back to article Firefox decade: Microsoft's IE humbled by a dogged upstart. Native next?

It seems hard to believe but 10 years ago the PC was the only computing interface for billions of consumers and businesses and Microsoft owned them all. A desktop or laptop running MS Windows loaded with Office for creating documents and spreadsheets and Internet Explorer to view web pages. Nearly 100 per cent market share is …

  1. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    native beats Firefox because ff crashes constantly (it's actually unusable on android) and you can't write to a file with javascript. a browser could be a great ui if it stayed upright and could interact with the client file system. however that would open a can of worms.

    1. david bates

      Its actually NOT unusable on Android. Its my browser of choice on Android....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Constant crashes on Android here as well. Just like on the PC, FF on Android is not fit for purpose.

        1. Chemist

          "Constant crashes on Android here as well. Just like on the PC, FF on Android is not fit for purpose."

          Oh, an AC with a 'valid' opinion. What possible reason could you have for being that ?. No, thought not

        2. Bleu

          Seems quite reliable to me

          but you are posting as AC, so we have to suspect some rabid fandom interest.

          Not to say their small-device interface is not a little clunky, version on mine is out of date, must try the latest.

          It offers much better control than the Android built-in or Opera (which I like and also use, yes I know it is out of fashion).

      2. eulampios

        Firefox is the most stable on Android

        for me at least right now, when teamed up with NoScript (beta).

        It's the ancient HTC Incredible with a 4.4.4 ROM here: the old set of drivers embedded in the 2.6.38.8 kernel, as opposed to 3* that people usually get with KitKat.

        It's even more stable and smooth than the "native" browser app.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Firefox is the most stable on Android

          4.4.4 on an old HTC? Don't believe you. HTC are known for not updating phones.

          I have an HTC that's not even a year old and I am stuck on 4.1.

          Never buying their under-supported crap again.

          1. Chemist

            Re: Firefox is the most stable on Android

            "Never buying their under-supported crap again."

            Not bothering with troll- you are just a (AC) liar

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Firefox is the most stable on Android

              No lie, HTC sold this phone then abandoned their customers. Never again.

              I'm using it right now, FF has died once already!

          2. eulampios

            @a non-believer AC

            >>4.4.4 on an old HTC? Don't believe you.

            HTC don't have to do with my ROM, directly. Look for AOSP, CyanogenMod et al

            "The official HTC" version for this phone here ends at 2.3.4

            Unlock the bootloader, unleash your phone to flash a ROM and version of your choice. It's not some kind of restricted iOS, RIM, WP, you got a choice, you know

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @a non-believer AC

              No ROMs for this phone, it's garbage.

          3. Alan Bourke

            Re: Firefox is the most stable on Android

            Yes HTC are twats like that. Stick Cyanogenmod on it.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Firefox is the most stable on Android

              "Yes HTC are twats like that. Stick Cyanogenmod on it."

              I would if it was available for this P.o.S.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      open a can of worms.

      Typed on a Chromebook. Yes, a browser that runs for weeks on end (between updates) without problems and has native access to the client file system can work rather well.

      1. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

        Re: open a can of worms.

        so I need dedicated hardware to write to file from a browser?

    3. Chemist

      "native beats Firefox because ff crashes constantly"

      Well me and mine use FF ALL the time day in/day out and if it crashes it's noteworthy - maybe 2-3 times a year.

      Mind that's running all machines (6) under Linux

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Well if you are running Linux, you are used to patching and compiling your own kernels, as well as spending hours on a command line fixing dodgy software.

        So you repeated browser crashes (once a day for FF is not uncommon) probably go unnoticed.

        1. eulampios

          @dellusional AC

          >>Well if you are running Linux, you are used to patching and compiling your own kernels, as well as spending hours on a command line fixing dodgy software.

          Everyone in my family, quite a few friends/acquaintances run GNU/Linux. It's only me that is occasionally building custom kernels, just for fun. All is rather boring and automated. Linux and Unix people are a pretty lazy lot, everything must be simple, logical and automated. Over-complex, illogical, mouse-clicking tasks are not for us, it's for the Windows geeky brethren :)

          >> So you repeated browser crashes (once a day for FF is not uncommon) probably go unnoticed.

          It could've not, when ff crashes it opens a window asking to restart its session. On my many LMDE and Debian systems of mine, I can't really recall any crashes for the past couple years.

          1. Bleu

            Re: @dellusional AC

            I also never had a problem with FF in years of running it under Linux (unfashionable Turbolinux). Boot device I was using (ingenious Wizpy) is pretty much dead, Linux boot partition lost data so can't boot from it, battery is dead and not replaceable, other data are mainly still on it, though.

            Sob.

        2. Chemist

          "Well if you are running Linux, you are used to patching and compiling your own kernels, as well as spending hours on a command line fixing dodgy software.So you repeated browser crashes (once a day for FF is not uncommon) probably go unnoticed."

          a) not compiled anything for years !

          b) Use the command line a lot - just not needed

          c) You are a trol*

          c) You are illiterate! (BTW)

        3. Chemist

          "Well if you are running Linux, you are used to patching and compiling your own kernels, as well as spending hours on a command line fixing dodgy software."

          BTW I know, anyone who has read reviews on Linux distros (here and elsewhere) knows and I suspect YOU know that you don't need to compile a kernel (or use the command-line to install Linux)

          And as for your comment about spending hours fixing dodgy software - beneath contempt !

          1. busycoder99

            Linux user here for over 9 years. Multiple desktops and servers. I've never ever (had to) compiled my own kernel. Am I missing out guys / gals?

        4. asphytxtc
          Linux

          > Well if you are running Linux, you are used to patching and compiling your own kernels, as well as spending hours on a command line fixing dodgy software.

          Did we suddenly go back to the early 2000's? I honestly can't remember the last time I had to "make bzimage" ^.^

          As for spending hours on the command line fixing dodgy software, to be fair you have to spend hours *somewhere* fixing dodgy software on any platform. It could be worse, spending hours in the registry would sent me to the padded room!

        5. Chika

          Well if you are running Linux, you are used to patching and compiling your own kernels, as well as spending hours on a command line fixing dodgy software.

          I run Linux on a number of systems and have used Firefox in all situations. Yes, I have compiled kernels and worked on dodgy software but Firefox has not been one of those. Only twice has it ever gone wrong on me and in both situations it was because there was a fault in the underlying system which, when repaired, resolved any problem I had. Yet again somebody is spreading FUD based on age old experiences of Linux.

          1. Vic

            Yet again somebody is spreading FUD based on age old experiences of FUD about Linux.

            There, FTFY.

            Vic.

        6. Jim 59

          Well if you are running Linux, you are used to patching and compiling your own kernels, as well as spending hours on a command line fixing dodgy software.

          So you repeated browser crashes (once a day for FF is not uncommon) probably go unnoticed.

          Worst. Troll. Ever.

        7. Chemist

          "So you repeated browser crashes (once a day for FF is not uncommon) probably go unnoticed."

          Would you like an upvote out of pity ?

    4. Bleu

      As the OP says

      I have never had FF crash or freeze, whether on doze or Android. I use Opera as main browsers (mini and the former mobile) under Android, mainly for the data squeezing (low limit), but I use FF too, and *exclusively* FF on PC for years. Never found it anything but reliable.

      That said, I am not at all convinced by Gal's (and many others') 'everything in the browser' vision. Sorry, I want everything from the text editor through to the word processor, spreadsheet, compiler or interpreter, and graphics software running on the local machine.

      If the old 'thin clients' idea had taken off on a mass-market scale, it might be different.

      I can see a point when it comes to avoiding dedicated Javascript programs for, e.g., news sites in favour of using the browser. I can't see the point of 'apps' like that, they just clutter up the screen.

    5. Bill Stewart

      I clicked on the up-arrow to vote on one of the comments in this thread, and Firefox crashed. Not the first crash of the day, either. I'm running on Win7-64 with 8GB or RAM, so FF is no longer running out of RAM the way it did when I only had 4GB, and it's a recent version of FF.

      On the other hand, unlike IE, when FF does crash, it's really pretty good about remembering where it was; IE usually loses the whole session.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I clicked on the up-arrow to vote on one of the comments in this thread, and Firefox crashed. Not the first crash of the day, either."

        You are wrong. FF is the BESTEST THING EVAH! It does not crash. It render 1080p in one bit of RAM. It is perfect.

        DO NOT QUESTION THE FOX!

        Thus the commentards have spoken.

        1. Chemist

          "Thus the commentards have spoken."

          You are quite wrong (as usual) my anonymous 'friend'. But reading comments here and on other occasions, something is wrong somewhere. Some people have problems with memory leaks or crashes, others don't. Is there a common thread ?.

          I use the same version of FF on 1GB, 2GB, & 8GB memory machines ranging from a single core atom & celeron 32 bit to the 64bit machines dual-core AMD & intel upto latest 4 core i7 and have a very similar experience on all (although naturally some are LOT faster than others) . Few crashes and memory usage around 600MB with ~10 tabs open, no obvious leaks. That experience (since ~2006) is limited to just Linux. It would be interesting to see if there is any correlation with OS or maybe it's some hardware thing.

          BTW we all know 1080p in 1 bit of RAM is silly.

          1. Vic

            Some people have problems with memory leaks or crashes, others don't.

            My version of Firefox isn't exactly up-to-date, so I don't know to what extent this might have been addresses recently, but I do suffer from memory leaks.

            What I believe I've determined is that FF leaks when you open/close tabs and windows repeatedly - a little more memory is used for each one which isn't returned on close.

            That's sort of how I use tools - open a new window/tab to look up something, then close it once i've found what I'm after. I also tend to open new tabs for each link away from a search page - so the search results stay open in a tab. And I keep a lot of stuff open - I currently have 30 FF windows open, with multiple tabs in each window.

            So my way of using FF is going to show up any leaks - and it does. Periodically, it slows to a crawl. A quick "killall firefox" bins the lot, and a restart brings my windows back - it's not a big deal, but it's something I would work on if I worked for Mozilla, rather than buggering around with UI changes all the time.

            Vic.

            1. Chemist

              "What I believe I've determined is that FF leaks when you open/close tab"

              Interesting Vic as I tend to have a lot of tabs permanently open and run for weeks between restarts of OS or FF. Obviously I do open and close some tabs all the time. I've never had any great concerns about memory leaks with FF, although I have had with some programs.

              FF is currently using ~50MB less than when I last posted

              1. eulampios

                top -p `pidof firefox`

                I was monitoring the memory usage of firefox on one of my LMDE boxes (2004 P4 Dell E510) after I read Vic's comment. My version of Firefox is always up-to-date. I can confirm that firefox seems to release memory just fine after tabs are closed. In my case ff was using around 17% (45 m) for a dozen tabs. It would release around 1% for every closed tab.

                I remember having a memory leak issue 3-4 years ago, however it's been fixed almost immediately when I got aware of it.

                It never crashes on me. I have NoScript enabled with variable policies and use vlc or mplayer to watch youtube and other videos.

                1. eulampios

                  Re: top -p `pidof firefox`

                  amof, I also tried opening ten tabs of different el reg articles. That consumed about 1% total.

  2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    I'm not holding my breath

    HTML5 may prove to be that elusive cross-platform GUI toolkit that many people have tried to build over the years, but the idea that you'd run everything in JavaScript is no more sensible than the idea that you'd build an entire OS in the JVM.

    Technically, there's simply no point. Cross-platform portability just isn't that hard for code that only processes data. Any app that performs device control will need some kind of native glue to the device, but not much (since many devices are just "our protocol over a USB link" or something similar). Most apps will need some sort of file and directory management, but that's just a few hundred lines of OS wrappers for each platform and has been done a million times before. The sockets API is supported on any platform that actually wants a non-zero market share, and through that API (and numerous RFCs and similar standards) you have myriad additional services in a standard form. The rest is your own algorithms.

    You might as well choose the best languages for the components you are writing. The whole lot can be trivially cross-compiled to any and every target architecture. Insisting on JavaScript as an intermediate form and relying on each browser's (general-purpose) JIT to optimise your code serves no purpose.

    The only domain where this argument falls down is the UI and whilst I might forgive the general public conflating "end-user-visible software" with "all software", it is rather disturbing to hear a CTO make the same mistake.

    The GUI is a sticking point for portable software largely because we just didn't agree on how to do it. We had several different approaches that worked (X11, Mac toolbox, MsWin) and various attempts to make each available on other platforms. As APIs, they had strengths and weaknesses, but there was no clear winner. To be honest, we still don't have a clear winner in terms of capability, because HTML5 is a strait-jacket to anyone familiar with a native GUI API, but it offers "adequate for many purposes" in combination with "fully portable" and perhaps that will do.

    And in any case, aren't we all going to be re-inventing the whole field of software engineering once we figure out how to make GPUs do anything except embarrasingly parallel number crunching?

    1. Vic

      Re: I'm not holding my breath

      The GUI is a sticking point for portable software largely because we just didn't agree on how to do it. We had several different approaches that worked (X11, Mac toolbox, MsWin)

      Don't forget XUL. That's all about using the browser rendering engine to create UIs for native apps...

      Vic.

    2. Bill Stewart

      IE's job was Preventing cross-platform development

      IE's purpose wasn't to achieve dominance over the browser market - it was to prevent the browser from displacing the operating system as the important user interface, by preventing compatibility and cross-platform development. Dan Farmer's SATAN network security analysis program had demonstrated that browsers were a good enough user interface for most applications, Netscape and various Unix versions (including Linux and BSD) were free or near-free, and AOL could have swamped the market by porting their application to Linux and handing out free coasters to everybody. What IE needed to do was to get a large enough chunk of the corporate browser space to prevent everybody from moving over.

      And they succeeded. Microsoft's still around.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For old times sake

    I just ran Firebird again. From 2003. And it still looks closer to the web browser interface I want to use than Australis.

    1. iranu
      Happy

      Re: For old times sake

      You can get rid of the horrible Australis nonsense with an add-ons

      https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/classicthemerestorer/

      https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tabs-on-bottom/?src=search

  4. Kevin Johnston Silver badge

    Curious

    Not a single mention in the article of Opera which may be a niche player these days but it played a significant part in pushing features now considered standard (tabs anyone?) but also kicked off the EU review of Microsoft bundling IE in the OS.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Curious

      Well, since they pulled the impressive combo of jump the shark, shoot self in foot and head, and cue the fat lady to sing - all by dumping their engine for webkit and cloning Chrome's UI, they're pretty much an ex-parrot these days.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Tannin

      Re: Curious

      Opera is dead. The second-rate Chrome clone they push now is inferior in pretty much all respects - and not just inferior to real Opera, inferior also to the likes of Chrome and Firefox. It's a crying shame, as Opera was responsible for the great majority of the ground-breaking innovations in browser design we take for granted these days and consider routine, and Opera's UI has never been matched. (The next best, though a long way behind, is probably SeaMonkey, or non-Australis Firefox.)

      1. ButlerInstitute

        Re: Curious

        On the desktop I'm still using Opera - version 12.17.....

        (Ie the last one pre-WebKit).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      Re: Curious

      I gave up on Opera due the issue using a proxy with exceptions. Every other browser could happily handle wildcards, but Opera's attitude seemed to be, "can't be arsed to sort this". Not sure if they've fixed it in the last year, gave up trying.

  5. FF22

    Wishful thinking, as always

    "Today Internet Explorer is a shadow of its former self, with half its 2004 market share."

    Reality: IE's market share was 91% in 2004, now it's 58%. That's practically 2/3s.

    "It also opened up the market for others: without Firefox there’d have been no Chrome."

    Because of what? Firefox had nothing to do with Chrome. If you'd have said that without Apple/WebKit there would have been no Chrome... well... you'd would be still wrong. But not as wrong as with this one.

    "With hindsight, we can now see Firefox as the star of the beginning of the end for Microsoft’s desktop troika: Office’s lock on documents had been cracked by open-source and web-based alternatives like LibreOffice and Google Docs since 2004."

    So a browser that appeared _after_ the Office-hegemony of Microsoft was supposedly already broken was that started breaking the Microsoft monopolies. Makes sense. Not so much.

    "The PC has been surpassed by the tablet and smart phone, by iOS and Android."

    Wrong. According to Gartner there are still 2x as more PCs out there as iOS and Android devices combined. Also, the tablet market is practically collapsing these days.

    "In some ways, that’s a comment on the situation in 2004: Mozilla exploded like a Blitzkrieg on a sleeping giant "

    Yeah, it so exploded, that its market share never ever reached (even at its peak) the 1/4 of IE's. And it took them 6 years to reach that. In contrast: IE only needed 4 years to achieve 90% market share. Chrome needed 6 year to reach more than Firefox ever did.

    "But 10 years on, with zero per cent growth versus growth for Chrome and stabilisation for Internet Explorer"

    Wrong again. Firefox is not only not growing, it's definitely losing its users for two years now. It had peaked in 2012 with 20%, and now it's at 18%.

    "Arguably, the desktop is less of a concern given that the PC market has stalled. Growth is in devices, where Mozilla reckons Firefox has its future with Firefox OS."

    Neither Firefox OS's, nor the Firefox browser's can be measured in the mobile area. They're practically below measurement threshold.

    1. phil dude
      Linux

      Re: Wishful thinking, as always

      Yes wishful thinking works both ways. The code driving most mobile devices today is linux - I'm not sure what the dominant browser is , but it is not IE.....

      I have many Micro$oft licences that came with some hardware purchase, and I bet they count that as a customer.

      The reality is that due to the monopoly position M$ found itself in, IE was bound to get some traction.

      Google has driven chrome to be a pretty decent browser for their users, and the competition with Apple and Mozilla has been a good thing. Have you SEEN some of the things browsers can do now?

      Right now, I just want firefox to get per-process tabs as standard, because this is one of the things that makes it more prone to unfriendly crashes....

      And this made browsing so much nicer on my 2560x1600 screen.

      I'm just glad to have some choice...

      P.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wishful thinking, as always

      IE fanatics have a lot to thank other browsers for, because if it wasn't for them constant innovating and kicking IE up the arse, then you'd be using IE6.5, and the web would be an awful place purposefully inaccessible so people will stay on the desktop (Microsoft's domain).

      This industry needed IE buck up, or fuck off - fortunately for us all, it's doing both.

    3. Anonymous Bullard

      Re: Wishful thinking, as always

      IE only needed 4 years to achieve 90% market share.

      Only because it was bundled with Windows. If it wasn't bundled, and people had first identify what their browser was, realise their browser can be replaced, then to download it; then I wonder how well IE would be doing, in terms of market share.

      Actually, I don't wonder - it would be in the "Other" category, and the world would be a better place.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Wishful thinking, as always

        Same could be said for Chrome, being the browser bundled with Android. Also, Chrome gets installed in a "malware-like" ways from a lot of "free" software to get some of the Google money.

        The way also Chrome installs into appdata to bypass security policies is another example of its maliciousness....

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wishful thinking, as always

      "Reality: IE's market share was 91% in 2004, now it's 58%. That's practically 2/3s."

      Not in any stats I've been able to find. Most sites place IE at around 20-25%. Quick example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers

      "And it took them 6 years to reach that. In contrast: IE only needed 4 years to achieve 90% market share. Chrome needed 6 year to reach more than Firefox ever did."

      When IE was bundled with the dominant OS and other browsers were a slow download away, of course it did. The game has changed significantly since then and we have a multitude of great browsers to choose from. When there is choice between multiple, capable contenders then we simply don't see the rapid rises of a single product as there are when a monopoly is about.

      "Wrong. According to Gartner there are still 2x as more PCs out there as iOS and Android devices combined."

      Which is another way of saying that mobile devices account for around a third of the market. The stats seem to support this too. Certainly not insignificant. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Usage_share_of_web_browsers_%28Source_StatCounter%29.svg

      The key thing is that the IE stranglehold was broken. The browser market is much healthier now and this is only a good thing.

    5. Hans 1
      Mushroom

      Re: Wishful thinking, as always

      > "Today Internet Explorer is a shadow of its former self, with half its 2004 market share."

      > Reality: IE's market share was 91% in 2004, now it's 58%. That's practically 2/3s.

      Not sure where you have been over the past four years, but ie share is below 50% - have you not noticed prime-time TV ads for their browser ? Remember that their browser is bundled with windows and downloadable free of charge. Also, even in their US stronghold, ie has 30% market share since june this year:

      http://www.irishtimes.com/business/sectors/technology/chrome-overtakes-ie-to-become-most-popular-browser-1.1823163

      (I have a source, you have wishful thinking)

      Note that you should take into account that an incredible number of MS-only shops (aka window cleaner shops) forbid the installation of alternative browsers, so this means that something like 80% of households use anything but ie.

      >"It also opened up the market for others: without Firefox there’d have been no Chrome."

      >Because of what? Firefox had nothing to do with Chrome. If you'd have said that without Apple/WebKit there would have been no Chrome... well... you'd would be still wrong. But not as wrong as with this one.

      You do not have a clue, webkit does not come from Apple, but from ... KDE.

      >"With hindsight, we can now see Firefox as the star of the beginning of the end for Microsoft’s desktop troika: Office’s lock on documents had been cracked by open-source and web-based alternatives like LibreOffice and Google Docs since 2004."

      >So a browser that appeared _after_ the Office-hegemony of Microsoft was supposedly already broken was that started breaking the Microsoft monopolies. Makes sense. Not so much.

      Why "after" ? Mozilla Phoenix (Forefox/Firebird pre-1.0) was available early 2001, iirc ... was miles ahead of ie, already ... besides, the articles states that the hegemony started to crumble in 2004 ...

      >"The PC has been surpassed by the tablet and smart phone, by iOS and Android."

      >Wrong. According to Gartner there are still 2x as more PCs out there as iOS and Android devices combined. Also, the tablet market is practically collapsing these days.

      Gartner ? ROFL

      > Yeah, it so exploded, that its market share never ever reached (even at its peak) the 1/4 of IE's. And it took them 6 years to reach that. In contrast: IE only needed 4 years to achieve 90% market share. Chrome needed 6 year to reach more than Firefox ever did.

      > "But 10 years on, with zero per cent growth versus growth for Chrome and stabilisation for Internet Explorer"

      Actually, not that wrong, what you say here ... although FF managed to get 25% pretty quickly ... considering that at the time you had no "browser choice window", I would say pretty impressive - most users had no choice ... they needed to know of Mozilla to download it. Mozilla that probably posted three ads in the Washington Post over the years, and even then ...

      > "Arguably, the desktop is less of a concern given that the PC market has stalled. Growth is in devices, where Mozilla reckons Firefox has its future with Firefox OS."

      > Neither Firefox OS's, nor the Firefox browser's can be measured in the mobile area. They're practically below measurement threshold.

      Never seen any data on that ... all I know is that I have firefox on my android devices ...

      You sir, have no clue.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: take into account that an incredible number of MS-only shops

        When correcting someone else's FUD, it is best not to spread your own. I work pretty much in Windows only shops, or at least on the Windows side of the house in such shops. All now routinely load Firefox and Chrome as part of the baseline. You load IE because there are still some silly apps around that "require" it to work properly (or at least require you to be running IE or they won't troubleshoot any issues you have with it). You load Chrome because it integrates to GMail. And you load FireFox to give people a choice. And in fact that's the way I run at work. IE certain work specific sites, Chrome for my mail and other work related Apps, FireFox for safety on the world wide web.

        The rest of your rant seems both justified and about right.

    6. Cipher

      Re: Wishful thinking, as always

      IE is the number 1 browser used to download better browsers.

      1. monkeyfish

        Re: Wishful thinking, as always

        <troll>

        Would Chrome have its market share if they didn't push it every time you used their search engine, or downloaded anything with an 'automatically install this too' dialogue? Or would Safari have any significance without being bundled on macs and iOS? Monopoly positions are useful, see.

        </troll>

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What version is FF on now?

    I remember using versions 1, 2, and 3 for many years until somebody went completely mental

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What version is FF on now?

      I ran NCSA Mosaic ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosaic_%28web_browser%29 ) for a serious blast from the past. I remember that I got an IRC message from someone in an embassy in Hong Kong telling me to try out this new thing called the world wide web, and give me a link to a site that listed all 23 of the websites on the Internet!

    2. Adam 1

      Re: What version is FF on now?

      I'm sure that some versions mustn't have even existed. I mean one day you were using one version somewhat happily and the next you were two versions later.

  7. MrWibble

    “The browser is the main reason you turn on your computer,” he claimed. “Look at the desktop – native is dead. I turn on my machine and I go into my browser. The era of loading native apps on the desktop passed a while ago."

    Bollocks. Yes, Web apps (office, picture editing, etc) are getting better, but they're still not good enough for day to day use, In my opinion.

    In another 5 years or so, maybe.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      but they're still not good enough for day to day use

      You'll need to define "day to day use".

      For me, no way! Another decade away for that... although now I'm reluctant to download anything if there's a web-version (depending on suitability) but that's not because the web is a technically better platform, but because of the general state of Windows software, these days - bundled crapware, bait+switch tactics, sales driven improvements, etc. So do I trust them with an isolated chunk of my data, or my entire computer?

      But for those not in IT - the consumers, the web is just about ready for them. Their day to day use is reading news/reviews and looking things up, sharing and viewing photos/videos, communicating, buying tat - that's what consumers need, and that's what the web is best at.

      I'm a desktop guy and I've been developing for the desktop since the 90's, but I've recommended Chromebooks to several non-geeks because, even though they're against my religion, they 100% serve the needs of the consumer. You turn it on, and the web is ready for them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        In these debates I have often seen people talk about 'IT people' vs. (leisure) 'consumers' as if they are the only groups that use computers. Academics, students, and anyone working in a profession that has any technical aspect at all (researchers, analysts, video editors, designers, architects, ...) or involves using any bespoke software -- web apps are mostly nowhere near meeting their needs, either.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So tell me then, where did Netscape come in to all this...

    Yes netscape was long ago the goto browser, fighting a fledgling microsoft ie, which eventually took its place firmly as no1 and as someone else pointed out at peak got around 90% saturation. Netscape evolved over time and mozilla was founded and out came firefox, All the time trying to chip back to the good old days of old, before there were other players to compete with.

    IE lost the browser war because of slow security patches and the fact it was windows only, firefox continues to struggle on but since chrome showed up its knows its never likely to get anywhere near market dominance ever again.

    http://www.w3counter.com/globalstats.php

    IE only retains what it does largely by slight of hand tricks to become the default browser again for people that are to stupid to notice it happened or dont know they can or how to install an alternative.

    Firefox struggles on with a core set of supporters (in a similar way opera did some 5 years ago), its not a bad browser, given the choice of IE or firefox it would chose the latter.

    Opera killed it self off when it basically became re-skinned chrome, until that point it had a select following and actually did some things in a unique way other browsers didnt, but sadly it never caught peoples attention enough and never made the money it need to make to keep writing a bespoke engine.

    Safari like IE tries slight of hand to become the default browser, with pretty much any itunes/quicktime update trying to install it and set it to default. Most osx users dont even realise they could install an alternative if they wanted to and escape the given choice of their default browser. Most dont go back if you install an alternative as they quickly realise the power of plugins (cough adblocking).

    Lastly there is chrome which has also used slight of hand tricks also, isnt perfect, eats memory like its choccy bars, but updates security fixes quickly and has risen to become dominant browser. How, well in part because of offering to install chrome when viewing google search using an alternative browser, in part to quick security patches and paying rewards for finding holes (thus gaining a good reputation for being more secure). But a large part of this is its cross platform, yes so is firefox (however it took it a long time to enter the mobile space properly), people like continuity and chrome provided this.

    As people moved to alternative systems, tables, phones and also away from windows pc's to osx and linux desktops, IE who is single platform was never ever going to keep up, keeping to the our way or the highway, most chose the highway.

    Also more people have started to get wise to the slight of hand / reset the default browser trick and start to ask where did my firefox/chrome/alt browser go...

    So to hold firefox up and say its helped save us from IE, sorry no it didnt at all, you could say netscape did as back in the day it was really a two horse race...

    http://tiny.cc/yte2ox

    If you look IE held onto 50% until 2012, at which point chrome was getting traction and started to eat shares from everyone.

    Office solutions, yes i can be argued microsoft has long worn the crown here (and still does), but there has always been alternatives, word prefect, coral office, open office, star office, libra office (although most of those re-brandings of an early packet post being sold off to the next party), google docs, however microsoft has already seen what happens when it loses market share in browser land, so they gave us office 365. So instead of releasing a product ever 2-3 years and hoping we would upgrade (using various persuasions) it can instead have us over a barrel and have money each and every year. However this i think is only ever going to produce short term gains and instead many people have realised on mobile and desktop platforms that there is now real alternatives. Take ios or android, want a simple app that can edit / view word/excel files, they range from free to around £10, so why pay MS £££ each year for office 365.

    As for the statement 10 years ago microsoft was dominant in all area's this is true, but that was due to 3 things, there was no serious contended, largely due to buying up competition and abusing os dominance (some thing it ended up in court for) and lets all not forget that "and its still true even today" its pretty hard (unless you build your own) to buy a desktop PC or Laptop without paying the windows tax, thus trying to keep its self as the prime choice.

    Chromebooks has been able to make some inroads here, but its still a microsoft game, but as OSX became more mainstream after the mass adoption of apple products post 1st gen ipod its no longer got such a strangle hold and will only continue to slip.

    Every year we hear its the year of Linux on the desktop and it never comes... if it did it would likely be a big nail into microsofts desktop dominance coffin...

    But microsoft have done them selfs no favours there, windows 8, 8.1 and i would go as far to say in a small part 10 with their efforts to push us some form of live tiles to needlessly make their struggling mobile platform feel similar in what ever way to the desktop. They managed to spoil the desktop experience, so many have stuck firmly to 7 or used 3rd party apps to get back what they wanted in the first place. Because of this it just helps people to consider osx and other alternatives more than ever, well done for that one, it took them 2 versions of TIFKAM to realise/accept/listen to the fact people did want a proper start button still.

    But the worlds changed... thanks in part to peoples perceptions of what device they need to perform said job and the mobile platforms making inroads into desktop market share more than ever.

    .... take what you want from this, my point is firefox saved no one, all it did was eat into microsofts share for a time, if it had died with netscape im pretty sure opera or sometime else would have likely done the same instead. Im pretty sure it never helped chrome succeed by doing so and im also pretty sure unless nothing short of magic happens chrome is no easily going to lose market share any time soon..

    1. Decade
      FAIL

      Firefox is deliberately slow

      I don't use Safari on my Mac because I don't know about other browsers. I use Safari because nothing else works as well.

      Firefox's problem is that it's not native to anything. The XUL toolkit was supposed to make cross-platform development easier, but it's slow and not native anywhere. These days, computers are fast enough to run XUL decently, but back when it was introduced with Netscape Communicator 6... It was part of why Netscape lost all its market share.

      And then development has issues. I use Firefox on my Android because I loathe Google Chrome, but I put up with a keyboard glitch for almost a year, because it was doing something nonstandard with input and that's how long the fix took from being identified to being in the stable release.

      Now I've stopped using Firefox on the desktop, because it can't handle multiple monitors correctly on MacOS X 10.9 Mavericks, and now I've installed MacOS X 10.10 Yosemite and multiple monitor support is unusably worse. Considering how long it took for the keyboard glitch to be removed from the Android version, I'm not holding my breath waiting for the desktop version to be fixed.

      1. monkeyfish

        Re: Firefox is deliberately slow

        I just switched my in-laws over to IE because it works, and it works well these days. Had originally had them on FF, but has since slowed to a crawl and crashes too often (notably on the Money Saving Expert site, which they use all the time). Thought about Chrome, but the UI changes too often. IE is easy, and since 9 has actually been pretty good.

    2. gotes

      Netscape

      In the late 90s I actually changed my preferred browser from Netscape to IE by choice because Netscape turned Navigator into "Communicator" which ran like a dog on my 486 PC. IE 3 was small and fast by comparison. I certainly wasn't tricked into using it by Microsoft.

      (I'm not using IE any more, though)

  9. Infernoz Bronze badge
    Boffin

    Native including VM Native is where it is at, not browser 'platforms'.

    Because of compromised stuff like HTML and untyped Javascript, browsers will never be as good as native, as amply demonstrated by Microsoft's incredibly stupid lock-in of Internet Explorer into Windows Explorer for an insecure, inflexible, synchronous, single-threaded, kludged mess! Directory Opus proved just how much better a non-browser, native, asynchronous multi-threaded, not just multi-paned, directory tool is; although even it is suffering from some GUI stalls now.

    Mozilla did provide a possible app platform with support for web pages as separate applications with their own profiles, and there used to be a Firefox extension to create new custom runnable profiles which could be run concurrently from an application icon, but they stupidly killed this. This should really be a browser option like Private mode, but instead loading/saving plugin config and other state with a completely separate profile, and directly runnable via a separate application icon.

    Firefox has got worse with the new GUI base, and Mozilla need to upgrade the browser to isolate pages and their plugin use separately so that a single stalled page can't stall the whole browser and they must provided a means to monitor/kill off stalled pages; this will probably require at least one thread or continuation per page, not the cop-out bloated process fork model used by Google Chrome, and require (secure, asynchronous) message passing (including for cross-page Javascript access), like the Amiga did, and QNX and Android do now for processes, not shared memory!

    Browser plugin access APIs will probably have to support complete state isolation for each page too, if this is not already supported.

  10. Anonymous Bullard

    IE is the "Notepad" of browsers; it comes free with the OS, it almost does the job for light tasks and it's the least capable of it's type.

    IE users have a lot to be thankful for as Firefox (and Chrome) prevented IE from stagnating. The more they improve, the more IE improves (eventually)

    Firefox (and Chrome) users have to be grateful for IE - without IE, what would you use to download your browser with?

    Happy birthday Firefox.

    1. Chemist

      " without IE, what would you use to download your browser with?"

      Konqueror or wget or ftp or ........

      1. Anonymous Bullard

        Konqueror or wget or ftp or ........

        As I was typing it, I knew I'd get trolled by some smart arse... ;)

      2. stephajn

        Forgetting something Mr Chemist?

        "Konqueror or wget or ftp or ........"

        What would one use to download Konqueror or an ftp client or even wget?

        I'm running Windows 8.1 (gag I know...) with dev tools installed on it, and yet Konqueror, wget, and ftp are not built in...still need SOMETHING to go out and get them.

        Thus my favorite meme: Internet Explorer: the perfect browser for downloading __INSERT BROWSER NAME HERE__

        1. Chemist

          Re: Forgetting something Mr Chemist?

          You haven't got an ftp client ?!!!

        2. Fuzz

          Re: Forgetting something Mr Chemist?

          ftp is built in to all versions of windows, has been since 95 but it's probably quicker to use IE to download your browser of choice.

          1. Alan Bourke

            Re: Forgetting something Mr Chemist?

            It's not installed by default on 7 or 8. However FileZilla, or NCFTP are moments away.

            1. Pedigree-Pete

              Re: Forgetting something Mr Chemist?

              Thanks AB. I was sure that I lost something valuable when I went from XP to Win7. No biggie, just use IE to d/l etc etc etc.

          2. LDS Silver badge

            Re: Forgetting something Mr Chemist?

            in 7 the FTP client AFAIK is not installed by default. You have to enable it explicitly. Very few people today which are not network administrator or some kind of professional IT users use FTP today.

        3. Chemist

          Re: Forgetting something Mr Chemist?

          "What would one use to download Konqueror or an ftp client or even wget?"

          They all come with my preferred OS.

        4. Roadcrew
          Unhappy

          Re: Forgetting something Mr Chemist?

          Dillo, Lynx, Midori, etc.... Oh! YOu're using WinDoze!. Sorry.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Forgetting something Mr Chemist?

          However you do have powershell....

          http://tiny.cc/8m43ox

  11. billium

    @ Anonymous Bullard IE is part of the operating system, that is to say you have paid for it just like you paid for notepad. Microsoft do not give.

    Thanks to Firefox the Web is not owned or controlled by the monopolist.

  12. Sam Adams the Dog

    Browsers make for impoverished interfaces

    After many years of using both browsers and native apps, I'm convinced that browsers make for impoverished interfaces. There are several issues, but at the interface level, an important one is that many special keys (tab and control sequences) are co-opted by the browser itself, and are unavailable to the app interface without (1) requiring stentorian effort by the developers to overcome the browser's natural behavior, and (2) causing the user grief in some circumstances when the tab (let us say) does not carry out its expected browser-related function. Try adding a tab to your text in your web-based mail app.

    Then, browser-based client-cloud apps are generally slow and unresponsive compared to local native apps. I use Google Spreadsheets a lot; I do love the way I can easily make them visible to other users. That's a big plus. But even on a Mac, Microsoft Excel is just so much more responsive, Or searching in Gmail, compared to the native app. These behaviors in the brower-based client-cloud app are just Bad. As I said, there are compensating virtues. These things are more due to the client-server aspect of the apps and of the poor performance of Google's cloud than they are to the browser itself; but nevertheless, there it is.

    I'm not sure what the Mozilla guy is saying when he says native is dead. Is he saying native is dead for a browser performing ordinary browser functions, like search, display, and the simple filling of forms? This seems likely to me. Performance may lie in the web connectivity and server performance -- and by the continual serving up of stupid ads. But that's all part of the browser-based umm, "ecosystem". A native-coded browser isn't going to help you there.

    But if he's talking about apps in general, like number crunching apps, including large spreadsheets, he's clearly way, way off base.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Browsers make for impoverished interfaces

      Not an area I have huge experience or expertise in - but isn't the USP of the web application that everything happens in the cloud? And that browser applications shouldn't touch your local storage?

      For my use cases, that would be broken-by-design. I am not a friend of the cloud.

  13. Daniel von Asmuth
    FAIL

    The Mosaic browser begat Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer

    The Netscape browser is actually 20 years old - happy birthday 2 U - and in 1998 it gave birth to the Open Source Mozilla project. In 2002 a new branch appeared which was to become Firefox. Afaik Firefox or Iceweasel is a standalone browser edition of the Mozilla Internet suite.

    The Netscape browser was seen as bloated, buggy, and not standards-compliant. The Open Source project seems to only have added more features. If only Internet Explorer 6 ran on Linux.....

  14. SF

    I like the idea of 'Native' - it will mean that processors will consume lower power while being as effective, maybe more. Definitely an enabler of The Internet of Things..

    Cheers from Port au Prince, Haiti,

    Steve Faleiro

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Browser choice is irrelevant

    The problem with IE's dominance was that Microsoft was using that to subvert the use of the web as an OS agnostic application platform. Hence pushing a non-standard "standard" tied to Windows, ActiveX.

    Apple and Google may decide what browser is installed by default (and therefore used by the vast majority of) iOS and Android users, but neither is doing anything like what Microsoft did. It would be too late for that anyway, the web is already well-established as an application platform.

    No one is trying to hijack the standards process like Microsoft did in creating their own standards and pushing them via IE, IIS and development tools. Instead Safari, IE, Firefox, and Chrome all compete with one another over which is more standards compliant, which can run web apps the fastest, etc. Does my inability to run Firefox on my iPhone hurt me in any way? Well, other than being able to see for the first time ever what happens when my phone runs out of memory...

    If every browser is fast enough, standards compliant enough, and has an interface that doesn't get in your way too much, what difference does it to make to me as an end user which one I'm using? Is there any real benefit to using Firefox or Chrome on Windows rather than IE these days? The browser is simply a conduit that gets me what I really want, like a road is a conduit when I drive my car somewhere. I might prefer my roads be paved, and not have too many potholes, but once they reach a certain level of quality I'm not choosing my route by whether a road is paved in concrete or asphalt.

    The only difference between browsers that matters in my mind today is privacy - that may be a reason to use Firefox over Chrome. Apparently a lot of people disagree, or aren't aware what they're giving up by using Chrome, if it its share is growing at the expense of Firefox.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Browser choice is irrelevant

      or aren't aware what they're giving up by using Chrome

      Which is what, exactly? Privacy? What information does Chrome spill?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Browser choice is irrelevant

        Just run Wireshark while running Chrome... do you believe Google gives it away for the benefit of mankind?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Browser choice is irrelevant

          Neither have you. You've fell for the FUD. Google already have your search history and browsing habits for the majority of sites, they don't need the browser to echo that.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Browser choice is irrelevant

            Wrong. Without Chrome, they would have only what you send to Google servers. With Chrome, they know what you do on *every* site, and what you type in the browser - even if you don't hit "Enter" to send it excplicitly to one of the Google servers. They have all you browsing history, even for site you access bypassing Google searches, and they can track all of your browsing. And this is not FUD. It's only Google trying to make you believing it is - after all Google has all rights to controls its "products", right?

  16. LDS Silver badge

    Sorry, but everytime i turn app a pc I use some native applicatio.

    But to read The Register or something alike, whenever I turn on one of my PCs is to run a native application. It could be the mail client - too many accounts to check and manage in a single, slow, webmail client, my development tools - IDEs, compilers, profilers, database design and management -, my photo tools - Lightroom, Photoshop, camera utilities - or even Flight Simulator X for a relaxing flight somewhere. Nor I will be able to manage easily some complex documents through a web browser, especially when disconnected from any network (happens, on long flights)

    The only non native app I'm forced to use is the requirement management tool, and I hate it wholly, because it is slow, clumsy to use, and often crashes (thanks also to java on the server side).

    And on phones too native application works far better and with a nicer UI than any web interface. So please, keep on developing a good *browser* just remember it is a *browser*,

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ten years and still waiting...

    ...for a Firefox version that won't crucify a PC with more than a few tabs open.

    And version where one bad tab doesn't kill the entire application.

    And a version that doesn't render slower than a snail.

    1. Chemist

      Re: Ten years and still waiting...

      " Ten years and still waiting...

      ...for a Firefox version that won't crucify a PC with more than a few tabs open."

      You should use Linux !

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hold onto your hats it's about to get radical...

    If I was king (or maybe CEO of FF) what I would do is build a replacement for HTML+CSS+JS that is designed from the ground up to do what people (companies) want the web to do now. The way I see it we have taken some technologies that were originally designed for page layout and styling with an sprinkling of navigation and over the years tried to convert them into tools for developing desktop application replacements.

    It's not that complex applications can't be developed using current web technologies it's that it's damned difficult. I firmly believe the explosion in native apps isn't because native apps are intrinsically better it's because it's easier to develop it for one platform and then port it to others than to get it working properly through the browser once.

    FF could really lead a push in this direction I think. What I see is an XML layout language. Probably modelled on HTML with the stupid bits removed. There would also be a wide selection of basic widgets to use and a clear method to add custom widget. Styling could be done with something like CSS again with the stupid bits removed and a dose of XML to make it a bit easier to machine manipulate. Client side code would be in a JIT'ed language designed with security and simplicity in mind. The whole lot would run in an application container in the browser which provided useful facilities e.g. caching code and starting with the browser so applications can run off line or receive push requests.

    Is this really too much to ask?

    1. LDS Silver badge

      just, you can the remove the browser from the chain

      There.s no need for a 'browser' application to run html+js+css application. I do expect it to become an operating system facility (and not browser become OS, because thy do far too little compared to an OS).

      An OS able to run both its native application where performance and integratio matters, and 'generic' applications written following some sensible standard (not the html+js+css crap promoted today), would be a good idea. Then the browser colud return to do what it was designed for, browsing contents and steal your data meanwhile...

    2. Vic

      What I see is an XML layout language. ... There would also be a wide selection of basic widgets to use and a clear method to add custom widget

      Have you just re-invented Glade?

      Vic.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Have you just re-invented Glade?

        Or QML?

        XML isn't very good for layout, which is why HTML got CSS.

  19. david 12

    OS integrated browser was MS's point of failure.

    It had it's good points as a design decision: you can see how popular "content on the desktop" is with IOS and Android. And we now get the true complaints that Outlook and Word don't render HTML like a proper browser -- because they have there own "office browser" technology because of the IE monopoly consent order meant they couldn't use an OS-integrated browser component.

    But IE offered "multiple tab browsing" by putting each new tab (each new window) into the taskbar at the bottom of the screen -- a break with standard (and very successfull) Windows design of putting application menus on the application window, not on the main screen.

    FF grabbed the day and put the multiple-tabs where God and Windows intended them, at the top of the application window.

    You can see where MS came from: if the OS is the browser, then the multiple tabs are multiple OS tabs. But you can also see that at some stage they forgot that they had user tested the Win98 GUI, and copying older inferior screen designs was not going to be an improvement.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OS integrated browser was MS's point of failure.

      because they have there own "office browser" technology because of the IE monopoly consent order meant they couldn't use an OS-integrated browser component.

      No. It's because IE versions are incompatible with each other, they can't predict which version is installed, and they can't be installed side by side.

    2. Cynical Shopper

      Re: OS integrated browser was MS's point of failure.

      "But IE offered "multiple tab browsing" by putting each new tab (each new window) into the taskbar at the bottom of the screen -- a break with standard (and very successfull) Windows design of putting application menus on the application window, not on the main screen."

      IE conformed to the Windows 95 "document-centric" ethos - each separate document was supposed to have its own window and button on the taskbar; it was Firefox that broke the rules. Tabbed IE now has the horrific mess of a single window and multiple taskbar entries, similar to Excel and its dreadful MDI window left over from Windows 3.1 days.

  20. Mikel

    Third party app crashes on Windows. Check.

    Competes with Microsoft product. Check.

    Shocker! Shades of Borland and Lotus.

    Now buy Office for your Android. What could possibly go wrong?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Third party app crashes on Windows. Check.

      "Oh office on android crashes. If only I had a phone that ran it well..."

  21. Randall Shimizu

    I really like FF on desktop. FF desktop is by far the most flexible and customizable browser. That said Mozilla still needs to work on the memory leak and font issue.When I select browser to use my own fonts the box and button icons do not display properly. FF also seems to have a lot of problems playing back certain types of video's which is annoying. The wide array of plug-in's is by far the best.

    Mozilla android mobile version needs a lot of work. I prefer the dolphin browser because the tabs are displayed on top like the other desktop browsers. In many ways it seems like Mozilla has ignored the mobile browser since it's initial release.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Firefox is about 12 years old. It was only the stable release that was out 10 years ago.

    Also it was initially called Phoenix but the BIOS people didn't like that, then Firebird, but the Firebird database didn't like that.

    So it eventually became Firefox and you didn't even need to think in Russian.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nearly 100 per cent market share is difficult for anybody to attain, yet Microsoft did it

    I can't believe Microsoft's tactics on how they got there were glossed over, especially when Firefox's predecessor was one of the main victims.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Microsoft_Corp.

  24. dorsetknob
    Coat

    Firefox Sucksess is due to PORN

    Back in the Day when IE was the (only )Browser available and you wanted to browse porn sites there was the problem that you could only have one site/ page open at a time

    So that Webcam site with the "interesting live Feeds" caused problems

    IE would only run one window/page (no tabbed pages and only one IE program at any one time)

    So in order to ""look at more than one page at a time"" you had to install "an Alternate Browser"

    In the early days of the Internet there was only one alternate choice of browser and that was

    NETSCAPE NAVIGATOR.

    Well that ended up with IE on www.webcamporn.*#* hot horny cam 666 and Netscape on www.webcamporn.*#*judyjugs cam

    You get the picture (well twice what was available to the desktop before).

    Then came Firefox

    Thats now 3 browsers on www.webcamporn.*#*

    time to buy and run 2 monitors

    we are now making progress in the browser world especially as the fox would run many separate copys of itself and later TABBED browser

    Ps I'm Now Running 4 monitors and going Blind

    Ah well time to go I'll get My Dirty Mac on my way out

    1. Bleu

      Re: Firefox Sucksess is due to PORN

      Made me laugh, dorsetknob.

  25. Amorous Cowherder
    Facepalm

    “The browser is the main reason you turn on your computer,” he claimed. “Look at the desktop – native is dead. I turn on my machine and I go into my browser. The era of loading native apps on the desktop passed a while ago."

    OK for most people but try telling that to creatives in a music studio or photographers working in the field, they cannot rely on some fancy web app to allow them to do their editing. No, native is not dead just yet, just not as relevant for most people now.

  26. Chika
    Trollface

    Midori anyone?

    Heh!

  27. Tree

    What's a native, any way?

    Is a native one of those men with a bone in his nose or women with pendulous breasts in the National Geographic? Please define what that means.

  28. Bladeforce

    Since ditching Windows..

    I honestly can't remember my browser ever crashing.

  29. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    WTF?

    WTF

    Office’s lock on documents had been cracked by open-source and web-based alternatives like Google Docs in 2004, and latterly, LibreOffice in 2011.

    Google Docs in 2004?

    StarOffice which became OpenOffice which was forked by LibreOffice was around long before Google Docs.

    The rest of the article isn't much better.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nobody surprised that IE's percentage has dropped over the years. You can only go down. Meanwhile, Chrome & Firefox have mostly flat line and those who use [strictly] Safari do so because they don't know much about computers.

    I know of some who left the Chrome camp because of the number of bugs [such as the record 150+ cleaned in a recent update]. Not even IE does that combined in a single year.

  31. Flood

    The article misses the mark

    I believe the author brings forth some interesting points but I don't see it as explaining how today's browser landscape was actually painted; I seem to recall things somewhat differently.

    Fresh out of Herzing's Institute (Private College) as Programmer/Analyst in the mid 1990s I was top of my class but couldn't land a programming job. I actually kept in touch with a colleague student of mine whom I kept "coaching" at the time and who is now a millionaire; I'm still paying off that student loan.

    The very first job I found fresh out of Herzing so I could buy some other crafty dinner than Kraft Dinner was as a Technical Support Agent for the first Montreal ISP: Generation Net. What I experienced there would seal my IT/Programming fate. I was working the evening shift which I didn't care for and a good majority of my calls were from customers having issues with web pages not rendering the same when viewed from a Mac or a PC. In between the Hardware guy who yelled at me in a rage when I asked him a simple question and Legsy, that sexy blond chick who had a web page somewhere and who actually came into the offices to pay her monthly fee, I had some quality time on my hands to look at the HTML programming side of things, the womb in the code that would give birth to different looking twins.

    When I discovered the amount of exceptional blocks of code in your run-of-the-mill HTML page trying to please one browser and then another.... I was absolutely shocked, even transpierced. For I recognized in the same instant both the power of HTML, which had remained unbeknownst to me through my formation as a Developer, and my revulsion at the thought of NOT being able to write code once, that would render fine across many browsers. It was then that I decided NOT to waste any time writing HTML and just stick with Desktop development, safer, sounder and more manageable; a mistake that would catch up to me more than 10 years later. I left that ISP after only a few months of employment in a fiery exchange with the actual founder, when in a meeting it became clear I was not going to land the day shift I had been promised.

    I was a very good Programmer, the best of my class in actuality, but I was an even better creator, inventor, innovator. But with bills to pay and food to put in my mouth, I couldn't play the "application" and "interview" game like I thought it would pan out and I found myself having to take on another "Tech Support" job. But I watched and read with keen interest, as the browser war that was brewing finally burgeoned.

    I saw Netscape, the towering Browser King, get dethroned by all mighty Microsoft with what I call its extremely successful "conquer at a loss" strategy of baking Internet Explorer for free into its OS as nothing more than really a shove-it-down-your-throat browsing alternative. I could not believe my eyes when in a matter of just a couple of years, Netscape lots its crown to the behemoth that was Microsoft. But it was then that I begun to understand something that I believe the author has not underlined in their article; Microsoft was not only going for the kill, but it was going its own way with HTML browsing and standards, incorporating proprietary solutions into its browser, thumbing its nose at the barely established HTML standard.

    Now to those of us in the Desktop development world, this seemed like a good thing, naively I should add, that all this other non-HTML functionality was readily available from MS, defying the sandbox that HTML pleaded to offer, to the benefit of those looking for more functionality from a browser... ActiveX anyone? Just to name one. There was a perverse sense of triumph to be able to cross the Programmatic bridge between the desktop and the browser and bring a solution that worked, even if it meant that it worked only in IE because, after all, IE was now used by most of everyone browsing the net, those left out in the dust would repent, and follow The Way. I rubbed my hands and salivated. I had made the right decision not to delve in the chaotic world of HTML (and Javascript) programming, I would keep on writing desktop code using mostly desktop techniques these weird hybrid programs that we would all come to call "Web applications".

    Not acknowledging web applications in the author's article as a fundamental reason why IE gained acceptance leaves too much out, in my opinion, for the Authors piece to have the full credibility it may have otherwise deserved because these web applications, in my opinion, where what gave way to about a decade worth of a stable platform from which to sow the $eed$ of growth, mainly so, in the Enterprise. This evil that the proprietary, reworked HTML standard that MS had spun out was to be mostly outweighed by the benefits it bestowed upon the Sys Admins. But that Empire had already begun to fall.

    Opera. End of the 90s, a small privately owned start up emerged and began to offer an alternate solution. One that would strive and struggle to stay the course of what the HTML standard was, in its full specification glory, but also in Spirit. The web had to stay open, it had to stay free and for this purpose, Opera was born. I can not remember more of an open battle for what open web standards should be, or become, than the one between Opera and MS (maybe other than Samsung VS Apple); it even let up to an open letter (posted in some paper(s)) by the Opera founder/owner to none other than MS's co-founder Bill Gates, denouncing their approach to web standards. The effort would eventually over spill into a spat between Opera and Microsoft, brought against the European Union and a filing by Opera on privacy issues and allegations of anti-competitive practices by Microsoft.

    Known in certain circles as the Porn Browser, Opera did way more than step on Goliath's little toe, it actually brought forth innovations that the browsing world much benefited, it even Innovated at a code/algorithm level. "Paste and go", "Customizable popup menus" were just a few examples that the usual surfer would notice, but more obscurely, though more importantly, Opera would push the HTML standard in the Browser space not only for its own self, not only against MS, but signaling every browser maker that this was how browsing was going to go down in the future. Opera nearly died its own death trying to enforce this Mantra, to the benefit of us all, but to its inevitable demise. Private VS Corp. Corp was to win.

    At the same time, and in my honest opinion, that is when we found Netscape finally laid on its deathbed and whimpering, ushering the birth of its successor in Spirit, what was already known as the Mozilla Foundation, which was going to "fortuitously" take a piece of the pie while MS and Opera were battling it out for King of the browser Hill. Firefox was in its embryonic stages but it would rapidly gain acceptance fueled primarily, in my opinion, by the Open Source community that breathed continuous life into it and the slithers of stable voids that the battle of David and Goliath was leaving behind in its wake, that Firefox could grab.

    Firefox gained its market share as an usurper, in my opinion. I will here pause to say that I do have a bias against Firefox for its delivery, its lack of a vision, lack of Spirit and lack of Titanium Balls wielding. I believe it had all the justifications to go after way more than just market share. It could and should have done more for the web as a whole. But it didn't. And that, was its more than predictable downfall; which is still ongoing.

    Fast forward to today. What was Microsoft to you as a kid? What was MS for the Enterprise? It delivered visions and dreams to kids, delivered predictable bottom lines to the Enterprise. But the bane of Corporations would not take exception this time around either. A new behemoth was born, it was fast, open web, open source and it was about to slap IE back to the stone age: Welcome Google Chrome.

    At a web-standards level, we can compare Chrome to IE to Opera to Firefox and to Safari all day. But on the ideology front, NOTHING compares to Chrome. In par with their counterpart: Opera, Chrome has adhered to web standards (HTML, Javascript, etc.) and has the weight of a whole Corporation to throw around its Chrome browser (and its Chrome OS, but that's another story) in the face of MS and anybody else paying attention.

    Opera folded up and decided to drop their private rendering engine; after innovations that would rock even the Mobile world where it dominated for quite a few years.

    Chrome is now the standard by which browsers are measured such as with their self-admittedly borrowing and acknowledging innovating ideas from Opera, and such as their "paste and go" menu option, for example, but more so by their wholeheartedly embracing current and upcoming web standards, to the point where Google and their Chrome browser have now become the defacto standard by which Browser efficacy as a whole, speed and bells combined, are measured.

    Thanks to efforts by the little guys and then by the Visionary, big and small, I can now sit down and write a Mobile application that runs in a browser and I can say that for the first time in more than 20 years, my web page or web application will render acceptably the same, whether viewed on an Opera, Chrome, Safari or IE browser on a PC, MAC, LINUX or Chrome OS, and even whether viewed on a Mobile or Desktop application.

    I guess my programming side and the rest of the browsing world finally inadvertently met halfway.

    Thank fuckin gawd.

    Flood

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020