Is the latest Firefox ready for prime time? I think not but I’d be in the majority. If Firefox were as great as some would make it out to be, market share would be much higher.
Still, Firefox has shown impressive gains in performance and market share growth in just a few months since the first 1.0 release. The Mozilla Foundation released a new version, 1.0.1, that adds a few security fixes and more stability, but not much else.
What’s the trend? Estimates now put Firefox at about 10-percent of usage on the Windows platform where the relatively unchanged (in about three years) Internet Explorer rules.
Surprisingly, on our web site, which is visited primarily by Mac users (either using Macs, Safari, Firefox, et al), Firefox has taken off in usage recently.
For example, for the month of February, our Urchin logs show Safari to be the top browser at just over 51-percent. Firefox comes in third at just under 20-percent. That’s a loss of nearly 20-percent for Safari and a 300-percent gain by Firefox over the past six months.
Hold on to your hat. It’s Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
I forgot who it is that said, “Lies, damned lies, and statistics” but that ranking is a bit off base. Here’s why.
Internet Explorer users make up nearly 22-percent of all visitors to our web site. Of that, nearly 95-percent of them are using Internet Explorer for Windows, not Mac. The Mac version of IE makes up about 5-percent of the total.
What? Windows users coming to visit Tera while using Internet Explorer? Yes. Lies, damned lies, and statistics.
Since we don’t count on too many Windows users checking out our reviews and news and sassy commentary, we assume that most of the Windows-using visitors are actually Mac users who are forced to use Windows at work and that’s where they’re doing their web surfing.
Instead of working.
Back to Firefox.
Of the 20-percent of visitors who use Firefox, over 90-percent of those use the latest 1.0 version (1.0.1 was released last night). We’re also able to track “combinations” of browser and platform. There, Firefox users on Mac number about the same as Firefox users on Windows.
What’s all this prove? Firefox is here to stay. It’s growing. Mac and Windows users like it. Firefox is lean and fast and “extensible,” which means it’s not bloated with features unless you want it to be (adding them, for example).
Martha Stewart called and said, “that’s a good thing.”
Personally, I use Firefox from time to time, both Mac and Windows (exclusively when I’m forced to use Windows). I don’t like the “Windows look” of Firefox on Mac.
My main browser is OmniWeb, then Safari, Firefox, often Camino.
How many browsers does a girl need?
If you’re a Mac user, give Firefox a try, regardless of which browser you’re using (unless it’s OmniWeb and you already know you’re using the best). There’s plenty of features and speed, though the look and feel is a bit clumsy.
The new 1.0.1 update is a minor release, but worthy of download.
Oh, a technical note: IBM has just announced major support for the PHP scripting platform (the most popular web scripting language), along with their already heavy support for Linux.
Why? The combination of open source tools such as PHP and MySQL and Linux presents a solid, secure, dependable platform that, along with Apple and Mac OS X, is remarkably acceptable competition for Microsoft’s monopoly.
Firefox more than bests Microsoft’s best in a number of areas. Is it really all that good to try to compete with Microsoft’s monopoly? Yes. Competition is a good thing (thanks, Martha!) and breeds better products, lower costs.
Microsoft hasn’t had much competition in years past. Hence, their lower quality products, higher costs.