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Firefox in the media

Normally you might consider the usual places to see Firefox mentioned: Slashdot, The Register, etc.  Interesting to note that as Firefox adoption continues to grow, there are more "mainstream" references being tossed about. For instance, a very popular news station in Philadelpha, KYW 1060 has been running promo spots on how their webcasting now works with Firefox. 

What could this mean? I'm not too sure it represents anything other than the public's new willingness to try new browsers. Although Microsoft used Internet Explorer to win the so-called "browser wars", as to exactly how that enforced operating system sales remains to be proven! Other than extremely difficult-to-quantify measures of success like "mindshare" and "lock-in", nobody has ever explained concisely and clearly how MS really made more money from their browser.

MS is coming out with Internet Explorer 7, featuring tabbed browsing. They are finally advancing their browser design to keep up with the jones', and I'm sure that will make them look better as a company and every bit helps. But with their marketshare on the desktop so strong, how much growth they can pull off remains to be seen. This is probably why they are expanding into search, game consoles, smart phones, etc- to create company growth.

As a matter of fact I'm pretty impressed with their search offering. It will give Google some competition, hopefully driving technological innovation in the search market more effectively than Google hiring as many PhDs as they can find. But there are rumors and speculation that Google now wants to be MS, in light of how they may use the Firefox browser to make some kind of G-Browser, and create a web-based OS. Or maybe they just want to be a portal for now, as recent changes have shown.

Posted on May 20, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Firefox comes under fire

Preston Gralla over at O'Reilly muses upon the recent security warnings hanging over Firefox's head, stating "...this news doesn't bode well for the browser. Its increasing popularity will mean that it will be subject to more frequent attacks. Worse, though, is that as of this writing, the fixes aren't publicly available. People have rightly accused Microsoft of not posting security patches quickly enough. But up until now, Firefox developers have always been quick to react with security fixes."

Well, all software has flaws.  The question is whether the given set of flaws is offset by the value that the piece of software brings to you and your organization in return- the classic risk/benefit analysis. I use IE to test web pages, but not for much else. At my employer's office I use Firefox for its standards-compliance and friendliness to developers.  Oh, and I don't need any toolbars installed to prevent popups and spyware (yet) although there are plugins available to ensure that never becomes necessary.

The other advantage in my case is that I can use Firefox at work on Win2k, and at home on OS X for consistency, and it's something I can recommend to friends, family and coworkers who want something better than IE. To put things in the most basic terms, stripped of ideology, I can offer PC users several quality options to pursue when they are complaining to me about IE or about certain facets of web browsing, and the Law of Requisite Variety explains the more options we have, the more empowered we are.

Having said that, the Tiger enhancements to Safari on OS X are pretty compelling- RSS on the toolbar, and the way Safari displays RSS feeds is very pleasing and userfriendly.  I haven't gotten to play with Tiger as much as I had hoped, but Safari 2 and Dashboard are quite a nice addition to this OS. I suspect the RSS functionality could be easily replicated in IE and in Firefox by applying some clever scripting and CSS....

Getting back to Firefox- I understand that bug fixes are already checked in to the CVS repository. If IE had been at this stage, we wouldn't have a clue, but with Firefox being open source, anyone brave enough is able to download and build.

Posted on May 9, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Substantial Non-infringing Use

As I write this, the sounds of Ween reverberate through my apartment, and that's with the emphasis on reverb because the live set to which I'm listening is heavy on the effects! The set was from last year's Bonnaroo, in case you'd like to track it down and grab it (and share it back of course, Ween allows tape trading of their live shows). I suggest, in fact I implore everyone to download and use Furthurnet. This gem of the software world represents a brilliant application of P2P file sharing- Furthurnet is limited to bands that allow tape trading. Trading has a long history popularized by the heavy trading culture of the Grateful Dead and Phish fans, where bands known for especially strong and unique (each and every one) live performances encourage trading of bootleg recordings in order to help spead the music. In fact, this turns out to be a prototype for the modern conception of viral marketing, as the more tapes are spread, the more fans there are to turn out to their live concerts, where musicians tend to make most of their money. Furthurnet represents a great substantial non-infringing use of peer-to-peer technology, and by supporting Furthur you are in essence supporting the technology itself, as it needs such support to withstand the oft-bizarre legal attacks on its foundations. I realize I'm a big proponent of the iTMS for paid downloads of individual copyrighted tracks- Furthurnet is the perfect complement where you can round out your collection, discover excellent new bands, and give back to the trading community.

Posted on May 8, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack