Previews of IE 7 available via the Vista (formerly Longhorn) beta show that what we can expect is primarily Firefox Lite. The newest version of IE takes some of Firefox’s better features, but for now doesn’t improve on them, or even always match them.
First and foremost, IE has finally entered the modern world with tabbed browsing. That’s the good news. The bad news is that for now, the tabs have only basic functionality, and don’t have all the bells and whistles of the various extensions that let you customize Firefox tabs. Let’s hope later beta versions fix that.
Something else will look familiar to Firefox fans, a search bar on the upper right that lets you search through various search engines by choosing from a drop-down list. But there doesn’t appear to be any way to add new search engines, or write add-ins of your own, like Firefox lets you do.
IE 7 will feature built-in RSS capabilities. Again, Firefox already does this, via the Sage extension. And IE 7 also has anti-spoofing and anti-phishing features. Firefox has this to a limited degree, and here’s one area where IE 7 might be better.
All in all, the beta doesn’t offer any reason for switching from Firefox, although perhaps the final version will. But it’s great for existing IE users, because it’s a great step forward for the browser. It’s just not Firefox — yet.
What do you think of IE 7 beta?
Internet Explorer 7 will finally bring IE into the modern world, with tabbed browsing, and extra security. But what will it mean for Firefox?
One might expect it to be bad news for the open source browser. After all, a significant number of people have switched to Firefox for its tabs and security. So won’t the IE update be bad news?
A prominent Firefox evangelist, Asa Dotzler, thinks not. He told ZDNet UK that IE 7 will be a boost to Firefox popularity. Why? IE 7 won’t work on Windows 2000 machines, but the publicity around IE 7 will mean businesses will want to get tabbed browsing and extra security. Because 50% of businesses still use Windows 2000, Dotzler says, they’ll turn to Firefox.
He may be right. But that assumes that Firefox gets its act together better by then. Updating Firefox has always been an iffy proposition, fraught with a variety of minor “gotchas.” The most recent update was even more problematic — it broke some extensions, and contained at least one security hole as well.
So here’s hoping that Firefox does a better job of updates. If it doesn’t, it will end up just one more interesting but largely forgotten browser, rolled over by the IE juggernaut.
How do you think IE 7 will affect Firefox?
You don’t have to be a fan of conspiracy theories to think there’s something fishy about Microsoft deciding that Claria’s much-maligned adware is no longer a PC pest, even though other anti-spyware makers considers it so.
Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware no longer quarantines Claria adware when it finds it on a PC. It instead recommends that it be ignored — in other words, that it be left on the computer instead of being deleted. Windows AntiSpyware was originally anti-spyware from Giant Company Software, and that software recommended that Claria be quarantined. But then Microsoft took over, and after Claria requested that its software no longer be considered a pest, Microsoft complied.
So what’s fishy? Plenty Microsoft is said to be negotiating to buy Claria for half-a-billion dollars, putting Microsoft in line to be the biggest purveyor of adware on the planet. So you might be excused for thinking that there might be some kind of quid quo pro between Microsoft and Claria. And you might also be excused for thinking that Microsoft is paving the way for its own adware not to be considered a pest, if it ends up buying the company.
Microsoft, through a public letter, has denied any kind of funny business, claiming “Absolutely no exceptions were made for Claria.”
I don’t buy it, though. It’s too coincidental a set of circumstances. Microsoft should put Claria software back on the quarantine list, the way the software is in other anti-spyware programs. To do anything less makes it appear there’s a very clear conflict of interest.
What do you think about Micrsosoft’s decision to stop quarantining Claria software?
Related link: http://www.openoffice.org/
As in previous years, the OpenOffice.org international conference will bring together developers and distributors, users, businesses, and governments from all parts of the globe.
The conference is being organised by the Slovenian and Italian OOo project teams. The first part of the program will cover topics such as development and OpenOffice.org in education, for those interested in the community and the project itself, whereas the last part of the conference will be focused on the end-users and the use of OpenOffice.org in public administration and enterprises.
To learn more about the conference, or to register, go to
Note: A call for papers closes on 10 July 2005. Details are available on the website.
Microsoft portrays itself as being in the forefront of fighting spyware, going so far as to buy an anti-spyware software company, tweak the software, and then make it available for free.
So why is it negotiating to buy the much-critized adware company Claria?
According to a report last week in the New York Times, Microsoft has been negotiating to buy Claria for up to $500 million. Claria, for those not familiar with the company, was formerly known as Gator until it changed its name because of the bad publicity the company received because of its controversial ad-delivering practices. Claria has been targeted by privacy groups and has been sued by a number of companies, including the New York Times.
Why is Microsoft considering making a deal with Claria? In a word, money. The Times said that Microsoft sees Claria as a quick way to compete with Google for ad revenue.
Apparently, though, there is a faction within Microsoft trying to kill the deal. Let’s hope they win. It’s hard to believe that Microsoft would want to become one of the biggest purveyors of adware on the planet, while at the same time claiming it’s trying to fight spyware. If the company make the deal, it’ll be the most short-sighted decision the company ever made — and one of the worst ones.
What do you think about Microsoft negotiating to buy Claria?