back to article Firefox at 5: the Google Cold War

As Firefox pops the champagne on its fifth birthday, one of its founding fathers has warned the world against an interwebs ruled by a certain money-minded tech giant. That would be Google. The Mountain View Chocolate Factory was instrumental in the rise of Mozilla's open-source web browser, contributing not only code, but …


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  1. Tony Paulazzo

    This has happened before

    >where the users of the web become consumers of content who sit in front of commercial advertising all day long and have no control over their experience.<

    True dat. Unfortunately, it's what the vast majority want, reruns of Eastenders and X talent unreality shows. Content creators are slicing up what was a global internet, BBC for the UK, Fox for the yanks. They don't give a crap about the bettterment of humanity, just filling their pockets.

    It does make me cross!

  2. asdf
    Thumb Up

    a good cold war

    Anything that pushes Mozilla to fix their overengineered, bloated, slow, hard to code on/with core, Gecko is a good thing (thanks webkit). Both have even pushed M$ to actually fix IE to be somewhat friendly to web standards so all the better for this one good war. Still Gecko is a monstrosity renderer core these days and I seen perhaps even Firefox moving to a heavily modified Webkit core within several years.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Has this guy only just woke up

    This is a STBO story, do I need a guy like him, telling me something I alredy know.

    Perhaps he should have a look at his own bloatware first, and get that sorted into the slimline opposition it was once much vaunted as.

  4. Tippis
    Flame ça change

    And now, five years down the road, Fx has become the same kind of slow, bloated, non-innovative and barely functioning mess that it was once designed to combat.

  5. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    This mistake is ruining American Business.

    Americans seem to think that "public companies [are] legally beholden to maximize revenue for their stockholders."

    The law does not state that, what it DOES state is that all profits must be returned to the shareholders.

    But the corporations believe in the first, and frequently break the law by using profits to buy back shares. In worst cases the entire company is stolen from the shareholders. For example:

    "In 2004, Cox Enterprises announced its intention to purchase those shares of Cox Communications which it did not already own. A $6.6 Billion tender offer was completed in December of that year, and Cox Communications has been a wholly owned subsidiary ever since.[8] This was the second time Cox was taken private by Cox Enterprises."

    In other words, they have stolen the company TWICE.

  6. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    The only reason for investing in Cox Enterprises was to be able to say to the mother-in-law, over the Christmas Dinner, "I put a lot of money in cocks, you ought to think about cocks this year - it's an up and coming opportunity"

  7. John Sanders

    I´m affraid

    That Mozilla guy´s are so busy looking at their belly buttons and how well Chrome is doing on it´s dawn that they are forgetting what their goal was .

    Make a decent browser.... maybe?

    I in particular do not use FF because of ideals, I use it because objectively for me is a better means (tool) to an end, but not an end on itself and not an ideal internet which for good or bad doesn't exists.

    Firefox offers such a random experience depending on which computer and OS you run it, that the only reason 90% of the true FF users stick to it are the extensions.

    FF on itself is useless without Firebug, Adblock plus, noscript and the rest.

    Give me a build of Chrome with extension support and at least adblock plus or Noscript and I'm entirely sold.

    Lately it is as if only the FF guys care is to copycat MS´s and Chrome interfaces, as if they do not care about their product and think the competition´s product is better.

    IMHO they should care not too much about how the product looks like (up to a point of course) and they should care more about how the product performs, and then worrying about cosmetic.

  8. Steve Graham

    It's not like cable TV

    You only get adverts if your browser asks for them, and it's easy to stop it doing that, especially Firefox.

  9. Thomas 18
    Thumb Down

    tax the ignorant!

    Currently internet advertising is a tax on the ignorant, people without the knowledge of how to block them with add-ons and applications but this is changing with video streamed and interactive content where adverts are embedded and much harder to remove.

    Marketing is such a revolting industry. Sure mainstream websites will start to suck more and more and become like TV but the fringe should always survive (and on the interwebs there's an infinite amount of fringe).

  10. Jon 52
    Big Brother

    adblock on chrome, LOL

    Why would google release adblock on their browser when they provide such a high proportion of the ads. Perhaps they will block all but google ads....

  11. SynnerCal
    Thumb Up

    Fox hunting going on?

    There seems to be a lot of FF-flamers online today... Personally I've had little problems with FF on various Windows and Linux systems, especially once AdBlock+ is added. Yes, I tried Safari (which didn't seem to do anything better than FF or IE) and Chrome.

    Chrome - which I notice most of the anti-FF posters seem to like - I found to be no faster than IE/FF and more worryingly there was a 'Chrome Update' process that seemed to be doing a heck of a lot of small data bursts, even when Chrome wasn't running. Since I'm a suspicious natured cove I deinstalled Chrome and the data bursts stopped.

    Not that keen on the slightly sneering "we did Firefox because we hate MS" statement in the article - I was under the impression that the FF team formed because they didn't like IE and figured they could do 'the web' better.

    One thing said by the FF-naysayers above that I will agree with though is that the FF team need to concentrate on speed and size - need the browser to be as fast and as small as possible in it's base version, (by that I mean if folks want a half a dozen plug-ins then they shouldn't be surprised if the browser gets larger and slower). I don't want a dozen or more whizzy 'features' if it means that it takes 30 seconds or more to launch the browser!

  12. Chika
    Black Helicopters

    @Steve Graham

    As soon as one method of blocking ads comes up, other methods of showing them come in. Have you seen YouTube lately, for example?

    Mind you, I can see the whole of the Internet becoming a benighted place open only to those that are prepared to pay hand over fist, especially if that pseudo-Merkan Aussie reject twat Murdoch gets his way. If he succeeds, then watch the rest of the beancounters and their bosses rush to lock their sites down.

  13. Gilbo

    @Jon 52

    I wouldn't be so sure about that. For Chrome to get anywhere it's going to have to support extensions sooner or later. However...

    Currently there's nothing to stop you bypassing Google's ads completely on GMail using either POP3 or IMAP access from your favourite mail client. Picasa web albums and Google video can easily be embedded in other pages, again bypassing all of Google's advertising.

    The trick is to keep the vocal minority happy by giving them the means to bypass the advertising if they have the inclination to do so, whilst the average computer user doesn't know any different and provides the bulk of Google's revenue. It's a very clever strategy and keeps everyone happy - providing 90% of the population doesn't go installing Adblock anytime soon.

  14. Mark 131

    No one has mentioned it so i may as well...

    I use opera :) works for me.

    I seem to find FF for Linux; safari for mac and opera for windoze.

  15. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    Never had any FF problems myself

    but then I have a very Spartan set-up extension-wise. No big deals speed or size-wise, no instability. I really think many problems stem from extension clutter (or bloat).

    Opera is nice too, perfect acid3 score, snappy response times.

    And remember, it is just a browser

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So we've got this goose, and it lays golden eggs...

  17. Christian Berger

    Peer to Peer in the browser

    The 'simple' solution for a free web would be to build ways to have peer to peer applications in the browser, eliminating the need for central servers.

  18. Kevin 9


    Amazing the amount of hate for advertising and revenue out there....

    At the end of the day, somebody, somewhere has to pay for properly researched news. Someone has to pay the dude putting his life on the line reporting natural disasters or wars. Or the guy who spends his days researching financial news. Or whatever. If we eliminate advertising revenue and noone will pay to read, then they go the way of the dodo.

    I, for one, don't want to live in the world where all our news comes from Joe the Plumber or whatever Billy no-name writes on his blog...

    On a more on topic note, I enjoy firefox, though I have noticed it's memory footprint seems to get disproportionately large at times.

  19. Anonymous Coward


    "Americans seem to think that "public companies [are] legally beholden to maximize revenue for their stockholders."

    The law does not state that, what it DOES state is that all profits must be returned to the shareholders."

    Er - NO. What the law states is that the company has to act in the best interests of the shareholders. Without specifically defining best interests. If it was true that all profits must be returned to the shareholders then Google would be in trouble for never paying dividends. And companies would be unable to retain profits for investment or for any other reason.

    The definition is vague so that a company can choose to retain profits if it is growing (like Google), or pay them out if it is no longer growing and therefore the share price isn't increasing. You can also buy back shares if you think that will help to push up the price and therefore increase shareholder value.

  20. Sailfish


    Chrome this! Firefox that! IE DIE! DIE! DIE!

    Reading these comments made me think I was being treated to a "Flame like it's 1994 fest".

    Only thing, I kinda wished there were at least an honorable mention of Netscape in the comments.

  21. Jean-Luc
    Thumb Down

    Read the news much?

    "Marketing is such a revolting industry."

    "where the users of the web become consumers of content who sit in front of commercial advertising all day long and have no control over their experience"

    "blah blah blah"

    Right. So ads are the soulless evil preying on the planet. Nothing else wrong with the planet, nope. No hunger, wars, human rights violations, global warming. And websites are free to run, 'cuz like... information wants to be free. Joe Blow writes incisive articles about Outer Mongolia steppe erosion, no need to pay anyone's salary.

    As a user I wish FF would stick to trimming its memory footprint and speeding up JS. Not that it is a bad browser, I like it.

    Targetted Google ads are fine by me:

    -They are less obtrusive mostly than early do-it-yourself web masters' flashing stuff

    -They are more relevant

    -They presumably consume less of the web authors' time, leaving them to write up Outer Mongolian step erosion articles.

    -I never really pay attention to ads anyway and I have broadband. If I cared, adblock works.

    -Last but not least: I am worried when websites I rely on have no obvious revenue sources.

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