The recent security flaw revealed in Internet Explorer has prompted a new wave in the “Browser Wars”. For years people have been arguing the pros and cons of different browsers, from Firefox to Chrome, from Safari to Opera. The really consistent comment from all those users who complain, is that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has “got to go”.
Personally, I have been using Firefox since around 2006. The reasons are simple:
- Elements of browsing such as toolbars, favorites(bookmarks) , search bars and navigation can all be customized and activated or deactivated without going through security confirmations and all kinds of popups.
- Addins and plugins like Flash or Acrobat can be individually controlled.
- It is faster because it is not integrated into the operating system.
- It can be removed anytime.
Unfortunately, IE is still required for certain Microsoft applications and some 3rd party software that will not work correctly in other browsers. However, this is the small percentage of use and for most users, it doesn’t pose an issue.
There are a few other negative issues with IE that have become more significant in recent years. Some other complaints about IE are:
- IE is integrated with the operating system. This means any flaws in the browser could potentially and directly affect security on your operating system. For Microsoft this has been an eternal struggle to ensure Windows is safe.
- IE doesn’t usually support or display the latest in technology due to slow and delayed updates. Back in the days of IE 6, it took months if not years for Flash to work properly and contributed heavily to people switching to Firefox.
- IE generally is slower in performance because it loads a lot of elements that users cannot turn off or disable for themselves.
- There hasn’t been IE for Mac in a long time leaving that market to the likes of Safari (another poor product, but that is another rant).
When clients ask me about which browser I use, I tell them simply anything OTHER than IE. However, since it is part of Windows, I still make sure it is up to date and that all patches are installed when released.
In terms of your options, there are lots of browsers to choose from but in the Mac and PC world, Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari are the big players. Each try to give the user a different experience by bundling the design and the features in different combinations to make browsing “better”.
Some users prefer Chrome and Safari for their simplistic style versus the fully developed and robust Firefox.
By no means are the other browsers perfect. However, they continually update themselves, address any flaws immediately, are engineered to be standalone products which do not integrate into the operating system and have a support system for reporting and troubleshooting problems that far outweighs anything provided by Microsoft.
With all that, I do have to admit that Internet Explorer 11 has been better than previous versions when it comes to some features and some stability issues but as evident by the security hole recently brought to light, I still question Microsoft’s capability to make a good browser.
They have made other areas of computer technology their priority but with all the smartphones, tablets and mobile computing options that have exponetially grown over the last 5 years, they seem to have missed to boat when it comes to recognizing the need for a top notch browser to feed the demand.
Regardless of browser choice, just like any other software that uses the internet, it is always advisable to update the browser and install any patches to maximize the safe browsing experience.
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If you liked this article, please visit Hack could let browsers use cloud to carry out big attacks on the cheap| Ars Technica