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Big Strides for Free Software in the Browsers War

Posted in Antitrust, Deception, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Google, Microsoft at 4:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A roundup of browsers news with focus on Internet Explorer’s demise

SOME DAYS ago we learned from a private source that Microsoft had used lobbyists to deflect antitrust attention to Google and Chrome, even in public events. The anti-Google EU defense is another important issue that we covered [1, 2] and the following suggests that “Microsoft pays yes men to spread more FUD about Firefox, Chrome, and Opera.”

Since Microsoft cannot promote IE on it’s own merits:

They have apparently paid for another biased opinion from a bunch of spin doctoring suck ups, to try and do damage control on Internet Explorer 8, the slowest and most brain damaged browser on Windows in a fair benchmark conducted by myself, comparing IE 8’s (lack of) performance compared to it’s competitors.

What can Microsoft do when push come to shove? Just what it always does:

Microsoft criticized for aggressive Internet Explorer updates

Microsoft continues to make it all too easy for even tech-savvy PC users to dump Firefox or Opera and make Internet Explorer 8 their default browser, complains Hakon Wium Lie, CTO of rival browser maker, Opera, which is popular in Europe. Lie is particularly peeved that Microsoft continues to label IE8 as a “high-priority update” in Windows Update, (see link) despite widespread criticism about the finer points of how Microsoft actually delivers this update.

SJVN, who is known for his love of GNU/Linux, is gloating about Chrome’s performance.

As these changes mature, I really believe that Chrome is poised to become a major Web browser player by year’s end. If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe Microsoft. The Evil Empire is currently trying to convince the European Union that if they have to bundle Chrome with Windows in Europe, Google and Chrome will grab a monopoly-sized share of the Internet. Not bad for a Web browser that has less than a 1% market share at the moment eh?

Look at Internet Explorer in some new analyses. It’s a turtle, just like Windows Vista:

i. Surprise, the fastest browser on Windows is in fact….

Google Chrome 2.0.180 is 376% faster than IE 8

Chrome 1.0 is 326% faster than IE 8

Safari 3.23 is 273% faster than IE 8

Opera 10’s May 13 weekly build is 247% faster than IE 8

Firefox 3.5 Beta 4 is 224% faster than IE 8

Opera 9.64 is 179% faster than IE 8

Firefox 3.0.10 is 149% faster than IE 8

On a technical level, IE is competing with Firefox 2 for speed and Firefox 1.0 for standards support.

ii. Microsoft’s JavaScript strategy hurting IE 8?

Microsoft’s focus on selected improvements in Internet Explorer’s handling of Javascript has cost its latest browser in the race against competitors.

Internet Explorer 8 is ninth in a list of 10 browsers that have been tested for speed, with the previous version of Microsoft’s browser – IE 7 – coming last. This list arrives from 3D-graphics specialist Futuremark.

Here is some good news about Firefox:

i. Firefox 3.5 Release Candidate Coming in Early June

Beltzner’s post says that Mozilla is working on 52 remaining code blockers and 12 non-code blockers, with “great progress” being made. “The finish line is very much in sight!” he writes.

ii. Creative Brief for the New Firefox Icon (more here)

The overall direction for the next phase of the Firefox icon’s design is going to be primarily based on some conceptual sketches and renders created in 2007 by Jon Hicks, the designer who rendered the original Firefox icon.

Is it too late for Internet Explorer to rescue itself? Some people do believe so. See:

i. IP Internet Explorer: 1995-2021

Some of us in the web community really wish Internet Explorer would die. It makes web designers’ lives a pain, and it makes users’ computers less secure. So you might be glad to know that Internet Explorer is dying: really, really, really slowly.

ii. Can I Recommend Internet Explorer 8? Should I?

So I suppose these e-mail exchanges will continue. Maybe the “endorsement” I should deliver for these updates goes something like this:

“I tried this update on [at least three, ideally five or more] computers, none that I knew to have any existing software problems, and saw no issues with it. If you have kept yours in proper working order, you should be fine too. Unless you’re not. This is the chance you must take running Windows, an aging operating system that can get pretty fragile in daily use. If you don’t like that risk, you need to use a different operating system.”

Too harsh? Too depressing? You tell me.

GNU/Linux comes with even better browsers preinstalled.

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  1. pcolon said,

    May 20, 2009 at 9:31 am


    Microsoft continues to label IE8 as a “high-priority update” in Windows Update,

    To have a web browser so heavily hooked into the OS adds too much complexity and extra baggage.

    For OS support, the more you compartmentalize the better the tracing to errors are.

  2. David Gerard said,

    May 20, 2009 at 5:43 pm


    Chrome really is very nice and very fast. I really wish Chrome or Chromium worked properly on Linux. (Doesn’t quite work properly in Wine yet, despite CodeWeavers’ Chromium package.)

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