IE 7 Will Be Good for Firefox --- But There Are Bumps Ahead

by Preston Gralla

Internet Explorer 7 will finally bring IE into the modern world, with tabbed browsing, and extra security. But what will it mean for Firefox?

One might expect it to be bad news for the open source browser. After all, a significant number of people have switched to Firefox for its tabs and security. So won't the IE update be bad news?

A prominent Firefox evangelist, Asa Dotzler, thinks not. He told ZDNet UK that IE 7 will be a boost to Firefox popularity. Why? IE 7 won't work on Windows 2000 machines, but the publicity around IE 7 will mean businesses will want to get tabbed browsing and extra security. Because 50% of businesses still use Windows 2000, Dotzler says, they'll turn to Firefox.

He may be right. But that assumes that Firefox gets its act together better by then. Updating Firefox has always been an iffy proposition, fraught with a variety of minor "gotchas." The most recent update was even more problematic --- it broke some extensions, and contained at least one security hole as well.

So here's hoping that Firefox does a better job of updates. If it doesn't, it will end up just one more interesting but largely forgotten browser, rolled over by the IE juggernaut.

How do you think IE 7 will affect Firefox?


2005-07-20 09:58:47
Optimistic about FireFox
They're already addressing the update issue including the ability to lockdown preferences (hello enterprise IT!!!).

Couple this with the fundamental differences in spreading the word - grass-roots evangelization vs. MS's marketdrone based marketing, it will sure to be an interesting competition.

MS will try to drown out FireFox with its sheer marketing muscle, but as any PR guy will tell you, nothing beats word-of-mouth and personal testimonials.

No amount of ad buys in various media outlets (online and offline) and MS-commissioned case studies can change that.

2005-07-20 10:11:37
IE7 will have to break "extensions" too
And there are thousands of them out there - adware, spyware, and virii all using MS technologies.
2005-07-20 13:10:32
Improving the Firefox update process has been one of the topmost couple of issues being worked on for a while now. It is already a great deal better than it used to be and there’s no reason to assume it won’t continue improving.
2005-07-20 14:09:33
Preston is good to go!!!
MS, unlike Firefox, has its act together.

So much so that they had nothing left to do and disbanded the IE team.

And unlike Firefox, updating IE is not an iffy proposition and is pretty straightforward. Just go to Windows Update, and you're good to go!!!

Well... every now and then, you have to validate Windows, and then you're good to go!!!!

And sometimes you have to go to Windows Update several times because of dependencies and required reboots, and then you're good to go!!!

And also, if you follow the security advisories, you have to basically turn off all the extra features, and you're good to go!!!

Like I said, its nowhere near as problematic. What broken extensions?!? What security holes?!? What pop-ups and pop-unders!?! What malware?!?

And like Preston, I really hope the Firefox team does a better job of updates! If it doesn't, I agree with Preston that it will be just another interesting but largely forgotten browser rolled over by the IE juggernaut!!!

Joel is an obscure technology expert and the author of "I'm Annoying", "I'm a Pest", and "I'm a MS Apologist" and "I'm an MS Hack" as well as more than 30 annoying posts. He is also the editor of "He's So Good to Go Let's Take Him Away!!!" webzine, and a freelance blogger.

2005-07-21 10:38:04
Just to clarify
The "security hole" mentioned in this article is NOT a Firefox issue, it's actually caused by a Firefox extension called GreaseMonkey. Here's a link to an article featured on MozillaZine:
Extensions are not developed by the Mozilla Foundation, and extension authors are the ones to be held accountable for this problems.