View Full Version : Gartner urges caution before downloading Firefox

02-14-2005, 04:54 PM
Hi guys, just saw this. What do you think? I say Firefox will emerge stronger.


02-14-2005, 05:40 PM
The only even slightly credible statement in that article is this one:

Gartner also noted that Microsoft Corp. could regain market share simply by updating Explorer, although it's unclear whether the company will choose to make a significant upgrade before the arrival of its next-generation Windows operating system, code-named Longhorn.

"Microsoft's response to Firefox growth is limited by how much it ties a revamped Internet Explorer to the release of Longhorn," the researchers said in the study.

Other than that, they draw a lot of conclusions about Firefox's security and future without sharing a shred of current evidence. They also say that various "big players" are jumping on the Firefox bandwagon by offering toolbars that have been available for years in IE, which seems ignorant to the fact that they still offer them for IE. Also, who needs all of the google/yahoo/etc. toolbars when a search facility comes with FF that allows you to easily search the various sites directly? It's really typical of these statements from research groups; I think they count on IT people being incredibly dumb.

There have been dozens of research statements urging caution about open-source software yet few of them make an impact because they're completely ignorant to the fact that open-source users are educated enough to make their own decisions about what software they use (or are just fed up with competing MS software). I don't expect this to slow Firefox down any, but I don't really expect it to make FF any stronger either.

Heh, it's funny when pro-IE FUD (which I'm labeling this as) contains Firefox praise...

Horus Kol
02-14-2005, 05:52 PM
I think the point about when FF becomes more popular as a browser, it will become more of a target is perfectly valid - so I don't shout at everyone to get FF, because then it will become the dominant browser....

Ideally, I'd like about 4 or 5 browsers to be out there, offering about equal share in the market... then it would be too much effort to find all the exploits in all of them.

Edit: What on earth are all these companies out there doing allowing their users to install their own software?

Browser switching is taking place at the level of individual users, rather than organizations,
we have a policy of keeping the uninitiated out of the loop at our place of work, and we still have problems with spyware sneaking in with toolbars!

02-14-2005, 06:07 PM
I think the point about when FF becomes more popular as a browser, it will become more of a target is perfectly valid - so I don't shout at everyone to get FF, because then it will become the dominant browser....

It will be targeted more frequently, but the only foreseeable problems I see are the punycode issue Willy pointed out a while ago becoming widespread and XUL/XPCOM becoming as commonplace and abused as ActiveX in which case FF could theoretically suffer some security problems similar to IE. That will only happen if developers forget the lessons learned from the abuse of IE's ActiveX though, and if those technologies are proven to be full of holes.

The point is that they refuse to speculate on any future problems, but rather simply say that Firefox should be avoided by organizations that should instead continue using a browser that is proven to be insecure and deprecated. I hope we get a chance to see if the open-source model produces a browser that outperforms IE for security in the domain of a dominating browser; it would prove an interesting experiment at the very least.

I'd recommend Opera to people too but it's even farther from IE in terms of user experience than Firefox is and the ads are kind of annoying. Certainly, if all browsers rendered the web at least in a similar manner (no more hacks for one or the other) it would be good to see the emergence of many different browsers and rendering engines. I don't see that happening for a long time, if ever, though.

02-14-2005, 11:19 PM
I think Firefox will continue to increase it's market share over the likes of IEvil. Opera etc are still good browsers, but a lot of people don't seem to recognise them as browsers which will do the same, if not better job as IE. Most home users who are "light internet users" will probably not recognise the fact that there are other browsers available rather than IE.


02-15-2005, 07:37 AM
Ever since i've started using Firefox i have never missed / wanted to go back to IE.

I just feel a lot more comfortable with Firefox (with all it's security features and all).

To be honest IE would really have to go some way to make me switch back, and i just can't see it happening... :D

Alex Vincent
02-15-2005, 09:35 AM
As a serious Mozilla contributor (and now someone who gets paid to work on Mozilla code), let me say this:

The core premise of this article is accurate.

Companies should think twice before jumping on the Firefox bandwagon, according to research firm Gartner Inc.

It's a fair statement. You wouldn't jump from Windows to Linux, or vice versa, without considering all the situations. Nor would you jump from Mac to Linux, from C++ to D, or from any major platform to any other major platform without giving it a due, credible, and tough assessment.

What you use at home is nice and pretty to these corporate executives. What is better for their bottom-line long-term as businessmen? Consider you have to retrain your workers, get dedicated support for them, and if some major issue comes up, you have to throw it all away.

When money is the issue, (and for corporations, it's typically the only issue) rash decisions are not always the best.

02-15-2005, 02:16 PM
which prompted a patch that stops XPIs from installing when a page loads.
Please explain to me, why was this allowed in the first place?


In other recent studies, Gartner has recommended companies re-examine their standardization policies and reduce their dependency on a specific browser. But the reality is that operational considerations make Explorer difficult and costly to replace for most companies, Gartner said.
Do you think there would be a market in offering toolbar extension development services for FF?

02-15-2005, 06:14 PM
Please explain to me, why was this allowed in the first place?

Imagine creating a new browser only to learn that the most common-sense security issue with the Mozilla platform's extinsibility has been overlooked. :p
Only the Mozilla developers could say why it happened though.

Alex: good point, I suppose the premise is valid (though the article IMO still did a bad job of supporting it) as it makes little sense to migrate from any system to another without long-term proof of cost effectiveness. For this reason, some corporations are still running JRE1.2 or earlier as well. As Bruce Eckel put it in his weblog, no corporation wants to risk having major problems because a Java developer at Sun was overworked the final week before the release of a new JRE. I think this applies to Firefox and the Mozilla platform in general as well; no corporation should risk money on a new browser that hasn't been proven in a production environment when their current browser can be bullied into working in a production env. by restricting it from doing anything other than viewing simple HTML on an intranet. But should a report really be necessary, given that IT people in large corporations know what they're doing?

I guess I tend to take an end-user standpoint on software, even when I probably shouldn't. :o

What's the deal with D anyway? I looked at a comparison chart (http://www.digitalmars.com/d/comparison.html) out of a general interest in programming lanugages and it seems like a potentially horrible but potentially brilliant hybrid of C++, Java, and various scripting languages in concept with C++ syntax. Of particular interest was their explanation of how garbage collection makes D programs faster, though D doesn't seem to have been created with any purpose other than to replace C++ which may (probably will) keep it from moving past obsolete status. Then again, Java was created with the purpose of running on set-top boxes...

02-15-2005, 06:22 PM
I like D, granted I'm not gaim enough to really develop anything significant in it yet... I'm happy with C++... I doubt it will really get any further than it currently as simply because of these new fangled managed languages.

[edit:] I do plan to port my game engine to D once it's finished and I have the time to just sit around for a month or so doing nothing.