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Firefox Myths

Myth (Definition) - A fiction or half-truth, especially one that forms part of an ideology. While Firefox is a decent Web Browser, there are numerous Myths floating around the Internet regarding it. Hopefully this site will debunk some of these.

Interesting as quite a few of these are widely believed to be true. Please no flaming. ;)

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Last Post by kirovs
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I really respect the guys that run that site, but this article is just laughable. I'll openly admit that I am an avid Firefox user, but my issues with the article have nothing to do with my affinity for Firefox.

My beef with the article is that the writer correctly and validly points out the fallacies of the myths but does not specify where the myth came from by providing a balanced interpretation. Since I am somewhat bored, I guess I will make my own list.

  • "Firefox has lower System Requirements than Internet Explorer"
    I don't know who claims this since its very easy to see that Firefox can be a very big memory hog and is just as bad as IE when it comes to completely locking up all the CPU cycles from time to time without reason.
  • "Firefox is faster than Internet Explorer"
    It is true that people claim this, but it is an example of taking a concept out of context. While it is true that IE cold starts faster than Firefox (especially if you have Firefox tricked out with a bunch of extensions), I don't know who cares about cold start times. The speed people are referring to is the perceived speed with which Firefox browses and renders when compared to IE. The actual speed of the page loads and renders are varied and can be shown to favor either IE or Firefox, but that doesn't refute the fact that many users get a sense that they are browsing faster than they were before. If they technically aren't, does it really matter?
  • "Firefox is a secure Web Browser"
    Once again... Who says these things? I would love to know who says these things other than people who don't know what the word secure means. Technically, nothing is secure, so the statement in and of itself is invalid just by saying, writing, or thinking it. That said, people have said that Firefox is a more secure browser than IE. This is one of the kinds of statements that is both true and false at the same time since it depends on what you define as "more secure". It has been shown that the developers of Firefox respond, on average, quicker to critical security threats than Microsoft does. This means that patches are released in a more timely manner which results in the potential of increased security. Notice that I said potential. All of the browsers have their own specific vulnerabilities. To some users, the vulnerabilities present in Firefox are more critical than the vulnerabilities in IE and vice-versa.
  • "Firefox is a Solution to Spyware"
    Another one of those "only users who know very little of the nature of the subject would make such a claim" statements. Considering that all browsers have vulnerabilities and all vulnerabilites open up a system to being exploited, it is easy to see that no browser is a "solution to spyware". Many of the users of Firefox have reported that they have received fewer spyware infections while using Firefox than they did while using IE. It is true that IE has finally been fixed up to address most, if not all, of the holes exploited by spyware authors, but when the claims of Firefox antispyware claims were being made, these patches did not exist. It is possible that Firefox has an edge over IE in terms of reduced spyware infection risks, but it is just as possible that IE now has the edge. Just like the security issue, this issue will be a topic of debate for a long time to come.
  • "Firefox is Bug Free"
    This myth is just absurd and shows a complete lack of understanding about software in general. No software is bug free, and Firefox is no exception.
  • "Firefox was the first Web Browser to offer Tabbed Browsing"
    This is an example of the internet's version of the phone game. Start with an idea, cycle it through thousands of people, and a complete lie comes out the other end. The fact is that Firefox was nowhere near the first browser to have tabbed browsing. What is true however is that Firefox helped to popularize the idea of tabbed browsing.
  • "Firefox fully Supports W3C Standards"
    This is the phone game again. Being standards compliant is becoming more and more important. Unfortunately, none of the browsers out there have complete standards compliance. Even more depressing is that none of the browsers are even close to being compliant, and there isn't one that is consistently more compliant than any of the others. When will we get a fully compliant browser and which browser will be there first? We can only guess.
  • "Firefox works with every Web Page"
    If this were true, the Firefox team wouldn't have many tools available to report sites that do not function with Firefox. Most sites that simply don't function at all on Firefox aren't written to comply with a standard; rather, they are written and tested to work with Internet Explorer and only Internet Explorer. It's expecting a lot to want Firefox, and other browsers for that matter, to be different and somehow better than Internet Explorer while having to match the way that Internet Explorer does everything.

Why did I feel that I needed to comment on all these things? The author of the article obviously felt that bad information was floating around about Firefox. From looking at their site, and the page, I'm almost certain that the author at least likes Firefox and very well may be a Firefox user. Bad info and "net myths" are formed when people don't fully read something, jump to conclusions, misinterpret information, or incorrectly summerize information. The way the information was laid out in the article makes it ripe for the creation of new myths, myths like "Firefox isn't secure at all!", "Firefox gives you spyware!", "Firefox is full of bugs!", or "The Firefox team doesn't care about W3C standards!" All of these statements are absurd, but these are the types of ideas that get formed when you give a very brief, factual analysis of myths without telling the fully story. This type of article is fine for a technical site, but this article is aimed at those that don't know enough to know that no software is free of bugs, which means that you need to inform the reader in such a way that they won't misinterpret the information.

So what does all this mean? It means that Firefox isn't the perfect browser, in fact, none of the browsers are perfect. If a perfect browser existed, everyone would use it and there wouldn't be much room to argue for alternatives.

"My friends told me that I need to start using Firefox because using IE is dangerous." This isn't necessarily as true anymore. I still believe that the way Firefox works will expose careless surfers to fewer threats than IE will. This is purely based upon my experiences and my opinions and is by no means a fact. I recommend that people try out Firefox in order to experience something other than IE; you never know, you might like it. Furthermore, I recommend that people try out more than just Firefox. People should try out browsers like Opera, K-Meleon, Avant, Maxthon, and Netscape. Since none of the browsers are completely secure, this means that you just always have to be smart about your surfing habits and what you allow to run/install on your machine.

The best advice I can give is to find the browser you like and use it smartly. I did and decided to stick with Firefox.

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[*]"Firefox is faster than Internet Explorer"
It is true that people claim this, but it is an example of taking a concept out of context. While it is true that IE cold starts faster than Firefox (especially if you have Firefox tricked out with a bunch of extensions), I don't know who cares about cold start times. The speed people are referring to is the perceived speed with which Firefox browses and renders when compared to IE. The actual speed of the page loads and renders are varied and can be shown to favor either IE or Firefox, but that doesn't refute the fact that many users get a sense that they are browsing faster than they were before. If they technically aren't, does it really matter?

You just said why it matters. People "think" it is faster when it is not. Could it be it "seems" faster is due to others saying the same thing?

[*]"Firefox is a secure Web Browser"
Once again... Who says these things? I would love to know who says these things other than people who don't know what the word secure means. Technically, nothing is secure, so the statement in and of itself is invalid just by saying, writing, or thinking it. That said, people have said that Firefox is a more secure browser than IE. This is one of the kinds of statements that is both true and false at the same time since it depends on what you define as "more secure". It has been shown that the developers of Firefox respond, on average, quicker to critical security threats than Microsoft does. This means that patches are released in a more timely manner which results in the potential of increased security. Notice that I said potential. All of the browsers have their own specific vulnerabilities. To some users, the vulnerabilities present in Firefox are more critical than the vulnerabilities in IE and vice-versa.

I've heard this alot. Usually people promoting Firefox. And quite a few leave out the "more" part. And noone ever mentions the existing vulnerabilities. Microsoft has been releasing security updates Monthly and have been for quite some time. I would say Microsoft is responding very well.

[*]"Firefox is a Solution to Spyware"
Another one of those "only users who know very little of the nature of the subject would make such a claim" statements. Considering that all browsers have vulnerabilities and all vulnerabilites open up a system to being exploited, it is easy to see that no browser is a "solution to spyware". Many of the users of Firefox have reported that they have received fewer spyware infections while using Firefox than they did while using IE. It is true that IE has finally been fixed up to address most, if not all, of the holes exploited by spyware authors, but when the claims of Firefox antispyware claims were being made, these patches did not exist. It is possible that Firefox has an edge over IE in terms of reduced spyware infection risks, but it is just as possible that IE now has the edge. Just like the security issue, this issue will be a topic of debate for a long time to come.

This is another quite common one. I hear it all the time.

[*]"Firefox is Bug Free"
This myth is just absurd and shows a complete lack of understanding about software in general. No software is bug free, and Firefox is no exception.

You always get someone claiming something is perfect.

[*]"Firefox was the first Web Browser to offer Tabbed Browsing"
This is an example of the internet's version of the phone game. Start with an idea, cycle it through thousands of people, and a complete lie comes out the other end. The fact is that Firefox was nowhere near the first browser to have tabbed browsing. What is true however is that Firefox helped to popularize the idea of tabbed browsing.

The "Phone game" is how Myths get start. Which makes it valid.

[*]"Firefox fully Supports W3C Standards"
This is the phone game again. Being standards compliant is becoming more and more important. Unfortunately, none of the browsers out there have complete standards compliance. Even more depressing is that none of the browsers are even close to being compliant, and there isn't one that is consistently more compliant than any of the others. When will we get a fully compliant browser and which browser will be there first? We can only guess.

The "Phone game" is how Myths get start. Which again makes it valid.

[*]"Firefox works with every Web Page"
If this were true, the Firefox team wouldn't have many tools available to report sites that do not function with Firefox. Most sites that simply don't function at all on Firefox aren't written to comply with a standard; rather, they are written and tested to work with Internet Explorer and only Internet Explorer. It's expecting a lot to want Firefox, and other browsers for that matter, to be different and somehow better than Internet Explorer while having to match the way that Internet Explorer does everything.[/list]

It is still good information to know.

The way the information was laid out in the article makes it ripe for the creation of new myths, myths like "Firefox isn't secure at all!", "Firefox gives you spyware!", "Firefox is full of bugs!", or "The Firefox team doesn't care about W3C standards!"

That can be said of anything. All it takes is one person to misread something. What matters is what the facts are. I would rather be informed then worry about someone misreading something and not be informed.

"My friends told me that I need to start using Firefox because using IE is dangerous."

This more then anything is a reason for a page like this. And now I must agree it was a good idea it was finally made.

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v1.0.1

Performance Myths - Firefox is the Fastest Web Browser
Performance Myths - Firefox is Faster than Mozilla
Security Myths - Firefox is the Most Secure Web Browser
Feature Myths - Firefox Blocks all Popups
Feature Myths - Firefox is the Most Standards Compliant Web Browser

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FF is much (5-6 times) faster than IE on DOM manipulations. Chromes is even faster. This is definitely not a myth, because we have tested IE6, IE8, FF 3.5.7 and chrome 3 with 1000, 10000 and 100000 nodes.
The last IE6 cannot even render. the 10000 IE renders in several minutes.
The implication is that really rich (and big) websites simply cannot be viewed with IE. We have couple of those and even though IE is the official company browser, everyone uses FF to view them.
But IE really excels in displaying 10-20 images on a page. I guess this is handy for "special" sites viewing.
And let's not go into the canvas/SVG stuff.
IE is more of a toy than a browser.

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"Most sites that simply don't function at all on Firefox aren't written to comply with a standard; rather, they are written and tested to work with Internet Explorer and only Internet Explorer. It's expecting a lot to want Firefox, and other browsers for that matter, to be different and somehow better than Internet Explorer while having to match the way that Internet Explorer does everything".
It is IE that is trying to match FF and the rest. MS actually got burned themselves by the non compliance with the standards, because now there is no simple backward compatibility and the old sites do not work in IE8/7. Every corporate IT dreads the thought of upgrading from IE6, because so many things would break.
My guess is some will upgrade to FF or chrome when the time comes.
Get your facts straight.
And yes, FF is more secure- IE 8 was the first browser to be hacked during the one of the last hackathons.

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