Okay, I am trying it now... here's my notes:
- Having an installer (stub) that just downloads another installer is a scummy way to distribute FireFox. It gives the user [well, not THIS user] the impression that FireFox is much smaller (and possibly also faster) than it actually is. I imagine that it is also helpful to Mozilla in that it can keep better track (tracking) of how many installs have been done.
- During the install I was offered the option to let FireFox use a "Maintenance Service
" to perform updates which is supposed to allow it to do updates without having to click "yes" on a UAC notice. I agreed to have it install the service and it did in fact create a Windows service called "Mozilla Maintenance Service". But I am running XP which does not have
UAC and does not require any such service to function. This should be basic stuff for application developers to check for during an installation.
- Oh Ehm Ghee I hate skinned applications. I setup my window forms to look the way I want them to, having an application use its own look is insulting. I did find a way to change the colour of the skin over the tabs but not replace the rounded edges.
- The status bar (where I like to put my plugin icons) is gone (but can be partially reinstated with a plugin).
- The enlarged back button serves no purpose but to take up screen real estate that could be used for displaying web pages.
- I still hate the awesome bar which sucks up more resources than is necessary and does not make it easier to find previously typed addresses.
- The search engine list is riddled with tracking companies.
- Rather than a text based menu they have an icon based menu which takes up more space and does not make it easier to find selections. I have a very hard time believing that this is entirely unrelated to skinning and Windows 8 Metro.
- FireFox Health Report (tracking) is turned on by default
- Crash Reporter (tracking) is turned on by default
- By default FireFox is set to automatically update itself, even if the target system is not supported... potentially forcing an upgrade on a user who will then not be able to open his/her browser until they use a different browser to download the previous version and downgrade.
- The "Web Developer Tools" is a core component. I have a very hard time believing that a significant percentage of FireFox users use the Web Developer Tools... certainly not enough to justify it as a core component rather than a plugin (see next point).
- Data Manager is not
a core component and must be installed as a plugin. So a significant portion of FireFox users use the Web Developer Tools but not the Data Manager?
- If you decide to install the Data Manager plugin you'll find it getting cluttered up with a long list of domains with the falsestart-rsa permission. This sounds stupid for two reasons... (1) my understanding of the falsestart-rsa
permission is that [by whatever means] it reduces the latency of SSL handshaking by 30%. This is essentially worthless if you consider that you spend a second setting up your SSL connection to Facebook and then four hours chatting to your BFF about OMG and WTF. Nobody should care about the insignificant time they are saving at the beginning of that conversation. And (2) I can't see any justifiable reason to maintain a list (sometimes known as information disclosure) of sites that I have visited which support it. I am quite sure that most people do not want snork.ca to be hidden away in some sqlite database they can only access/remove with a data manager plugin... because if your employer finds out you have been browsing snork.ca you'll wind up on some kind of "list".
Unfortunately SeaMonkey suffers from a number of these same failings, but at least has an improved [read basic] visual appearance. I currently do not have an available computer with more than 4G of memory but am considering buying one just so I can try my hand at custom builds of SeaMonkey that do not include Chatzilla, Composer, Mail, and Address Book (as well as falsestart-rsa and crash reporter).