October 27, 2006 10:00 AM PDT

Week in review: Browser battles

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Mozilla fired a new salvo in the browser battle this week by officially releasing Firefox 2, with upgraded security features and a new interface.

The revamped Firefox includes a new interface theme and security enhancements such as built-in phishing protection. It also has session memory, which, when the browser is re-opened, brings back the set of Web pages that were in use when it was last closed. Changes have also been made in the technology to import RSS feeds, producing a feed list view with title and first lines. (Click here for the CNET Review.)

The Firefox 2 launch comes just days after Microsoft released Internet Explorer 7, the first update to its browser in almost five years.

(Click here for a look at how the Microsoft and Mozilla upgrades stack up on tabs, security, cool features and more.)

A day after shipping Firefox 2, Mozilla largely rebutted two claims of security flaws in the latest version of the Web browser. One of the problems is related to a vulnerability that was patched in an earlier version of Firefox. A report on the Bugtraq mailing list suggested that the issue, labeled "critical" by Mozilla, resurfaced in Firefox 2.

The report is incorrect, a Mozilla spokesman said. "The vulnerabilities that were identified were actually fixed."

However, there is a related problem that can cause Firefox to crash. "The exploitable issues are fixed. There is a crash, but it is a denial of service," the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, security experts have found a weakness in IE 7 that could help crooks mask phishing scams--the type of attack Microsoft designed the browser to thwart. The browser allows a Web site to display a pop-up that can contain a spoofed Web address, security monitoring company Secunia said. An attacker could exploit this weakness to trick people into believing they are on a trusted Web site when in fact they are viewing a malicious page.

The problem lies in the way Web addresses are displayed in the IE 7 address bar, a Microsoft representative said in an e-mailed statement. An attacker could exploit the issue by tricking a user to click on a specially formatted link, the representative said.

Back in hack
Jon Johansen, the 20-something hacker widely known for helping crack the piracy protections on DVDs several years ago, is taking on Apple Computer again. He has reverse-engineered Apple's FairPlay, the digital rights management technology used to make iPod and iTunes a closed system.

The technology will make other online music stores work with Apple's iPod device and let iTunes songs play on gadgets other than the iPod, said Monique Farantzos, who with Johansen co-founded DoubleTwist Venture Partners to license his work.

So how does it work?

"Essentially, what we do is trick iTunes into thinking that the device is an iPod," she said. "We're not removing any copy protection, we're simply adding copy protection."

Farantzos, a biophysicist by training but now into technology business development, talked about the company's plans and challenges with CNET News.com.

While many CNET News.com readers debated the legality of the technology, one reader questioned whether it was commercially viable.

"What company would risk setting up a business model based on Jon's software when it is very likely that Apple could get a restraining order to halt its use, then spend as much time and money as necessary to win the case?" wrote one reader to News.com's TalkBack forum.

See more CNET content tagged:
Firefox 2.0, Week in review, Mozilla Corp., Firefox, copy protection

32 comments

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IE 7 has has upper hand this time...
Comments from media persons about the big download for IE and which also requires restarting of pc are to the point but the final word that matters is " IE 7 HAS BETTER WEB EXPERIANCE" features of IE are better this time and has upper hand over Firefox. firefox seems to have copied some of the features from the beta releases of IE 7.
firefox takes hell lot of memory and slows the system...which was a problem in the previous releases aslo.Tab feature was initailly adopted and applied by firefox but microsoft has shown better way to hadle it.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://montoojoshi.googlepages.com/onlinecompiler" target="_newWindow">http://montoojoshi.googlepages.com/onlinecompiler</a>
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://montoojoshi.googlepages.com/universeunleashed" target="_newWindow">http://montoojoshi.googlepages.com/universeunleashed</a>
thanx
Posted by Himanshu_Joshi (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
dude what are you smoking?
so tell me what GOOD feature in IE is new to firefox? IE basically copy and paste a lot of feature from firefox, like TABS.
there are a million things in firefox better than any ie yet.
I'm running linux on a P3 700mhz laptop with 184ram
using FIREFOX and is only using 19mem and in my winxp machine I am running P4 1.8ghz 512mb of ram (windows automatically use 256mbs min) and firefox is using 25me sooooo firefox is not using alot of memory .

YOU PEOPLE WITH ANY VERSION OF IE GO VISIT A FEW X X X OR WAREZ WEBSITE AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS TO UR PC. and do the same in another pc running firefox :)
is MS ever going to comeout with something unique?
look at vista is a copy of apple os and ppl actually will buy things that have been out for yrs just because is ms hah noob
Posted by strykernyc (149 comments )
Link Flag
Keep telling yourself that IE7 is better
Say it out loud. It will help drown out all the experts who agree that IE7 is a poor copy of all the more advanced, more secure browsers browsers that have been ahead of IE for years. And that still are.

If IE was a standalone app that people had to purchase it would probably make MS lose more money than the XBox.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Link Flag
Dont like IE7 myself..
I have tried both IE7 and FF2. Lets just say that the only one that will remain on my PC is FF2 (until Microsoft ram IE7 down the pipe to me that is). I just dont like IE7. It just seems clunky and poorly designed.

Speedwise I find FF2 absolutely trounces IE7 in almost everyway (yes IE7 starts faster but that's it).

Memory wise I just dont know. Can anyone tell me if any or what parts of IE7 are actually preloaded by Windows on system start? I know that Windows Explorer is basically Internet Explorer. So if the OS is already using components of IE when it loads is the memory comparison actually a fair one?
Posted by alba tross (17 comments )
Link Flag
IE 7 has what?
Hardly. IE 7 is a direct copy of Firefox in every aspect, except MS made it's own bugs. All the new features in Internet Exploder 7 were copied from Mozilla. Typical Microslop, can't do anything original, without screwing up.
Posted by Midnight (5 comments )
Link Flag
I use both IE7 & Firefox 2
On start up, IE7 usually takes 7-8 seconds to load.

Firefox 2 takes 30-35seconds to load.

Once loaded either browser performs about the same!
Posted by gary85739 (613 comments )
Reply Link Flag
30-35seconds to load?!
Only 3 seconds on my nice little Macbook :)
What the h*ll hardware are you running...
Posted by catstartk (20 comments )
Link Flag
30-35seconds to load???
Only 3 seconds on my nice little Macbook.

What the heck hardware are you running that it's taking soooo long. Using Windows I guess it would be a little longer but 30-35seconds to load?
Posted by catstartk (20 comments )
Link Flag
Lessee
FireFox on my ancient PowerBook... hmmm... 5 secs.
IE 7... well... nothing happens at all.
;-)
Posted by GGGlen (491 comments )
Link Flag
IE7 Sucks but it It Does Not Suck
I can not use IE7 on my work computer - All emails are encrypted and IE7 kills the Plug in - so IN away it sucks - but on my home computer it works great - but i Still use Firefox - Lot more plug ins to make my life easier.
Posted by cma299 (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Lookit all that Astroturf out today!
...shouldn;t you guys be fixing bug or patching vulns in IE7 instead of sitting here cheerleading and spreading FUD?
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Can't You Find More Dead People To Send Fan Letters For IE7?
Or are the state AG's cracking down on death registry searches? Must be hell for the astroturfing staff at MS.
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Link Flag
problems with Firefox 2.0
This isn't an unfair claim, as I've tested Firefox 2.0 on a number of machines and found similar results. Also, every claim made is backed up by research on review-sites and by general browsing.

Firefox 2.0 is a nice browser, but it's certainly not what it's touted: IE Killer. In going out of their way to praise anything non-Microsoft reviewers have blatantly ignored certain aspects and facts about flaws in the Firefox browser.

1. Firefox is slow. The new Firefox browser actively downloads from links while not in active use...in some attempt to save time. this is done while running in the background, and tends to clog up both the system and your system resources. This is very noticeable while browsing multiple pages.

2. Firefox is a system hog, taking up FAR more system resources than it needs to be. There are fixes (for experts only) that can be done to stop this, but why the product shipped like this is amazing.

3. Firefox has security flaws. Despite the reports that Firefox claims, it does. What's amazing is that Firefox...long claiming the ineptitude of MS's security flaws, hired the woman in charge of their security. Jeez!

4. Firefox doesn't play media very well. Because of the above mentioned issues, using any streaming media in Firefox while browsing causes system problems...especially with flash and such.
Posted by kuguy3000 (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Questions.
Hi, I'm a Mac user who hasn't tried IE7 but I just have a couple
comments/questions...

1. Spell check: I know I left Firefox1 long ago in favour of Safari
because of it's lack of in-line spell-check. I thought about
starting to use Firefox2 again now that it finally has this
feature .... only to find out that it doesn't use the system-wide
dictionary!! Does Firefox2 on Windows use the Windows spell-
check? I imagine IE7 would ?? ... Firefox2 has a major
disadvantage here in my eyes because I don't want to have to tell
Firefox2 how to spell my name when every other app on my
system already knows.

2. I'm glad to see that Firefox2 has moved the tab "x"'s from the
side to inside each tab .... I find this much better. Does IE7 do
this?

.3 I just tested playing a YouTube movie and scrolling up and
down at the same time (in Firefox2, Camino and Safari). Firefox
seems to be much choppier and it's not as smooth as the other
browsers. Why? I don't know.

4. I don't know how you do it in Windows, but I Cmd+Click to
open a link in a new tab. This works only partially in Firefox and
it's annoying. For example, in the address or google-bar, if I
type my search and then Cmd+Enter I expect it to open the
search/address in a new tab like every other browser. Firefox2
STILL doesn't do this. To me, these types of problems show me
that Firefox2 still has a very unpolished UI and low quality app.

5. Firefox also doesn't open PDF's in-line. I need a plug-in such
as Adobe Reader just so I can view a PDF!! Come on, this is
2006! I shouldn't be afraid to open a PDF because I have to wait
for a plug-in to load. And then Adobe loads another toolbar so I
have two print icons ... very confusing. Which one do I use? A
good browser shouldn't have to rely on third-party apps to run
properly.

6. I'd like to say that Firefox is great, but I can't. It's just not
polished where it counts. I just hope that your IE7 is better!
Posted by tbarkhou (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Firefox vs Safari
IMHO, for Mac users, Safari is the better browser, with one
exception: I have found a number of sites that do not work well
with Safari. These tend to be optimized for IE (often IE 6), and
since M$ stopped supporting IE for the Mac, these were not
accessible to me (and some of them are important to me, such
as a major airline). Firefox does a credible job of mimicking IE
and allowing me to work on almost every "IE-only" site I have
encoountered. So, I use Safari, except when the site insists that I
use IE; then I use Firefox, which almost always works.
Posted by jerrymacGP (248 comments )
Link Flag
facts about Firefox 2.0
All gibberish aside, the FACTS (not just my opinions) about Firefox vs IE (any recent version) are this:

1. Firefox loads up slower
2. Firefox plays videos much,much choppier
3. Firefox doesn't allow auto-PDF play
4. Firefox uses much more system resources

...Firefox isn't a BAD browser by any stretch, but it's just stupid to call it superior to IE 7.0. It's negatives weigh down the positives, and that's just the truth.
Posted by kuguy3000 (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
facts about Firefox 2.0
All gibberish aside, the FACTS (not just my opinions) about Firefox vs IE (any recent version) are this:

1. Firefox loads up slower
2. Firefox plays videos much,much choppier
3. Firefox doesn't allow auto-PDF play
4. Firefox uses much more system resources
5. ALSO...Firefox seems to have trouble with form data. It's as though different filters, etc., are conflicting.

...Firefox isn't a BAD browser by any stretch, but it's just stupid to call it superior to IE 7.0. It's negatives weigh down the positives, and that's just the truth.
Posted by kuguy3000 (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Use both --- not much difference
Not much difference at all. The interfaces look the same and they work virtually the same.

It does feel like IE7 loads faster but this only make sense being that it is built into Windows.

I think it is good to use both.
Posted by onlyauser (220 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I uses both --- barely a difference
The interfaces look the same. The browsers function virtually the same. The only difference I notice is that IE7 does seem to load faster but that only makes sense because it is integrated into Windows.

I use both. I think you should use which one you like best. It really does not matter as there is really not much difference at all.
Posted by onlyauser (220 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Either Or
I used IE for the longest of time, till I got Firefox. Now, I have both IE7 and Firefox 2. I use Firefox way more than I would ever use IE. I'm stuck on Firefox, and the Mozilla line. But I do have to admit, that using IE7 is a new experience. Firefox 2 gives a new feeling too. So at this point, I think their both equal.
Posted by thebacon (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Google Needs to Make FF 2.0 the Preferred Browser
Time for Google to break IE 6 and 7 over the back of the search engine and drive the user base to the alternatives. MS search is well on its way to the fate of A9, abandoned science project.

If MS was Google, you know they'd redraft the engine interface somehow to break Firefox. They'd do it in a heartbeat - well, at least until corporate counsel had massaged the story that would be released to the public - and call it innovation.

Dr Schmidt, when dealing with an insensate monster like this, you can't hesitate to take every opportunity to damage its vital organs. You just know the twisted, chair-hurling sociopath that runs their operation wakes up every day quivering with fantasies about destroying Google.
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The play by play....
It's been a long time since Microsoft came out with any new revision to their browser. Since IE6, Mozilla &#38; Opera has been knocking them down as fast as they get up. Patch after patch, Microsoft reels from multiple hits by the cyber-community. After many compaints by the crowd of "Throw the bum out!", Microsoft revamps their browser in an attempt to shore up things, and keep up with the rest. Even after an early start, IE7 still has problems! Firefox at 2.0 wins again!!!
Posted by Jon N. (182 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Firefox Under-reported Problem
A few weeks ago the complete content of my Favourites folder disappeared. This has caused me unbelievable problems. Turned out I was not alone. The cause was a Firefox update, that has done the same thing to thousands and thousands and thousands of people. There has been no fix. For some reason the news media has not picked up on this. Firefox Foundation for some reason is being given a free pass on this. One can just imagine the firestorm of criticisms and lawsuits that would have resulted if it was Microsoft Internet Explorer that caused this problem. Meantime I am still waiting for a fix. My earnings and my health have been put ar risk. Sure, I should have had a copy and a backup. But this is a real world of imperfect people, and Firefox has been and is being cavalier and irresponsible in this matter.
Posted by C. Alexander Brown (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Agreed.
"One can just imagine the firestorm of criticisms and lawsuits that would have resulted if it was Microsoft Internet Explorer that caused this problem."

You said everything. Much unlike Microsoft, Firefox Foundation seems to have a free pass from almost all media for any problems their software has and you don't need to go much further than watching the ridiculously biased Cnet comparison between IE7 and FF2.

P.S.: I spell-checked this comment in IE7, as I always do, using ieSpell, a completely free add-on to IE7, but it looks like, for Cnet, add-ins or add-ons just count when it's to say FF also has particular exclusive IE7 features too as long as you install an add-in.
Posted by Ryo Hazuki (378 comments )
Link Flag
Reply IE lover
Please:
Do let us suppose that it is certain what you say, then it could be due to that (us) pay (economically speaking) an excessive quantity of money for a bad product (IE6-remember that it is part irreplaceable of the SO) that then is improved (IE7) only thanks to the competition of products like Mozilla? And (morally speaking) to be abused, bothered, irritated by monopolist attitudes in prejudice of emergent companies (M$ does it try destroy them, if they threaten him, taking advantage of their dominant position) or insulting attitudes (as WGA)?
Could it be that we simply understand that without Mozilla (or companies similar to it) M $ not merely it would rip us as makes it at the moment but worse, and with bad products additionally (IE6)?

But the funny thing is that objectively speaking; Mozilla is superior than IE and it is FREE.
I understand you if you are employee of M$, in another way I would have to think that you are part of that self-destructing minority.
Posted by m7sang7 (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Fire fox 2 a mess/ IE7 just as bad
FF hits stop and IE7 gives you 403 errors
I don't want them and don't use them untill someone can tell me how to fix them. An as I'm DUMMIE ( push for on-click for off) the fix needs to be very simple ( JUST LIKE ME )
Posted by 2-left-feet (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Fire fox 2 a mess/ IE7 just as bad
FF hits stop and IE7 gives you 403 errors
I don't want them and don't use them untill someone can tell me how to fix them. An as I'm DUMMIE ( push for on-click for off) the fix needs to be very simple ( JUST LIKE ME )
Posted by 2-left-feet (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
personally
i use neither ie7 or google chrome
i have a pc nd use safari its quick nd simple to use and i find it alot easier than both ie7 and chrome
im not telling you to stop using ie7 if your comfortable with it but why now after so long would google stand up and say ooo use google chrome
id just be like erm ner ill stick with what i know cos people get into a comfort zone they know the browser they use they know the specs its nohing new to learn its all happy days

i think google are over shooting the gun on this one and are being a little optimistic to the fact they think people will just stitch as easy as changing underwear
Posted by moggwaffle (1 comment )
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