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Firefox Users Stay Ahead On the Update Curve

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the not-altogether-surprising dept.

Mozilla 328

Reader Alex links to news of a study comparing the currency and patch level of various Web browsers, excerpting: "Firefox users were far and away the most likely to use the latest version, with an overwhelming 83.3 percent running an updated browser on any given day. However, despite Firefox's single click integrate auto-update functionality, 16.7 percent of Firefox users still continue to access the Web with an outdated version of the browser, researchers said. The study also revealed that the majority of Safari users (65.3) percent were likely to use the latest version of the browser between December 2007 and June 2008, after Safari version 3 became available. Meanwhile, Microsoft's Internet Explorer users ranked last in terms of safe browsing. Between January 2007 and June 2008, less than half of IE users — 47.6 percent — were running the most secure browser version during the same time period."

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47% (5, Funny)

Geak (790376) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080479)

47% are still using Mosaic????

Re:47% (4, Informative)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080751)

ftp://ftp.ncsa.uiuc.edu/Mosaic/ [uiuc.edu]

Download. Bring back the good ol memories.

Re:47% (5, Funny)

rootphreak (1320921) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080789)

What you really need is a gopher client, or if you have to be lame enough to use an http client then lynx ftw. Mosaic is for losers.

Re:47% (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24081211)

Firefox 1.5-2.0 have Gopher support, as did IE5 and IE6 (although it was later disabled in a patch). I believe the reason that it was removed in Firefox and IE was because it's a codepath that wouldn't receive much testing and so it might have bugs or security holes. Considering any Gopher ramifications of any protocol change or sandbox change is an unnecessary overhead (and if you really need Gopher to view a gopher site [moo.ca] you can just install a Gopher client... speaking of which that'd be something to have as a Firefox addon).

Re:47% (2, Funny)

Nathonix (843449) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081121)

breaks repeatedly on my system. xp sp3, dual core athlon 2.0ghz, 2gb ram.

Re:47% (4, Funny)

YukiCuss (960733) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081253)

breaks repeatedly on my system which is so cool and better than all yours here are its specs

Re:47% (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24081489)

I never had any problems whatsoever, it has never crashed on my pc ever IMHO. xp sp3, quad core intel 3.2ghz, 16gb ram

Re:47% (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24081395)

Read the report http://www.techzoom.net/insecurity-iceberg
IE, Firefox, Opera and Safari dominate, >98%

*shrug* (0)

grim4593 (947789) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080485)

No reason to fix what isn't broke.

Re:*shrug* (5, Funny)

arotenbe (1203922) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080587)

No reason to fix what isn't broke.

What the hell are you doing on Slashdot?

Re:*shrug* (5, Insightful)

ngth82 (1261748) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080865)

No reason to fix what isn't broke.

Oh it's broke. You just don't know.

Re:*shrug* (4, Informative)

Raul Acevedo (15878) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080873)

Well, browsers are a little different, from a security perspective you could argue they *are* broke whenever new vulnerabilities are discovered. For a web browser, they need continuing updates to address new security vulnerabilities. Unfortunately there's only so much interest in continuing security-only fixes to older versions...

Trust (5, Informative)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080489)

I leave the auto-update feature on in Firefox because I trust that when Mozilla pushes updates they are valuable to me in terms of security or features and that they've been well tested. This has generally held to be true.

On the other hand, on any system I administer I immediately disable automatic updates because Microsoft sometimes pushes patches that only partially address a problem, creating a false sense of security, and then later re-issue them, push things like updates to Windows Media DRM as critical updates (it's not critical to me, Microsoft!), and release updates that go on to cause problems with other software or system stability in general.

When I can trust Microsoft to apply only security updates to IE (or other components of my choosing), maybe I'll consider turning automatic updates back on. Maybe.

Re:Trust (5, Interesting)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080821)

I'm not in favour of auto-update type features for software. IMHO, it's much better if the updates are integrated directly with the system package manager, so that all the software on a computer can be upgraded consistently and regularly.

If users are asked to upgrade their software shortly after they've launched it, it's firstly an annoyance, but secondly it means that the software they don't launch regularly won't get updated regularly, and other software which might need to interoperate will fall out of sync with the new version.

Perhaps it's time to define a standard package manager API (not a standard package manager, just an API available in all major languages), before we get a culture where every piece of software manages its own updates interactively?

Re:Trust (5, Insightful)

quantumphaze (1245466) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080833)

Not to mention Apple sneaking in Safari with an iTunes critical update and many programs having regressions in updates.

Can we trust Apple not to issue a firmware update that makes the iPod stop working with 3rd party media players?

I myself keep everything updated (as much as Ubuntu repos let me anyway). But things like kernel updates force my to recompile my wifi driver so I can understand how people don't upgrade.

Re:Trust (2, Informative)

setagllib (753300) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080933)

Push to get your wireless driver into mainline or at least the Ubuntu modules package, so it will be re-integrated and distributed when new kernel versions are. All of my devices, including proprietary video drivers and wireless cards, are supported in Ubuntu's official packages because other thoughtful people already did this. I never have to compile, let alone recompile.

Re:Trust (4, Informative)

quantumphaze (1245466) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081023)

It is supported, just badly.

It's an Atheros 5005G chipset, works fine with the supplied modules until I use WPA-EAP at university, where it will lock up the system every 2nd connection attempt. Compiling from source is the easiest way to fix it, but (back on topic) needs to be recompiled every kernel update.

Re:Trust (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080953)

So what happens when Mozilla sends out a bad/buggy patch/update? I like to be notified about the updates and I will decide to get them or not.

Portable Firefox (3, Informative)

rvw (755107) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081135)

When using Portable Firefox, the automatic updates installs the normal version when updating. This results in something you don't want. So I uncheck the automatic update, and do this manually.

Re:Trust (1)

paulkoan (769542) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081265)

For sure.. but this only works as long as there is a patch administration regime in place. But what people tend to do is install for their Grandmothers with the same sensibilities. But then never ensure that Gran is instructed on which updates should be applied :)

So the moral of this story is unless you are going to assess every patch that comes around for validity on a timely basis, then you are better just automatically applying all of them indiscriminately and dealing with the consequences.

Or get your critical systems off windows of course.

Re:Trust (1)

Yer Mum (570034) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081405)

It's arguable that you're less secure if you use auto update in Firefox because you're running as administrator instead of as a limited user.

If 83.3% run the latest version of Firefox on any given day, what percentage of people run as a limited user? A single digit number, probably.

Re:Trust (2, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081511)

Not to mention that in the case of MSFT they abandoned some of their users. I know I personally have many users that are still quite happy with Win2K pro,and I still use Win2K pro on the machine I am typing this on. As an earlier poster said "if it ain't broke don't fix it". That is why I am glad that Firefox(along with Seamonkey,Kmeleon,and Opera) gives us that choice. With the economy in the toilet there ain't many folks around here with the money to go out and buy brand new machines.

But thanks to the great free and/or open source browsers I still do a decent business selling off lease office machines that have Win2K pro installed without having to worry about my clients surfing with an out of date browser. And my users are quite happy with the simple,non bloated UI of Win2K pro. So thanks to any Firefox developers that may be reading this. Thanks guys!

Understandable (5, Insightful)

Morgor (542294) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080495)

This is understandable, considering the level of obnoxiousness. Firefox gives you a discrete notice that it has downloaded an update, and you can choose not to install it right away, but instead having it installed next time you start firefox. Windows Updates are so damn obnoxious that I always consider turning it off and doing my updates manually. I know how to update my computer manually, but I suspect the bulk of users out there, just get frustrated about the constant bells and whistles of Windows Update, that they turn it off and leave it like that.

Re:Understandable (1)

ET3D (1169851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081035)

Windows update work the same, and is even more flexible. I usually either choose to just get notified, or to have the updates download, and I install them when I want. Frankly, I'm sorry I upgraded to Firefox 3. Had problems with my google homepage and with YouTube since. Good thing there's IE Tab.

Re:Understandable (5, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081145)

Frankly, I'm sorry I upgraded to Firefox 3. Had problems with my google homepage and with YouTube since. Good thing there's IE Tab.

Somewhere deep in hell a demon just snorted battery acid and gasoline on the keyboard and then Alt Tabbed back to Visual Studio, project title IE8.

Usual drivel (4, Funny)

taustin (171655) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080501)

When Microsoft has shit flashing on the screen automatically to remind you to do updates, it's evil intrusion in to one's privacy. But when Firefox does exactaly the same thing, they're God's gift to enlightenment.

The reason most Firefox users use the most up to date version is that it's the only way to get rid of the annoying pop-ups.

Re:Usual drivel (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24080567)

But it doesn't do this, and that's the point. It merely pops up when you exit the software, and it doesn't have a death-clock countdown until the reboot that you need to interrupt to rescue any unsaved work (my main gripe with Windows update).

Re:Usual drivel (5, Informative)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081061)

In XP I found out you could type

NET STOP WUAUSERV

That stops the Windows Update service if you're not ready to reboot. When you do reboot the updates will be installed as a side effect.

In Vista you can set it to download the updates automatically and only install them when you reboot - I've never seen a deathclock.

Re:Usual drivel (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24081293)

i know the feeling, dont know how many times the PC at work rebooted during the night to install some patches without any approval.

It's even rebooted due to this when it should notify when patches where available, so now it's disabled to even check for new patches. Seems like there was some "this critical patch should be installed and the user cannot choose" override. If i only had a choice with what OS i could run at work :P

Re:Usual drivel (2, Funny)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081353)

The death clock is rare. Usually after windows update it'll just tell you every 5 minutes that you still haven't rebooted. The death clock you're probably thinking of is reserved for those times when they can tell you are actually doing important stuff on your computer.

Re:Usual drivel (3, Funny)

arotenbe (1203922) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080621)

When Microsoft has shit flashing on the screen automatically to remind you to do updates, it's evil intrusion in to one's privacy. But when Firefox does exactaly the same thing, they're God's gift to enlightenment.

Firefox requires you to restart your browser, but Windows requires you to restart your whole computer.

Then again, with Firefox it takes just as long...

Re:Usual drivel (1)

HJED (1304957) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080679)

what type of computer do you use? becouse i am preaty sure that restarting windows(and almost all other OSes) takes longer then restarting Firefox. this is especially true when they are updating
restarting Windows.time > restarting Firefox.time

Re:Usual drivel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24080807)

It was a joke, skippy. In other words, a humorous play on the painfully slow startup time of Firefox experienced by a number of users, especially in comparison to other browsers.

Re:Usual drivel (5, Funny)

Artuir (1226648) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080719)

What computer are you using, Babbage's Difference Engine?

Re:Usual drivel (2, Insightful)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081289)

I know you were joking, but: (1) You can tell Firefox you'll restart later AND IT LISTENS TO YOU. You don't have to worry about it restarting randomly in the middle of a Counter Strike league match or some such. (2) When Firefox restarts, you're given nearly the same situation you left it in. Worst comes to worst you have to re-find where your youtube video was. When Windows restarts you're left crying 'cuz you're out for the season. (Yes, a few years back Windows did restarting during a CAL match. No, it didn't cost us the match: I sucked to much to make a difference - we'd have lost either way :D)

Re:Usual drivel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24081345)

requires... by default. Try messing with group policy settings.

Re:Usual drivel (4, Insightful)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080629)

The difference is that when Firefox has an update, it is for the browser. When Microsoft has an update, it is for the

Oh, wait.

Re:Usual drivel (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24080673)

for me the reason is not the need to reboot but the constant nagging reminding me every five minutes that i need to restart my machine. I f*ing know! a tray icon with a warning sign is good enough. I will do it as soon as i am done with what i am doing. If they don't believe that turning off reminder is a good idea at least let me change the reminder frequency.

Re:Usual drivel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24080757)

Open a command window and type 'net stop wuauserv'. Once the Automatic Update service has stopped, the nagging window disappears.

Re:Usual drivel (1)

ya really (1257084) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080665)

Opera has annoying popups as well for updating, which generally appear upon loading and ask, "Do you want to update to x.xx?" I guess it's just not quite as pesky as Firefox's. I've only used Safari a few times, but last I recall, I had to manually go to the site to update it. I guess Apple is pretty confident or doesn't care if users (at least on its Windows version) update. No idea how updates go for the Mac version.

Re:Usual drivel (3, Informative)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080737)

Safari uses the same update method as all apple's software -- in OS X it uses the built in software update mechanism, and in Windows, it uses a port of that mechanism. It's about as annoying as all the others (except windows update, because it doesn't pop up every 5 minutes, and it doesn't have a death clock before destroying all your work by restarting).

Re:Usual drivel (0, Redundant)

neonmonk (467567) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080995)

I don't mind OS X's update tool. It only pops up for critical stuff (and I often check it every couple of weeks or so anyway)

I find it fairly unobtrusive as I can select 'download only,' leave it in the background for later (or install the updates that don't require restarting)

It may also be an Operating System Illusion as I don't find leaving windows in the background very annoying, unlike Windows or Gnome/KDE. Cluttered taskbars get to me after a while (and grouping sucks)

(on a side note I actually use Webkit nightly builds for day to day browsing)

Re:Usual drivel (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081157)

and it doesn't have a death clock before destroying all your work by restarting).

You know something? It's even worse than that.

You can disable auto-reboot as part of group policy - perhaps have a scheduled task do the job overnight or something. However, it is still possible for an update to override group policy and say "No, reboot now".

Net result - even if you're doing everything in your power to administer a bunch of Windows machines properly, you are more-or-less guaranteed to still get the occasional case where an end user complains that their PC rebooted while they had left it doing something important. Yet the whole fricking point of group policy is to guarantee that every PC behaves in a known manner.

Re:Usual drivel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24080939)

microsoft's track record goes a long way towards them not getting as much slack as other developers. this is just as it should be.

Re:Usual drivel (2, Interesting)

Gnavpot (708731) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081093)

When Microsoft has shit flashing on the screen automatically to remind you to do updates, it's evil intrusion in to one's privacy. But when Firefox does exactaly the same thing, they're God's gift to enlightenment.

I would wish that Firefox had shit flashing on the screen automatically.

Unfortunately, it only does so if I run Windows as a user with administrative privileges or have Firefox installed in an alternate location where I have write access.

As a limited user, I don't even get a message that it is time to login as an administrator to get the newest update.

I wonder how many of those 16.7 % are actually among the few of us who have their Windows user account configured correctly.

I find it disturbing that a browser which is being marketed as a safe browser has an update mechanism which relies on an unsafe Windows configuration.

(Disclaimer: Somewhere around 2.0.0.12 I granted myself write access to the FF directory, and now I get the updates. So the problem described above may have been solved since then without me noticing.)

Re:Usual drivel (2, Informative)

Nikademus (631739) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081123)

The reason most Firefox users use the most up to date version is that it's the only way to get rid of the annoying pop-ups.

 

Go to "preferences" -> "advanced" -> "updates", uncheck "check for updates to firefox" and no pop up anymore, very hard indeed

Re:Usual drivel (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081163)

The reason most Firefox users use the most up to date version is that it's the only way to get rid of the annoying pop-ups.

I think the article is trying to imply it was because Firefox users where the 'intelectual and social elite of the Internet' as some irony challenged person once said of his fellow Mac users.

This makes sense (2, Interesting)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080509)

It's rational fear of the unknown.

I've never had a Firefox or Safari issue toast my machine. I've had IE updates do it twice before (on different machines).

I just don't see how a browser can cause such mayhem to the OS - considering it's the browser that supposedly runs inside the OS, and not the other way around.

Well ok, I can. To rephrase: I don't see how a browser should cause such mayhem to the OS.

Re:This makes sense (4, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080787)

I just don't see how a browser can cause such mayhem to the OS

It's easy when you consider that Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer are the same program. I remember back when IE 5 came out. If the upgrade program failed in just the right way you would reboot to a blank desktop with no icons, no task bar, no way out except the power switch or reset button. You had to reboot in DOS, edit win.ini to use progman instead of explorer, enter Windows and revert to the previous version of IE. (Sometimes progman didn't even work right. I found it much easier to use control.exe as the shell, because that brought up control panel, which was exactly what was needed.) Then, you had to restart in MS-DOS mode, undo the change to win.ini so that you could go back into Windows and try again. That is, if the tech support person you called knew what the problem was and how to fix it. If not, you were pretty much hosed until you re-installed Windows.

Re:This makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24081151)

Just so that all you Mods know, the parent is full of shit. IE has a lot of blemishes, but this isn't one of them. Total bullshit for the Slashdot crowd that laps it up.

Makes sense to me. (1)

ejg930 (1320903) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080517)

I like that Firefox isn't pushy about installing your updates, but rather it lets you do it at your convenience. Safari I can understand too, because that's integrated into Apple's update program, and most people leave that on automatically.

Lynx? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24080539)

What about us Lynx users?

Re:Lynx? (2, Funny)

Hucko (998827) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080607)

Development cycles are too extended to be used in any annual statistics. Perhaps you can petition to have them included in centennial statistics?

You happy now? (1, Offtopic)

kramulous (977841) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080543)

There, I finally upgraded to FF3 on my FC8 box. You happy now?

Re:You happy now? (1)

Rhapsody Scarlet (1139063) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080855)

If 83.3% of Firefox users are deemed to be using the 'most secure' version, then that definition probably means they're using either Firefox 2.0.0.15 or Firefox 3.0.0 as opposed to any earlier version. So you'd be fine with Firefox 2.0.0.15, which is exactly what I'm using right now.

Re:You happy now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24081087)

I run Ubuntu 8.04 and found ff3.0 to be a bit buggy esp when opening multiple tabs, so I went back to 2.0.0.14, which also got a bit crashy, so I changed to seamonkey and everything is fine. Did a few rounds of updates for Ubuntu and thought I'd give FF3 another go and hey, whaddya know! it goes fine as well as 2.0.0.14. Seamonkey is a bit too basic even for me (I use dillo and elinks as well on occasion) for regular use.

*caveat* i fuck with my computer A LOT so FF's problems may have been *my* fault. I'm using FF3 on the mrs XP SP1 laptop and so far, it has been an excellent experience.

just my 2c, YMMV.

Re:You happy now? (1)

Rhapsody Scarlet (1139063) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081189)

I run Ubuntu 8.04 and found ff3.0 to be a bit buggy esp when opening multiple tabs

I actually had a much worse experience. I opened up Firefox 3, it seemed OK. I closed it and opened Firefox 2 again, only to find it completely fucked. All of the extensions that had been disabled for Firefox 3 wouldn't reactivate, some extensions that hadn't been disabled were dead for some reason, I couldn't configure any extensions, and couldn't even uninstall any of them. Firefox 3 seemed to have pretty solidly FUBARed something. Not being able to figure what the hell had happened, I backed everything up and just killed my entire profile before reinstalling both.

No idea why it happened. I tried running alphas, betas, and even nightlies alongside Firefox 2 with no problems, but then a release candidate did that! I'm currently keeping away from Firefox 3 until I'm sure I'm ready to use it for good. It seems like a good browser, but I don't want to go through that again.

the reason (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24080545)

The majority of IE users use IE "because it's there." These people see no reason to download a different browser because one is already provided for them. These are the same people that usually end up relying on Automatic Updates to secure their browser, in most cases not even aware that these updates were taking place to begin with. Chances are that these people don't know that their browser even has updates, much less that they are running an insecure, outdated browser.

Users of alternative browsers, by contrast, use their browser deliberately. They know that IE is there, but they blatantly decide to go against the tide and use something else. Whatever the reason for this depends on the user, but most of them share this common trait. Said browsers can't use Automatic Updates, so they must have their own update checking mechanisms in place. Every alternative browser I've used will check every so often for an update and display a pop-up for the user. The user then knows that their browser is out-of-date. Such users also tend to want the latest version, again for various reasons. Firefox is a bit more aggressive that most, downloading the update by default and installing it regardless of whether the user chooses to have it done now or later, which better explains its higher percentage.

Likely business users skew the results. (5, Informative)

eccenthink (1312043) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080555)

Where I work we had IE 7 a couple years ago but the corporate intranet didn't work properly or IT didn't want to support it or something so I'm forced to use IE 6. I couldn't update IE if I wanted to on the computer where I work. I use firefox at home but I go to quite a few websites during my lunch break. Unless they're filtering out IP's from corporate domains I suspect the results of the study are skewed by users surfing while at work.

Re:Likely business users skew the results. (1)

ben2umbc (1090351) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080583)

I agree. I worked at a place where they claimed that some other software that was being used wasn't compatible with IE 7 so they kept IE 6 around much to my dismay.

Hey, it wasn't really my problem if they didn't care about internet security as long as I was able to access all the Russian porn sites I wanted.

Re:Likely business users skew the results. (3, Interesting)

barista (587936) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080653)

An organization affiliated with ours has some web apps that only work with IE6, so I leave that on most machines in our department. It was over a year after IE6 came out before they supported that, so I figure it is a matter of time before they support IE7...probably when IE8 comes out. Many of the users in my department wouldn't know what their default browser is if I asked them. They would say it's, "the Internet". All they know is whether it works or not. If it works, that's all that matters.

FWIW, this type of situation might be one of the (many) reasons why Vista hasn't been widely deployed in enterprise (not as widely as XP, anyway). I don't think IE6 is available for Vista, so apps that don't work with IE7 would give some companies yet another reason to think about holding off on deploying Vista.

Re:Likely business users skew the results. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24081431)

I imagine that they skew the results far less, but business users may also degrade the results for Mozilla Firefox. Naughty users sneaking in Portable Firefox or users at firms that allow it using portable builds for other reasons may be having a similar impact, as it was quite common as of '06-07 for such builds to disable automatic updates.

That said, neither problem invalidates the results. The same potential security issues hit corporate users as home users, and with potentially far greater monetary risk.

Well jeeze, you guys! (4, Interesting)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080565)

If I spend all my time keeping up with upgrades, I won't have any time left to actually use my damn computer. And sometimes an older version works better for me. All that automatic crap is turned off. My disks are backed up...I think... I'll upgrade if something breaks. I hope you're ok with that.

Re:Well jeeze, you guys! (1)

Zencyde (850968) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080949)

Okay okay. I'll get off your lawn : )

Push (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24080573)

Firefox Users Stay Ahead On the Update Curve...

Mainly because Mozilla pushes out a fix for something or other about twice a week. Good to know the thing was quality checked before release...

Re:Push (2, Interesting)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080731)

AC makes no sense. Assuming it takes users some constant time C to update, and all users update theri browsers (big assumption...), then with two updates per week, users will run the latest version of the browser 1-C/7 of the time. With updates twice per month, users will run with the latest version 1-C/30 of the time. Obviously C/7 > C/30 therefore if you update less often users will be up-to-date more often.
That firefox users are up-to-date 83-ish% of the time is MORE, not less, impressive because Mozilla pushes out a fix for something about twice a week.

"Most secure" (5, Funny)

Legion_SB (1300215) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080605)

Between January 2007 and June 2008, less than half of IE users - 47.6 percent - were running the most secure browser version during the same time period.

That many people still run IE 2.0?

Simple Math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24080619)

Firefox users were far and away the most likely to use the latest version, with an overwhelming 83.3 percent running an updated browser [] However, [] 16.7 percent of Firefox users still continue access the Web with an outdated version of the browser.

Look I know this is slashdot and all but most of us are actually able to work out that 100-83.3=16.7.

What has single click got to do with it? (2, Interesting)

LesFerg (452838) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080633)

I'm not sure why they couldn't have the update option for version 2.xx at least offer the option to update to version 3. It just kept telling me there were no new updates available. I wouldn't call it 'single click' at all.

Re:What has single click got to do with it? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24080759)

I'm not sure why they couldn't have the .update option for version 2.xx at least offer the option to update to version 3. It just kept telling me there were no new updates available. I wouldn't call it 'single click' at all.

The option to update to Firefox 3 instead of another security minor version of Firefox 2 (which will still get security updates till the end of the year) hasn't been turned on at the server end yet, and will likely only be done at the next minor version update, like Firefox 3.0.1 or later.
THEN, you'll have a single click.

IE7 is not installed with automatic updates (1)

ZeroSerenity (923363) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080677)

And therefore the general populace of computer users who don't tell it to install are obviously not going to have it. Not to mention it requires clicks to install unlike all other updates that happen on their own and just tell you to reboot every 20 minutes. So I guess we could say Microsoft really needs to push 7 if they want everyone secure.

Re:IE7 is not installed with automatic updates (2, Interesting)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081069)

IE7 was rammed down most of the populations throat with an automatic security update a while back, though it has the graces to not try to install it again if you say no to the IE7 license agreement. I'm also not sure if this happened before the start of the study.

Re:IE7 is not installed with automatic updates (5, Informative)

c4colorado (1097179) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081369)

I can't tell you how annoying it was to have IE7 forced through the automatic updates system. I would normally say it is a good thing to update the browser... as it is the single most common entry point for spyware, adware, etc (with the email client being the single most common entry point for viruses).

HOWEVER:

a) The "Menu" bar is missing by default (yea the File, Edit, View, Etc... toolbar).

Try explaining to a client over the phone how to "Right-click in an area toward the top of the browser below the title bar, but above the content window, and not in the address bar, oh and not on another toolbar, somewhere kinda blank, maybe to the right of the green arrow, oh that area isn't blank on your screen, oh yea I don't mean blank, just without buttons, did you get the menu, well it should have check marks next to toolbar names, uh something like Standard / Address Bar / Links, yea you got it, wait no, I didn't say click on address bar, ok do it again and turn address bar back on, oh it wasn't on... yea turn it on and then turn on, yes I mean make a check mark by it, yes, ok try it again and turn on the one called, uh something like, just read me what your menu says, yes, that one, ok now do you have File / Edit / View at the top of the window, oh no it's below the address bar and buttons, yea, ok bring up the menu again and uncheck "lock toolbars", then click on the edge, it has little bumps, well more like lines, yea you can grab it there and move it, then you didn't click on the right area, yea try again, ok move it up, well then you have to move the address bar back down, try wiggling it at the top, move it around until the address bar goes onto its own line, yea keep trying, you aren't wiggling it properly, then just drop it there and move the address bar, no it can't go all the way at the top, I don't know why, ask Microsoft why, yea, ok well was there anything else..." and so on.

b) The "Address" bar is hidden by default

See "a"

c) FTP is broken (yep, just fails with "cannot be displayed" when you click an ftp:// [ftp] link ... you have to go into "File > Open With Windows Explorer" to get it to open properly)

Here is a big problem, most software download sites have mirrors at ftp:// [ftp] links, which fail without any reason. IE 6 and previous would re-task the current IE window to a Windows Explorer window and process the FTP request... no so with IE 7(they may have fixed this since). The net result is that users who may try to update their software, or download new software, are unable to. Sites that worked last night suddenly don't. (I first ran into this when a customer called me saying they couldn't download the new version of their anti-virus software, talk about security updates).

d) Common buttons are missing or drastically re-skinned to the extent that users are lost

e) Tabs confuse IE Users (yes I know they are off by default, but users click on things and enable things accidently, and then call me asking why it is broken).

. . .

Shortly after IE 7's relese we implemented a remote desktop application for all phone support requests.

Aren't I the living satan (2, Insightful)

heroine (1220) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080701)

Well I still use version 1.5.0.12. Just minimize those annoying upgrade popups every time they pop up. 10 clicks & they just give an error & next day it's another popup for another upgrade. You mean those weren't advertizements? Well, probably just destroyed someone's TimeWarner stock.

easiest to update means it gets updated (4, Insightful)

suck_burners_rice (1258684) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080725)

Now that it's mentioned, there really is something about Firefox's update feature that gets you to install and use the latest version. Maybe it's that it's so easy and doesn't mess up anything, e.g., by making drastic changes to the appearance of the browser, etc. I would say that most of the nearly 20% who are running outdated versions are probably the paranoid type who think that updating their software will mean introducing problems, you know, the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." But this study is totally correct: Of all the browsers, Firefox makes updating the easiest.

Re:easiest to update means it gets updated (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24081159)

For at least some of those cases, the reason why we don't update is because Firefox doesn't tell us when an updated version is available when we're running as limited users (i.e. not root). I don't know how it works on other OSes, but in Windows XP, if you don't have write access to the Firefox directory, it won't even notify you that an update is available. Sometimes I don't find out until a month or two after the update is released that it even exists. It's ironic that a user who tries to run more securely gets left out of security updates.

Now that FF3 is out, I've got a dilemma because of this. One of my systems is staying FF2 for the time being, but there's no way I can find out if a new version of FF2 is out since the Mozilla products page doesn't list the latest 2.x version anymore.

Types of users of different browsers (4, Informative)

Chambers81 (613839) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080733)

It seems that corporate/government users don't have as much of a choice in when to update their browsers and a good number don't have the choice to switch to firefox and are forced to use IE. I know that at my job (government) we can't update on our own and are forced to wait for the IT staff to push the updates through, sometimes days or weeks after they become available.

Re:Types of users of different browsers (2, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080875)

It seems that corporate/government users don't have as much of a choice in when to update their browsers

It's not just corporate users. It's everybody who isn't running XP or higher. For a huge number of people, upgrading to the most recent version of Internet Explorer means buying a new operating system. Of course there are a lot of people who aren't upgrading. It's one of the consequences of Microsoft tying Internet Explorer to Windows so tightly. To upgrade to Internet Explorer 7, you need to take on board all the crap XP and/or Vista were laden with, like product activation and DRM antifeatures. And you need to pay for the privilege!

Corporate policy (1)

NastyGnat (515785) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080801)

I'd reckon some of the lag is due to corporate policy. FF3 still hasn't been pushed to my work PC and I doubt they are in any hurry to push the update either. Lots of other corps are no doubt waiting for something big to justify the man hours for the update.

Live CD ? (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080853)

Were live-CD browser like firefox taken into account ? I have been using Gutsy Gibbon live CD for a long time, and it is naturally not an updated version, which anyway I would not care for since there is nothing to exploit on my CD. Same for all people browsing from a VM.

Stop making it optional (4, Interesting)

linzeal (197905) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080869)

Firefox developers heed my call. Stop making security updates optional past a certain version.

Web developers heed my call. Stop making websites accept security corrupting browsers because half the time they are pry zombies. Look at your logs and see the rate at which these computers increase revenue. Drop them at whatever delta you think prudent.

Re:Stop making it optional (1)

Hannes2000 (1113397) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081051)

Drop them at whatever delta you think prudent.

Which, for the sales people in charge, is infinitely close to zero.

Corporations (1)

Unfocused (723787) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080877)

Out of the out-dated versions of the various browsers, I wonder how many of those can't be updated by the user due to OS restrictions out of the user's control? ie, a locked down computer in a corporate environment. That type of thing is likely to skew the results a bit. More for some browsers than others.

User group (3, Insightful)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080941)

Firefox users are already going to be people who care more about what software they're using and security. IE users are everyone who doesn't really care and never actually chose what browser to use, everyone who doesn't know too much about computers and on top those who do care and chose IE, but those are only a minority of the IE user group. So it's logical that in the firefox user group people are going to update faster, it's not directly related to the browser but to the user group.

Corporate policy? (2, Interesting)

ZipOtter (1272760) | more than 6 years ago | (#24080947)

I wonder how much of that 47.6% figure is due to corporate IT departments refusing or unable to roll out newer versions of IE. I work on a fairly popular european website, with close to half of its IE users (around 25% total) still using IE 6. Site usage spikes around noon with a sharp dropoff on the weekend, suggesting that people browse it from work. So I did a quick internal survey in my (tech) company and found that outside of IT and Software Development, almost everyone was still using Windows 2000, which of course doesnt't get IE 7+. It's a shame, really. As a web developer, I hate IE 6 with a burning passion but it's not going away until MS activates the secret killswitch in W2K in a desperate attempt to get people to switch to Vista...

Old Firefox usage (4, Insightful)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081011)

I wonder how much of the old Firefox usage is old installs in Linux? You can't use the built-in updater if you installed the RPM/DEB because the permissions are (or should be) wrong for letting you write to the folder. AFAIK there's only a few distros who have moved to Firefox 3 so far, so the rest would be showing up as out-dated.

Similarly for Windows, if they're counting Firefox 3 as "up to date" then how many people are still on old v2s because they don't know about v3?

Re:Old Firefox usage (1)

belmolis (702863) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081033)

True. There is also the fact that Firefox is not self-contained. I can't install Firefox 3 yet because it needs a more recent version of something (pango? - I forget) than I have installed. And I can't update that because various other things are out of date. So I'll install Firefox 3 when I update the whole system soon.

Re:Old Firefox usage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24081071)

And, remember, Firefox 3 doesn't work on Win98, Me or 2000.
Only a few millions of users, I know, but still.....

Re:Old Firefox usage (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081167)

The same applies to Windows and other OS's. I'm seeing NT 4.x boxes still in use, and they have not a chance of running an up-to-date Internet Explorer. (Those machines are in de-militarized zones and protected from user access: the softwae is just too painful to move yet.)

Re:Old Firefox usage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24081377)

They could be corporate installs. I know my work laptop will update fine when working from home but when in the office it has never managed to contact the update server.

Meh (2, Insightful)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081029)

Newer is NOT always better.

Anyone who uses linux should know this.

For example, wine v0.9.58 works perfectly for me; I blindly updated to .59 only to find that ctrl/shift + mouse clicks were bugged, therefore screwing me in WoW. Had to revert back.

Usually, updates are a good thing, but not always.

Firefox 3 was not worth the update (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24081101)

I'm usually early in the update curve. But, after the low quality of Firefox 3 I'll have to rethink my mode of operation. Firefox 3 was so bad I ended up removing it from my Linux and Windows systems and reinstalled Firefox 2.

The Camino folks have it just right (2, Insightful)

rubenerd (998797) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081187)

I use Camino [caminobrowser.org] as my browser on my Mac and choose to leave the home page as the default "Camino Start" page. Its very minimalist, just shows a small Google search box, and a link to the latest version which changes colour to red if my version is outdated.

No in-your-face messages, no irritating popups, no external syncing software... though I guess it only works if you keep it as your home page. Makes sense to use a feature that's built into every web browser (sarcasm aside): the ability to load a web page!

pathetic microsoft (0, Offtopic)

BBird (664014) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081307)

It's unbelievable how pathetic ms is. I use a win xp (my employers pc) a mac and a ubuntu linux box at home. mac and ubuntu are fats straightforward and clean for updates. same for firefox on the 3 os. the mess is always with ms, with server not responding, trying to install and failing. This morning it did the the ms stupid thing. asked if I wanted to read some article on security (!), then tried to open a docx (amazing) which did not download at ald and stalled the stupid ie (which is only used for ms updates and some ms only applications like sharepoint).

Sergius Know It All (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24081341)

I use Maxthon 2.1.2.649 with Safari_1m2s skin and let me tell you... given all the features that come along with Maxthon 2.1.2.649, I find it much more convenient to use both in terms of speed and security. All this hype about Firefox being soooo secure and fast is getting a bit ridiculous, I think. Look at Maxthon for a change. IMHO it IS MORE CONVENIENT to use than Firefox despite all those extentions of the latter.

cited study wants "best before" date for browsers (1)

TekNick (1320963) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081361)

The cited original study "Understanding the web browser threat" is published at: http://www.techzoom.net/insecurity-iceberg [techzoom.net] It also proposes to show a warning to the user if the browser in use is an old version and security patches have been missed, much like a "best before" date on perishable food. This would help to easily spot if one is at (unnecessary) risk when surfing the web.

Big Company Structures (2, Informative)

RationalRoot (746945) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081433)

Most people in big companies cannot update their IExplorer. Updates come through when IT have verified them. It's a trade off between the security risk of an old browser and the risk of breaking the entire company if the update is bad. Most BIG COMPANIES use IExplorer. Nothing to see here folks.

Re:Big Company Structures (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#24081547)

Most people in big companies cannot update their IExplorer. Updates come through when IT have verified them. It's a trade off between the security risk of an old browser and the risk of breaking the entire company if the update is bad. Most BIG COMPANIES use IExplorer. Nothing to see here folks.

Majority of website visitors tend to come from home internet connections, not business, so this is mostly irrelevant in my eyes. That said, I am not aware of any large companies that haven't upgraded IE to version 7.

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