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SCI/TECH: Internet Prodigy to Topple Microsoft?

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posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 02:44 PM
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After all of the recent controversy over the 'Med Network' browser exploit & the glaring security holes that keep appearing in Microsoft's Internet Explorer, more and more people appear to be 'waking up' and looking for safer alternatives to Microsoft's flagship software. The popular open-source browser Firefox is poised to give Microsoft a serious challenge in dominating the web-browsing market, thanks to its 19 year old designer.
 



www.timesonline.co.uk
A MIAMI teenager is basking in the glory of helping to create a new internet browser at 17 that is now challenging the grip of Microsoft, which once held a virtual monopoly on web surfing.

Computer analysts say that Blake Rosss browser, Firefox, is a faster, more versatile program that also offers better protection from viruses and unwanted advertising.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Along with the huge boom in Internet use, comes a huge boom in Internet abuse. This became apparent in 2004 with many new security holes appearing, and being exploited to the fullest in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. As Internet use becomes much more mainstream, so will the potential for taking advantage of ill-informed Web users.

I feel that at the very top of every Internet user's list must be a safe, secure Web browser. Microsoft's 'Internet Explorer' is not one of these. The biggest issue here is that a majority of Internet users aren't aware they have a choice, it's Microsoft and Microsoft alone.

There are many alternatives out there, eg. Firefox, Opera, Netscape and Safari. I personally use Firefox and have no complaints at all. A safe browser coupled with a good Firewall (free download at www.zonelabs.com) is an ideal combination.

Going into 2005, I feel Internet security will become a much bigger issue and anyone can be much more secure (but never totally secure without seeking a little information on the subject) by taking a few small steps and denying ignorance.

Related News Links:
www.pcworld.com
www.technewsworld.com
www.atsnn.com
www.mozilla.org

[edit on 4-1-2005 by Banshee]




posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 02:58 PM
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Wow...I had no clue the creator of Firefox was so young...

I certainly have no complaints...I switched from IE to Firefox about 4 months ago - NO pop-ups...ever...and spyware is kept at bay...

With IE I had to have a slew of programs running in the background...and it still didn't offer all the other features Firefox has, like tabbed browsing and the other easy-to-control features...not to mention, pop-ups and spyware would still leak through...

Microsoft will have something to say about this though...I hope they don't blow yet another ship out of the water....

I don't think Firefox could ever "destroy" Microsoft...they simply have their roots far deeper in the soil...

[edit on 1/4/2005 by EnronOutrunHomerun]



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 03:08 PM
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I like FireFox too. I do end up switching back and forth depending on what sites I visit. FireFox is nice that there are no Popups etc... but that is because it has no scripting capability. Kinda like saying this new car has never had a fatal accident (never mind the car can't go over 15 MPH). FireFox has some long needed feature enhancements, but won't over take MS anytime soon. Competition is healthy.



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 03:11 PM
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Well, this story is a bit magnanomous. Firefox is NOT a completely new browser, and this guy does NOT deserve all the credit he is getting here.

A little history lesson, perhaps?

Mozilla was created in March 1998, when Netscape (of Netscape Navigator fame) decided that enough was enough, and they released the sourcecode for Navigator to the public. The Mozilla Foundation was born, which took this project on.

In December 1998, Netscape released a preview version of the Gecko rendering engine, which had been under development at Netscape under the name of NGLayout for sometime. Gecko was to go on to be the main rendering engine behind Mozilla.

The Mozilla browser underwent major development work by hundreds of people, culminating in a 1.0 version release in June 2002, that was widely regarded as feature complete and stable.

Firefox was created in September 2002 under the name of Phoenix, as a full branch off of the Mozilla source tree, basically taking Mozilla as it stood, and rebranding it, cutting out the bits the Firefox team didnt want, or thought wasnt necessary. It retained Gecko as the rendering engine, XUL as the user interface, and a LOT more of the mozilla codebase.

The Firefox team have done some amazing stuff, but they didnt write Firefox from scratch, they took a complete and full existing browser and customised it. In the end they created a very nice browser, with some fantastic features, but they dont deserve all the praise, a LOT of work went into Mozilla before Firefox was branched off of it.

Give the guys at Mozilla and Netscape the praise they deserve.



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 03:14 PM
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The reason there is so many holes found in Mircosoft is because so many people use it which makes hackers look for holes in it. Its not that Firefox has less holes or is more secure in it but just that people dont waste their time looking.

If as many people used Firefox as did Microsoft IE you would see all the holes popping up.



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 03:14 PM
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whats with people and theire hatred toward windows. A soccer mom opens an email and feels her computer up with virus giving it a bad wrap. I have used Linux and Macintosh on a regular basis and still have to say windows is better. The only situation i would use something other than windows is if i were running a server.



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 03:18 PM
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Thats the impression that I've sometimes gotten shadow. But then again, macs are widely used and are said to be much more stable and more resilient than windows based pcs.

But I have to wonder, I mean, bill gates isn't an idiot, and the teams of people he has working on the newer versions can't be idiots right? If something like firefox is so great, why couldn't Microsoft make something just like it? So I tend to think that it must be that microsoft is a victim of its own success, attracting lots of hacks and whatnot.



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 03:20 PM
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And further to my last post, Firefox was created by BOTH Dave Hyatt and Blake Ross, not jsut the latter. Sheesh, how inaccurate do you want to be?



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 03:26 PM
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Originally posted by RichardPrice
Well, this story is a bit magnanomous. Firefox is NOT a completely new browser, and this guy does NOT deserve all the credit he is getting here... Give the guys at Mozilla and Netscape the praise they deserve.


I Don't mean to appear pedantic but did you read the whole story? The Times, imho along with the Guardian, is one one of the most reliable news sources in the UK


Originally from The Times
Mr Ross is quick to point out that he was one of a large team at Mozilla who worked on the project for five years. Its a big volunteer effort, he said. In fact, the pair left before the work was completed, but Mozilla credits them with making the breakthrough. After he left to go to university, Mr Ross continued to be a significant contributor, according to Mozilla.


Thanks for your added info however, ATSNN is all about contribution.

Tandino



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 03:29 PM
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Think about this one nearly the whole world uses windows (IE explore), most people when asked about fire fox will say "What the hell is fire fox?" Windows is most certainly a target. Linux and Mac are both as vulnerable as windows, there just not that big of a target because no one really uses it.



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 03:30 PM
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Some people tend to forget Firefox is a worthy competitor because it is a 3rd party application. It doesn't follow Microsoft protocals which has basked it in success. Exploits or not its on how you are dealing with them that counts. Mozilla being open source can easily and swiftly deals with exploits while Microsoft being the giant it is, has a bit harder of a time since the bulk of its support is designed to deal with the server malfunctions and desktop operating systems.



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 03:31 PM
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Originally posted by Notme
I like FireFox too. I do end up switching back and forth depending on what sites I visit. FireFox is nice that there are no Popups etc... but that is because it has no scripting capability. Kinda like saying this new car has never had a fatal accident (never mind the car can't go over 15 MPH). FireFox has some long needed feature enhancements, but won't over take MS anytime soon. Competition is healthy.



What? Firefox has Javascript and Java, both are scripting or applet capabilities. What it does NOT have is ActiveX, which is a Windows DOM enhancement which puts executable code in the same realm as anything else run on your system. ActiveX is the source of 99% of all browser hijacks, spyware infestations (if they got in through the browser), web based virus infestations. Its completely unsafe, and that is why the Mozilla team has not implemented it. ActiveX gives the owner of the website the same control over your PC that you have. Avoid it at all cost.

The reason there are no popups is because Mozilla and Firefox give you the ability to block OnLoad(), OnClose() and On() _javascript elements from running, which is what is used to activate nearly all popups.

Perhaps what you are experiencing is the falsehood that is Microsoft standards. Javascript is a standard, also called ECMAscript. Javascript as a standard and what Microsoft implement in IE are far from the same thing. They may look the same, they may taste the same, but there are quite a few differences, altho Mozilla and Firefox include a compatability library that handles MS versions of function calls, so pretty much all webpages are compatable, with very few that do extreme things being unsupported.



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 03:40 PM
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Its good to have alternatives to microsoft, i myself have just switched to firefox, there are several areas that it excels in over explorer, the tab feature being my favourite.
Sadly i doubt it could topple microsoft, microsoft is too imbedded in the computer systems of the world to be removed.



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 03:41 PM
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Originally posted by ShadowXIX
The reason there is so many holes found in Mircosoft is because so many people use it which makes hackers look for holes in it. Its not that Firefox has less holes or is more secure in it but just that people dont waste their time looking.

If as many people used Firefox as did Microsoft IE you would see all the holes popping up.


I hate to appear to be a fanboy of Firefox, but this way of thinking is patently false. IE is insecure because it was rushed, it was never designed around a good security model, the code is handled by a team of well over 600 developers, and Microsoft, until recently, held features over security. IE6 with WindowsXP service pack 2 does much to alleviate some of these security concerns

Mozilla and Firefox are secure because anyone can look at the code and thus spot and report bugs, perhaps even fixing them themselves, it has a good security model from the outset, it was designed well and securely, and Mozilla/Firefox holds security and usability over features. More than anything else, its secure because the writers care more.

If your 'IE is in wider usage, therefor it is being attacked more often' way of thinking was true, why does the OpenSource Apache webserver have so few security issues when it runs nearly 90% of websites? Opensource tends to be more secure because the people writing it cater to an audience that cares more about security.



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 03:43 PM
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Once I found FireFox, I never turned back. It is more secure and faster than I.E.

I have found only one site that I have had issues with-Microsoft Updates-

I have FireFox as my default browser, I have uninstalled IE from add/remove programs and when I go to "Windows Update on start menue, IE pops up and goes there.

If I work my way there manyually, I get the message that my browser is not supported.



OK, Stupid question time. There is no advertising on IE or FireFox. Except for bragging rights-does it really matter-both browser are free. Unless MS fears losing customers to linux and such-how is it that it affects MS in a dollars and cents mannor?



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 03:52 PM
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Originally posted by tandino

I Don't mean to appear pedantic but did you read the whole story? The Times, imho along with the Guardian, is one one of the most reliable news sources in the UK


Yes I did, as you pointed out it mentions that he was involved in the Mozilla foundation, but it glosses massively over the fact that Firefox had a HUGE headstart by being branched from an existing stable browser. Basically, right at the bottom of the article it mentions 'Mozilla, the foundation behind firefox' but its done in such a throwaway way that emphasises the rest of the article being all about this magical 19 year old who created a fantastic browser against all odds. In the scheme of things, this guy did very little compared to the people who gave him the browser to branch off from.

The Times and the Guardian may be reliable, and I do agree with you, but in the scheme of things, they like sensationalism, and they arent tech writers. The article is full of tech speak that you wouldnt hear a proper programmer say (for example, it talks about 'codes', ie 'the mozilla codes were made public'. The article means the application source code - its all so badly written from a tech point of view). Lets face it, sensationalist news sells.


For more information on Mozilla and Firefox, have a look here:
Mozilla
Firefox

Quite a history on both projects.



Thanks for your added info however, ATSNN is all about contribution.

Tandino


Thanks, I just hate to see a topic so close to my heart be butchered quite liberally by the general media



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 04:02 PM
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but its done in such a throwaway way that emphasises the rest of the article being all about this magical 19 year old who created a fantastic browser against all odds.


Hehe, that's very true. I failed to see the relevance of his piano playing, website designing, city managing wonderboy aspects...

Also thanks for the wikipedia links, didn't think to include them. On the plus side, I feel the Time's article has been written to educate the none techies among us. Anything that helps raise awareness can't be a bad thing, even if the reader doesn't start using firefox, they will know a little more about Internet security. Or at least realise such a thing exists.

Peace,

Tandino



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 05:18 PM
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well, i switched to firefox, and i think its better than IE also. but lets have a small treality check...

Ms is not even close to being toppled. not even by a longshot. this browser as i mentioned is great, but they dont have an operating system that can compete with microshaft. that would be a necascary component to beat them. (their email is pretty cool also)

secondly, its great that there is an alternative out, but lets look at one of the major reasons windows is hacked and proded so much... b/c its the most common os in the world. hackers/shady ie exploiters have a lot more to work with. if as many people used firefox as they do ie over the past lets say 7 years, even if firefox is more stable it would still have a ton of hack/exploits becasue people would dedicate more time to hacking it.



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 05:27 PM
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Originally posted by mrmonsoon

OK, Stupid question time. There is no advertising on IE or FireFox. Except for bragging rights-does it really matter-both browser are free. Unless MS fears losing customers to linux and such-how is it that it affects MS in a dollars and cents mannor?


Standards. Microsoft Internet Explorer does not support ANY HTML or CSS standard fully or in a way compatable with the w3c guidelines. There are multiple things broken in it, and they will just get worse as time goes on.

Take for example alpha transparency in PNG image files. IE doesnt support them above a certain bit size, which means you are stuck with GIF images and index transparency, which is rubbish. Its been like this ever since IE4 was released, and MS havent changed it at all.

CSS isnt supported in full, making it even harder to design good sites that are cross browser capable.

Basically, the whole idea of standards is that it enables web designers to forget about WHAT browser is displaying the page, and instead allows them to concentrate on designing the webpage. Today I have to make sure my page works in IE4, IE5, IE5.5, IE6, IE6sp2, Mozilla/Firefox and Opera. It should be that I could check it in one browser and expect it to look similiar if not exactly the same in all others.

Another reason why it matters is that the next big market is web appliances. Web based applications. With ActiveX, Microsoft has given you the power to write applications which works exactly the same as a local application, EG it runs the same way, the same code, except its all stored on a remote webserver. This is the main reason why IE is insecure, ActiveX.

Basically, Firefox forces MS to do something about it, it creates competition which betters all products. If MS was left to dominate, innovative features would be few and far between. MS disbanded the Internet Explorer development team in 2003, with an eye to not continuing development of the platform until Longhorn (the next windows versions codename) appears in late 2005, early 2006. The growing market share of Firefox and Mozilla forced MS to bring these people back to fix security issues, and create new features for service pack 2.



posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 05:38 PM
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Topple Microsoft? Yeah right...

Geez, why? The only reason the Internet and Personal Computing in general is even possible on the scale we have become accustomed to is because it's STANDARDIZED and Microsoft has almost singlehandedly done this.

Microsoft is just the United States of the Computer World. They have done it better and been more successful than anyone so everyone else hates them. Guess computer users are just as petty and jealousy-prone as govenments are.



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