Not a rhetorical question; what is so great about Firefox?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by kavika411, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. kavika411 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2006
    I like Firefox. It helps me navigate the web. It does a good job with my history, passwords, etc. So does Safari. So does IE.

    I occasionally go to and look at its top ten articles on the right side. More times than not lately there is a top ten article raving about Firefox. I read the articles. I don't see them saying anything warranting the praise it seems to get.

    Not bashing Firefox. Just curious if I'm missing something that makes it so amazing, or if it is the tech equivalent of Obama articles being dug on Digg.

    Any thoughts are appreciated.
  2. ASFx macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2008
    For windows users, firefox is the only way to browse relatively safely without worrying about getting infected by a much of spyware while browsing. IE really isn't an option if you want to keep your machine clean while browsing. People also like firefox because it has a large developer community and supports tons of plugins which allows customization.
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I like FF, but I do also think it gets press for some reasons less closely related to its greatness:

    - It is nearing release of a milestone update (3.0 is in Release Candidate), which is less true of IE or Safari at the mo'.

    - It is very nearly the only browser the Digerati use outside of MacOS -- ie on Windows or on Linux.

    - Firefox is the great prophet of a Jihad against Microsoft Internet Explorer. It gets so much attention from sites like Digg (that are frequented by digerati and technophiles) partially because any publicity for FF is publicity against IE. But this time, I'm on the fanatics' side. The world will be a better place when the number of installed IE users reaches the magical number zero.
  4. GSMiller macrumors 68000


    Dec 2, 2006
    That's because Fx is the browser of choice for geeks and geeks use Digg :D
  5. reclusivemonkey macrumors 6502


    Jun 2, 2008
    Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, UK
    LOL +10 for using the phrase "Digerati"...

    I think Firefox gets such attention because its the only serious contender to usurp IE's dominance on the web. Everyone loses if IE wins, so although you might argue that Opera/Safari/insert_browser_of_choice_here are better Firefox is very important just because of its widespread use.
  6. misterredman macrumors 6502a


    Oct 3, 2007
    Agrees. The add-ons are what makes Firefox the best choice for me.
  7. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    I hate all these arrogant people who display Get Firefox banners all over there webpage.
  8. mogzieee macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2008
    London, UK
    There is only really a big difference with Firefox when you use it on a PC.

    On a Mac, Firefox has Safari to live up to - a BIG challenge.
    On a PC, Firefox has IE to live up to - not very hard at all, judging that IE is so crap.
  9. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    ...If your looking at porn.

    If your browsing the web in IE, you don't just get suddenly shafted with millions of cookies and spyware, it happens when you visit either porn sites, or sites by people trying to make an easy buck by filling there sites with adverts (see above). And most of it is just cookies and the like, do a Clear Browsing history and its gone.

    I don't like Firefox, never have done. It looks bad, it has terrible memory leaks under Windows, and its slow
  10. nplima macrumors 6502a

    Apr 26, 2006
    a bit of History

    ah! If you don't understand the greatness of Firefox (let its name be forever praised) then you are unworthy!

    Back in the day, Netscape was OK and Internet Explorer was OK. Then IE got bundled with Windows 95 SP2 (?). It took some time for the courts to settle that this bundling was an anti-competitive practice and by then Netscape got wiped off the face of the Earth and gazzillions of web pages were produced to match the "standards" of IE instead of proper industry standards. It sucked because IE was a creation about as elegant as Dr. Frankenstein's monster.

    At the same time MS got lazy and left IE to rot, there were some projects to rebuild Netscape from scratch and after a few versions which sucked considerably, Firefox got to the point where it was clearly better than IE. The uneducated masses were (and are using) old versions of IE, while people who knew where to look were using Firefox. It was arguably the first open source project that became popular with non-geeks.

    Today, Firefox and its add-ons are the state of the art for browser features and user-obedience (a concept that is unheard of in Microsoftland and a bit foreign in Appleland). I find it quite strange that Apple insists on developing Safari but as long as they follow industry standards it shouldn't hurt anyone.

    Firefox is free and is good, so keep one in your USB keychain at all times.
  11. Quu macrumors 68030


    Apr 2, 2007
    Firefox is great because it has a very clean UI, displays your bookmarks right under the address bar, supports nested bookmarks like Safari and probably most importantly is its extensive developer community which create plugins for firefox.

    Plugins for Firefox can do almost anything as-long as you can imagine it you can almost always program it for Firefox. Which is why there are so many plugins for Firefox.

    Safari has the great UI Firefox has (Infact I'd personally argue Safaris UI is cleaner and better). But it lacks the Plugin support. Now me, I'm happy to use Safari as I like the way it renders and its performance I've always found Firefox on Mac OS X to not fit in properly with the operating system (Which is something Mozilla are working to correct with Firefox 3) and so I use Safari on Mac OS X. On windows however I use Firefox. I could use Safari but it has the same problem that Firefox has on OS X. It simply doesn't 'fit' with the Windows way of doing things.

    Hope I helped!
  12. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    I use Firefox, and tend to drift right by all the threads complaining about all the problems people have with Safari and websites, albeit I'm also using one of the Firefox Mac OS X skins.
  13. lamerlizer macrumors regular


    Jan 8, 2007
    for mac --> safari (the innovative tab browsing and the bookmarks bar are killer features for me)

    for windows --> firefox ( safari is just buggy and it doesn't compliment the UI of windows at all, if not i'll use safari any day)
  14. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    care to elaborate the bookmark bar feature of safari?

    about tabbed browsing.... have to say, safari is still the weakest among all browsers. Just a "drag out to create new window" doesn't compensate huge defects it has.

    To OP's question.

    1. It opens the web, brought the "standard" up to a star status such that webpages are more easily displayed in non-IE (not only firefox) browsers today. This give other browsers great chances. Since IE is window only, this also give other OSes great chance: users can switch OSes without worrying too much about IE-opted pages.

    2. Its OSS, and has a open platform for community contribution. Extension system is a great example, with those, firefox can be sometimes anything and everything. weather forcast? carlendar? email client? bt client? ftp client?... etc

    3. It still has great out of box features, maybe only second to opera. Fullpage zoom, multiple passwords, single window mode, FAYT, better memory management, awesome url bar. etc.

    4. It is still the safest browser in the market, it patches in very timely fashion and users are not exposed to security risk in any significant way.

    For full introduction of firefox 3, check out my sig.
  15. lamerlizer macrumors regular


    Jan 8, 2007
    you know, you can just drag and move the bookmarks in the bookmarks bar however you want it, good for what i do,

    but first, why is firefox's tab browsing better than safari? safari has everything firefox has PLUS the " drag out to create new window" which is kinda like a killer deal for me, i have not seen firefox 3 but comparing to the current firefox its better. and its more compact, pixel saving. :)
  16. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    My impresion is every browser's bookmarks bar item can be dragged and rearranged?
    haha. safari has everything firefox has about tabbed browsing?

    1. a new tab button
    2. single window mode, even with safaristand, safari is unable to open some links in a new tab, (try
    3. undo closed tabs
    4. set multiple homepages (open in tabs)
    5. a tab picker for your vast amount of opened tabs
    6. no severe reduction of width of tabs with large amount of tabs so you always know whats in each tab (you can even set the width range yourself)
    7. dup a tab with ctrl+click n drag
    8. full history of closed tabs.

    does safari has those?
  17. t0mat0 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2006
    I'd recommend having a try of the latest RC - pretty much bug free (which the last RC wasn't) and showing nearly all the features of what will become Firefox 3. Finding out for yourself is sometimes the best way.
  18. lamerlizer macrumors regular


    Jan 8, 2007
    are you like pro firefox or something? why get so defensive when all i said was i preferred safari? anyway,

    and dragged out to make it disappear, can firefox do that?

    ok thats plenty of good features, do you go remembering all of it?

    1. +t has always been my choice for opening up new tabs, even on firefox, never really cared about that button.

    2. hmm i don't get it, maybe i got you wrong, i see nothing wrong? i could open up tabs from the protopage webpage.

    3. good feature, wished safari had that

    4. good feature, i know about that in firefox, but strangely i don't really like that. sometimes you just want to open up one webpage, but its IMHO.

    5. have you tried using safari? it does have a tab picker

    6. it does reduce the width on firefox, to a certain extent if you open many webpages, and safari does the same thing.

    7. ctrl+click and drag, i'm on a mac btw. are you on windows? cause i'm getting a right click instead.

    8. yea ok thats great i saw, but to me that's like an equivalent to the history menu.

    anyway just adding to my previous comment on the "drag out to create new window" thing. it is not a small feature and it shouldn't be looked over with the features that you mentioned here. because of that, i have better management of the websites that i am on, especially when working with spaces, that is just perfect.

    but if you are working on a windows machine,the "drag out to create new window" feature is just simply useless. i don't maximize my windows on a mac, i do on windows, when it's maximized, its harder to manage dragged out windows cause there ain't no expose or spaces to help.

    but then again, i'm looking at safari WITH mac os x, without mac os x safari will be a different story for me.
  19. NAG macrumors 68030


    Aug 6, 2003
    There is very little difference between the browsers these days (even IE is finally catching up). The big deal with firefox is it is attached to the open source crowd and they're somewhat irrational at times since they turned the whole thing into a religion (yes, Safari is connected to open source but it is shunned by them because they all agreed to shun it).
  20. boast macrumors 65816


    Nov 12, 2007
    Phoenix, USA
    Firefox is multi-platform and opensource.

    only the engine, webkit, is opensource. And it is opensource because it was taken from konqueror.
  21. kavika411 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2006
    If someone wouldn't mind telling me (preferably in non-tech savvy terms) some specific examples of the plug-ins they use. I guess I know about flash and reader, but what are the ones that Firefox does that makes everyone so excited. Thanks.
  22. dws90 macrumors regular

    Jan 16, 2008
    Two of the most popular extensions are NoScript and Adblock.

    Although not everyone agrees on the merits of NoScript, it's generally regarded as a great way to enhance security. It allows you to block all JavaScript from executing until you specifically whitelist certain sites. JavaScript can sometimes do things that are less than ideal to the end user, so NoScript is a good way to keep yourself safe (and it's the only way to stop XSS, generally). Although Safari has an overall "Disable JavaScript" option, it doesn't let you whitelist sites.

    The most extension, however, is Adblock, which, surprisingly enough, blocks ads. Similar addons exist for Safari, but in my experience none of them are quite as good as Adblock.
  23. nplima macrumors 6502a

    Apr 26, 2006
    Repagination - when you are reading an article that spans for 5 pages and you intend to read it all, you can use repagination to fetch the whole page. Also useful for sites with maaaaany photos and 1 photo per page ;)

    Facebook toolbar - neat shortcuts to some of the main areas of Facebook.

    Paste&go - silly thing, saves 1 keypress when pasting an URL to the address bar.

    Google Browser Sync - allows keeping the bookmarks and passwords in a remote server that belongs to Google. Then you can just login from any computer and sync. if leaving your passwords in someone else's server freaks you out you can leave that option off.

    IEtab - uses internet explorer in a firefox tab for some stubborn websites that don't work properly except with IE.

    Whenever a discussion similar to this one occurs, I always learn about some neat add-on that I had not found before...
  24. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    just to correct the perceived mistaken statement, there is nothing to defend.

    You can make judgment on importance of each function based on whatever standard you would like to attribute.

    Since many of the features I mentioned you didn't even know, not to mention to use them, It quite fair to say you can't judge the usefulness of them fairly.

    I just intended to show you safari has weakest tab functions for general users. But I do not expect one individual to make fair judgment on the whole thing.

    Since you did mention there are many thing I mentioned you didn't realize before. I think I achieved my goal of introducing the full picture as basis so people can make judgment of their own.

    adblock to block ads
    piclens to turn your brower into a 3D picture wall
    full map to how google map in whole browser window
    firegeture, moving mouse to operate your browser
    fireftp, turn firefox into a ftp client
    weatherbug, weather forcast, online bookmark
    greasemonkey, control page CSS


    If you are using Linux enough, you will notice there is strong voice in that area about using webkit as alternative or even default engine, because KHTML was started 100% as OSS. Safari is not only "connected to OSS", rather, its born and grows up as OSS.

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