browser wars

My knowledgeable friend is currently digging Opera. Its amusing, to say the least. He’s off reporting on Opera’s superiority. And yes, it may be better than Firefox and IE, but Opera is a lot like European aristocracy. Have money, will be better. Yup, Opera’s a commercial browser, though there’s a free download (with ad banners I believe) on offer. What’s the deal? But I must mention a few points. It shall be Opera v/s Firefox (with other browsers under its protection).

Features. Opera is feature packed. Sure. So are all other browsers worth their name. Name a feature and you can find it in Firefox (FF). If not, there’s an extension available. Which brings us to the architecture – FF’s extension architecture is pooh-poohed. I, for one, feel that modular architecture is here is to stay. You download the base package and than add whatever you want. A monolithic install often gets broken due to improper updates of different components, if the components can be updated individually. Usually you have to get the whole package again, even for minor upgrades – hence there are minor differences between the dot releases. FF extensions can be updated independently of the base browser. So dot releases of the base package are more significant. Extensions also respect the fact that not all FF users want the same set of features.

Now I may not remeber the exact exchage of words, but the emotion (back when my friend was using IE) for different features of FF was something similar to this. I wonder if FF users should respond in kind to him, now that he is using Opera?

Desirability of features – “I don’t want/need a feature. So its not important/necessary.”

Speed and Performance -” I don’t have to board a spacecraft launching in 10 milliseconds on a mission to save the planet. A slower browser is just fine for my needs.”

Rendering of pages (you know how they display stuff as it loads, so you don’t have to wait for the entire page to load) – “I’m patient enough to let the page load. Neither of us is going anywhere and I don’t have to board a …”

My friend has also provided information regarding a test which proves Opera is by far, the superior browser. But alas, I wonder whether he scrolled lower down on the page. The stuff there provides a better perspective of the test results. Infact, the results are downright fishy.

You may wonder why I’m fencing for the “losing” side. Its because FF gives me an oppurtunity to be a member (insignificant, invisible, redundant; but still a member) of a community. Thats what all open source projects do. You can put buttons of commercial, proprietary products on your webpage and you can join their mailing lists, but is it really a community? Its more like a feudal lord holding court.

I think I’ll stay with the Firefox community.

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3 thoughts on “browser wars

  1. Jonny Axelsson

    Choosing which browser you prefer to use is of course your prerogative, but I would just say that Opera has a community too. In my opinion a friendly and knowledgeable one.

    Yes, we are a commercial company, but we depend upon our users to make the better browser. I would say that exactly because we make a browser for a living we need to listen to our users. Besides, it is fun and engaging.

  2. rvbhute

    Noted and acknowledged. All applications have communities clustered around them – some friendly, some not so friendly. I’m not actively involved with any such group, except for my local LUG. The inherent disparity between my opinions of the two browsers and/or their communities is due to the fact that the FF community feels, and perhaps, is more democratic, vibrant and friendly; mainly because its open sourced. Ironically, I haven’t touched the source code of any of the open source applications I use, but its good to know that people out there are ready to listen to you, unhindered by quarterly profit forecasts.

  3. Hrishi

    Well, let’s just say that opinions change over time…I was happy with IE because I never tried any alternative before. And now Opera suites me like no other browser. Be in mouse gestures, continuing sessions after reboots, or ad blocking… It’s just perfect… The amount of thought gone in processing, programming and designing Opera is phenomenal… More so considering it is closed source!Maybe, one day I shall say the same about some Linux distro, and kick Windows out…But, bewarned, I still have to use IE (and Windows, later) for some web sites…

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