How Firefox Can Beat IE

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Preston Gralla

Preston Gralla
Sep. 19, 2005 11:59 AM

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In my last weblog entry, I noted that the upcoming beta of Internet Explorer was a significant upgrade over the existing IE -- so much so that it could jeopardize widespread acceptance of Firefox.

But as the song goes, it ain't necessarily so. There are seven things that can be done to Firefox to make sure it beats back the IE challenge:

  1. Fix its rotten updating scheme. The number one complaint I've heard about Firefox is how poorly its update scheme works. System crashes, incompatibilities, and just plain chaos…I've heard them all and been victimized as well. This needs to be fixed, and apparently version 1.5 will go a long way towards doing that.

  2. Offer better tab controls. Tab browsing is great…but just offering tabs is no longer enough. Firefox needs to add ways to more easily open, close, and manage them. Sure, there are plenty of extensions that do that for you, but it should be built right into the browser itself, and not be add-ons.

  3. Build better security. IE 7 will be a more secure browser than the current IE, and include built-in phishing tools. Firefox has rested on its security laurels too long -- and it's increasingly subject to security holes. It's time to build in better anti-phishing and other security tools.

  4. Fix the extension security problem. I've downloaded countless extensions. Every single one of them has been "unsigned" and carries a security warning. I've downloaded them anyway, and have yet to have a problem. But what happens when one of them really is malicious? Some way has to be found to check if the extensions are malicious.

  5. Solve extension incompatibilities. I've run across to many instances in which extensions cause problems when I browse Web sites. That needs to be cleaned up.

  6. Build RSS into the browser. The Firefox Sage extension is a great "lightweight" RSS reader. But IE is going to include RSS right in the browser. So Sage, or some other comparable RSS functionality, needs to be built right into the browser.

What do you think needs to be done to beat back IE? Let me know, below.

Preston Gralla is the author of Windows Vista in a Nutshell, the Windows Vista Pocket Reference, and is the editor of He is also the author of Internet Annoyances, PC Pest Control, Windows XP Power Hound, and Windows XP Hacks, Second Edition, and co-author of Windows XP Cookbook. He has written more than 30 other books.