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A Tale of Two Browser Blogs

Earlier this week I was all prepared to post the following, but figured I should give it time, sleep on it, and come back to this later.

Good thing.

These thoughts were hatched Tuesday, May 16:

"I did something important last week. I finally downloaded the latest Internet Explorer 7 beta, set it up, and promptly uninstalled Firefox. Hasta la vista, Firefox.

Let the comments fly (see the link below to post your own browser rant), but I've long said that once tabbed browsing was integrated into a stable version of IE 7, Firefox would cease to exist in my life. Not that I haven't (mostly) enjoyed Firefox. And I appreciate the fact that Mozilla helped Microsoft realize a little browser development wouldn't hurt. But I have my reasons."


And earlier this week it was true. IE 7 was terrific'easy to configure and navigate. I was all over the Internet in multiple tabbed windows. But that was then.

It seems I have Early Adopter-itis. Today, my shiny new IE 7 beta refused to launch. The window opened, the gears started grinding and then it disappeared. Would not start. Over and over again. No error message--nothing.

I couldn't launch Firefox because it was, ahem, gone. Guess my threshold for a 'stable version of IE 7' was too low. (Disclaimer: I have colleagues who don't have my problems, but hey, I'm not working on their PCs all day.)

So I uninstalled IE 7, then reinstalled it. Nada. Desperate, I tried finesse. I clicked my mouse button a little gentler, whispered to my PC and pleaded--time and time again--for IE 7 to launch just long enough for me to download the Firefox .EXE file.

It did. I did. And now I'm rewriting that blog entry I started.

Still, with some trepidation, I say that as soon as I figure this IE 7 thing out (or when a final version ships), it will probably be my only browser. Here's why:

  • I run some Web-based applications and use sites that simply run better in IE [Editor's note: When it stays open.]. So even when I was running Firefox, I was also running IE 6.


  • I've grown weary of opening or closing Firefox and wondering what happened. Sometimes the operation takes 15 or 20 seconds. I end up launching Firefox twice because I figure I mis-clicked.


  • The latest version of Firefox is inexplicably unreliable. It crashes several times a day. [Editor's note: This seemed a lot more important before IE 7 crashed eight times in 50 minutes this morning.]


  • Like others, I love tabbed browsing, and IE 7's is just fine with me. I especially like the Quick Tab view that shows all my open Web pages on one screen [See editor's note above re: when it stays open.].


  • Vulnerabilities are vulnerabilities. Both browsers have them. IE may have more, but I patch religiously and follow good, basic computing practices. I haven't felt the brunt of an IE flaw in at least three years.



But back to the present: With IE 7 holding on by a thin thread, I reacquired Firefox and installed it. IE 7 eventually went into a tailspin (crash, launch, crash, launch, crash) and simply wouldn't open again (although one of the crashes finally generated an error message--I reported it to Microsoft). I then re-UNinstalled IE 7 and reverted to IE 6. Uninstalling IE 7 wiped out some XP updates that came with it; therefore each time I uninstalled IE 7, Windows Update kicked in, which is a mixed blessing.

Now I'm back where I started. I'll try this whole thing again on another system. Maybe one in the GCN Lab.

I've also begun toying with Mozilla's IE Tab add-on. An extension to Firefox, it's supposed to make IE sites work better within the open-source browser by effectively embedding IE. It's not perfect, but it's a good solution for now.

I like Firefox just fine, but in the end I'd like to get onto a single browser platform. I never was one of those 'Firefox rules! IE stinks!' users. And I've never said something about IE like, "Isn't this just Safari? Once again, Microsoft rips off Apple." Along the same lines, it's not like I love IE. I'm just an Internet user. I'm in no mood to over-think my browser.

Na've? Maybe.

Hopefully, if you've tried the IE 7 beta, you've had better luck. Let us know.

Posted by Brad Grimes

Posted by Brad Grimes, Joab Jackson on May 18, 2006 at 9:39 AM


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Reader Comments

Fri, May 19, 2006 Brad Grimes DC

Thanks for the suggestion Limulus. Part of my good computing practices is religious use of anti-malware software. And our sys admin is on the ball, too. Being a tech editor, though, I probably put more than my fair share of software on this thing. In general, I try not to do too much install/uninstall for just the reason you bring up. It's part of the reason I'm particularly interested in software virtualization techniques like the one from Altiris (see www.gcn.com/blogs/tech/40201.html).

Fri, May 19, 2006 Limulus polyphemus

Most people running Windows don't seem to realize that a lot of the chaos on their systems, if not caused by malware, is caused by so-called "registry rot", "the gradual degradation of a PC as applications are installed and then uninstalled, leaving behind traces that reduce system speed and stability".Either way, you might want to do a clean install of Windows and then try installing both IE 7 beta and FF 1.5 to see how they perform after the bits are freshened up :)

Thu, May 18, 2006 Melissa Butler DC

I love Firefox and before that I loved Opera. First I got hooked because it was so small (before Java was included) and then because of tabbed browsing. IE 6 has a tabbed browsing plug-in, but I had trouble with that (it also had a popup blocker in it or something that caused me trouble) so I just stopped using it. Yes, there are some web apps that work better in IE, so I still use IE when I have to. But only when I have to. I'll have to try that MozillA Tab IE add-on you mentioned. 'm a big fan of Firefox extensions. I have never "felt the brunt" of a Firefox security problem, because I've been religious with my updates too.Good luck with your browser wars. My Firefox doesn't crash... Maybe it's just your computer.

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