Saturday, October 10, 2009

Firefox 3.5 vs Internet Explorer 8

I am a Linux user from core of my heart but every now and then I have to work on Windows and I always look for firefox to do my browsing. Sometime back I was chatting about browser security and vulnerabilities with some of my geek friends. This post is a summary of that chat and a few additional things.

IE has a lot of security features that can be configured and tweaked. Microsoft defines security “zones” such as “Internet,” “Local intranet,” “Trusted sites,” and “Restricted sites.” These categories can be customized to suit the user’s needs.
 Firefox's option are less and simple. If something is turned off for a website it is turned off for every site. While this may look as a bad choice to some people, in a way it is good too as you don't have to put every site in a category or other. Too many categories tend to confuse the beginners.

Both Firefox and IE exploit user info for some of their features. IE send your browsing history to Microsoft for the Suggested sites feature. This history is processed there and then a link in Favorites Bar suggests you sites you might find interesting. According to Windows Help and Support even items deleted from your history "will be retained by Microsoft for a period of time to help improve our products and services." Firefox, on the other hand does not sends any history but it does send your ip address to google through an encrypted SSL connection so that you can find better search reasults.

IE has a "easy to bypass" content advisor feature which lets you define the type of website users shouldn't visit. Firefox provides a blacklisting service, each newly visited site is compared against a blacklist of known defaulters and appropriate action is taken accordingly. It is too bypassable but takes a bit more determination.

Security Plugins is an area where IE stands no chance against Firefox. A lot of plugins are available to suit need of every user from scripts blocking addons to anti-malware tools. Personaaly I use web developers toolbar for removal of java scripts and other cool features.

In terms of speed face the facts IE people, Firefox beats you. IE speed sucks with java scripts and image rendering.

Now lets talk about the product. As always IE being a Microsoft product is closed sourced and imposed on you to have it, doesn't matter you like it or not, yoou cannot remove it. Firefox comes as an addon, install it, try it, keep it if you like. And its a really cool place for young developers to contribute.
Finally I think Firefox beats IE in most of the aspects. Its just a matter of time when firefox will rule the Web world. Be a part of it!

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