Why I don't recommend Firefox
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Thread: Why I don't recommend Firefox

  1. #1
    AO French Antique News Whore
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    Why I don't recommend Firefox

    September 6, 2004

    Firefox has a grassroots marketing campaign underway where theyíre trying to get bloggers to add a Firefox button to their blogs. Asa Dotzler recently sent me an email asking me to participate.

    ------------------------------------
    We noticed and appreciate your repeated recommendations for Firefox at your weblog and we were hoping that you would further help get the word out by adding a small Firefox button to your blog. The image is hosted at mozilla.org and the code to add it is some very simple HTML. We depend on word of mouth (or of blog) and we appreciate your helping to spread the word with positive blog posts. If youíre interested in helping with this effort, you can find the buttons at http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/buttons.html.
    ------------------------------------

    Actually, I donít think I ever have recommended Firefox. I use it and do talk about it on occassion, but I think the browser has some way to go before Iíd recommend it to the general population. Something as simple as upgrading from one version to another needs to be seamless and not break things before Iíd suggest that everyone use Firefox. I understand why at this stage of Firefox development upgrades sometimes need to break things, but itís still not okay to the average user.

    Aggressively marketing Firefox before it is a completely stable product is dangerous. Youíre running the risk of having people trying it out and being put off by the bugs, never again to return.

    Other problems with the browser includeÖ

    It doesnít entirely act like a native application on all platforms.
    Popup blocking is sometimes over-aggressive. Popups launched from a positive user action (like clicking a link) should ALWAYS work. This is a tough one to get right, I know. And donít tell me about the whitelist. The average user isnít going to add lots of entries to the whitelist.
    No ďGoĒ buttons next to the address bar and search bar by default. Many, many users need a button to click. They donít know that just hitting enter will do the trick. The Address bar and search fields are also too similar. ďWhy do I have two fields and shich one do I type Ďyahoo.comí into so I can start using the Internet?Ē Yes, I know you can add the button, but if I need a button, thereís no way Iím going to be able to figure out how to do THAT.
    The launch problem in Windows ME needs to be solved. Yes, Windows ME sucks, but lots of people use it, and getting an error message everytime they click a URL shortcut in the OS is bad. Error messages are scary to the average user.
    Firefox right now is very good for an experienced net user, but is not at all ready for the average person. If you plan on targeting the general public, you need to understand the general public.

    Most Web users donít know what a browser is. That blue E they click on the desktop isnít a browser, itís ďThe Internet.Ē Or maybe itís ďYahooĒ if thatís what their home page is set to. Tell them to download a new browser and they donít understand what you mean. I put Firefox on my wifeís computer and removed the IE link. She asked why she didnít have My Yahoo on the computer anymore. My wifeís not stupid ó to her the IE logo is how she got to the Web. Without that, she didnít know how to get to My Yahoo.

    Youíd be shocked how many people donít understand what a URL is and what the address bar is for. When they need to go to a site, they close the browser, re-open it so they get the MSN or Yahoo home page, and enter the URL into the search box. How about integrating the address bar and the search field? If what I entered isnít a URL, pass it to Google.

    Itís time to stop thinking like developers and start thinking like users. For evidence that the Firefox team thinks like developers you donít need to go any farther than the Firefox home page. Letís look over that page and put ourselves into the userís shoesÖ

    Firefox 0.9 is the award winning preview of Mozillaís next generation browser.

    Whatís a preview? Does that mean I canít use it. Is it like a demonstration or something? And whatís a next-generation browser? I thought this thing was supposed to help me use the Internet.

    View more than one web page in a single window

    You have to be a serious power user to appreciate that feature. Many people only have a single window open all the time anyway. If they need another window, they close the first one.

    Firefox keeps your computer safe from malicious spyware by not loading harmful ActiveX controls.

    Whatís an activeX control? Whatís spyware? All I want is to stop getting all those stupid programs I didnít ask for.

    Firefox is the most customizable browser on the planet.

    Thereís that browser word again. What is it? And why would I customize it? Does that mean that this wonít work when I get it? Iím going to have to work on it to get it working?

    Use the adaptive search system to allow you to search an infinite number of engines.

    Why are they talking about engines here? I though this was something for my internet, not my car.

    The new Easy Transition system imports all of your settings - Favorites, passwords and other data from Internet Explorer and other browsers.

    I donít know what that means. Maybe if I get this thing, the way I use the Internet is going to change. All I want is a way to use the Internet without getting all that junk. I donít want to have to change my passwords and stuff to do that.

    Firefox comes with a standard set of developer tools including a powerful JavaScript and CSS error/warning console, and an optional Document Inspector that gives unheard of insight into how your pages work.

    Uh-oh, now I know why I didnít understand all that stuff. This thingís something that programmers use.
    Source : http://kalsey.com/2004/09/why_i_dont_recommend_firefox/
    -Simon \"SDK\"

  2. #2
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    nice post. I use firefox myself but i never really looked into it that way and thought about the general public using it. After reading that i understand what you mean, my dad hardly knows how to turn the computer on, i have to help him get to Ebay. roffles! and after reading this I realize that firefox does need a little more work to it. good post man, thank you for the reading

  3. #3
    Wait, so basically his entire argument is "Users will always be stupid, and we shouldn't ever educate them because they won't ever understand it". How hard it is to say:

    "This browser will help keep you safe on the internet in different ways, kind of like how certain types of cars are safer to drive."

    If they ask further questions, then answer them. But that sentance right there will solve almost every non-uber person's question out there. We need to stop thinking that somehow people can use IE easier because it's easier to understand. WRONG. Everything in example stated in the post was speculation of what a user would ask (as valid as me saying that a user may try to shove a knife through my heart because of confusion questions)) rather than how to explain things in a simple way for the user.

    You don't tell someone the emitted wave levels and gamma effects of a microwave, and then kick them out of the store because they don't understand the physics of microwavelength technology. You explain it in terms they understand.

  4. #4
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    Wait, so basically his entire argument is "Users will always be stupid, and we shouldn't ever educate them because they won't ever understand it". How hard it is to say:

    "This browser will help keep you safe on the internet in different ways, kind of like how certain types of cars are safer to drive."
    (L)user answer: what's a browser? I don't care about now browser I just want myyahoo...
    And it goes downhill from there... And I'm speaking from experience here.

    [quote]
    We need to stop thinking that somehow people can use IE easier because it's easier to understand. WRONG.
    [quote]
    Nobody said it was easier to understand: it's just what they're used to; and once people manage to get a however so small grasp of how to go online (through IE 99% of the time, since it's the default...) they don't want to give that up and relearn to browse, nor will they understand why they should. No it's not rationnal thinking, but that's human nature: change scares people.

    ...rather than how to explain things in a simple way for the user.
    You know, in life there isn't always a simple explanation to everything. When someone doesn't even know and/or understand the basics, abstracting to a higher level will only confuse them more and either lead them to "hear and forget" or build themselves an incorrect mental image of the process...


    Anyways, it isn't the point of the article to put down plain users, but rather to point out that firefox just isn't a perfectly transparent solution that has a flat learning curve for plain users.
    Personnaly, I agree that at minimum, before firefox can become a valid replacement for everyone, the auto-updates need to be working.


    Ammo
    Credit travels up, blame travels down -- The Boss

  5. #5
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    For anyone who says "X is good" there will likely be a number of people who say "X is bad", not necessarily equal. This effect is amplified when any loudmouth can put up his own website/page and rant on it.
    Chris Shepherd
    The Nelson-Shepherd cutoff: The point at which you realise someone is an idiot while trying to help them.
    \"Well as far as the spelling, I speak fluently both your native languages. Do you even can try spell mine ?\" -- Failed Insult
    Is your whole family retarded, or did they just catch it from you?

  6. #6
    AO Ancient: Team Leader
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    Just a thought.....

    When they have finished "polishing" Firefox so it is easy enough to use for the general public what are the chances that it will be as full of potential ways to exploit it or the user as IE?

    Remember:-

    Security ----------------------------------------------------------------- Usability
    Don\'t SYN us.... We\'ll SYN you.....
    \"A nation that draws too broad a difference between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools.\" - Thucydides

  7. #7
    (L)user answer: what's a browser? I don't care about now browser I just want myyahoo...
    And it goes downhill from there...
    We can't we just kick those folks off the Internet?

  8. #8
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    I guess I have to agree with Pooh on this one. I use Firefox at home, and at work. My wife (who is not a computer person at all) and my son switch between Firefox, IE, Safari, and Netscape depending on which machine they happen to be using. My wife has had a few "baywatch" moments, but the 7 year old has no problems using it.

    I happen to like firefox a lot. Marketing Firefox before it is 100% (in your opinion) is no different then Apple having different versions of their OS (ever used an even version of Mac OS?) Or the many version of Linksys routers. As the product gets to the market place and the company gets feedback from the users saying "We want the GO button" then the product will grow to match demand. But if it never gets out there, even if it has every feature you could ever want, it is still a dead product.

    Personally I seriously doubt there are too many users that couldnt use it as is today. Novice or otherwise. But with all things, they will find something they like and stick with it. That maybe be IE or Netscape or whatever. Error message do scare some novice users, but then again, they get some errors all the time, like dead links and DNS errors no matter what they are using. I dont think that is a good reason to turn people away. And I have recommended it to a couple of people here at work and they like it.

    I wasnt aware of a lot of the issues with Firefox you mentioned. But I have been using it for a while without issue. (That probably why I was unaware that others WERE having issues). I have found Firefox to be stable and easy to use. From a users point of view, not a reviewers.
    ~ I'm NOT insane! I've just been in a bad mood for the last 30 years! ~ Somepeople are like Slinky's: Not good for anything, but the thought of pushing them down the stairs brings a smile to your face!

  9. #9
    This article pisses me off.No 'Go' button to click ? Where do I type in the address? It's in defense of clueless windows users that just want to forward all the FWD: messages in their Outlook Express inbox to everyone on their list and read the news on msn.com . Why don't they just stick with IE?
    I recomend Firefox.
    -n6

  10. #10
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    Well,

    Anyways, it isn't the point of the article to put down plain users, but rather to point out that firefox just isn't a perfectly transparent solution that has a flat learning curve for plain users.
    Going on my experience of "ordinary" users, they don't have much idea because they actually don't need one, and they are not technically minded/interested.............it is just a tool. I have never come across one who had problems with using Mozilla 1.7 or Opera instead of IE. Mostly they don't even think of it because IE comes with the box and they are happy to use it. In a perverse sort of way their lack of sophistication makes the transition to another browser simpler.

    I am sure that we all know of people who buy MS Office and never ever user Powerpoint or Access?

    As I interpreted the article it was somewhat critical of promoting a product that wasn't fully developed. Whilst there might be an element of truth in that, the people the author is referring to sound the same as many that I encounter.

    If they don't know what a browser is they sure as hell won't know what a "blog" is so no harm will be done.

    just my thoughts
    If you cannot do someone any good: don't do them any harm....
    As long as you did this to one of these, the least of my little ones............you did it unto Me.
    What profiteth a man if he gains the entire World at the expense of his immortal soul?

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