Rory Cellan-Jones

Firefox 3 - triumph or disaster?

  • Rory Cellan-Jones
  • 19 Jun 08, 16:34 GMT

The people at Mozilla, the organisation behind the open-source Firefox browser, are punching the air and claiming a world record. They reckon there were 8.3 million downloads of Firefox 3 within 24 hours of the launch, and they've asked the Guinness Book of Records to put them in the book along with all those strange types who hold their breath underwater for 15 minutes or sit in a tub of baked beans for days.

But not everything went to plan - first the servers just could not cope with the traffic, leaving many potential downloaders fuming, and then a security firm announced that it had discovered a flaw that left the browser open to attack.

So, I suggested to the president of Mozilla Europe, Tristan Nitot, not quite the triumphant launch that you were hoping for?

"Way better than our wildest expectations," he countered.

What about that security problem?

"No piece of complex software is without a security issue," he told me, before suggesting that it was a curious coincidence that the flaw, which is also present in Firefox 2, had come to light on the very day of the launch. He was keen to stress that it would be remedied very quickly and that users were not at risk because the firm which discovered the breach in Firefox's defences was not going public with the details of how it might be exploited.

But seeing as security was one of the big selling-points for Firefox in its battle to break the near monopoly of Microsoft's Internet Explorer, where does this leave the browser wars?

Mozilla says those eight million downloads gave Firefox 3 alone a 4% share of the global browser market - and Tristan Nitot says that by Thursday afternoon that had risen to 6%. Now many of those will be existing Firefox users but it looks as though this latest version has provided the "big push" Mozilla was seeking.

An independent web research institute, Xiti, said in March that Firefox had just under 30% of the European browser market, so this week's efforts should have taken it above that level. There are big variations though - in Finland and Poland, Firefox has around 45% of the market, in the UK the figure is under 20%.

Tristan Nitot says that, unlike Internet Explorer, Firefox puts a lot of effort into producing local versions - it's available in Catalan and Basque for instance - and that gives it an edge in smaller countries. There is no Welsh version yet, but Sebastian told me I was welcome to have a go, perhaps not realising my shortcomings in both coding and language.

My experience so far with Firefox 3 has been that it is both stable and fast, though one big disappointment is that two of my favourite add-ons, a TinyUrl creator and Google Browser sync - which enabled me to synchronise bookmarks across different computers - are not yet working on this new version.

Microsoft has responded to the innovations in Firefox, with Internet Explorer 8 coming soon, and Tristan Nitot says he's happy about that because it means Mozilla has improved the browser experience for everyone. No doubt Opera fans will be rushing to point out that their browser beats all the others into a cocked hat. But whichever browser you use, we now have a far more competitive and innovative market than five years ago. And that has to be good news.


  • Comment number 1.

    I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that Google Browser Sync was being decommissioned at the end of 2008 and that it would never be developed for Firefox 3.....


  • Comment number 2.

    I am surprised you used the word "disaster" in the title. Don't you think that is too strong? "Triumph or failure" would have been more realistic.

    Even someone who hates Firefox would not be able to say it's a disaster. They did great on the product, and consumers and reviews were very pleased by it.

    It is easy to hold on a little security loophole in the code and then post it like a flag above your head. The fact are, Firefox is well known to correct bugs security loopholes very quickly once they are discovered. For instance, they are far more security updates than for Internet Explorer, which takes time to correct flaws. This put IE's users at risk.

    By the way, there is now a built in "spelling checker" obviously (yay!). It wasn't there in Firefox 2 but no one has reported it. No I haven't installed any plug-in so it must be new, I wonder why no one has spoken about it...

  • Comment number 3.

    I might have overlooked the "Spelling checker". It might be a feature that was added on Sorry for my last comment.

  • Comment number 4.

    The titlemakes as much sense as 'Triumph or Blancmange?'
    Of course it was a triumph. It's at 12 million now.

    If a faulted piece of software is a disaster on the first day of launch, then Microsoft is a complete catastrophe. (yea, hardly...)

  • Comment number 5.

    Nice article even if dramatised to ‘the max’. The problem is with this story and others like it is… not much really happened(s), servers had trouble, millions of downloads took place and everyone was greeted with an improved Firefox. Everything went pretty much exactly how a lot of us would’ve expected.

    Wait for Internet Explorer 8 and then you’ll be able to justify the heading ‘Triumph or disaster’ (I predict).

  • Comment number 6.

    In regards to the post about the spell checker. That was in FF2 - they have added to it in FF3 though so it now spell checks single line entry fields.

    If Mozila had known about the security issue before release, I think they should still have carried on with the release date and time. Look how much press they had about it. They've had bad press about servers not being able to cope - it would have been even worse had they delayed launch till the hole was fixed.

    At least with firefox it should get patched fairly quickly.

    I've been using since a couple of hours after launch and have to say I'm very happy with FF3, it certainly feels faster than FF2.

  • Comment number 7.

    The latest version of Opera (9.5) was released this week as well, with a lot less hype. And I dont know quite how they've managed it but it now runs faster than the old one, and it looks better, and they've improved the tabbed browsing that Opera pioneered. They've even made it work better on sites whose understanding of "web standards" is sketchy. I think it's a fantastic bit of software and bodes well for Opera 10.

    But then the people who use and developed Opera already know how good a browser it is- they don't need gimmicks like breaking vague download records to prove it....

  • Comment number 8.

    I've been using FF3 since mid 2007, well the beta versions anyway. I have to say that since I started using the betas, I've seen much progression. Ever single update and release was a huge improvement to the last, apart from the Release Candidates, obviously.

    I think the best new feature is the "Awesome Bar" that was talked about on the blog. I own a small web design business, so I buy everything, sell things, read tutorials, view forums, browse for books etc and before the Awesome Bar I was ALWAYS losing the good websites.

    From a designers point of view, I have to say it's very standards compliant, just like all the other versions of Firefox.

    To be honest, it's not surprising their servers crashed, seeing as Mozilla were projecting about 5 million downloads and instead got 8.3m.

    Rory DC.

    PS I love how no one has complained about the BBC's coverage of Firefox, yet they did about the coverage of the iPhone. Gosh some people.

  • Comment number 9.

    Rory - Firefox has 25% of the browser market in the UK as reported.

    If the iPhone had a 25% share of the UK phone market, then it would maybe justify the coverage.

    Yet it doesn't.

  • Comment number 10.

    Thank you leedsto to put me back on the right track. I wasn't sure because on another site, it didn't work, so I had some doubt. Then it worked.

    I think this is the ultimate blogger tool! In fact, everyone post comments on youtube, blogs, facebook, etc... It is really great there is a built-in useful spell checker.

    By the way if you have Firefox 3, try typing a word in this comment box and make some mistake. It's underlined in red (a bit like most word documents program), then right click on it, and magic, like many document program you get some nice and clear options to correct the word. I am surprised reviews did not mention it, I think this is quite powerful.

  • Comment number 11.

    It's excellent. Much faster than FF2.

    Can't comment on Opera as I don't use it - I have FF set up with the add ons I want so don't see the point.

    As for the security flaw, it'll be corrected and patched. At least we won't have to wait until CanSecWest to find it. ;)

  • Comment number 12.

    I've not used Google Browser Sync but Foxmarks keeps your bookmarks in synch and is working on Firefox 3

  • Comment number 13.

    The big problem with Firefox - and with Linux in general - is that practically every new service idea is only designed to work with Windows and Internet Explorer. As a result, people who want to try new services are forced to stay with Windows. If this wasn't the case I'm sure many more people would switch to Linux/Firefox immediately. Until this problem is solved (and that's not likely in our lifetime) open source will not make serious dents in Microsoft's domination of the operating system/browser markets.

  • Comment number 14.

    It seems like people are becoming very partisan and emotional about their browser choice which is really a bit silly. FF is a great browser that plays well with standards and as a designer and developer this is the most important factor.

    I'm a Safari guy (sometimes Camino). On mobile I think mobile Safari blows everything else out of the water, but both Opera and Nokia's implementation of Webkit both deserve honourable mention for bringing a pretty good browsing experience, standards support, and support for more modern features such as decent javascipt, AJAX and CSS support to regular mobiles.

    And it's largely thanks to FF (and Safari and Opera) that Microsoft are now taking standards support more seriously. IE7 was an improvement, and I hope IE8's support for CSS 2.1 and CSS3 will move the whole game forward again. Even Mozilla's employees and leaders acknowledge that, so I would expect the fanboys to do the same.

    A note about iPhone coverage, it wouldn't matter if the iPhone didn't break 2-3 percent of the mobile market (though it will shatter that in the long run), what it's done for mobile browsing and the competition it has triggered is phenomenal and in a few years you should be thanking Apple for finally kick-starting the mobile web proper. Though the FF news is great, it really is a relatively small iteration of a good product. The iPhone is a quantum leap in it's segment and deserves the coverage it's received, regardless of whether it is the right device for you.

  • Comment number 15.

    The new Firefox is ok but unfortunately practically none of the popular extensions work with it. I have reverted back to the early 2007 version and because I mentioned on a forum that I have several older versions on backup CDs, I was inundated with so many requests to send various versions to members, that I've put them online for a week to save me time !
    I know Mozilla can't help it but they have obviously changed something very fundamental if only the very minimum of extensions work.
    Many extensions are there to save the user time. I save at least 2 hrs a day using my installed extensions and I'd rather use an older version and save myself 2 hrs a day then have the new version and waste those 2 hrs again.

  • Comment number 16.

    There is another add-in which I have used for some time. It is called Google Bookmarks Button. Works very well. You get a drop-down list of all your Google bookmarks (on any computer). You can also create nested folders by creating nested tags (separated by /). Check out:

  • Comment number 17.

    bighullabaloo: Actually, the majority of websites work across browsers nowadays since most web designers (and even Microsoft themselves) have realised that targeting a browser rather than HTML standards is a recipe for disaster. The only things that give problems these days are Active X sites (few and far between) and Silverlight 1.1 which should be fixed in the coming days/ weeks.

    Helvetica1: Which popular extensions are you referring to? I have found that the most popular ones have been updated to work with FF3; in fact every extension that I used in FF2 is working now with FF3 (at any time this is between ten and twenty) - and you can also use Nightly Tester Tools to override the compatibility check if you really need an extension and are willing to risk it :-)

  • Comment number 18.

    I find it hard to believe that people would actually take note of these download figures and lay claim that they prove Firefox owns any precent of the global browser market. They only prove 8 million people have downloaded it, not that 8 million people are using it over other platforms.

    I can tell you that, as a web developer myself, I would fully expect atleast 30% of that 8 million downloads to be web developers who require ALL browsers in order to produce multi-platform websites. Added to that, I would fully expect a further 30% to be people who like to have both IE and Firefox and don't favour either.

    When it really comes down to it, I really doubt this has made any beneficialy new dent in IE's monopoly. The only good thing that will really come from this (we hope) is that it prompts Microsoft to put newer better features into IE8 and, as I and the rest of the web developing world hopes, a more confirmed standardised IE.

  • Comment number 19.

    "The only things that give problems these days are Active X sites (few and far between) and Silverlight 1.1 which should be fixed in the coming days/ weeks."

    eyesy_79 - The view you've chosen to take of what I wrote is so narrow as to be totally misleading.

    I am not talking about a few browser glitches with incompatible websites. I am talking about things like new services launched by major companies.

    For example, British Gas recently offered a new service for tracking household energy consumption: guess what - it only works with Microsoft Windows. They have no plans to make it work with Linux.

    This is the one big reason why people are reluctant to switch to Linux?Firefox. Those brave souls who do quickly find out it doesn't work with their favourite website SERVICE, regardless of whether the website is "cross platform" or not.

    There are many, many other examples I could give. Until people like you pull their head out of the sand and address the problem it isn't going to go away.

    I am a fan of Linux/Firefox. I laughed when I read that according to the BBC a single security vulnerability in version 3.0 qualifies as a "disaster".

    Since Microsoft introduced Windows XP in October 2001 they have been patching multiple security flaws every month without fail. I just installed the latest one this morning. Now that really IS a disaster!

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    Just want to mention one thing to Rory - Adding a language to open source software like Firefox requires no coding skill at all!

    Anyone can do it. It quite simply consists of editing a text document with the original english 'messages' on the left and the new language on the right.

  • Comment number 22.

    FF3 seems to be working fine, though I am not keen on the look of the Location Bar and the downloads box.

    The location bar is so stuffed with information that it is almost unreadable.

    Thankfully I found a remedy as an addon - OldBar makes it look like the more friendly old location bar on FF2

    And that is the point about FF - it is more customisable than IE

    Security wise there is very little in it - though FF is meant to be more compliant to web standards.

    Is that a bonus though? Strikes me that not being able to render certain stuff in the way that IE does is just bullheaded and no advantage to the user.

    I like Firefox, but if people don't want to change from IE - FF has yet to offer them a reason why they should.

  • Comment number 23.

    I like Firefox, in fact i'm using it right now.

    But this idea of a record is just silly.

    A record like this should happen naturally, not via some announcement that an attempt is being made, otherwise it is worthless.

  • Comment number 24.

    What a bizarre headline Rory - I can only assume it's deliberately provocative. Whatever difficulties FF3 may have experienced on download day, 8 million downloads is unprecedented and something to be celebrated.

  • Comment number 25.

    Wow. at least Opera manages to get a mention on the BBC. Even if it is in the dusty, dim lit corridors of its blog-site. A real first!

    "No doubt Opera fans will be rushing to point out that their browser beats all the others into a cocked hat."

    Well, you asked:
    - In the 5 days since Opera 9.5's launch it managed an impressive 5+ million downloads. - As usual, no major security flaws have been found. Opera's security record is second to none, go check secunia for yourself. Opera also has many features to help ease user's security concerns, like anti-phishing and anti-malware site protection. None of the others have the latter.
    - All round, it feels faster than the other browsers. Just try using it for a few weeks. It wont dump on your system (no, not even registry keys) and happily coexists with anything else.
    - Opera has more features crammed in and available out of the box for its tiny 5M download. By the time you outfit FF3 with all the extensions needed, it becomes a slow memory hog. Safari, at 20M+, is fast but is just too feature light.
    - Most of Opera's innovations (starting with tabs) have been ripped off by the other browsers, yet this is never mentioned: examples: tabbed browsing, the (not so) awesome bar/addressbar search and full page zoom, mouse gestures - all since Opera 7 (end 2002).

    The truth is, Opera just doesn't have friends at the BBC. Nor does Linux. I accept the argument that news needs to be reflective of public interest, but providing endless free publicity (aka 'news') for something that's already popular does nothing but disadvantage the competition.

    In my opinion, news should be balanced and not driven by celebrity-style success, particularly in non-entertainment domains.

    So I remain with a fairly pathetic plug: go try Opera for yourself and explore its features and design. It won't cost you in any way to do so.

  • Comment number 26.

    I've used Firefox for 2 years now, I have IEtab as an addon for those websites that refuse to get compatible, but otherwise I haven't touched Microsoft apart from OS's for years, because for all the attractions of Linux as a gamer I can't get away from Windows.

    Firefox, Thunderbird and Open Office are all great products and a REAL alternative to Microsoft, I only wish more people would give them a try.

    I think that public sector offices should be mandated to at least trial them rather than blithely shelling out fortunes for multiple MS Office licenses. It would save taxpayers a fortune in the long run and encourage genuine competition in the office market.

  • Comment number 27.

    bighullabaloo: The article and debate is about Firefox and web browsers, not Linux and operating systems. Last time I checked, Firefox is available for Windows as well as Linux and Mac etc. So the issue with British Gas is at best a criticism of Linux and / or British Gas - it's not a problem with Firefox or the web in general.

    For some reason you seem to be tying Firefox to Linux, whereas in reality - as far as I'm aware - the majority of Firefox users are in actual fact running Windows.

    My point was that web developers are now more and more targetting HTML 4 as the standard rather than Internet Explorer, which can only be a good thing for Firefox, Opera, Safari et all.

  • Comment number 28.

    "My point was that web developers are now more and more targetting HTML 4 as the standard rather than Internet Explorer, which can only be a good thing for Firefox, Opera, Safari et all."

    Perhaps so, but still by large a minority of the web developing community.

    More often than not, the development of a website and whether it is cross-platform capable or comforming to HTML4 standards is simply a matter of time, man power and cost.

    As it stands right now, for the smaller web development firms, it just isn't always cost effective to spend extra time developing a site that will work across the board. Its cheaper and less time consuming to develope a website that is simply just compatible with the latest version of IE.

    As a web developer myself, I can say that from my perspective is about being lazy or not, but from the business front it can be the difference between making a profit and running into the ground.

    For those saying that FF should drop standards and match IE, I don't believe that should be the case. I don't personaly like FF and I don't personaly intend on ever using it besides testing to ensure the sites I develope will function in it, but I like the fact that FF and Opera are constantly forcing Microsoft to edge ever closer to the conformity of standards that the global browser usage really requires.

    As a fine example to this, PNG files make an aweful lot of difference in web design as they introduce very nice alpha effects, yet IE6 and below do not support it. If it wasn't for FF and Opera, IE7+ probably wouldn't have supported it either.

  • Comment number 29.

    Gurubear: "Strikes me that not being able to render certain stuff in the way that IE does is just bullheaded and no advantage to the user."

    On the contrary, it's how all browsers should operate. One of the so-called 'advantages' of IE over Netscape in the early days was that IE was - and still is - more forgiving of poor/lazy coding. As such, many people have become accustomed to creating pages full of sloppy code and not realising it.

    If all browsers were adherent to standards and unforgiving of poor coding, the pages wouldn't render in ANY browser, and so it would rightly fall upon the page creators to promptly rectify their mistakes.

  • Comment number 30.

    @ HackerJack:

    Silly? Or ground-breaking? What I don't think you realise is that just about every world record that has been set has been an organised event(of course, not the oldest or fattest people in the world etc)

    @ bighullabaloo, I think eyesy_79 is right, you seem to be tying Firefox to Linux. Fact of the matter is, if British Gas(I know the bloke who made their website) and others only want to target only IE, I say let them, it's their money that they're wasting.

    @effzee25, Admittedly Opera is a very good browser in the form of standard compliance and a few other features, but there's just something that I don't like about it. To be honest I think it's mostly to do with the custom window chrome they have. Also there's a few things that it doesn't support(like transparency in favicons). Opera gloats supreme security, but last time I checked it was allowing the execution of cross-domain AJAX: a big no no.

    Rory DC

  • Comment number 31.

    "As it stands right now, for the smaller web development firms, it just isn't always cost effective to spend extra time developing a site that will work across the board. Its cheaper and less time consuming to develope a website that is simply just compatible with the latest version of IE."

    When I knock together a site using dreamweaver and some handcoded PHP and html (even just one for myself), I automatically test it on IE, FFF, Opera and Safari. Takes all of 5 minutes to do so and is hardly an overhead to my time.

    And massive sites take the same amount of time since I would never dream of developing a site that was not template based.

    I have never come across a company that didn't make sure everything was cross browser compliant.

  • Comment number 32.

    eyesy_79 and Dexter:

    Oh spare me from the blog police!
    I didn't say there was a problem with Firefox. Quite the opposite if you care to read my post properly.

    Firefox is the most popular browser yet from the open source community. It is still widely associated - in the minds of many of the people Mozilla hope to convert - with the open source movement.

    I'm aware there is no technical link between Firefox and Linux but to assume as you do that everybody else knows that too is a big leap.

    If you are in the business of trying to win people over to an alternative product it helps now and then to think about the reasons why people are reluctant to switch regardless of whether those reasons are correct or not.

  • Comment number 33.

    23. At 11:59am on 20 Jun 2008, hackerjack wrote:

    But this idea of a record is just silly.
    A record like this should happen naturally, not via some announcement that an attempt is being made, otherwise it is worthless.


    And I assume the original record for the 4 minute mile was a natural event, and not an organised one with timers and thousands of people crowded round the track??


  • Comment number 34.

    @ bighullabaloo

    There are a number of businesses and schools in my area that use Firefox over IE. It's a matter of preference and security for most businesses above everything else.

    In your first post you talk about things being tied to IE and Windows, there's such thing as Flash(and quite ironically in this situation, Silverlight) which many services use.

  • Comment number 35.

    I don't understand some people's view points here.

    The vast majority of web developers will code with W3C compliancy in mind now. Those who don't are fly-by-night cowboys. The kinds of people who, in a different time and place might knock on your door and offer to tarmac your drive, and vanish without a trace.

    It should not be the responsibility of browsers to introduce poor rendering in order to keep compatibility with Microsoft's browser, where it breaks standards. The biggest benefit of Firefox, is that its an open-source free, high (if not perfect) standards complaint browser.

    Opera, whilst I think its a brilliant browser, is closed source, and originally was pay-for and advert supported. They haven't been able to get the support outside of Scandinavia. They had to start from scratch. Mozilla was backed by AOL in the beginning and the source code's origins is in Netscape.

    I don't think bighulabaloo really understands what he is talking about. He seemed to link Firefox and Linux himself, and got corrected. You would be surprised at the amount of people who know there are different browser options, and that you can get software on different platforms.

    The reason people don't switch is ease of use and familiarity. People associate the Internet with a big blue E icon with a swirl around it. If you got an IE skin for Firefox 3, and changed the icons used on a PC to that big e, I bet the majority wouldn't notice. All they want to do is access the internet. They don't care about standards, and shouldn't have to. It should be developers that worry about those.

    It doesn't matter to them which browser they use as long as it just works, and meeting standards, as software developers for browsers and web developers will give everyone the best experience available.

    As for plug-ins not working. Developers should upgrade quickly, because other developers will fill the gap by forking the existing code, if the demand is there. Thats the beauty of the open-source model.

    As for the person talking about government departments using Linux, Firefox, OpenOffice etc. As a school manager. I would love to do so. However, the specialised software used, both education tools, and administrative tools just aren't being developed for anything other than Windows in mind. Let alone issues with things like Microsoft Sharepoint, browser plugin compatibility (ActiveX) and OOXML / ODF.

  • Comment number 36.

    Its actually amusing to see the 'Browser wars' returning - and partially from a Mosaic/Netscape descendant no less. I remember this the first time around, when AOL bought out Netscape and bloated Netscape, people turned to IE because it was already installed with Windows 95 (IE3) or 98 (IE4 or 5, depending on 98 or 98SE).

    Yes, it's good that competition to IE forces the hand of web standards compliance, but it's laughable that this is thought of as something new. Compliance is basically made because of competition and if you don't believe me, look at the history of Javascript and JScript as an example.

    I use Firefox, and have done since before it was known as Firefox. I used to primarily use Netscape before it became bloated. I like Firefox and am an Open Source advocate, believing in what it stands for, but that being said - I believe that the Firefox Download Day was a failure.

    Why was it a failure? It wasn't planned properly or well thought out. They didn't load balance their servers properly to local or regional mirrors and consequently, the effect was that they asked the world to give a massive distributed denial of service attack on their main servers.

    The whole starting point was also mis-timed too, forgetting that it started in effect at 6pm for the UK, after many IT departments that would probably wish test it would have gone home, and gave no thought to countries who are in time zones ahead of us. That they advertised download day with a date in mind, to break a world record that didn't even exist yet, to this I think they fell short and in the end, that harms the credibility of the browser, and potentially the wider open source community.

    I think Mozilla needs to realise that part of its strength is that it doesn't come out of Silicon valley, but out of the world - if Download Day hadn't been centred around the U.S and their time zones and servers, they would have hit a higher figure in the end.

  • Comment number 37.

    I heard lots of great things about Opera, the one most people banged on about the speed.

    I gave it a good test run, but I just couldn't get past the ugly interface. I really don't understand why a company who is trying to break into an a market which already has an excellent piece of software would want to make it look so ugly.

    Other than that; the browser worked pretty well, although nothing special. There was certainly no noticeable speed difference, apart from maybe a second or 2 in startup time. It's loaded with useless gimmicks like mouse gestures and voice control, but to be fair they are not intrusive so you are not forced to use them.

    I was happy to go back to FF/Flock.

    If Firefox is having a hard time converting people from IE, Opera has got no chance.

  • Comment number 38.

    IE has always been full of holes and a popular target. It equally stands to reason that as Mozilla gains in popularity that it too will be prone to more and more attacks. Equally, as IE has always endeavoured to stay ahead of the damage, so will Mozilla. The big difference here is that Mozilla offers a far better product, and a far better experience. Yahoo for Mozilla!! I saw a press report of 14 millions downloads! Great job.

  • Comment number 39.

    With 14 million downloads so far and still counting, I'd hardly term it a disaster.

    So far the only real disaster is what's happening at Yahoo right now.

  • Comment number 40.

    I cannot even believe this is being discussed. Firefox is a huge success in every which way especially compared to Internet Explorer which sucks every which way. BTW my browser of choice is Opera and it is simply the best with Firefox coming in second.

  • Comment number 41.

    For people interested about the dictionary / spelling checker feature included in Firefox 3, or wishes to extend the number of languages supported by the browser for spelling checking, here is the link:

  • Comment number 42.

    I am happy with Firefox 3, and I am not as concerned about the security flaw as I am concerned that the company who found it went public. They should have told Mozilla and then kept their mouths shut... instead they treated it is an opportunity for a claim to fame!

    Why not tell the world's terrorists how to infiltrate Buckingham Palace, the White House or the United Nations building in New York?

    I feel much safer knowing that hacker's do not know about security issues, rather than some company blowing on the horn saying "Yay! We found one! We found one! Nah-Nah, nah-nah-nah!"

    Now every hacker out there is looking for this very same flaw! Bad taste going public, very bad taste!

  • Comment number 43.

    I have used Opera and I love it for its speed, but for some reason certain small quirks can render it unstable, though still usable. Firefox for me is the heavy hitter (well it should be judging by the hit my CPU and RAM takes), but I love the plugins, the accessiblity to the community, the fact that the GUI is really simple no at all fiddly, the fact tha I can just type in a bit of the name of the URL and it'll find the one I need automatically. Firefox is pretty much here to stay.. now I just need a couple of my favourite plugins updated and I'll be away.. Pity you can't get it for you're Nokia Phone..

  • Comment number 44.

    I suggest uninstalling Firefox 2 and having a plain new installation of Firefox 3.

    When I simply updated Firefox 2 to Firefox 3, the spelling checker was not working. When I was closing the browser and multiple tabs were opened it did not ask me if I wanted to save them. Finally, my CPU usage was about 110,000 ko to 120,000 ko for 4 tabs opened. After a uninstall of Firefox 3 (updated from Firefox 2) to a new install of Firefox 3 from scratch, the same tabs once opened took only 80,000 ko.

    Everything might be working very nicely for you, but if an update from Firefox 2 does not show up, I suggest to reinstall Firefox 3 from scratch. By the way, make an update of your bookmarks first, and be warned you might have to do a little of configuration of your settings.

  • Comment number 45.

    I mentioned the RAM usage and not the CPU usage of Firefox in the above comment.

  • Comment number 46.

    I'm using FF3 on my iMac and the claims of better memory handling from FF2 seems, for me anyway, to be non-existant. I had a 3hr session, only maintaining 3 open tabs, and the memory use was over 220MB. So I thik I'll be going back to Flock.

  • Comment number 47.

    Flock is FireFox, except more system heavy.

    Flock 2 is in Beta using the FireFox 3 Backend

    Flock 1 uses FireFox 2

    I am loving Flock 2 but the load up time is still a bit of a pain.

  • Comment number 48.

    Flock isnt Firefox, its powered by Mozilla and has different memory management than that used in Firefox. While Flock is initially system heavy, I dont see the growth in memory use that I see with FF2 or FF3.

    I am going to investigate further whether my memory problems with FF3 are down to a specific plugin (although I'm only using 3: Adblock, NoScript and Customize Google) or whether I require an update for Java etc, because I have many Mac-using friends who have told me they have none of the problems I have.

  • Comment number 49.

    After browsing and running No-Adware there are only 2-3 cookies that need removing while running IE there was always 12-15.
    Is this FF?

  • Comment number 50.

    Opera has been the real innovator, with IE and Firefox copying many of their ideas. I still prefer to use IE, which remains the fastest of the three big browsers. And without cleartype, firefox looks clunky.

  • Comment number 51.

    Great! I really wanted more features in my browser. More features, thats what we like. In everything. Regardless.

  • Comment number 52.

    I've found Fx 3 to be much better than previous versions. Fx 2 was, for me, a bit of a dip, but 3 is much better (been using nightly builds of 3 since 2 came out).

    Thing about Opera (I've been using 9.5 - first version I've touched since 2003) is that it doesn't have the same feel as Firefox and lacks some features that I enjoy (while having extra features that I don't use). First off is userChrome in Firefox - the ability to quickly customise the UI with CSS. I haven't found anything like that with Opera. Yet, anyway.

    Second is AdBlock Plus. I know it's an add-on for Firefox, but Opera's built-in ad blocker just lacks the polish and features of AdBlock - ABP allows me to block text elements, not just images. Sure, I can use CSS to block elements, but can I be bothered doing all that work myself when ABP has lists of stuff to block automatically that I can subscribe to?

    Third, the awesomebar in Firefox 3. I love it because it searches bookmarks. And I don't keep my browsing history, so the oldbar from before Fx 3 was useless to me. Fx 3 also has tags and one-click bookmarking. Of course, Opera 9.5 allows you to search content of pages in the address bar, but it doesn't do that for bookmarks.

    And I have found no real speed difference between Fx 3 and Opera 9.5 (Opera occasionally starts up faster, but they both start a hell of a lot faster than IE - 7 or 8). Also, the new version of Gmail crashes Opera. No one else seems to have this problem and I know it's the Gmail dev team's problem that they haven't gotten it working with more than a couple of browsers, but still...

    In regards to bloat, although I am told that Opera has far better memory management when it comes to other apps being run simultaneously, it takes up, on average, three times the RAM that Firefox 3 takes up. Absolute deal breaker.

  • Comment number 53.

    Although it's important to get the security loophole information across to the public, the most important things are:
    -anti-virus software
    -ensuring that you don't log on to your PC as an administrator.

    I'm always bemused by this 'battle of the browsers' nonsense. It really is out of date. This is what a browser does:
    -it sends an http request across the internet to the server
    -when it gets the response, it displays and formats the markup on the screen

    This is all that it does! You may as well argue about which is better - black or brown shoes. I cannot believe so much fuss is still being made about which browser is best.

  • Comment number 54.

    It is important that Firefox continues to take market share, as that means that web site developers will continue to develop for it, and it as a product will remain strong and healthy.

    Why is this important? Well, two out of my four PCs run Ubuntu Linux, so using IE is not an option for me, or the millions of others like me. Without a decent web browser, Linux would die a horrible death, and without competition from the open source world, Microsoft will be less accountable than they already are.

    Whether your a Microsoft fan or not, having all desktop computing supplied by one company (2 if you count the rich kids with Macs) has got to be a bad thing.

  • Comment number 55.

    cjseary: Maybe 5 years ago that's all they did - but not any more. Things like increasing use of Javascript and Ajax, cloud computing, offline web access and web 2.0, the use of the browser has become much more than a simple mechanism of viewing information in a one-way, stateless kind of way that it used to be.

    I know the point that you're making, but these days the browser itself dictates a significant portion of the end-user experience in combination with the pages offered on the web.

  • Comment number 56.

    just curious, how can 8.3 million downloads be a disaster?

    Yes there was 1 security flaw exposed. Thats a triumph - only 1 flaw?! How many does IE have?
    There could be 10+ reported weekly at one point.

    One thing i do feel needs saying is the dismal performance firefox 3 offers to macs. Not only is the current safari still faster, the beta 4.1.1 is noticably faster, and my current browser niche camino is faster still - at loading webpages and initializing.

    I think open-source browsers are starting to see higher % of the market, obviously there will always be IE, and unless there's a huge fall out firefox will continue to be the web dev's wet dream, glad you did mention opera though - when i was using vista it was the only browser that made life bearable. On IE-exclusive web sites it would render pages to at least look funcionable, whereas the firefox prejudice by "IE loyalists" would make a website unviewable.

    If you use windows, use opera
    If you use mac, use camino if you want ultimate loading speed, or safari for the full package (especially when 4.1 comes out!)


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites