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Journal Journal: Love, Hate, and the Great Lizard

I love Mozilla. I hate Mozilla. It's a complicated relationship. And it became an even more complicated recently.

I had heard some good things about the nightly builds of Mozilla 1.3. So when the Alpha came out, I decided to download and install it on my aging Windows 98 machine. Then the troubles began. Suddenly, new windows wouldn't open, my bookmarks refused to appear in my sidebar, and other tools, like the Mail and Newgroups and Composer wouldn't open. Then Mozilla wouldn't shut down on its own. Its process had to be killed now. Luckily, I had the tools to do this and to monitor its behavior.

It was time to fire up Google. Apparently, this was not an uncommon problem. I followed the advice I found and nothing happened. I kept trying some more things but with the holidays and family in the general area, this was a slow and frequently interrupted process.

I finally decided to uninstall Mozilla 1.3a and go back to 1.2.1. But the problems still remained. After a couple of uninstalls and reinstalls of both versions and of a nightly build, I decided to get rid of everything -- to wipe out the last remnants of Mozilla and start fresh. I copied my bookmarks file to another folder and deleted my profile.

This worked. My cookies, preferences, and passwords were gone but Mozilla was working perfectly. I upgraded it to version 1.3a again and it continued to work perfectly.

Now it was time to rebuild. I imported my old bookmarks file and retrieved my old passwords from my Palm Pilot which over its various physical incarnations over the past three years has proven to be far more reliable than either Mozilla or any Windows computer I've owned. I reinstalled some add-ons that I've found that I just can't live without, Leech and Radial Context Menus worked with the new browser but apparently Diggler does not. Apparently many new themes don't work with it either -- disappointing but no big loss.

Time will iron out these incompatibilies. In the meantime, Mozilla is now faster and I have some new toys to play with. I haven't used Mozilla much for e-mail but its new spam filtering capacity may yet win me over.

The pop-up manager is back but some websites still manage to outsmart Mozilla's pop-up suppression mechanism. I've found that the best way of dealing with them is to kill pop-ups altogether. But this leads to problems when some geek decides to use pop-up windows to do something useful at his website. Fortunately, Google as always, has allowed me to find a solution for this problem as well.

This is not the first time that a new version of Mozilla has been b0rked. For some reason, Mozilla 1.2.1 rerouted my Palm directory to a temporary directory called ns_temp. I had to fire up the registry editor and change the "Path" string under the [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\U.S. Robotics\Pilot Desktop\Core] key to fix the problem.

So why put up with all this crap? Simply because Mozilla is the best browser I've ever used; tabs, built-in password and cookie management, pop-up suppression, Internet keywords, the list goes on and on. As annoying as Mozilla can be to install at times, it's no worse in this regard than a lot of Windows applications and has the advantage of working sweetly and smoothly when it's finally working right.

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