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Firefox and Open Standards the Way Forward 254

Posted by timothy
from the but-that's-just-the-wine-talking dept.
lamasquerade writes "A major Australian newspaper has a lengthy and detailed feature on open source/standards, avoiding vendor lock-in, and specifically the increasing uptake of Firefox by major organisations' IT departments. It touches on security and price advantages of open source but mainly focuses on open standards -- the perils of vendor lock-in, and their importance to technologies like the Internet and digital music. Linux, OpenOffice.org and even Bugzilla get a mention and all told it is a very pro-open source/standards article, especially considering it is in a mass-circulation publication."
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Firefox and Open Standards the Way Forward

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  • by Atrax (249401) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @12:49AM (#12009000) Homepage Journal
    ... it's in the other Fairfax paper [smh.com.au] too

    Identical article, but shows that the coverage is even bigger than you might initially expect if you weren't familiar with Fairfax.
  • by syousef (465911) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @12:49AM (#12009003) Journal
    ...and wants its article back.

    Substitute Firefox with Mozilla, and throw in a reference to The Cathedral and the Bazaar while you're at it.
  • by dn15 (735502) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @12:53AM (#12009027)
    It's great to see a mainstream article taking this relatively well-rounded look at Firefox. There have been a million stories about how it has tabs and is free and secure, but that's just a part of the story.

    Even if people don't care about any of the end-user features, it's important to support a more open Internet by using clients that at least make an attempt at conforming to standards. Many people may not care about this but there's no way they can care if they don't have the chance to hear about it.
    • by jbn-o (555068) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @02:37AM (#12009563) Homepage
      Neither open standards in general nor the state of Massachusetts program (which was recently interpreted to allow in Microsoft's proprietary formats) mean that users get software freedom. For this, one has to request the freedoms of free software and avoid software which doesn't users these freedoms. So, no, it's not "all about standards", it's partially about standards. Free software (with a mature license that has something to say about modern-day freedom-removing dangers like DRM and software patents) will give you open standards, but open standards will not give you software freedom.

      Photoshop's ability to load and save PNG files doesn't mean I can inspect, share, or modify Photoshop to suit my needs. Depending on the license agreement and the method by which I have to install the program, I might even be restricted from running the software whenever I want. The closest free software image editing program to Photoshop is The GIMP. The GIMP's native image format is well-documented, at the very least, within the source code of that program which all are free to inspect, share, and modify.
      • Photoshop's ability to load and save PNG files doesn't mean I can inspect, share, or modify Photoshop to suit my needs. Depending on the license agreement and the method by which I have to install the program, I might even be restricted from running the software whenever I want.

        The point is that if Photoshop ceased to exist tomorrow or had a licence change that conflicted with your business practices/moral code, you have the option of changing to a different piece of software that supports the same file formats, etc. The same cannot be said for software with closed file formats - (ok, not entirely true since people _do_ reverse engineer closed standards, but generally because a lot of the support is guesswork they're not going to do such a good job. An excellent example is OOo, which opens and saves word documents but often gets the formatting slightly (or massively) wrong).
    • by Anonymous Coward
      An excellent article, but it fails to highlight the importance of open, transparent standards in security and authentication in general. I would like to be able to digitally sign my docs, but I won't do it with a proprietry format, supporting vendor lock-in. Similarly, email needs uniform, open encryption standards.

      The web in general needs security without personal identifying info, or info submitted to one trusted base with forwarding of yes/no authentication to other sites that ask for it.

      While buying
  • by filmmaker (850359) * on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @12:54AM (#12009029) Homepage
    "I'm staggered and close to offended that some businesses choose the risk of vendor lock-in, and I'm staggered by the timidity of some IT managers," he says.

    There are a variety of orgranizations, large and small, that utilize open source technologies. As was pointed out in a recent thread about the looming IE7, the lack of a centralized, push-button management tool for corporate customers is one thing hampering Firefox. Another thing are applications that utilize Active X and are dependent upon an MS browser as part of their platform. Isn't a lot of high tier banking and insurance software like this; I've read that anyways?

    I don't think it's timid IT people. As frightening as it may be, folks who are of my age bracket (28 this summer) are now being put into positions of leadership in technology. People who've spent 5 to 10 years with Linux and accept it. I can't imagine life without Perl and Apache. Simply unthinkable. Firefox and Google are part of this scenerio as well, which is what the author of the article is alluding to: a culture of open source software and open standards.

    What I think is so great about Firefox is that it shows the promise of open source in full bloom and it speaks for itself. Nothing's worse than an OSS nerd trying to convince a normal person why they should switch to XYZ program or platform. Not that the reasons lack legitimacy; I'm just saying it's physically painful to watch because most folks don't want to hear it.

    But plop a slick "modern car", as the article puts it, in front of them and they immediately reach for the steering wheel.
    • by Nos. (179609) <{ac.srrekeht} {ta} {werdna}> on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @01:13AM (#12009141) Homepage
      Most of the IT managers where I work are nearing retirement. At this point they seem timid of making leaps into new areas. As its been said before, nobody ever got fired for choosing Oracle, and that's how it is with IE. These are people who have spent most of their careers dealing with the big commercial Unix boxes (AIX, Sun, SGI, HP) and Microsoft. They don't understand (for the most part) how something without a brand name or big company headquarters can produce and sustain quality software. Hopefully as these folks retire and younger folks move in, we'll see a shift, or at least more acceptance of OSS.
      • by hey! (33014) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @08:46AM (#12010996) Homepage Journal
        OK, I want you to take a mental snapshot of the state of your mind when you think about how those old fogies are holding back progress. If someday you reach the top of of the IT heap, have it framed and put on desk, where you have to look at it every day.

        It's true that many older guys are too conservative. In part this is experience -- we've seen too many better solutions get crushed by herd -- at some point you begin to question the wisdom of not being part of the herd. The other reasons guys get more conservative is that they have more to lose. If you're a young guy starting to climb the ladder of status, you don't have much to lose, and you can find another junion position easily. If you're older, you quickly realize the ladder of IT status only goes so high, and there's a lot more rungs below you than above. If you lose your position, then that could be it -- there aren't that many senior positions and nobody wants to hire somebody overqualified for a junior position.

        It's easy to take risks when you don't have much at stake; taking risks when you have a lot at stake takes real guts. That said, this is an explanation, not an excuse. Which is why when you are a bit older, you should examine your youthful idealism and examine it on a regular basis. Sometimes it isn't "If I only knew then what I know now." Sometimes it should be "If I only knew now what I knew then."
      • So, its the fault of "old-school" Unix hacks (now managers).

        Ok -- I am one of those (grey hair, beard, used to be a Staff Engineer at SUN).

        Now, Unix *has* been open. Open implementations, open specs. There was a strange kerfuffle with AT&T, along with some restrictions on Minix (that gave us Linux).

        But -- we thought that EVEN if software wasn't redistributable, it should come with source. After all, its kind of useless without it. We thought that the OS itself is a commoditity. Unix is Unix is... Uni
    • Actually the push button deployment technology exists, it is java webstart...
  • Henh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Matilda the Hun (861460) <flatsymcnoboobs <at> leekspin <dot> com> on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @12:55AM (#12009037) Homepage
    Of course major organizations use Firefox. A lot of the filtering software (i.e, Bess) only works on Internet Explorer (or whatever default browser they have). And if they can't play Solitare anymore, they have to do something...
  • by interstellar_donkey (200782) <pathighgate&hotmail,com> on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @12:58AM (#12009055) Homepage Journal
    "Which Australian paper did you say it was in?"

    "A major one"

    "Yeah, but which one?"

    "A mass-circulation publication"

    "Seriously, which one?"

    "It has an article about open source!"

    "I see".
    • by dn15 (735502)
      While I am not an Australian, I'd have to say "The Age" is a pretty mainstream publication. I see it linked all the time at Google News.
    • by bobinabottle (819829) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @01:21AM (#12009195)
      The Age is the second most popular metropolitan newspaper that is distributed in the second largest Australian city: Melbourne, Victoria.

      Whilst it is not as popular as the Herald Sun, the leading newspaper in Melbourne, it is regarded as the `more intelligent' paper whilst the Herald Sun is the tabloid equivalent.

      It would seem this doesn't account for much, but greater Melbourne has a population of over 4 million and afaik The Age is relatively well known internationally.
    • The Age is the second most popular newspaper in Melbourne (the second largest city). It is also publicised in the Sydney Morning Herald, which is the second most popular newspaper in Sydney (the largest city).

      Seriously though, all you needed to do is hover your mouse over the link and read at the bottom "www.theage.com.au"
  • Shame (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EdwinBoyd (810701) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @12:59AM (#12009062)
    I work for a large company and sadly most of their intranet sites use ActiveX. This pretty much makes Firefox unusable to the point where most pages will display the dreaded non-IE page. There are ways around it for people that know what they're doing but for the average user it's a sad state. The cost involved in switching over to be compliant with non IE browsers is never going to be justified by the IT dept either I imagine this is the same with many large organizations and could be a stumbling block for Mozilla
    • Re:Shame (Score:5, Interesting)

      by lemnik (835774) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @01:02AM (#12009086)
      I to am working at a large coperate with IE as the internal standard (we're not even supposed to have Firefox on our machines). That said Firefox works great on their network (though they don't use CaptiveX). I'd like to see some sites using XUL for admin backends etc. Lets make some sites Firefox and Mozilla specific and see what happens :P
      • d like to see some sites using XUL for admin backends etc.

        Thats the ticket. Encourage more vendor lockin. *rolleyes*

        For those who are going to say XUL is open source so any browser can implement. While true, name one non-mozilla family mainstream browser that uses XUL.
    • Re:Shame (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mrchaotica (681592) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @02:12AM (#12009460)
      Ah, they fell for the lock-in. Since there's no way they'll think far enough ahead to realize "hey, it's going to cost N-squared million dollars* to KEEP IE because we're going to have to bend over to Microsoft in perpetuity", I guess sadly the only thing to tell them is "I told you so." : (

      *i.e., more than the cost of switching to Firefox
    • Re:Shame (Score:5, Interesting)

      by LegendLength (231553) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [htgneldnegel]> on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @03:29AM (#12009733)
      Is ActiveX support hard to add technically? i.e. is it as simple as wrapping some DLL on windows?

      Note that I understand the lock-in and other bad aspects of ActiveX. Just wondering if it is a totally philosophical decision by the FireFox team or partly a technical one.
    • Re:Shame (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fpga_guy (753888) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @04:35AM (#12009982)
      I work at one of Australia's largest Universities, and recently contacted one of our service departments regarding a web application that gave a "Bad browser" message when accessed with Mozilla. I emailed asking if they had considered supporting a standards-compliant browsser like Mozilla.

      Here is the response:

      "Thank you for your email and information. You are the first to request this and quite frankly I had not considered it. I had always followed corporate policy - with central IT not supporting these I figured why should I? "

      This is what we are up against.

      Needless to say I have just forwarded a link to the main article!

  • by rsborg (111459) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @01:03AM (#12009089) Homepage
    Mozilla Foundation (aka MoFo) is a "US based charity"??? I would pretty much agree... but this is the MSM [urbandictionary.com] we're talking about!

    In any case, it got me interested in De Bortoli Wines [debortoli.com.au]. So I checked out their webserver OS: Netcraft reports:

    http://www.debortoli.com.au was running Apache on Linux when last queried at 22-Mar-2005 02:34:05 GMT
    I wonder if they financed this article...? I mean, Firefox is pretty damn kewl.
  • by dauthur (828910)
    After a while, the Firefox uptake will slow and so will its overall satisfaction rates, seeing as how I'm already getting popups on some sites now. Sure Firefox is infinitely safer than browsing in IE for excessive reasons, but at the same time, it's only safe because the whole malware world isn't targeting it. When IE7 comes out, I can only imagine a handbrake-style stop in Firefox growth.
    • seeing as how I'm already getting popups on some sites now

      Could you link to one of these sites? I've yet to find one.
      • See this thread [slashdot.org] for more information.
      • I came across one a few months ago and reported it, and it still doesn't seem to've been fixed. (Bug 273851 in bugzilla, which I'm not linking to directly because bugzilla blocks slashdot referers.) There's a short and straightforward test case - try it out [vuw.ac.nz].

        There's also a general bug that references all popup-blocker bugs. If you'd like to see all of those that've been reported, check out bug 176958.

        I suspect it's a matter of time before annoying website developers start browsing bugzilla and t

    • When IE7 comes out, I can only imagine a handbrake-style stop in Firefox growth.

      I don't think Microsoft want to continue with web browsers and standards. Seems to me like they're looking to Avalon to take care of it.
    • You can't judge the security of a software for its POPULARITY.

      Firefox is safer because its design is ROCK SOLID. While it may have one or two buffer overflow bugs lurking in the shadows (and when discovered these get fixed rather quickly), but that's very different from saying it has a structural flaw *cough* activex *cough*, which allows REMOTE CODE execution. To have remote code executing in a buffer overflow, you have to CAREFULLY CRAFT the overflow. It just doesn't happen like magic. Buffer overflows a
  • by cyberjessy (444290) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @01:10AM (#12009123) Homepage
    Anyone who is following the IE/Windows road-maps will find that the article is fundamentally flawed, in analyzing the intentions of the Vole. They are not trying to fight Firefox with better HTML and CSS compliance (though that is what they want people to believe). It is all about turning web applications into rich clients. In Longhorn, web sites can present a fully rich client to browsers through Avalon.

    Although, I am gonna get burnt for ignoring the benefits of cross platform capability, rich clients do have some significant advantages over web pages. This is especially true when it comes to businesses. For intranet applications, cross-browser compatibility will NEVER be the deciding factor. Security too will not be, since the application will be trusted. Features however will be.

    Personally, I don't like the idea of hundreds of powerful PCs simply used for rendering web pages. They are not that incapable.

    I know XUL is similar, but I doubt applications will be built on that. IE is standard in most organizations. And most of the Firefox acceptance is since HTML is supported on IE and Firefox. Building an application that will work only of Firefox (with XUL) might be a more difficult decision.

    • Personally, I don't like the idea of hundreds of powerful PCs simply used for rendering web pages. They are not that incapable.

      I personally love the idea. If I can visit websites that allow me to use a "program" over the web and it be just as fast and good as a well written app on my computer, I will happily use it.I use numerous different computers and it would be a big benefit to me.

      Having said that, it won't happen. Because all that has to happen is your internet connection go down and you are screwe
    • Building an application that will work only of Firefox (with XUL) might be a more difficult decision.
      That's a good point. Maybe we should implement XUL in KHTML too?
    • by bonch (38532) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @02:21AM (#12009497)
      In Longhorn, web sites can present a fully rich client to browsers through Avalon.


      Microsoft has always been a software company. And they may put out operating systems and be most-known for Windows, but really their goal is just to control software platforms. The reason they sell the X-Box at a loss is to push the DirectNext platform. They sell Windows, no matter how insecure, just to push their APIs.

      Avalon and its related technologies are Microsoft's long-planned attempt to finally gain control of this Internet thing as its own software platform. It's the final fulfilment of the process that started way back with IE4, when Microsoft decided to do anything and everything to get rid of Netscape and prevent the Web from becoming its own software platform. Microsoft ignores web standards because that takes the control of the platform away from them. Right now, if you run a major website, you code for IE hacks and all and hope it works for "fringe" browsers.

      Web developers will need to do absolutely everything they can and speak very LOUDLY to prevent the Web from becoming closed. Fortunately, it appears that Longhorn will not be as successful as it was hyped in previous years, but the fact Microsoft is porting a lot of Longhorn's technologies to XP just to get people to use it all is something to keep an eye on, as is the sudden announcement of a new version of IE7 which will no doubt take advantage of Avalon.
      • P.S. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bonch (38532)
        And before you bust out those "paranoia" modifiers, really think about Avalon. It delivers rich client support through the web. Microsoft is trying to leverage .NET and Avalon to eventually fully replace client-side Win32 with a web-based delivery platform. You'll use Office as a subscription-based service through the web, delivered through the web into your Longhorn browser and run as a rich client. None of it will happen immediately, but it's the inevitable process they're headed on, and you can see i
    • XAML is to XUL what J++ (or c#) is to Java: Microsoft "innovation". They see a promising technology, reimplement (badly, if not ass-backwards) it to suit their purposes, call it new, and the PHB's are none the wiser.

      Since it's against MS's interests to be cross platform, and XAML/Avalon is Longhorn/XP+SP3 (IE7) only, users/corporations have no choice but to choose the original technology, or pay for another ride on the upgrade-go-round.

      Applications are already being built in XUL, go check out MozDev [mozdev.org], or

    • by spagetti_code (773137) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @03:10AM (#12009676)
      I must agree with this comment.

      Anyone who is in two minds about this should simply try Outlook Web Access in Exchange 2k3. You have the option of the 'Premier' interface in IE (its very very good - good enough to ditch lookOut) or 'Standard' in anything else (which is ok, but relative to Premier its poor).

      Richness of web apps is MSs bet on what will force a new defacto standard for the web. Remember - MS **do not care** about standards - they care about customer lock in, they care about protection of their dominant position on the desktop and (at the most basic) the bottom line.

      So with that in mind - look at what is coming down the pipeline:

      • .Net - lock in to Windows (Ignore Mono - MS will work hard on FUD to make it unpalatable to corporates, and if it doesn't go away they will pull out a few dozen of their patents)
      • C# - lock in (see above on Mono). Now this was a brilliant move - instead of having everyone develop in a language (C++) that was *just* portable (if you used the right syntax and libraries and twisted your tongue just the right way), they create a completely new windows only language. Just brilliant. And even better, we are jumping on the C# bandwagon at a staggering rate.
      • IE7 - "better implementation of standards", which in reality means a whole new set of subtle incompatibilities and no support for css2. End result - web devs pick IE or spend hours trying to make code look good in Firefox, Mozilla, Opera blah blah. Lock in!
      • Win32, no sorry WinForms, damn! I mean XAML.
      • Proprietary SOAP compression. I mean DAMN how do you take a reasonable standard like SOAP (aside from it being far>/i> more complex than it should be) and add non-portable compression! I smell.... lock in.
      Remember people - MS are being good corporate citizens if they look after their shareholders, which means revenue, which means a dominant position. Gotta love capitalism.
    • The solution to that is to create an XUL plugin for IE: then, people have an open choice and alternative.
    • I have worked (for businesses) on entirely dumb terminal applications all the way through to full-on PC client applications. Tell me how rich it needs to be?

      It's surprising how much cheaper it is to run a totally dumb client. You can have a single codebase running without caring: it's server side. You can have a set of rules which you download (JS/XUL etc). Or you can have a full-size client.

      Often the only reason for running with a full client is because it's easier to develop. Not because it's neces
    • by Kadmos (793363) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @06:24AM (#12010369)
      [sarcasm]I have to agree here. IE and ActiveX is where web development is heading. I am confident that Microsoft will continue to support IE long into the future and will not drop support for it at an arbitrary time, like when something more profitable comes along or they change focus and my business is OK with that. I don't see that I will have any problems migrating my data away from any of their closed formats that I might be using, I won't have any problems updating their product with security patches, new features etc etc.[/sarcasm]

      But, on the other hand there is a reason I am writing a point of sale system with mysql and gtk on Debian:
      1. I can be confident that the system I am using is totally open to my every whim.
      2. I can implement whatever feature I need/want.
      3. My data will be in a format *I* want, and open to me for as long as it exists.
      4. I can have an operating system/distro which suits my business (and not arrange my business to suit somebody else's product). (I am surprised at list of software I have patched/modified to behave the way *I* want and I am not even a great programmer).
      5. I *own* my system in every sense of the word, one can only "license" a MS product for a non-specific amount of time.

      I have been using Linux for seven years and still find new things and new ways of doing things. The flexibility and abilities are apparently endless, not last week I built my own very small distro just for kicks in an existing install, a single file including it's own filesystem and linux distro which I loopback mounted and chrooted to work on/run. After all these years I am still grateful I don't have to use inferior products anymore. I haven't even begun to touch on stuff like virtual machines but they look... well they are just amazing :-)

      Just think: People all around the world are working/developing on some great stuff *right now* , the possibilities truly are only limited only by *us* and not some company who mandates how/what we can do.
  • What standards? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by HeroreV (869368) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @01:21AM (#12009194) Homepage
    I've been searching in vain to find exactly what standards Firefox supports (or the gecko rendering engine, or whatever is responsible for it). Is there some mystical list somewhere that will tell me what Firefox does and doesn't support? What about XHTML 1.1? Or full CSS 2.1?
    • Re:What standards? (Score:4, Informative)

      by digitalchinky (650880) <dtchky@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @01:45AM (#12009338)
      http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml11/ [w3.org]

      If you don't find the answer there, then search around the w3c site - lots of cool stuff - if firefox doesn't conform, submit a bug report, or patch, or a few bucks to one of the maintainers.

      • if firefox doesn't conform, submit a bug report, or patch, or a few bucks to one of the maintainers.

        Is there an (easy to use) formal system for a regular schmoe on the net to "submit a few bucks" to the firefox devs?
    • Re:What standards? (Score:3, Informative)

      by WiFiBro (784621)
      From http://www.mozilla.org/docs/jargon.html:
      Cascadin g Style Sheets. A W3C standard for defining presentation in Web documents. NGLayout supports CSS1 and most of CSS2.1. Some CSS3 properties and selectors are also implemented.

      Also read
      http://css-discuss.incutio.com/?page=Progres siveEn hancement
      http://emps.l-c-n.com/articles/84/the-i e-wishlist
      http://www.alistapart.com/
  • grumble grumble.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @01:27AM (#12009221)
    I get more and more pop-ups in firefox every day.
    is that bad....or good

    • Any word on the progress to fix these? It's not just Firefox; I get them in both Safari and Opera as well. Haven't tried IE.
      • Any word on the progress to fix these [popups]? It's not just Firefox;...

        Well, for Firefox and Mozilla, type "about:config" in the address bar, right click in the main window, new integer. Name it "privacy.popups.disable_from_plugins" and set the integer value to 2. It will reduce popups, especially if you have flash.

        • Any word on the progress to fix these [popups]? It's not just Firefox;...

          Well, for Firefox and Mozilla, type "about:config" in the address bar, right click in the main window, new integer. Name it "privacy.popups.disable_from_plugins" and set the integer value to 2. It will reduce popups, especially if you have flash.


          These hidden preferences for FireFox are fantastic... and one of the Mozilla developers documented them fully [mozdev.org]. He also created an extension [mozilla.org] to show them in the GUI.
      • Not seen any popups with Opera. I see some mention of using Flash to get around it, to which I reply (for your user CSS file, thanks to the author who I seem to have forgotten):

        embed[type="application/x-shockwave-flash"] {content:"Flash"; outline: 1px dotted gray; color: gray; background: black}
        embed[type="application/x-shockwave-flash" ].zichtbaar {content: normal; outline: none}

        body:before {
        position: absolute; visibility: hidden;
        background-image: url("javascript:(function(){window.onclick=functio

    • Which web sites?
      What version of Firefox?
      Do you have Flash installed? Flash uses a loophole in popup-blocking, since plugins are actually different programs (or modules) and can use alternate methods to open popups.

      To fix this, install Flashblock (requires you to click to open Flash movies/games (in other words, you have a choice not to open advertisements that create popups.

      Adblock is another method that works well. Simply right click to block ads, and there are numbers of blocklists already on the web

  • by ortcutt (711694) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @01:40AM (#12009304)
    The Age has surprisingly good tech coverage for a daily newspaper.

    They had this interview with Theo de Raadt last October.

    Theo de Raadt Interview [theage.com.au]

  • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @02:02AM (#12009416)
    Check out this from the article:

    On standards, Firefox has an advantage over Explorer. That gives organisations latitude to commit to standards rather than to products. That in turn reduces the leverage that vendors have over customers.


    Microsoft has hampered standards support in Explorer for five years with its go-slow campaign against the web. Standards-oriented page layout is not possible on most versions of Explorer (CSS box model). Explorer has never met standards for web document identification (HTTP MIME content types), or if one is supported, then simultaneously the other is not. Microsoft has shown an antipathy to web standards, because in the view of many they provide an alternative to the Windows desktop - Microsoft's core business. The success of web-based applications such as Amazon, Google, eBay, the open source Wikipedia encyclopedia and online banking point to the decreasing importance of Windows in a world where a web browser is sufficient.

    Look, a major newspaper calling out Microsoft for its obvious "Go-Slow" campaign. When more and more businesses start understanding at this point, and more and more businesses start understanding the implications of the lock-in they have let themselves get into - then things will get interesting.
    • Messed up the italics - the full quote is:


      On standards, Firefox has an advantage over Explorer. That gives organisations latitude to commit to standards rather than to products. That in turn reduces the leverage that vendors have over customers.

      Microsoft has hampered standards support in Explorer for five years with its go-slow campaign against the web. Standards-oriented page layout is not possible on most versions of Explorer (CSS box model). Explorer has never met standards for web document identific
  • by Trogre (513942) * on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @02:26AM (#12009512) Homepage
    I just hope that they keep innovating.

    Extensions for IE such as Avant and Maxthon can do pretty much everything that firefox can do (tabs, popup blocking, gestures), so don't get too comfortable with catching up based on a few features missing in the de facto standard.

    Not everyone, sadly, cares about the free principles, open standards, etc.

    • Cool. And what extension mimicks the javascript console, the web developer extension, the search-in-this-page-while-i-type, the Sage rss extension, the multi-engine-searchbox?
    • Extensions for IE such as Avant and Maxthon can do pretty much everything that firefox can do (tabs, popup blocking, gestures), so don't get too comfortable with catching up based on a few features missing in the de facto standard.

      Will they enable IE to run on all the platforms Firefox supports?
  • by Trogre (513942) * on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @03:21AM (#12009712) Homepage
    Things aren't looking so rosey if you look at the chart [smh.com.au] in the article. Apparently IE usage has increased from 20 May 2004 to February 2005, and Firefox use has decreased.

    If this carries on, IE will have 97% in just a few months...
  • speaking of Mozilla (Score:2, Informative)

    by FudRucker (866063)
    Mozilla-1.7.6 was just released this morning
  • Browser Applications (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BHearsum (325814) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @07:59AM (#12010704) Homepage
    I see many people talking about writing XUL plugins for other browsers, so people may start using that.

    Shame on you! First of all, XUL is *SLOW*. I really think it was a bad idea. Firefox has some major bottlenecks in UI responsiveness because of it. That's not really the big issue for me though. Quite simply, websites should not be applications. Period. I really don't believe in the idea, it annoys me. Let's keep the web simple, it's going to come to the point soon where you need a 1GHz CPU just to browse the web with any speed, ::sigh::.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken

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