Web Browser Smackdown!

January 7th, 2008

The Internet

With the rising popularity of “sucks” and “is gay” being used excessively on the Internet to describe a person’s basis against something, I’ve decided to dust off the decade old browser war and give you the opinion of all sides of the battlefield from a seasoned web addict.

Let’s examine the facts:

  • I’ve used the Internet for over 10 years now, between 4-15 hours a day.
  • I frequently use Windows XP, Vista, Mac OS X, Ubuntu and CentOS.
  • I go beyond the average user’s utilization because I develop websites for a living.
  • I don’t hate any single program, OS, OEM, or otherwise. I do however dislike DOS.

Apple Safari:

I’ve been using Safari since it was released on Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) back in 2003. It was fresh, sexy, and a welcome choice over versions of Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer. Every release of Safari brings a lot of new features in the same sleek, simple design that Mac users have come to love. Safari for Windows is another story. Isn’t it funny how most Apple applications run better on Apple’s OS? Safari, iTunes, Quicktime, etc. Go figure, eh? If you use Microsoft Windows and run Safari, you have no room to bitch about bad Safari sucks.

For the longest time as I developed new websites and web applications, I never checked them against Safari because you can usually bet that how it looks in Firefox is how it’ll look in Safari (and others). Since Safari for Windows is so poor and unstable at times on both XP and Vista, I limit myself to using Safari only when I’m in Mac OS X. And it’s worth it.

Mozilla Firefox:

I don’t exactly remember when I first heard about Firefox. I want to say it was around the time Internet Explorer was driving me nuts and Netscape Navigator was getting old. Ah yes, that’s it. It’s all coming back to me now… I first got my hands on Mozilla Firefox when it was in v1.3 in early 2003. Netscape had let me down and I left it on the roadside to Internet Explorer. I was dabbling in desktop Linux at the time but nothing serious since I mainly did remote console (SSH) security work which didn’t allow me to run X11 and vnc-server.

I must admit, Firefox became my main browser until my hacking abilities grew and various leaks became available to run Mac OS X on non-Apple computers. Now, I rarely see Windows unless I boot it up using VMWare Fusion or Parallels Desktop. I also like how Firefox has been ported to run on almost anything. I always recommend Mozilla Firefox to anyone and I can do that because it runs on anything, even your phone.

Microsoft Internet Explorer:

Well, well, well. We meet again. I saw my first web page using Internet Explorer v3.0 on Windows 95 back in late 1996. I loved it only because I loved the Internet. When Windows 98 bundled with Internet Explorer v4.0, I moved as fast as I could away from my nightmares of Windows 95 and everything in it. Even back then I longed for tabbed browsing so I could free up some taskbar space. I tried all the Internet Explorer hacks and spin-offs I could until I got my hands on a copy of Netscape Navigator. I returned to Internet Explorer in v5.0, welcomed v6.0, shunned v7.0 (Damn right!), and to be honest, I’m only interested in the next release from Microsoft just to see how difficult further cross-browser compatibility is going to be developing sites among SF/FX/IE/OP. Internet Explorer, you’ve served me well but people grow up and the issues with Internet Explorer seem to stay childish at times.


I’m going to be very open with you guys: I don’t know jack shit about Opera on the desktop except that when I read it on screen, it makes me want to say “Oprah.” Opera only exists in my life to check websites on and nothing more. However, Opera Mini and Opera Mobile are some of the best mobile phone browsers out there and continue to be on the top of my list. When I get a new phone, I get Opera. It’s just like sleep, you always need it. I always need Opera on the portable devices and I don’t see Minimo changing that.

Konqueror/<Insert Name Here>:

Sorry, guys. It’s too late.

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About Richard

Richard is a professional web developer and business consultant. He opened his first web hosting company at the age of 13 out of his bedroom on an ISDN connection and hasn't looked back since. Richard currently resides in sunny Florida.

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