Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Out-Firefoxed

Update: More Boing Boing readers use Firefox than IE.

Do you have Firefox? It's rapidly becoming a must. On the Mac, the Blogger is one of the sites that works somewhat with Internet Explorer 5, a bit better with Safari but only functions fully with Firefox.

The move away from IE and toward Firefox, especially for Mac, is being hastened by Microsoft's announcement that it will no longer support IE for Mac, with the reasoning being that they're unwilling to put any resources into it now that all Apple computers ship with Safari.

And for those still using OS 9 on the Mac, there's NO Firefox or Safari (both are available for OS X only). You have to stick with the aging IE 5, or possibly Netscape. It's getting to the point where pre-OS X Mac users can't really use the Web properly, since many developers are assuming that you have Firefox or IE 7 (which will never make it to Mac).

I like Firefox and all the things you can do on Blogger with it, like WYSIWYG for photos, bolding and italic, block quotes and more. But Safari is still faster for the Mac, and I can only hope that Blogger's promise to fully support the Apple program comes through eventually. And if Firefox gets even more stable, I might be able to live with the slowness at startup.

Speed and stability are my No. 1 and other No. 1 criteria for a Web browser -- quickness is everything, and I don't want it to ever crash. And for Mac, Safari beats Firefox on this count.

Meanwhile, Firefox seemingly went from nowhere to a major player, and I have no idea how Microsoft is going to counter it.

For Mac users, I hope Apple doesn't give up on Safari. And at least ONE of these developers should take pity on users of pre-OS X Macs and offer an updated browser.

Does Microsoft's abandonment of IE for Mac mean it will do the same for the Office software package? Since Apple is already in that space, too, with its iWork bundle, it could happen. It would be a bad move for Microsoft, but getting out of the Mac browser business -- when surfing the Web is what many computer users do about 99 percent of the time -- seems just as bad.

2 comments:

Andrew said...

I use both Safari and Firefox to blog but neither system is problem free.

Steven Rosenberg said...

Both programs are rather early into their development cycle. I think at this point that Firefox has quite the advantage, since it's the only current browser that has credible versions for both Mac and PC.

And I think people are pretty hipped to the fact that IE is designed to be advertiser friendly. What Microsoft could do to up the ante is develop a new browser with added features like free virus protection or Web page creation.

I have used IE quite a bit over the years due to inertia and familiarity, but those days seem to be over at this point, mostly due to my hardware (Mac and OLD PCs that really can't handle anything past IE 5).