I just had an epic phone call. I leave my cell phone number on my about me page since I tend to believe in the innate goodness of humans. It has yet to be proven true, thus far, but I’m willing to play the long game.
It started with an email from one ‘Dennis Baer’, followed immediately by a direct call to me (which didn’t afford me any time to read it until after the call). The contents of the email are pretty much spot-on to what what he communicated to me:
I have endured enough of Firefox and have abandoned it along with K-Meleon and even Opera. For over 2 years the makers of Firefox would not acknowledge that FireFox used huge amounts of memory, would load pages slow and used so much cpu cycles that other programs slowed down. The makers of Firefox in my view just hoped people like me would not bother them with experiences of huge memory use and slowing down of the entire machine! and just go away.
This has come to an end as of today.
I suggest Windows users abandon Firefox for now and get a browser named Enigma.
You can download it for FREE at http://store.democratz.org in which you will find the link just right above the products section.
I have 35 tabs open right now and it does not slow down the machine. The page loading appears much faster than Firefox and when you use it, you will laugh at Firefox slowness. This browser works better than Opera and Safari and Internet Exploder too.
I realize that you work for Mozilla. You will not like finding this out when droves of people will abandon the Firefox Behemoth. I’m spreading the word far and wide about Enigma. Noone should have to put up with Firefox any longer until Mozilla gets their act together.
I just found enigma on the web yesterday and I now consider myself free free free from this Firefox problem.
Ironically, the link that he provided doesn’t seem to actually work. While I was on the call with him I googled for the phrase ‘Enigma browser’ and found two, nearly-identical, pages that both provide this ‘browser’:
(I don’t recommend downloading them, they may contain virii or spyware.)
So while I listened to his enraged ranting I read up on this browser. Apparently it’s a skin on top of Internet Explorer 6.0 – in sort of an MDI:
He repeatedly stated phrases like “Firefox use to be good, but it’s gone downhill – it sucks!” and “It’s even better than Opera and Internet Exploder [sic]!”. I asked him if had had a chance to try Firefox 3 to which he stated “Yeah… it BLOWS!”
I could only assume that he didn’t know that I worked for Mozilla – until he mentioned that I was “the only Mozilla employee that he could find on the Internet.” Of course, during all of this it was all I could do but keep from laughing out loud. I was also on IRC, updating my co-workers in the Evangelism team as the call progressed – much to their surprise and amusement. I was sure to ask him plenty of questions – I figured that I’ll only be sold this browser once, might as well make it worth my time.
After he was done enumerating the benefits of the Enigma browser, over Firefox in particular, I thanked him for his time and explanation. I’m still about 70/30 thinking that this was serious vs. being a huge prank. Regardless, my hat is tipped to one Dennis Baer: That took some serious balls – astroturfing on a scale never before seen.
Update: This quote from their FAQ is fascinating on so many levels: “Is Enigma Browser a secure browser?â€¨ Yes, Enigma Browser is secure. Since it’s based on Internet Explorer, Enigma Browser is as secure as Internet Explorer.”
Konstantin (April 10, 2008 at 4:31 pm)
At least, Enigma browser supports JScript ;)
Andrew Dupont (April 10, 2008 at 4:35 pm)
Not to hijack this serious topic, but I’m going to be the pedant who corrects your word usage: virii is not a word.
John Resig (April 10, 2008 at 4:37 pm)
@Andrew Dupont: I looked at that very Wikipedia page when I wrote this blog post – but decided, you know, I really like the word ‘virii’. So forget ‘viruses’ – it sounds silly.
Ryan (April 10, 2008 at 4:39 pm)
Wow, my hat is off to you for not hanging up on him! I’m glad you put all this on your blog for posterity.
Josh Stodola (April 10, 2008 at 4:51 pm)
Seriously? I agree Firefox is a heap of bohemeth shit that thinks it has the right to pwn my CPU, but I would never use something that is built on IE6 (which is how many years old now?!). Does it even render PNG images correctly?
John Resig (April 10, 2008 at 4:59 pm)
@Josh: In all seriousness, Firefox 3 is worlds away from Firefox 2. I’ve been using it as my primary browser for months now and I fear going back – its so much better. I’m saying this not just as a Mozilla employee but as a web developer and active browser of web pages.
Hamish M (April 10, 2008 at 5:14 pm)
Oh, haha! That’s rich. I can’t believe he went as far as to actually call you.
Well handled John.
Toes (April 10, 2008 at 5:22 pm)
I used to use Avant, which was a pretty good tabbed browser using the IE engine. But that was a long time ago, when the only other browser that had tabs was Opera, and Opera wasn’t free.
I can’t imagine using anything based on IE now.
Toes (April 10, 2008 at 5:24 pm)
Hmm. This is from Avant’s site.
“Yes, Avant Browser is secure. Since it’s based on Internet Explorer, Avant Browser is as secure as Internet Explorer.”
I’m betting Enigma is a hacked Avant.
Juan (April 10, 2008 at 5:33 pm)
@John Resig: I love Firefox, even with all the CPU “problems”, and Im counting the days for the FF3 release if you say that FF3 will fix some of this issues …
Josh (April 10, 2008 at 5:35 pm)
I cant believe you put your cell phone number on your site. I gave up on humanity a few years ago after Taco Bell messed up my order.
timothy (April 10, 2008 at 5:47 pm)
>>I gave up on humanity a few years ago after Taco Bell messed up my order.
Why the lag?
>>I love Firefox, even with all the CPU “problems”, and Im counting the days for the FF3 release if you say that FF3 will fix some of this issues …
You’ll love it. Blazing fast. Much less leaky. I’ve been using the version at PortableApps.com so I can try it easily alongside FF2. All the browsers are getting better. These are the golden days.
timothy (April 10, 2008 at 5:48 pm)
>Why the lag?
Oh, never mind. I thought you said “a few years after.” :-)
Stefan Hayden (April 10, 2008 at 6:15 pm)
FF3 is awesome. it hurts me that it’s not out of beta yet. work faster!
Rijk (April 10, 2008 at 6:47 pm)
We had these types over at the Opera Forums as well, a few years ago. Someone claiming that his 800KB browser was ‘a full real browser’, but it turned out his project used MSHTML anyway. The Avant browser started out as an Opera inspired IE-wrapper called IEOpera, promoted at first on our forums under that name! Avant has proven to be useful for a big community though, just like Maxthon. The power of the default rendering engine combined with the lure of a gazillion buttons, apparently.
timothy (April 10, 2008 at 6:56 pm)
Do Maxthon and Avant (I’ll ignore Enigma for now, heh) have any kind of significant userbase? Do they report themselves as MSIE? Should I care at all about testing them as I develop, or are they pretty much guaranteed to work as “well” as IE?
Justinwr (April 10, 2008 at 7:01 pm)
You weren’t too far off with the “virii” statement. It sounds a lot like a social engineering/spy tactic to get you to load software onto your “PC” and load up his trojan horse. I mean, you work for Mozilla… so you might have some super-secret source code or something. Either that, or his guerilla buddies in Nigeria need a couple new automatic weapons…
Justinwr (April 10, 2008 at 7:02 pm)
Yes, I know… Mozilla is open-source software (that was the joke).
Cheston (April 10, 2008 at 7:03 pm)
Wow John, I haven’t laughed that hard in awhile.
Buck Wilson (April 10, 2008 at 7:08 pm)
Man, I have to wonder : has anything good happened as a result of you putting your personal number on your about page?
You’re braver than I am, for sure.
Dan (April 10, 2008 at 7:30 pm)
timothy: You don’t even need to use the PortableApps package to get Firefox 3 working alongside Firefox 2. Do a separate install of Firefox 3 and run it with the -p switch to open the profile manager. Then make a new profile. Now your Firefox 2 and Firefox 3 will use separate profiles. If you want to migrate your Firefox 2 profile for use in 3 at any point, run the Firefox 3 Profile Manager again and switch profiles. Easy.
Or maybe your solution is already working fine for you… in which case maybe someone else will find my solution helpful.
Now about Enigma… IE based browsers are just laughable IMO. Not just the browsers themselves but the users who genuinely believe their browser is better or more secure than Internet Explorer. If it disables ActiveX maybe… but I know that some don’t, and ActiveX is the #1 exploit vector in IE.
As for the browsers themselves being laughable, anyone can pick up Visual Basic Express and drop a webbrowser control on a form and make their own IE clone just like that. It’s not hard. Implementing tabs and such is a bit more work and so those browsers aren’t as laughable I guess, but even IE has tabs now. Also the whole MDI thing sorta sucks… it’s not popular anymore for good reason, and Firefox and IE don’t use it because why constrain your windows to a small area of the screen when you can just put them on the desktop? The only recent major app I know of that supports MDI is Excel 2007, which surprised me. The rest of the Office Pro 2007 apps just use multiple windows IIRC.
I was hoping for something in your blog post to point out to the caller about how his browser was Internet Explorer in disguise and how badly IE has done in various benchmarks done for Firefox 3 (IIRC memory usage and speed both had IE loads behind Opera Safari and Firefox 2 and 3). At the very least I now want to know if he even KNEW he was using Internet Explorer.
I think I used to call IE Internet Exploder when I was like… 13. I even set the title bar text using the same registry hack Dell and other OEMs use.
Robert Accettura (April 10, 2008 at 9:08 pm)
How is that possible if it just wraps IE? The most it can do is be equal.
Mike Branski (April 10, 2008 at 9:24 pm)
I posted a few months back about the annoyance of Firefox 2’s memory usage and (somehow) a Mozilla employee contacted me about Firefox 3. I’m required to use Firefox 2 at work, which has been crashing more and more with each update, but Firefox 3 at home seems pretty stable in comparison.
Dan (April 10, 2008 at 9:30 pm)
Mike: See if you still have problems in safe mode… if not, you can try the various safe mode options to pin your problem down and then try and reset that part of your profile (usually by deleting the appropriate file) if possible. It’s likely an extension, and unfortunately there is no easy way to pinpoint problems to a specific extension other than to randomly disable extensions and see if you still experience problems.
John Resig (April 10, 2008 at 9:42 pm)
@Josh, Buck: I’m not entirely sure if putting the number up has benefited me. Typically the end result is a recruiter or a company looking for a contractor – in which I explain to them that I’m not looking for work. Sometimes it’s people looking for jQuery help. I usually try to do the best I can, but then deflect them to the jQuery mailing list.
@Dan: I strongly considered explaining that to him – but I suspect that it wouldn’t have the desired result. He was completely convinced that what he was using was a superior browser (so much so that he tried to convert an employee of an ‘opposing’ corporation). I imagine that the resulting conversation would’ve been futile. I just happily listened to his points, said that I understood his concerns, recommended Firefox 3, and thanked him for his time. Not really much else left to do!
Joe (April 10, 2008 at 9:45 pm)
It’s my understanding that Maxthon has significant marketshare in China. I have no idea how it identifies itself, though, and I can’t check since I’m not on Windows.
Wanli (April 10, 2008 at 9:49 pm)
In China, there are a lot of *browser* based on IE, they got the better appearance and some useful functions such as mouse gesture, easy settings ans so on. Any of them seems better than this Enigma (at least the appearance).
Noah (April 10, 2008 at 9:51 pm)
I like firefox and don’t find the memory usage to be an issue because I know it’s a trade off between speedy performance and customization. keep up the good work
Wanli (April 10, 2008 at 10:08 pm)
Maxthon is quite popular in China. Many of my friends use it as primary browser, they like it because it *just use less memory* and quite convenient to use.
All these 2 reasons are highly appreciated in China. And I think Firefox 3 is on the right approach to beat it.
I’ve recommended many friends to use FF3.0 betas, some of them like it for the awesome bar, some like the easy rss subscription.But if they are NOT *advanced* users or just NOT my friends, it’s not so easy to persuade them to install firefox.
Mike Branski (April 10, 2008 at 10:19 pm)
@Dan: Thanks for the suggestion. Working at a Web company there are a number of extensions I use, so the problem may lie in one of the more obscure ones. I suppose creating a new profile and starting from scratch would be quick enough and (hopefully) cut back on the crashing.
Ironically, as a side note, Firefox 3 crashed while trying to load this page just now. :)
Chad Grant (April 11, 2008 at 12:17 am)
I love firefox, but man … it is a pig. I have to shut it down a few times a day so I can get some memory back and it starts freezing up.
FF 3 looks like it’ll be a winner though! Hope they stay in that direction … keep it lean and mean!
Gerv (April 11, 2008 at 9:39 am)
“I tend to believe in the innate goodness of humans. It has yet to be proven true, thus far, but I’m willing to play the long game.”
But if the goodness is innate, why should there be a need to play the long game? Surely the counter-examples you have regularly encountered invalidate the theory?
Tom (April 11, 2008 at 10:35 am)
@Gerv: Innate doesn’t necessarily mean automatically and constantly expressed. We can still have it in there. I think there are opposing forces (internal and external).
Tom (April 11, 2008 at 10:37 am)
Sorry, I mean to indicate that both internally and externally there are opposing forces. (Rather than meaning that internal is opposed to external.)
David Naylor (April 11, 2008 at 11:35 am)
That guy posted the same comment on one of my blog posts. Since the link seemed rather strange I deleted the whole comment.
Daniel (April 12, 2008 at 11:56 pm)
What good is memory if you’re not using it?
Rob W (April 14, 2008 at 6:03 am)
I wish I could love FF3 as much as some of the other posters, but unfortunately I find beta 5 still way too unstable for everyday use. It crashes without fail on Yahoo Mail and seems to have trouble on other ‘heavy’ web apps. It is fast though and when the problems are fixed I’ll be back :)
Ric (April 15, 2008 at 9:34 am)
Kudos for not just hanging up on him. Sometimes, listening to rants and sales pitches is a way to learn. Sometimes not :)
I can attest for John’s phone number – I actually called him once, but did not get a chance to talk with him since he was in Japan, but instead I talked with his boss! Brendan even helped me moderate my blog (now that took BALLS, but then again I was too dumb to realize what I asked) Mozilla must be a great place to work as both of these guys were awesome to chat with- John even signed my book!
Andy Kant (April 16, 2008 at 11:55 am)
Its pretty surprising that you have your phone number listed – I don’t even have anything more than a resume on my website right now and I’ve been considering taking my phone number off due to excessive recruiter calls.
stef (April 24, 2008 at 5:43 am)
well i concur with him in the fact that firefox is a complete memory hog and makes my whole system run slowly. its a total pain, even more so cause i cant do without it, due to all the excellent extensions that come with it. PLEASE sort out these memory issues. after a while, shit like opening a new tab maxes out my CPU (2Ghz and 1GB of ram), and i dont need to have 30 tabs open for this to happen.
Marc (April 29, 2008 at 10:08 pm)
Can enigma browser pass Acid3 Browser Test? from
because opera team passed Acid3 Test just download wingogi from http://labs.opera.com/news/2008/03/28/
Windows or Linux
and you can see for your self
Opera and the Acid3 Test link