Why I Might Change Browsers

This is a very geeky entry. I apologize in advance. Feel free to pass it by.

When I go on the Internet, like right now, I use the Firefox browser. Firefox comes from Mozilla. I suppose this is unimportant to all but those of us who wear propeller hats.

Most people use Internet Explorer. That’s the browser that comes standard with Windows.

IE, as it’s called, is fine… except it is often the equivalent of living in a home in a bad neighborhood with no locks on the doors. Truthfully, if everyone were trustworthy, IE would be perfect. They aren’t. It isn’t.

There are some improvements Firefox brings, including some in security. A whole community has sprung up, writing ‘extensions’ to give it extra capabilities. I take advantage of many of those (including one that eliminates all pop-ups and most other ads).

Unfortunately, Firefox isn’t without its downside. It was totally incompatible with the software Mississippi State used to administer my courses. It falls on its face on MSNBC.com video files(big surprise there), asking me to install software I already have.

This weekend I attempted to install MyWebexPC.com. That too wouldn’t play well with Firefox.

I am not alone. There have been a number of articles citing the inability of FEMA’s website to work with anything but Internet Explorer.

From CNET: Unfortunately, more and more U.S. government agency Web sites are becoming Internet Explorer-only sites. For example, if you want to fill out a Katrina claim form online with FEMA, you have no other choice but to use the only 66 percent secure Internet Explorer 6.x.

The problem is, Firefox follows the standards that have been established for the web. Anything that won’t work with Firefox won’t work because the author has decided to write to Internet Explorer’s peculiarities. Websites should be browser agnostic.

Since IE controls nearly 90% of the browser market, it makes sense to keep things compatible with it. What doesn’t make sense is excluding Microsoft’s competitor.

If these sites were more forgiving toward agreed upon standards, Firefox might get a better foothold and Microsoft would have to respond by improving IE. Competition is good.

As it stands right now, I am seriously thinking of abandoning Firefox. That’s not because it isn’t good. It’s because I’m sick and tired of hitting dead ends.

Firefox doesn’t have to be ‘fixed’ for it to work. Quite the contrary. The only thing wrong with Firefox is, it isn’t broken.