Religion (Definition) - "A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion."
Is Firefox a bad web browser? No. Is it the next coming of the Almighty? According to some it would seem that way. It is one thing recommending a program, it is entirely another to preach about something as if you were part of a religious cult.
Seriously how sad is it that a program needs a web page like this: www.spreadfirefox.com
"Welcome to Spread Firefox. You are our marketing department, a diverse community of people tired of swatting popups, chasing spyware, combating identity theft and installing security updates you could set your watch to. You have a vision of the 21st century web and are ready to push it to the world, wresting control from a monopoly that has let it stagnate. We'll provide the tools, but you will drive campaigns that will be rolled out here over the coming months."You can see clearly here this site is less about recommending a better browser and more about a crusade against Microsoft. But to have your crusade you must have a Religion and of course followers. To recruit followers you need beliefs.
Beliefs through propaganda? Yes, Firefox is being marketed as if it is superior to Internet Explorer in regards to Pop-ups, Spyware and Security. How convenient of the Firefox followers to leave out the other side of the story:
The Dark Side
Internet Explorer with Service Pack 2 installed for Windows XP is just as secure as Firefox in relation to Spyware and Pop-ups. Service Pack 2, released Aug 2, 2004 (Firefox 1.0 released November 9, 2004), includes the following security enhancements relating to Internet Explorer:
1. Built-in Pop-up Blocker
2. Internet Explorer Download Monitoring (ActiveX Controls)
3. Removal of MSJVM
And the following related to Windows Security
4. Updated and Enabled the Windows XP Firewall
5. Automatic Updates Improvements
6. Data Execution Prevention
These features eliminate the threat of auto install Spyware. However like anything, Spyware can still infect people via ignoring the warnings or installing applications with bundled Spyware. How many people do you think who are told to use Firefox are told this? How many people are told there is a solution to the Spyware problem using free software in simple guides like these:
Malware Removal Guide
15% of web pages aren't completely compatible with Firefox
Firefox is not 100% Internet Explorer and ActiveX compatible. Web pages that depend on ActiveX or were only tested in Internet Explorer will only render and work properly in Internet Explorer based browsers. Web page features such as Menus, Web forms or other content may not function or behave differently then intended. This means that someone using Firefox may come across a website that does not look or work right. This is pretty significant information that is conveniently left out by the legions of Firefox followers.
The Security Myth
"Firefox is 100% Secure", simply not true. Firefox has over 290 Security Vulnerabilities and more vulnerabilities in 2006 than Internet Explorer. Some of these vulnerabilities have remained unpatched since 2004! Irony? It gets worse. Over 90 Extensions have been found to collect data and uniquely identifying users without notifying them. Popular extensions such as Greasemonkey, Firebug and IETab all are vulnerable. Even Spyware gets through. So much for security.
Firefox is being touted as having innovated features as if it invented them, such as tabbed browsing and Pop-up blocking. I'm sorry to be the historian and ruin everyone's party but Opera has had these "Innovations" for years. So have other web browser like Netcaptor, Avant Browser, Maxthon (MyIE2).
Firefox followers can be anyone but obviously people with too much time on their hands. Let me clear something up, there are many respectable users of Firefox who use it and understand it for what is and do not preach it but recommend it. These are the same respectable people who have always done this with every program they have used. This new trend of the "Followers" does not include them. For to become a Follower you have to submit to the hype and preach the beliefs. At which point you become part of the religion, Spamming "Firefox Rules!" everywhere you go. As an example of how ridiculous it has become, I submit the following from a news article:
"All of this has been a pinch-yourself experience for Mozilla's Baker. A former Netscaper, she became accustomed to laboring in obscurity during the Mozilla project's early days. Now she's struggling with the group's recognition. She gets buttonholed by parents at her son's school and approached by strangers at exercise class.Need I say more?
Recently, after Baker handed a Mozilla T-shirt to a friend at Trapeze Arts, the circus-skills gym where she works out, a nearby woman burst out: "Are you from Mozilla? Firefox changed my life!" She then kneeled and bowed before a stunned Baker."
I've never seen anything as crazy as the Firefox Followers who bombard everyone with "Use Firefox, Take Back the Web!" "Firefox Rules!" Slogans, signatures, advertisements ect... Its not just in forums its now in magazines, newspaper ads, bumper stickers, it's everywhere and it's down right annoying. This is like the Jehovah Witness follower who keeps coming to your door even though you're not interested. Honestly I'm a little scared that there is a generation of kids out their who have been brain washed to spending a good portion of their life promoting a web browser as if it was their religion. If I had known this I could have utilized this army of zombies to promote "Use Antivirus Software! So you stop sending me infected E-mails!" Which is probably a more useful allocation of resources anyway but I will leave the Religion founding to the pros over at www.spreadfirefox.com
CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) - Firefox
Firefox fanatics decide to make money by punishing users
Firefox Unleashes Spyware
Internet Explorer 6.x More Secure than Firefox 1.x in 2006
Opera is Faster, More Secure and More Compliant than Firefox
PopUp Blocking Comparison Test
Silent Firefox Adware Install - Proof of Concept
Websites That Don't Work Well With Firefox
Websites alienate Firefox users