Are all browsers just betas?

Last week, I commented that I think the release version of Internet Explorer 7 should still be regarded as a beta. I’ll be commenting more on that in today’s episode of the FIR podcast.

But what about Firefox 2, released by Mozilla last week?

Like many other people, I installed the upgrade. Yet it keeps locking up and/or crashing. Each time it does, I click on the little dialog that wants to send an error report to Microsoft.

Each time, I then get a report from Microsoft Online Crash Analysis that says this:

Upgrade for Firefox recommended
Thank you for submitting an error report.
Problem description
An error occurred in your Firefox. Firefox was created by Mozilla Firefox.
A solution is not available for the specific problem you reported; however, Mozilla Firefox has informed Microsoft that a new version of Firefox is available. The new version may not fix the error you reported, but Mozilla Firefox recommends that you install it.

Well, I have installed release version 2 and it hasn’t fixed whatever the error is.

So it’s still beta, then.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Dominic Jones

    You’re not the only one having issues with FF2. Crashes have been reported elsewhere. Fortunately, so far I find it works great. My problem is with Adobe Acrobat. It causes lock-ups frequently. This has been going on for years on different machines…

    BTW, the rendering issues sites might have in IE7 have nothing to do with the browser and everything to do with bad coding. Oddly enough, some blogs are designed only for FF users and don’t render properly in any other browser ;-)

  2. Stuart Mudie

    Firefox 2.0 has been crashing a lot on me too – the first time I’ve ever seen this browser crash, actually.

    Perhaps this just confirms the fact that you should never install anything with .0 in the name!

  3. neville

    I’ve read quite a bit about others’ experiences, Dominic. This is not good at all.

    And re IE7 rendering issues, take a look at these commentaries about big problems with IE7 that quite a few of the FTSE 100 are experiencing with their websites:

    Never use point-oh software, absolutely right, Stuart! I should know that!

    Is FF2 really better than IE7, Dave? I’m not so sure. My angst about IE7 is mostly to do with those rendering issues that Dominic mentions and which was the primary focus of my post last week.

    At least it doesn’t crash as frequently as FF2 does :)

  4. Vishnu K. Mahmud

    It could be that time of year where you must format your hard drive and re-install Windows. You may have accumulated a lot of registry files that finally tanked, causing many issues. Is the problem with the software (IE7 or FF2) or your operating system? Back in my Windows days, I would back up, format and reinstall every 6 months.

    Even on the Mac I have a feeling FF2.0 is a bit sluggish, despite the fact I have maximum RAM on my Powerbook. Time for a format and reinstall I wonder? Maybe I should, it’s been nearly 3 years!

    Problem with both the Mac and Windows is that you truly cannot erase all traces of installed files, which could affect the installation of new apps. But I guess they need this feature t make sure we don’t cheat on shareware or beat the grace period of new applications.

  5. Dominic Jones


    Thanks for the links to etre. They only tested the homepages, so their survey probably understates the issues that many sites have with IE7 and FF. Of course, if you can’t get your homepage right, then you’ve probably got many other issues on your site.

    I find that when you start to dig into sites using FF and IE7 you will find many more problems, particularly in IE7. Active X controls are a big area for troubles in IE7. Furthermore, a lot of Microsoft stuff that worked in IE6 — such as PowerPoint shows saved as web pages — don’t work with IE7.

    To me, this shows that companies really haven’t been paying attention to the Web over the past few years. In some cases, they’ve been sold rubbish work by outside vendors and weren’t savvy enough to realize it.

    Now I should say that UK companies are MUCH better on average than companies in the U.S. This is probably due to the attention they have had to give to Web accessibility for people with disabilities. Accessibility and web standards go hand in hand.

    Personally, I welcome IE7 and all the problems it will create because perhaps it will help to focus some attention on the poor quality of most corporate websites today. With all the focus on Web 2.0, it’s easy to forget that many companies haven’t quite gotten Web 1.0 yet.

  6. neville

    That’s on my to-do list, Vishnu – zap the drive and start again from scratch. I usually do this about every six months. Running late on that this year. I may actually wait for Vista if I can get hold of a release-version copy later this month.

    Good point, Dominic, re home pages. That’s a curious thing in my experience with IE7 messing up the look-and-feel of this blog – it seems to be only the home page with other pages rendering fine.

    While I also welcome IE7, not sure about problems it creates, the operative words being ‘it creates’ – it’s one thing for the site creator to be the cause of problems and quite another for it to be the essential software that people need to use to interact with your site.

  7. Dominic Jones


    This is an interesting question. Your homepage does not work properly in Safari, Opera, IE5, IE 5.5, IE6 and IE7. It only works in Firefox. Given that, is the issue with your homepage’s code or the non-FF browsers? I don’t know, which is why it’s interesting to me. Your page could be standards-compliant, but following a standard that no browser except FF recognizes. One must then ask if such a narrowly followed standard can be a standard.

  8. Unofficial Vista Blog Tour, Day 2: Does IE7 suck? at

    […] While there are certainly things to complain about, when you look at the bigger picture, I think Microsoft is to be applauded for the important improvements it has made to the latest version of its browser. We have a right to demand perfection, but we shouldn’t really be surprised when we don’t get it. You recently put it quite well yourself, Neville, when you asked: “Are all browsers just betas?” […]

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