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Old 15-07-12, 18:50   #1
 
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Question Mark Firefox: Can this Web Browser be Saved?

Summary: Usage is down, users are unhappy, and a former developer has no kind words for the once popular number two Web browser. Can we hope for a Firefox revival?

ZDNet



These are not good days for Firefox.

The real battle for the number one Web browser in the world these days is between Chrome and Internet Explorer. Firefox, by StatCounter's latest numbers, is a distant third. The latest release of Firefox, had to be patched to deal with a serious Adobe Flash crash and many users tell me they're not happy with it. Now, adding insult to injury, former Mozilla developer Jono DiCarlo claims Firefox's rapid release schedule has "ruined" Firefox and "killed [its] reputation.”

Firefox started its rapid-release schedule in an attempt to play catch-up with Google Chrome. But, as DiCarlo wrote, “Credit where it's due: the way Google handled Chrome updates was very, very smart. They recognized that updates are one of the hardest things to get right, so they solved that problem first, before releasing version 1. The first release of Chrome was little more than an empty box of a browser, but it was wrapped around an excellent updating system. This let them gradually transform that empty box into a full-featured browser, without the users ever realizing they were getting updates.”

That's true. While I am very aware of Chrome's update, it's my business to keep to track these things. Most users don't notice that Chrome is constantly and quietly updating itself. For example, did you know that Chrome is now up to version 20?

Firefox, on the other hand, wrote DiCarlo “Ironically, by doing rapid releases poorly, we just made Firefox look like an inferior version of Chrome. And by pushing a never-ending stream of updates on people who didn’t want them, we drove a lot of those people to Chrome; exactly what we were trying to prevent.”

The numbers back his claim up. Royal Pingdom, an online uptime monitoring company, reported in December 2011 that whereas each new version of Chrome quickly reaches 90% of its user base, each new release of Firefox left more and more users behind.

Why? Pingdom wrote that they had heard that many users “had disabled updates in Firefox to keep their browser plugins from breaking. This actually seems to be a pretty major thing to a lot of people. With the rapid release schedule, many extension and plugin creators simply can’t keep up.”

DiCarlo came to a different conclusion. “After years of aspiring to improve software usability, I’ve come to the extremely humbling realization that the single best thing most companies could do to improve usability is to <i>stop changing the UI so often! </i> Let it remain stable long enough for us to learn it and get good at it. There’s no UI better than one you already know, and no UI worse than one you thought you knew but now have to relearn.”

He'll get no argument from me. I believe GNOME's fall from grace as the Linux desktop's favorite interface and what I foresee as Windows's Waterloo—Windows 8's Metro— are both due to breaking users' interface expectations.

Firefox's interfaces changes haven't been that drastic, but whether it's browser plug-ins, too many changes too fast, or the interface itself, Firefox is losing market share. Mozilla, it's parent organization has also been switching priorities recently. After, at best, luke-warm support Mozilla will no longer be supporting its Thunderbird e-mail client and the group is now trying to push ahead with its own mobile operating system, Firefox OS.

Really Mozilla? Does the world really need another mobile operating system? I don't think so. I think Mozilla would be better served by focusing on slowly improving its flagship program, Firefox. While Firefox has been burning through its good will in recent years, I think a dedicated effort to stablize and improve it would regain at least some of its fan base. If they don't well, maybe Firefox can't be saved. And, that would be a pity.
END

I have been saying for a very long time, that the battle between the competing Browsers providers, is causing many users to be fed up, especially FFox. Why cant they just improve all the reported faults by their users, on their existing versions, before they rush to bring a newer version out.

Mozilla’s move to a rapid release process has been controversial. The company basically switched from a “when it is done or necessary” approach to a release cycle that would see a new major version release of the browser every six weeks, regardless of new features, improvements, or fixes included in that release.

Ive tried many Browsers, but still keep coming back to FFox 3.6/8. That is still the most reliable one.


Both Opera & Chrome have deteriated too, and dreadfully slow compared to how they used to be. I liked Sea Monkey though, quite impressed by that one...

However now Mozilla has scrapped Thunderbird development - email client

Quote:
'not a priority' anymore


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Old 16-07-12, 17:15   #2
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Default Re: Firefox: Can this Web Browser be Saved?

I had a nice answer typed up yesterday on this thread and lost it completely when I went to post it. Vanished out in cyberland somewhere, where ever lost posts go.

I've threatened several times to chuck FF over the updates. All I could ever think of was, "what were they thinking" over the rapid updates. The reasons I stayed with FF was because I could have it my way, unlike all the other locked down browsers, and because it had no vested interests to be served being independent.

Finally I found an add on in the nightly builds that eliminated the version add on compatibility check and then turned off updating. I like everyone else spent a while getting the browser just how I liked it only to have it crater next update.

Then extensions started drying up. Those that were there, weren't any more and it wasn't hard to figure out why. Updates for the browser were dismantling the extensions every time there was a new one. I started to look for a new browser to stay with but none really appealed to me.

I'm teed at M$, for their treatment of IE. M$ didn't need to update IE much after it won the browser wars. It was like a forgotten child. Not to mention the IE has so many security problems as a result of their victory in the browser wars that anything was near better than running IE.

Chrome is no better as I value privacy of my web use more than anything else just about. Chrome wasn't given to the public to use out of the goodness of Googles' heart. Chrome is a spy machine on where you go and what you do on the net. It feeds Google's insatiable desire to know and gather so that the data can be sold to advertisers and if there is anything I hate more than loss of privacy (and they are very few) it's commercials and ads. I don't want to reward someone for behavior I despise.

In the end I've remained with FF through all this crap of rapid update. It's been trying. I've had to say good bye to old friends I really liked in the form of add-ons. I and many others tried to tell Mozilla they were screwing up but it all fell on death ears.

Now, after the damage is done, they've finally bought the vowel that makes it all come together to make sense of it all. Dang near too late I guess is better than never but it's a slim thing to be proud of.
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