Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Weaknesses of Chrome & Firefox

The weaknesses--and some of the strengths--of Firefox, as I see it, are in the add-ons. Java and Flash are the two major annoyances. It seems at least once a month some vulnerability comes about and an update to one of the two kludges is "highly recommended," killing 10 - 15 minutes of the end user's time, per computer. For me, that amounted to about twenty minutes killed this morning updating Java on two machines. I can't count the number of times Flash has updated, but I really don't like it because I don't know anything about Adobe or what it wants to do with my computer. Do I trust Adobe? Not really. I don't know anything about the company, but its product resides on my computer, apparently necessary because so many people watch videos on the Internet these days. We are moving to an illiterate society. Sun Oracle Java, for its part, wants to install the Ask! toolbar into my browser, and if I don't remember to un-check the box during installation, it will install that worthless piece of crap into my browser, which will necessitate another lengthy uninstall process. I hate Ask with a passion.

I can certainly understand why some users have abandoned Firefox in favor of Chrome, which has flash and java built-in rather nicely and which updates those two things in a comparatively transparent and fast manner. The main thing I don't like about Chrome is that it makes too many assumptions regarding the interface, which is far too minimal for my taste. I like a few buttons and an accessible menu at the top of the screen. Computers just are not smart enough yet to make quite so many assumptions or to start with a blank screen. Chrome wants to hide everything away, and I don't like that.

I know that idealistic young computer programmers wish things were different, but the reality is computers are as stupid as the day is long. This was true twenty years ago and it remains true today, and no amount of fancy marketing or design by Google or Microsoft will change the reality. The only thing that is going to change the scene is exponential advances in hardware. Then we can talk minimalism. Okay? Until that day, give me my damn buttons and menu options.

I also don't like Chrome's lack of add-ons such as Ad Blocker, which cleans the web of so much advertising clutter. The reason I stay with Firefox has to do with its design, which I feel is just about right, and its many add-ons, and its open-source nature. I just don't trust Google or Microsoft, because they are obviously looking for some kind of advantage to accrue from their browser, and that advantage might not be to my advantage, whereas Firefox, in theory at least, intends to create the best browser, without any dependency upon a particular vendor. Perhaps Firefox does take money from certain sources such as Google, but they are not bound to Google and could change tomorrow, whereas Chrome is inextricably bound to Google. Not that I have anything against Google, of course. But Google is, after all, a company in business to make a profit. I would use Chrome if the option were between Chrome and IE, but not while Firefox is still viable, and Firefox is still viable even with the annoyances I have described above.

No comments:

techlorebyigor is my personal journal for ideas & opinions