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Linux Format Magazine - Reply to In Defence of the Firefox Web Browser

In response to the November edition of Linux Format Magazine (LXF 86) I wrote an email defending the latest Firefox browser and in particular the large change in version number to 2.0. Full details of my email are in my earlier post - In defence of the Firefox Web Browser. My email has been published in the latest edition of Linux Format - January (LXF 88). My email has been abridged, which I expected as it was quite a long email, so it doesn't include some of the new features that I think help to give it the large version number increase.

Paul Hudson has replied to some of my points. I agree with some of the points that he has made. Here are a few comments.

"we always need to be vigilant that marketing is never the most important thing we are doing".

I agree with Paul completely on that. It open source software starts including features or changing the way the program works just for the benefit of marketing, then that would be a great shame. I don't think we have reached that yet, but it's something to keep in mind.

I think you can see similarities in the way that marketing is applied to the magazine that this was published in. The magazine released in December 2006 is called the January 2007 version. Marketing may not influence the quality of the tutorials, but it appears to influence the "version" month of the magazine :-)

"holes have been found already, many people are finding it unstable, incompatible and a bigger memory hog than ever."

My experience is that the browser is still very stable, but I have recently noticed that the browser has become a real memory hog. I hadn't really noticed it before as my computers have a lot of memory, but as I try and run more applications I have noticed the machine get slower, and found that a lot of memory was taken by Firefox. This only appears to happen sometimes after viewing quite a few processor intensive web sites.

I still find both IE6 and IE7 less stable than Firefox.

I think we both agree that Firefox could be doing better, and that technically it doesn't really deserve such a big version number increase. I still think that we have to get a bit smarter when marketing open source software, as long as it doesn't get in the way of the software being relevant.

Firefox is still my browser of choice and well with giving it a try if you're not already using it. I am sure that I'm not the only one as "Firefox 2.0 clocked up over two million downloads in its first couple of days after release, peaking at over 30 downloads per second, dwarfing the voluntary downloads of Microsoft's updated Internet Explorer 7."

All the quotes taken from Linux Format LXF88.


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