Last night I stumbled on a very well thought out article by John Gruber of Daring Fireball. John Gruber presented the argument that while Firefox 3′s Mac interface is an improvement from previous versions, Firefox is still faking the Mac experience.
I have to agree with John whole-heartily on this issue. Firefox 3 is generic cereal; while it may look like the name-brand cereal, the taste is horribly off. Firefox belongs on Windows, and I don’t think Mozilla can ever hide that fact.
Why Even Use Firefox?
That got me thinking, why should anyone use Firefox on the Mac? I mean, Safari is quite an amazing browser for being the default Mac browser. Safari has a mind-blowing user interface, is completely standards compliant (arguably better than Firefox), loads blazingly fast, and even includes some kick-ass web developer tools. Well, I think I have an answer: no one cares about that stuff.
The Voices in My Head
People have been trained over the years to despise Internet Explorer and embrace Firefox. I don’t think most people even know why they hate Internet Explorer; they’ve just been told by some geek in their life that Firefox is better and they should use that. When they make the switch to Mac, that sub-conscience kicks in and they feel the need to use Firefox.
Yesterday, my brother approached me and told me he hated Macs. Baffled by that statement, I pushed him for some reasoning. It turns out his school Macbooks have a really old version of Firefox (1.5) running on Leopard. There must be some bug in that configuration because the keyboard always freezes up on him. After hearing his reasoning, I simply told him to use Safari. He quickly responded, “Safari sucks”. Again baffled, I pressed him for a response. He couldn’t come up with one; he just assumed that every operating system’s default browser sucks and he should use Firefox.
A Win-Win Situation
So, I’m not really sure what to make of this. Firefox certainly has a purpose on Macs; to offer an alternative, familiar experience to Windows users, while satisfying the power-user. And, Safari certainly has the short end of the stick; with many switchers passing over an amazing browser for a recognizable name.
I guess the true solution to this stalemate is just to be happy. I mean, this is a web geek’s dream. For once, people are using standards compliant browsers in mass numbers. The movement has become so noticeable that Microsoft has been forced to raise the bar on standards in Internet Explorer 8. A Mac user can’t go wrong; either option is a good one, and in the end as long the page displays correctly, that is all that should matter.