The Biggest Obstacle For Firefox

By Deane Barker on December 6, 2004

Firefox’s biggest obstacle is lazy programming: Truer words have rarely been spoken.

The biggest obstacle facing widespread adoption of the Firefox browser is lazy programming — not from the Mozilla Foundation but from corporates that have not tested their applications with anything but IE.



  1. We have at least three web applications here that only work in IE. I was a casual Firefox user for 0.8, and finally made the switch full time when 0.9 was released. Now IE only gets fired up when I need to use those internal apps.

  2. I believe that in Opera you can change the browser ident in the http headers – can the same be done in Firefox (I’m sure it can, but is there an extension already in existance?), and do you think most of those IE-only apps would work? I imagine any active-x apps would not load, but a lot of sites I’ve seen just arbitrarly look for IE and crash if it’s not found…

  3. It’s also down to lazy coders who don’t think outside what Micro$oft is putting right in front of them.

    I had a guy ask me the other day “what is an RSS feed” when he saw that MSDN has started using them. After I explained what it was he asked me “When did Micro$oft invent that?”.

    You can take a company to court for making IE the default browser on your desktop, but it is an uphill battle to stop it from being “the browser” in people’s minds.

  4. I switched to fulltime FireFox after getting some homepage hijackers last week when using IE. After I switched I switched our other machines and turned off IE by setting the LAN to an invalid proxy, adding exceptions for microsoft and our intranet.

    Another site I’ve had problems with FireFox is online postage label making.

  5. The lack of testing on different platforms is often not the developer nor QA teams’ fault, but pressure to release to market faster. For a complex web application, often Product Management has to settle on one platform (IE) or face serious risk of lengthening the release cycle. It boils down to market share and ROI.

    Of course, this argument is moot if we’re talking about open source applications ;)

  6. The biggest obstacle faced by firefox is the typical snot-nosed open source attitude that does nothing but annoy the crap out of any sane individual. That, and frankly Firefox isn’t all that impressive.

  7. “Firefox isn’t all that impresive”

    It’s not supposed to be “all that impressive”. If it had bells and whistles it would be doing what microsoft do all the time.

    Firefox is usable, helpful, conforms to standards, and doesn’t get in the way. The way a browser should be. A browser isn’t about the browser itself. It’s about letting you browse the content you want to see efficiently without interruptions.

  8. Tell them, Tomas!

    Just a few things I do with Firefox that IE can’t touch: effectively filter ads, control my media player, open pages in other browsers (e.g., for those lobotomized web designers who can’t think outside IE), bypass all those register-for-free-content sites, validate/test web pages for almost anything (CSS, forms, links, code, Javascript,…), make Firefox appear to be some other browser, detect spoofed websites, pause and restart a download,…

    No, Firefox isn’t impressive. It’s just what should be. To some 12.1 million users (between Nov 9 and today; see, IE and it’s security vulnerabilities have ceased to be the norm. I’d call that sane.

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