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Firefox Myths January 25, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Software reviews.
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Today on OSNews I read a pretty intriging article on Firefox myths. It was a pretty decent article complete with sources to other articles regarding different browsers, IE and Opera. now on the other hand this guy tried a very weak rebuttal to the Firefox myths article. I call it a weak rebuttal because the author relies on no external sources, while the author “Nanobot” (which the name alone is enough to get a snicker out of anyone) only relies on his own blog with his own commentary. Very interesting since Nanobot seems to think Andrew is regarding IE with all the glory.

AndrewK cites many external source most very friendly to Opera, while Nanobot wants to turn this into an argument over IE and Firefox it clearly isnt so.

Spyware can be delivered to a machine through any browser, this includes Firefox. AndrewK cites that Firefox extentions are not 100% safe and they are not. All it takes is a ignorant user to install that Firefox or even Netscape extention as it takes the user to click on the the yellowbar in IE to install that ActiveX control and to infect their machine with Malware.

Standards support for both IE and Firefox are incomplete and Opera on the Windows platform is the most standards compliant, its also noteworthy that none of the browsers Opera, IE or Firefox are Acid2 compliant. Nanobox cites that Konqueror and Safari are more standard compliant yet Safari nor Konqueror run on Windows.

Also, Andrew has stated on his page that this comparison is for Web browsers on the Windows platform.

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Comments»

1. Nanobot - January 25, 2006

No, I have never said that Safari and Konqueror are more standards compliant than Firefox or Opera. In fact, after testing a significant chunk of their standards support, I can confidently say that both Safari and Konqueror are significantly worse than Firefox and Opera. Please don’t put words in my mouth.

Also, from where do you derive your claim that Opera has better standards support than Firefox? The resource that the Firefox Myths article cites, which is a resource I personally created, shows that Firefox tops Opera in every major category. My tables are always improving, detailing on more and more implementation bugs over time, and my tables used to show Opera at a higher percentage for HTML support (which is by no means the most pressing area, as I’m sure the developers of all major browsers will agree), but that was no longer the case once I added more detail to the tables. The Firefox Myths article no longer claims that Opera has better standards support than Firefox.

As for the argument being about IE versus Firefox, this is very much the case. Why else would he specifically say that Internet Explorer has “very good support” for what he oddly claims to be the most important standard when he doesn’t mention how Firefox fares on it or how bad Internet Explorer is in other areas? He claims that he doesn’t need to present all of the facts because he’s only presenting the minimum amount of information to debunk these myths, yet he throws in that comment about Internet Explorer where, by his own argument, it doesn’t belong. Then he has a big advertisement for Avant Browser (an Internet Explorer shell) at the end. Looking at the author’s history, he practically worships Microsoft.

Andrew K.’s motives for his Firefox Myths article are simple:

Firstly and mostly, he wants to create as much controversy as he can to draw maximum attention to his page with the maximum amount of ads the AdSense program allows. He does everything from spamming around a hundred different sites under about a dozen different identities, all claiming to be unaffiliated with the article, to libel, deliberately misquoting people, and threatening to sue owners of sites that talk negatively about his article.

Secondly, he clearly has a problem with the whole idea of open source. He seems to believe that everything published should be owned exclusively by the author with minimal rights to anyone else, and anything not following this idea is somehow threatening to him. Strange, considering his own site’s design was taken almost unaltered from another website.

You say that my argument is weak rebuttal only because I didn’t cite my sources. As far as the HTML, CSS, and DOM standards go, there is only one source, and any competent web designer knows what that is. At the time, I thought the author of the Firefox Myths article was at least competent enough to design his site, although it turns out I was mistaken (the website for his articles is ripped from http://www.irc.nix.co.il/ and his weblog uses a default Blogger template). I pointed out that the speed comparison source comes from an Opera employee, which clearly raises doubts regarding its legitimacy. My other points, such as companies that are backing Firefox, are easily backed up by a simple Google search. Just because I didn’t spoon-feed him the sources doesn’t mean I didn’t do my research.

Several statements in your blog post show that you came late into this whole issue. The Firefox Myths page is dramatically different from what it was when I first e-mailed the author (although now it contains content that can get the author sued, let alone get his ISP and hosting company to drop his service). A lot has been corrected, a lot of more inaccurate and misleading statements and sections have been added, and a lot of discussion has gone on among the author, myself, and others in various discussion forums. If you’d look up on the whole situation, you’d see that Andrew K.’s position simply hasn’t held up anywhere.

2. Anonymous - January 26, 2006

Roberto, I agree with you wholeheartedly. It is abundantly clear that the arguments of Nanobot are nothing more than independent-source-less retorts (hear-say).

Nanobot: In similar regard, your arguments are contradictory and non-factual. For instance, both Safari and Konqueror have full ACID 2 compliance (http://www.kdedevelopers.org/node/1129).

3. Anonymous - January 26, 2006

“It was a pretty decent article complete with sources to other articles regarding different browsers, IE and Opera. now on the other hand this guy tried a very weak rebuttal to the Firefox myths article. I call it a weak rebuttal because the author relies on no external sources, while the author “Nanobot” (which the name alone is enough to get a snicker out of anyone) only relies on his own blog with his own commentary”

You did notice that Nanobot actually WAS one of the sources cited by the FF Myth guy right? So either Nanobot has some authority in the matter or the Myth guy is using pretty crappy sources. Either way it weakens the Myth guy’s credibility quite a lot.

4. Anonymous - January 26, 2006

Yes Nanobot can freely use his own data to retort that one Myth (which he doesn’t do) but he has no sources for any of the rest. His whole rebuttal comes off like a whiner and doesn’t refute anything.

Addendum: all these personal attacks come off very poorly and weaken any argument he may have had.

5. David Guaraglia - January 26, 2006

Well, I think you have a point when you say that Nanobot didn’t point external sources for the things he states. Anyway, those things are easy to prove, there is Firefox’s documentation, developers’ blogs, etc.

*I* have been using Firefox since it was named Firebird, and never had any “big” problems. The only problem you might get is that some pages won’t show you some video inside the browser (when it’s WMV). Besides, I only once got a spyware (I *never* got a virus) infection and that was because I installed some stupid program that was bundled with spyware.

So… how to prove all that? I could lose a lot of time looking for pages, statistics, etc. But I think the easiest way is just do the “reality test”. Make sure your PC is clean, and use Internet Explorer for all your browsing for a month *without doing any spyware removing in that time*. Then you’ll know.

6. Anonymous - January 26, 2006

I agree with Roberto totally. Andrew K’s article was much better written and contained facts derived from other sources. Nanobots article seems more like a rant and reads like he was insulted by Andrew K’s article. Also Roberto, great Windows Vista review

7. Anonymous - January 27, 2006

What’s so great about a source. I can say the world is ruled by aliens in disguise and post a source:

http://www.davidicke.com/

Does that make it true? no.

So Firefox extensions are just as dangerous as ActiveX?

Other bloggs have been more critical:

“Anyway, a quick look through Secunia show that IE has 4 exploits for ActiveX and 3 of these are still unpatched and Firefox currently shows zero exploits for it’s XPCOM object model or it’s xpi extension system.”

http://www.mark-gilbert.co.uk/2006/01/firefox-myths/

And why do all these anonymous comments sound just like Andrew K. with his talk of “Sources” and “personal attacks” when his lies are found out?

FreewheelinFrank

8. Anonymous - January 27, 2006

Freewheelin Frank = MrFlibber

“…your web pages are actually pretty good: I personally link to Secure XP” – MrFlibble

Why do you bash a site you support? Sounds suspicious.

9. Anonymous - January 28, 2006

So it is you Andrew!

My original quote was of course.

“Some of your web pages are actually pretty good: I personally link to Secure XP.”

I have not been so flattering about Firefox Myths.

http://nanobox.chipx86.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=39

FreewheelinFrank

10. Nanobot - January 28, 2006

Someone please get an IP address check on these anonymous comments and see if they match the two here: http://nanobox.chipx86.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=38

Comment #2: What does passing Acid 2 have to do with practical standards support in other browsers? The Acid 2 test is aimed mostly at Internet Explorer; it deals with a few common problems people have with Internet Explorer, as well as a few relatively minor technical issues in other browsers. Hooray, Safari properly ignores malformed CSS. Big whoop, web developers shouldn’t be writing malformed CSS in the first place. Meanwhile, Safari has massive problems with CSS background properties, doesn’t correctly support clientX and clientY on mouse events, doesn’t support CSS counters, is missing as many CSS 2.1 conformance points as Internet Explorer, and is behind in lots of other fundamentals. Safari is a classic example of why passing the Acid 2 test really means very little for browsers like Firefox and Opera.

Comment #4: If you thought I wasn’t providing a real argument, then you might be interested in the kinds of arguments he made.

His first response, which was after my second e-mail, was 77 words long and basically said that he never said IE was “superior” to Firefox and that he won’t discuss anything until I change my blog post. That’s it. He didn’t address a single point I made.

His second response was 139 words long. It said again that he never said Internet Explorer was “superior” to Firefox and that it doesn’t matter what impression the article gives me and “everyone else” as long as the article doesn’t straight-out say those things. (Basically, he’s arguing that spinning facts is okay.) He also said the page is just about myths he hears all the time and that “everyone conviently does not read” the disclaimer at the top (which I see as a B.S. disclaimer, by the way, akin to torturing prisoners and excusing yourself by saying “We do not torture”). Again, he didn’t actually address a single point I made.

His third response was 115 words long. It dismissed my argument simply saying “Nothing is misleading. The Facts are clear.” and that I’m just biased. He then said it’s an “outright lie” that my fully-patched system got infected with malware because it’s impossible if you have SP2 and MSJVM removed. He said I’m clueless about security and that I’m just spreading FUD. So he managed to sort of address one of my points by saying that I’m just lying about it.

His fourth response was 112 words long. He said he’ll consider my entire argument B.S. unless I can give him the exact site that gave me malware. He went on to repeat a few times that with SP2 and MSJVM removed I simply can’t get drive-by malware. He told me to tell others to install SP2 and remove MSJVM so that others don’t have the same problem I had, but noted that he didn’t believe I would spread that message because I’m a liar. Again, he didn’t even acknowledge a single other point I made.

His fifth and final response was 38 words long. He said that I made false allegations about him (still referring to the comment about him making IE out to be superior to Firefox, which was a paraphrase — not a quote — I made at the beginning of my article, and quite a reasonable one as that’s the impression hundreds of others have had). He cussed, and in all caps told me that I may never post anything about him or his e-mails.

This guy doesn’t have a case and he knows it. I couldn’t get him to acknowledge my points, let alone convince him of anything. In message board conversations, we have provided him with plenty of sources, but he just ignores them.

Comment #8: Check out these sources for some of his so-called testimonials:

Robert A.
Asa
Tre
Ryan J.
MrFlibble
David H.

“Testimonials”? These were statements AGAINST his article. And you people still think he isn’t being manipulative? As Andrew K. so often says, “the sources speak for themselves.”

11. Anonymous - January 29, 2006

I love how people mislead others. So typical of the closed source groupies.

12. jhenkins - January 29, 2006

Very entertaining watching this to and fro, I have to admit. However, it’s getting more than just old now.

To Roberto, two points:

– Any piece of journalism is only as good as it’s sources.
– In order to be regarded as good journalism, the content has to be delivered in a clear, unbiased view (let the reader form her own opinion, your job is to spread the news).

These are my own take on “good journalism”, and I’m quite sure that any professional journo will be able to expound on this a million times over. So, how could you say that “MasterTech” wrote something that was well thought out and well written, simply because he includes a lot of “sources”? The only reason I actually went trought the pain to read his site in it’s entirety was because of all the fluff in the blogosphere that points to his site. If it wasn’t for that, I would not have carried on past the notice on the top of his site. To be honest, his site does IE and Microsoft great disservice. So Roberto, consider what you read a little more critically before you comment on it.

To Nanobot, please calm down, it’s over now. Channel your energies elsewhere. I fully sympathise with your rightious anger of being misquoted on MasterTech’s site. All I can say further is to keep it down to max 5 entries. In other words, be more decisive, don’t allow a thread to become this long drawn-out thing it is now. Whereas I fully support your arguments, the drawn-out-ness of this whole matter threatens it’s relevancy. So much so that I feel this whole thing and everybody revering to it as B.S. mongers. Let it lie, Mister Not-So-MasterTech has had enough press.

13. Anonymous - January 30, 2006

Great write up! I agree here that all the sources check out. It looks like the Firefox community is doing everything they can to discredit this guy, since what he has to say is simply earth shattering to their community.

Anyone reading these comments, don’t take my word for it or roberts or the author of the Myths site. Check out the sources, they speak for themselves.

14. Anonymous - January 31, 2006

The author of Firefox myths is so deparate for support his site that he sometimes doesn’t get further that reading the title of a page he quotes. Take this example of a blog he pasted on his own forum, assuming from the title that it backed up his page. (In fact the title ‘Open source must die, die, die’ was ironic and the blog actually rubbishes the article.)

http://www.standards.spiralmindsinc.com/misc/Priceless/

That’s typical: any “source” that appears to contain something negative about Firefox will end up quoted in Firefox Myths, but only the negative for Firefox: never the positives for Firefox or the negative of another browser, even if they are mentioned in the same source. (David Hammond’s standards support information is interpreted like this: “Firefox has incomplete support of many W3C standards including HTML 4.01, XHTML 1.1, and CSS 2.1. Internet Explorer has very good support (87%) for the most important web standard, HTML 4.01.” Check out the actual figures and you will see that while Firefox has “incomplete” support, it is better than IE’s, and although you might consider 87% ‘very good’, the figure for Firefox is higher.)

Any souce that does not support the author’s predjudice will never get quoted. (Google for ActiveX security and you will find many links to sources which discuss the dangers; only an article which plays down the dangers gets used as a “source”.)

Cherry picking at it’s worst.

So much for the sources, another sign of the author’s desparation is the way he posts anonymous comments to support his own article. What anybody is doing to discredit the author he has only brought upon himself by his dishonesty both in posting and in quoting:

http://robert.accettura.com/archives/2005/12/19/firefox-myths/

http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/asa/archives/2006/01/scum.html

15. Anonymous - February 1, 2006

I’ve never seen so many personal attacks at a guy. In my experience this usually means what he is saying is not only true but those attacking him are afraid people might read it and come to their own conclusion. The only people afraid of that are the Firefox supporters.

His sources are very convincing, I have started using Opera now, no one every told me it was faster or more secure. I don’t like to be misled.

16. Anonymous - February 1, 2006

Andrew, shut up. Defending your own site anonymously is pathetic.

17. Anonymous - March 1, 2006

Great Blog post here. You are right the other guy has no sources for anything. He has alot of hot air though, heh.

18. Team Fortress 2 - April 17, 2007

this is indeed a very informative site! i adore you all!!! great blogs!! great minds!


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