Firefox Myths - Myths Regarding The Firefox Web Browser
Myth (Definition) - "A fiction or half-truth, especially one that forms part of an ideology." While Firefox is a decent Web Browser, there are numerous Myths floating around the Internet regarding it. This site will debunk some of these.
We have all seen these banners before or heard people say "Firefox is Faster, Firefox has Lower Requirements, Firefox is Secure, Firefox defends me from all Spyware, etc." How misleading is it? Read on.
Disclaimer - This page originally came out in 2005 and thus the relevance of any Myth can change. This does not mean they will be removed from this page. Frequently links, sources and the information on them can change which is out of my control. This page is in no way affiliated with Microsoft, Comcast or anyone else. This page does not claim the Mozilla Foundation/Corporation is the originator of all of these Myths. This page is not an endorsement for any web browser. This page is not a review of Firefox. This page is not a comparison guide. (Use the Freeware Browser Guide to compare browsers) All Myths relate to running the default install of Firefox in Windows with no Extensions. Please read carefully and look at the sources. The examples and sources are two different things, read the Myths Origins sections for more information. Firefox Myths is designed to debunk the most common Myths heard about Firefox - Period.
Firefox and Mozilla
Myth - "Firefox and Mozilla are the same thing" - Example
Reality - Firefox started as "Phoenix" in 2002, an experimental redesign of the Mozilla Suite browser component. It officially became known as Mozilla Firefox in 2004. The name "Mozilla" in this case refers to the Mozilla Foundation/Corporation which develops Firefox and developed the Mozilla Suite. Official development of the Mozilla Suite ended in 2005 but continues as a community-developed product known as SeaMonkey. - Source
Myth - "Firefox is Completely Free" - Example
Reality - "The truth is, while Mozilla Firefox is open source, it is not entirely free. Several elements are restricted by the EULA, including the trademarked Firefox name, artwork, and the proprietary Talkback crash reporter." - Source - Source 2
Not for Profit
Myth - "Firefox and Mozilla are Not for Profit" - Example
Reality - "The foundation has used a for-profit subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation, to collect tens of millions of dollars in royalties from search engine companies that want prominent placement on the browser. According to Mozilla's 2006 financial records, the foundation had $74 million in assets and last year it collected $66 million in revenue. Eighty-five percent of that revenue came from a single source - Google, which has a royalty contract with Firefox. In the same year, it paid the corporation's chief executive, Mitchell Baker, more than $500,000 in salary and benefits." - The New York Times
"The Mozilla Corporation pays its employees from the revenues we receive from our product. We are very fortunate in that the search feature in Firefox is both appreciated by our users and generates revenue in the tens of millions of dollars." - Source
"Now, the Mozilla Foundation, the non-profit entity that develops and distributes Firefox, is forming a for-profit subsidiary that will eventually capitalize on the browser's popularity. The Mozilla Foundation will announce today that it has formed a wholly-owned subsidiary, Mozilla Corp." - Forbes
"Firefox, which is produced by the for-profit Mozilla Corporation, made $72 Million last year and is on target to have 120 employees this year." - Source - Source 2
Myth - "Firefox is spelled 'FireFox' and abbreviated FF"
Reality - Firefox is spelled F-i-r-e-f-o-x - only the first letter capitalized (i.e. not FireFox, not Foxfire, FoxFire or whatever else a number of folk seem to think it to be called.) The preferred abbreviation is "Fx" or "fx". - Source
Myth - "Firefox is not a Religion"
Religion (Definition) - "A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion." - Source
Reality - To the Fanboys Firefox goes beyond an obsession. - Explorer Destroyer - Kill Bill's Browser - Block IE - IE is Evil!
Aliens choose Firefox (Oregon State University)
Firefox Sidewalk (Oregon State University)
Firefox Balloon (Oregon State University)
Firefox Bus (LiveJournal)
"Giving people unadulterated access to the web became something of a religion, and every wasted pixel, button or dialog that impeded it was a demon that nagged at us." - Blake Ross Mozilla Firefox Founder - The Firefox Religion
Notes - Type in about:mozilla into the Firefox address bar to get "The Book of Mozilla".
Myth - "Firefox has lower System Requirements than Internet Explorer 6" - Example
Reality - Internet Explorer 6 has much lower minimum System Requirements than Firefox
Notes - Internet Explorer 6 is still actively supported by Microsoft.
- Lifecycle Supported Service Packs - Internet Explorer (Microsoft)
486/66 MHz CPU
16 MB of RAM
11.5 MB of hard drive space
Notes - Anyone who claims Internet Explorer 6 will not run on these requirements has never tested it.
- Internet Explorer 6 SP1 System Requirements (Microsoft)
Pentium 233 MHz CPU
64 MB of RAM
52 MB of hard drive space
The Recommended Requirements for Firefox are much worse:
Pentium III 500 MHz CPU
128 MB of RAM
Notes - The minimum requirements for Opera are 20 MB of disk space and Windows 95.
- Firefox 3 System Requirements (Mozilla)
Myth - "Firefox 2 uses less memory than Internet Explorer 7" - Example
Reality - Internet Explorer 7 uses much less memory than Firefox 2.
- Browser Memory Test: Firefox vs IE7 vs Safari vs Flock vs Opera (Life Rocks 2.0)
- Firefox Excessive Memory Usage (Coding Horror)
- IE7 vs Firefox 2: The memory usage showdown (Lifehacker)
- Web browser memory usage (digitalinsane.com)
Memory Usage Firefox 3
Myth - "Firefox 3 has low memory usage"
Reality - Firefox 3 still uses a lot of memory.
- Firefox 3 Hogs Memory Like Crazy (PCMech)
- Firefox 3 is Still a Memory Hog (The NeoSmart Files)
- Firefox 3 Beta 1: The Memory Use Says It All (TechCrunch)
- Firefox 3 Beta 1 Review - Memory Usage Is Worse! (Lockergnome)
- Firefox 3 vs. Opera 9 re: memory usage (nonzero)
Myth - "Firefox is Bug Free" - Example
Reality - Firefox is like any other software application and has plenty of bugs and problems.
- Most Frequently Reported Bugs for Firefox (Bugzilla)
Myth - "Firefox is Stable" - Example
Reality - Firefox can be very unstable and suffer from problems relating to Corrupt Preference Issues, Profile Issues, Plugin Issues, Theme Issues and Extension Issues that sometimes requires a clean reinstall to resolve.
- Standard diagnostic - Firefox (MozillaZine)
- Firefox crashes (MozillaZine)
"Poorly designed or incompatible extensions can cause problems with your browser, including make it crash, slow down page display, etc. If you encounter strange problems relating to parts of the browser no longer working, the browser not starting, windows with strange or distorted appearance, degraded performance, ect, you may be suffering from Extension or Theme trouble."
- Firefox Release Notes - Troubleshooting (Mozilla)
Fastest Web Browser
Myth - "Firefox 1 or 2 is the Fastest Web Browser" - Example
Reality - Opera (now 100% Ad free) is the fastest Graphical Web Browser in Windows. - Browser Speed Comparisons
Faster than Internet Explorer 6
Myth - "Firefox 1 or 2 is Faster than Internet Explorer 6" - Example
Reality - Internet Explorer 6 is clearly faster than Firefox 1 and 2 in 5 out of 7 measures of performance and is significantly faster from a cold start. - Browser Speed Comparisons
Notes - The argument that components of Internet Explorer may load during Windows Startup is nullified by Opera's start times. Which means there is no excuse for this except poor coding on Firefox's part.
Faster than Internet Explorer 7
Myth - "Firefox 1 or 2 is Faster than Internet Explorer 7" - Example
Reality - Internet Explorer 7 is clearly faster than Firefox 1 and 2 in 4 out of 7 measures of performance. - Browser Speed Comparisons
Faster than Mozilla
Myth - "Firefox 1 or 2 is Faster than Mozilla" - Example
Reality - Ironically Mozilla 1.8 is faster than Firefox 1 and 2 in 5 out of 7 measures of performance. - Browser Speed Comparisons
Notes - Firefox is supposed to be a lighter, leaner version of the Mozilla Suite.
Market Share Myths
Market Share May 2007
Myth - "Firefox Gained 25% Market Share in May 2007" - Example
Reality - "Firefox lost Market Share in May 2007, dropping below 15% while Internet Explorer and Safari gained." - NetApplications
"Firefox's market share was only 12% in May 2007" - The Counter
"Firefox's market share was still below 13% by June 2007" - OneStat
Market Share September 2006
Myth - "Firefox Gained Market Share in September 2006" - Example
Reality - "Internet Explorer has regained nearly 3 percentage points of the browser market since July, while Firefox has dropped 1.4 points in the same period, a Dutch Web metrics vendor said Monday." - Source - Source 2 - OneStat
Market Share January 2006 in Europe
Myth - "Firefox Achieved 20% Market Share in January 2006 in Europe" - Example
Reality - "As good as those numbers are, they need to be taken with a grain of salt. XiTi performed its measurements on a weekend, which means it captured a disproportionate number of home users and comparatively few corporate desktops. Most large companies still use Internet Explorer, so using weekend surfing activities as a baseline for market share evaluations is going to miss out on a lot of IE use." - Source
"But XiTi's figures should probably be taken with a pinch of salt, as Firefox usage tends to be highest over the weekend, according to Tristan Nitot, the president of Mozilla Europe." - Source
"Firefox had only 9.92% market share in the UK and only 9.48% market share in the Netherlands in January 2006" - OneStat
"Firefox was only at 10% market share between February and April 2006 in Europe" - ADTECH
Market Share Gained in 2005
Myth - "Firefox Achieved 10% Market Share in 2005" - Example
Reality - "According to WebSideStory, a San Diego-based Web analytics provider, Mozilla's Firefox closed 2005 with 8.9 percent of the browser market, while Microsoft's Internet Explorer wrapped up the year with 87.6 percent." - Source - WebSideStory
"NetApplications said that Firefox owned 9.6 percent of the market, and IE accounted for 85 percent." - Source - NetApplications
"Firefox was only at 8% market share for 2005" - The Counter
Myth - "Firefox Achieved 150 million downloads in January of 2006" - Example
Reality - "Oops. We recently introduced a bug into the counter and it's being fixed. We're not quite there yet. Sorry for the confusion. We accidentally counted the 20 million people who updated from Firefox 1.5 to Firefox 18.104.22.168 this week." - Source - Source 2
Myth - "Firefox is Secure" - Example
Reality - Firefox is anything but Secure. Since Firefox was released, users have been exposed to over 500 security vulnerabilities and counting. You only need one vulnerability to be insecure.
- CVE lists over 530 security vulnerabilities in Firefox. - CVE
- Secunia lists 136 security vulnerabilities in Firefox 0.x, 28% are rated Highly Critical. - Secunia
- Secunia lists 209 security vulnerabilities in Firefox 1.x, 36% are rated Highly Critical. - Secunia
- Secunia lists 154 security vulnerabilities in Firefox 2.x, 52% are rated Highly Critical. - Secunia
- Secunia lists 114 security vulnerabilities in Firefox 3.x, 79% are rated Highly Critical. - Secunia
"In the excitement that surrounded its launch last year, Firefox was unreasonably portrayed by some as having unbreakable security, but the vulnerabilities that have been detected in recent months are injecting a dose of reality into this myth, analysts say." - InfoWorld
"Firefox tops the list of applications that are well-known in the consumer space and are frequently downloaded by employees, often without the approval of IT departments - that contain critical, code-execution vulnerabilities." - Bit9
- Report: Firefox Security Superiority a Myth (TechNewsWorld)
Firefox 3 Security
Myth - "Firefox 3 is Secure" - Example
Reality - A Highly Critical vulnerability was discovered only 5 hours after Firefox 3 was released and it took Mozilla over one month to patch it. - Secunia - CNET
Firefox Zero-Day Vulnerability
Myth - "Firefox is not affected by Zero-Day Vulnerabilities"
Reality - Firefox has been affected by multiple Zero-Day Vulnerabilities:
- First critical security hole in Firefox 3 (heise online)
- Zero-Day Firefox Exploit Sends Mozilla Scrambling (eWeek)
- Zero-day security flaw leaves Firefox wide open (The Register)
Most Secure Web Browser
Myth - "Firefox is the Most Secure Web Browser" - Example
Reality - Opera is currently the most Secure Graphical Web Browser in Windows. - Source
More Secure than Internet Explorer 6
Myth - "Firefox 1 is more Secure than Internet Explorer 6" - Example
Reality - Internet Explorer 6 has been more secure than Firefox 1 in 2006. - Source - Source 2
Firefox 1.x - 209 Vulnerabilities
Internet Explorer 6.x - 158 Vulnerabilities
More Secure than Internet Explorer 7
Myth - "Firefox 2 is more Secure than Internet Explorer 7"
Reality - Internet Explorer 7 has been more secure than Firefox 2 in 2007. - Source
Myth - "Firefox Vulnerabilities are Quickly Patched" - Example
Reality - Multiple vulnerabilities have remained unpatched for a long time:
SA12403 - Unpatched since 08-30-2004
SA23046 - Unpatched since 11-22-2006
SA25481 - Unpatched since 06-01-2007
SA27907 - Unpatched since 12-04-2007
SA12580 - Unpatched from 09-18-2004 to 01-15-2008
SA20442 - Unpatched from 06-06-2006 to 10-19-2007
OS Integration Security
Myth - "Firefox is More Secure because it is not integrated into the OS" - Example
Reality - "The issue of not being part of the Operating System is an interesting one though that is frequently the subject of misunderstanding. IE is part of the Windows Operating System so that parts of the OS and other applications can rely on the functionality and APIs being present. IE in turn relies on Operating System functionality to do it's job. To be clear there are no Operating System APIs that IE uses that are not documented on MSDN as part of the platform SDK and available to other browsers and any other software that runs on Windows. The security of any browser is irrelevant to if it is part of the operating system. If we are to debate security of browsers then let's bring in relevant arguments and accurate details about different possible attacks rather than rely on the irrational fear that because IE is part of the operating system it must be exposing OS functionality to the web. This is not the case as any software has access to the same set of OS APIs and can therefore expose the same set of OS functionality as IE." - Source
Myth - "Firefox is More Secure because it does not use ActiveX" - Example
Reality - "ActiveX gets a bad rap as the cause of all of Internet Explorer's security woes. But it's just not so. Old myths die hard! There's no doubt that Internet Explorer has more than it's fair share of security holes, but very few of them have to do with ActiveX. ActiveX controls are packages of code that can run in the context of the browser. They are installable through a link on a Web page. Exactly how different is this from having a link to an executable file that you have to explicitly run? Essentially not at all, except that the ActiveX version is more convenient. Even with Firefox you can download and run an executable file. Does this make Firefox unsafe? In fact, Mozilla and Firefox's support for XPCOM, a plain text and platform-independent software model, is very comparable to ActiveX once you get the user to click "Yes." The complaint against ActiveX has always centered around the ability to install native code from across the Internet, but this is less unusual than it seems, and ActiveX arguably makes things more secure. When you encounter an object tag referencing a control that you do not have installed, you then have the opportunity to install it. Under the default security settings, you will be warned before this happens and given an opportunity to approve or reject the installation."
- The Lame Blame of ActiveX (eWeek)
- The Lame Blame of ActiveX (Dave Massy, Microsoft Software Engineer)
Notes - Windows XP SP2 (released on August 2, 2004 before Firefox 1.0 was released on November 9, 2004) included further security enhancements to Internet Explorer for the installation of ActiveX controls. Internet Explorer now displays an Information Bar (just below the address bar) where you can see information about downloads, blocked pop-up windows, potential security risks, and other activities. With the default settings for Internet Explorer you'll see the Information Bar when a Web site tries to:
- Install an ActiveX control on your computer
- Open a pop-up window
- Download a file to your computer
- Use the Internet Explorer Information Bar (Microsoft)
Myth - "Firefox Extensions are Safe" - Example
Reality - Firefox Extensions can be very unsafe:
Over 90 extensions have been found to collect data and uniquely identifying users without notifying them. - Mozilla
Beatnik - A vulnerability which can be exploited by malicious people to conduct script insertion attacks. - Secunia
Firebug - A highly critical vulnerability allows remote exploitation that can lead to system compromise. - Secunia
FireFTP - A vulnerability which can be exploited by malicious people to compromise a user's system. - Secunia
Fizzle - A vulnerability can be exploited by malicious people to conduct script insertion attacks. - Secunia
Greasemonkey - A vulnerability can be exploited by malicious people to disclose sensitive information. - Secunia
IE Tab - A vulnerability allows remote user-complicit attackers to cause an application crash. - CVE
infoRSS - A vulnerability can be exploited by malicious people to compromise a user's system. - Secunia
Sage - Multiple vulnerabilities can be exploited by malicious people to conduct cross-site scripting attacks. - Secunia
Wizz RSS News Reader - A highly critical vulnerability allows remote exploitation that can lead to system compromise. - Secunia
Yoono - A vulnerability can be exploited by malicious people to compromise a user's system. - Secunia
"Hackers can drop malicious code into systems running Mozilla's Firefox when the browser is armed with any of several high-profile add-ons, including Google Toolbar and Yahoo Toolbar." - Source
- Insecure plug-ins pose danger to Firefox users (The Register
Solution to Spyware
Myth - "Firefox is a Solution to Spyware" - Example
Reality - This is very misleading and can lull users into a false sense of security. Use the free Secure XP Guide to properly secure your system and get a REAL solution to Spyware. Firefox is nothing more than a Web Browser. Installing Firefox does not clean your system of existing Spyware infections or protect you from manually installing anything in the future, including Spyware. These can come from Downloads, Email Attachments, File Sharing and by other means. You can still easily get infected with Spyware using Firefox as these exploits demonstrate:
"Earlier this week, I blogged about a site doing a bunch of different exploits, depending on what you are running. One of the things the site will do is detect if you have Firefox, and attempt to exploit it, using the InstallVersion.compareTo() vulnerability. There are actually a number of sites running this exploit, and one of our researchers, Adam Thomas, was kind enough to take some pictures. Going to a site with an older version of Firefox got him just a bucket-load of Spyware." - Source
"Visit the same page in Firefox and, with the JRE up and running, the below happens. Being a curious soul, I agreed to the install - and quickly wished I hadn't! In a flurry of remote downloads, numerous changes to the registry took place and a sizeable amount of IE specific installs began downloading. Amongst the assortment was DyFuCA, Internet Optimizer, ISTsvc, Kapabout, sais (180 Solutions), SideFind, Avenue Media and something called djtopr1150.exe lurking in the Temp folder." - Source
Myth - "Firefox 2's Phishing Protection is better than Internet Explorer 7" - Example
Reality - "Internet Explorer 7's Phishing Filter finished at the top of 3Sharp's list as most accurate anti-phishing technology, catching nearly 9 out of 10 phishing sites while generating no warning or block errors on the 500 legitimate websites tested." - Source - Source 2
"- They [Smartware, the company that authored the study for Mozilla] didn't make any attempt to score false positives. This is a critical omission, because a filter that produces significant numbers of false positives will quickly train users to ignore its legitimate warnings. (Interestingly, PhishTank's own FAQ agrees with me). IMHO any study that doesn't include false positive data is meaningless.
- The Firefox report mentions that IE can warn or block, but it doesn't credit IE with any actual warnings. This is a significant omission, although we can't tell how significant because...
- The Firefox report doesn't include any information about the actual URLs used. They promise to publish this data "soon", but without that there's no way to gauge the quality of their data. (I understand that they'll publish the data later today; it'll be interesting to see the raw stuff.) Of course, we published all our URL data in our report.
- Speaking of data: the Firefox team used 1040 phish from Phishtank, a community filtering system, gathered over a two-week period. That's a good number of phish, but the study period was awfully short, and the phish all came from one source. We used multiple sources, including honey pots and user reports, to generate the phish list we used.
- Because they used a community-generated feed of phish, there's no way to tell which of the phish had also (or already) been reported to other systems that may have fed into the "Ask Google" or Microsoft data feeds. By contrast, we took great pains to try to find phish that we knew hadn't been submitted to Microsoft's URL reputation service." - Source
"The two 'live' sites I visited in each browser hardly constitute a scientific sample, but it's still worth noting that IE7 flagged both pages as confirmed phishing sites, while Firefox 2 missed them both" - Source
Myth - "Firefox 1.5 Memory Leak is a Bug" - Example
Reality - The Firefox 1.5 Memory Leak is not a bug. It's a Feature! The "Feature" is how the pages are cached in a tabbed environment.
"To improve performance when navigating (studies show that 39% of all page navigations are renavigations to pages visited less than 10 pages ago, usually using the back button), Firefox 1.5 implements a Back-Forward cache that retains the rendered document for the last few session history entries. This can be a lot of data. It's a trade-off. What you get out of it is faster performance as you navigate the web." - Source
Notes - Presto, the Opera rendering engine puts the emphasis on getting the content of a page (the text) to the user earlier than Firefox, and Opera's cache (especially the back/forward performance) is simply faster than any other browser. - Source
Myth - "Firefox supports Extensions and Internet Explorer does not" - Example
Reality - "Internet Explorer has supported extensions since 1997 in Internet Explorer 4.0 known as Add-Ons. - Source
Myth - "Firefox supports Extensions and Opera does not" - Example
Reality - Opera supports Extensions in Opera 9 known as Widgets. - Source
Notes - Many popular Firefox Extensions are already supported in Opera by default. - Source - Source 2 - Source 3
Myth - "Firefox supports an Inline Search Feature and Internet Explorer does not" - Example
Reality - Internet Explorer 7 supports Inline Search through the Inline Search Add-On. - Source
Myth - "Firefox was the first Web Browser to include an Integrated Search feature" - Example
Reality - Opera was the first browser to include an Integrated Search feature in Opera 5 in 2000. - Source - Source 2
Innovative (Definition) - "The act of introducing something new."
Myth - "Firefox was the first Web Browser to include Pop-up Blocking" - Example
Reality - Opera was the first browser to include Pop-up Blocking in Opera 5 in 2000. - Source - Source 2
Pop-up Blocking IE
Myth - "Firefox had Pop-up Blocking before Internet Explorer" - Example
Reality - Internet Explorer 6 had Pop-up Blocking with Windows XP SP2 on August 2, 2004 before Firefox 1.0 was released on November 9, 2004. - Source
Blocks All Pop-ups
Myth - "Firefox Blocks all Pop-ups" - Example
Reality - Firefox does not Block all Pop-ups. PopupTest shows the "Drop down Popup" and the "Sticky Popup" are not blocked. Other types of Pop-ups continue to get through. - Source
Myth - "The Firefox RSS icon was stolen by Microsoft for IE7" - Example
Reality - "I'm excited to announce that we're adopting the icon used in Firefox. John Lilly and Chris Beard from Mozilla were very enthusiastic about allowing us (and anyone in the community) to use their icon. This isn't the first time that we've worked with the Mozilla team to exchange ideas and encourage consistency between browsers, and we're sure it won't be the last.." - Source
Myth - "Firefox was the first Web Browser to include Tabbed Browsing" - Example
Reality - Tabbed Browsing has been around a long time. Opera invented Tabbed Browsing back in 1994. Netcaptor offered Tab Browsing in 1997 and other popular browsers such as Maxthon then known as "MYIE2" had this in 2002 way before Firefox officially arrived in 2004. - Source - Source 2
Innovative (Definition) - "The act of introducing something new."
Tabbed Browsing IE
Myth - "Firefox supports Tabbed Browsing and Internet Explorer does not" - Example
Reality - Internet Explorer 6 supports Tabbed Browsing when used with the MSN Toolbar extension in Windows XP. - Source
Reality - Internet Explorer 7 includes Tabbed Browsing by default. - Source
Myth - "Firefox fully supports W3C Standards" - Example
Reality - Firefox has incomplete support of many W3C standards including HTML 4.01, XHTML 1.1, CSS 2.1, CSS 3 and DOM. - Source
Update - The link here has changed so you get a non-biased view of the Source. The owner of this Source had tried to redirect visitors coming from this site to specially created warning pages.
Warning - When viewing his websites in Internet Explorer you may receive deceptive warnings saying: "Warning: There is a problem with your web browser" which links to his "IE is Dangerous" propaganda page. This is an attempt to use scare tactics to try and get people to use an alternate web browser. Please do not fall for these. He is also well aware some of his web pages break in Internet Explorer but deliberately refuses to fix them out of clear bias: "Do I dislike Internet Explorer? Yes. Do I wish Internet Explorer would just go away? Yes." - David Hammond. It should be noted these guides here will always attempt to work with all web browsers and never resort to these dishonest tactics.
Notes - Internet Explorer 6 has very good support (80%) for the most important web standard, HTML 4.01 - Source
W3C Standards Development
Myth - "The W3C Develops Recommendations not Standards" - Example
Reality - "W3C Develops Web Standards and Guidelines. W3C primarily pursues its mission through the creation of Web standards and guidelines. Since 1994, W3C has published more than ninety such standards, called W3C Recommendations." - Source
W3C Standards define a Webpage
Myth - "A Site that doesn't conform to W3C Standards is not a Webpage"
Reality - W3C Standards have nothing to do with the definition of what a Webpage is.
Webpage (Definition) - "A document on the World Wide Web, consisting of an HTML file and any related files for scripts and graphics, and often hyperlinked to other documents on the Web." - Source
Acid2 Browser Test
Myth - "Firefox 1 or 2 pass the Acid2 Browser Test" - Example
Reality - Neither Firefox 1 or 2 pass the Acid2 Browser test. This standards compliance test, released in April 13, 2005 is now over 3 years old. The Acid2 Browser Test is a test page written to help browser vendors ensure proper support for web standards in their products. It tests the features considered most important for the future of the web. This test clearly shows Firefox 1 and 2 do not fully support the most important web standards.
- Acid (The Web Standards Project)
Firefox 2.0 Acid2 Browser Test Results:
Notes - Opera v9 passes the Acid2 Browser Test in Windows:
Acid3 Browser Test
Myth - "Firefox 3 passes the Acid3 Browser Test" - Example
Reality - Firefox 3 does not pass the Acid3 Browser Test. The Acid3 Browser Test is a test page written to help browser vendors ensure proper support for web standards in their products. This test clearly shows Firefox continues to not fully support web standards.
- Acid3 Test (The Web Standards Project)
Firefox 3.0 Acid3 Browser Test Results:
Notes - Opera passed the Acid3 Browser Test on March 26, 2008 before Firefox 3 was released on June 17, 2008.
- Opera and the Acid3 Test (Opera Desktop Team)
- Acid3 Passed in 23 Days! (The Web Standards Project)
- Opera 10 aces Acid test (PC Pro)
- Opera 10 alpha aces Acid3 browser test (Computerworld)
Web Page Compatibility
Myth - "Firefox is completely compatible with every Web Site" - Example
Reality - 10-15% of web sites aren't completely compatible with Firefox. Firefox is not 100% Internet Explorer and ActiveX compatible. Web sites that depend on ActiveX or were only tested in Internet Explorer (which there are many) will only render and work properly in Internet Explorer based browsers. Web site features such as Menus, Web forms or other content may not function or behave differently then intended. While Internet Explorer is completely compatible with 99.99% of all Web Sites. - Source
In a recent study by a UK based web testing firm SciVisum, 1 in 10 UK web sites failed to work properly with Firefox. - Source
Hotmail is incompatible with Firefox 3. - Source
Web Page Compatibility IE7
Myth - "Firefox has the same web page compatibility issues as Internet Explorer 7" - Example
Reality - While Standards Compliance in IE7 has been greatly improved, this is only in Strict Mode. IE7 is still fully backwards compatible with IE Quirks Mode like IE6 and thus will continue to work fine with IE Quirks Mode reliant pages while Firefox will break on these pages. - Source
Web Page Rendering Differences
Myth - "Firefox supports Progressive Rendering and Internet Explorer does not" - Example
Reality - "Actually this is not true and you can see from going to many pages that Internet Explorer does support progressive rendering of content as it arrives. This is true however for table rendering. When Internet Explorer encounters a table it measures all the content of the table before rendering so that it knows what the widths of the columns are to render the content correctly. On the other hand Firefox uses a different algorithm in that it renders the table contents progressively before it has all been passed. There are pros and cons to both approaches. In the case of progressive rendering a table it can result in an experience where content is initially displayed and then moved as the browser progresses creating a clunky and poor quality feel. On the other hand if we parse the entire table content first then it can take some time to display in the case of heavily nested tables. I've heard user feedback supporting both arguments and more than a few people have mentioned that they find Firefox's rendering a little off putting in this regard." - Source
So what should you get out of this page? Simple, that these myths are not true. There is a lot of information here and all the necessary sources that you can go to read the facts for yourself. I wrote this page to set the record straight. I was tired of all this nonsense being forced on unknowledgeable users by the Fanboy community. The exaggerations, misinformation and outright lies were simply too much to take. I really don't care what browser you use just don't make things up to get people to switch. Thanks to these myths some users think using Firefox makes them "secure". I had people claiming they did not need AntiVirus and AntiSpyware software anymore because they were using Firefox. This sort of irresponsible misinformation is damaging to everyone. I frequently found fully infected machines that the end user had no idea about because they thought they were "invulnerable" running Firefox. Nothing could be further from the truth. The problem is most people are lazy and do not take the necessary steps to properly secure their PCs. Even here, from some of the emails I get, people don't take the time to read the whole page or the sources and simply jump to conclusions. Firefox is an decent web browser with a good extension system but it is not the fastest, most secure or most compliant. Quite simply most of what you heard about Firefox is not true.^ TOP
These Myths originated from various sources on the World Wide Web in news articles, Blogs, forums and on various other pages. The World Wide Web is a very large place with millions of pages and forums. What is known in one corner, may never be heard in another. So readers of this page may have only heard of one, many or even none of these Myths. It all depends on where you go and what you read. It is quite possible for many more Firefox Myths to exist out there that are unknown to this page. As they are discovered, they will be added and debunked with Facts and Sources as the rest have been here. Making the argument that no knowledgeable individual would say these things is obvious. Myths are not created by knowledgeable individuals. It is the lack of knowledge in the first place that leads to their creation. Simply using a search engine to find the origins of all of the Myths presented here will lead to inconclusive results since a search engine was never used in this manner by this author. Search engines rely on exact wording and having the ability to search all known sources. The Myths presented here are not always worded exactly the same way and not all sites allow search engines to crawl them. The reasoning for not linking to the origins is simple, I will not unleash the full wrath of the Firefox fanboys on anyone - I am human. However I have added some search engine located examples as additional proof. Keep in mind these are not the "origins" but a simple demonstration that these Myths do exist. The example links are frequently taken down as the Fanboys get to them. Each Myth has been heard enough times to constitute it being a Myth.^ TOP
The eye-opening nature of this page has caused some controversy. When some people are presented with facts that go against their established beliefs their first reaction is to blindly react rather than calmly think. Since all the Myths relating to Firefox are over-exaggerated positives debunking them will obviously make the page seem negative. This is out of my control and I do not apologize for it. This has caused a few rather amateurish and rash "rebuttals" to this page. In each and every case they are merely filled with excuses, opinions, rhetoric and conjecture. All have been thoroughly and easily refuted with the facts and sources presented here. I have noticed most to be by Macintosh, Linux and Anti-Microsoft advocates, not surprisingly. This has been overwhelmingly confirmed via the emails I have received. Yet this page is clearly about Myths relating to Firefox running on Windows. Some even openly admit to being unable to stop something as elementary as Malware infection when using Internet Explorer - hardly reputable sources to dispute anything! Regardless don't be manipulated by excuses and rhetoric, demand the facts and sources. Always ask for irrefutable proof (they never have any). Any testing needs to be fully documented and reproducible (they never have any of this either but no shortage of rhetoric). The shortcomings of other browsers does not excuse the shortcomings of Firefox and the spread of misinformation about it. This propaganda tactic also known as "balancing" is in reality nothing but excuses. Get the facts not excuses.
Yes this is the "Original" Firefox Myths page
Yes I have installed, tested and used every single public release version of Firefox since v1.0
Yes I have refuted every argument about this page (ad nauseam)
Yes I have posted this page at different places
Yes I do defend everything on this page
No I have never worked for Microsoft or Opera
No I have never been paid for this page
No I have never "spammed" this page anywhere
No I do not "Troll"
No I have never posted under any "Aliases"
No I will never add excuses to this page
No I do not hate Firefox
Extensions - There are no myths about Firefox supporting a feature it does not. While there are myths claiming the opposite when certain browser comparisons to Firefox are made. The disclaimer about testing Firefox with no extensions is there for a reason. Many Fanboys like to use convoluted Firefox extension loaded systems when comparing things like performance and security. This is biased, inaccurate and designed to mislead the end user. If there was some myth (there are none) that Firefox did not support feature X but did via an extension I would mention it. The Freeware Browser Guide clearly does this.
Fanboys (Definition) - "An unkempt, socially awkward, young man who may be perceived as a loud mouthed pseudo-intellectual. Fanboys can be zealously committed to their particular narrow area of interest, to the exclusion and derision of competing or similar products, regardless of their merits. Fanboys are often perceived as possessing a sycophantic devotion to the creators behind the object of their passion. An obsession may be short or long term and, at times, aggressively defended. Fanboys are noted for a very emotional attachment to their chosen subject, often taking negative remarks about it as a personal attack. They may readily engage in debates, but will fall back on emotional responses."
Firefox Fanboys are so scared people may actually read this page and make up their own minds that they have gone to great lengths to censor any discussion of this page. Anywhere this page appears they desperately try to have the information removed and will spam all discussions. So far they have been successful in getting this page banned from www.Digg.com. Anyone even posting a link to www.FirefoxMyths.com will have it removed, their account deleted and their IP address blocked. Now why would Digg do this, unless the administration were trying to promote their own agenda. Which apparently includes censoring any perceived negative criticism of the Firefox web browser. When this site was initially submitted on Digg it made the front page in under two hours and was buried to oblivion by the Fanboys in half that time. You have to ask yourself what are they so afraid of? Obviously people reading the factual information presented on this page, instead of the misinformation fed to them by the Fanboy community. It really is that simple.
Update - A small group of Firefox fanboys have been unsuccessful in refuting any of the factual evidence presented on this page and have thus turned to personal attacks against myself, which include lies, slander and unfounded accusations. This sort of behavior is not only unprofessional but immature. Apparently the closer you get to the truth the more desperate some become. Their paranoia that someone other than myself might have something critical to say about Firefox has reached new heights and they now associate anyone saying anything positive about this website or critical of Firefox as myself only using an "alias", simply hilarious. Conspiratorial delusions are all part of the Firefox Religion.
Firefox Fanboy Spammers
Here is a list of known people or aliases who will either spam any discussion of this page or make slanderous statements about me:
David Hammond AKA Nanobot, Nanobe (Never Dated a Girl)
MrFlibble AKA Basil Brush, FreewheelinFrank (A Pot Head)
Thomas McGuire AKA TSThomas
Frequently Firefox fanboys will try to quiet any discussion of this topic by dropping a list of links claiming to dispute this page. Actually reading the links reveals nothing more then the opinions, rhetoric and conjecture I was speaking of above. However some simplistic people naively interpret any number of "dispute" links being greater than this one page to be some sort of "win" in disputing this page. This is obviously completely ridiculous but nonetheless effective with naive people who don't actually read sources. Therefore I have put together a simple Link Bomb.txt file which includes source links from www.FirefoxMyths.com you can easily copy and paste from to use in these instances. I recommend using the whole file at once.
1. This page originally came out in 2005! Thus the relevance of any Myth can change.
2. Read this page COMPLETELY and I mean EVERY word before you send me any emails!
3. Non-Windows Fanboys - Do not send me any emails! I honestly do not care about what you have to say.
4. The Examples are NOT the Sources! Do not send me any emails about the Examples!
5. Excuses will NEVER be added to this page! Do not send me any emails including any excuses.
6. I have heard just about every argument imaginable and I am extremely tired of repeating myself.
7. Do not send me long useless emails giving your opinion on each Myth, I really don't care.
8. Do not claim to know or imply my intent, only I can state this.
Now if you have a testimonial or an intelligent comment and not something that 20 other mindless fanboys have not already knee-jerk ranted about feel free to email me: OptimizeXP@comcast.net
Notes - Non-Windows Fanboys are apparently illiterate.
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