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Ars Technica Reviews Mozilla

michael posted about 12 years ago | from the lizard-power dept.

Mozilla 837

Aglassis writes "This Ars Technica review gives mozilla 1.0 an overall score of 7/10 (9 for Gecko and 6 for the browser). The major detractor was the user interface, since it didn't feel like a Windows application. This was probably due to a poor understanding by the authors of XUL. Overall they say that mozilla would make a good substitute for IE 6 but there is no major reason to switch over."

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fp ! (-1, Offtopic)

james3v (594478) | about 12 years ago | (#3985255)

hi ac, how's it going? well, just wanted to see what you were up to. i'll give you a call later after work. see ya! (don't mark me down, please?)

tabs (4, Informative)

JPriest (547211) | about 12 years ago | (#3985257)

I like the tab feature with Galeon, Mozilla, and opera. That is one large feature they have over IE.

Re:tabs (3, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | about 12 years ago | (#3985271)

... along with built-in privacy features that work very good. Even ad-blocking via "do not download more images from this server" which is simply outstanding.

I'd actually use it over IE if it was more stable. Yeah, you heard right. IE is actually more stable for me for some reason. :-P

Re:tabs (1, Informative)

scalis (594038) | about 12 years ago | (#3985391)

The "Do not download images...." is only a good function in short sight. If no one ever even sees the adds then (free) sites will stop getting money for putting them there, thus having to generate money elseway by, for example, making them a pay site. Now that would truly suck more than a banner every once in a while. What i DO like however is the pop-up stopper. =) Of course I could imply my own argument against myself but some adds just messes stuff up.....

Re:tabs (1)

Squareball (523165) | about 12 years ago | (#3985281)

As well as stopping pop-ups and other annoying 'features' such as browser window resizing. Mozilla is my main browser... of course I run Linux now so.. ;)

Re:tabs (1)

steli2001 (314432) | about 12 years ago | (#3985333)

Well, I'm using win2k and Mozilla IS my main browser too ... and I feel it's as much as a windows app just like ie is...

If you use Linux/X, use Galeon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3985367)

It's mozilla-based and takes the tab feature to the limit.

its not a xul issue (5, Insightful)

sirinek (41507) | about 12 years ago | (#3985265)

Poor understandnig of XUL or not, if it doesn't feel like a Windows application, then it just *doesnt* feel like a Windows application. I agree with the author's opinion on that. I am a happy mozilla user at home on my Linux box, but I am not about to switch IE to Mozilla on my windows machine here at work, theres really no reason aside from maybe curtailing javascript annoyances (popups, resizes, etc)


Re:its not a xul issue (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3985390)

absoutely spot on, one of the nicest things about galeon is that it just feels like its well integrated, purely due to look and feel.

XUL is lovely but the vast majority of user, or even seasoned web developers are just not going to go anywhere near it.

Re:its not a xul issue (2)

mshiltonj (220311) | about 12 years ago | (#3985404)

theres really no reason aside from maybe curtailing javascript annoyances (popups, resizes, etc)

That and blocking ads with a mouse click are *great* and *compelling* reasons to switch.

Re:its not a xul issue (5, Insightful)

MaxVlast (103795) | about 12 years ago | (#3985443)

Ha! I almost fell out of my chair laughing at the "poor understanding by the authors" comment. A program's philosophy and reason shouldn't be explained to the user! This isn't a humanities class! A browser is a tool for getting information. It should be fluent and natural to use. I absolutely, 100% do not want to even think about the tools that the programmers used to create the UI. Furthermore, if I have to have an understanding of those tools to be able to deal with the non-standardness or funkiness of the browser, I will immediately go to the next browser available. And I did. The Mozilla UI is ghastly, and I don't care why. There are other, equally good, products out there which I'll happily use. Hehe. Thanks for a good laugh.

Re:its not a xul issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3985454)

Even if you install the Internet Explorer skin? Is this some tactile feeling, separate from appearance?

Security? (4, Insightful)

vofka (572268) | about 12 years ago | (#3985269)

...but there is no major reason to switch over.

Secirity Problems perhaps? Given the number os severe security issues that have been found in IE over the years, I would have thought this would have been a pretty major reason to switch!

Re:Security? (2)

Jugalator (259273) | about 12 years ago | (#3985307)

Well, I have never been victim of one. I don't think *anyone* I know has. I wonder how rare these exploits are really. From the news, I'd be attacked approx. once a month or so, but I haven't been once since IE 2.0. :-o

You have a point, but I guess it's just human laziness in my case... Switch when you have to, not otherwise. :-P

Re:Security? (1)

NineNine (235196) | about 12 years ago | (#3985353)

Security problems? You mean like old, simple browser tricks when you go to really, really shitty porn sites, or other such scams?
Not a problem for most people.
Or is it because you're so important, that people have set up traps for you on the web so that if you're using an old version of IE, they *might* be able to see what porn you have saved on your hard drive? Now that's the paranoia talking.

Not only is "security" a moot point for most people out there, especially when it comes to a browser, but it's a hell of a lot easier to click on "Windows Update" then it is to download a whole new browser, learn how to use it, deal with it's bugs, deal with it's rendering differences, etc. I just click on Windows Update every so often and I don't worry about it.

Re:Security? (1)

shepd (155729) | about 12 years ago | (#3985393)

>but it's a hell of a lot easier to click on "Windows Update" then it is to download a whole new browser, learn how to use it, deal with it's bugs, deal with it's rendering differences, etc.

I don't think so.

The basic features of mozilla are no different than IE. You click links once. Right click for special menus. Click the menus to open them.

Advanced features are elsewhere, but that's true of any program. Anyone using advanced features should be experienced enough that relearning those few features is not a big deal.

What is a big deal is when the windows update control doesn't download properly and you can't enter windows update without spending ungodly amounts of time fixing it. Not to mention the IE6 download times, and that it wants you to have all kinds of unreleated stuff, like a Media Player and Email program. Oh, and lets not forget having to return and reboot to windows update many times until you have all the weird security patches downloaded.

BLECH! Only I can bust the 'doze from my life!

Re:Security? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3985422)

Not to mention the IE6 download times, and that it wants you to have all kinds of unreleated stuff, like a Media Player and Email program.


Re:Security? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3985371)

Security and the fact that it is Open Source!

That alone should be good enough a reason to switch.

Why would Mozilla be more secure? (1, Insightful)

RebornData (25811) | about 12 years ago | (#3985416)

I'm sure I'll get flamed for this...

IE has had more than it's share of security problems, but who says Mozilla won't? Despite being closed source, IE's had a lot more eyes on it, for a lot longer. This may change over time, but Mozilla is a "1.0" release, and from a security perspective, it's usually better to go with a more mature application. As the continual release of vulnerabilities against both open source and closed source software demonstrates, being O.S. is no security panacea.

Plus, has it occured to anyone that the rash of security "problems" from MS might be due to the fact that they really are getting serious about security over there.? Seems like a catch-22 to me... if they are doing the "right thing" as is defined by the /. community, the number of reported security bugs is going to go up as they find, fix and disclose the problems. Everybody laughs and points at all the holes, but the result is better software.

Re:Security? (2)

DeadSea (69598) | about 12 years ago | (#3985426)

Mozilla is likely to have more holes in it than IE. Any monolithic program such as a browser will have bugs and some of those bugs will lead to leaked information, or backdoors. You cannot use either IE or Mozilla and expect to be secure. You can expect Microsoft and Mozilla developers to fix security bugs and release new versions. Currenly IE has many known security holes, and since bugzilla is down, I can't tell how many mozilla has (they might not be public bugs anyway), but I'd wager there are several. If most users don't even apply hot fixes to the browser they have to secure it, why would they upgrade to another browser (which won't be secure) to fix security issues?

There are many reasons why I use mozilla, but security isn't one of them.

Re:Security? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3985441)

Problems ? There are no problems with IE. Besides the fact you must not press the CTRL-key [] and you must not click the back-button [] . But hey - who needs navigation anyway ?

There IS a reason to switch over... (0, Troll)

Dwedit (232252) | about 12 years ago | (#3985272)

Mozilla actually fixes bugs, Microsoft don't.

Microsoft IE6 has a horrible bug where when you open a favorite from your toolbar, and it opens in the First browser window instead of the window you opened the favorite from!

Mozilla doesn't have that bug. It's an easy choice, I use IE5 or Mozilla, and avoid IE6 like the plauge.

Re:There IS a reason to switch over... (1)

gazbo (517111) | about 12 years ago | (#3985302)

Bastards! In fact, they are so committed to not resolving the bug that they've somehow hidden it on my system so that I can't see it happening.

Re:There IS a reason to switch over... (3, Informative)

nuxx (10153) | about 12 years ago | (#3985447)

Try going into Tools -> Internet Options -> Advanced -> (Uncheck) Reuse windows for launching shortcuts

I believe the problem you are having is with IE's handling of shortcuts to URLs, which is all that Favorates actually are. If you have this option checked and hit a favorate, it will open the favorate in the last used window. This often turns out to be the first one you opened.

Bigots (1)

Mister Proper (567223) | about 12 years ago | (#3985273)

This was probably due to a poor understanding by the authors of XUL.
Because if they understood they would surely find it a superb idea?

I understand XUL and I think it's a terrible idea, much like Swing. Sure it's nice for programmers but users suffer a lesser experience due to XUL/Swing programs not fitting in the environment.

Well... (4, Funny)

Mr Guy (547690) | about 12 years ago | (#3985274)

The major detractor was the user interface, since it didn't feel like a Windows application

Well, can I be the first to say, "Thank God"?
I mean, isn't this a Good Thing (TM), at least according to Thomas Krul's [] theory?

Misunderstanding? (2, Insightful)

SpatchMonkey (300000) | about 12 years ago | (#3985275)

From the article:
  • This was probably due to a poor understanding by the authors of XUL.
Nothing about poor understand, they just want all their applications to have a reasonably consistent user interface. The current mess of mp3 player 'skins', the overbearing assortment of window managers for Unix and the tacky 'chroming' of Mozilla goes against decades of HCI research.

Computing is confusing enough without your UI looking like it's been designed by a herd of badgers on acid.

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3985397)

Do you consider the Windows XP "My First Computer" skin good, or bad?

Coincidently, I agree with you.

Re:Question (1)

SpatchMonkey (300000) | about 12 years ago | (#3985435)

Hmm, I don't particularly like it but it is usable, and at least you get consistency if skins/themes are based in the windowing system instead of different for each app.

There is no major reason to switch... (4, Insightful)

kenthorvath (225950) | about 12 years ago | (#3985276)

Unless you are a web designer who wants to make sure that his site looks correctly when viewed with a browser that adheres to STANDARDS, or unless you are a person who believes that the web should be easy to navigate and not overwhelmed with pop-up advertisements, or unless you believe that you should have the ability to modify the code to your browser for timely fixes to security flaws. Nope, no major reasons there....

Re:There is no major reason to switch... (3, Insightful)

ovapositor (79434) | about 12 years ago | (#3985311)

How about killing those pop (under/over) Advertisments? That alone is worth the price of admission!

Re:There is no major reason to switch... (2, Insightful)

wfrp01 (82831) | about 12 years ago | (#3985383)

Yep. Plus I'd add that Mozilla doesn't trick people into relying on proprietary technologies which have lock-in ramifications beyond the browser market. Microsoft weaves a tangled web, and IE is one of the stickiest threads.

Re:There is no major reason to switch... (2, Informative)

Ionizor (175949) | about 12 years ago | (#3985414)

You can drop IE into "standards compliant" mode if you give a proper DOCTYPE declaration (e.g. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">) at the top of your documents. Whether or not the standards compliance mode is actually fully standards compliant is debatable but so far the only thing I've found in the standards that isn't in IE has to do with centering images. You can't do it the recommended way because it won't center. Then again Mozilla has the same problem, so...

That's not to say that Microsoft isn't playing Embrace and Extend because CSS styled scrollbars still render styled in standards compliance mode despite the fact that those definitions aren't in the CSS standard anywhere.

No major reason? (3, Insightful)

GrBear (63712) | about 12 years ago | (#3985277)

I'd say there's several major reasons to switch.. the fact that you can block pop up advertising is a major reason. The fact that is has far superior cookie and password management is a major reason. The fact that it has a better email and usenet client (than OE) is a major reason.

No major reasons? According to who, Billy?

Re:No major reason? (1)

SpatchMonkey (300000) | about 12 years ago | (#3985340)

All the features you've described could theoretically be added to IE by replacing the IE COM object with one that extends the existing one, and/or using proxy servers.

There are already proxy servers that filter malicious or annoying Javascript before it even reaches your browser. And newsgroup readers really shouldn't be an integral part of your web browser (note that OE is a separate program to IE) whatever anyone claims. Mozilla just isn't componentised enough, so they had to tack everything in they could to please people.

As for the other features, the fact that no-one has done it yet indicates that there is very little demand for these extra features.

Re:No major reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3985408)

Oh, well that sounds theoretically easy then.

Except its not really as easy as downloading & installing Mozilla now, is it?

Re:No major reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3985364)

Yes, the popup supression is the feature I think that people would be willing to switch browsers for, if the option were a little more prominent and easy to find.

I uninstalled Opera after I found and unchecked the "Enable webpages to: Open unrequested webpages" box.

Perhaps future versions of Mozilla should ship with this option unchecked by default?

Re:No major reason? (2)

muffen (321442) | about 12 years ago | (#3985405)

I'd say there's several major reasons to switch.. the fact that you can block pop up advertising is a major reason. The fact that is has far superior cookie and password management is a major reason. The fact that it has a better email and usenet client (than OE) is a major reason.

This may be major reasons for a /.'er, but I find it unlikely this is going to convice any "normal" user to switch from IE to Mozilla.

If Mozilla wants to gain market shares, they MUST make it look more like Windows. A fancy GUI is unfortunately the easiest way to get a "normal" user, not good security.
Microsoft has proven that beyond any reasonable doubt.

Mozilla e-mail (1)

LeftOfCentre (539344) | about 12 years ago | (#3985437)

Until it will support more than one SMTP server, I wouldn't consider Mozilla better for e-mail. In fact, at the moment, it's pretty useless for me based on the lack of that support (since many SMTP servers typically won't forward mail originating from other ISPs).

Mozilla Mail is better? lol (5, Insightful)

wackybrit (321117) | about 12 years ago | (#3985444)

The fact that it has a better email and usenet client (than OE) is a major reason.

You have to be joking. I'm a Mozilla advocate, but even I admit the mail client is a piece of trash.

The interface is inconsistent, and it doesn't make it obvious what is going on at any one time. There's nothing like the big 'Send/Recv' button in OE, and when you collect mail, you have no idea what's going on.

The folders are sloppily managed, and the news reader is certainly worse.

Sure, it doesn't automatically open attachments or spread viruses around.. but the user experience is more important than security to me! It's a program I have to use for hours every day!

XUL (0)

Hudjakov (552632) | about 12 years ago | (#3985280)

My sister also does not know anything about it. She still likes Mozilla after the brainwash I made.

Re:XUL (1)

thasmudyan (460603) | about 12 years ago | (#3985317)

Yeah right, exactly! And users shouldn't have to know XUL to appreciate and application. They should be able to judge software purely on what it actually does for them. And if they think there are usability problems, then maybe THERE ARE. What is going on?

Interface issues / XUL (5, Insightful)

thasmudyan (460603) | about 12 years ago | (#3985282)

The major detractor was the user interface, since it didn't feel like a Windows application. This was probably due to a poor understanding by the authors of XUL.
You're joking, right? XUL is an interface/component application based on XML allright. But that has nothing to with the cited usability problems. The Open Source community simply has to stop saying things like 'yeah the user interface is bad, but if you complain about it openly it shows that you don't really understand the XYZWhatever+ architecture!' Stop accepting things like they are, change the world (of software) now!

7 is about right... (5, Insightful)

lennart78 (515598) | about 12 years ago | (#3985284)

Mozilla 1.0 is 'getting there'.
Support for flash / shockwave is decent.
Frontpage-generated pages still distort often.
Java works great (better than IE).
At leasts it beats opera on stability and functionality, plus it's (banner)free.

With Linux, I guess it's your best choice, with Windows, frontpage makes the difference, not IE.

Frontpage is the difference... (3, Funny)

MosesJones (55544) | about 12 years ago | (#3985322)

Promoting Frontpage as an advantage is similar to saying that Volkswagen would never sell in East Germany because they have the Trabant.

Frontpage is to web design what chocolate is to teapots.

Re:7 is about right... (2)

Neil Watson (60859) | about 12 years ago | (#3985330)

Frontpage-generated pages still distort often.

I'd be very surprise if this was NOT due to Frontpage creating non compliant code.

Re:7 is about right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3985387)

Non-compliant to whom?

95% of the people browse with IE and Frontpage is 100% compliant with it. As a web developer I'm sick of the "Your shitty page doesn't show up right on my (insert your favourite niche browser here)!" whining. I'm quite satisfied that the majority can view my pages OK and can benefit from the Frontpage extensions.

No major reason... (1)

Zzootnik (179922) | about 12 years ago | (#3985286)

Unless the computer you're using doesn't HAVE IE..... I'd call that a pretty good reason... Or even just not wanting that on your deck....

Actually, I've been using it for a good while now, and I'm thoroughly comfortable with it at this point...Try it out if you're even mildly curious..

Switching over (1)

davidsansome (563576) | about 12 years ago | (#3985292)

Overall they say that mozilla would make a good substitute for IE 6 but there is no major reason to switch over

I can think of lots of reasons:

Tabbed browsing in Mozilla is amazing, it stops your taskbar from getting cluttered up when you've got lots of pages open

Popup killer - a really useful feature overlooked by many new Mozilla people (perhaps it should be on by default?)

It's standards compliant

It's not Microsoft :-)

Any more?

Re:Switching over (2)

Salsaman (141471) | about 12 years ago | (#3985455)

Any more?

How about the 21 unpatched vulnerabilities [] in IE ?

mozilla (2, Insightful)

mikenb (188411) | about 12 years ago | (#3985299)

I was reluctant to try mozilla until 1.0 came out. After that, I switched and haven't looked back. I LOVE mozilla and am happy to not me supporting bill any further.

We should support non-Microsoft applications (provided they are good) to help free software (not as in beer)

Not a poor understanding of XUL (5, Insightful)

MosesJones (55544) | about 12 years ago | (#3985301)

This was probably due to a poor understanding by the authors of XUL Why is it a poor understanding for the reviewers ? This is one of the reasons that techies have a bad name the "I know best" attitude that pervades our industry. I like Mozilla, I use Mozilla, I like it because it works and because of the way its navigation works. BUT if you are used to Windows and not an old school Unix person then it is different to the rest of the windows applications you use so it is a valid comment. Now its not difficult to fix by having the Windows Theme be one of the default installed themes so Mozilla looks the same as the rest of Windows. Get off your high horse and think about why looking like everything else is good for the majority of users who don't want the power and control that Gecko and Mozilla offer, they just want a Browser that looks like the other applications they use. Minimise the "suprise" factor and maximise the uptake.

Re:Not a poor understanding of XUL (5, Insightful)

colmore (56499) | about 12 years ago | (#3985365)

Exactly, software should work, in default mode, like the other software on that platform. That is fundamental UI that the open-source community feels perfectly happy to neglect.

It's probably one of the biggest obstacles to the holy grail of a popular linux desktop that no two applications work the same way. Right-clicking in one does something completely different than right-clicking in the other. Hell, there are major applications that have completely different keyboard shortcuts for basic actions like save, copy and paste.

Perhaps one of the greatest reasons for Windows' (and Mac's especially) success is that learning one application makes learning other applications much much easier.

Last summer I taught my mom how to use MS Word. After that she picked up Internet Explorer with no problem whatsoever. When Moz 1.0 came out, I tried to get the family to switch over, but it was an effort in futility. Internet Explorer on Windows, for all its many many flaws, works the way a Windows application is supposed to work. Mozilla on Windows (kind of) works the way an X-Win application is supposed to work, which is absolutely no good. The Windows theme should be the default on the Win32 binary package, and the only reason it isn't is the stupid pride of the OS community.

Re:Not a poor understanding of XUL (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3985425)

Suprise factor? Where's the suprise? It looks the same in Windows. Linux, and MacOSX. I would think this would be less of a suprise, wouldn't it? A standard look and feel?

User Interface (2, Interesting)

bdesham (533897) | about 12 years ago | (#3985308)

The major detractor was the user interface, since it didn't feel like a Windows application.
This is one of the major reasons that I use IE on Mac OS X. The browser just doesn't look or feel like any of the other applications I have, which all use the Aqua widgets and so have the same functionality.

Re:User Interface (2)

jalefkowit (101585) | about 12 years ago | (#3985423)

*cough* Chimera [] *cough*

Re:User Interface (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3985433)

Are you talking about IE or Mozilla?

XUL has nothing to do with it. (4, Insightful)

colmore (56499) | about 12 years ago | (#3985312)

XUL has nothing to do with it.

They like the engine. It's the default interface that 99% of users will be using that they have problems with, and I think that's a valid point.

XUL makes it possible to do a lot of cool interface things, and it is definitely a Good Thing For Mozilla, but it doesn't really matter when the default interface is slow and sucks.

Heck, most people never even change their startup page, much less program a new *interface*

Bug Tracking (1, Interesting)

jimshep (30670) | about 12 years ago | (#3985313)

While I like all of the typically mentioned benefits of Mozilla (tabbed browsing, pop-up blocking, runs on Linux, ...), the one "feature" I rarely see mentioned is the user support and bug tracking (bugzilla) of Mozilla. Everytime I find a bug or a missing capability, it's off to bugzilla. After a quick search, the bug entry can usually be found and with it, you can usually get a good idea of the status of the fix, workarounds, or what can be done to help track down the problem. And if the bug has not yet been reported, it is quite easy to add a usable bug report that you know will actually be considered. I have found the responsiveness of the Mozilla development community to be quite impressive when useful bug reports or feature requests are entered into Bugzilla.

-Jim Shepherd

Mozilla as a kiosk (1)

TheFlyingGoat (161967) | about 12 years ago | (#3985315)

Mozilla is working great for me as a kiosk application. The -chrome option makes it perfectly suited for this and doesn't require me to use any other software (to lock out certain keystrokes). Mozilla is THE cross-platform browser, and is making large strides to become the overall choice. As for the author's comment about there being no reason to switch, how about themes? Or being able to select from a group of stylesheets (accessibility anyone?).

I don't think the author got the point (2, Insightful)

slaker (53818) | about 12 years ago | (#3985321)

Basically, the author goes from "Here's all the cool stuff Gecko can do." to "...but it doesn't look like IE and some pages don't detect it properly."

Is that Mozilla's fault? Moz works better and behaves more reliably than any cross-platform GUI program I can think of.

More than that, its unique features (image permissions, javascript controls) barely rate a passing mention by the author. Those are killer features. I'd hate to use a browser that didn't have them.

I felt that the author - and most people writing browser comparisons right now - was too heavily biased by IE-related experiences; I thought he was writing more toward "This is what IE does and this is how Moz is different" rather than an actual browser review.

Try using IE and Moz over a 28.8kpbs internet connection and THEN tell me which you like better.

The interface *is* a problem (2, Insightful)

Alderete (12656) | about 12 years ago | (#3985323)

The major detractor was the user interface, since it didn't feel like a Windows application. This was probably due to a poor understanding by the authors of XUL.

Uh, why can't the problem just be that Mozilla's user interface is not very good? I'm sorry, but there's a reason why there are multiple Mozdev projects to build browsers without Mozilla's cumbersome interface, why Dave Hyatt [] and mpt [] have savaged the current interface.

Why can't some people accept the fact that Mozilla's UI needs a lot of work?

Re:The interface *is* a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3985436)

Why can't some people accept the fact that Mozilla's UI needs a lot of work?

For the same reason that many people can't accept the fact that most Open Source Software needs a lot of usablity work. Its fine for them, therefor it must be fine for everyone else.

I think this may be considered flamebait.

Re:The interface *is* a problem (2)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 12 years ago | (#3985446)

I'm sorry, but there's a reason why there are multiple Mozdev projects to build browsers without Mozilla's cumbersome interface, why Dave Hyatt [] and mpt [] have savaged the current interface.

Here is his list of usability problems with Mozilla [] From what I recall, the main criticisms of MPT boiled down to "I don't like it". For instance, he makes a big deal of the fact that the Home link is on the Bookmarks toolbar, rather than the main toolbar. This immediately leads of course to flamewars between people who believe it "belongs with the reload button" or people who thinks it makes more sense to have it with your other links. This is hardly a usability issue (remember neither Hyatt or MPT have any usability training at all - no disrespect to them, but it's true). It's just personal preference.

He talks about speed as well - that's hardly as much of a problem as it was. Especially on Windows, Mozilla feels just as snappy as IE (no, really, and I have a PIII/500).

Text editing bugs : these are bugs, not usability problems.

Message Display: he doesn't like the fact that headers are in their own section. Personally I don't mind this at all, but clearly he feels otherwise.

The list goes on and on. Some of his points are good. Many are simply pet peeves on his part. This is often the problem with "usability", it's a very vague concept and the science of usability is still in its infancy. Therefore a "usability" review often degenerates into a case of the UI reviewer picking on things they don't like. For instance, the "I don't think this feature is useful, so it's preferences bloat". There is a grain of truth to this sometimes, but often it just ends up pissing off the people who worked on something only to be told it's "unusable" without any scientific backing for this assertion at all. I've had some dialog boxes of mine put through an UI review. Some of the points made were good, but some were for instance "There shouldn't be a horizontal line there, it looks unprofessional" which is not usability review, it's just irritating.

I have yet to find any major problems with the Mozilla UI - where I define major as being, I notice a big usability problem and get annoyed because of it. Saying, I can't drag toolbars around is valid, but that'd merely a feature request rather than a statement about the underlying design of the product.

Oh and finally, for those who like to bash XUL, remember one thing: if it wasn't for that, Mozilla probably wouldn't be cross platform, and as a result, would only exist on Windows.

Re:The interface *is* a problem (1)

Choron (88276) | about 12 years ago | (#3985450)

Well if you want Mozilla to look like IE then you should have a look at the Mozilla ActiveX project [] which lets you write your own interface around the Mozilla engine.

Even sweeter the API is compatible with existing IE control's, so if you have an application using the IE control you can switch to using Mozilla in no time.

I understand that some Window$ users might prefer an interface closer to what they're used to see (but you have to make concessions when you develop multi-platform applications), but still the possibilities for easy customization is already here.

Non-standard interface (5, Insightful)

jtdubs (61885) | about 12 years ago | (#3985325)

They say the interface was unflexible, non-standard, and yes, didn't look like the native interface.

At the very least you must concede that the interface IS non-standard and does NOT look like the native interface.

So, we conclude that:

> This was probably due to a poor understanding
> by the authors of XUL.


They make a valid point. It's true regardless of the technologies involved. So you claim that they are wrong due to ignorance of XUL? I would claim that you were wrong due to ignorance of logic.

Justin Dubs

Re:Non-standard interface (1)

shadow303 (446306) | about 12 years ago | (#3985420)

I don't think he meant a poor understanding of XUL. I think he meant that the people who wrote XUL had a poor understanding of how the interface should appear.

It's very un-Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3985326)

I don't like the interfce either. And I've GUI surfed since the X-Mosaic days. And WinXP has a tab-like feature for ANY app that has many windows open.

XUL (2)

dizco (20340) | about 12 years ago | (#3985327)

The major detractor was the user interface, since it didn't feel like a Windows application. This was probably due to a poor understanding by the authors of XUL.

No it isn't. Understanding XUL doesn't make the application feel any more like a Win app. They hit the nail on the head- the engine is great, but whats up with that wacky UI? I love moz, but clearly the beast is as much a technology demo as it is an end-user application.

A non-sarcastic, real question:

Does anyone using linux/bsd/whatever prefer the mozilla UI to galeon or skipstone?

I myself use galeon for 100% of my web browsing.


Re:XUL (1)

Stephen Williams (23750) | about 12 years ago | (#3985396)

I myself use galeon for 100% of my web browsing.

So do I, and the UI is 100% of the reason.

I like GTK. I use GTK apps whenever possible, so my environment has a consistent look and feel. (I don't even have the QT libraries installed, and I'd uninstall libXaw if some obscure programs in xbase-clients didn't use it).

Mozilla sticks out like a sore thumb. Galeon gives me all the benefits of Mozilla with none of the UI weirdness.


Why Mozilla over IE? (1)

unixmaster (573907) | about 12 years ago | (#3985328)

1- Damn it I use Linux :-)
2- Tabbed browsing fast and less memory utlization
3-Pop-up Blocking
4- Can be extendable with add-ons @
5- There are no news for it like this
23 July 2002: There are currently 21 unpatched vulnerabilities ( From

6- Real helpful developers @
7- Has a HTML Editor built in
8- Its open source :-)

here's my reason.... (1)

Blob Pet (86206) | about 12 years ago | (#3985337)

Overall they say that mozilla would make a good substitute for IE 6 but there is no major reason to switch over

The biggest reason to switch over for me is that I simply don't trust Microsoft. That being said, I'm sure there are readers of Slashdot who would have to admit that they use IE because mozilla and Netscape have problems generating certain pages. I'm not saying that's the fault of mozilla - there are a lot of IE-centric web designers out there who swear by Frontpage.

a reson to switch (2, Interesting)

gyratedotorg (545872) | about 12 years ago | (#3985338)

ill give you a reason to switch! it's the ability to mount a windows partition from *nix and use the same browser with the same settings (bookmarks, cookies, emails) on both platforms.

no more rebooting to find that old email message you were looking for.

Major Reasons to swtich: (4, Insightful)

SkyLeach (188871) | about 12 years ago | (#3985342)

1.) Tabbed Browsing

2.) No more popups

3.) Better Security

Reasons to still use IE on occasion:

1.) Poor support for common technologies (like the JRE: it runs but it don't run for long (2-3 hours and it goes down hard)).

2.) Poor support for common but non-standard features (Like layers). Even Qmailadmin doesn't work well with Mozilla.

3.) Idiot web designers that refuse to let you view their page/application unless you have one of their approved browsers (Like Webtrends).

Re:Major Reasons to swtich: (4, Interesting)

fishbot (301821) | about 12 years ago | (#3985374)

I find the java plugin available as a link from the download page is _very_ unreliable.

If you grab the latest jre1.4 from, install the RPM, tgz or whatever your preference, then link the file (path to jre)/plugin/i386/ns610/ to your plugins directory, not only do you gain much reliability and speed, but also a handy per class progress bar :)

popup blocking! (1)

Inominate (412637) | about 12 years ago | (#3985345)

This one feature alone was more than enough to get me to switch. Tabbed browsing is a very nice addition too.

Re:popup blocking! (1)

hatchet (528688) | about 12 years ago | (#3985434)

There's a pop-up ad blocker for windows.. works very nice with IE. But i use mozilla because it has tabbed browsing, and only because of that.

Productive. (1)

Zephy (539060) | about 12 years ago | (#3985346)

I use mozilla at work on both my linux an windows boxes, why? because i can be more productive wit mozilla, tabbed browsing is the single most useful thing they've added to it, (yes i know that opera et al had it before, but opera doesn't render all the sites that I use properly, that and it's adware unless you pay ) I can't stand opening tens of browser windows in IE to look at a page of parts or a page of specs or to compare something, or even browse multiple stories on /. , when i can do the same thing with one browser window in moz. It's reasonably fast too and it doesn't seem to hog system resources like ie does. If i recall correctly there is a UI skin to make it look like IE if you really crave for that redmond look. Plus the obvious bonus of blocking popups, popunders, and window resizing as i see fit, with having some hideous little program to hack away at my system every time I open a new URL. Yes, i'm a convert to mozilla.. and there are starting to be many more (i see the %(netscape) figure on the browser statistics for my site creeping up a few percent in the last month (that's 30'000 less hits from ie), It's not perfect but it's definately on the right track.

XUL? (0, Troll)

j1mmy (43634) | about 12 years ago | (#3985351)

This was probably due to a poor understanding by the authors of XUL.

Fucking idiot. A technology is not an excuse for a shitty GUI.

No major reason to switch over? (1)

JBMcB (73720) | about 12 years ago | (#3985369)

Here are a bunch of them: ds/crit ical/default.asp

Grab Mozila,
htt p://
http://www.cygwin .com/
and the ActiveState ports of Perl, Python, and TCL/Tk,
And you have a really nice open source suite that can do most everything the M$ suite of crap can do.

Mozilla for Windows is awesome... (2)

artemis67 (93453) | about 12 years ago | (#3985377)

However, Mozilla for OS X is incredibly slow. I have a 933 mhz G4, I don't expect to have lag time on popup menus. Also, it seems to load pages more slowly than IE for OS X.

There may be a reason... (1)

Choron (88276) | about 12 years ago | (#3985378)

While you may agree or not to the fact that there's no major reason to switch to Mozilla (tabs are pretty sweet though, among other things), by switching to Mozilla you not only say no to M$ attempt at making the Web a Windows-only space (regarding HTML or EcmaScript, among other things), but you also change the statistics, you know, the log files every web site collects.

When Mozilla gets a substantial amount of browsers market, Web designers will hopefully make their pages standard-compliant, and we might one day get rid of those "designed for IE only" crap sites.

Well you may stick with IE but if you like stability, standards and support the open source movement then you know what to do.

Just my 2 c.

Re:There may be a reason... (1, Insightful)

WildBeast (189336) | about 12 years ago | (#3985384)

the thing is, casual users don't give a damn about all that stuff.

Here's a good reason (4, Insightful)

jlower (174474) | about 12 years ago | (#3985379)

Using a browser other than IE is voting for an open, interoperable internet.

No major reason? (2)

DaneelGiskard (222145) | about 12 years ago | (#3985380)

Well..obviously the author hasn't yet achieved the status of social interaction ... ie watching porn on the internet (read: pop-ups!!) ;-)

ah Mozilla is subsitute for IE6! (1)

linuxislandsucks (461335) | about 12 years ago | (#3985386)

I have switched from Opera and IE^ ever since Mozilla 1.0 came out..I wil not go back..

and UI is no good if it crashes every half hour..

Mozilla no crashes..

IE6 crashes every half hour on win2kpro

Mozilla (1)

Tikiman (468059) | about 12 years ago | (#3985389)

I have just started using Mozilla full time at home. I am starting to think it is the most signifigant app on the linux destop ever. Why? For the first time when surfing the web on linux, the browser has faded away and I am paying 100% focused on the content. In previous versions of Netscape, I was constantly distracted by ugly font or odd placement of things. Mozilla on the other hand renders everything great. I call it the most signifigant app so far because if web browsing "Has Arrived", and most people spend most of their time on the web, then the linux desktop is that much closed to "Arrival" as well. Its odd that the best complement I can give a browser is to say I don't even notice it!

practicing what they preach? (4, Insightful)

dobratzp (155212) | about 12 years ago | (#3985395)

From page 2 on web standards:
The worst problem with the current internet landscape is the proliferation of "table-based" layouts.

But what does view source reveal?


Look no further than the HTML header for the culprit:

<meta name="GENERATOR" content="Microsoft FrontPage 5.0">
<meta name="ProgId" content="FrontPage.Editor.Document">

Now that they have recognized the problem, are they or their resident Microsoft weenie going to fix it? Probably not.

Spoofing UA (2)

Mr Guy (547690) | about 12 years ago | (#3985398)

This functionality isn't present in Mozilla, even though it would solve many of the incompatibilities between Mozilla and the rest of the internet. The developers may have decided that accurate traffic stats are more important than a few rendering inconsistencies, which is a completely reasonable position. In light of their goals to push web standards, I suspect that giving the end-user the ability to masquerade as a less-compliant browser may simply seem antithetical to their purposes and philosophy. Still, I personally would have preferred a "spoofing" feature over accurate statistics, but I'm not the one writing an underdog rendering engine.

I thought there WAS a way to spoof the User Agent with one of the javascript settings. Is that not right?
If it isn't right, people who find this page [] on google [] like I did are going to be pissed.

No reason? (1)

SirNAOF (142265) | about 12 years ago | (#3985403)

Overall they say that mozilla would make a good substitute for IE 6 but there is no major reason to switch over.

No major reason? Standards compliance isn't a major reason? I admit, IE complies with most standards, but I still have pages which render correctly in Mozilla and improperly in IE.

That's the nice thing about Mozilla...there are enough people working on it who care about things like this to make it work correctly.

Since 1.0 came out, I haven't started IE. No need. There are other reasons, too. Tabbed browsing? It's a great feature. One window, multiple pages. This alone is a feature I think would make IE much better. I can't say anything about the other features of Mozilla (Chatzilla, Mail, etc) because I've only ever used the browser.

I must admit that IE loads faster. But with its other problems, I'd rather wait a few seconds for a page rendered properly.

Unsupported? (2)

Erik Fish (106896) | about 12 years ago | (#3985410)

Consider that there will be no technical support for this software outside community-based support, such as you would find in the Software Colloquium or at itself. In theory, Netscape Navigator is the finished, polished product, not Mozilla.

Supposedly this is the big reason why businesses should deploy Communicator rather than Mozilla however Netscape hasn't provided support for Navigator/Communicator in many years (probably since they stopped offering a license you could purchase). Since the EULA disclaims any and all responsibility anyway it's not like there's even a legal ass-covering reason to use Communicator over Mozilla.

Where I work we're happily deploying Mozilla 1.0 in place of old Communicator 4 installations. It's working great and since lack of support is par for the course anyway all we're missing out on is a lot of ads and AOL garbage.

A question on Mozilla (2)

richieb (3277) | about 12 years ago | (#3985411)

I use Mozilla on Linux and on home Windows boxes. However, on my corporate NT network I cannot use Mozilla, because I need to login to a proxy server. The server requires user name, password and domain for login and in Mozilla I don't know where to put the domain?

Has anyone done this?

Re:A question on Mozilla (2)

danheskett (178529) | about 12 years ago | (#3985442)

The problem is authentication methods.

Mozilla does not support (I believe through no fault of thier own) the "standard" NTLM/AD Microsoft logins.

Basically you need the proxy administrator to allow "basic authentication", which means essentailly plain text. If he is using MS Proxy or MS IAS then its a pretty straightforward thing.

news, irc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3985429)

Yeah no reasons to switch over. And what reasons did windows users have to make them upgrade to XP, 2k, Mil, or XP from win98.

Doesn't look like a windows app (4, Insightful)

fishbot (301821) | about 12 years ago | (#3985432)

One of the negative points was that Mozilla does not look like a Windows app. I shall ignore the existence of the IE skin for now.

However, what I will mention is software such as QuickTime player, RealOne, MusicMatch Jukebox, and literally anything written in Java. None of these use the MFC toolkit (not the widgets, anyway) nor do they follow the theme of the widgets in WinXP.

Many people complain that Linux apps don't fit together because QT != GTK != Motif etc. However, it is commonplace in Windows apps for larger development outfits to use their own widget sets, and nobody bats an eyelid.

As a simple example, I use Mozilla with the excellent Orbit-Retro theme. My dad can't figure it out. So, I switch to the IE theme. The layout is identical, but the look/feel of the widgets is more 'windows like'. Suddenly he's right at home.

Perhaps the comment should have read 'doesn't look like any of the windows apps we're used to'

trouble installing plugins? (1)

weinford (97037) | about 12 years ago | (#3985445)

From the review:
You will encounter bugs and will have more trouble installing plugins than with IE.
The people who wrote the review must a) be dumb or b) never have installed a plugin in Mozilla. I installed gesture support and EnigMail encryption for Mozilla Mail, and both were just a click on a web page, then restart Mozilla, done. What is the trouble here? How can it be made more easy?

Spare us the, 'don't like it, you're dumb crap' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3985448)

What does this have to do with XUL?

#1 XUL is a terrible idea
#2 XUL makes sense to few people, mostly those people who want it to magically work
#3 Whoever wrote this obviously didn't understand the article because XUL cannot change that the author was complaining about.

I'm a big fan of Mozilla, use it everyday. I'm not going to pretend that its Windows "feel" is anything approaching the standard Windows UI. I happen to like that. A mass of people do not, for reasons contained in the article.

When I'm in "Windows world" (work), all of the applications have roughly the same look and feel to them, and Mozilla should too. Shortcut keys should work, fields and checkboxes should be the same, etc.

This is the same design genius that made the Mac OS so popular with so many of its users, and I've been a hundred Slashdot users cry at the Mac OS X for not preserving this. But now this is Windows and Mozilla this is OK?

Question: when will people here start reading the articles before commenting? Try it, it works wonders!

Doesn't feel like a Windows application? (0)

Azureash (571772) | about 12 years ago | (#3985449)

Then change the theme, stupid! d= 13436

...and another thing (1)

jj666 (568976) | about 12 years ago | (#3985451)

Lets hope we don't have to hardwire ourselves into Windoze GUI anytime soon, one pop-up too many and it's daisy pushing time :o)
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