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Do you think Firefox can win a significant share of the market?

Around 6% now and growing - some estimates put it over 10%.

I'm just curious what people think.

Philo
Permalink Philo 
March 27th, 2005
well, that's comparable to the linux market share, and ms sees it as a threat, so yes.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
March 27th, 2005
On two of my domains, the share between Firefox and IE is more like 50/50.
Permalink muppet 
March 27th, 2005
Define significant. A lot will ride on if IE7 is secure and a better interface. Now, Firefox has a lame interface so it should be easy pickings for MS to knock down.

Also, Firefox's development team consists really of only 1/2 person.

If MS can't beat that wit htheir team of dozens of highly paid professionals, they are pretty lame.
Permalink Davis Maculay 
March 27th, 2005
I use Safari at home for almost all my browsing, and for the rare cases it won't do something, I'll use Firefox next. At work, I use Firefox as much possible, but am forced to use IE much of the time and hate it.

As more and more people find that Firefox will meet their browsing needs, they will switch. I think the question is better put "Can MS IE keep it's current browser dominance?"

Given how vunerable IE is on the Windows platform, I'm amazed that anybody continues to use it at all.
Permalink Calgarian 
March 27th, 2005
The geeks are moving over if my blogs readers are any indication. My blog's user agent stats have IE only a few percentage points more than Mozilla/Firefoz.
Permalink ronk! 
March 27th, 2005
Nope. Not a chance.

They even choose to write their own installer. Talking about wasting resouces, which they don't have many.

Unless MS includes firefox in its os!
Permalink Rick Tsang 
March 27th, 2005
Talking about IE... Does it keep the websites you visit somewhere in the file system and there is no way you could remove other than using fdisk?
Permalink Rick Tsang 
March 27th, 2005
"Around 6% now ..."

What are you smoking dude?
Permalink IE is a piece of crap! 
March 27th, 2005
My dad likes it. That should say something about the hardly ever used a computer before type market.
Permalink son of parnas 
March 27th, 2005
It takes ages to load. I use it, but if IE 7.0 has tabs then there would be no reason to stick with Firefox :)
Permalink Pythonic 
March 28th, 2005
If IE 7.0 actually supports CSS 2.0 properly and its fixed the box model (which in doing so may break all the web sites with their carefully crafted work arounds) then it may take a proportion back of the Firefox %.

IE on the other hand is declining in % terms month over month and not just to Firefox. Firefox on the whole behaves better and for those that care about what the browser does becomes their browser of choice. Whether 80% care or not is another matter.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 28th, 2005
Very dynamic system, hard to say. I do think that Microsoft can smack Firefox out into orbit if it so chooses. But there may be some blowback if it does so too aggressively, such as antitrust and potential (weak) retaliation by other internet corporations.

The acquisition of Groove is scary though. That embeds them more deeply into things like the Dept of Homeland Security. May eventually be the source of new network effects.
Permalink Tayssir John Gabbour 
March 28th, 2005
Its conceivable.

Joe Homeuser will not swap, unless his geek friend Bobby does it for him. But if another major security problem is found in IE, it is possible that many big companies will do a swap. Its also possible that Dell will ship their boxes with the IE icon hidden and put firefox in its place.
Then there are the broadband providers that ship CDs with their installtion kits. They too might opt to go with firre fox.
If all of this happends IE would soon be in minority.

I dont think its likely, but it is possible.
Permalink Eric Debois 
March 28th, 2005
I have personally introduced around 12 windows people to ForeFox, with approx 7 of them actually taking it up as their new browser, thats a surprisingly high % IMO.

I dont use it myself, preferring Safari, but its a much more secure option than IE for those friends and relatives who *insist* on refusing to disconnect their windows machine from the internet altogether.

<g> ok, so that last dig was unnecessary; but FireFox is a modern, fully featured browser. As a developer who relatively often has to provide clients with web applications to sup;port their businesses, I desperately want everyone possible to upgrade to soemthing that fully supports CSS 2.0, which at this juncture means that I have to push everyone possible away from IE and hope like hell that enough other developers/geeks do the same....resulting maybe in either Microsoft giving up their reluctance to have a decent web browser; or in FireFox gaining sufficient presence that I can develop primarily for it.

Basically my web developer side has to either render IE irrelevant, or force it to upgrade. Its that or continue to write 2 or more sets of code (and worse still, pay my employees to write 2 or more sets of code) just to support sodding IE for the rest of my life.

Do me a favour philo, tell gates that if he continues to dig his heels in on properly supporting IE, Im going to spend my retirement writing new and powerful viruses just to spite him.
Permalink FullNameRequired 
March 28th, 2005
"Define significant. A lot will ride on if IE7 is secure and a better interface. Now, Firefox has a lame interface so it should be easy pickings for MS to knock down."

Well considering the fact that there are *dozens* of interfaces, themes, etc for Firefox, it's obvious that you don't know what you're talking about.

In some technical circles, non-IE usage is 90+%. In most technical services it's quite a bit lower. On my site, it's about 75% of the hits, but that's hardly representative.

Firefox is gaining more and more of the market every day. MS established that they don't care about the browser or the public when they release minimal updates for what 4 years now?
Permalink KC 
March 28th, 2005
If people would just add up all the Firefox entries in 'Add/Remove Programs' then they would see that there are almost 10 billion installs worldwide. Love that auto-update.
Permalink Deluxe Harry 
March 28th, 2005
I do agree that FireFox can gain share. But, like anything else. It will be a good thing. We can use both IE and FireFox, especially if you have a linux machine and windows machine.
Permalink Berlin Brown 
March 28th, 2005
I feel lorry for you if you think that a skin is a UI and that swapping skins is the same as changing the UI. But, I am not surprised. Many people, completely ignorant of what it takes to develop a programme, believe that the skin is the program.
Permalink Davis Maculay 
March 28th, 2005
Gee, Davis, I'm not aware of any options or dialogues in IE that have no analogues in Firefox (often with improved usability and MUCH improved performance, like the "clear all" functionality"). Please elaborate on the reasons that the IE interface is superior to FF's. As near as I can tell, they're 100% analogous and FF has the added bonus of allowing you to fully customize its appearance.
Permalink muppet 
March 28th, 2005
One fairly significant unknown at this point is what role Google is going to play into everything. It's quite conceivable that they may work to make a nice set of applications application for the desktop, via XUL. If that happens, then Firefox (well, Gecko) will become very predominant on many desktops.
Permalink Brad Wilson [MSFT] 
March 28th, 2005
----"Talking about IE... Does it keep the websites you visit somewhere in the file system and there is no way you could remove other than using fdisk?"-----

IE like Firefox and every other browser, keeps pages in cache. They are deleted when you reach the limit you set for the cache, but when you delete a file it is not deleted. The space is simply flagged as unavailable, and the data remains there until new information is written on top. That applies to all files on any disk.

Fdixk in fact will do little to hide your kiddy porn or bomb makeing activities from the feds or your wife. To be fairly safe what you need to do is to use a program that overwrites all unused parts of your disk with random ones and zeros, or with copies of the Koran, or the Bible or the Book of Mormon if you think that will endear you to the authorities in the location where you live. If you do this a few times your data is only likely to be recoverable by magnetic resonance, and even that is unlikely.

Bear in mind that this has nothing to do with IE being your browser or not.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 28th, 2005
"Bear in mind that this has nothing to do with IE being your browser or not."

Of course it does. Privacy concern is a big issue.

Same is outlook. Even you remove the data, uninstall outlook, format c:, reinstall windows and outlook. Outlook could recover your data.

Urban legend?
Permalink Rick Tang 
March 28th, 2005
IE can, especially after version updates (obviously that hasn't been an issue for a couple of years), "forget" which folders it added where with cached files. Thus if you clear your cache it doesn't remove the files.
Permalink Dennis Forbes 
March 28th, 2005
In addition to the normal cache in your History folder, IE keeps an index.dat file which retains history. There is no way to clear it out, but evntually the content gets overwritten as you browse.
Permalink Cowboy coder 
March 28th, 2005
Hehe... unless you have a knoppix cd.
Permalink Rick Tang 
March 28th, 2005
Back to the orginal topic, I think Firefox will hit an upper limit of market penetration as the ranks of geeks and savvy users are saturated. After that the adoption will be sparse unless a major catalyst pushes the market in that direction.
Permalink Cowboy coder 
March 28th, 2005
surprised that nobody has talked about Extensions yet. Thats the prime reason behind me moving to Firefox..
Permalink ShyK 
March 28th, 2005
There was a post in this forum a few weeks back by a guy who couldn't understand why all his visit links stayed blue.

Turns out he had the history set to 0 days in FireFox.

IE behaves differently, and even when your history is set to 0 days, still keeps some of your history... I don't know how long, perhaps 1 day or until you close the browser.

I think FireFox's method is more secure and honest. I'm not sure how this translates to the cache.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 28th, 2005
Does IE have a feature like "about:cache"?
Permalink Eric Debois 
March 28th, 2005
-----"Same is outlook. Even you remove the data, uninstall outlook, format c:, reinstall windows and outlook. Outlook could recover your data.

Urban legend?"-----

Naa, if you play a country and western record backwards your wife stops cheating on you. your kid recovers from being run over by the truck, you get your job back, and your dog walks right in through the door.

And when Simon sent me $999 I sent him a bottle of special lotion that caused his hair to grow back.

Send me enough money Rick and I'll recommend a course of action that will restore your reason.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 28th, 2005
"Send me enough money Rick and I'll recommend a course of action that will restore your reason."

Really? I think some court in the country after hearing various witness testimonies decided that Outlook keeps some cache information inside the filesystem so no software tools could remove the trace. The court has reviewed these testimonies and finds nothing contained to be unreliable.
Permalink Rick Tsang 
March 28th, 2005
"Back to the orginal topic, I think Firefox will hit an upper limit of market penetration as the ranks of geeks and savvy users are saturated. After that the adoption will be sparse unless a major catalyst pushes the market in that direction."

Actually for the past 18 months or so when someone asks me to "take a look at their computer", the first thing I do is install Firefox and tell them to use that. Then I throw on AdAware and whatever virus stuff they have and it's good to go.

I've told people that I won't even look at their systems if they still use IE. Almost every problem I've seen comes from IE combined with a bit of user ignorance.
Permalink KC 
March 28th, 2005
Muppet, here is what I said:

"A lot will ride on if IE7 is secure and a better interface. Now, Firefox has a lame interface so it should be easy pickings for MS to knock down."

I did not say that IE6 has a better interface than Firefox. I said Firefox now has a lame interface and so it should be easy pickings to come out with something a lot better.
Permalink Davis Maculay 
March 28th, 2005
Rick, one of the certainties in life is that courts are incapable of reaching correct judgements about anything related to technology. That is why the US patent system is such a mess, and is the underlying reason why Sony has just been ordered by a judge to stop selling PlayStations.
Permalink Ian Boys 
March 28th, 2005
Just like to thank Stephen for the efficacious hair restorative which I particularly recommend for those with bare palms. Those with bare scalps, however, should avoid towels for 36 hours.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 29th, 2005
OK Davis, so what's wrong with the Firefox (and IE, since it's no better) interface? How would you improve it? I'm dying to partake of your genius.
Permalink muppet 
March 29th, 2005
----"I think some court in the country after hearing various witness testimonies decided that Outlook keeps some cache information inside the filesystem so no software tools could remove the trace."-----

Exactly the kind of precise technical information one would expect on a nerds forum :)

Incidentally, weren't we talking about IE and not Outlook.

The cache information is obviously kept "inside the file system". If it wasn't no program would be able to access it.If you mean that deleting the cache from the browser doesn't necessarily even erase it from the file system, or that even when it has been erased from the file system index.dat still contains infofmation fair enough. To remove the trace you simply open the file in Notepad and edit it, or turn off System File Protection and delete it.

I have a colleague who is clinically paranoid, and a firm beleiver that all his surfing is being monitored by MI6 who have set up a keyboard logger on his machine, as well as having tried to murder him on at least two occasions. Whenever he browses the web he uses a portable hard drive he keeps in a caddy and boots off that. If you're as worried as he is, I suggest you follow his advice.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 29th, 2005
He didn't notice that we, umm, they swapped his portable drive with an identical copy, right down to the serial number except that it has all our, err their, monitoring gunk on it.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 29th, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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