The Instigator
maxh
Pro (for)
Winning
37 Points
The Contender
beem0r
Con (against)
Losing
31 Points

Firefox is better than IE

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/2/2008 Category: Technology
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,766 times Debate No: 1266
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (20)
Votes (20)

 

maxh

Pro

Firefox is more standards-compliant than Internet Explorer. This means that properly-designed sites will look better in Firefox. For example, Internet Explorer continues not to support the XHTML 1.1 standard, which is several years old. Firefox also provides more methods of customization. Firefox is also more secure.
beem0r

Con

While I myself use Firefox more often than IE7, my reasons for doing so are rooted in bias towards the previous IE's. From the days when using IE6 meant you were just asking for a virus and/or spyware.

I will now address each of your assertions.

>>Firefox is more standards-compliant than IE7<<
True words, though they are both quite compliant, at least when compared to IE6.
Insofar as IE is still not compliant with standards, almost all web developers code write IE-specific code to ensure the same look on all browsers. The standards-noncompliance therefore does not matter to the end-user.
Also, FF is not completely compliant with the standards either. Both require nonstandard code to display many pages correctly.
Also, coders who aren't going to make their pages work in both browsers often will simply optimize for IE. This is because the market share of IE is much higher than that of FF. Thus, I would say that IE7's lack of standards-compliance hurts Firefox _at least_ as often as it hurts IE.

>>Internet Explorer continues to not support the XHTML 1.1 standard<<
http://blogs.msdn.com...
that is the IE blog, in that entry is an explanation of why they are not complying to 1.1 standards in IE7. In case you don't read it, it says that they would have had compatibility issues with strict standards-compliance, due to the way the IE engine is run.
However, almost all standardly-coded pages WILL display correctly, based on IE's focus on compatibility this time around.

>>Firefox allows more methods of customization<<
Elaborate, if you would. Extensions and themes, do you speak of? I'm not sure whether IE has themes or not, but it definitely has its own add-ons.

>>Firefox is also more secure.<<
I doubt that. While IE6 was less secure than Firefox hands-down, the majority of internet articles tend to not be capable of stating that one is better than the other when it comes to security.

Now, I come to my offense. As it is, I've pretty much left it a tie between the two. Firefox has themes (I'm pretty sure IE doesn't), more coders make sure their stuff works in IE. But wait... there's more.

ActiveX controls. These can be used to give pages abilities that other web browsers can't really live up to. The cold hard facts are that some sites use them, and only IE can utilize them.

Also, IE7 by default has a much more minimalist interface - less space is taken by menus, allowing for more page to be viewed at once.

Also, IE7 has an actual 'page zoom' feature. Hold ctrl and slide your mouse wheel in either of the two browsers: you'll notice that in FF, it merely changes the text size. Images and textboxes remain the same size, so the page often ends up looking far different than it was supposed to. IE has a much more compatible zooming feature - it actually zooms the view of the entire page. This means that people who need text enlarged also get to see the same amount of text in their textboxes, get to read the text on images that previously was also too small for them, etc. Firefox does not accommodate these needs.
Debate Round No. 1
maxh

Pro

>> that entry is an explanation of why they are not complying to 1.1 standards >> in IE7

It's not hard to implement XHTML 1.1 support. I, on my own, could probably do it on my own in a month, if given an XML parsing engine. Since XHTML is an application of XML, implementing it with an XML parser consists of including the DTD and an applicable CSS document with the browser. This could even be done in IE6 should they choose to do so. But instead, the only way to use an XHTML 1.1 document in IE is to use a non-standard change-- XHTML 1.1 should use the MIME type application/xhtml+xml and specifically should not use text/html. My site is not usable in IE for this reason.

Also, although the importance of passing the ACID 2 test is disputed, it should be noted that Firefox 3 (which is already available as a public beta) passes the test. The next version of Internet Explorer will also pass, but there is not even a nightly version available.

>> Extensions and themes, do you speak of? I'm not sure whether IE has themes >> or not, but it definitely has its own add-ons.

True. IE does now have add-ons, but not nearly as many as Firefox. Does IE have a free adblocking add-on? There are numerous extensions for Firefox that do even seemingly minor things-- one of my favorite minor extensions is ColorfulTabs. It helps, because each site has a tab colour, which helps with grouping. Firefox also has about:config, which allows for changing of many settings. Firefox is also open-source, and as such is infinitely customizable.

>> the majority of internet articles tend to not be capable of stating that one >> is better than the other when it comes to security.

All of my security numbers are from Secunia, an independent security site. Internet Explorer 7.x has had 21 advisories, 7 of which remain unpatched. The most critical unpatched advisory is rated "Extremely Critical" (4/5). Firefox 2.0.x has had 19 advisories, 5 of which are unpatched. Firefox's most critical unpatched advisory is rated "Less Critical" (2/5). So Firefox remains more secure.

>> ActiveX controls. These can be used to give pages abilities that other web >> browsers can't really live up to. The cold hard facts are that some sites
>> use them, and only IE can utilize them.

ActiveX controls are part of the reason IE is so insecure. It is a very insecure platform. The features people find useful can be implemented in Java or Flash. But such features should not be central to a website's usability. And since we're debated Firefox vs. IE, not any other browser vs. IE, I'll bring up that there is an implementation of ActiveX for Firefox [http://www.iol.ie...]. There is also the option of using IE tab. These are not optimal solutions, but they do work on Windows. On non-Windows platforms, IE can only be used through emulation. The fact that Firefox works natively on so many platforms is just another one of its advantages.

>> IE7 by default has a much more minimalist interface- less space is taken by >> menus, allowing for more page to be viewed at once.

At the expense of easily being able to access those menus.

>> Also, IE7 has an actual 'page zoom' feature.

If the FF page zoom feature is so bad, report it on Bugzilla. Or you could even fix it yourself-- again, Firefox is open source, so people can do such things.

>> the page often ends up looking far different than it was supposed to.

But web sites should not have an expectation of looking identical for everyone. If something needs to look identical for everyone, then it should be in a PDF.

>> get to read the text on images that previously was also too small for them

Unless the images is at too low a resolution and is made blurry. Users who need such features have alt text available to them.

>> Firefox does not accommodate these needs.

Again, that's the advantage of open source. You can report it on Bugzilla or fix it yourself.

It's understandable if you don't want to program things yourself. It's unreasonable to assume everyone is able to do so. But you certainly could report your complaints to the people who do program the browser. The site you're looking for is [https://bugzilla.mozilla.org...].
beem0r

Con

>>It's not hard to implement XHTML 1.1 support. I, on my own, could probably do it on my own in a month, if given an XML parsing engine... XHTML 1.1 should use the MIME type application/xhtml+xml and specifically should not use text/html. My site is not usable in IE for this reason.<<
Given the way IE7 is coded, as the blog post I linked says, it would take a lot to make it strictly XHTML compatible. They give a fairly easy workaround for it:
Conditionally pass it as text/html if application/xhtml+xml is unavailable. Supposedly it's somewhat easy to make this condition, and it's what any major sites that are coded in standards are doing. I'm arguing that _from the vantage point of a user_, Firefox is not better than IE.
Since one of the only things we can know about everyone on debate.org is that they use web browsers, I would think the user's perspective is the default, given the context under which you brought it up.
So basically: if your site doesn't work in IE, work around it like everyone else does. While standards might sound nice, it's not viable as a developer to only use standards yet - you must use workarounds to ensure compliance with a variety of browsers, especially IE, since it has the most users.

>>IE does now have add-ons, but not nearly as many as Firefox. Does IE have a free adblocking add-on? There are numerous extensions for Firefox that do even seemingly minor things-- one of my favorite minor extensions is ColorfulTabs...<<
As far as I know, IE does have free adblocking. It comes with IE. I don't know if it's an add-on.
Also, do you realize that extensions are quite capable of compromising your system's security? Unless you go through the code of each extension you use, it is a potential security threat. This is not something users want to do. Even knowledgeable users like yourself. It's probably the same for IE's add-ons.
Also, since you brought up tabs, I'll say that firefox does not have Quick Tabs. In IE, just hit Crtl-Q or the Quick Tabs button and you see thumbnail versions of the pages you have up. This allows people to see their pages before they switch tabs, so they don't have to hunt for the right one. Some people use a lot of tabs.

>>Firefox is also open-source, and as such is infinitely customizable.<<
As soon as you customize the source, it ceases to be Firefox. You can make a Firefox-based browser with any features, but it won't be Firefox.

>>Firefox is more secure.<<
True, Firefox had 2 less advisories and 2 less outstanding advisories. This is likely because those who attempt to compromise your computer's security assume that you're using IE. The efforts to compromise Firefox's security are far less than those for IE. I would correlate the extra advisories to the increased vigor with which IE is assaulted, not its actual security. The most popular browser would likely be shown as least secure by such data regardless of which browser it was. Assuming that they are all roughly just as secure as each other, that is.

>>ActiveX=insecure<<
Not so much anymore. The user is now notified and must allow a web page to access ActiveX it didn't install. Also, users must allow ActiveX controls to be installed, so saying that it's insecure is like saying downloading programs is insecure because Trojans exist. Only download ActiveX from trusted sites.

>>ActiveX features could be done in Java or Flash<<
No, since neither of these have access to your computer's data. at least as far as I knew. Sites that make validated benchmarks often must use ActiveX, Windows validation has to be done through ActiveX, basically anything that needs to know about your computer more than a server already knows.

>>ActiveX for Firefox exists, link<<
Nice, a test version for Firefox 1.5. Not only that, but it's over 2 years since the site's been updated. While that looks tempting, I'm going to have to stick with a known, trusted source for using ActiveX - IE7. That thing probably does an even worse job at being secure than IE6's implementation of ActiveX.

>>IE7's minimalism is at the expense of easily being able to access those menus.<<
Anything useful is 2 clicks away, just like Firefox. The 'page' and 'tools' menus contain anything users actually use. Anything I use at least, and I can't tell what's harder to access in IE. Maybe if you gave me something specific that's harder to access?

>>If the FF page zoom feature is so bad, report it on Bugzilla. Or you could even fix it yourself-- again, Firefox is open source, so people can do such things.<<
We're not arguing about which is better: IE or what FF could be. It's what FF is.
Also, the zooming done on FF isn't supposed to be real zooming. It's supposed to be a font size changer. However, this changes the fundamental look of the page, and often messes up the layout as well. Zooming the whole page rather than just changing font sizes looks much better, and is much more helpful for those with bad eyesight, since it also enlarges text in images.
Bottom line: It's an advantage of IE over FF. Yes, it could be changed in Firefox. If FF gets changed enough, maybe it'll be as good as IE. Until then...

>>But web sites should not have an expectation of looking identical for everyone. If something needs to look identical for everyone, then it should be in a PDF.<<
Coming from Mr. Standards? As a web developer, you surely want the site to look a certain way, correct? Whether you do or not, most developers have a specific look in mind when they make a layout. The fact that FF's zooming completely compromises this look is a very real problem.

>>Unless the images is at too low a resolution and is made blurry. Users who need such features have alt text available to them.<<
Yeah, I could just see my grandmother doing that.
"What? Why didn't _this_ text get bigger, but the rest did? Maybe I just have to mouse over it right quick to check the alt-text!"
Not all users are computer-savvy, not all sites use alt text that says what the image says, etc.

>>The fact that Firefox works natively on so many platforms is just another one of its advantages.<<
It doesn't work in a command prompt OS like DOS. However, those who use DOS are a fringe group whose needs are more suited to other browsers anyway. That was an analogy, please see it.

>>Again, that's the advantage of open source. You can report it on Bugzilla or fix it yourself.<<
Well, once they do fix it, we can have this debate again. Maybe by then Firefox will actually be better for the average user.

>>It's understandable if you don't want to program things yourself. It's unreasonable to assume everyone is able to do so. But you certainly could report your complaints to the people who do program the browser. The site you're looking for is [link].<<
You can also contact the IE7 devs. Imagine that!

Also, Firefox isn't an FTP client.

So basically:
Site developers make sure first and foremost that their sites work with IE. IE is therefore the most compatible.
IE has the ability to be used as an FTP server.
IE can use ActiveX.

There are reasons (see above) a windows user (overwhelming majority) would use IE rather than FF.
There's no reason that the windows user would use Firefox over IE, save for certain extensions not having IE versions. We're arguing the actual browsers though, not possible modifications thereof.
Debate Round No. 2
maxh

Pro

Why should it take so much to make it XHTML 1.1 compliant. I would imagine the code would look something like this:
if (targetfile.mimetype == "application/xhtml+xml"){
xmlParse(targetfile);
}

xmlParse(targetfile){
read(targetfile);
applyCSSAndDisplay(targetfile);
}

Not too difficult. I'm obviously not going to cover the inticracies of coding a browser in Windows here, but the general idea is clear. IE lists */* as a supported MIME type when it requests a file, but does not support */*, which includes application/xhtml+xml. I don't have to use workarounds. I will choose not to have my site viewable to people using a browser that does not support a standard that was approved in May 2001, and has been a draft standard even longer.

Wikipedia does not list adblocking as an IE feature or add on. Are you speaking of pop-up blocking? The feature I am referring to is inline adblocking (banner ad blocking). I am aware that there are several commercial adblockers for IE, but is there a free option? There is for Firefox.

Quick tabs are not included with Firefox because it is not wanted by many people. I like to have the feature (even though I don't use it much), so I use Firefox Showcase, which is available from the Firefox Addons site. Features like this are not included because for many users they only waste bandwidth and disk space.

The problem with your excuse for IE's advisory count is that it assumes people only look for exploits to use them. Security researchers also look for exploits so they can be fixed. It's also easier to find security holes in Firefox, but fewer have been found. And before you try to bring it up, there are more people finding holes to fill then people finding holes to use, so it is not a security threat. You also neglect to factor in the severity of holes. The average severity for IE7 is a bit over 2.25, while the average severity for Firefox 2 is 1.08.

Signed Java applets can access system data. IE has options to allow access to unsigned applets as well. This is a security measure, as a signed applet is proof of who wrote the applet. An applet that trashes your system has an author's name attached to it if it is signed. Does ActiveX do that? The reason Windows Update has to use ActiveX is because Microsoft needs to have proof of a major company using their technology. Windows Update could just as easily be implemented through HTTP or FTP downloads.

My point in mentioning that someone has built a test version of ActiveX for Firefox is to show that if someone wanted to, it could be done.

I don't use IE that much. Partly because Firefox is better, so I have no reason to. But also because I cannot run IE7 on my system. Firefox does.

Good to see something new in IE.

Actually, no. One of the first things a web designer learns is that the web can be viewed on many different platforms, with different screen sizes, different text sizes, different numbers of colors, and that expecting a page to look the same everywhere is not going to work. I have a specific look in mind when I design pages, but I know that not everyone will see the same thing. And I really don't know what you call me "Mr. Standards" for. I support standards-compliance, as when everyone follows standards it eliminates the difficulty of designing pages (it also helps users, as browsers not having to deal with figuring out what authors are trying to do, which reduces CPU cycles used). PDF is now a de jure standard, and has been a de facto standard for years.

Firefox may not work on DOS, but neither does IE. The only graphical browsers I know of that work in DOS are Arachne and elinks2. I realize your point is that Firefox doesn't work on all OS, but it works on more than IE does or ever has.

Firefox isn't an FTP client? ftp://ftp.mozilla.org... seems to open perfectly well in Firefox (version 2.0.0.11) for me.

Actually, most site developers make sure their site works in Firefox and IE.

IE does not have the ability to be used as an FTP server. It can be used as an FTP client, but Firefox does the same.

IE can use ActiveX. Firefox can use ActiveX. People don't use ActiveX on Firefox, but it CAN be done.

If there are no reasons to use Firefox over IE on Windows, why do I have Firefox Portable on a thumbdrive for when I'm on a Windows system?

I've seen the argument that IE is older than Firefox and therefore better, so I'm going to avoid that with a few facts. Although the name "Internet Explorer" is older than the name "Firefox", the products are around the same age. Firefox was created when some users of Mozilla decided that including an email client, web page maker, IRC client, and calendar app with the browser was unnecessary. Mozilla was created when Netscape was being purchased by AOL, and the Netscape developers released what they had as open-source. Netscape was based on Mosaic, the first graphical browser. At each stage, the developers had a chance to rethink how things were done. For example, in the conversion from Netscape to Mozilla, the Gecko rendering engine was created. Internet Explorer was created when Microsoft realized that they needed to have a web browser included with Windows 98, which was to be released soon. They took Mosaic and rebranded it to create Internet Explorer 1.0. Since IE1, there have been (mostly incremental) improvements and changes, but no major leaps. So IE is not "older and more refined" (that's not from you, but from other arguments I've seen) than Firefox.
beem0r

Con

>>My site won't work in IE, since I'm using standards.<<
Then you alienate a large audience. Partially because IE doesn't work correctly with XHTML, it is not yet a viable standard to use. Other developers have learned this, and have catered to the large IE-using community. It may be more difficult to cater to the IE users, but as a developer it's something you kinda just have to do. Normally only sites some random guy made as a hobby end up not working in IE, and only because some random guy who develops web pages as a hobby usually doesn't care if his site works for IE.

>>Is there free inline adblocking in IE? There's an add-on for FF that's free.<<
No. As an add-on, it's not part of the browser anyway, so it probably shouldn't be here. Anyway, I'll still talk about it. Inline blocking of ads is not a good feature - not only does it potentially destroy the layout/look of a site, but it also destroys the fabric by which you get to view most sites for free. Inline adblocking undermines the very means by which many sites are paid for. That's not a good feature, and something I hope very few people want to be part of.

>>People don't want quick tabs. If they did, add-ons can emulate it.<<
It is wanted by many people, perhaps it's just not a lot of people in the Firefox community.

>>Features like this are not included because for many users they only waste bandwidth and disk space.<<
It took me a moment to take that seriously, especially coming from someone who seems as knowledgeable as you do...
Features like this do not take up ANY additional bandwidth. They are implemented on the user's machine. Disk space is definitely less than 1 MB as well, I hope that doesn't seem like too much. We haven't traveled back to the time of the 286, have we? Oh, whew, nope, just checked, my hard drives both are 250GB. Looks like we're safe from the 1MB file of doom.

>>Security stuff (see original post)<<
When each browser only has a few open holes, it's not wise to factor the severity in too much. Likely these holes were found somewhat recently, so they will be of varying severity. While perhaps much of what you said is true, it is also true that people who want to exploit your browser assume you have IE. Also, the highest IE advisory was 3/5, not 4/5 like you said before. I maintain that neither is significantly more secure than the other. Not enough for it to matter.

>>Signed Java applets can access system data.<<
Didn't know that, duly noted.

>>Does ActiveX do that? (signed and unsigned)<<
Yes, they do.

>>The reason Windows Update has to use ActiveX is because Microsoft needs to have proof of a major company using their technology. Windows Update could just as easily be implemented through HTTP or FTP downloads.<<
HTTP and FTP protocols cannot validate your system. This is the reason for using ActiveX. Though perhaps the signed Java app would be able to accomplish the same goals, though I'm not sure how easily such things can be faked. The fact is, ActiveX _is_ used and IE is the only one with good capability to use them.

>>My point in mentioning that someone has built a test version of ActiveX for Firefox is to show that if someone wanted to, it could be done.<<
However, it's not part of Firefox. We're not arguing about the potential of each browser, we're arguing about the ACTUAL browsers, as they are now, in the industry as it is now. If you want to use ActiveX, you NEED to use IE.

>>I don't use IE that much. Partly because Firefox is better, so I have no reason to. But also because I cannot run IE7 on my system. Firefox does.<<
Then for your system, IE is not the best choice. However, for the overwhelming majority, IE is the best choice, since the overwhelming majority of people both use windows and are not computer-savvy programmers.

>>Web pages will not look the same on every browser.<<
As a web developer myself, I can tell you that it is quite possible to make a web page display properly on at least Firefox, IE, and Opera. Usually there are not differences in the display output of Opera and Firefox on different platforms. I usually code for either Opera or FF, then use browser-specific css to make it look right on IE. Almost any major site will look the same, or not noticeably different, on all the major browsers. I'm not arguing that IE makes it easy for the developer, I'm arguing that Firefox isn't better from the user's standpoint.

>>Firefox may not work on DOS, but neither does IE. The only graphical browsers I know of that work in DOS are Arachne and elinks2. I realize your point is that Firefox doesn't work on all OS, but it works on more than IE does or ever has.<<
No, my point was that the people who use anything but windows (Linux in particular) are not your average user. They are fringe groups who have different needs in a browser and would not want to use IE anyway.

>>Firefox isn't an FTP client? ftp://ftp.mozilla.org...... seems to open perfectly well in Firefox (version 2.0.0.11) for me.<<
By FTP client, I meant that you could use it for more than just downloading files VIA FTP. AFAIK, you can't upload, CHMOD, or any other file manipulation that a developer as yourself might need to do.

>>IE does not have the ability to be used as an FTP server. It can be used as an FTP client, but Firefox does the same.<<
Of course it can't, it can't act as any sort of server, it's strictly a client.
It can actually be used as a real FTP client, as an alternative to, let's say, SmartFTP. Which is probably what I'd use if I didn't have a fully featured FTP client in IE.

>>IE can use ActiveX. Firefox can use ActiveX. People don't use ActiveX on Firefox, but it CAN be done.<<
No, it can't. Not right now it can't. Sure, it's possible that someday that will be possible. Maybe then FF will be more viable than IE for the average user. But not now.

>>If there are no reasons to use Firefox over IE on Windows, why do I have Firefox Portable on a thumbdrive for when I'm on a Windows system?<<
Because you're used to the FF interface. Also, because it makes you feel good using open-source browsers.

And I'm not going to say that IE is older, therefore better. It's better because it's more compatible with more pages. Developers make sure that their sites work in it just as much as they do for FF. You can actually use ActiveX-requiring sites in IE. It's correct that there's not a huge difference between IE and FF, but if one was better than the other for the average user, it's clearly IE.

Also, colorable scrollbars.

Been nice debating you. And for the record, I use Opera. Except for things that only work in IE.
Debate Round No. 3
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by HCPwns95 9 years ago
HCPwns95
When will computer noobs learn explorer sucks?
Posted by beem0r 9 years ago
beem0r
Well, I suppose the burden is more on the ad-makers to have text-only versions of their ads. This is assuming that people still use text-only browsers.

Either way, using inline ad removal _is_ bad, because it's a deliberate attempt to subvert the ad system. The same ad system by which much of your free content remains free.
Posted by maxh 9 years ago
maxh
So people who don't have graphics capabilities on their system shoudn't use the internet?
Posted by beem0r 9 years ago
beem0r
Using a text-only browser is bad, since you're taking the benefits of free content without viewing the ads that support them.
Also, I've never had a problem with uploading via FTP. It doesn't matter how encrypted it is, since no one's trying to hax me. Also, there's FTPS, though I never use it.
Also, the FTP in IE isn't that great anyway. I use SmartFTP.
Posted by maxh 9 years ago
maxh
I realize the debate is over, but I would like to point out that if adblocking is a bad thing, then so is using a text only browser. The only difference is that the adblocker only hides some images.

Also, my "bandwidth waste" comment refers to the fact that downloading it takes bandwidth.

Using FTP isn't really good for much other than downloading anyway. Uploading should really be done using SFTP or SCP (note the S) for encrypted sessions.
Posted by solo 9 years ago
solo
Booo... you start Lin and I'll start ISC.
Posted by maxh 9 years ago
maxh
Nice try. You can start it.
Posted by solo 9 years ago
solo
Sure! Why not? No more than three rounds though! And you go first on both of 'em! HA!
Posted by maxh 9 years ago
maxh
@solo
Win/Lin, I'd take Lin
IS credits- I'm for, mainly because I could use them
Posted by solo 9 years ago
solo
Hmm... I couldn't hold my own if I got the Lin end of the Win/Lin, so scrap that. Independent study credit... it depends. Probably. Let me know what side you'd take. I haven't ever given it much thought.
20 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
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Vote Placed by SportsGuru 9 years ago
SportsGuru
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Vote Placed by bigbass3000 9 years ago
bigbass3000
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Vote Placed by Sanchez 9 years ago
Sanchez
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