Tag Archives: firefox

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Browser Battles: Firefox–Chrome – IE

I’ve been a longtime fan and user of Mozilla Firefox. It’s been far from perfect but the extensions had me hooked. As for IE, I’ve been a longtime hater. But that’s been changing recently.

The company I work for during the day stipulates Internet Explorer, even worse, until recently it’s be IE 6. I went rogue when IE 7 came out and installed that so I could at least get tabs. The company is finally transitioning so I’ve been in the IE 8 testers group since it’s inception so at least I’ve been using a sanctioned browser. Like many large companies the biggest problem was internal sites or applications that didn’t work with IE 7 or 8. There’s still some isolated problems with IE 8 but those app owners are being forced to get their act together. The point of this is I’ve been using Internet Explorer 8 during the day and it hasn’t sucked.

In my world I keep a wall between work and home so I don’t have a need to share work related bookmarks, add-ins or anything else (not to mention security issues if I try to use an external service) so IE8 can be an island to itself and it’s been fine. But it hasn’t been so fine that I wanted to bring the experience home.

At home it’s been Firefox across all platforms. The add-ins gave me all the features I wanted. Unfortunately they also contributed to some instability and less than great performance. If I didn’t shutdown and restart Firefox regularly I’d eventually be forced to do it. Still, it was better than IE or Safari.

Then about 6 weeks ago I gave Google Chrome another try. I worked it’s way in to be my default browser and then Chrome 6 came out and solidified that position. I don’t do too much web browsing on my Mac so I may not have come across so issues, but it’s been peppy and stable. On Windows it’s been rock solid and has performed nicely.

I like the ability to sync bookmarks, preferences and extensions (plus a couple things I don’t care about). This makes new installations easy. I also like incognito mode since it allows be to open multiple Google Apps for Domains and Google mail accounts at the same time.

And now IE 9 has entered the public beta phase. I installed it on my laptop and have been giving it a spin. I almost ashamed to admit it, but I like it. It’s been fast and gets out of the website’s way. It feels very Chrome-like. The add-ins I want (LastPass, Evernote, and Delicious) all worked fine after the upgrade. They seem to have emphasized performance as during the first startup after the install I was told how much each add-in contributed to the startup time and was given the option to disable them.

Google Chrome will continue to be my default browser due to the cross-platform ability. Internet Explorer 9 will get added to my other Windows boxes (it seems stable despite being a beta) and I won’t hesitate to use it on sites that insist on being IE specific. I also use it for general browsing to get a fee for it. There’s an outside chance IE 9 could replace Google Chrome for me. I wouldn’t have expected to say this 4 months ago, but Mozilla Firefox is the odd browser out. I’ve no reason to use it, at least until Firefox 4 comes out, even though I like it.

Firefox 3.5

I just updated my main machine to Firefox 3.5. No major problems, but a few speed bumps.

Google Gears told me it didn’t work with Firefox 3.5 and there wasn’t an update available. I uninstalled the current add-on and installed the latest version from gears.google.com and all was well.

I had the same problem with the Evernote clipper add-on. Firefox 3.5 said it was incompatible and no update was available. An uninstall and install of the latest version resolved the problem.

Firefox 3.5 is supposed to be faster than version 3. I’ve been running it on Windows where Firefox has always been faster than on my Mac. I can’t say it’s noticeably faster on Windows. But some of that may be because I use noscript to keep Java from running except when I want it. The improvements are probably more noticeable on sites with Java and other scripting.

Firefox 2.0.0.12 Released

Mozilla has released Firefox 2.0.0.12 which they are calling a security and stability update. The update patches ten known vulnerabilities three of which are listed as critical. The three critical vulnerabilities patched are:

  • MFSA 2008-06 Web browsing history and forward navigation stealing
  • MFSA 2008-03 Privilege escalation, XSS, Remote Code Execution
  • MFSA 2008-01 Crashes with evidence of memory corruption (rv:1.8.1.12)

I installed the update on both my MacBook, iMac and the Windows machine for my day job. There hasn’t been any noticeable difference on Windows. On my Macs I generally use Safari these days but in a few uses if Firefox I’ve noticed an increase occurrence of it using as much of the CPU as it can get. It’s not like the problem hasn’t occurred with previous versions and it’s not all the time. I don’t use a lot of add-ons but they could also be the cause I suppose.

The OS Quest Trail Log #15:

Scenic Water picture B&W thumbnailWhen I upgraded to Leopard I kept Safari as my default browser so it would open whenever I clicked a link. But I kept using Firefox for almost everything. I liked how fast Safari was when I did fire it up. So this morning I decided to switch over and start using Safari as my primary browser, only going to Firefox when there’s no choice. Safari definitely feels faster and uses less memory.

The Greasemonkey and Browser Sync extensions to Firefox give it an edge in features over Safari, especially when running multiple computers. But, having to stop and start Firefox after using it for extended periods has become a bit annoying, especially when I had to do a force quit for Firefox. Let’s see how far I can go with Safari.

Software Upgrades

There were a lot of software upgrades for me this week. I already wrote about the upgrades to WordPress 2.3.1 and VMWare Fusion 1.1. Then there was the OS X 10.5.1 update for Leopard. I haven’t noticed much of a change since the upgrade. Wireless on my Mac Mini now works when it wakes from sleep mode but that’sabout if for noticeable changes.

Adobe released Lightroom 1.3 which includes fixes for Leopard and additional enhancements. I updated my evaluation copy of Lightroom and found that the evaluation counter was reset back to 30 days.

Fetch, from Fetch Softworks, has been updated to version 5.3. It includes improved compatibility with Leopard. I upgraded but rarely use Fetch these days so haven’t used it since the upgrade.

Remote Buddy 1.8 was released. Four fixes, 5 new features, 7 enhancements to an already great remote control program. I didn’t have any problems after the upgrade but I barely scratch the surface of what this app can do.

News & Links

maintain.se: Cocktail 4 for mac no supports Leopard – Cocktail 4 has been released and now supports leopard. Cocktail is a maintenance and UI tweaking tool for the Mac.

News.com: Firefox 3.0 may ship with a slew of serious bugs intact – CNet tech news blog is reporting that Mozilla may ship Firefox 3 with only about 20% of the “blocker” bugs fixed. Blockers are supposed to be serious enough to justify postponing a release.

OmniGroup.com: OmniFocus for the Mac – Described as peronal task management software. Pre-release Beta no available. You can download the beta for free. If you buy before the Jan 8th release you pay half price ($40 – charged immediately)

Techdirt.com: Congress Moves Forward With Required University Subsidies To Napster, Ruckus – TechDirt has an article that’s a rather glaring indictment of our government and how they subsidize failing businesses by attacking education.

TidBITS.com: FileMaker’s Bento: Undercooked and Slightly Fishy – Good overview of Bento and its shortcomings.

arstechnica.com: New bill would punish colleges, students who don’t become copyright cops – The article sums up the incredibly bad idea rather well.

bentotrial.com: Meet Bento — Learn More – Bento is from Filemaker and is described as a personal database that’s Leopard only. A beta preview is available for download.

engadget.com: Vista SP1 release candidate goes out to testers – The headline says it all.

kessels.com: JkDefrag v3.29 – Free open source disk defragmenter for Windows 2000 through Vista was update to version 3.29.

techcrunch.com: gOS PC Sells Out: People Like A Google Focused PC – Seems like the $200 Walmart PC, the one in the oversized case so people think it’s powerfull, appears to be a hit.

tuaw.com: Improve your Stacks with some drawers – Haven’t tried it yet, but sounds like the slickest solution out there.

wsj.com: Google Has Even Bigger Plans for Mobile Phones – The Wall Street Journal is among those reporting Google will bid on some wireless spectrum in January. They report Google is already running a test version of an advanced wireless network.

Ready For OS X 10.5 Leopard?

OS X Box[Last updated: Nov. 1st] [Oct. 29th: Now includes a sentence about my experience when using the app. Keep in mind I did fresh installs of everything and restored data.]

It’s time to start going through my apps and seeing which are ready for OS X 10.5 Leopard and which aren’t. I’ll start with my most used and favorite apps.

I’ll start with the assumption that the Apple apps in iLife ’08 and iWork ’08 along with Aperture 1.5 will work with Leopard either in their current form or with updates released to coincide with Leopard

Another assumption I’m making is that even software that is “Leopard compatible” may have minor bugs and quirks since it was finalized so close to release. I expect some bumps along the way. In addition, many developers won’t have the final version of Leopard until it’s officially released on the 26th.

While many companies may say OS X 10.4.x or later, I’m not going to assume they thought of a future 10.5 release since it probably didn’t exist at the time they made their statement.

Also, unless otherwise noted the compatibility comments refer to the current, fully patched, general release of the application.

Acorn by Flying Meat Inc. No mention of Leopard support but it’s a new app and is actively in development. It also uses CoreImage so there might be some bumps with the upgrade. It’s not a critical app for me in the short term. [Oct. 29: I've used this, although only a few features, without a problem.]

Apple Aperture 1.5.6 was released on Oct 26th and should be installed prior to using Aperture for the first time on Leopard. The update is available through Software Update or from the Aperture download page. Apple also release a tech note about a conflict between Time Machine and Aperture.

CSS Edit by MacRabbit. No mention of Leopard compatibility but CSS Edit doesn’t seem to be heavily tied to the OS. I’m not expecting problems but since I’m using the app heavily at this time I’ll try it one my test machine after it goes to Leopard. If there a problem it would stop me from upgrading my main machine. [Updated Oct. 25th: CSSEdit 2.6 has been released and is compatible with Leopard.] [Oct. 29th: I've used this without a problem.]

Data Rescue II by ProSoft Engineering is compatible with Leopard when run from the Data Rescue boot CD. An update will be needed to run it as an app under Leopard.

Firefox 2.0.0.8 from Mozilla is compatible with Leopard except for issues with some media plugins. From the release notes:

On OS X 10.5 (Leopard), there are known problems with some media plugins as well as Add-ons that contain binary components. Also, the tabs in Preferences > Advanced will not render properly.

[Oct. 29th:I haven't had any problems beyond what was mentioned in the release notes.]

Growl by the Growl Dev Team. Growl works in one of the dev seeds. I expected more problems with this since it seems to integrate with the OS a bit but it does seem to work with Leopard. [Oct: 29th: I've used this without any problems.]

iDefrag by Coriolis Systems did not work with a late beta version of Leopard. They will make a update available one they have the final build and can work out the problems. See question #10 in the FAQ for details. [Oct 29th: I haven't had the need for this so haven't risked trying it. I'll wait for official confirmation it will work.]

iPhoto Diet by Martin Fuhrer does not work with iPhoto 7 and is being re-written and will support Leopard at that time. No mention of specific Leopard support although it is written in Applescript which should remain compatible. View the October 22nd update on the iPhoto Diet page

iPhoto Library Manager was a concern of mine since it used the now unsupported (as of Leopard) Input Manager. This blog post says a release will be made to coincide with Leopard, once testing on the final Leopard build can be done. [Oct. 29th: I've used this to switch iPhoto libraries but haven't tried any of the other features such as move or copy.][Oct.30th: A Leopard compatible update has been released.]

Lightroom by Adobe. My trial will expire about the time I install Leopard and I won’t be buying it. So compatibility is moot. I didn’t come across any mention of Leopard on the Adobe website. [Oct. 29th:] Adobe has published a Leopard support FAQ(pdf). Lightroom will need to be updated for Leopard. [Oct. 30th: The official Lightroom blog has a list of known issues and an eta of mid-November for an update. The issues are realitively minor, unless of course you rely on them for some specific reason.]

Little Snitch 1.x is not Leopard compatible. Version 2 is in public beta and is Leopard compatible. It is not a free upgrade unless you purchased Little Snitch recently.

MacMozy by Mozy. This one is important to me. Need those off-site backups. Since the Mozy client is still in beta it’s actively being developed so I would expect Leopard to be supported. I’ll try Mozy on my test mac first and if it doesn’t work I’ll probably hold up upgrading my main machine. [Oct. 29th: I had no problems installing and running either the Mozy paid or Mozy free accounts (both use the same software). I write about installing Mozy on Leopard here.]

MailPlane by Uncomplex Gmbh. No mention of Leopard support but as this software is still in beta, and actively being updated I have to believe it will be compatible. If there are problems I can access email through a browser. [Updated Oct. 25th] Released a new update which makes it mostly compatible. Still an issue with the screenshots option which may be fixed in the next version. [Oct. 29th: I haven't had any problems using this. I haven't used some of the more advanced features such as the iPhoto pluggin.]

Parallels Desktop for Mac by SWSoft. It will run under Leopard although expect a update based on the official release of Leopard. From Parallels website: “Parallels Desktop 3.0 Build 5160 will run on Mac OS X Leopard, however, there are a set of know issues that limit some functionality. We are working to address all know issues.” This isn’t critical for me. If there are problems I can either use boot camp, VMWare Fusion or wait until fixes are released. (I use Parallels on one Mac and VMware on another for variety.) Here’s Parallels’ blog post on the subject. [Oct. 29th: I had a problem with Boot Camp integration which seems to pre-date Leopard. I've run a Windows XP SP2 VM that was created under Tiger and migrated without a problem. Here's my post about migrating the VMs.][Oct. 29th: Parallels has a beta release of an update with full Leopard support.] [Nov. 1st: I installed the beta on the 31st. Spaces got a little weird after the Parallels install although I'm not sure it was Parallels that caused it. In short, some apps jump spaces or open in unassigned spaces or get lost. There's been some rumbling about things like this from others and they don't mention Parallels.]

Path Finder 4.8 from Cocoatech – Officially Leopard Ready with the caveat there may be a few broken items when the final version of Leopard is released. See the last section in this post on the Cocoatech blog. [Oct. 29th: I haven't had a problem with this although I've been forcing myself to use regular Finder. But when I jump into PF it's been fine.]

Quicken 2006 for Mac by Intuit. I’m a version behind with no plans to upgrade. I don’t expect any problems as it doesn’t seem like it’s tightly integrated with the OS. If there are problems I’ll install it on my Mac Mini and use it there until a replacement can be found. [Oct. 29th: I haven't had a problem with this. I use a data file created under Tiger, not that it should matter. I only use scheduled transactions, the registers and a little online banking transaction downloads]

Quicksilver from Blacktree (alcor) will be compatible with Leopard with this new release. I’m using this version on Tiger now, it’s not Leopard specific. I suspect he’s waiting for testing of the final Leopard release before he officially releases the upate on the website The update is available from the homepage. Ignore the version listed, the link will give you the latest version. [Oct. 29th: I haven't had a problem with this although since their website has been down I haven't been able to install or use any plugins.][Oct. 31st: The website is back up and B54 (8314) is available and has updates for Leopard.]

Skye by Skype (eBay) – Due to the large user base I have to believe this will work from day 1, but I couldn’t find any mention on their website. [Oct. 31st: I made a Skype to Skype and a Skype out (to a land line phone) today without a problem.]

SuperDuper! is not Leopard compatible. It can be used to clone Tiger as a backup prior to the upgrade and then files can be pulled off when running Leopard. But SuperDuper! itself cannot clone Leopard drives. They will complete testing once they have the final Leopard version and release the update.

Transmit by Panic Software. There’s no mention of Leopard support on their website but as an ftp client I wouldn’t expect any serious issues. [updated 10/24] A blog entry mentions it “mostly works” with a few issues. The upgrade to Tiger broke their favorites feature but the basic functionality of the ftp software was there. This is a bit critical as I automate my website backup with it. But if there are problems I’ll find a temporary work around rather than hold off the Leopard upgrade. [Oct. 29th: I haven't had any problems. My Automator tasks that backup my website via SFTP work fine. I did have to re-enter my password in my favorites after I restored them.] [Oct. 31st: Panic has released an update that includes tweaks for Leopard.]

VMWare Fusion by VMWare. From the VMWare website:

VMware Fusion has experimental support for running on developer releases of Mac OS X Leopard. VMware Fusion will work to support Mac OS X Leopard officially when it is released later this year.

This isn’t critical for me. If there are problems I can either use boot camp, Parallels or wait until fixes are released. (I use Parallels on one Mac and VMware on another for variety.) [Updated Oct. 26th - VMware has released Fusion 1.1 RC1 which includes support for Leopard. It's on the beta page but will probably move to the regular download page soon.]

Yojimbo by Bare Bones Software. No official statement but the discussion lists indicate there are either no problems or minor problems when running it on past betas of Leopard. [Oct. 29th: No problems found and I use this pretty heavily touching most features.]

That seems to be the list of software I really care about. There’s a bunch of other minor apps which I don’t have the inclination to research. Once I get Leopard installed I’ll start trying them out.

Other Software

This is compatibility information that I’ve run across for other software. I don’t use any of the software so I won’t be confirming the accuracy of the info. If you have information on any other software feel free to put it up in a comment.

Disk Utilities probably aren’t Leopard compatible until updated. Verify compatibility with the vendor before running any disk utility.

DiskWarrior from Alsoft has this compatibility notice (limited support when booting from CD or Tiger).

Macsimum News reports that all of Intego’s security software is Leopard ready. They also report that Northern Software’s Cache Cleaner is Leopard compatible.

Filemaker (an Apple subsidiary) has said that Filemaker software is not yet compatible with Leopard.

ProSoft Engineering: Drive Genius is compatible when booting from the Drive genius CD. An update will be needed to run it as an app under Leopard. DataBackup 3 is not compatible with Leopard. TuneTech for iPod is also not compatible.

SmileOnMyMac has said all their products (such as TextExpander) are Leopard ready.

I’ll update this post as I collect more information.