Please note that Firefox is now up to v3.5.2, and the problems here and on other posts relating v3.x are now largely irrelevant except for those who have failed up upgrade.
Yesterday, in The Guardian’s Technology supplement, there was an entirely uncritical review of Firefox 3. I am utterly fed up with the lack of criticism of FF3 – don’t these people inhabit the real world? How can they not know that, for a great many people, it’s a colossal fuck-up? My response is below…
It seems clear that there are two widely differing experiences of Firefox 3 – those who apparently love it and those, like me (and I’m a long-term user of Firefox), who believe it’s an absolute disaster. Both these viewpoints can’t be true.
If the responses to my Firefox 3 sucks blog post are typical, then extrapolation across the whole user base would suggest that FF3 is seriously defective – certainly, for me, it’s utterly unusable, no matter what all those geeks think, and I’ve reverted to v184.108.40.206, which is where I’ll stay until such time as Mozilla produces a version that works for everyone.
I think, though, I may have the answer to these widely differing experiences – we’re not seeing the same thing. I believe that some mirrors are distributing corrupted versions of FF3 – perhaps a result of the system crash on download day. Unfortunately, there’s no way I can test this theory as Mozilla automatically assigns the mirror – one can’t choose an alternate mirror for the download and see what happens. Nor can one actually talk to Mozilla about this – or anything else – they go to great lengths to keep users at arm’s length. And, when I tried to access their knowledge base about the problem with the Organise Bookmarks function – a problem in that it doesn’t actually do anything – it threw up over 4 million entries. Who has the time, or the inclination, to wade through that morass? Certainly not me.
Whatever the answer, a canter through Google clearly shows that there are substantial problems with FF3, and a huge amount of user dissatisfaction. Problems which Mozilla seems content to ignore. Kate Bevan (Technophile, June 26), says “Is it better than IE, Safari or Opera? Yes, I think so, and so do many other geeks. We can’t all be wrong.” Well, sorry Kate, you are wrong. It is not better than any of those for one very good reason – it simply doesn’t work for everybody. Had this been a Microsoft product, the problems a great many users are having would not be ignored, as they are being, except in the blogosphere. On the contrary, Microsoft would have been savagely pilloried. I see no reason why Mozilla should be treated any differently.
Maybe Kate and her fellow geeks are happy to tinker with FF3 until it performs as it should. I, and many others, are not, and I have no problem with admitting that it’s beyond my abilities to do so, because we simply shouldn’t have to. The thing should work perfectly, and for every user, straight out of the box – and it doesn’t.
Note: The Guardian has already published a critical email from me regarding FF3 yesterday, so whether they’ll publish this remains to be seen. I have a good strike rate with The Guardian, though, so I’m hopeful, and it would be good if as many other people as possible, who feel the same way, also emailed them. The address is at the foot of the page linked to above – please use the one for the Technology Editor.
Check out this page, too.