Why some Firefox users choose not to update

Jesse Ruderman

32

The best way for users to stay safe online is to use an updated browser. While most Firefox users get updated quickly, some fall behind for various reasons. We’re looking for ways to increase uptake while still preserving user choice.

Ken Kovash and Eric Hergenrader surveyed users who have update-checking enabled but repeatedly chose not to update from Firefox 2 to Firefox 3. Read their posts: Why People Don’t Upgrade Their Browser – Part I and Part II. It’s great to understand why these people continue to use Firefox 2 even when it is no longer receiving security updates.

32 responses

  1. Mele20 wrote on :

    Here’s an example of how Fx exploits my privacy that i just encountered on Fx3 on Vista. Fx1.5 does not do this and thus is more privacy oriented. I clicked on a site that uses a cert from Comodo. I have all Comodo certs blocked so I got that ridiculous page wanting “to get me out of there” when all I want to do is IMMEDIATELY look at the cert which is what Fx 1.5 lets me do. I need to see if it is from Comodo or GoDaddy as I block those certs also because I want to be alerted to any site using GoDaddy as I probably won’t want to do business with a site that uses GoDaddy certs. Plus, this particular cert was using MD5 algorithm and I use the SSL Blacklist extension for Fx so I had that alert also.

    Fx3 makes a hassle just to examine the cert! Anyhow, I examine it finally (after jumping through unnecessary hoops that are not in 1.5). I don’t want to go to the site after I look at the cert and I guess this was the first time I actually clicked on “get me out of here” instead of just closing out that window. I got taken to

    http://www.google.com/firefox?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official

    That really irritates me. Google tracks users and Mozilla tracks users and the earlier marriage of Google and Mozilla was an unholy alliance. I know it gave a lot needed money to Mozilla but it was dirty money in my book. There is no need for Fx to take me to that page or any page other than back to where I was when I got the suspect cert. I especially resent it taking me to a Google page. Yeah, I have every possible way I can covered to stop any Google tracking of me but even so Fx 3 should not have so little regard for my privacy. Fx 1.5 doesn’t ever take me to a Google page.

    So, I tried to add that url to my hosts file using HostsMan and it won’t add for some reason. Then I tried to see what entry in about:config is for that so I can kill it there. I can’t see what entry that would be. But while I was in about:config I was really struck by how many user entries I have there…most of them due to privacy problems in Fx3. I have very few user entries/changes in about:config for 1.5. I have had to spend so much time trying to make Fx3 decent privacy wise. I experienced the same problem with Fx2. It took too much time to make any version past 1.5 respect my privacy.

    Since I couldn’t find the entry to fix this current privacy problem, I had to take more time and post it at mozillazine forums which are not up to par currently and I don’t know why but the activity there is really sparse now so who knows if I’ll get the answer I need.

  2. jesse Ruderman wrote on :

    Mele20, https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=442839 explains why “get me out of here” sends you to the default home page (Google) rather than your home page. A future version of Firefox will make the default home page local, mostly for speed reasons, but also to improve privacy for its use as the home page.

    As for SSL error messages, I hope you agree that stopping MITM attacks improves privacy for the vast majority of users! The dialogs in Firefox 1.5 just didn’t accomplish that; see http://blog.johnath.com/2007/10/11/todo-break-internet/. You might consider using Johnath’s extension to streamline the process of adding certificate exceptions (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/6843) or looking for another extension that makes it easy to “greylist” CAs you distrust without blocking them completely.

  3. Mele20 wrote on :

    Thank you, Jesse, for pointing me to that bug report. Jonathan’s decision just proves my point. Fx is developed now only for the ignorant users as he says it should be a rare occurance” that one gets that “get me out of here message”. That is not true if you are not an ignorant user who never works with the certs. At any rate, I have installed Jonathan’s extension. As for the dialogs in Fx 1.5 not doing their job regarding MITM attacks that is true only for the ignorant masses. You are making Fx the browser for those folks and forgetting all about all of us who had such high hopes for Fx way back when it was Phoenix and Firebird.

    Today, I found another excellent reason to never upgrade Fx and there are going to be a lot of folks who agree with me on this. That is Firefox developers plans to ribbonize the Fx GUI. I love Word 2002, and prior versions, but that is my last Word. I will not use Microsoft’s ribbon crap that is in Word 2007 and Office 2007. (And I will deny Microsoft’s attempts later this year to “upgrade” my Vista Ultimate to the ribbonization of Word Pad and Paint). And yes, I had Word 2007 and Office 2007 for six months and had greater hatred every day I tried to use them. I also felt very ripped off that later there was a $50 addon that supposedly put back the proper menus. That should have been free or Microsoft should have never rammed that down user’s throats but offered whichever you wanted. Many folks are classic folks and we don’t want the latest junk where change occurs only for the sake of change to satiate the teenagers.

    I am sure that I would hate any major changes to Fx GUI that removes the absolutely necessary Menu bar and places a lot of oversized junk and unnecessary icons taking up tons of space on my Fx. And that requires me to go back and forth to do anything like it is in Word 2007 which makes it very cumbersome and makes it take three times as long to accomplish anything.

    “So the menubar generally ends up with a lot of stuff that isn’t used very often, if at all, and yet is reproduced on every window and takes up a significant amount of real estate.”

    The above is utter BS. I use the Menu bar constantly. I would be lost without it. I hate a lot of icons on my Fx GUI. I use the menu bar instead and have very few icons and only the Navigation Toolbar (tabs are tree style down the left side vertically) so I have a very neat and small real estate area used for the GUI. Plus, the menu bar does NOT take up a significant amount of real estate! It takes up extremely little real estate. What are you guys smoking? You are not on the same planet as many of your users. First you introduce that horrific “awesome” bar that is anything but awesome and that claims TONS of real estate space and is extremely messy and ugly completely forgetting that the address bar is just that: an address bar and has no business being anything else.

    Now you apparently plan to ruin the NICEST GUI OF ALL BROWSERS. Why do you think I use Fx more than any other browser? The GUI is why. I have a very sleek and beautiful GUI and I don’t want it messed with. Safari has the most awful GUI I have seen. (Besides, I can’t use Safari because it doesn’t allow me to use Classic Windows view so I can’t read the tiny font used for the GUI and nothing is bolded. In Fx, I have bolded the naviagation bar so I can read the address. I can’t read the address in IE8 as I cannot bold it so I use IE6 on my main machine where I can still bold it. I bold the menu bar also and all drop down menus in Fx so that I can read them and I can’t do that in Safari as its GUI is not controlled by Windows Classic view.

    Chrome, I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole as Google has it only so they can spy more on users than they already do. Opera 1010, with Opera Unite, I love but I detest Opera’s GUI and there are no decent themes. I keep coming back to Fx because of the GUI and my fabulous theme (red cats green flavor) and if you mess with that theme and take away the incredible thruster for that theme because you think thrusters are old fashioned …well, I’m going to be angry and I will never upgrade Fx.

    You say need to hide the Menu bar because you want to use Aero I read. I don’t use Aero on Vista Ultimate or Windows 7 and never will. I use classic view for Windows which means no Aero which is just irritating fluffed up junk. So, to me that is a very poor reason to take away the Menu bar. It appears to me that Accessiblity issues are going to be ignored in Fx4 if you take away the Menu bar and expect everyone to use Aero which anyone with less than perfect eyesight won’t use as they need Classic view in Windows.

    I have the menu bar on IE8 and would never use IE8 without it. I use the menu bar on IE8 all the time. Folks are saying “Well, go use SeaMonkey instead of Fx 4″, but SeaMonkey can’t use my Red Cats theme and that is the main reason I use Fx. Besides SeaMonkey is rapidly becoming another Fx with the only difference being that it has a mail client. It was a much better browser when it was Mozilla and actually different from Fx and the only reason I stopped using it back then was that it didn’t have my Red Cats theme and the only themes it had (or has today) were/are especially ugly.

    So, you see there are lots of reasons people stay with older versions of Fx and they generally have to do with developers adding stupid things to newer versions and removing the tried and true simply because some pimply faced teenager gets off only on rapid and vapid changes and that, sadly, is who Fx is now aimed at.

  4. Mele20 wrote on :

    Two more reasons why I don’t upgrade. Google is not experimenting on Fx 1.5 users from the USA with their Ajax engine. I can’t use Google at all on Fx3 on Vista because they are experimenting on Fx3 USA users only. I get a loop url that redirects to Google when I click on a url in a Google search. If NoScript is installed or I turn off scripting in Fx Options then I can search on Google and actually get the page I click on in the Google results. Why did Mozilla allow Google to experiment like this ONLY on Fx3 and ONLY on USA users?

    The second reason I don’t upgrade is that history in Fx3 is so pathetic that 90% of my history is not in history. Most of what is there is not even history. It is PIECES of a web page, not even the page itself and why would I want to keep history of some little thing on a web page that I did there but not have the url from the main webpage? I have almost all urls that I visit missing in history. History, contrary to what you developers think, is extremely important in a browser and you have progressively, with each version of Fx, made history worse and worse. Not all Fx users are vapid headed idiots who obsessively delete their history every few minutes with CCleaner. Not all of us are obsessed with porn sites. Some of us actually value our history, plus, since we never let anyone else touch our personal computers there is no need to delete history out of fear of someone else seeing that we visited a porn or whatever site some fear others should not know was visited. I keep history forever except in Fx3 there is no history to keep.

    I remember when Mozilla browser years ago had outstanding history and Fx had pitiful history even then and a lot of us couldn’t understand why the great history from Mozilla was never ported to Fx. Then along came Fx2 with even worse history and now there is Fx3 where history is totally worthless. I have Extended History extension for Fx 1.5 so I have a pretty good history there and it is beautifully organized thanks to that indispensable extension as Fx could care less even back then about giving its users outstanding history.

    We had to use an extension to get what should be a basic part of any browser. But with that extension, history was pretty good. It got very bad in Fx2 and almost non-existent in Fx3 and I can’t use Extended History extension in Fx3. Could a developer explain why you are so against giving Fx users a very basic thing which is history of visited urls saved by date in chronological order for as many months as I wish? You are aware that Fx3 is incapable of doing this? And simply saving my tabs in Session Manager is no substitute for a proper history.

  5. Brenda wrote on :

    @Terry
    Thumbs up! I totally agree!

    The reason I don’t update is because not all of my firefox add-ons are compatible anymore. Period.

  6. Steph wrote on :

    I usually update as soon as possible, but as Brenda pointed out, sometimes the add-ons aren’t compatible anymore. I’ve come to depend on a few, so if they’re not supported I’ll wait until the developer updates them.

  7. Elvin wrote on :

    Forget about the latest version . I just use the portable one.No install needed.For the latest version, I have spend numbers of hour to re install the add on.And not all are compatible.

  8. video izle wrote on :

    The developer says: “You should update to a new version to avoid security issues.” This is like cheese to catch a mouse. If you update you will get additional security issues because there are new features you do not need or are implemented deliberately in order to compromise your privacy. To make things worse, new features are enabled by default without telling you. video izle After updating you have a very hard job to find out and understand all the new risks and how to disable them in the “about:config” list (if it is possible). An example are the super cookies supported by FF2.

    I suggest you break up this strong connexion: Fix security issues (maybe by a major new version) but enable a new feature only if the user does this explicitly while understanding that he is going into a new risk. Then the user can try new risks just when he is prepared to do so.

    I use FF 1.5.0.12 taking old risks but avoiding new risks. In this way, I am not in a rat-race hurrying for the next version, with new risks, hurrying for the next version, with new risks, hurrying for the next version, with new risks, …

  9. Beth Budwig wrote on :

    So, this is slightly off-topic: but I haven’t been able to find any FF2.x download on Mozilla’s site. I always upgrade to the latest, but as a web designer, I need to test on older browsers. The Mozilla site was always great about having those available? What’s the deal?

    There are plenty of third-party sites with a FF2 download available, but that seems like a risk, unless there’s one you recommend.

    Thanks!
    Beth

    1. Daniel Veditz wrote on :

      We keep all our old releases at ftp://archive.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/

  10. sikiş wrote on :

    I remember when Mozilla browser years ago had outstanding history and Fx had pitiful history even then and a lot of us couldn’t understand why the great history from Mozilla was never ported to Fx. Then along came Fx2 with even worse history and now there is Fx3 where history is totally worthless. I have Extended History extension for Fx 1.5 so I have a pretty good history there and it is beautifully organized thanks to that indispensable extension as Fx could care less even back then about giving its users outstanding history.

    We had to use an extension to get what should be a basic part of any browser. But with that extension, history was pretty good. It got very bad in Fx2 and almost non-existent in Fx3 and I can’t use Extended History extension in Fx3. Could a developer explain why you are so against giving Fx users a very basic thing which is history of visited urls saved by date in chronological order for as many months as I wish? You are aware that Fx3 is incapable of doing this? And simply saving my tabs in Session Manager is no substitute for a proper history.

  11. Beth Budwig wrote on :

    Daniel: thanks! Unfortunately, I couldn’t find this through a google site search, but maybe this blog comment thread will help that. 😉

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