Is Internet Explorer becoming obsolete? Will Firefox Destroy the Giant?


Firefox tabs are great. They are convenient and keep me organized. I can open several links from one website in separate tabs. I can save all of the tabs at once in the bookmarks and open them at once. Firefox was the first browser to use tabs. How ingenious is that?

The first browser plug-ins that allowed modification by the end user were offered by Firefox. However, Mozilla is not completely open source.

A big pull for me is the fact that Google browser sync works with Mozilla Firefox but not internet explorer. Google browser sync is amazing. This tool saves web history automatically… and much, much more.

Description: Google Browser Sync for Firefox is an extension that continuously synchronizes your browser settings – including bookmarks, history, persistent cookies, and saved passwords – across your computers. It also allows you to restore open tabs and windows across different machines and browser sessions.

Security of Google Browser sync….”Google Browser Sync will use your PIN to encrypt your saved passwords and persistent cookies. Your PIN is only stored locally on the computers where you install Google Browser Sync so other computers will not be able to decrypt your data unless they can guess your PIN. For added security, use a longer PIN that includes both numbers and letters. You can choose which browser settings you’d like to encrypt but passwords and cookies must be encrypted if you choose to synchronize them.”

Internet Explorer

Internet explorer has followed Firefox’s lead and is now somewhat modifiable. Explorer is not as modifiable as Firefox nor does it have the development community behind it as Firefox does. You could probably find three to four times as many plug-ins, themes, and extensions for Firefox than you could for IE7. I guess Microsoft would need to make their code more open in order for a larger developer community to exist. Firefox’s larger community may be mainly due to it being the 1st “next generation” browser allow for the user to modify it so extensively.

I guess Microsoft is al little more hesitant to share decades of work with the whole world. I can respect that. I mean crap wasn’t it IE that dominated the browser landscape against Netscape’s browser. Why? Because it was free! Um… good thing Google came along and woke these guys up again. Microsoft has been doing a lot more things now for free, including virtual PC.

IE 7 now also has tabs. As you can see in the chart below, my blog gets more Firefox traffic than Internet Explorer. Users go to more pages on average, have a lower bounce rate, and spend much more time on my blog. Internet Explorer does make up for it in new user traffic. This makes me wonder if my friends are primarily Firefox users. Firefox’s stats are clearly superior to Explorer’s, maybe the stats are skewed because I use Firefox and Google doesn’t know me so well.

This data is taken from Google Analytics and is from the dates in which it has been in the code on my website. I had originally posted a larger table here but my theme did not allow all the data to be seen. So I then decided to use Google Docs and well that was unpleasant because I am so use to MS Office 2007 that I just had to use the awesome graphs and charts. However, the funny thing is that the images best viewed in Internet Explorer for some reason, so even though I personally prefer Firefox you want to use IE7 to see my awesome graphs and pie charts. Firefox vs. IE user data table and pie charts are found by clicking <<<that link back there.





Internet Explorer












Mozilla Compatible Agent




A1 Website Analyzer


fake_user_agent Mozilla




9 thoughts on “Is Internet Explorer becoming obsolete? Will Firefox Destroy the Giant?

  1. “However, Mozilla is not completely open source.”

    Care to point out how Mozilla is not completely open source? Not only is our entire code-base MPL/GPL/LGPL licensed, making it the most successful tri-licensed consumer application available, but our process is as or more open and participatory than any other consumer-focused project of its size in the open source world.

    – A

  2. Asa,

    You are absolutely correct about every thing you mentioned above. In fact you said every thing I wanted to say but with a more concise use of vocabulary.

    I am extremely flattered to have an official representative of actually post on my blog.

    I probably should have talked more about the history between Netscape, Mozilla, and Microsoft.

    Prove me wrong here but lets face it. If Firefox was completely “open source” it would NOT be safe to use. I have downloaded so many plug ins from people I don’t know.

    Some even from websites that I have thought twice about before installing their custom extensions and plug ins.

    With Firefox I have never once had any personal information stolen from these plug ins and or extensions. Nor have I been a victim of a virus on my PC. I have not used a anti virus program for over a year now and I must say it is refreshing.

    This post truly was meant to be a tribute to Mozilla and the Firefox developer community. I wanted to represent the Mozilla Foundation and all its hard work for almost a decade now, in all its grandeur. I do apologize if i have offended you or your coworkers in any way.


  3. Apparently my theme is not condusive to a table with a lot of data. So I’ll have to look into change my theme. In the mean time here I added a link to a Google spreadsheet with all the data. Just above the table.

    I actually used a MS Office 2007 workbook turned into a HTML document which uses frames to show different sheets in the workbook. I liked it better, Google still has along way to go as far as I am concerned with use ability, style, and simplicity. Although I don’t care much for the frames :).

  4. Bart, Firefox is completely open source. You can read any and all of the code that compiles to create Firefox. You can take and modify that code and include it in your own products .There’s simply nothing about it that isn’t open source.

    I think you misunderstand how open source software development works if you think that open source cannot be secure. Firefox, which is completely open source, has had a much better track record of security than IE. Apache, the fully open source web server is more popular and more secure than web servers offered by Microsoft and others. The Linux desktop which is also open source has fewer security problems than most commercial operating systems.

    If your program depends on people not seeing how it works to be secure, then it probably contains flaws in its security architecture. If your program can withstand being analyzed and scrutinized at the code level and still does not get exploited, it probably has a strong security architecture.

    The “bad guys” can reverse engineer just about anything. That means hiding flaws in or flawed security mechanisms offers little protection. The real goal should be to identify and fix all flaws and design security mechanisms that are actually secure at the architectural level and don’t require secrecy.

    Give Bruce Perens’ article a quick read:

    – A

  5. Asa,

    So I can see how the code can be written by the open source community. So long as their are security controls like you have mentioned when the code is compiled into an executable which then eliminates an extensions, add on, or plugin from accessing private information such as passwords, and corrupting, or adding a virus in the installed source on any given PC.

    Personally as a hobbyist php and html coder I have never made a compiled and or installable piece of code before.

    I’ll have to take a look at that article. But it still takes the world an enormous amount of trust to use Firefox. Especially when Mozilla doesn’t have any financial incentive to keep the project going. Where Microsoft does.

    Unless of course you want to count the companies and people who fund the Mozilla Foundation. Perhaps they are the ones with the financial incentive.

    Non-profits like the Red Cross receive blood donations in which they sell to hospitals as part of their not for profit revenue. So in order to keep a job they know they have to get so many pints of blood every month in order to pay the bills.

    I guess it costs less to run Mozilla, but shoot your CEO can’t be making pennies. No one can work for free forever. Which is why I love and also hate the open source model.

    Its a great way to get experience for coders and for other to benefit for free from their work. But don’t you think you guys have also brought your paychecks down a whole lot in the past 8 years?

    I know college students working for pennies and their better and faster than the older coders. Utilizing new technologies and methodologies at almost maximum capacity. Yet they can only charge 15 to 20 an hour. Even the older guys don’t get paid $120,000 a year anymore. And if they do it usually doesn’t last very long.

    More and more freelancers from India, China, Philippines, and South America. These guys work for less than the college guys. Yet we Americans seem to have all this free time to develop software for free.

    I use worpress, MySQL, FireFox, Thunderbird I have dabbled with, SeaMOnkey looks great and I love its integration of tools. OpenOffice is awesome for a startup business. In fact all the stuff above I would have never had been able to afford the traditional way. Which brings me to love the open source community. Your creating more and more entrepreneurs then the world has ever seen.

    So please forgive me if I feel conflicted about the Open Source Community.

    Well I ‘ll take a look at that article on slashdot and get back to you Asa. Thanks for the comments. You have really helped me to think more of this through.



  6. Firefox’s big advantage was that it was not used as much as IE so most of the malware on the internet was not targetted at it. It doesn’t look like that is still the same. Last time I used IE, it crashed and I got the ‘Your computer may be infected with spyware’ popup. Haven’t touched it since.

  7. The only thing that bugs me about being a Firefox user is trying to help IE users troubleshoot their own problems! I was trying to help a client clear his cache and I couldn’t even tell him how to do it in IE, I had to ask the Google. 😉

  8. Alright, no need to start getting all high and mighty with your attitude, Asa. As a repesentative of Mozilla(?), I’m sure you could have addressed your inital post with a lot less hostility. Eg.

    “Hi there, Barry. Interesting read, though I must point out that our software is indeed completely open source”.

    Simply quoting a phrase from the article then saying “Care to explain…” etc. Is appallingly rude.

    Also, how did you get here – were you googling yourself / your software to find out how it was doing in comparison to IE? Thought so.

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