testing still its still way better than internet explorer. Do its bad to add alittle button to my website to promote firefox? No because IE cheats people because its already added in windows and new comers don't know anything about other browsers. So all in all firefox is the best bowser on the market.

Her Majesty The Queen
September 18, 2005 9:45 AM

I�d just like to comment on a comment by �frazels�. One should learn to spell brother, before one gives off to others. You know, pot, kettle, black and all that. "Well your being a bit harsh mate", the shorthand for "you are" is "you're", not "your". 5/10 - Must do better! Yours sincerely, Lizzy.

Ambiguous Wanderer
September 19, 2005 9:48 AM

sly, He's not saying that FF is bad. Are you even "reading" the article proper? Check the date. That was written in 2004. Comparing the FF browser that was available then with the current FF browser, there were some prominent bugs. If an IE user, who has no idea about the downside of using IE, were to encounter a problem, this would put FF in a bad light. Also, many users don't know that IE is a non-standards browser and doesn't know that those wonky web pages he/she might see in FF was designed for IE.

Victory Lazlo
September 23, 2005 9:49 AM

I think that there is such a thing as being "overly sensitive" to user interaction. I think that many of your points are valid to a degree, yet I can't help thinking that we shouldn't constantly cater to those who can not evolve. New users won't know that things were different, and old users will adapt. I'm not even going to comment on IE's differences, I don't think that was the point of what you were saying here. I have my doubts as to whether you're 64 year old father in law was able to seamlessly install and operate anything that Microsoft has produced, so it isn't really a drawback that Mozilla has a few minor bugs. There is a time when efforts should be placed on moving forward, and not supporting legacy applications that >2% of the population is using. Not supporting it forces them to upgrade, and therefore adapt to a better interface with better protection for all that affects their experience. I advocate that it is better to recommend the best product than keep older users in the dark. After all, it is part of human evolution to adapt. Also, it is high time that Microsoft started to build stronger products than to pump out sub-par products, switching to other/better apps tells them that they will need to consider building something more solid and not rely on users to make the efforts to keep things in check. I think that, in this area, Mozilla has defeated them ten-fold.

November 29, 2005 6:07 AM

I agree 100% with the article. To go even further, Firefox does not work as it should. Allowing popups, crashing machine, if crashes, it's process hangs in the memory and must be terminated manually, "update" is just a reinstall on top of old version, memory and CPU hungry... All in all, Firefox got years if not light years before reaching IE, that concerns also it's marketing strategy. And as far as I am aware, if I have one browser vulnerable to exploits, last thing I want is another half-baked one to add more exploits on top of existing ones. and yes, I appreciate IE using explorer shell. Since I built my new machine 2 years ago, I had only 1 or 2 explorer crashes, that's compared to Firefox crashing on me atleast once a day.

December 1, 2005 1:09 PM

Pointing out that IE isn�t perfect is irrelevant. It already has the market share. Perhaps you�ve heard of inertia. Things tend to stay in the state they�re currently in. People will tend to stick with the product they currently use. Yeah, it is. That's just like saying, "It's totally irrelivent that you have a greater chance of getting virises, adware, spyware and worms, but that doesn't matter at all, i just want my lil go buttion that Firefox now has." It is very relevent my niave friend

December 7, 2005 7:24 AM

if you don't like the marketing strategy? then why do you have a download button that you get credit for under your archives section on the left there?

Adam Kalsey
December 7, 2005 8:29 AM

The article is more than a year old and was critiquing the wisdom of aggressively marketing a pre-release product. Firefox is now a mature, stable product and the web site and marketing message are much better suited for the average user.

December 9, 2005 11:47 AM

ahh ok, my bad :) I saw the sept 6 and thought 2005. I was wondering, cause firefox isn't very buggy anymore... btw, like the blog :) Circuithead Ed

January 17, 2006 7:47 PM

Look at the date on the article, please, before you comment. This was written in the early period of Firefox. Since then, there have been several updates. During the time I was running IE on XP, I had a crash every couple days. I have been running Firefox for nearly 6 months now and I've had four crashes. Crashes alone are enough of a reason for me to switch. It has many innovative features that IE is lacking. It is faster, has a download manager, a favorites bar (with icons), many, many themes availible for quick download, a built-in search bar (IE has attachments for this, Firefox is completely built-in) and a ton of other stuff. Maybe in the time this was originally written (2004) Firefox had major issues, but most (if not all) major issues are a thing of the past now.

January 31, 2006 4:37 AM

Using Firefox, I have lost all my vbscripting talent and does not seem to work well with some Javascript. What Can I do ? If anybody can give me some clues, I would appreciate it! Regards Dave email -->> WEBSITE -->>

Dave Kilpatrick
January 31, 2006 4:38 AM

Using Firefox, I have lost all my vbscripting talent and does not seem to work well with some Javascript. What Can I do ? If anybody can give me some clues, I would appreciate it! Regards Dave email -->> WEBSITE -->>

January 31, 2006 7:32 PM

Firefox is way better now, IE has way more problems.

February 9, 2006 4:26 PM

use opera. its better than firefox and way easier for the average user.

March 5, 2006 10:56 AM

use konqueror instead. its better than firefox and way easier for the average user who want to browse pages and directories at once.

March 5, 2006 2:16 PM

BBBUUULLLLLSSHHHIIIIIIITTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! firefox is really good. IE SUCKS! And by the way, I didn't have any problems with popups. What is supposed to pop up pops up, what is not, doesn't.

March 12, 2006 5:02 PM

I switched over during the 0.9 days, and got my parents to switch too. It was easy to use, and firefox explains a ton of stuff during the installation. And most of the things you talked about ("go" buttons, other functions) are either fairly self explanitory for Internet Explorer users or, as in the case of pop-ups, explained by the browser. IE uses the same toolbar messages as firefox. Firefox is just as user friendly as IE, and it safer now too.

April 3, 2006 4:01 PM

Maybe it's just a different opinion of users, but I get the feeling that you think the average computer user is an idiot when it comes to computers..

April 3, 2006 4:01 PM

and then I realize this is a two year old article.

April 4, 2006 6:46 AM

Zero: OMFG 2 years old? google needs to stop pointing here due to its aged references.

May 3, 2006 4:03 PM

I really think you are so right. I really hate using FireFox. It is a stupid browers. I think you nailed it, Great Job. P.S. Loved the Article

May 18, 2006 5:15 PM

Something as simple as upgrading from one version to another needs to be seamless and not break things before I’d suggest that everyone use Firefox. //What do you think of it now? Popup blocking is sometimes over-aggressive. Popups launched from a positive user action (like clicking a link) should ALWAYS work. This is a tough one to get right, // There's a handy little setting somewhere in about:config that allows user-initiated popups. If what I entered isn’t a URL, pass it to Google. //It does that now, of a sort. It runs the text entered through "I'm Feeling Lucky" and redirects the user.

May 30, 2006 11:40 PM

I think that the use of FF for internet newbies or computer novice is better than IE due to it's default security settings. There are very few sites that don't work, and the user can browse without worring about stumbling onto B1akHat_Hacker X's ZERO DAY IE EXPLOIT PAGE, and losing his pics of great aunt mildred to VIRUS-(insert name here).

May 31, 2006 8:32 AM

As someone who is maybe, at best, a hair above the average user you describe, I completely agree with the concepts you address in your post. And as someone who has to occassionally help the average user (my 66 year old father) understand different concepts, your depiction of the thought process of the average user is COMPLETELY accurate from my experience. Even though the post is two years old (and I came across it completely randomly), the underlying concepts regarding both the marketing aspect and the user interface aspect of technology are still completely accurate today. Nice writing.

June 30, 2006 9:48 PM

I agree with you 100%. You were right on target about the average user. The "average user" has no idea WTF a "browser" is. Many don't even know what a homepage is. However, the "average user" isn't likely to click on a button that says "Get Firefox" either. But still, GREAT POST! BTW: I got to this blog entry by trying to figure out how to spell "recommend," googling it, and getting a link here, which I followed becuase of the interesting title...

anonymous email
July 3, 2006 3:57 AM

As a .NET developer, I just can repeat what you already said! Spending over 20% of my time to keep things running on Firefox! I wouldnt be surprised if Google is going to by Firefox in the near future!

July 4, 2006 6:15 AM

Google search results are weird sometimes. I did a search for recommend because my mind was messing with me at the moment, and I wanted to make sure I was spelling it right, and your website is listed as the #2 result with this article. So, I clicked on yours for curiousity, since I read the brief summary google gave. You were right about firefox not being ready for mainstream users back then. Funny that you have the button on your webpage now, reading this article though. I think the whole button thing is annoying anyway though.

July 12, 2006 2:29 PM

i've been using firefox for about eight months now. since switching from IE i have not had a single serious infection any kind. to me that is reason enough to recommend firefox to all of my friends. also the tab browsing is genius! being a the organizational freak that i am, i love having a tidy taskbar

July 12, 2006 7:05 PM

"As a .NET developer, I just can repeat what you already said! Spending over 20% of my time to keep things running on Firefox!" *points, laughs*

July 14, 2006 8:45 AM

whadda douche, "I use it and do talk about it on occasion, but I think the browser has some way to go before I’d recommend it to the general population." he likes it, he just doesnt want anyone else to use it. ..and as far as concern for the general population goes, if people are stupid enough to not know how to get to a website because theres no "go" button to click, there not going to be on blogs in the first place. (i.e. the program is being directed to the average/experienced user) not to idiots who dont know how to press enter.

July 30, 2006 1:14 AM

Well I think Mozilla's products have come to the point where they don't have any problems updating and stuff like that. The only think I use IE for is the stupid Windows update. I was with Firefox before it became big and it still had some problems but it was still better than IE even back then, the think that I loved about it was the great download manager it had. The only time you want IE to download something is either FireFox because you don't have it or if you really just want to install the program and don't want to download it to a place where you would have to manully delete it. Even though now with some things you don't have to do that with FireFox. So yeah it has come to the point where if you want safe surfing and thing of the sort you want to recommend FireFox.

August 2, 2006 12:59 PM

"Popup blocking is sometimes over-aggressive. Popups launched from a positive user action (like clicking a link) should ALWAYS work. This is a tough one to get right, I know. And don’t tell me about the whitelist. The average user isn’t going to add lots of entries to the whitelist." This is already being exploited by doing an onclick event for the entire body... which is really frustrating, and a good reason to prevent popups in general.

August 2, 2006 8:49 PM

Nym, although popup blockingis a bit overaggressive, it is just right. Many times, as you click a link, many websites will have a popup as soon as you click it along with the link. They strategically do that so that IE users will get the popups, However, the mozilla corporation was smart enough to block ALL popups. Which I love. And it's not that hard to just move the mouse to the top right and allow the popup.

August 11, 2006 11:44 AM

I disagree !!! Internet Explorer is a cookie saving virus catching browser.. Firefox all the way!! "IE has performed an Illegal operation must shut down" You will never get that with Fire fox.

August 18, 2006 4:33 AM

From my own experience, I wholly agree with you. You refer to your wife and say she's not stupid. I, as a "normal", i.e. non-geeky female user, am a lot into communication skills. I have learned how to use FF by studying it myself and in the process have recommended it to other people whenever I would discover another feature (i.e. extensions that served my purposes) I liked. But now I end up doing all the installation and help work for all those who aren't as interested in making themselves familiar with how things work in FF. It's a great idea, a great application in the making, but there's still some way to go before I'd recommend it to people like my mother who has troubles relating the movements on the mouse pad to the cursor on the screen...

August 22, 2006 5:04 PM

FireFox all the way.

August 23, 2006 12:02 PM

Firefox is a great product, it is free, and it is demolishing IE's user base. Nitpic all you want, but that's just cool! I use Firefox all the time, it works even better than Safari on OSX (Safari is crashy if you pummel it with too many tabs/windows). I can have ten different admin interfaces open and FTP and god knows what, all running full on, and Firefox will not crash on me. So, I guess I'm a fan :) Cheers, Cabbage

August 27, 2006 1:46 PM

stupidest thing I ever read, firefox is targeted towards people with an actual dose of computer knowledge. If you want to force a pop from "aggressiveness" or whatever yuo call it. And who gives a shit about MAC OS and Windows ME. ME is garbage. It has more bugs than anything else.

Matthew Bugg
August 28, 2006 10:19 PM

An extremely sound argument. I absolutey agree that we as power users and developers need to be able to get into the shoes of the average user. Dismissing this article with "Oh, someone will tell them what a browser, is duh" is EXACTLY why Firefox will never be used over IE by most users under the current marketing strategy.

G Cadogan
August 30, 2006 7:49 AM

I agree with Kathrin. Dave seems to have some problems he states "stupidest thing I ever read, firefox is targeted towards people with an actual dose of computer knowledge." Which is it Dave? Is FireFox for geeks or should it be recommended to everyone? The article states that Firefox should NOT be recommended to everyone. Which is true. Firefox is currently too complicated for the AVERAGE user. Whlie I don't recommend it to everyone, I do recommend it to every geek. (Disclaimer: 'Geek' is used as a positive term.)

September 27, 2006 10:53 PM

Heres some points about why I like internet explorer: A) It comes preinstalled on all Windows computers B) Helps you set up your internet connection C) Its features are compatible with other Microsoft products, i.e. MSN Messenger, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Office, ActiveSync, etc D) Firefox isn't compatible with most of the above products
October 7, 2006 1:22 AM

Update Sept 8, 2004, 9:40am - Well if this was date it was last updated then I would say yes it was true then... The article is talking about V0.9

October 19, 2006 7:42 PM

so why do you have the logo on your site if you are so against it?

October 21, 2006 11:14 PM

Alex, if you weren't so lazy as to read the entire thing, you'd see that he says he uses Firefox. :\ Way to go.

October 21, 2006 11:18 PM

Alex, if you weren't so lazy as to read the entire thing, you'd see that he says he uses Firefox. :\ Way to go.

October 25, 2006 5:06 AM

You keep saying that firefox 'is not yet ready'. Tell me then which browser is? Certainly firefox is not as buggy as many other browsers out there. IMHO it is one of the most stable ones along with opera. "Actually, I don’t think I ever have recommended Firefox" If putting a logo on your main page isn't recommending, then what is?

Adam Kalsey
October 25, 2006 8:17 AM

Ravi, way to bother to actually read something before shooting off your mouth about it. You've got the time to leave a comment, but not the time to read the article? This article was written over two years ago about Firefox before it had been officially released. Aggressively marketing a pre-release version of software to the average joe is a poor idea. But then, so's having a knee-jerk reaction to something that you don't take the time to actually understand.

October 25, 2006 9:14 PM

Yep I realize my stupidity, I just read the date to the last comment and thought this was recent stuff and I thought you were one of the people using a really outdated version of a s/w just to show it as 'bad'. Nice to see that you are happy enough with FF's progress now(I think so). My apologies for my comment, I guess I should look at stuff more carefully in the future.

October 30, 2006 6:20 AM

things change, thank god. not that there is that much difference these days though.

November 17, 2006 3:24 PM

Not sure if this has been mentioned but why is firefox running (i.e. showing in processes in task manager) even when you don't have the browser open?? This is one of the reasons I feel I can do without it. It might not take up much processing power for most users but this sneakiness is really annoying to me. Nothing makes this necessary in my opinion.

Maria P.
November 20, 2006 11:23 PM

Stumbled across this while searching for something. I realize it is a bit old, but maybe you can help me? I like the latest Firefox except a two very important things. While using IE I customized a theme for my blog. When viewing my blog with Firefox, it load completely correctly. SO while using Firefox I customized a different theme that will load in Firefox correctly. However it will not load anywhere near correctly in IE. I'd like to keep my original theme if I can find a way to make it work.

November 29, 2006 6:03 PM

Regarding your comment that Firefox upgrades should be seamless, I'm sure you've heard what's been happening with the IE7 upgrade. Firefox upgrades much more often than IE, and I haven't heard of a FF upgrade that messed up people's computers like IE7 often does. I know, unfortunately. But you wrote this FF blurb 2 years ago, and couldn't have known what a mess the IE7 upgrade would be.

December 24, 2006 10:42 AM

Well, I suppose some of your points would be valid if the world's inhabitants consisted on mainly four year olds. Many people are not minimalist as you seem to be. Any IE user could easily transfer to Firefox within at most an entire week. What's wrong with encouraging one's friends to use an easy browser? By they way, Windows ME? Come on, that was the last DOS-based operating system that about 500 people still use. I think that in the entire world, many more people use Windows 3.11...

December 31, 2006 7:58 AM

I installed Firefox a while ago just to see what it was about. I like to grab files from the temporary interent files folder to see files sizes, redirects and basically as a tool for deconstructing for web design purposes. Unless I'm missing something, the files in Firefox's temp folder were encrypted while the file sizes themselves were right.....Uninstalled..........

February 14, 2007 7:02 PM

I know you wrote this 2 years ago, and read in historical context I would agree with you. Would be interested to hear your views in it in the modern day tho?

R Field
February 18, 2007 2:17 PM

I use firefox and really like how it can search for key words and highlights misspelled words when typing. However, I have found that sometimes I will try to type in the search box or in a website question box and my keyboard won't work. I have to open up a new window to be able to type. Don't know what is up with that???

February 25, 2007 11:52 PM

yes i would like to hear your reviews on firefox today.

March 2, 2007 12:55 PM

NOW IMMA FLAMIN' YA POST >: ( Just kiddin'. You made good, valid points that were very realistic at the time and even now are fairly realistic. It's too bad you got flamed for it.

March 5, 2007 1:28 PM

i respect your points. really, nobody has described why they hate firefox, but you put in so much detail, nice work :)

joe harrell
April 6, 2007 11:46 PM

well...for starters, like you said its not for average people. Thats why i don't reccomend it to any of MY blog clients. But I use it myself, since i am an internet junky, and I like to blog while listening to music and watching videos on youtube. I think firefox is phenomenal, the only problem is I can't play any customized kind of videos except youtube, and the normal ones, and it doesn't play windows media.

April 20, 2007 5:38 PM

I like how you've got a firefox referral button on this page :)

Vlado Josic
August 17, 2007 5:20 AM

I am web developer and I must says that Firefox have good build-in HTML, CSS, JavaScript and other standards. Internet Explorer have many stupidly mistakes. I lose over a half time on job when I am creating some web page on resolving IE mistakes. Every web developer hate IE. Opera is better then IE but FireFox is the best web browser.

November 16, 2007 4:16 PM

I thought it was hilarious that this page crashed (while trying to load from Internet Explorer). I'll admit, I've been very hesitant to change from my old surfing habits. But Firefox seems to be much more stable.

November 20, 2007 2:22 AM

Hi, I'm a cuban web programmer working in Brazil right now. I don not agree with your article and i do not beleive an average user is as stupid as you think. I thank mozilla for his great affort and to have the courage to defy and (thanks god ) defeat Microsoft. I would absolutely recommend Firefox to everyone I know, especially my wife (now she is using it). It is absolutely better than IE and even if it wasn't, it is a matter of dignity

December 5, 2007 9:14 PM

Maxthon, the browser that uses the IE engine does everything you have recommened firefox do an more. Click and drag a link to open it in a new tab. Type seach key words DIRECTLY into the address bar and it hits google and gives you the google result page. You read for this one? Highlight a word on any webpage. Click + Drag it anywhere and release. A new tab is opend and the highlighted word is GOOGLED. Works for words, phrases and sentences. I'm a web developer, and honestly, I hate Firefox. It just causes me more work because it displays some things so differently and to be honest - IE was here first. Maxthon lets me have superior control over how I browse and shows me websites how there are supposed to look. MAXTHON. LOOK INTO IT!

Cees T.
December 17, 2007 7:14 AM

Time line of major web browsers: 1993 Mosaic 1994 Netscape Navigator (originally named "Mozilla") 1995 Internet Explorer 1996 Opera I use Mozilla Firefox because it crashes less than IE7, has session restoration, and Firebug (which is awesome).

December 18, 2007 4:45 PM

Yeah right.. thats why I think about founding an Anti-Firefox-Foundation! Its not about the Browser, its about the User. Im make IT-Service and I know my customers - they all have (had..) FireFox - why? Everyone said its "better/safer/.." What happend? They could get along with it - but they even dont know how to undo the install - so, its my work to tell them how to use Firefox wisely - or how to setup a secure IE. I hate the propaganda, not the Browser. We really think about creating an AF-Community. In the moment we start like this: (german only)

January 15, 2008 12:53 AM

Hmm... didn't read the whole thing but perhaps you had some valid points and some that I disagree. But basically whatever. They are making it for free (actually I don't know 100% if they are making any actual profit but I'm a heavy user of Firefox and I haven't given them a penny so far).

January 28, 2008 8:10 AM

I use Firefox for most of my web needs. Some applications don't work in Firefox, like Pandora and some of the radio stations I like to listen to, and my office online database. For these I use IE. I use Opera for general browsing due to mouse gestures which is my favorite browser feature by far. Even today in 2008 there are many users who think of their browser as "the internet". I agree 100% with the author that one cannot make assumtions about the end user.

David Silverman
February 9, 2008 12:20 PM

Don't bother with Firefox full stop, there's nothing particularly great about it, It takes ages to load, and most sites are designed with IE mainly in mind. Just because IE presents a headache for web designers, doesn't mean you should give a shit as an end user.

David Silverman
February 9, 2008 12:24 PM

The original article is obviously quite old if it dates from the days when anyone used Yahoo.

February 14, 2008 12:31 PM

My 78 year old grandmother can use Firefox. Why can't you?

March 20, 2008 2:56 AM

Hi, if a guy looking at IE and thinking that through this he can get connected to the web then he is not an average user he is novice to the internet world........... Any way some of your points can be agreed but not all.

April 1, 2008 8:46 AM

Firefox is no more difficult to work with than IE. On rare occasions I need to use IE, I always have to scan with Adaware to clean up afterwards.

Terri R
April 17, 2008 7:16 AM

I am one of the "stupid" people. I can use Firefox no problem, but I can't fix errors no problem. When I google to learn how to get rid of something that is annoying me, it always is a big production to get rid of this annoyance. I get worried that I may screw up something else in my computer. I am not stupid, I just want to use my computer the way I always have. I don't have the time or desire to become a computer program/developer. It seems instead of getting easier, everything is getting harder and more difficult to understand. I used to be able to figure out most of the problems myself and now I find maybe I should call an "expert". But maybe that's the whole idea..."pay" someone to do it! Money!

May 4, 2008 9:30 PM

Article written in 2004 Can you update? A lot has changed since then!? [About 128 milion users now?]

Mr. Skills
May 26, 2008 6:51 PM

"I always have to scan with Adaware to clean up afterwards." What kind of shady sites do you visit?

May 29, 2008 3:36 PM

Time to post a new update.....

June 7, 2008 4:19 PM

Im not sure what everyone is complaining about. Firefox is by far the best browser out to date. It fully complies with the W3Schools web standards, where as Microsoft (IE) just decides that they dont have to follow the same rules. Anything that Firefox cant do, there is an easily accessible plug-in to fix that problem. Pandora works in Firefox, has since I can remember. Also, you can get the plug-in FireGestures which will allow Firefox to have the same gesture based navigation that Opera does. I will take no advice from a web programmer who would rather use IE over Firefox, that is just a ridiculous statement. As a web programmer myself, I will do everything in Firefox, and then run tests in IE, Opera, and Safari to make sure it all works correctly. Also, the fact "All websites are made with IE in mind" is false. Coding for IE is a pain in the butt, most programmers code for Firefox, then add the clunky work-arounds and hacks to get it to work in IE. The thing that makes Firefox better than IE is that its not coded directly into the backbone of your operating system like IE is, which is where all the security issues come from. Oh one more point... Weatherbug? If you are waiting for Firefox to be good enough so that a monkey can use it before you tell anyone about it, you will be waiting for a long time. Anyone installing a resource-hog like weatherbug on their computer deserves epic-fail programs like IE (I will admit, IE 7 is much better than its predecessors though).

July 1, 2008 1:52 AM

You are idiot! Firefox is the best!!!

September 5, 2008 4:58 PM

i hate you!!!! dont talk about my firefox like that!

January 19, 2009 11:27 AM

The majority of these comments are absolutely retarded. This was written in 2004, for the love of christ. Back then a lot of this was absolutely true, and even today some points still hold a lot of water (vicious marketing, unpolished releases, serious issues etc.). Firefox is a great browser, and is in serious competition with a lot of the other high name browsers, but recently it's became more bloated, more 'feature packed' that it's beginning to look like a lot different from the Firefox I fell in love with all those years ago. Yes, it's aimed towards the more 'average user' (not the mentally challenged user the writer talks about) and it caters quite well whilst reminding us that it can still be just as powerful for the more knowledgeable users. Unless Google pull out something amazing with Chrome (so far it's been unimpressive), or MS somehow fix the awful reputation IE has (a step in the right direction with the latest release, I must say) I honestly don't think Firefox is going to go anywhere any time soon.

July 5, 2009 6:51 PM

I didnt read it all, but i dont agree. I would anyday recommend Firefox over IE. I have used firefox for a few years now, and i have only been happy with it, so far with the lastest updates i have yet to find a site that wont work on firefox. My mom started useing Firefox and my sister asked her why she was using such a useless thing, and my mom told my sister that i had installed it, and ever since i did, shes been much happier browsing the web, mostly due to the blocking of pop ups and the fact that firefox runs faster then IE, and if my mom can see this, then theres something about it. I say this cos my mom only started using pc's about 3years ago, and shes below the average user, but stil shes useing it more and more now a days. My sister on the other hand still using IE, and complaining about virus attacks all the time. I dont know why this is, but imma let her live with the ever slow IE.

Adam Kalsey
July 5, 2009 7:17 PM

So you don't agree that Firefox's marketing strategy they used to convince people to install it 5 years ago was a problem? Based on the fact that you installed Firefox for your mother and she's happy? Thanks for starting your comment out telling us you hadn't read this. Otherwise we'd never have known.

July 15, 2009 2:57 PM

I would agree, but I'd have used the less potentially confusing title "Why I can't recommend firefox yet."

July 15, 2009 3:00 PM

Though the article is old, it DOES make some good points. Mozilla has a habit of releasing things a bit too early, and they're released and heavily marketed early when they really should be just dropped to tech savvy users early on, and marketed heavily after polishing. This is (or was at the time of writing) true of most Mozilla releases. They should focus less on early campaigning, because it creates an image problem when things become too widespread among casual users before they're ready. This is pretty much endemic in the software industry generally though.

Melissa Levine
September 15, 2009 6:26 PM

QUOTE-- "Most Web users don’t know what a browser is. That blue E they click on the desktop isn’t a browser, it’s “The Internet.” Or maybe it’s “Yahoo” if that’s what their home page is set to. Tell them to download a new browser and they don’t understand what you mean. I put Firefox on my wife’s computer and removed the IE link. She asked why she didn’t have My Yahoo on the computer anymore. My wife’s not stupid — to her the IE logo is how she got to the Web. Without that, she didn’t know how to get to My Yahoo." I have to disagree with the statement you made about your wife not being stupid. It sounds like she is, but I suppose ignorance is bliss to some folks. Nothing personal, most people are computer illiterate.

November 7, 2009 1:48 AM

QUOTE— “I put Firefox on my wife’s computer and removed the IE link” I did the same to my dad, but I replace the FireFox icon with IE's, and no one could tell a difference.

Clay Butler
November 24, 2009 5:24 AM

Everything said about the typical user is right on. He described standard user behavior completely right. Most people don't know how to cut and paste. They don't know you can just right click anything a get its properties and a list of options. And yes, most people have no idea what a browser is. What ever icon they click to get to the internet IS the internet. Of course Firefox rules. But that's not the point of the article. It's about the difference between developer and power user assumptions and marketing to the general public. That's one of the things that has made Apple products so popular. They pitch 100% to the basic user. Apple is "simple". Of course that's not true, everything requires a learning curve, but the perception is that Apple products essentially run themselves, never break down, and are super easy to use. They also pitch benefits, not features. Firefox pitches features. Hardly controversial.

April 9, 2010 2:59 PM

Not everyone is that retarded, the language used on the official Mozilla page isn't exactly some high tech speak that only developers and super geniuses understand. And the people that you speak of learn about these terms anyway (or at least should) which is probably a good thing. Some of the complaints seem down right petty. I don't really know who these people are that you speak of but everyone knows that you can press enter after typing in a URL or search...

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