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Mozilla The Internet

Ars Technica Reviews Mozilla 837

Posted by michael
from the lizard-power dept.
Aglassis writes "This Ars Technica review gives mozilla 1.0 an overall score of 7/10 (9 for Gecko and 6 for the browser). The major detractor was the user interface, since it didn't feel like a Windows application. This was probably due to a poor understanding by the authors of XUL. Overall they say that mozilla would make a good substitute for IE 6 but there is no major reason to switch over."
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Ars Technica Reviews Mozilla

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  • tabs (Score:4, Informative)

    by JPriest (547211) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @08:43AM (#3985257) Homepage
    I like the tab feature with Galeon, Mozilla, and opera. That is one large feature they have over IE.
    • Re:tabs (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jugalator (259273)
      ... along with built-in privacy features that work very good. Even ad-blocking via "do not download more images from this server" which is simply outstanding.

      I'd actually use it over IE if it was more stable. Yeah, you heard right. IE is actually more stable for me for some reason. :-P
      • "IE is actually more stable for me for some reason"

        Actually while I agree that IE6 is still the best browser to use under Windows*, it does have instabilities - mostly revolving around the cache. One widely reported problem is that suddenly the "View Source" and other options will just stop working. This is fixed by clearing the cache and history (why?!)

        I've also noticed the browser go dead (after clicking a link, it stays on the page, as though it's loading, but never loads a new page until it's closed and then re-started). I'll admit I do abuse it a lot as I write a lot of DHTML scripts, but Mozilla doesn't fall over as easily (though I have crashed it on occasion).

        * Due to it having a faster reflowing/DHTML engine and other capabilities not strictly related to normal web browsing. I repeat this is Windows only though, I'd advocate Mozilla on other platforms (on Mac OS-X both IE and Moz are slow and broken in various ways though, so it's a matter of taste).
        • Re:tabs (Score:4, Funny)

          by jazman_777 (44742) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @10:22AM (#3985875) Homepage
          I've also noticed the browser go dead (after clicking a link, it stays on the page, as though it's loading, but never loads a new page until it's closed and then re-started

          That is my main gripe. Plus no tabbed browsing. Plus that Russian guy showing us how many odd security holes there are in IE.

      • Re:tabs (Score:3, Insightful)

        Even ad-blocking via "do not download more images from this server" which is simply outstanding.

        I think they need a "do not download anything from this server" option and another option to include a list of the usual suspects.
    • on OS X, where you don't have a full screen mode with a task bar at the bottom. Tabs on OS X add that task bar functionality that is lacking (the dock is nice and all, but I still prefer a task bar).

      On Windows and Linux system, I find the tabs confusing. And I mainly use Mozilla in Windows. The problem is that I keep looking to the bottom of the screen for window managment out of habit, and end up closing windows with 4 or 5 tabs by accident.

      The best thing about tabs overall, though, is the pop-behind function. If it weren't for that, I'd never use tabs in Mozilla for Windows.
    • Yep, especially with gesture based [mozdev.org] tab cycling.

      Spamming this until everyone uses it ! :) It si teh rox.

  • by sirinek (41507) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @08:45AM (#3985265) Homepage Journal
    Poor understandnig of XUL or not, if it doesn't feel like a Windows application, then it just *doesnt* feel like a Windows application. I agree with the author's opinion on that. I am a happy mozilla user at home on my Linux box, but I am not about to switch IE to Mozilla on my windows machine here at work, theres really no reason aside from maybe curtailing javascript annoyances (popups, resizes, etc)

    siri
    • theres really no reason aside from maybe curtailing javascript annoyances (popups, resizes, etc)

      That and blocking ads with a mouse click are *great* and *compelling* reasons to switch.
    • by MaxVlast (103795) <maxim@s[ ]to ['la.' in gap]> on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:15AM (#3985443) Homepage
      Ha! I almost fell out of my chair laughing at the "poor understanding by the authors" comment. A program's philosophy and reason shouldn't be explained to the user! This isn't a humanities class! A browser is a tool for getting information. It should be fluent and natural to use. I absolutely, 100% do not want to even think about the tools that the programmers used to create the UI. Furthermore, if I have to have an understanding of those tools to be able to deal with the non-standardness or funkiness of the browser, I will immediately go to the next browser available. And I did. The Mozilla UI is ghastly, and I don't care why. There are other, equally good, products out there which I'll happily use. Hehe. Thanks for a good laugh.
      • by yasth (203461) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:36AM (#3985583) Homepage Journal
        Umm but the comments the article made about it not fitting in with with the windows UI were a philisophical dig at mozilla, therefore respond in kind and all that. Truthfully IE has at many times used non standard windows omponents. The Rebar system that allows for the toolbar customizing was most certainly not standard in 4.0 and wasn't available for developers to use for quite some time. The toolbar for IE 3.0 wasn't windows standard at all. As far as the UI being ghastly, well I have trouble seeing that, after all the principle aspects of the UI that I deal with are all clearly pressented (more so then IE). I mean if you want you can grab a skin and make it look IEish. Though All that being said I do use the pinball theme for daily work, but don't have trouble with either classic or modern. What is more important neither have the several friends that I have introduced to Mozilla.
      • by forgoil (104808) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:40AM (#3985600) Homepage
        I am a software engineer, I work with computers all day in and day out, given enough time I could code my own GUI (done part of that for a commercial company already) and my own browser. Heck, I could make my own OS etc.

        But I don't want to, I want to dubble click the installation icon when I install an app, answer some silly questions, and be done with it. I don't want any extra GUIs, I want it to look and feel 100% like the style guide for that platform. I don't want to see any code, I never want to touch any configuration text files, I care little of whatever XUL can do for me. I won't use up a single second on something like that, and I never should have to.

        MaxVlast has got it right, and so has the majority of the web browsing population. They care about browsing, not software politics or technical merits.

        Besides, if it was so darn easy to fix with XUL, couldn't the developers fix that from day one so an installation is 100% like the native system it runs on? The two browsers I use does this perfectly (a virtual pat on the back for those who can guess which ones I use;)).
    • by Brian Kendig (1959) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:25AM (#3985508) Homepage
      Mozilla doesn't feel like a Mac OS X application, either. Sure, if you set the theme to 'Classic' then it fakes having Aqua scrollbars and buttons, but set the theme to 'Modern' and the generic interface elements return.

      It just lacks the spit-and-polish that other Mac OS X applications have. Mozilla doesn't get the text navigation shortcuts (option- and command-arrowing through text) quite right, it doesn't get the 'new document' behavior quite right (if it has no windows open and I click on the 'M' icon in the dock then it should create a window), the pulldown menus don't look quite right, it shouldn't hijack Command-W to close tabs instead of windows... sure, there's another project ('Chimera') to create a Mac OS X-friendly version of Mozilla, but there shouldn't *have* to be; the original Mozilla shouldn't be such a Frankenstein's monster on Mac OS X in the first place.

      IMHO, the Mozilla developers made a very bad decision when they decided to create their own GUI toolkit from scratch rather than rely on the interface of each operating system Mozilla ran on. Sure, Mozilla's controls look the same on Mac OS X as they do on Windows and Linux and Be and OS/2 and OpenVMS... but who cares? I don't want it to look like a Windows application on my Mac. And having to reinvent the wheel and get all the buttons and scrollbars and pulldowns working right must have added at least a year or two to Mozilla's schedule, and they still need work.

      • by prgammans (134908) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @10:03AM (#3985756)

        IMHO, the Mozilla developers made a very bad decision when they decided to create their own GUI toolkit from scratch rather than rely on the interface of each operating system Mozilla ran on. Sure, Mozilla's controls look the same on Mac OS X as they do on Windows and Linux and Be and OS/2 and OpenVMS... but who cares? I don't want it to look like a Windows application on my Mac. And having to reinvent the wheel and get all the buttons and scrollbars and pulldowns working right must have added at least a year or two to Mozilla's schedule, and they still need work.


        Have you actually tried to create a application that can run on multiple platforms and present a GUI that matches the underling OS.

        You have two basic options
        1) use something like qt which just emulates the look and feel if the OS, this very close to what mozilla did, there are just no windows themes*

        2) Write the GUI side of you application for each OS you wish it to run on. Which would at least double the amount of work required and also prevent to from being able to show a consistent interface across platforms. Not to touch upon the complexities of debugging issues.

        The only other option is use something like wxWindows which tries to present a single API that is platform independent but will use native widgets, though this approach has it own problems.

        *There are actually as part of the mozdev project.
        • by markhb (11721) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @10:52AM (#3986190) Journal
          Choice 2 is exactly how the original Navigator / Communicator line was done: Bill Law has some info on this at his NSCP homepage [netscape.com].

          IIRC, the discussions regarding creation of XUL went something like this:
          • No one wants to work on the Communicator 5.0 codebase; it's all crufty spaghetti.
          • NGLayout is really cool; let's work on that instead!
          • There are very few people who want to work on the front-end stuff for {platform X where X not in ('Windows','Linux')}
          • You know, we have to code all these widgets anyway for use in the browser window; the APIs are all too different to try to use native ones in the renderer.....
          • Why don't we use the renderer widgets to build the chrome!
          • Let's go with that, and rebrand Mozilla as an Application Development Platform instead of a browser!
          IMHO, it was that change from native front ends to XUL, and all the tangents that that gave birth to (ChatZilla, anyone?), that caused the Mozilla project to take 4 years. Switching to NGLayout didn't hurt the timeline nearly as much as the XUL implementation.
    • The problem is, I'm not runnng windows.

      Whoever decided to use the windows keybindings on all platforms *needs* the crack pipe, uhh, anatomically relocated. This may be difficult in light of the pre-existing cranial-rectal inversion.

      Ctrl-shift-L to open a web address. Sure, why not--it's not like there was a pre-existing standard command on *nix . . . .

      hawk

  • Security? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vofka (572268) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @08:46AM (#3985269) Journal
    ...but there is no major reason to switch over.

    Secirity Problems perhaps? Given the number os severe security issues that have been found in IE over the years, I would have thought this would have been a pretty major reason to switch!
    • Well, I have never been victim of one. I don't think *anyone* I know has. I wonder how rare these exploits are really. From the news, I'd be attacked approx. once a month or so, but I haven't been once since IE 2.0. :-o

      You have a point, but I guess it's just human laziness in my case... Switch when you have to, not otherwise. :-P
    • Mozilla is likely to have more holes in it than IE. Any monolithic program such as a browser will have bugs and some of those bugs will lead to leaked information, or backdoors. You cannot use either IE or Mozilla and expect to be secure. You can expect Microsoft and Mozilla developers to fix security bugs and release new versions. Currenly IE has many known security holes, and since bugzilla is down, I can't tell how many mozilla has (they might not be public bugs anyway), but I'd wager there are several. If most users don't even apply hot fixes to the browser they have to secure it, why would they upgrade to another browser (which won't be secure) to fix security issues?

      There are many reasons why I use mozilla, but security isn't one of them.

  • Well... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Mr Guy (547690) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @08:47AM (#3985274) Journal
    The major detractor was the user interface, since it didn't feel like a Windows application

    Well, can I be the first to say, "Thank God"?
    I mean, isn't this a Good Thing (TM), at least according to Thomas Krul's [slashdot.org] theory?
    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Paladin128 (203968) <aaron AT traas DOT org> on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:19AM (#3985473) Homepage
      I also dislike the Windows style interface, but as a trained human-computer interface designer, I can state that interface consistency is important to even intermediate and advanced users. Interface consistency means you have to learn less, which means you learn faster. You can also start building motor reflexes for use of an application faster if it is more consistent. Why is "properties" always the last menu item in a context menu in Windows? Why is the "help" menu always the last menu item on the menu bar? Because if you always no that's where it is, it takes less time for you to find it, thus making YOU faster.

      This is a major detractor to most cross-platform toolkits. Apps in Windows should look like Windows apps, Apps in MacOS should look like MacOS apps, Apps in KDE should look like KDE apps, etc. It helps the user immesurably, and makes learning applications more follow the power law of practice.
    • The reviewer puts a lot of weight on IE's "professional polish". This seems to boil down to the fact that IE uses colors, sizes, and fonts specified in the Windows control panel. The reviewer says that IE's arrangement is more flexible. Since I can change the skin on Mozilla, I'd say that Mozilla is more flexible, and I can get it to look the way I want mare easily, (including getting a skin to make it look like a windows program).

      I feel that IE has little polish and I am constantly reminded of it every time I use the product. Most annoying is that I use a dvorak keyboard but my default layout on my computer is qwerty because other people use the computer. Every time you open a new window or dialog, IE uses the default keyboard layout. I have to switch layouts for every little popup including pressing ctrl-f for find on page. The other major annoyance is IE's new page logic. I can't for the life of me figure out why they put the same page you are looking at in the new window. I set my homepage to about:blank and new windows should be blank. The only reason I can see for opening a new window would be to get away from what you were doing and go somewhere else. IE gives you exactly what you were doing. This is very annoying for slow loading pages. It has also caused me to submit numerous forms more than once.

  • Misunderstanding? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SpatchMonkey (300000)
    From the article:
    • This was probably due to a poor understanding by the authors of XUL.
    Nothing about poor understand, they just want all their applications to have a reasonably consistent user interface. The current mess of mp3 player 'skins', the overbearing assortment of window managers for Unix and the tacky 'chroming' of Mozilla goes against decades of HCI research.

    Computing is confusing enough without your UI looking like it's been designed by a herd of badgers on acid.
    • "goes against decades of HCI research."

      Otherwise known as the art of making everyone fit the same mold and use the same thing, which is somewhat similar to the art of making all tuna fit into those little cans you get at Albertson's.

      Personally, I have a real problem with corporations funding research to find the best way to get the most money out of people's pockets while spending as little as possible, then passing this "research" off as science. Our schools in the U.S. are seriously infected with this type of "research."

      Frankly, I'd rather have the "Tripping Badger" UI over the "Canned Tuna" UI any day, especially if I can heavily customize it to my liking; that MS UI is some seriously horrid crap, especially the new XP, ugh.

      Thanks for the laugh SpatchMonkey, the "designed by a herd of badgers on acid" was funny stuff.

      Best of days to you.

  • by kenthorvath (225950) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @08:48AM (#3985276)
    Unless you are a web designer who wants to make sure that his site looks correctly when viewed with a browser that adheres to STANDARDS, or unless you are a person who believes that the web should be easy to navigate and not overwhelmed with pop-up advertisements, or unless you believe that you should have the ability to modify the code to your browser for timely fixes to security flaws. Nope, no major reasons there....
    • How about killing those pop (under/over) Advertisments? That alone is worth the price of admission!
    • Yep. Plus I'd add that Mozilla doesn't trick people into relying on proprietary technologies which have lock-in ramifications beyond the browser market. Microsoft weaves a tangled web, and IE is one of the stickiest threads.
    • You can drop IE into "standards compliant" mode if you give a proper DOCTYPE declaration (e.g. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">) at the top of your documents. Whether or not the standards compliance mode is actually fully standards compliant is debatable but so far the only thing I've found in the standards that isn't in IE has to do with centering images. You can't do it the recommended way because it won't center. Then again Mozilla has the same problem, so...

      That's not to say that Microsoft isn't playing Embrace and Extend because CSS styled scrollbars still render styled in standards compliance mode despite the fact that those definitions aren't in the CSS standard anywhere.
  • No major reason? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GrBear (63712) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @08:48AM (#3985277)
    I'd say there's several major reasons to switch.. the fact that you can block pop up advertising is a major reason. The fact that is has far superior cookie and password management is a major reason. The fact that it has a better email and usenet client (than OE) is a major reason.

    No major reasons? According to who, Billy?
    • I'd say there's several major reasons to switch.. the fact that you can block pop up advertising is a major reason. The fact that is has far superior cookie and password management is a major reason. The fact that it has a better email and usenet client (than OE) is a major reason.

      This may be major reasons for a /.'er, but I find it unlikely this is going to convice any "normal" user to switch from IE to Mozilla.

      If Mozilla wants to gain market shares, they MUST make it look more like Windows. A fancy GUI is unfortunately the easiest way to get a "normal" user, not good security.
      Microsoft has proven that beyond any reasonable doubt.
    • by wackybrit (321117) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:15AM (#3985444) Homepage Journal
      The fact that it has a better email and usenet client (than OE) is a major reason.

      You have to be joking. I'm a Mozilla advocate, but even I admit the mail client is a piece of trash.

      The interface is inconsistent, and it doesn't make it obvious what is going on at any one time. There's nothing like the big 'Send/Recv' button in OE, and when you collect mail, you have no idea what's going on.

      The folders are sloppily managed, and the news reader is certainly worse.

      Sure, it doesn't automatically open attachments or spread viruses around.. but the user experience is more important than security to me! It's a program I have to use for hours every day!
  • by thasmudyan (460603) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `reteorhcs.odu'> on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @08:48AM (#3985282) Homepage
    The major detractor was the user interface, since it didn't feel like a Windows application. This was probably due to a poor understanding by the authors of XUL.
    You're joking, right? XUL is an interface/component application based on XML allright. But that has nothing to with the cited usability problems. The Open Source community simply has to stop saying things like 'yeah the user interface is bad, but if you complain about it openly it shows that you don't really understand the XYZWhatever+ architecture!' Stop accepting things like they are, change the world (of software) now!
    • The point is, using XUL, this application can be made to look and behave just exactly like any other Windows application.
    • by twitter (104583)
      I suppose I should have expected a bunch of silly IE trolls here but you are special:

      Stop accepting things like they are, change the world (of software) now!

      Can you be a little more specific? How wold you like your browser to look and act, besides like IE? The "cited usability problems" were that the thing did not act like IE. Here's what some constructive criticism looks like:

      IE user interface problems noted under win2k:

      "Favorites" can't have characters in their names that mess with old DOS conventions.

      ftp, http, local files are remembered and treated sepearatly. This artificial division makes swithching between the different "zones" difficult to do and makes the history file much less useful.

      User settings are poorly organized vary from version to version. Typically kept under multiple menue items and burried in a forrest of tabs in nonsensical dialogs, IE's user settings are both harder to find and less empowering when located.

      Abomnible on off control of scripting, no image control. Adverts are impossible to turn off.

      Fav icon suffers from typical M$ bugs. Often loads wrong image, takes forever to display. Gives user information away without asking.
      ftp site browsing sucks. The psuedo Apple triangle file tree browsing is much much better than IE's stupid attempt to make ftp sites look like local folders. Confusion is not integration, Micro$oft. ftp site non response locks up entire interface. Talk about pathetic.

      Those are some things off the top of my head. I rarely use IE at work, but sometimes I have to. When I do, I notice that kind of crap. If all of these problems were to be fixed, you would have something much closer to Mozilla. That's what the open source folks did - they changed the software they had available and made some new stuff bassed on user wants and best practices. This was done while M$ was bussy catching up to Netscape 4, and adding new hooks to their other software that no one wanted, and works wretchedly today. What kind of input do you think M$ got for IE? It took advice from content pushers and advert makers. Pthththt!

  • by lennart78 (515598) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @08:49AM (#3985284)
    Mozilla 1.0 is 'getting there'.
    Support for flash / shockwave is decent.
    Frontpage-generated pages still distort often.
    Java works great (better than IE).
    At leasts it beats opera on stability and functionality, plus it's (banner)free.

    With Linux, I guess it's your best choice, with Windows, frontpage makes the difference, not IE.
    • Promoting Frontpage as an advantage is similar to saying that Volkswagen would never sell in East Germany because they have the Trabant.

      Frontpage is to web design what chocolate is to teapots.
    • Frontpage-generated pages still distort often.

      I'd be very surprise if this was NOT due to Frontpage creating non compliant code.

    • Hmm....Frontpage (a Microsoft product) produces web pages that render properly in Internet Explorer (a Microsoft product) but that don't render properly in other web browsers (non Microsoft products) despite the fact that the other web browsers adhere to standards. Are you on the trolley yet?
  • mozilla (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mikenb (188411)
    I was reluctant to try mozilla until 1.0 came out. After that, I switched and haven't looked back. I LOVE mozilla and am happy to not me supporting bill any further.

    We should support non-Microsoft applications (provided they are good) to help free software (not as in beer)
  • by MosesJones (55544) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @08:50AM (#3985301) Homepage
    This was probably due to a poor understanding by the authors of XUL Why is it a poor understanding for the reviewers ? This is one of the reasons that techies have a bad name the "I know best" attitude that pervades our industry. I like Mozilla, I use Mozilla, I like it because it works and because of the way its navigation works. BUT if you are used to Windows and not an old school Unix person then it is different to the rest of the windows applications you use so it is a valid comment. Now its not difficult to fix by having the Windows Theme be one of the default installed themes so Mozilla looks the same as the rest of Windows. Get off your high horse and think about why looking like everything else is good for the majority of users who don't want the power and control that Gecko and Mozilla offer, they just want a Browser that looks like the other applications they use. Minimise the "suprise" factor and maximise the uptake.
    • by colmore (56499) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @08:59AM (#3985365) Journal
      Exactly, software should work, in default mode, like the other software on that platform. That is fundamental UI that the open-source community feels perfectly happy to neglect.

      It's probably one of the biggest obstacles to the holy grail of a popular linux desktop that no two applications work the same way. Right-clicking in one does something completely different than right-clicking in the other. Hell, there are major applications that have completely different keyboard shortcuts for basic actions like save, copy and paste.

      Perhaps one of the greatest reasons for Windows' (and Mac's especially) success is that learning one application makes learning other applications much much easier.

      Last summer I taught my mom how to use MS Word. After that she picked up Internet Explorer with no problem whatsoever. When Moz 1.0 came out, I tried to get the family to switch over, but it was an effort in futility. Internet Explorer on Windows, for all its many many flaws, works the way a Windows application is supposed to work. Mozilla on Windows (kind of) works the way an X-Win application is supposed to work, which is absolutely no good. The Windows theme should be the default on the Win32 binary package, and the only reason it isn't is the stupid pride of the OS community.
      • Exactly, software should work, in default mode, like the other software on that platform. That is fundamental UI that the open-source community feels perfectly happy to neglect [...] Perhaps one of the greatest reasons for Windows' (and Mac's especially) success is that learning one application makes learning other applications much much easier.

        Oh, and Microsoft, too, when they feel like it (to pick on one of the two OS developers you mention). For example, migrating to Office 2000 way back when introduced me to the horrors of the re-engineered menu bars set to hide drop-down options from me by default. Or the switch from SDI to MDI for Office applications? Windows Media Player 6.x/7.x bears little to no similarity to its predecessor, and it's frickin' skinnable!

        Then again, since Microsoft wrote the platform, they can change the standards for acceptable behavior at any time... :P

      • by Crispy Critters (226798) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @02:02PM (#3987506)
        Exactly, software should work, in default mode, like the other software on that platform. That is fundamental UI that the open-source community feels perfectly happy to neglect.
        A foolish consistency is the hobgloblin of little minds. This is where the confusion between usability and marketability comes in. To follow your idea to the extreme, mozilla will not be a success unless it looks and acts exactly like IE. What purpose is there in having mozilla if it is made indistinguishable from IE?

        It is certainly clear that a program for windows, lacking some spectacular feature, will sell only if it follows the arbitrary conventions of the windows interface. But no one is trying to make a profit selling mozilla for windows.

        Back to foolish consistency: a program should follow the conventions of other software only if it does not decrease the usability. As an example, the most useful menu in emacs is the buffer menu; everything else is either seldom used or more easily accessed from the keyboard. This menu has been moved in version 21 from its prime location at the left so that the File menu can be in its "conventional" location. Maybe some people are comforted by this bit of familiarity, but this should not be confused with usability.

        Remember, the moz interface is easily and infinitely malleable. This is a program where people could test out hundreds new ideas on interface design, now that it is (mostly) stable.

    • And that link that points to the xul page does not help very much. It's for developers, not for users.
    • by Damek (515688) <adam AT damek DOT org> on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:54AM (#3985705) Homepage
      I use Mozilla myself, and I try to get others to use Mozilla. I think it's great, and can only get better.

      However, you and others are right in pointing out that a barrier to entry is the fact that the program doesn't follow the "standard" Windows user interface. When it's not what people are used to, they can't immediately begin using it; it doesn't "feel" as much as if it were "part of the system".

      Still, the solution you propose of using the Windows XUL theme would, I believe, only make things worse. How? Because then, the browser would still only have most of the appearance of a "normal" Windows application (it still looks a little different), and it still wouldn't act the same. For example, the little "grab" area on the very left side of the toolbars don't work the same way. Having the interface look mostly the same as other apps, but function differently, would only confused people more.

      Besides, the real question should be whether having the browser interface be "non-standard" is a significant barrier to using the application, not just whether it is different. And while I think the Mozilla 1.0 default interface is worse than it could be, I don't think it's too significant a difference. Other applications have very different interfaces, yet they are learned. For example, WinAmp is one of the most popular and widely used digital audio players, yet its interface is very different from the standard Windows interface. In fact, Winamp alone is probably the reason Microsoft made Windows Media Player skinnable.

      Granted, people learned Winamp because, for a time, it was the only MP3 player available, or significantly better than other offerings, so the entry barrier of having to learn a new interface was less important. So perhaps the UI difference is more significant for Mozilla since Mozilla's features aren't too far advanced over those of Internet Explorer (on the surface, anyway, as far as the average user would think). So, because it presents fewer other reasons to switch, the different UI becomes more significant as a reason not to switch.

      The solution, I think, is not to changed the default Mozilla UI to a Windows-like one, which would confuse things even more, but instead to create something "similar, but different" - something closer to the default Windows interface, but obviously different so people wouldn't expect it to behave exactly the same. I would nominate Lo-Fi, because it takes on the Windows UI colors, and it's simple and to-the-point in its working, but it still isn't quite right. Beginners should still have text labels on all the toolbar buttons, and the Lo-Fi icons in Mozilla Mail are a little abstract and confusing.

      Unfortunately, I don't think any of the currently available XUL themes for Mozilla are good for people new to Mozilla, especially people who are used to Internet Explorer and the standard Windows UI.
  • User Interface (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bdesham (533897)
    The major detractor was the user interface, since it didn't feel like a Windows application.
    This is one of the major reasons that I use IE on Mac OS X. The browser just doesn't look or feel like any of the other applications I have, which all use the Aqua widgets and so have the same functionality.
    • *cough* Chimera [mozdev.org] *cough*

      • When Chimera is ready for prime time, I'll probably switch. But for now, Mozilla gets to live on my Powerbook, but I use IE first (despite the occasional crashes and that damned rendering glitch that sometimes leaves the page blank until you do a "Cmd-A" and then click away). The biggest argument pro-Mozilla (for day-to-day use, besides the politics of it) is the pop-up stopping control, but there's a neat 3rd party pop-up killer now for IE that I use and happily paid the $10 for.
    • try the pinstripes [kmgerich.com] skin, i use it on MOZ 1.1b on OS 10.1.5. and it blends in nicely, not quite Aqua but nice. plus there a variety of other "Aqua" skins available.

      IE5.5 is nice but the MOZ is better, now if pixeljerk [pixeljerk.com] would make an icon for it it would be perfect.

  • by colmore (56499) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @08:52AM (#3985312) Journal
    XUL has nothing to do with it.

    They like the engine. It's the default interface that 99% of users will be using that they have problems with, and I think that's a valid point.

    XUL makes it possible to do a lot of cool interface things, and it is definitely a Good Thing For Mozilla, but it doesn't really matter when the default interface is slow and sucks.

    Heck, most people never even change their startup page, much less program a new *interface*
  • Basically, the author goes from "Here's all the cool stuff Gecko can do." to "...but it doesn't look like IE and some pages don't detect it properly."

    Is that Mozilla's fault? Moz works better and behaves more reliably than any cross-platform GUI program I can think of.

    More than that, its unique features (image permissions, javascript controls) barely rate a passing mention by the author. Those are killer features. I'd hate to use a browser that didn't have them.

    I felt that the author - and most people writing browser comparisons right now - was too heavily biased by IE-related experiences; I thought he was writing more toward "This is what IE does and this is how Moz is different" rather than an actual browser review.

    Try using IE and Moz over a 28.8kpbs internet connection and THEN tell me which you like better.
  • The major detractor was the user interface, since it didn't feel like a Windows application. This was probably due to a poor understanding by the authors of XUL.

    Uh, why can't the problem just be that Mozilla's user interface is not very good? I'm sorry, but there's a reason why there are multiple Mozdev projects to build browsers without Mozilla's cumbersome interface, why Dave Hyatt [mozillazine.org] and mpt [phrasewise.com] have savaged the current interface.

    Why can't some people accept the fact that Mozilla's UI needs a lot of work?

    • I'm sorry, but there's a reason why there are multiple Mozdev projects to build browsers without Mozilla's cumbersome interface, why Dave Hyatt [mozillazine.org] and mpt [phrasewise.com] have savaged the current interface.

      Here is his list of usability problems with Mozilla [phrasewise.com] From what I recall, the main criticisms of MPT boiled down to "I don't like it". For instance, he makes a big deal of the fact that the Home link is on the Bookmarks toolbar, rather than the main toolbar. This immediately leads of course to flamewars between people who believe it "belongs with the reload button" or people who thinks it makes more sense to have it with your other links. This is hardly a usability issue (remember neither Hyatt or MPT have any usability training at all - no disrespect to them, but it's true). It's just personal preference.

      He talks about speed as well - that's hardly as much of a problem as it was. Especially on Windows, Mozilla feels just as snappy as IE (no, really, and I have a PIII/500).

      Text editing bugs : these are bugs, not usability problems.

      Message Display: he doesn't like the fact that headers are in their own section. Personally I don't mind this at all, but clearly he feels otherwise.

      The list goes on and on. Some of his points are good. Many are simply pet peeves on his part. This is often the problem with "usability", it's a very vague concept and the science of usability is still in its infancy. Therefore a "usability" review often degenerates into a case of the UI reviewer picking on things they don't like. For instance, the "I don't think this feature is useful, so it's preferences bloat". There is a grain of truth to this sometimes, but often it just ends up pissing off the people who worked on something only to be told it's "unusable" without any scientific backing for this assertion at all. I've had some dialog boxes of mine put through an UI review. Some of the points made were good, but some were for instance "There shouldn't be a horizontal line there, it looks unprofessional" which is not usability review, it's just irritating.

      I have yet to find any major problems with the Mozilla UI - where I define major as being, I notice a big usability problem and get annoyed because of it. Saying, I can't drag toolbars around is valid, but that'd merely a feature request rather than a statement about the underlying design of the product.

      Oh and finally, for those who like to bash XUL, remember one thing: if it wasn't for that, Mozilla probably wouldn't be cross platform, and as a result, would only exist on Windows.

      • A true critique of user interfaces uses testing methodologies involving actual users. I don't know if the Mozilla critics actually did any testing, but UI and usability testing is a science, not a matter of personal preferences.

        It can be measured scientifically.
  • by jtdubs (61885) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @08:54AM (#3985325)
    They say the interface was unflexible, non-standard, and yes, didn't look like the native interface.

    At the very least you must concede that the interface IS non-standard and does NOT look like the native interface.

    So, we conclude that:

    > This was probably due to a poor understanding
    > by the authors of XUL.

    Explain?!?

    They make a valid point. It's true regardless of the technologies involved. So you claim that they are wrong due to ignorance of XUL? I would claim that you were wrong due to ignorance of logic.

    Justin Dubs
  • by dizco (20340)
    The major detractor was the user interface, since it didn't feel like a Windows application. This was probably due to a poor understanding by the authors of XUL.

    No it isn't. Understanding XUL doesn't make the application feel any more like a Win app. They hit the nail on the head- the engine is great, but whats up with that wacky UI? I love moz, but clearly the beast is as much a technology demo as it is an end-user application.

    A non-sarcastic, real question:

    Does anyone using linux/bsd/whatever prefer the mozilla UI to galeon or skipstone?

    I myself use galeon for 100% of my web browsing.

    --sean
  • a reson to switch (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gyratedotorg (545872)

    ill give you a reason to switch! it's the ability to mount a windows partition from *nix and use the same browser with the same settings (bookmarks, cookies, emails) on both platforms.

    no more rebooting to find that old email message you were looking for.

  • by SkyLeach (188871) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @08:56AM (#3985342) Homepage
    1.) Tabbed Browsing

    2.) No more popups

    3.) Better Security

    Reasons to still use IE on occasion:

    1.) Poor support for common technologies (like the JRE: it runs but it don't run for long (2-3 hours and it goes down hard)).

    2.) Poor support for common but non-standard features (Like layers). Even Qmailadmin doesn't work well with Mozilla.

    3.) Idiot web designers that refuse to let you view their page/application unless you have one of their approved browsers (Like Webtrends).
    • by fishbot (301821) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:01AM (#3985374) Homepage
      I find the java plugin available as a link from the mozilla.org download page is _very_ unreliable.

      If you grab the latest jre1.4 from java.sun.com, install the RPM, tgz or whatever your preference, then link the file (path to jre)/plugin/i386/ns610/libjavaplugin_oji140.so to your plugins directory, not only do you gain much reliability and speed, but also a handy per class progress bar :)
  • However, Mozilla for OS X is incredibly slow. I have a 933 mhz G4, I don't expect to have lag time on popup menus. Also, it seems to load pages more slowly than IE for OS X.
  • by jlower (174474) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:02AM (#3985379) Homepage
    Using a browser other than IE is voting for an open, interoperable internet.
  • Well..obviously the author hasn't yet achieved the status of social interaction ... ie watching porn on the internet (read: pop-ups!!) ;-)
  • by dobratzp (155212) <dobratzp@ele.uri.edu> on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:05AM (#3985395) Homepage
    From page 2 on web standards:
    The worst problem with the current internet landscape is the proliferation of "table-based" layouts.

    But what does view source reveal?

    <!-- CONTENT TABLE -->
    <TABLE WIDTH="100%" BORDER="0" CELLSPACING="0" CELLPADDING="0">
    <TR>

    Look no further than the HTML header for the culprit:

    <meta name="GENERATOR" content="Microsoft FrontPage 5.0">
    <meta name="ProgId" content="FrontPage.Editor.Document">

    Now that they have recognized the problem, are they or their resident Microsoft weenie going to fix it? Probably not.

  • This functionality isn't present in Mozilla, even though it would solve many of the incompatibilities between Mozilla and the rest of the internet. The developers may have decided that accurate traffic stats are more important than a few rendering inconsistencies, which is a completely reasonable position. In light of their goals to push web standards, I suspect that giving the end-user the ability to masquerade as a less-compliant browser may simply seem antithetical to their purposes and philosophy. Still, I personally would have preferred a "spoofing" feature over accurate statistics, but I'm not the one writing an underdog rendering engine.


    I thought there WAS a way to spoof the User Agent with one of the javascript settings. Is that not right?
    If it isn't right, people who find this page [geocrawler.com] on google [google.com] like I did are going to be pissed.

  • Consider that there will be no technical support for this software outside community-based support, such as you would find in the Software Colloquium or at Mozilla.org itself. In theory, Netscape Navigator is the finished, polished product, not Mozilla.

    Supposedly this is the big reason why businesses should deploy Communicator rather than Mozilla however Netscape hasn't provided support for Navigator/Communicator in many years (probably since they stopped offering a license you could purchase). Since the EULA disclaims any and all responsibility anyway it's not like there's even a legal ass-covering reason to use Communicator over Mozilla.

    Where I work we're happily deploying Mozilla 1.0 in place of old Communicator 4 installations. It's working great and since lack of support is par for the course anyway all we're missing out on is a lot of ads and AOL garbage.

  • I use Mozilla on Linux and on home Windows boxes. However, on my corporate NT network I cannot use Mozilla, because I need to login to a proxy server. The server requires user name, password and domain for login and in Mozilla I don't know where to put the domain?

    Has anyone done this?

    • The problem is authentication methods.

      Mozilla does not support (I believe through no fault of thier own) the "standard" NTLM/AD Microsoft logins.

      Basically you need the proxy administrator to allow "basic authentication", which means essentailly plain text. If he is using MS Proxy or MS IAS then its a pretty straightforward thing.
    • domain\username refers to your user account in the domain. username@domain might work if authenticating against Win2K, but I've never tried (our NT servers are NT4SP6a).

      However, if they don't allow basic authentication, you may be out of luck.

      Good luck,
      Alex
  • by fishbot (301821) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:12AM (#3985432) Homepage
    One of the negative points was that Mozilla does not look like a Windows app. I shall ignore the existence of the IE skin for now.

    However, what I will mention is software such as QuickTime player, RealOne, MusicMatch Jukebox, and literally anything written in Java. None of these use the MFC toolkit (not the widgets, anyway) nor do they follow the theme of the widgets in WinXP.

    Many people complain that Linux apps don't fit together because QT != GTK != Motif etc. However, it is commonplace in Windows apps for larger development outfits to use their own widget sets, and nobody bats an eyelid.

    As a simple example, I use Mozilla with the excellent Orbit-Retro theme. My dad can't figure it out. So, I switch to the IE theme. The layout is identical, but the look/feel of the widgets is more 'windows like'. Suddenly he's right at home.

    Perhaps the comment should have read 'doesn't look like any of the windows apps we're used to'
  • I like Mozilla and use it every day. And I have to agree with the article that what really makes Mozilla great is Gecko. Mozilla has made a great standards compliant rendering engine. I've used Gecko for my own customized projects and it really is a great tool for anyone making customized browsers.
  • Long live text zoom. (Score:2, Informative)

    by El Jynx (548908)
    My fav feature is the zoom-in function for text sizes; there's so many idiot webmasters who think 8pt text is big enough that this grants my eyes another 20 years of functionality without contacts.

    Jynx

  • For the longest time, 'critics' pointed fingers at mozilla group and said things to the effect of 'lookey here, open-source project is a no go..' Finally, the 'critics' are at least saying that mozilla group has "..reached their stated goal." that's a 10+ score in my book.
  • I just downloaded Moz 1.1 Beta just about an hour ago. It's even better.
  • "Internet Explorer is the best browser currently available and is the standard by which all other browsers should be measured. The IE user interface *in Windows* (where IE has every advantage possible) is also the standard by which all other applications' GUIs should be measured."

    First noted in this sentence, where the authors "touched up" on IE for the umpty-eleventeenth time like a runner trying to lead off first base:

    Navigator does offer some compelling features and enhancements to previous Netscape code, some of which are alien to IE and some which aren't.

    then, confirmed in all its Blue-Screened glory as if endorsed by His Billness himself:

    "For people used to the customization options of IE windows, it's a step backwards in functionality"

    Reads exactly like a Dr. GUI article from your latest issue of MSDN (coffee graphic included, $2300 please)

    Translation: It is different from Windows, therefore inferior.

    "The disregard for accessibility in the user interface is shocking given the amount of work that went into implementing web standards."

    Shocking? I have a better word: exaggerated.

    "As it stands, Navigator breaks many Windows User Interface (UI) standards."

    Standards like mouse-freeze(tm), GPF(R) and Crashed Explorer(C)(R)(C)(TM).

    WHAT standards? (Notice how these are never named? No, I really don't care either.)

    Let me guess, Java breaks the standards too, right? As does WxWindows, Perl/Tk, GTK and everything else without a new colorful icon on our very expensive(tm) desktop.

    "Rather than use the default "widgets" (menu bars, pop-up menus, drop downs and the like), Navigator comes complete with its own set of widgets. For some spectators,"

    Read: Windows-only users

    "this is yet another example of how cross-platform ideals don't always play out in practice: a Windows application should have Windows' look and feel."

    Hint: Mozilla is not a Windows application. We have some lovely parting gifts, however.

    Plugin management is not intuitive.

    Uninstall and reinstall an OCX control which is installed (and registered) in two directories and being used in Windows 9x, then explain what is and is not intuitive.

    Here is another glaring example of bias:

    "Aside from the few aforementioned problems, Gecko's standards compliance and its ability to handle less-than-compliant pages well is laudable."

    Laudable? Gecko's standards compliance is the finest expression of excellence yet seen in any browser ever written. It puts IE to crying, sobbing shame. Laudable is a left-handed compliment at best, and a cynical remark at worst.

    The Mozilla project has been nothing less than a resounding success.

    Wow, four pages to get to this. About time. Begrudging, however. A poor, biased incomplete review.

    I'll give it a 2.
  • Overall they say that mozilla would make a good substitute for IE 6 but there is no major reason to switch over.

    No reason to switch over? I've been using Mozilla 1.0 in Windows constantly since 1.0 was released. IE 6 just feels so DUMB compared to it. I shouldn't even have to mention tabbed browsing or the sidebar tabs [netscape.com] and the great reference content that you can put there. As a web developer I find it indispensible. I can't speak for the average user, but I think that when this thing gets released as Netscape 7 with seamless support for all of the plugins Microsoft will be in for run for its money.

    Bottom line, there are major reasons to switch over -- tabbed browsing, control of javascript (no popups), searching Google from the url bar. I can't say enough.

    • TABBED INTERFACE OPTION
    • Block Popups/ other scrpting annoyances.
    • Superior SSL Handling
    • Superior Password Handling (you don't have to start typing the username)
    • XUL/Skins
  • Has anyone out there studied whether IE acts as spyware, where it "phones home" browsing habits or search strings?

    Ultimate control over who knows what could be an enormous advantage of Open Source browsers, such as Mozilla, and would make a much stronger argument against IE.

    I suppose this could even be applied to Mozilla vs. Netscape, because it is always possible that Netscape could add spyware, too.
  • I aggree with the 7, but for different reasons.
    But if mozilla Got a 7 what did IE get, a 4-5?

    I rate IE as follows.
    Javascript debugging 5 (7 for the debugger -2 for the anoyances)

    HTML rendering 5-6

    User interface 3 (it crashed too much and is anoying as hell etc...)

    Usability 6 (proxy bypass, zones and other things are great, and much missed when i switched to mozilla), the inability to override nasties drops the score down from 8 to 6

    Security 2 ( they do fix bugs otherwise it'd have to be a 0)

    Plugins &co 4 (OLE embeding is a mojor anoyance!)

    overall 4.7 (try harder)

    So mozilla 7 (getting there)
    IE 4.7 (try harder)
  • I have deployed Mozilla on win2k platforms in a small firm I work for (along with OpenOffice.org). They all love the tabbed browsing, the popup blocker, the stability, etc.

    However, the big culprit is the e-mail client. It chokes on badly formatted mails, is slow and lacks tons of options. For instance, it doesn't put the attachment list when you print the mail and also you can't tell it to delete e-mails from the server after n days, a handy feature when ppl want to share a mailbox. The address book is crappy too.

    For home use, I't's perfect... But when you get 400 mails/day, Mozilla isn't the right thing to use.

    Does anyone know of a robust and safe e-mail client on windoze? The Bat! seems nice, despite its crappy name...

    Cheers,

    -max
  • x-platform (Score:3, Interesting)

    by psicE (126646) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @10:16AM (#3985836) Homepage
    When AbiSource built their word processor, they did most of it cross-platform. You can look, and see that the majority of the source is in the 'xp' directores. But there's a lot of platform-specific code, too. Even though AbiWord is written with a cross-platform GUI layer, when you actually compile AbiWord, it converts the cross-platform widgets into native widgets. Therefore, you can run AbiWord on Windows, GTK, even BeOS, and it will use *native* widgets. Not emulated widgets, native ones. It looks like the platform you're using, because it is.

    I understand that the Moz guys want cross-platformability. But XUL is bloated and slow. The Moz team should know full well that the only reason anyone uses Galeon, or KMeleon, is because Moz is too slow! So why can't they follow the Abi example, and have XUL widgets convert to native at compile-time? They can still use XUL for unsupported platforms, but have native GTK or Win32 widgets for the two most common.

    The Mozilla team made a great browser, really. But I think it's fair to say, probably a good half of their prospective users, if not more, would use it except for XUL. They should do something about it.
    • Re:x-platform (Score:5, Informative)

      by ttfkam (37064) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @12:27PM (#3986895) Homepage Journal
      *sigh*

      Repeat a lie enough and it will become truth I guess.

      The real skinny on XUL: It is not as slow as people make it out to be. It is not the reason for Mozilla having any speed problems. It *is* compiled into native instructions when your browser is up and running. This functionality made it into the tree some time ago. Too many people were howling about the slowness of XUL two years ago to notice apparently.

      Don't believe me? Try running a profiler on Mozilla sometime and report back the hotspots. What's that? Even though the source is available and people have access to profilers, not one of the XUL naysayers here even tried? But that would mean that they pulled XUL performance stats out of their asses. (To be fair, a couple of years ago, XUL had some major redrawing and rendering issues -- not the case today. Maybe it's just a case of stale info that desperately needs to be thrown away) In addition, projects like Galeon are not faster because of native widgets (although it may have been the case a couple of years ago). IF you look at feature-to-feature, Mozilla does more than Galeon. Just look at the JavaScript engines, the DOM handling (the DOM debugger, the DOM inspector,
      etc.), the fact that Galeon only runs on one platform(!), etc. Galeon is not Mozilla + native widgets. Galeon is Mozilla-- + native widgets.

      Does XUL intrinsically look exactly like native widgets? No. Does the classic theme look very much like native widgets. Absolutely. Does the modern theme look like native widgets? No. Was it planned to look "native"? No! Modern theme looks the same no matter what platform you are on. If you want consistency of browser UI when using multiple operating systems (as I do), then use Modern. If you want something more akin to a native feel, use classic. If you absolutely want native widgets, use Galeon, K-Meleon, or Chimera. That's what these projects are there for!

      As a side note, XUL is rendered by Gecko. You can't say that one is slow while the other is fast. They are different limbs of the same beast.

      As was pointed out on the Mozilla performance newsgroup, there is no magic "native" flag that makes video cards paint faster. Whether a widget is linked from a shared library, compiled from C, or read from an XML file (and later translated to machine instructions), they all paint to the same canvas: the system graphics library. If MFC has some innate advantage here, I'm sure that the folks who write Qt and WxWindows would love to hear about it as well as they would no longer be "native" either.

      The reason that Mozilla developers can handle the large number of platforms that Mozilla runs on is because of XUL. The code is amazing in its cross-platform purity. Fix a mail client bug here and it's fixed everywhere. Fix a UI bug there and its fixed everywhere. Contrast this with fixing a UI bug in the Windows code and it must be fixed in Mac (OS 9- and OS 10+), X (Xlib, GTK+ and Qt ports), BeOS, OS/2, OpenVMS(!), Amiga, etc.

      I'm not saying that XUL didn't take a long time. I'm not saying that it saved a whole lot of development time until recently. What I am asserting is that all new bugfixes and enhancements can now happen much faster (and have been for the last year or so) than would be possible with native libraries and widgets. And it's not like Mozilla isn't modular and reusable; how do you think Galeon and K-Meleon were able to be released so quickly? They whipped up a barebones UI up on the infrastructure written by Mozilla developers. If you like Galeon, K-Meleon, and Chimera, it probably has more to do with liking barebones UIs than an inherent deficiency in Mozilla's UI. That said, if that's your preference, more power to you. Just don't shit on someone else's meal when your food comes from the same kitchen.

      What the Mozilla developers have done is akin to shunning assembly language for C. Back in the day, C was slow and bloated as compared to hand-crafted assembly. Then people noticed that they wrote more and with fewer bugs with C. Then the compilers got better. Then assembly didn't make much sense except in small niches. Imagine! Writing your UI in a simple text file and handling UI events in a simple scripting language. Don't like the UI colors? Just edit CSS files instead of editing .c files and waiting for the recompile. Your program UI can be as simple as editing a web page!

      But I can hear it now. "But it's not as fast as compiled UIs." "It uses more memory." In a couple of years, advances in the rendering engine and the XUL processor (think 'compiler') will narrow the gap so far as to make the gap imperceptible. It's assembly versus C all over again. Which side do you want to be on? Personally, I think life is too short for recompiles.

      If you want to get down and dirty, recompiling at every step, write an operating system or help out on the Gecko renderer and XUL processor. For everything else, there's XUL, scripting, and CSS.
  • XUL (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gpinzone (531794) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @10:39AM (#3986043) Homepage Journal

    The major detractor was the user interface, since it didn't feel like a Windows application. This was probably due to a poor understanding by the authors of XUL [mozilla.org].

    Oh yeah, his observations are invalid because he doesn't know about XUL. You know what? Not many people know or care about XUL. What they want is a browser that looks consistent with the rest of their applications on their particular OS. Your comment is invalid.

  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @11:34AM (#3986502)
    Real simple: The mail client. I've got three e-mail accounts (personal, mailing list and business) that I need to juggle and I just don't have the time to figure out how I'd go about it in OE. In Mozilla I add the incoming servers and log-in names and I'm done.

    On top of that, my business e-mail account all but requires me to use mail filters to manage incoming mail, and after having used OE's filters exetensively I'd have to say that Mozilla's are easier to configure and manage. It's the little touches like being able to create a new folder in the filter editor that's really nice. And when you delete the folder in question, Mozilla gives me the option of automatically deleting the related filters as well (something OE doesn't do).

    Oh, and I find myself hitting Ctrl+T in IE all the time whenever I have to use it. I've been so pampered by tabs it's not even funny.
  • by sjbe (173966) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @12:43PM (#3986999)
    No major reason to switch? Hah! Here's just a few reasons why I use Mozilla instead of IE.
    1. Tabbed Browsing. Don't know how I lived without it.
    2. Fine grained cookie blocking/control
    3. Image (read ad) blocking
    4. Free as in beer and speech
    5. Cross platform. Some folks use more than Windows ya know?
    6. Popup blocking. 'Nuff said.
    7. Skinnable. Don't like the look? Change it.
    8. Security. Lack of integration with other MS products is a good thing.
    9. Fast. In my experience Mozilla (Gecko) is faster than IE most of the time on Windows. And rarely is is slower. Plus did I mention it's cross-platform?
    And that's just off the top of my head. While any one might not be enough all of them together are pretty compelling.

    I thought the review wasn't especially well done and there was some functionality the reviewer obviously didn't explore thoroughly. (tabbed browsing comes to mind) I can't for the life of me figure out what he means by IE being more "polished". He rightly points out that installing plugins is more of a pain than it should be but most of the rest of navigator is no worse than IE from a "polish" standpoint. Not that I can see anyway. I suppose there is some wiggle room for personal preferences but the differences aren't huge.
  • by bfields (66644) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @01:13PM (#3987163) Homepage

    To paraphrase Richard Stallman: Why can't we talk about freedom? Why don't any of these reviews make any effort to explain mozilla's licensing and why users should care about it? (Mozilla has a license that allows multiple companies to make competing implementations, and that gives users rights instead of making draconian restrictions. This is an important different that ordinary users can appreciate.)

    I can understand why reviewers would feel they should mainly focus on features and the user interface. But to overlook these huge licensing issues completely, to not factor them into the final rating at all, is to ignore a huge glaring difference between mozilla and the competition.

    --Bruce F.

  • by BrookHarty (9119) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @01:24PM (#3987226) Homepage Journal
    1. Extremely Slow on extremely large sites, unresponsive (looks like program hangs) (large tables, source code, large amount thumbnails)
    2. One busy tab can hang Mozilla.
    3. Image place holders should allow you to scroll a page while its loading. Scroll bar freezes.
    4. Spell Checker crashes. (to be fair, its a beta spellchecker)
    5. Crashs on multiple tabs loading.
    6. Little Bloated, Would like things seperated, Mozilla browser crashs, email crashs with it, downloads crash.
    7. Personal bar doesnt wrap, should have a drop down menu at the end. (imho)
    8. Downloading, Mozilla copies the file, after it downloads, and hangs until copied.. (not to mention if it crashs, you loose your download,very annoying, might switch to a download program to bypass problem) Why cant it just save to the directory you select? Why copy, and need 2x the space...

    They fixed the context menus on the personal bar when I submitted a bug report, All I can is WOW. These guys are on the ball about fixing it. But I see a trend to blame the website authors and mark bugs as "Evangelism" or "WontFix", or push off till next year. I do believe thou, some of the developers are off on a break, so thats why the push off till next year.

    Remember, I am not a developer. I just read the news, report and follow the bug reports. I truely like Mozilla, themes, tabs, email/news client that is very nice. I would consider my self as a poweruser, I do tend to push mozilla harder than the average folks.

    -
    Do you use DirectVNC [adam-lilienthal.de]?

  • by loconet (415875) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @01:42PM (#3987337) Homepage
    "One of the beautiful things about open-source products such as this, though,
    is that you can freely modify the source code and make your own build of the software to
    suit your specific needs. While many Ars readers do this, the average power-user will not,
    so we will skip over the build process and focus on the pre-compiled program itself."


    Right off the bat you know he's just saying this out of courtesy, to say that he mentioned
    one of the strenghts of OSS, and not get flamed.

    In the other hand..Hopefully he undertands that being able to look at the code
    and modify it to suit your needs is not the only benefit of an OSS project like this.

    "Mozilla could have handled many of these problems in much the same way Opera does:
    by spoofing the browser identity string to impersonate another browser.
    This functionality isn't present in Mozilla, even though it would solve many of the incompatibilities between
    Mozilla and the rest of the internet."


    You mean incompatiblities between lazy web designers and the web standards? .. Why should the web browser pretend
    to be something else and bend the standards and allow those designers to continue with the non-compliant code?

    "I much prefer Windows XP's taskbar grouping, but many people see tabbed browsing as a godsend."

    Ok, first of all .. we all know its not "Windows XP's". 2nd.. How in the world can you prefer the taskbar grouping
    over tabbed browsing? Tabbed browsing is way more efficient than having to move you mouse all the way to the bottom
    , click and wait for the task list to show up, and then remember which was the window you wanted.


    "Unfortunately, you cannot tell it to open all new windows in new tabs, regardless of how they are generated,
    so you will end up with more than one Navigator window on your screen from time to time."


    CTRL + click !


    "A good UI is functional, adaptable and transparent. Navigator is reasonably functional,
    completely inflexible, and sticks out like a sore thumb."


    reasonably functional - eh... way more functional than your normal browser out there.
    completely inflexible - hmm, no?
    sticks out like a sore thumb - this is actually arguable. Although I have become acustomed to the interface, I wish it was faster.

    "Most of Navigator's looks are defined with "skins" and skin developers have quite a bit of control
    over how the browser looks."


    You are contradicting yourself! see previous point.

    "Much like IE, however, it will remember per-session cookies even after you leave a page.
    It will hold that cookie until you close that particular browser window.
    If you often use a site that uses such cookies, make sure you log out of it - Navigator will not do it for you."


    Out of curiousity.. What browser deletes a cookie when you leave a site? Most cookies used for one time log-in purposes
    on websites will stay for the duration of the browsing session or until they expire. Why would the browser delete it!?

    "Some users may like the skinning features, and be fine with having limited control over
    where browser elements are placed and what they look like."


    If you don't like a skin, dont use it ..period. Is that not control?

    "There is no feature compelling enough to prompt a switch from IE 6, aside from personal taste"

    Personal taste? hahahah

    - IE has 100 times more security holes
    - pop-ups blocking
    - tabbed browsing
    - Web standards compliant (Gecko)
    - Awsome community support
    - Very useful plug-ins support: ie: Mouse Gestures
    - Mozilla actually prints pages on paper better than IE.
    - etc .. etc .. etc ...

    I switched long ago, and not only because of personal taste! plzzz

    Although he makes some valuable points, you could tell right from the start, he was always defending IE. Now, thats personal taste(interest?)

  • by slank (184873) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @02:37PM (#3987732) Homepage

    [...] but there is no major reason to switch over.

    Ha! Here are 8 reasons [microsoft.com] to start with. 16 more [microsoft.com] if you're using IE 5.5.

  • kmeleon? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Khopesh (112447) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @02:50PM (#3987828) Homepage Journal
    hey, now
    what about kmeleon?
    it may not have had an update since last october, and I may never have tried it, but it's gecko with native windows widgets and even designed to look and act like IE.

    I am sure that they could use some help...
    That kind of project (though perhaps with some more attentive/dedicated people behind it) is the one we need to have a stronger opponent to IE. And no, Opera just doesn't cut it for mainstream audiences; banners==bad

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