Wednesday, February 15, 2006 misinformation

Recently I've seen referenced a few times, mostly on forum threads about "which browser is better".

When I first saw it, I was interested, since I had thought that someone had finally catalogued all the bullshit about Firefox going around the internet. However, this reads more like an advertisement for Avant Browser.

disclaimer: I can't stand Firefox fanboys crapping on about what they don't understand, as you might have noticed by my earlier post on some of Firefox's "innovations". Personally, I use Opera. However, this page is so horribly wrong on most counts that I'm forced to defend Firefox here. So, here follows a debunking of the debunking on that site...

Requirement Myths
The author appears to misunderstand the difference between "browser" and "operating system", and manages to contradict himself, all in the one "point". First off, he claims that IE has "much" lower system requirements than Firefox, while ignoring the fact that the CPU clock speed required for IE is roughly double that of Firefox. Secondly, he doesn't take into account that IE is part of the operating system, so its requirements appear to be much less than those of Firefox, particularly the "disk space" ones.
Update: I was wrong here, the requirement for IE is actually a "486 66 Mhz CPU", not a "486.66 Mhz CPU" as I had read it. I can't find a Microsoft source for my claims as to IE's integration into the OS, but they are somewhat substantiated by this quote:

Internet Explorer 6 SP1 setup installs the majority of its files on the drive where the Windows operating system is installed, regardless of the installation location you choose.
..from the source provided at I also forgot to admit that Firefox has some pretty bad issues with memory consumption under the default configuration, though this issue is not reproducible under all Firefox installations.

Performance Myths
Most of the information listed here is correct, simply because it's sourced from a much more reliable source. However, this..

The argument that components of Internet Explorer may load during Windows Startup is nullified by Opera's start times. Which means there is no excuse for this except poor coding on Firefox's part. an interesting idea. Somehow, the author thinks that the fact that Opera has a faster "cold start" than IE means that saying "IE loads in part with Windows" is completely invalid. We call this an "fallacy of irrelevance".
Update: The author refuses to accept that Opera is irrelevant to the myth "Firefox Is Faster Than Internet Explorer". Guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

Market Share Myths
I'd question the reliability of any stats on browser market share, since it depends on so many factors: for one, the content of the site measuring the stats.
Update: Yes, I agree with the author on this one as per his comments below, but not the site. The wording of the site implies that somehow, the lower usage statistics are "more correct", when it would be more accurate to say that the fact that there are several conflicting reports on Firefox's market share indicates that measuring market share is extremely difficult and unreliable and such statistics should be taken with a grain of salt.

Security Myths
The Secunia advisory for Firefox claims that currently, there are only three unpatched vulnerabilities, all of which have medium criticality or lower (3 / 5 bars). Opera has one unpatched vulnerability with the lowest level of criticality (a minor URL spoofing problem). IE currently has 32 unpatched vulnerabilities from Extremely Critical to Not Critical. While this does indicate that Opera is "the most secure", in my opinion it does not make Firefox "insecure"; the author claims that one vulnerability is enough to make software "insecure". Firefox's security claims are based on comparison to Internet Explorer, and are perfectly valid. While Firefox does have its share of security flaws, it has proven to have had far less serious flaws, and it has responded to them more quickly than Internet Explorer - which is the main point marketed by the Mozilla team. Additionally, the author's arguments about spyware, while logical, are simply not true: Firefox is an excellent "solution", in part, to the spyware problem - as its comparably low level of exploits and smaller and more IT-savvy user base, make it a much less attractive to spyware vendors, and as such, there is no widely spread spy/malware software that installs through Firefox (at least to my knowledge).
Update: The author continues to claim that one vulnerability nullifies any chance of describing the software as "secure", so again, we'll have to agree to disagree here. However, nowhere in the relevant paragraph on is the notion of "Firefox as a solution to all security problems" raised. I stand by my conclusion, that Firefox, in comparison to its primary competitor, Internet Explorer, can reasonably be considered "secure" as a web browser. I also suggest that it is a good method to minimize spyware installations, though I don't suggest that it is a complete spyware solution. I also disagree with the idea that the author's guide to securing Windows XP can give any user the "same level of protection" he has, as an uninformed user tends to be able to click "Yes" enough times to install any malware program. Additionally, Avant Browser (with the same level of security as Internet Explorer) has been recommended over Firefox. It should be noted that several IE exploits have existed (and been exploited) in the past allowing the silent installation of malware without user input, while this has not yet happened with Firefox, possibly due to its smaller user base. As things stand, I would recommend Firefox over Avant for just this reason, as history tends to repeat iteself. Finally, the author continues to suggest that "Firefox is incompatible with 10 - 15% of sites", rather than "10 - 15% sites are poorly coded and implement non-standard functionality only present in Internet Explorer", which I feel reflects the situation much better.

Feature Myths
All true up until Tabbed Browsing (though the myth that IE7 "stole" Firefox's icon seems a bit ridiculous to me; I've never heard that myth, and I'd think most people who actually care about such things would know the real story). The rest of this section demands a more thorough debunking:
Tabbed Browsing: Claims that Opera only added "tabbed" browsing in 2000 per a Wikipedia article - the author clearly doesn't understand the difference between MDI and TDI. Also claims that Firefox was released in 2004 - it was released in 2002, albeit under a different name (Phoenix).
W3C Standards: Claims that Firefox has "incomplete" support for for many W3C standards, then claims that IE has "very good support (86%) for the most important web standard, HTML 4.01". Apart from the fact that this is a clear attempt to confuse a reader into thinking standards support in IE is better than in Firefox (far from it, IE doesn't even support position: fixed; in CSS..), claiming that HTML 4.01 is the "most important web standard" is laughable. It's seven years old, released in 1999, and the web has moved forward since then. While it is possible that most sites are written in HTML 4.01 (I have no statistics for this), I would say that the most important web standard is the current "version" of HTML, XHTML 1.1 (though this is a separate standard, it is very similar and is designed to replace HTML).
Update: The author claims that he does not intend to confuse readers into thinking that IE has superior standards compared to IE, therefore, I suggest the text be changed to reflect this. Despite the fact that it is "biased against IE", the original source for the information should still be linked to, and I'd suggest that it be indicated under 'notes' that Firefox has better support for all HTML-based web standards than IE. Additionally, the "source" link regarding Firefox's 'poor standards implementation' is broken.
W3C Standards define a Webpage: Here, the author just fails to understand the contextual meaning of the word "define". In this case, it means more or less that W3C standards outline the way a web page "should be", not define as in a dictionary definition.
Update: I was basing this on the Myth Heading, not the actual Myth itself, apparently. The real Myth is "A Site that doesn't conform to W3C Standards is not a Webpage". This seems more than a little obvious to me, but I'll accept that I was wrong here. Sort of.
Acid 2 Browser Test: The author claims that the Acid2 test tests "the features considered most important for the future of the web". Incorrect, the test is designed to demonstrate how the most poorly-supported features should work, not the most important ones. The most important ones are already implemented in most browsers (by and large, the only browser without support is Internet Explorer in most cases).
Update: The author claims that he is correct, but the only quote I was able to find on the Acid2 website he referred to was "It uses features that are not in common use yet, because of lack of support", which appears to support my argument.
Web Page Rendering: Claims that "Firefox is not 100% Internet Explorer and ActiveX compatible", and as a result will not render "web sites that depend on ActiveX or were only tested in Internet Explorer (which there are many)" correctly. If those sites had adhered to coding standards when they were created, they would work correctly in all major IE competitors (Opera, Firefox, Safari and others), but in many cases would have problems with IE. Most web designers know that trying to get IE to support your website can be a major hurdle after testing a design that works in all other "standards-compliant" browsers.
Update: Apparently, I'm just making excuses here, in that case, I would suggest that the text be reworded to accurately reflect the truth (as suggested previously): "10 - 15% of sites are coded poorly or using proprietary technology and as a result will only work correctly in Internet Explorer". I accept that 10 - 15% of sites "don't work" correctly in Firefox, but the problem is not with Firefox, it is with the sites.
Web Page Rendering Differences: Claims that "Firefox does not wait for the whole page to be rendered like IE" is a myth. Based on the other information quoted and linked, I'll assume the author means "Firefox progressively renders pages, unlike IE" or "Firefox does not wait for all markup to be downloaded before rendering, unlike IE", since what he's saying doesn't make sense (why exactly would the browser "wait" until it has finished rendering a page?). Here he says that IE offers support for progressive rendering in tables. Since any modern website design uses divs, not tables (tables-based layouts are an old hack left over from pre-CSS days), IE's progressive rendering is next to useless. (I'm not even sure if Firefox uses progressive rendering, to be honest, but in any case, it's a lot more noticeable in Opera than any other browser.)
Update: I concede defeat here too, in actuality, IE supports progressive rendering except with tables-based layouts (where there is only partial support). The confusing wording of the summary got me, and had I read the source more thoroughly, I would have understood what really happens. Anyway, I suggest that the summary be changed to what I said ("IE supports progressive rendering except with tables-based layouts (where there is only partial support)."), to make it more clear to the reader.

The author ends his article with a challenge:

Do you think there is a single argument that refutes a single fact on this page? Think again. The sources speak for themselves and the facts are irrefutable.
He also claims that Firefox fanboys have "blindly react[ed] rather than calmly [thought]" when presented with said facts. I'm not a Firefox fanboy, as I said, I'm far from it, but I've tried to present a calmly thought-out response to this article, which is not only poorly researched in parts, but appears to be intentionally misleading in others. I'm tempted to suggest that the entire site is an ad for Avant Browser, which he recommends at the end since it includes IE's rendering engine for "99.99% website compatibility" and "all the newest features of other browsers" (such as "100% security", according to the Avant website). He also suggests that readers read his other "guides", like "XP Games" (where every game is "100% Freeware", it reads like a malware site) and "XP Media" (which ironically implores the reader to "Get Firefox with Google Toolbar for better browsing"). Ordinarily, I would have expected this kind of writing to be ignored, but since it seems to be getting a fair amount of attention, I've taken the time to debunk it and forward my response onto the author. Hopefully I'll be able to post back here confirming that he's seen the light and decided to correct all the misinformation on his website. To the author: I challenge you to come up with a reasonable rebuttal of the facts I've presented here, or otherwise modify your website to be a little less misleading about things.

Update: I've added Updates to most parts of this entry according to the comments below by Andrew K. - the author of the page. There are a few more things I'd like to respond to:

  • I never suggested that the page wasn't researched or thought out correctly - however, I do feel that in many cases the writing is constructed in quite a misleading way which makes it feel very biased when read by someone who knows the subject matter reasonably well.
  • I simply said that the "100% Freeware" comment on every game on the XP Games page makes the site read as if it's a malware site. "100% Legal", "100% Free" and such are all terms that I see on such sites all the time, and especially when things look like they have been copy-pasted all over the page, it loses the page a lot of credibility. I'd suggest that the repetition and "100%" be removed - there's no such thing as "90%" freeware, and it just makes the whole thing look a lot less suspect.


Haffie said...

I couldn't be bothered to read all this but I just wanted to say "Hello" and "I miss you" :) :/




Andrew K said...

>>>Requirement Myths:
"First off, he claims that IE has "much" lower system requirements than Firefox, while ignoring the fact that the CPU clock speed required for IE is roughly double that of Firefox."

You obviously don't know what a 486 CPU is. I will leave that one alone for anyone who does know to come by and see it.

As for the HD space requirments, do you have any proof that it is not what Microsoft claims? I don't mean assumptions, I mean cold hard data.

>>>Performance Myths:
It means exactly what it says. That there is no excuse for Firefox to load so slow. If Opera can do it with no alleged performance gain from being "integrated" (remember no one has proven IE gains anything in speed from this) than there is NO excuse why Firefox cannot. What is irrelevant is an excuse for why IE may be loading quickly. You may think it is a "good" excuse for IE loading faster but it is just that an excuse. It doesn't change reality. People care about what actually happens not all the excuses for why they do not. Opera's load times are used to show that any "unfair" gains IE "may" get are irrelevant. It can be done and Firefox doesn't do it, not even close.

>>>Market Share Myths:
They are constantly used to hype Firefox's market share. In these case there is either conflicting data or proof why they are misleading.

>>>Security Myths:
Firefox's relation to IE in terms of unpatched vulnerabilities is not a Myth. The Myth as it is presented is that Firefox is completely secure. This simply debunks that and I would not call a browser that has had 72 vulnerabilities as a "secure browser". The track record is definitely proving otherwise.

Firefox as a solutiont to ANYTHING security related is extremely misleading. The Hype surrounding Firefox has led to people not using AV or AntiSpyware ect... I have clients who were running Firefox but never installed security patches for the OS, had none or outdated AV and were infected with Malware and Viruses. I provide a guide that gives real security and a real solution to spyware. I simply don't get infected with anything and I use IE 24/7 while going to any website I feel like. Anyone can get the same security from the guide I provide.

>>>Feature Myths:
The RSS Icon Myth is very real. Usually with people who just installed IE7.

>>>Tabbed Browsing:
Yes I understand the difference. The point is whether Tabs are present or not.

It states clearly when Firefox was "officially" released, which means when it was called "Firefox", not Phoenix or Firebird.

>>>W3C Standards:
"Apart from the fact that this is a clear attempt to confuse a reader into thinking standards support in IE is better than in Firefox"
BS, this claim is never made by me EVER. This was included so people don't say IE doesn't support standards ect...

As for HTML, XHTML and the world wide web would never exist without HTML.

"W3C Standards define a Webpage:"
That is not the Myth but the Title. The Myth is clearly:

"A Site that doesn't conform to W3C Standards is not a Webpage"

You are attempting to imply I am reading into the title I chose for the Myth heading. It is the exact opposite. The title was chosen based on the Myth. Which is why the Myth is in " ". Because that is what is being debunked.

>>>Acid 2 Browser Test:
No the makers of the Acis2 Test make this claim:

>>>Web Page Rendering:
You just makes excuses here. The facts are how I presented them. Excuses don't change the facts.

>>>Web Page Rendering Differences:
Yeah I need to add "...before displaying it"

You got the rest completely backwards. IE only waits on Table rendering. Did you even read the source?

As you can see not only is the page clearly thought out but properly researched with sources for everthing.

Nothing is intentionally Misleading.

Call it what you want. Before the Avant Mention it was an Opera Ad, before the Opera related Myths were added it was an IE Ad. Those are just cop outs to try and discredit the page.

You really need to look at things before you make absurd allegations like that about my XP Games site. What you just said is exactly what the site is NOT about. I suggest looking at it closer.

The XP Media page link was put up to embarrass all the open source fanatics who claimed I was on some anti-open souce crusade. If you look closely at the XP Games page you will see how this relates.

The only modification I will make will be to the Rendering one to be more clear.

mlp said...

Nice article splintax - interesting reading.

As for the comment by AndrewK, I can see where he's coming from as well.

It's hard to find or write a balanced opinion, since if you're trying to counter "propaganda" or something that’s quite biased in favour of something, whatever you right will always read biased as well! :)

I'm not an expert, but these are my casual observations/opinions... make of them what you will!

From a personal point of view, that’s borne out with some "real world" experience, I've noticed that if I take a non-savvy users machine and give them Firefox (normally because IE has caught a cold or something) they are less likely to have future problems. That’s not to say FF is more secure, I'm saying that by default (out of the box) IE is less secure. Obviously any browser that wraps the IE rendering engine (Avant or Maxthon) can go someway to remedy IEs problems - *BUT* it will still be subject to certain vulns like the WMF one a while back - FF just wanted to save the file rather than display it.

In terms of which of the 3 (IE, FF or Opera) is most likely to have problems with sites, I tend to find just about everything works with IE, but all too many sites fall over with FF or Opera. These include sites where the developers should've known better - e.g. Powergen UK website that promotes paperless billing.

As someone who has to develop a web application that works on multiple browsers, I feel the problem lays more at the door of the developer not the browser. I'm only looking at a very specific application, on a limited platform, so standards compliance (for me) is not that important - I merely have to support something other than IE. Whilst the utopian world of standards compliance is a "nice to have", it's not the “be all and end all”... I'm sure you've seen before; that should give you a better idea of where I'm coming from.

In essence no browser behaves exactly as it should!

As an aside, I use FF in the main - if Opera worked nicely with PDFs and didn't keep locking up, then I'd go with that - I suspect the problem is more to do with Adobe than Opera though.

Anyways, nice blog, well written, interesting subjects - keep up the good work! :)

splintax said...

Thanks for the comments, guys.

AndrewK: I've added a few responses to the issues you've raised. I do realise that I was wrong in parts, but I think that is due in part to confusing wording on your site. Anyway, scan the blog for "Update" and you'll find the updates I'm talking about.

mlp: Thanks again for your insight, it's interesting to hear from someone who does regular web development (correct?). I do agree with you that no browser behaves exactly as it should - after all, in a utopian world, there would be no browser wars, just one "ultimate" browser and it would always fully implement the most up-to-date standards. However, I find that even in very basic web design (plain XHTML/CSS) you'll find that IE consistently causes problems with its poor standards support, relatively speaking.

Oh, and as for the Opera PDF problems.. I have the same problems in Opera AND FF.. I've just set Opera to download PDFs to my desktop and open them with Acrobat itself. The browser plugin(s) just tend to slow down the browser too much for my liking...

Andrew K said...

"Internet Explorer 6 SP1 setup installs the majority of its files on the drive where the Windows operating system is installed, regardless of the installation location you choose."

All that says it how it installs.

Opera is not irrelevant to the Myth. Because it loads and browses faster than both. Which means "fairness" is irrelevant as clearly the only reason any browser is not faster than IE is due to poor coding on the browser's developers part.

The lower usage counts are coming from at least 3 sources listed their. 2 in 1 and 1 in the other. Not only does this put any claim of 10% in severe dount it makes it much more plausible that Firefox did not reach 10%. If I did not find 3 or more sources for that then I would agree. But I firmly believe by the evidence that Firefox did not reach 10% in 2005.

At best Firefox can be technically considered "more secure". Terms like "secure" implies 100%. I will never except an software with unpatched vulnerabilities as "secure" no matter what the comparison.

Anyone using the Secure XP guide will have the exact level of security I have because that is what I do to secure my system. SP2 attempts to combat the problem of people clicking on "yes" to install things and Spyware Blaster attempts to provide site blocking for when they accidentally do. You can only do so much in the end and nothing is stopping anyone from download an infected executable with Firefox and launching it.

The silent install problems are due to people not installing security updates and not removing MSJVM.

10-15% of sites are incompatible with Firefox. The authors of those sites didn't decide to deliberately break them for Firefox or just give the finger to standards. They wrote them to support THEIR user base which is predominantly IE. The thing I can't stand about the standards argument is this blame of the developers as if they intentionally prevented Firefox from working, such nonsense and it is this reason why I will never except this excuse. It is simply not true.

HTML, the original source link is there, the author created a seperate page once I exposed him on his IE is dangerous banner and he tried redirecting visitors from my site. The nanobox link will go to the proper location. I might fix it when I get a chance but I would rather wait until the new link is established. He also keeps changing his data in direct response to my page. Originally IE had better XHTML 1.1 changes support and Opera was better than them all, since then FF is now the best and IE's ratings drop almost weekly? Also the title of the chart used to be called "Standards" not "Technology". He changed that too. It doesn't matter the source does it's job, it shows FF is not fully standards compliant.

The W3C webpage one someone actually tried to use in an argument with me on a forum. I thought it was obvious too.

Acid2, this is from the link:

"Acid2 tests features that web designers have been requesting. Everything that Acid2 tests is specified in a Web standard, but not all Web standards are tested. Acid2 does not guarantee conformance with any specification. After careful consideration, we have selected and are testing the features we consider most important for the future of the web."

Rendering, what I said is worded perfectly fine. What you are implying is developers deliberately writing bad code, which is a complete lie. Many expert developers who write pages for IE would not consider their pages "Coded Poorly". Same argument I made earlier. Think about this: what is easier, changing every web page on the Internet or adding the IE Tab feature by default to Firefox? I blame Firefox, they knew this was a problem and instead drag their users into what is a web developer concern. I would just include IE Tab with Firefox and call it a day.

Follow up:

I emphasize wording where I feel it is needed, this is for effect not bias. There is no way this page will not be called biased unless I admit all the excuses or irrelevant positives for every negative listed here. I am not going to do that. When making this page, I wanted to be very direct that these are Myths. I don't want to sugar coat them so people find it acceptable to continue using them. The problem with Firefox is the Myths have grown to legends. All the Firefox Myths are exaggerated positives. IE is the exact opposite. There is nothing I can do about that. I continue to see people reading into things to generate the Bias or not reading the sources and assuming the Bias. There is absolutely nothing more I can do other than tell them to read carefully and look at the sources.

100% Freeware, again it is for effect. To emphasize that these are completely free. I realize some shady sites may say 100% free but I do not feel it is a hands-off phrase. And this has been the first time anyone has mentioned this.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to respond to the page, Scott.

You might like to have a look at this site, which is an excellent parody of the Firefox Myths site:

Don't pay too much attention to the the author's claim that he plugs a few open source programs so he can't be anti-open source- it's a ruse- in fact Andrew is fanactically opposed to it, as these quotes show:

'People naively assume someone else is doing the security audit which in most cases with OSS, no one does because you don't have anyone getting paid to do it. I don't know about you but I sure am not trusting my security to some college slacker who hates Microsoft, capitalism and the American way.'

'Opensource, Linux, Firefox they are all the same. Of yeah GNU. :evil: '

There's plenty more of that sort of thing from Andrew at the same forum, which makes it abundantly clear what his motive for the Firefox Myths page is.

Oh, and by the way Andrew:

Why are you clearly and deliberately misquoting people in order to make it appear that they are endorsing your site?

Thomas said...

Why do you misquote myself & others on Firefox Myths "Andrew K"?

"...Good stuff - give it a read." - Asa
Actual comment - "Robert Accettura has a nice response to the poorly constructed & mostly worthless article Firefox Myths. Good stuff - give it a read".

"It's an interesting read..." - Robert A.
Actual comment - "Someone looking for their 5 minutes of fame (obviously not worth 15 minutes) decided to post some Firefox Myths. It’s an interesting read, though has a few oddball statements, that really don’t make sense".

"I'm not a big fan of evangelism or hyperbole, so when a page called "Firefox Myths" entered my radar recently, I was very interested." - Tre
Actual comment - "I’m not a big fan of evangelism or hyperbole, so when a page called “Firefox Myths” entered my radar recently, I was very interested. Then sadly disappointed. Rather than a balanced analysis of some of the folklore surrounding Firefox, it is merely a stream of weak arguments against imaginary “myths” supported by misquoting or deliberate misreading of sources. I’m not even going to reference the page".

"The sources & data are convincing..." - Ryan J. (Editor note - this should start "...the sources")
Actual comment - "Even though the sources & data are convincing, I see nothing pro-Firefox there - notice no links about IE's insecuity I wonder why."

"...your web pages are actually pretty good: I personally link to Secure XP" - MrFlibble
Actual comment - "What is clear is that Mastertech has unbelievable energy for incessantly persuing the same arguments over & over & over again, he is entirely incapable of admitting that anybody else has a valid point of view, let alone might actually have anything to add to the discussion that might contradict his pre-set notions, & will never give up until he has the last word on this subject, or until he finds the last internet forum on the planet to post in again & start up the whole argument again. Mastertech, I personally don't care if you have a bee in your bonnet about Firefox. I don't care if you see yourself as some kind of "Master Technician" come to save us from falacy. Personally I think you are becoming the "laughing stock of the internet." I don't care how many forums you post your articles/blogs/web pages in. Just know that you have attracted a lot of attention now, so posting 1 of your articles & talking about the author in the third person isn't going to work anymore. Admit authorship for what you write & post. Anybody Googling you past postings can see you have been dishonest. Some of your web pages are actually pretty good: I personally link to Secure XP, but as far as I am concerned you are a busted flush".

"...all web sites are IE compliant, use a browser with IE engine & tabs, & a fully patched system = 100% security." - FreewheelinFrank
Actual comment - "This includes 1 of Mastertech's typical phrases designed to suggest he is not the author ('Makes interesting reading') but then goes on to use the first person. Strange- that would be the first time for Mastertech. The notions are his: all web sites are IE compliant, use a browser with IE engine & tabs, & a fully patched system = 100% security."

"Mozilla Firefox is a great web browser, but its praise is not without its share of exaggerations. ...Internet Explorer typically starts up faster than Firefox... Firefox is by no means perfectly safe. Users still have to use reasonable caution when downloading files & plugins from untrusted websites. Firefox ... does not yet have complete support for the current CSS, DOM, or even HTML standards." - David H.
Actual comments - "Internet Explorer typically starts up faster than Firefox the first time you double-click on the program icon. This is mainly because the core Internet Explorer engine is actually loaded into memory as your computer is starting up. Furthermore, not all components of the web browser are in memory when the browser window comes up. Some components, such as the favorites manager, are only loaded into memory when you access them, while Firefox loads everything at once.

Something as complex as a web browser will almost certainly have security vulnerabilities crop up from time to time. No major web browser has a perfect security record. There are some fundamental differences between the architecture of Firefox compared to Internet Explorer with regard to security, & Mozilla has shown a much better record than Microsoft at fixing its browser's vulnerabilities, as shown in this security summary, but Firefox is by no means perfectly safe. Users still have to use reasonable caution when manually downloading files & plugins from untrusted websites.

No web browser is 100% standards compliant. The web technology standards are very extensive & it often takes many years to implement all of the features of a standard, plus additional time to fix the bugs. In addition, the standards are always evolving & becoming more & more robust. Firefox (along with Opera, Safari, & Konqueror) is certainly a leader in the field of standards support, & is quickly adopting new emerging technologies, but it, like the others, does not yet have complete support for the current CSS, DOM, or even HTML standards. More information is available in this standards support summary".

"Any browser is more secure by not supporting... Firefox. All Browsers have vulnerabilities... No Browser can claim... to be 100% standards compliant" - Thom (Editors note - This is actually me)

Actual comments (i.e. this thread) - "Any browser is more secure by not supporting ActiveX, not just Firefox.

All Browsers have vulnerabilities (& more will be discovered); what's more important than the number of vulnerabilities is how quickly they are patched & in that regard Firefox has a proven record of being quite secure much of the time, Opera also proved extremely responsive in this regard.

No Browser can claim (Or ever has claimed for that matter) to be 100% standards compliant. However, both Firefox & Opera clearly have made significant movement in this area while IE 6 lags well behind in all but 1 area".

Thomas said...

My bad, the full comment links for the above quotes are as follows;

As you can see, the author is a sickenly dishonest person. I'll ask once more though. Why have you failed to A. Post the above quotes in context or B. Remove the misquoted - myself being one of them.

splintax said...

Hrm. Thanks for your comments. I never knew about the whole misquoting thing.. just the misinformation about FF on the page. :P

Thomas said...

No worries. The author's consistently proven his unwillingness to amend text when provided with facts (Or reove/quote people correctly as I've indicated above).
I too have been labelled a "fanboy" as I take issue with his improper use of Quotes others, not to mention the some "sources" have even spoke out against how they were used on his page (The Standards Support source for example).

Myth - "Firefox is More Secure because it does not use ActiveX".

The SANS Institute states in it's Top 20 Vulnerabilities that; "Most of the flaws in IE are exploited through Active Scripting or ActiveX Controls". The Washington Post recently covered how - Buggy, Flawed 'ActiveX' Controls Pervasive - "The most recent high-profile scare over an ActiveX control came as part of the recent controversy over a flawed piece of anti-piracy software installed by certain Sony BMG music CDs. After the label released a program to help customers remove the software, security experts found that the program left behind an ActiveX control that any Web site could use to plant any files -- even viruses or spyware -- on a visitor's computer if they browsed the site with IE". An iD Software developer noted that "ActiveX, for those that don't know, is a "technology" that allows you to download a piece of natively executable software from any arbitrary location (e.g. embedded in a Web page) & let it run. If this seems insanely unsafe, that's because it is. I can make an OCX that basically formats your hard drive, stick it on a Web page with a tag, & if your security settings are set low enough, you'll start formatting your hard drive the minute you visit my Web page."

It's quite clear Firefox & every other Browser is more secure by not supporting ActiveX (Even if IE does prompt more since XP SP2 - it's still 1 of the most common attack methods). The authors defense for his decision not to update the myths to state it is actually accurate? Firefox supports an "activex like" feature (Which isn't ActiveX, nor would it be affected by sites which try these attacks? Why not? As it doesn't sxupport ActiveX).

You might also be amused to learn of his Aliases , not to mention all the places he's been banned for spamming.

Anonymous said...

Nice site. It is sadly true that not all browsers work the same. IE has terrible standards support, but even simply designed complient sites will work well in IE. My own site renders acceptably in IE, except that all visited links end up being highlighted. The same problem happens with Opera. When I load the site in Opera the "get firefox" button is also incorrectly highlighted. Opera is a standards complient browser like Firefox and yet Firefox is the only browser that correctly renders my site with out errors. My site has been checked on the W3C validator page and it is valid, and strangly the CSS reports errors and is still valid ;).

The point is that try as you might, it is not easy to get sites working perfectly in all browsers but minor problems can be fixed with a little Javascript and some CSS.

Andrew: To You, all I have to say is this: Get over yourself. Not every one likes that excuse for a browser called IE. Yet because of Microsofts embedding it in the OS, many people use it as it is the only one installed on the system out of the box. ActiveX may be useful but it has more holes then swiss cheese. Even Microsoft are phasing out ActiveX to be replaced by a better more secure technology. IE is integrated into the OS, it is used to display the Control Panel applet, the Windows Security Centre, it is also used to display the windows that show all your files, those fancy ones with the side panel. Also, if IE was not integrated into the OS, how come you cannot install it?
And for God sake, what is your problem with not paying over the odds for software, ie OpenSource programs :rolleyes:

WOM said...

I'm a Firefox user who loves the browser and I do spread it on the web. I do know what I'm talking about and to me, it's the most functional browser on the web.

I've also recently visited and what I enjoyed most about the site is the fact it's laid out similarly to Microsoft's website.

I love Microsoft but IE just sucks in my opinion.

Jordie said...

Thank you so much for this article. I don't ever want to see referenced as a reliable source again.

Andrew K said...

Get the truth about the Firefox Fables Site:

The Fanboy Quotes are Labeled "Fanboy Quotes" for a reason, which means they are not to be taken seriously. No where is it claimed they endorse the site. Testimonials are labeled "Testimonials".

The first Anonymous Poster is MrFlibble AKA Freewheelin Frank. Thomas is AKA TSThomas a mod from the Techspot site. Both are listed as Firefox Fanboy Spammers for a reason on my page. They go around to every single discussion of this on the Internet and Spam their lies about me and the page.

Every single fact on the page is sourced. I have never seen more people attack the truth with baseless rhetoric in my life.

Some new Myths from these blog comments:

1. I don't have a problem with Open Source, which is why there are many open source programs on this page:

2. Exploiting IE's vulnerabilities by using ActiveX does not make ActiveX insecure. It is the vulnerability NOT ActiveX that is the security issue. This is no different than blaming C++ because a Virus Author wrote his virus in it and sent you the executable.

3. Being Banned from someplace means nothing other than I was banned from someplace. Two forums I was banned from two or the Firefox Fanboy Spammers run. If I visit every Firefox Fanboy forum and get banned from it does that mean what I am saying is not the truth and the sources are lying? Obviously not. There is an online movement to supress this information from the public. Look at what happened on

Second Anonymous,

I don't care what browser you like. If you read the page and came away with everyone should like IE than you did not read the page. All I care about is that people stop lying about Firefox to get others to use it. ActiveX has very few holes, get your facts straight. What you are complaining about are IE vulnerabilities that have nothing to do with ActiveX. ActiveX is NOT being replaced, but the user is being locked down in Windows Vista which will restrict installation of everything. I have no idea where you got off thinking I said IE was not integrated? It is definitely integrated but the integration has nothing to do with security.

Anyone rational should read the site and all the sources before falling for Fanboy Rheotoric and excuses. Also read my comments here. I have disputed each one of Scott's points.

Andrew K said...

Clarification: I will never and have not ever backed down from ANY argument. I have refuted every single claim everywhere I know of, including here. There are instances where my comments are removed (not here), the topic locked, deleted or myself banned from continuing. This is not to be taken as my agreement with anything said unless I specifically say so. There are many other places I am completely unaware the argument continued. All of my facts are fully researched. Absolutely nothing on the page is biased.

MrFlibble said...

Apparently, labelling people as fanboys gives Andrew the right to misquote them. It no surprise that he operates behind anonymous redirects like (, by the way, is a rather humourless parody of a parody.)

Andrew has posted the Firefox Myths page all over the internet using the names Mastertec (MT) and GeneralAres. Is it really possible to spam a spammer? Would anybody but the spammer really care? MrFlibble has posted responses in various places but no lies.

Mr Flibble has challenged Andrew to state the alleged lies told about him before but has met with silence:

Andrew, on the other hand, has been caught telling lies and the lies have been proved:

Andrew has kindly given us a link to his blog/forum at the top of his page where we may read about his opinions of open source software.

Andrew has recently been banned from Neowin, BetaNews and Warp2Search: all of course run by Firefox Fanboys.

I'm afraid Andrew has backed down from argument: his response to criticism of his page on the Ars Technica thread was simply to ignore the person making the comment. (See link above.)

Refuting arguments in Andrew's case seems to involve insulting, condescending and simple ignoring any evidence he does not wish to deal with, as may be witnessed here:

As to the page being biased, the links column contains pages such as 'Firefox Sucks'. Not obvious that the author doesn't like Firefox? Again, check out his blog/forum linked to at the top of the page. It's full of anti-Firefox rants.

Andrew said...

Speak of the Devil. It doesn't take any of the spammers long to hit any topic about this on the Internet. There are no lies on the page. The Quotes section you refer to is labeled "Fanboy Quotes" for a reason. I see you still don't get it. Anyway I do not have a blog or forums. I used to have forums years ago but I have since removed them.

My Opinion of Open Source software is obvious by looking at my web pages:

Please read them and close your eyes to all the open source software I have there. I really don't need to go any further I think that pretty much proves MrFlibble is lying about everything else. Though he is desperate.

For more information about the Fanboys read: (This covers the banning nonsense too)

MrFlibble said...

If the fact that you link to the Poptech blog/forum at the top of the OptimizeXP/Firefox myths site, post there as Andrew, identify yourself as Andrew at the bottom of the OptimizeXP/Firefox site, and say exactly the same things on both sites isn't enough to convince anybody that your are either a)schizophrenic or b)lying, here is the proof:

1) You have posted a reference to Firefox Myths on the Poptech forum, where one of the forum members identified you as the author:

2) You refered to the OptimizeXP site as 'my' guide on the forum:

3) You used the name GeneralAres for an image folder on the Poptech blog site. This is the other name you use for posting pages from OptimizeXP/Poptech on forums like TomsHardware, PCMech and AnandTech, and is also an email address you use when posting as Mastertech.

After all of these facts were poited out to you, you tried to cover up the truth by deleting pages or renaming folders, but unfortunately Google retains a record of your guilt.

Give it up Andrew. Wouldn't it just be easier to admit what you have said?

MrFlibble said...

Regarding Open Source, a quick perusal of the PopTech forum reveals that a) Andrew has a deep philosophical objection to OS, rejoices in posting any article that might criticise it and prophesies its imminent doom yet b) is quite happy to use any good free programs OS might produce.

Some applicable words for this attitude? Freeloading hypocrite? Two-faced cheapskate? Answers on a post card please!

Andrew said...

Oh you got me, the conspiracy is out! I am really all these people:

All 558,000,000 of them.

It couldn't just be two people named Andrew agree on certain issues? No it must be a conspiracy! You fanboys need serious help.

So what does this have to do with the facts on Firefox Myths? Oh absolutely nothing!

MrFlibble said...

You obviously want to pretend that the anti-Firefox, anti-open source rants at Popular Technology are not you and that Firefox Myths is an objective look at the browser, and not a biased piece of propaganda written by someone with a bizarre anti-Firefox Phobia.

Let me give you a clue here, putting a link to Popular Technology at the top of the page when you post there under the same name did not make it difficult to spot it was you!

Everybody knows now that it's your blog/forum, and that you post links to PopTech and OptimizeXP/Firefox Myths and other pages from the Comcast site all over the web under the names Mastertech and General Ares. Face it, you've been busted, and ridiculous denials just make you look even more silly.

MrFlibble said...

As fridgetime says in the Popular Technology forum:

"I would pay good money to get a psychologist in to post in this forum just to see his reaction to Drew's FF-Phobia."

MrFlibble said...

Oops! Sorry, wrong link:

Andrew said...

Firefox Myths is a webpage debunking Myths relating to the Firefox Web Browser. It has nothing to do with Reviewing Firefox. Your obsession with the Popular Technology page and myself is really not good for your health. The reality is I do not have an OptimizeGuides forums or a Blog no matter how bad you wish I did. Seek Medical Help now. Keep up the personal attacks and bizarre conspiracy claims, they only help my argument about how crazy you fanboys are. I guess I could ask the Poptech Andrew to change his name but I don't think he would want to anymore then I will.

Hey look the FirefoxMyths web site is still up getting thousands of hits a day! That is thousands of new people learning the truth about Firefox everyday. The truth is out there is no going back now. Looks like all your hard work on the smear campaign against me failed. More not less people keep looking at the site.

MrFlibble said...

I certainly must be crazy arguing with a hopeless liar like you!