June 12, 2005

Opera versus FireFox Debate

Nick Wilson [Threadwatch] notes the current FireFox/Opera awards imbrolio.

This is an argument? Despite the confusion over who said what, who understood what, who lied, or who simply misunderstood (which no doubt could be sorted out, but doesn't fall at the top of my priorities list) the argument over whether Firefox or Opera "won" is kind of a non-issue to me. All that happened here is that PC magazine issued awards. Nice awards, listened-to awards, yes … but geez.

Still, the argument rages. Some Firefox advocates claim that because more people use FF than Opera, it's clearly the winner in that game. Of course, we don't know how many people may have downloaded versions of any software but don't use it — but, in the most-used category, clearly IE is the winner, is it not? Then they fall back on the IE-is-bad argument to prove the point. Rather circular, ain't it?

The ours-is-free argument doesn't hold much weight, either. Sure, Opera may not reveal its dazzling splendor until you pay to remove the ads, but free isn't a criterion of better — though it may be a prime cause for FireFox's higher usage. And both browsers benefit from new skins (FF by default has a cartoonish look, while Opera's default skin is rather blinding white), but does anyone really believe that Firefox would enjoy the market share it does if it wasn't free?

Empirical evidence shows us that more people drive Fords and Toyotas than Ferraris, Porsches or Rolls Royces, y'know.

— ArveBersvendsen on browser statistics:

35.2% of browsers that claim to be MSIE aren't. 84.2% of browsers that use a faked MSIE UA string, are using Opera.

Of course, any tally of stats may be problematic. Bottom line: use the browser you want to use.

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