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Browsers Fighting to Keep up with the Web 542

An anonymous reader writes "With the continued evolution of the internet and more tools being developed or migrated online browsers are fighting to keep up. Wired has a quick look at the current status of the browser war and what different browsers are doing to try to stay ahead. From the article: 'Already, IE has seen its U.S. market share on Windows computers drop to 90 percent from 97 percent two years ago, according to tracking by WebSideStory. Firefox's share has steadily increased to 9 percent, with Opera's negligible despite its innovations. WebSideStory analyst Geoff Johnston said Firefox must continue to improve just to maintain its share. Because IE automatically ships with Windows, he said, users satisfied with IE7 may not find enough reasons to download and install Firefox when they buy a new computer.'"
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Browsers Fighting to Keep up with the Web

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:22PM (#15571019)
    Hey maybe someone should file an anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft for bundling their browser with their operating sys.... oh wait, nevermind.
    • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:46PM (#15571246) Homepage
      you ''know'' something is rotten.

      When the big news is that, in some country, some leader only got 90% of the vote instead of the 97% expected, it may be significant, but you know that country is no democracy.

      When the big news is that IE's market share has dropped from 97% to 90%, it may be significant, but you know that the product did not get its market share on the basis of open competition on a level playing field.
      • When the big news is that, in some country, some leader only got 90% of the vote instead of the 97% expected, it may be significant, but you know that country is no democracy.

        We regularly re-elect approximately 99% of incumbent representatives in the US. What does that say about us?
      • It's not like that (Score:5, Insightful)

        by matt me ( 850665 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:14PM (#15571463)
        The current software situation cannot be likened to a dictatorship. There is a monopoly, but it does not arise from unfair manipulation. The people are not opressed, users are free to use what they like. Many of them do choose something different. The truth that we find scarier than an malovent monopoly, is that most users just DON'T CARE. They're not born indoctrinated, nor does Microsoft brainwash them. They do it to themselves. No-other business can dream of such brand loyalty, even if the majority of users will exclaim daily at the product and even ridicule it. They've never even tried a competing product and will fervently deny their existence.

        Fighting Microsoft gains nothing. They have nothing we want to take. Users themselves have the keys to their chains. We need to teach them.
        • The majority of users are corporate and believe me the key costs way more than the chains. Or do you think rewriting all those Windows apps can be done for free?
        • by mpcooke3 ( 306161 ) *
          Most people are about as likely to install a new Operating System on their PC as they are to upgrade the firmware on their DVD player.

          If an OEM wants to actually advertise and push pre-installed Linux so that people could try it without having to install themselves then that OEM would have it's windows license rebate cut to the point they can't compete.

          In the unlikely event a user knows what an Operating System is and wants to try a different one then he has to do the install and sort out any driver problem
          • Microsoft has made it's Office Documents impossible to reliably read in anything other than Windows

            OpenOffice on Linux does a damn good job for me, most of the time. More importantly...

            If an OEM wants to actually advertise and push pre-installed Linux so that people could try it without having to install themselves then that OEM would have it's windows license rebate cut to the point they can't compete.

            That's assuming that this particular OEM carries Windows at all. I think a purely Linux computer s

        • by Tom ( 822 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:39AM (#15574612) Homepage Journal
          Mod parent up "+1 Good Satire".

          Oh, wait...

          There is a monopoly, but it does not arise from unfair manipulation
          Several courts of law, chambers of commerce, anti-trust offices and other experts, both in the US and in Europe, beg to differ. MS was not convicted for being a monopoly, it was convicted for unfair manipulation (i.e. levering their monopoly into other markets).

          The people are not opressed, users are free to use what they like
          Tell that to the 80% or so who bought "a computer" - which, of course, came with windos. I've met people who believed that Linux must be a windos program, because they couldn't contemplate the concept of an "Operating System". Windos is what runs on computers, isn't it? Every computer runs windos, doesn't it?
          Check with the real world, then come back and you'll laugh at your sentence as hard as I did.

          nor does Microsoft brainwash them.
          Aside from convincing people that windos is computing, using every trick in the book to contain them to their own small world (MSN comes to mind, a huge failure in the market that would certainly be dead if IE wouldn't force you there every chance it gets), aside from the fact that before (win)dos, a computer crash was a serious problem that required attention and an immediate bug fix, aside from the fact that MS stalemated HCI for years by forcing some arbitrary and obnoxious interface on everyone, and aside from their constant attempts to embed their own products as "the product" (IE is still called "Internet" on the default desktop, isn't it? Outlook was called "Mail". Word has become a synonym for word processing through aggressive marketing, etc.)
          No, absolutely no brainwashing going on. Why would a marketing driven company ever want to do something like manipulating its customers?

          Fighting Microsoft gains nothing. They have nothing we want to take.
          They have about $50 billion, much of it gained illegally as monopoly rent. If you don't want your share, I'll gladly take it.
      • When the big news is that, in some country, some leader only got 90% of the vote instead of the 97% expected, it may be significant, but you know that country is no democracy.

        I prefer Firefox also, but I guess I don't see this the same way as you do. Business is not a democracy. There are other companies that have a 90% market share too and there's nothing inherently wrong with that. This doesn't mean that you aren't free to use a different product. They do exist. If you don't like the current choice of
      • by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:35PM (#15571620)
        IE got to that level of market share for two reasons:

        1) It was bundled with Windows, starting from (iirc) Windows 95 SR2 (or whatever it was called)
        2) Netscape 4 was shit

        On point 2), before you write me off as a troll, understand this - I have never used IE as my browser, and never will. I only use it when I absolutely have to. However, IE4 wiped the floor with Netscape 4 in terms of speed and stability. It didn't stop me using Netscape, but even at the time I admitted it was shit, but "at least it's not IE".
        • by cosminn ( 889926 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @05:18PM (#15572378) Homepage
          wiped the floor with Netscape 4 in terms of speed and stability. It didn't stop me using Netscape, but even at the time I admitted it was shit, but "at least it's not IE".

          But this is exactly the opposite mentality of today. You were using a worse product because of personal beliefs, users do it because it's what they're used to.

          IMHO this is hypocrisy. If one product is better, why not use it?? I use Linux, OSX and Windows, each have their good things and bad ones, but saying I'll use one only regardless of what everyone else is doing doesn't make much sense.

          We blame users for using MS products although they're inferior, but when they're better we still refuse to use them because of ideologies...
          • If one product is better, why not use it??

            Well, "better" is very subjective. Would you always choose the product you think is better, regardless of other factors? Personally I look at more factors than just the performance/features/etc of the product. For example, I won't buy Nike shoes because they layoff American workers to replace them with poorly paid shop workers in horrid conditions. There are a lot of products I won't buy because of the corporate greed behind the product and how that greed has

      • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @04:15PM (#15571922) Homepage Journal
        It depends on how you measure that, really.

        Let's say you were to look at my house - you'd find most machines have IE.

        What it wouldn't tell you is none of us use IE. The first thing my son did with his new Mac mini, for example, was download Firefox, Adblock, and NoScript and train the latter two in how to permit his fave gaming and flash sites to work properly.

        My WinXP laptop, has IE. But, other than downloading patches to the extremely buggy Microsoft OS, I don't use it unless I'm forced to. I normally use Firefox or Opera.

        So, my household could be counted as 100 percent IE. But, like most MSFT statistics, that would be an inaccurate measure. In fact, it should be counted as 100 percent Other Than IE.
        • So, my household could be counted as 100 percent IE.

          No, these stats are not based on computers sold and firefox downloads made, but what the user-agent string is. So unless you changed your firefox/opera (btw the default is IE) to show up as IE, you will not be counted as IE.

          The only inaccuracy is the dynamism of this: I have more than one machine, more than one OS, each having a different browser. On my Mac for example, I switched from Safari to Firefox to Camino back to Safari to Opera back to Firefox.

  • I'm looking to see (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:25PM (#15571048)
    where Flock is headed (no pun intended). It looks like a great browser. IE7 can ship with Windows all day long, but savvy users will always download something else.
    • Maybe. But to make any big dent in IE's market share, you have to appeal not to the savvy, but to the image conscious. The MySpace crowd (and that's a BIG crowd) won't be persuaded by better security, better standards support, better reliability, or even better features. But they'll start downloading in droves if they see that it's what the kool people use, and think that it'll make them look kool too. I believe that this is a large part of the iPod's success. Many will look at the various competing player
  • Lack of Change (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whatsforlunch ( 929777 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:25PM (#15571053)
    things will never change. A majority of internet users don't realize how bad IE is. Also they don't even know other browsers even exist. Not much you can do other than sit back and let it happen
    • Re:Lack of Change (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:29PM (#15571083)
      Is that really a problem? As long as a steady 10-20% use a different browser, webauthors can not make their pages "IE-only" and to me that is all that matters. A Firefox dominated web would be just as bad as the IE dominated web from a few years ago.
  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:26PM (#15571059)
    ... is exactly what drove me away from Microsoft in the first place. Specifically, Windows 95 "C" where the IE installer started and couldn't be cancelled through a normal dialog box (but could be 'End Task'ed), despite the fact that it was a piece of shit. Yes, Netscape was king of the non-standard extension back in those days, but their abuses pale compared to Microsoft's ActiveX in the late nineties through today, and with the massive vulnerability that ActiveX poses Microsoft should face a class-action lawsuit for negligence in their product design resulting in expensive and time-consuming repairs to computers on a regular basis. Furthermore, it was a travesty that despite Microsoft's Anti-trust ruling they weren't forced to remove Internet Explorer from the OS or weren't forced to include third-party web browsers in the same fashion that they were forced to include third-party connection suites like Compuserve, Prodigy, and America Online in addition to their own MSN.

    Mozilla should continue to grow, and advanced users should continue to push to make sure that it is implemented, so long as it remains a better tool for the job than the default (Internet Explorer).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:27PM (#15571065)
    After duking it out with Mario all those years, and now with the threat of the Web, poor browser may not have that much fight left in him...oh crap
  • by Artie Dent ( 929986 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:28PM (#15571079) Homepage
    Despite the innovations that IE7 may posses, the fact is that open source software will continue to mold itself to the whims of the web at the time, and it will be very difficult for Microsoft to keep up.
  • by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:28PM (#15571080) Homepage Journal
    IE7 will require later versions of Windows, including Service Pack 2 of XP, while Opera, Firefox and Flock will run on Macintosh, Linux and older Windows machines as well.
    New Firefox will indeed run on older Windows machines, assuming you mean either 2000 or XP. []
    • Firefox 2.0 will support Win9x. It's only Firefox 3.0 that will drop support
      for windows before Win2000.

      Assuming there aren't any horrible security flaws in Firefox 2.0, there's
      no reason that you'll have to stop using Firefox on Win9x once Firefox 3.0
      comes out.
    • by pavon ( 30274 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:08PM (#15571415)
      New versions of Firefox 1.x will run on windows 9x.
      New versions of Firefox 2.x will run on windows 9x. (2007?)
      Not until firefox 3.x will support for windows 9x be dropped. (2008?)

      Microsoft's last browser that supported windows 9x was released 5 years ago, while firefox is still planning on supporting it in new releases for at least another year.
  • Actually ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by medeii ( 472309 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:29PM (#15571088)
    Because IE automatically ships with Windows, he said, users satisfied with IE7 may not find enough reasons to download and install Firefox when they buy a new computer.

    Anyone who found enough reasons to download Firefox before (Adblock? Mouse gestures?) is certainly going to find enough reasons after IE7's release. I downloaded the beta several weeks ago; after a few days of casual usage, I was underwhelmed, annoyed at the intrusive and bloated UI, and unsatisfied as to the permanence and functionality of the new security features. If all you want is tabbed browsing, I suppose IE7 might work, but that's far from being Firefox's only worthwhile feature.

    Obviously, I'll be getting IE7 along with everyone else -- it's a security update, after all -- but that doesn't mean the blue 'E' will ever get clicked. And if my father and sister value their free tech support, they won't be clicking it, either.

    • Anyone who found enough reasons to download Firefox before (Adblock? Mouse gestures?) is certainly going to find enough reasons after IE7's release.

      I disagree. I believe the vast majority of people downloaded Firefox for one reason -- it was more resistent to spyware. Hell, that's the only reason *I* downloaded it. And that's the reason I've downloaded it for some of my family, pretty much to avoid having to fix their computer. I was perfectly happy with IE. I've learned to like tabs, so that'd be anoth

    • Re:Actually ... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Techguy666 ( 759128 )
      What gets my goat about IE7 is that a lot of the useful modules cost money!! Why the heck would someone pay $30 for a download accelerator or a whois module??!

      Internet Explorer isn't a bad browser in that it's only somewhat more bloated and slightly slower than Firefox for most of Firefox's features (it's still an improvement over IE6 one has to admit)... And it's pre-bundled. The trade-offs aren't that bad.

      However, the fact that if you're a "power user" or if you want to do more current and innovative thin
    • Re:Actually ... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PB_TPU_40 ( 135365 )
      Thats my rule with my inlaws. They follow it well, the younger sister also pays attention, however she lets her friends play on the computer. They HUNT down that f**kin E, *Were talking its off the desktop, out of quick launch and the start menu, there are no short cuts left. The surf the web with IE making sure to hit every site that could nail a virus, and spyware to it. Then the sister doesn't bother scanning the machine for spyware before logging off. Please note I now have to reformat and reinstal
  • by Frobozz0 ( 247160 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:30PM (#15571094)
    If IE was standards compliant and secure, people wouldn't care. Features are nice, but features can be implemented by the king of the hill once the kinks are ironed out by the underdogs.

    As a web designer / developer I'd be happy enough if people who stuck with IE would at least get a good representation of standards compliant rendering of CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. That's the *first* step that is *required* of Internet Explorer.
    • by fractalus ( 322043 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:52PM (#15571282) Homepage
      The majority of the browsing public don't care about standards OR security. They care about whether the browser will get them the latest music from iTMS, the latest movie trailer, and whether it works with They do not know why standards are important nor do they grok the concept of "unsafe at any speed" browsers. In short, as long as the browser works for the sites they visit, it is Good Enough.

      That's why Firefox has to keep trying in order to maintain share. Because the number of people on the web is increasing, and it's not the smart ones who are just now coming online. Complacency is the route to obsolescence.
  • Standards (Score:5, Interesting)

    by janet-on ( 982800 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:32PM (#15571108)
    Our website was built by a "website design bureau". We told them it had to be standard, so it would work on Mozilla as well.
    What they produced was an absolute mess. CSS boxes were built to IE handling, and rendered incorrectly on Mozilla, which they consistently referred to as "Mozarella". They believed all problems seen on Mozilla were Mozilla bugs, and they added browser detection and workarounds.
    Of course it still failed on Opera and Konqueror.
    They used an awful piece of Javascript to make dropdown menus.

    When they were done, maintenance was handed over to me and I gradually changed all their work to make a standards-conformant site that still rendered the same way. It was a lot of work, starting from the dire state it was in.
    But finally, it renders OK and the menus work on most browsers without using javascript.

    - CSS menu only works in IE by including (conditional inclusion using !--[if IE]...). maybe IE7 will support:hover on list items?
    - IE4 and below don't quite cut it, fallback to javascript code using serverside UA string detect. these are dying anyway, probably I will remove this support when IE7 appears.
    - bug 234788 in GECKO means the menu disappears when mouse moves over scrollable text area. this bug has been fixed in GECKO but Mozilla and Firefox keep releasing new versions based on the broken GECKO for over a year.... We want Firefox 1.1 and Mozilla 1.8!!!

    What I learnt: use a website design bureau only to make a site design. Don't allow them anywhere near HTML coding. They just use successive approximation towards the "browsers they test with", and try to impress managers with "browser utilisation percentages" instead of standards compliance.
    • by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:02PM (#15571376) Homepage
      Let me tell you, IE 7 is just as fucked as IE5/6.

      IE 7 requires the htc file to implement the HTC hover menu. IE 7 still has the bug with apply text-align to block elements. IE 7 still has weird overlap issues.

      IE 7 is basically IE 6 with a tab bar and some more annoying anti-phishing code. The website layout I designed recently works like this: one path is for Mozilla/FireFox/Camino/Safari/Konqueror/Opera (tested and working), and the other is IE 5/6/7. One uniform path works consistently in everything except IE, and the smarter Gecko-based browsers even get a little CSS3 magic thrown in.

      IE 7 doesn't implement all of CSS 1, a standard that's pushing 10 years old.

      (This was me testing IE 7 inside VMWare on Windows Server 2003)
    • Re:Standards (Score:3, Informative)

      by jedihamster ( 983856 )
      Been a browser of slashdot for years. Just joined to help you out.

      Check out : ns/example/ []
      for an example of a cross browser clean list menu with no .htc

      details of how it work can be found: ns/ []

      I modified the code and made a version for my employer that worked on all IE5's including mac, IE6, Firefox, Opera. Its very nice menu. It uses javascript to allow hover in IE. .htc files often create a security warni
    • Re:Standards (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:30PM (#15571597) Journal
      Our website was built by a "website design bureau". We told them it had to be standard, so it would work on Mozilla as well.
      What they produced was an absolute mess.

      You should have put it into the contract that the final product must pass W3C validation []. No validation, no payment.
      • Re:Standards (Score:3, Informative)

        by LordLucless ( 582312 )
        Then you would have probably got a website that wouldn't render in IE. I've developed a stack of sites, and most of then wouldn't pass W3C once they were complete. They would while they were in development, however, before I had to hack them up so IE could render them correctly.
  • constant spyware? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NynexNinja ( 379583 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:32PM (#15571112)
    Given the fact that remotely exploitable holes are found with Internet Explorer almost on a daily basis, would having your machine constantly backdoored by BackWeb, BonziBuddy, Gator, Hotbar, Ezula, Weather Cast, GAIN, Claria, etc. be enough to switch?
  • Keep up? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the computer guy nex ( 916959 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:33PM (#15571114)
    "Despite the innovations that IE7 may posses, the fact is that open source software will continue to mold itself to the whims of the web at the time, and it will be very difficult for Microsoft to keep up."

    What does it matter if Microsoft keeps up? Most of their target audience are computer users who will never want a Firefox extension or an RSS feed.

    Most people login to read the news, get the weather, and send an email or 2. What Microsoft offers fulfills that.

    Slashdot crowd doesn't realize they are the extreme minority, and a big business doesn't make big money targeting small minorities.
  • FDU (Score:5, Funny)

    by dwandy ( 907337 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:33PM (#15571120) Homepage Journal
    Well, I for one still have a use for IE: It is my Win32 FDU* of choice.

    *Firefox Download Utility

    • I have to boot up IE once a month to download this months windows/office/IE patches. That's its last role, running an activeX control needed to download the stuff needed to stop your XP box being 0wned by somebody else. There's something deeply ironic there.

    • Re:FDU (Score:3, Insightful)

      by forkazoo ( 138186 )
      Bah -- I refuse to use IE. I just use ftp.exe to get it. It may not usually be rational. But, It has been necessary once or twice. Last time was when Comcast installed their junkware on a Windows laptop. IE couldn't access the Internet, but ftp.exe could, and eventually, so could firefox.
  • And so it goes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Billosaur ( 927319 ) * <wgrother@oEINSTE ... minus physicist> on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:34PM (#15571124) Journal

    The problem is that there's no real, new, revolutionary development in browsers. They're all following each other's leads and copying each other's successes, not looking beyong the narrow confines of their little war for market share.

    With applications migrating from static desktop to web driven versions and web sites creating useful functionality, the web browser has to evolve. Even the word "browser" is really not fitting anymore, since they do so much more than serve up static content. They are becoming control interfaces, transaction screens, and data transfer mechanisms; the browser is going to have to become "heftier" (do not read as larger) to deal not just with interacting with these new applications, but to provide a new layer of security.

  • by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:34PM (#15571128)
    So does my development time. I swear, i'd be done my own software if i didn't have to support 30 different OS's (Win Service Packs, ect), 40 different versions of web browsers and so on. I can only imagine what IE7 is going to break.

    plus, anyone who is running a Win2K3 server knows there are already security issues, the IE7 patch already came out.
    • by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:23PM (#15571543)

      As the number of browsers increases, my development time remains static. The lower boundary is defined by Internet Explorer and other browsers don't raise it significantly.

      In my experience, the people who complain about the number of different browsers are the people who design for Internet Explorer first and fix things for browsers that attempt to follow the W3C specifications. The people who design for compliant browsers first and then fix things for Internet Explorer don't tend to worry about the number of different browsers, because they all tend to work pretty much alike, apart from Internet Explorer.

  • So give them a few (Score:3, Informative)

    by Slightly Askew ( 638918 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:37PM (#15571162) Journal
    Because IE automatically ships with Windows, he said, users satisfied with IE7 may not find enough reasons to download and install Firefox when they buy a new computer.

    If they are tech savvy enough, start with the IE7 blog [] at MSDN.

    If they don't know the difference between a USB and a Firewire cable, just tell them how much you charge to burn down a machine and rebuild it after their teenage son picks up a dozen worms while searching for pr0n.

  • by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:38PM (#15571163) Homepage

    I recently converted some physics books to html, and I would have loved to be able to use svg for line art and mathml for the equations. Firefox supports them, but IE doesn't. Sure, I could have made two versions, or done content negotiation, or something complicated like that, but it would have significantly increased the level of complexity of the project. I just wasn't willing to go to that much effort for for an incremental improvement that would only benefit 10% of my audience. MS is clearly in a situation where they have an effective monopoly, and absolutely no motivation to support any new standard, much less to carry out their own innovation. Heck, they don't even support transparent pngs yet.

    There are lots of other ways that MS has had a negative effect on the internet as well, including their behavior about java, and Windows' lousy default security settings, without which botnets wouldn't have happened.

    I don't normally feel any compulsion to bash MS. If other people want to use Windows and Office, that's their business. But what they've done to the internet and open standards really hurts everyone else. If it hadn't have been for them, we'd probably have already moved beyond java applets and ajax, to a web 3.0 that would really deliver what web 2.0 is currently struggling to accomplish.

  • XForms (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dsurber ( 53971 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:38PM (#15571165)
    Where is XForms support? Yes I know about the Mozilla plug in and all of the other external support, but until it is built into the browser I can't even think about using it in my web sites. The current HTML forms support is crude at best, yet it is crucial for any kind of application. The XForms spec has been around since 2003 and still no browser supports it. Don't wait on MS; they won't support it since it makes the browser a more capable platform for delivering apps and that competes with their OS/application strategy. Opera is supporting Web Forms 2.0, but that is not the W3C standard. I wish the browser community, Firefox, would stop messing around and provide a real step forward in browser capability, XForms support.
  • by Agrippa ( 111029 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:41PM (#15571199)
    I know the analyst quoted, Geoff Johnston, from when I worked at I went to lunch with him a few times because WebSideStory was down the street and Geoff was an artist on our site with the band Noisepie []. He's the guy in the center. He's a pretty cool guy who seemed pretty knowledgeable.

  • by Asphalt ( 529464 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:42PM (#15571202)
    I keep seeing WebSideStory and the other metrics put out stats, but the stats from the sites I manage don't mesh with them, and have not meshed with them in awhile.

    I administer roughly 100 websites, ranging from downright soccer-mom commercial, to those oriented to the more tech savvy, and everything in between.

    Last month I saw 37% of our users arrive via Firefox or other Mozilla project.

    We also go up to .8% from Windows CE (mobile) web browsers.

    I don't know how much stock I put in these various metrics. They always grossly underestimate non-IE browser from my experiences.

    I guess it all depends on what site you measure. probably gets 99% IE, while Slashdot probably gets 50% IE.

    Unless you can measure the whole web, which is impossible, cherrypicking sites is always going to produce unreliable numbers.

    I imagine that they poll mostly "mainstream" websites, but the fact is that such sites really account for an overwhleming minority of internet traffic.

    • I usually check the [] to get a better idea of what people are using. They recorded 134 billion units (hits?) last month.
    • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:45PM (#15571683) Homepage

      WSS has one big issue: they depend on cookies. If your browser doesn't accept their cookies, they don't track browser stats on your hits. If your browser only accepts their cookie for a session and then discards it, it skews their stats. And I'd bet that the majority of people who use FireFox have it set to not accept third-party cookies (cookies from outside the domain of the page being viewed). They're also most likely to have blocked the first-party cookies WSS uses with some customers. And of course as you noted WSS monitors mostly mainstream sites so their numbers tend to reflect the population of those sites (you wouldn't believe the traffic volume associated with Disney or ESPN).

      Then again, I'd say WSS's stats are about as good as it's possible to get without some way to hook into the browser itself. With NAT and proxies and such you need some sort of persistent identifier in the browser itself to distinguish 10 different people behind a proxy each hitting one page from 1 person hitting 10 pages, and cookies are the least intrusive way of doing a persistent identifier.

    • I think the biggest is: Are your users brosing from home or work? Slashdot gets lots of hits from IE. Even Mandrake got lots of hits from IE, just because people have to use IE at work. Home users will refelct what people want to use, as work users will reflect what people are required to use.
  • by Zane Hopkins ( 894230 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:45PM (#15571229) Homepage
    If more manufacturers took a leaf from Dell and installed Firefox on all new computers, then over time firefox's user base can only go up. It's getting buy-in from pc manufacturers thats more important than trying to beat IE with features (and therefore bloat)
  • by Chabil Ha' ( 875116 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:47PM (#15571249)
    not purely because it's a MS product. See, IE is what's called a value add product (insert joke here). At the end of the day, IE is meant to enhance a flagship product--Windows. So, Microsoft can get comfortable and decide to re-assign their IE staff to something more productive. That's how there's a security issue. Because there is no new innovation, the code stagnates, and is vulnerable to those who actively seek exploits.

    Then you have Firefox. Does Firefox compete for code time with other Mozilla products. Yes, a few, but Firefox has quickly become a flagship product. There are people within and without the organization that maintain the code. This creates inherent security because there are positive contributors constantly refining and securing the code.

    It's that simple. Will I ever download IE 7? I'll eventually have it in a few years when I buy a computer that has Vista on it, but I won't download it because of IE 6's lack of MS support. With Firefox I simply feel secure that SOMEONE will continue to develop it and make it more secure. Ironically, I can't say the same for a corporate developed piece of software.
  • The IE Thang... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Valthan ( 977851 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:47PM (#15571252)
    I am all for stopping that whole Microsoft Monopoly thing, but if they didn't include IE with windows... then how would one get the replacement browser, and don't say FTP because where am I going to get my FTP client without a browser to go d/l it in the first place?

    This is serious...
    • by dourk ( 60585 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @03:22PM (#15571532) Homepage
      Hyperterminal does Zmodem. Google for a local warez BBS you can dial up.
  • by Kesch ( 943326 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:48PM (#15571256)
    The article basically lists the new features that are being incorporated into the latest web browsers.

    There are some changes in IE7 that should be noted:

    A search box in the corner!(OMG, revolutionary!)

    Tabs(This is like 720 degrees revolutionary!)

    But... wait... the tabs will be quick tabs with little thumbnails of the web pages(This is amazing, someone should integrate this into an OS)

    And finally,

    A version shipping with Vista computers, due out for consumers early next year, will come with parental controls and a "protected mode" so hackers can't easily to gain access to the rest of the machine even if the browser is hit.

    (Note, the following satirical conversation assumes that Vista will actually ship at some point.)

    IE7 *Now entering protected mode*

    IE7 You are attempting to contact host '' are you sure you wish to continue? The internet is a scary place. Non-microsoft web pages can harm your computer.

    USER Yes.

    IE7 Honestly, wouldn't you rather look at MSN pages instead of risk compromising your computer? Are you definitely sure that you wish to continue?

    USER Yes.

    IE7 Is that your final answer?

    USER Yes.

    IE7 Just to check, it's not opposite day is it?

    USER It isn't opposite day.

    IE7 But, if it is opposite day, and you say it isn't then it really is. Are you sure it's not opposite day?

    USER Fine, it is opposite day.

    **Segmentation Fault. Paradox buffer overflow**

    At this point, the user restarts IE.

    IE7 *Now entering protected mode*

    USER MSN Search: google

    IE7 No search results found

    USER Disable content filter

    IE7 1,224,671,930,542 results found.

    USER Go to first result:

    IE7 WARNING! WARNING! The host attempted to send data of the unknown descriptor "HTML." This data most likely contains severe security exploits. In response, your internet connection has been severed.

    User opens Firefox.

    Now that I'm done IE bashing for the hell of it. The protected mode sounds like it could be a nice sandboxy type thing that could potentially make IE a lot more secure. Of course, it will probably break favorite flashy webpages or block downloads of "OMG you have to see this video.exe" sent to you by, so users will disable it.

    Personally, I will stick with Firefox, or maybe this Opera thingy everyone talks about. Is it like a Firefox extenstion or something? *ducks*
    • You write a parody, and yet some MS products do act in this manner.

      Case in point: MSN Messenger. Have a friend send you an mp3.
      It asks you "Do you want to accept this file?", to which you click yes.

      It then downloads the file and offers you a nice and simple, clickable link to open the file. You click on it. A window pops up.

      Something along the lines of "This file could be dangerous. Windows has prevented your computer from opening it".

      It doesn't mention it, but it also deletes the damned file you just d
  • by snib ( 911978 ) <> on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:48PM (#15571258) Homepage
    "users satisfied with IE7 may not find enough reasons to download and install Firefox when they buy a new computer."

    I think a lot of Firefox users will still want to get Firefox because for a long time they've been clicking the Red Fox instead of the Blue E to get on the Internet. My friends, I know, will notice this at least, and most likely, when wondering how to transfer all their old bookmarks to their new computer, will look into downloading Firefox because that's what their old bookmarks are in.

    I think that interest in Firefox is not going to decrease with the release of Vista with IE7. A lot of FF users are people who would never switch, and the rest are probably too used to it to go back to IE. MS will have to make IE7 a lot like Firefox if they want to keep casual users from noticing the difference.
  • by Sebastopol ( 189276 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:49PM (#15571262) Homepage
    I love FireFox and I will always use it unless something faster, quicker, safer, and more intelligently design appears.

    But what are they trying to achieve? 100% market dominance? Do they need that? Can they sustain themselves just by providing a solid browser to the core 10% of the market that cares? If they are going out of business because they don't have 90% of the market, well then they have work to do. I would think they are just a tool for a niche market of serious computer users, and not the drooling masses.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Having been on the fringes of the Mozilla project for years, the purpose of the Mozilla project is to promote an open web. Mitchell Baker (project leader) has repeatedly said that the goal is not dominant marketshare, but rather preventing MS or any other vendor from locking down the web. A secondary goal is to advance the state of the web and promoting innovation (SVG, MathML, XForms, WHATWG, etc). The other goals and actions extend from these two goals.
  • by drolli ( 522659 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2006 @02:52PM (#15571287) Journal
    there was the internet. Then came the Web. The Web made a simple cross-platform access to networkes information possible. The URL was a designation of permanent Resource locations. New features where used only if neccessary.....

    and where are we now? Every website has dynamic pages; half of them require a session ID even for dowloading a manual. Three quarters of them require Javascript to read use otherwise static links. Only one fifth of the website seems to afford programmers who can in this complicated world deliver the experience of the early web (=it works), the rest has a vast mixture of flash, javascript and other Stuff - most of the time requireing the newest version of some obscure plugin to be installed.
  • I think the whole Web 2.0 trend (using heavy JavaScript DOM, XmlHttpRequest, and CSS) will probably boost innovation in browsers. As these apps (and "mashups" thereof) get more complicated, it becomes easier for developers to just say "use a standards-compliant browser". This will result in larger and larger groups of people downloading Firefox, Opera, or other standards-compliant browsers, because their friends told them about a site that needs it.

    Web browser innovation is fueled by web site innovation, and vice-versa. If we want "cooler" features in our browsers, we need to develop sites and services that fully utilize the existing features, and push the envelope, while still accomodating enough of the user base to make them useful.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson