Saturday, July 09, 2005

Firefox vs IE

I made a switch to FireFox as my main browser long time back due to IE's vulnerabilities which installed spyware on my Win 2000 system without my knowledge. FireFox has generated quite a stir among people who were long waiting for an alternative to IE and it is quite impressive with Tabbed-browsing, live RSS reader, search toolbar and loads of extensions which make it quite slick. MS made a lotsa changes/upgrades to IE with Win XP SP 2 to make it more secure with built in popup blocker and an Add-ons manager which allows you to view Add-ons installed in IE. Judging by people's reaction on the net on FireFox v.s. IE, I feel most of them are totally biased towards FireFox cause it's a non-MS product and competing (more than 69,535,583 downloads till date) in a area where MS long held monopoly. FireFox is considered to be more stable and more secure than IE which I agree to somewhat but saying that FireFox is more secure and stable than IE (with Win XP SP2) by leaps & bounds is a mere exaggeration. Stabillty: My FireFox has crashed more often than IE over past few days (those who don't believe me should try or I know Yahoo Games is more of an issue with JRE rather than FireFox but still for a not so tech-savvy end-user, it's FireFox which crashes whereas IE renders the page without any problem. The DHTML Lemmings game also loads perfectly in IE whereas it freezes Firefox(1.0.4).
Security: I think Firefox is 100% secure is again not correct, no browser is 100% secure, Secunia ( published 3 vulnerabilities for FireFox (2 of them were across all browsers includng IE). It's just that FireFox is relatively new and hence hasn't attracted the Hacker's attention yet.
Also one has to keep in mind from end-user's perspective is that there are lots of sites which rely on features only supported by IE like ActiveX controls ( is one such site apart from MS own site).
Verdict: If you don't have Win XP 2 installed I would suggest FireFox is definitely more secure choice, on Win XP 2 I don't think there is much difference between the two browsers in terms of security and stability, make a switch to FireFox if you can't live without tabbed browsing and live RSS reader and some cool extensions like AdBlock.
Food for thought: Would FireFox have received such rave reviews from the community had it been a MS product? I guess not...


  1. Very good review, thank you.

    I'm debating adding either the Firefox or Netscape browser to my laptop (XP Home, SP2, P4 2.5GHz). Tabbed browsing is what makes the switch attractive.

    I'm leaning towards Netscape, because of its reputed ability to be able to render pages in Mozilla or IE. Although some user comments that I've read say that Netscape is not as stable as Firefox.

    Hopefully IE will soon get its act together by adding tabbed browsing.

  2. IE 7 does offer tabbed browsing though their implementation still has lot to be desired but atleast MS has started going on the right path with IE.
    Netscape 8 is a good alternative as you choose between the rendering engines for different web pages, though I would prefer FireFox over NS any day due to its smaller size and some really great extensions (you can install "View In IE" extension to achieve what NS has to offer somewhat).