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What's the deal with browsers recently?


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#1
GrofLuigi

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I've noticed a trend that's too widespread to be random. While on one hand they include "private browsing" feature, on the other hand they make the defaults VERY VERY intrusive on the user's privacy and CAN NOT BE DISABLED EASILY OR AT ALL. And these are all good-standing companies that are in no need of immediate money as far as I can see to have to resort to spyware. Because that's what this is - DATA MINING (done on the server side where they can easily connect all the dots). It's disguised as 'making life easier for everyday (read stupid) user', but it's obviuos that on this scale, it cannot be true. I guess human greed knows no limits...

Let me list some of them:

1. Firefox 3.5 (no extensions) - I went through EVERY about:config entry and I counted AT LEAST 30 locations it connects to Internet regardless of the user's wish or knowledge - geolocation feature, "safe browsing" (who will police the police?), updates, updates to extensions, updates to search engines... See for yourself: filter "http://" entries. And of course, the greatest annoyances: the blue RECENT * everywhere that cannot be deleted. They recreate on next start. Believe me, I've searched high and low and edited userchrome.css till I got blue in the face and nothing.

2. Opera - I haven't tried the 10, but from what I read it sets up Opera's servers as proxies (Turbo feature) - all your traffic goes through them? And 9 is no angel either - it bluescreened my old laptop frequently by UPDATING ITS HISTORY DATABASE WITH EVERY KEYSTROKE IN THE ADDRESS BAR. It also connects to many places by default - checks for updates, updates its compatibility list, 'safe' browsing, checks extended certificates... (again, who will police the police? Comodo and Verisign have sold their souls to the devil in the past).

3. Safari - just installed 4.02 on Windows - Top Sites will not go away (and it fetches them from Internet). Not to mention Apple Software Update and Bonjour... 'nuff said.

4. Chrome - haven't ever installed it, but I hear it generates more traffic to google.com than to whereever you're browsing... ;)

5. IE - haven't used it a long time. Hope others will chime in.


I don't have any questions, just needed to get this out of my chest. I guess I'll return to browsing OffByOne or Mosaic. :)

Also, I'm sure I've got some things wrong (or have fallen prey to rumors), but on the other hand I've left out many minor annoyances that would make this post too long (as if it isn't already :whistle: ). So please don't flame me, maybe you can just state your 'favorite' annoyance with your browser instead?

GL


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#2
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1. Firefox 3.5 (no extensions) - geolocation feature, "safe browsing" (who will police the police?), updates, updates to extensions, updates to search engines... See for yourself: filter "http://" entries. And of course, the greatest annoyances: the blue RECENT * everywhere that cannot be deleted.


Not sure about geolocation but safe browsing and updates can be disabled in options. About recent, do you mean like recently bookmarked?
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#3
GrofLuigi

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About recent, do you mean like recently bookmarked?

Yeah, blue folders in bookmarks - Recent Bookmarks and Recent Tags (I got rid of another one after lot of searching). Finally I understand why they call some bloggers "firefox evangelists" - they only praise the new features, not a speck of criticsm there. Or they copy/paste press releases for AdSense rating, whatever.

I also think the whole Tags idea stands on shaky ground. What is it useful for when folders can be made in bookmarks? And who will use it? I guess near 100 % of users will try it, but 1 % will remain to use it regularly for whatever reason. Meanwhile, it's forced into our throats and it can't be switched off (Tags can, but Recent Tags can't?!?!) OK, maybe it's just a bug (I hope), but, as I said, too many coincidences...

Geolocation is "disablable", but it's enabled by default (and how many users will bother to find it?) And it's one of many.

GL

* Edit: typo

Edited by GrofLuigi, 09 July 2009 - 12:13 PM.


#4
DigeratiPrime

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A safe browsing list is a database that is locally stored and checked against; updates are downloaded on a regular interval. Program updates, should really only be a comparision of the installed version and current released version. Neither of these are really an invasion of privacy IMO, just a convenience and maintenance feature.

Opera's proxy however is an obvious privacy issue, I think AOL has been doing the same for years.

BTW there is a 3rd party build of Chrome called Iron that is supposedly "more" private:
http://www.srware.ne...ome_vs_iron.php

Keep in mind your ISP probably (is required) to keep a log of all your activity. They normally handle your DNS lookups and can easily see all HTTP traffic.
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About recent, do you mean like recently bookmarked?

Finally I understand why they call some bloggers "firefox evangelists" - they only praise the new features, not a speck of criticsm there. Or they copy/paste press releases for AdSense rating, whatever.

Was that directed at me? :unsure:
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#6
GrofLuigi

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About recent, do you mean like recently bookmarked?

Finally I understand why they call some bloggers "firefox evangelists" - they only praise the new features, not a speck of criticsm there. Or they copy/paste press releases for AdSense rating, whatever.

Was that directed at me? :unsure:

No, why would it be? I was just continuing my comment from above (some parts missing) - I searched on how to remove those new features and I found only ways to readd them, nobody even considered that some people would like to live without them.

GL

#7
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4. Chrome - haven't ever installed it, but I hear it generates more traffic to google.com than to whereever you're browsing... ;)

i think you might be a little overly paranoid here.
http://gizmodo.com/5...oogle-chrome-os

#8
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About recent, do you mean like recently bookmarked?

Finally I understand why they call some bloggers "firefox evangelists" - they only praise the new features, not a speck of criticsm there. Or they copy/paste press releases for AdSense rating, whatever.

Was that directed at me? :unsure:

No, why would it be? I was just continuing my comment from above (some parts missing)

Just checking. It was in the same paragraph in which you answered my question.
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#9
CoffeeFiend

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i think you might be a little overly paranoid here.

Two separate unique IDs to track you (along with Google's usual cookie), plus the RLZ parameter, and logging every keystroke in the omnibar and so on? Of course, that goes along with the logging everything you've searched for ever. It's over the top for sure. Or did I miss an invisible sarcasm tag?


At the risk of sounding like an apologist...

AT LEAST 30 locations it connects to Internet regardless of the user's wish or knowledge

I don't really see many problematic things in about:config. An URL being in there doesn't mean much by itself. Show me some HTTP traffic logs of what's problematic, then I'll feel more concerned.

Geolocation? It's using Google's service (not mozilla logging your infos), and can be disabled fairly easily. Also, Mozilla's site says "If you say that you do not consent, Firefox will not do anything." so it's not much of an issue in the first place.

Safe browsing? You're asked if you want of it or not (just like IE does) on first run. Also using Google's service. That's somewhat useful though (for the n00bs who don't notice the obvious phishing sites and the like -- non-n00bs just have not to opt-in at install time).

"updates, updates to extensions, updates to search engines"

That's paranoid alright, and can be disabled using the built-in checkboxes under options > advanced > updates.

IE8 doesn't really have privacy issues. It has a opt-in phishing filter just like Firefox. It gets updates as well (if you're really worried about those)
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#10
herbalist

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GrofLuigi
It's been a long time since I tried FireFox or Opera so I can't comment on the behavior you mention. I didn't like the direction FF was going and got rid of it a long time ago. I run SeaMonkey 1.1.x and K-Meleon. Except for the update check, which can be easily disabled, I haven't noticed the behaviors you describe with them. I can't say with certainty that my forcing them to connect through Proxomitron might be preventing some of those behaviors. You might give them a try. They're both available as zip files if you want to avoid installers.
As far as the Google browser is concerned, I have no desire whatsoever to try it. Google's data collecting activities alone made that decision for me.
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#11
JustinStacey.x

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I have Firefox, Opera and Internet Explorer 8 all installed.

I like Internet Explorer 8's new address bar feature. Type in a few letters of a URL you've visited before and then press Shift+Enter to go to it. Even better than pressing the down button on the keyboard and then pressing return.

The private browsing feature is one that's been in Safari for years, and other browsers are now just ripping off.
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#12
GrofLuigi

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@ geek: I didn't mean Chrome OS (but I don't have anything to say about Chrome browser firsthand anyway).

@ CoffeeFiend: I might just set up a packet sniffer (in the distant future, when I have a lot of free time and energy ;) ) cause I'm very interested in what those browsers communicate to "home". I remember when I tried Firefox 2, Kerio 2.15 went bezerk. (I don't have it any more). BTW it was feeds updates - I forgot those. :rolleyes:

@ herbalist: thank you, I know about them, but I'm a little tired of searching and trying...

And to continue my general rant, ever Firefox 2 didn't bring anything new for me - I don't use spellcheck and feeds. I didn't notice much difference about the improvements in rendering engine - I guess I don't go heavy sites often?

And obviously I don't have anything against a healthy dose of paranoia. :P ( Edit: to avoid misunderstanding, this line was about me ).

GL

Edited by GrofLuigi, 10 July 2009 - 10:07 AM.


#13
herbalist

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@ herbalist: thank you, I know about them, but I'm a little tired of searching and trying...

Looking for the right software can get old after a while, but I'd think it would be preferable to using something that you don't like.

#14
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Looking for the right software can get old after a while, but I'd think it would be preferable to using something that you don't like.

Currently my primary browser is Opera 9.XX with some opera servers blocked in hosts file.

I would gladly support ads for a valuable program or website, but this sneakiness (of all of them) really pi**e* me off.

And I don't want programs to do any services (favors) for me, just as I don't want Windows to. :angel

GL

#15
jaclaz

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I'll just throw this one on the table, without comments ;):
http://www.qtweb.net/qtweb.php
http://www.qtweb.net/compare.php
http://www.qtweb.net/download.php

:hello:

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#16
CoffeeFiend

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Fine, I'll provide some comments then ;)

First, it's outdated. Firefox is up to 3.5 and the results are very different. A lot of the items in the list are wrong, and "benches" are off too. With his CPU speed, SunSpider should be about 2800, and ACID 3 is 93/100 (not that it even matters -- nobody uses that stuff being tested regardless). It now has a privacy mode too. It seems like we can mostly ignore that column altogether. And also, that only refers to the barebones/stock Firefox install, lots of the "features" can be added (in ways often superior to what ever other browser has to offer, via extensions, to those who want them)

Lots of the points on that list are rather inane e.g. "Save Web Pages, Web Images locally" -- might as well be a "has a X button thingy at the top right of the window to close it"...

Lots of it is just plain wrong or sounds deceptive too e.g. IE8 "Software Updates" says no. It sure it gets updates via Windows Update. It just seems like a cheap way of making it look worse than it is i.e. it's not exactly unbiased! Many list items seem to have been added just for that as well, like "Local off-line Help with index" -- yeah, web browsers are so complicated that I need the help, and I need it those times when I don't even have an internet connection...

There's a couple things that might be interesting if you take a fair amount of time reading the whole thing though. If you look at all the "no" entries on the list:
-QtWeb is the only one that doesn't support Java (not that I actually care mind you -- anything non-IE doesn't support ActiveX either unsurprisingly)
-Most seem to support RSS feeds (not that I check mine in a web browser...)
-QtWeb is the only one that only supports english
...and not much else.

Just my 2 cents.

@ CoffeeFiend: I might just set up a packet sniffer (in the distant future, when I have a lot of free time and energy ;) ) cause I'm very interested in what those browsers communicate to "home".

Just install Wireshark. It takes like less than 2 minutes. Easy to use too (I could have an entire trace of what it does at startup in less than 30 seconds1). You'll quickly see Firefox doesn't do anything "bad" like you seem to think it does (well, then again you consider "checking for updates" bad somehow).

BTW it was feeds updates - I forgot those.

Which don't actually do anything unless you set some up yourself.
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#17
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I'll just throw this one on the table, without comments ;):
http://www.qtweb.net/qtweb.php
http://www.qtweb.net/compare.php
http://www.qtweb.net/download.php

:hello:

jaclaz

Seems very interesting. Before I download it, I picked one of their tests as bullsh*t detector (but still not forgetting it comes from the webkit crew):

The SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark

Their results can be seen in your second link. My results (with what I have):

Firefox 3.5: 1513.6ms +/- 2.5%
Safari 4.02: 848.4ms +/- 0.3%
Opera 9.64: 5127.8ms +/- 2.2%
IE 6.0: 27227.8ms +/- 0.9%

Acceptable for me (I don't care about actual results, I wouldn't switch browsers based on this or any other tests, just picked it up out of curiosity).

And since it's open source, it's promising regarding this thread's topic.

(While I was testing, CoffeeFiend wrote a reply, which I agree with mostly (about QtWeb)).

GL

#18
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You'll quickly see Firefox doesn't do anything "bad" like you seem to think it does (well, then again you consider "checking for updates" bad somehow).

Well I do if they are so well hidden.

BTW it was feeds updates - I forgot those.

Which don't actually do anything unless you set some up yourself.

They contacted some servers (don't remember now which ones) without my knowledge/approval (and I didn't set anything up).

GL

Edited by GrofLuigi, 11 July 2009 - 01:12 PM.


#19
jaclaz

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Fine, I'll provide some comments then ;)


Then, please comment on these too :whistle::
http://www.microsoft...ts/default.aspx
http://www.microsoft...comparison.aspx
http://www.microsoft...ythbusting.aspx

I'll make an exception to my current no-comment stance to say that the "get-the-facts", though a nice marketing motto :yes: , is the single most misleading name for a web subdirectory I have seen in my life. :w00t:

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz, 12 July 2009 - 02:59 AM.


#20
CoffeeFiend

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http://www.microsoft...ts/default.aspx

Some of it is definitely true e.g. faster, safer, more privacy. The rest seems to be mostly about new features like accelerators, inprivate browsing and web slices. Nothing really bad here. It's not much of a comparison though...

http://www.microsoft...comparison.aspx

For the most part is OK. Some points are arguable (like better security? not really IMO), some are outdated e.g. "Privacy" and stuff like that. However, they do have certain features (web slices and such) that others don't (not natively anyhow), as for web stantards, IE6 was truly horrible, but IE8 is getting better (not up to par, but "good enough" for now as most people still won't use anything that crappy old IE6 won't handle). Compatibility? Well, if you include sites with ActiveX stuff, then that makes them right... Manageability? Sure, no other browser integrates with group policy and the like. Not unbiased obviously, and a couple points I don't agree with, but not totally wrong either.

http://www.microsoft...ythbusting.aspx

1. They're referring more to how you work, rather than benchmarks it seems. Either ways, I don't care much about those "benchmarks", my pages load plenty fast regardless, and most of my wait is caused by network latency, not javascript performance and the like
2. They're looking at it from a "we had private browsing and the phishing filter first". They have a point, although there's more to security than just that (number of vulnerabilities, time to patch vulnerabilities, how critical and so on). It comes down to opinion IMO. Either ways, I haven't caught malware from any site in years, and I'm not worried about phishing sites and the like.

The only real points I have issues with in all the links you provided are points 3 and 4 in your last link.
3. Might actually be true for most end users. But it certainly doesn't match Firefox for power users and developers. Then again, I don't spend much time looking at IE addons...
4. This one has no basis in reality. I'll grant you that. I can't think of any way to back a statement like this, or any reasonable reason to think so.

To be honest, the aren't many reasons why I'm using Firefox over IE now. There's several little things like form data being saved when you hit back after the page you were posting to didn't work (sucks losing the entire post you typed!). But for the most part, it's extensions. The day IE has extensions as good or better than Firefox is the day I'll likely switch (or not bother installing it anymore). I just can't imagine browsing without them.

I've seen much worse comparisons being made before...
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#21
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Wow! I just saw this.

Fortunately, it will be fixed.

(I haven't experienced it.)

That was the idea of this thread - to report these things and possible fixes.

GL

* Edit: ProcMon confirmed it read the temp folder, IE's temporary internet files and fonts folder. I'm this close to erasing it.

* Edit2: I'm not paranoid, I just won't surrender to stupidity. :)

Edited by GrofLuigi, 12 July 2009 - 04:53 PM.


#22
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as for web stantards, IE6 was truly horrible, but IE8 is getting better (not up to par, but "good enough" for now as most people still won't use anything that crappy old IE6 won't handle).

You forget IE6 was released way, way back in 2001 (3 years before Firefox 1.0, fwiw). It was the most standards-compliant browser of it's day, with the only other real clients available en masse being Opera and Netscape (which was crap by this point). I'm not saying IE6 was perfect (like keeping the broken 5.x CSS2 layout, etc), but it was the most standards-compliant browser available in it's day, in late 2001. At that time no shipping browser really supported CSS2 in any real, meaningful way (other than IE, Opera had decent CSS2 support, but even then not as much as IE6), and DOM2 wasn't ratified until 4 months before the IE6 beta if my memory serves, meaning IE6 didn't have support for it either (and to be fair, it took a few years for the others to get support for it as well, Opera 6 or 7 in 2003, again if I remember; a little fuzzy on the versions).

It's the 6 years Microsoft sat on IE6 without changing much of anything, and the fact that IE7 wasn't really a big leap in compliance with standards at the time either, that makes IE6 (and to a point, IE7) so "bad". Ultimately, I think people complaining about IE6 "sucking" and not being standards-compliant aren't complaining that it *was* horrible, they're complaining that it's still a pain to continue to support along with better browsers. I, for one, would love it if Microsoft would drop support for "old" browsers at 5 years (when the OS it shipped on leaves mainstream support, for example) rather than 10, because the way the web moves a 10 year old browser really *is* crap to have to support. Or, even better, treat it as a service pack - 24 months after the next one releases, drop mainstream (unpaid, non-premier) support for the old browser and "force" people to upgrade.
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#23
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Just to post a pretty picture:

Posted Image

"borrowed" by this site:
http://www.istarteds...browser-review/

And, though probably a bit OT (but not much, as always ;)) the Google Chrome Comic:
http://blogoscoped.com/google-chrome/

jaclaz

#24
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as for web stantards, IE6 was truly horrible, but IE8 is getting better (not up to par, but "good enough" for now as most people still won't use anything that crappy old IE6 won't handle).

You forget IE6 was released way, way back in 2001 (3 years before Firefox 1.0, fwiw). It was the most standards-compliant browser of it's day, with the only other real clients available en masse being Opera and Netscape (which was crap by this point). I'm not saying IE6 was perfect (like keeping the broken 5.x CSS2 layout, etc), but it was the most standards-compliant browser available in it's day, in late 2001. At that time no shipping browser really supported CSS2 in any real, meaningful way (other than IE, Opera had decent CSS2 support, but even then not as much as IE6), and DOM2 wasn't ratified until 4 months before the IE6 beta if my memory serves, meaning IE6 didn't have support for it either (and to be fair, it took a few years for the others to get support for it as well, Opera 6 or 7 in 2003, again if I remember; a little fuzzy on the versions).

It's the 6 years Microsoft sat on IE6 without changing much of anything, and the fact that IE7 wasn't really a big leap in compliance with standards at the time either, that makes IE6 (and to a point, IE7) so "bad". Ultimately, I think people complaining about IE6 "sucking" and not being standards-compliant aren't complaining that it *was* horrible, they're complaining that it's still a pain to continue to support along with better browsers. I, for one, would love it if Microsoft would drop support for "old" browsers at 5 years (when the OS it shipped on leaves mainstream support, for example) rather than 10, because the way the web moves a 10 year old browser really *is* crap to have to support. Or, even better, treat it as a service pack - 24 months after the next one releases, drop mainstream (unpaid, non-premier) support for the old browser and "force" people to upgrade.


I agree. I remember when only IE 6 supported XSLT. Then IE7 didn't support it which is why I never upgraded at home.
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#25
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I just loaded the site in Opera 9 without a problem. The main site loaded and asked my to select a slot machine. I click on a coupe, at random and the following page loaded with a grey box in the middle. After a few seconds the grey box turned into the slot machine, which worked flawlessly.

First, make sure you have not disabled Java or Javascript...go Tools->Preferences->Advanced->Content and make sure both are checked. If that doesn't resolve it, try reinstalling the latest version of Java. The site should work with Opera from the start, so something's amiss here.




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