Crazy like a fox December 6, 2007 3:10 PM   Subscribe

FYI: it took a while but last month, firefox finally surpassed IE as the most popular browser here (that's data for the month of November).
posted by mathowie to MetaFilter-Related at 3:10 PM (63 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

firefox is just that much cuter!
posted by By The Grace of God at 3:21 PM on December 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Only just now really? I thought better of you metafilter. Can you see usage by logged in users, Matt? I wonder if it's higher?
posted by Divine_Wino at 3:21 PM on December 6, 2007


Surprised it took so long.
posted by misha at 3:28 PM on December 6, 2007


This is all visitors to the server, not just users or non-users. It's been hovering near 50-50% for the last year or two, with firefox getting about 40% of the traffic and IE getting about 42-46%.

It seems that just in the last month or two the scales finally flipped.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:35 PM on December 6, 2007


Only just now really? I thought better of you metafilter.

Keep in mind that if people are logging in at work, they may not have a choice. I don't- we need IE.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:35 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Haha! Your favicon saving story is too late! AHahahahahahahaha....
posted by cashman at 3:36 PM on December 6, 2007


Yeah; I'm a loyal FF user, but the majority of my mefi traffic is probably from work where I'm living it up in IE.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:38 PM on December 6, 2007


Another testament to the quality and good breeding of Mefites in general.

I've used FF for so long now, I just started a new job where all I can use is IE and it took me ten minutes to figure out where everything was in IE. (It still sucks.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:48 PM on December 6, 2007


The day they changed it from firebird to firefox, and I saw the new icon, I did an actual little dance.

Fox fox fox fox fox.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:48 PM on December 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Was wolfdog on a fox hunt?
posted by wendell at 3:59 PM on December 6, 2007


I have a few sites I have to use in IE, because they are stupid, but I use a pc on the side of my desk for that, otherwise it's Firefox, then again I'm the IT department, so I guess it would be my fault if it wasn't.
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:00 PM on December 6, 2007


Your statistics for Opera are probably not correct because Opera user have to identify thier browser as IE or FF for the Bold, Italics, and link buttons to work correctly in Opera.
posted by bigmusic at 4:33 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm happy I work where I do. When I started, I asked the IT guy if I could install Firefox, and he gave me the admin login and password for my machine. I think it helped that I was the only Mac-sensible person in the office, which is all Windows except for the lone Mac our designer uses; the IT guys are familiar with Mac, but they're happy for me to help with troubleshooting.
posted by rtha at 4:35 PM on December 6, 2007


IE at work and at home, because our IT guy is lazy.

And he's also me.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:37 PM on December 6, 2007


It may be a false positive result: I use Firefox, and I hit the site probably 10 or maybe 15 thousand times a day.

I'm kinda obsessive.
posted by quin at 4:39 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Your statistics for Opera are probably not correct because Opera user have to identify thier browser as IE or FF for the Bold, Italics, and link buttons to work correctly in Opera.
On the other hand they could be correct because I didn't know those buttons existed until you posted that comment
posted by pantsrobot at 4:40 PM on December 6, 2007


Just for that, I'm going to start hitting the site in Konqueror.
posted by davejay at 4:43 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I seriously advocate configuring webservers to not serve any CSS or JS files to IE since it doesn't really know how to handle those languages properly. And, if withholding those parts would make any content on a site inaccessible, well, then it wasn't actually accessible to begin with.

I try not to look at browser stats too much; it is depressing that even at a place like this IE still has so many users. Implementing the above suggestion might help.
posted by finite at 4:44 PM on December 6, 2007


Using Safari for Windows just because I like how it smooths out the text and makes it all pretty.

BTW, thanks for the "link" button for Safari.
posted by evilcolonel at 4:49 PM on December 6, 2007


Your statistics for Opera are probably not correct

Indeed. Also, my N800 web tablet with ITOS2008 claims to be Firefox 3.0 even though it isn't really, and my desktop browser (Iceweasel) doesn't rep Firefox even though it actually is. Lies, damn lies, and web stats.
posted by finite at 4:50 PM on December 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


I love Firefox, but it's sucked ever since I've upgraded my Mac to Leopard. One by one, everyone in my office is switching to Safari. I'm still using FF, because some of its plugins are really useful for my work. But I'm sick of it constantly crashing.
posted by grumblebee at 5:17 PM on December 6, 2007


I seriously advocate configuring webservers to not serve any CSS or JS files to IE since it doesn't really know how to handle those languages properly.

Bah. I use great greasy slabs of CSS and crispy piles of delicious javascript on all my sites, and they all look virtually identical in all major browsers. Not that it was a cakewalk to get them there, I admit, and IE does cause headaches, yes. But let's not pull our pants down and set our hair on fire.

IE's crap, but it's not completely made of fail.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:38 PM on December 6, 2007


What percent use lynx?
posted by escabeche at 5:43 PM on December 6, 2007


I've used FF for so long now, I just started a new job where all I can use is IE and it took me ten minutes to figure out where everything was in IE.

Unless your employer flat out won't let you have Firefox, I've worked around this by using Firefox in conjunction with IE Tab.

Some of the sites I have to use at my job require IE, but I simply set them up to default as such with IE Tab within Firefox. Plain ole' 'Fox loads the rest. It's totally seamless.

apologies if this is totally common knowledge and unhelpful.
posted by rollbiz at 6:56 PM on December 6, 2007


Both the web design guy and the IT guy are openly vexed by my use of firefox at work. It's bizarro world.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:08 PM on December 6, 2007


Well, that sucks. Mine was resistant at first, but I work at a place where most people are intermediate users at best. I basically promised him he would never have to help me use my computer or my browser, and that did the trick.

He likes to give me shit when some of the in house improvements to our website don't display properly, but I simply remind him that our outside developers and a small but support-worthy portion of our customers use it too.
posted by rollbiz at 7:14 PM on December 6, 2007


"...let's not pull our pants down and set our hair on fire"

Well sure, not over this. Other issues, though...I am so there.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:17 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I seriously advocate configuring webservers to not serve any CSS or JS files to IE since it doesn't really know how to handle those languages properly. And, if withholding those parts would make any content on a site inaccessible, well, then it wasn't actually accessible to begin with.

Yes, alienating over half of your user base sounds like a great strategy. You don't have to like the people who visit your site, but in order to be successful, you have to not shit on them.
posted by chrisamiller at 7:58 PM on December 6, 2007


Our IT folks let us install anything we want with the proviso that once we do that we can never ask them for help again. If we screw up our desktops, their only fix is to wipe the drive and drop a standard image onto it. Fortunately, Ubuntu is hard to screw up.
posted by octothorpe at 8:00 PM on December 6, 2007


But let's not pull our pants down and set our hair on fire.

Why don't we do it in the road?
posted by flabdablet at 9:50 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Interesting. I was just looking at NYPL's Digital Gallery site figures (80:20 IE:FF) which approximates the web as a whole. I guess it's the metafilter geeky skew.
posted by peacay at 10:03 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hi Big Brother mathowie. Here I am using FF.I had no idea anyone monitored such things. Except maybe some folks in Redmond. Or DC.
posted by Cranberry at 10:47 PM on December 6, 2007


er, thanks for the hug
checks billfold, carkeys
posted by Cranberry at 10:53 PM on December 6, 2007


To me, using IE by choice is a signifier that one doesn't know dick about the internet. It's the new AOL account by which I ignore you.
posted by dhammond at 11:13 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


The bugged javaScript finally drove all the IE users off!
posted by Artw at 12:35 AM on December 7, 2007


What percent use lynx?

This site is actually quite usable in lynx, all things considered. Nice job, mathowie.
posted by Gary at 1:05 AM on December 7, 2007


ThePinkSuperhero: "Keep in mind that if people are logging in at work, they may not have a choice. I don't- we need IE."

cortex: "Yeah; I'm a loyal FF user, but the majority of my mefi traffic is probably from work where I'm living it up in IE."

Benny Andajetz: "I've used FF for so long now, I just started a new job where all I can use is IE and it took me ten minutes to figure out where everything was in IE. (It still sucks.)"

Two words for all of you - Portable Firefox. It will run from a USB drive or packet-write enabled CD, but I find it works best when put in a directory on the HDD (or network drive, but I wonder about the network nazis noticing all the traffic). If you are in an environment where you use different machines a lot, it also makes it easier to keep all your extensions, themes etc without constant re-installing.
posted by dg at 1:15 AM on December 7, 2007


I wouldn't be at all surprised if heavy Metafilter users are more likely to be using Firefox, in which case the proportion of users using IE is likely to still be higher, if my understanding of how these figures are collected is correct. Anyone?
posted by teleskiving at 2:03 AM on December 7, 2007


I just switched from FF over to IE7, suck it haters
posted by poppo at 4:26 AM on December 7, 2007


I usually hate IE more as a web developer than as a user. IE continues to operate by rules which might make sense within MSFT but everybody else does it differently. This leads to treating the IE family as the bastard lineage when building web pages. On the upside, Microsoft made it easy to isolate IE's behaviors through conditional commenting, so I can do what works on Firefox and Safari and Opera and Konq and so on, then augment the core stylesheets with rules only IE can see. At least once in every project I wish other browsers had a similar function. The other major browsers are nowhere near perfect -- for example, we still have to deal with Safari 2's problem with very tall absolutely-positioned elements and Firefox's opacity bug. And even if all browsers followed standards to the letter they would still end up differing on those standards' ambiguities.

Each major release of IE behaves in completely different ways, so each browser has to be treated as its own case, leading to a web developers having to either accumulate a lot of spare PCs (or, preferably, virtual machines) running legally-acquired obsolete OSes they can't patch, or else install a multiple-IE hack and work around the bugs that causes. At least I can use virtual Windows machines - Apple doesn't allow virtualization of OS X, so we need to keep extra Macintoshes around just for their versions of Safari.

The upshot of this is it's usually easier to get a site to look good on the Mac or Wii or iPhone than on Internet Explorer. On the other hand it's easier to keep specific fixes for IE 6 from affecting other browsers -- whenever Safari 2 needs a tweak all its own, I have to test all the other browsers to make sure the tweak hasn't affected them. Dealing with the long tail of the browser world can take disproportionate time and money.

All this is, or should be, transparent to the end user. These days it shouldn't matter what browser you're using.
posted by ardgedee at 4:43 AM on December 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


I only use IE for porn - because if it ain't risky, it just ain't sexy.
posted by Sparx at 4:46 AM on December 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


If people have the Firefox user agent switcher set to IE7 won't that skew the stats? A few websites I regularly use insist that I use IE so I leave my user agent there. So you may want to add at least one FF user and delete one IE7 user, just to be more exact.
posted by TedW at 5:18 AM on December 7, 2007


Firefox is too bloated on my iBook. Safari is the new hawtness.
posted by Stynxno at 9:07 AM on December 7, 2007


Cranberry writes "Hi Big Brother mathowie. Here I am using FF.I had no idea anyone monitored such things. Except maybe some folks in Redmond. Or DC."

Cranberry:

Just background for you, but whenever you visit a site, if they have logging enabled (and I'd say 99% of sites do, whether they actually look at the logs or not), the log will automatically record a few things: your IP address, what you're trying to see on the site, whether it was successful, what browser you're using, etc.

Then, if you have any sort of standard monitoring software, free or otherwise, it'll be able to automatically create reports that show all kinds of things: where your users are physically from, what networks they're using, what browsers they're using, what language they're using, how they got to your site (directly entered the URL? Linked from somewhere else?), etc.

So a lot of people are monitoring browsers, not in any kind of proactive "hey! I'm going to set up a browser type monitor, and check it daily!" way, but in more of an idle "Hmm, I wonder what browsers people are using...((click))...oh, I see". After all, the info is only one click away.
posted by Bugbread at 12:08 PM on December 7, 2007


I just started using IE7. It rocks. Don't know what you're all moaning about.
posted by bonaldi at 12:16 PM on December 7, 2007


Thank you bugbread, monitoring who uses what just seems like such a waste of time. But then, I would not be upset if cars did not have the manufacturers' names on them.
I feel that I should write much, much more in order to fill up this giant comment box, but right now I have some things to do in rl. Maybe later.
posted by Cranberry at 12:48 PM on December 7, 2007


bugbread, I don't log anything at all with regards to Apache, so this is straight from Google Analytics.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:59 PM on December 7, 2007


grumblebee - what'cha talking about? Since upgrading to Leopard FF has actually been running better on my MacBook Pro. Thunderbird too. The delay before initial display of a page with text area or new mail message is much less noticeable than it was before. Have had no crashes in either.

Wish I could say the same for my mouse and networking, which has gone buggy as hell, but win some, lose some I guess.
posted by caution live frogs at 1:11 PM on December 7, 2007


At my office, we push browsers to their limits. We're often running many cpu/ram intensive apps in multiple tabs. Even given this, I could get away with it in FF prior to upgrading to Leopard. But now, FF crashes about once every 20 minutes. I get the rotating-ball and FF totally freezes and won't unfreeze, even if I let it sit for ten minutes. So I've had to switch to Safari. Safari runs fine. But it sucks, because I can't use some of my favorite plugins.
posted by grumblebee at 1:15 PM on December 7, 2007


I've found FF generally a little less stable on Leopard over Tiger. I have to restart my browser two or three times a day now (probably memory/plugin issues).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:47 PM on December 7, 2007


This site is actually quite usable in lynx, all things considered. Nice job, mathowie.

I couldn't get it to log in for some reason.
posted by davejay at 5:18 PM on December 7, 2007


I just started using IE7. It rocks. Don't know what you're all moaning about.

It's better than IE6 in a lot of ways, but carries over lots of the same bugs from a development perspective, plus the new text zoom function has flaws that make text disappear under certain conditions. Oh, and it's nearly as insecure as IE6 was/is.

But compared to IE6, it's tremendous.
posted by davejay at 5:20 PM on December 7, 2007


For all those ditching firefox for safari on OS X, can I suggest you check out Camino? It won't get you your plugins back, but it uses the mozilla rendering engine, is a bit more flexible than safari, and is very well integrated with OS X in general, which was my biggest issue using firefox. It's just not actually made to play nicely in the mac environment.
posted by Arturus at 5:45 PM on December 7, 2007


It's looking good in Netscape 14.93. Thanks.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 7:25 PM on December 7, 2007


Dealing with the long tail of the browser world can take disproportionate time and money.

I deal with different browsers by identifying the user agent string and dynamically sending them different, browser-specific CSS files.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:53 PM on December 7, 2007


Your statistics for Opera are probably not correct because Opera user have to identify thier browser as IE or FF for the Bold, Italics, and link buttons to work correctly in Opera.

Well, waddaya know? The same trick works for Safari 1.x, too!
posted by Thorzdad at 6:07 AM on December 8, 2007


The irony for me is that I just switched from Firefox to Opera. Vista and Firefox are not playing well together at all.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:09 AM on December 8, 2007


All you people having firefox issues, have you considered getting 1.5 from oldversion? I've been using it since it was current. Stablest web-thing I ever did see.
posted by tehloki at 1:04 PM on December 8, 2007


How easy is it to find plugins that work with 1.5?
posted by grumblebee at 1:55 PM on December 8, 2007


http://img441.imageshack.us/img441/671/lolfirefoxrj1.jpg
posted by acro at 6:17 PM on December 8, 2007


grumblebee: all of my favorite extensions (and I have about 20) are compatible with and have updates for both 1.5.x.x and 2.x.x.x.
posted by tehloki at 6:18 PM on December 8, 2007


Foxfire is great (you won't believe how often I hear the word Foxfire at work).

But anyways... you can always tell an Internet Explorer user from a Firefox user. IE users still make spelling mistakes in their postings.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 7:03 PM on December 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


Foxfire is great. It's the first place I look when I get a hankerin' for some home-smoked ham or homemade lye soap or moonshine.

And Ambrosia Voyeur, I think I saw your cow-orkers out back setting rubbish bins on fire and inhaling the fumes.
posted by oats at 4:31 PM on December 11, 2007


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