• Woody’s Windows Watch: Dispatches from the browser-war’s front lines

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    Internet Explorer isn’t a web browser. According to Microsoft, it’s been demoted to a “compatibility solution.” Edge has some big fans, very few users
    [See the full post at: Woody’s Windows Watch: Dispatches from the browser-war’s front lines]

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    • #328654

      I”m a staunch Firefox user, but…   the HVAC controller in my house runs on WindowsCE [!!] and is all Java-based.  It is the only thing I use IE for.   I’m still on win7, just preparing the [painful…ugh] transition to win10.  I understand win10 still has IE.  Does that mean it supports the Java plugin?

      If not [in fact, perhaps even if so] is there some alternative to being able to access my HVAC controller with a java-enabled *something*?  It doesn’t even have to be a full browser, since all it’ll do, ever, is access this one IP addr via HTTP and run Java on it.

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      • #328657

        I have installed Java on my Win10. But, if I’m not mistaken, Java is also on its way out.

        • #328797

          I think there is some confusion over the language and the virtual machines. Java and the official JVM are owned by Oracle. If I remember correctly Oracle made some mutterings about trying to monetize both better. There is an alternate VM called OpenJDK that is a very good replacement for the official JVM. I hesitate to say ‘drop in’. Also there are several languages that use either VM such as Kotlin, Scala, and Clojure. So there is a need for a JVM but the language itself may be wobbly for both licensing and technical reasons. Kotlin is a relatively new language that is very similar Java but is not as verbose and prone to boiler plate code as Java is.

    • #328652

      No operating system should come with an integrated browser or be built to depend on one. A preinstalled one would be acceptable as long as it could be easily uninstalled later or optioned out during install.

      As for Edge, that garbage should just go away. Microsoft is no longer capable of producing leading edge software.

      And as for IE, every web developer in the world is rejoicing that nobody cares if a website is compatible with IE anymore. The days of designing a website and then adding all the fixes to make IE’s lack of following standards work are over.

      Chrome may be the current leader but its lack of customization and the ability to turn off undesired features make it a hard sell for me. Firefox still seems to work best and offers more control over how it looks and restricting unwanted content than Chrome. Too bad the alternate chromium based browsers still aren’t there yet. Vivaldi is probably the closest so far though.

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      • #328987

        Opinions on how good is FF vary quite a bit. For my part, I recommend Waterfox. It runs well both under Windows and macOS, it is (or feels like it is) sleeker than FF, although it is a fork of it, and is designed to meet high standards of users’ privacy protection. I have not tried Pale Moon, a different fork of FF, but have not heard anything of significance said against it, so far.

        Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

    • #328655

      I’ve been using Vivaldi for about two months now. It’s based on Chromium. Many interesting features, and one I really like is “tab stacking”, where all related browser tabs can be put into one “supertab”. That way, when I search for “What is the best browser out there?”, I can put all the answers into one tab so that I can easily make an informed decision :))

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    • #328710

      Woody, is it really 16.5.0 or you meant 16.6.0?


    • #328753

      If Internet Explorer is nearly dead and dangerous how can I get it out of my Win 10 OS?

    • #328784

      Unfortunately I am forced to use IE11 for about half of my browsing. I am a government contractor and have to use a Common Access Card (CAC) with PKI certificates to access some sites. Every time I have had a problem, the “help desk” tells me to revert to IE11 in the X64 version, and once I was told to use Chrome. Java X64 is also required for some of my activities. I am using WIN10 Pro X64 and I have been warned that Edge is a “work in process” and has limited capabilities for CAC and encryption. I have tried Waterfox which is the 64-bit version of browser by Mozilla and that seems to work well for me (It’s what I am using for this post). Thanks for raising the browser issues!

    • #328860

      I think the following is interesting and supports what is being said about Internet Explorer not being valued as a web browser. If you go to https://github.com/ using Internet Explorer 11, the following warning appears “Please note that GitHub no longer supports Internet Explorer. We recommend upgrading to the latest Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Firefox.”According to Wikipedia, Github was purchased by Microsoft in 2018.

    • #328894

      I like Firefox, but for some things, I find I have to use Chrome:

      1. Google Voice stopped working in Firefox.
      2. Outlook for the Web (webmail for my job) stopped letting me “view message in separate window.” All I get is a blank window. Same thing for previewing PDFs.

      So I find myself bouncing up and back between browsers. Which one snoops more? Who knows? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      • #328913

        Hello @Morty, I had the same problems with Firefox and Google voice not working, and found a fix for now. I found a website which suggested going into about:config in Firefox and confirming that media.peerconnection.enabled is set to true. It turned out I made a change to “false” many years ago when I was trying to tighten up Firefox security. Google Voice worked fine for many months after I changed that setting back to true. But, then Google voice had changed again. If I use legacy Google Voice, Google Voice will work again in my version of Firefox. To find legacy Google Voice, look in the left lower pane of Google Voice for an ellipse (three dot menu) and select legacy. In my case I am on a older esr version of Firefox and likely need to upgrade.

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        • #328915

          Thanks. But that’s exactly the kind of tweaking that scares me off. If I have to spend that much time fixing Firefox, I’ll just switch up and back with Chrome.

          Years (OK, decades) ago, I spend a few hours in the Registry, cleaning up the debris from a bad install of a popular antivirus product. I won’t touch that product again. And I try to keep out of areas for experts only.

          • #328945

            Hi again Morty, I understand what you are saying. In my case my tweaking firefox, broke Google Voice 2 yrs into the future. Good thing I keep good notes because my memory is not what it used to be. (hehe). However, in your case (since you don’t tweak), just selecting Google Voice (GV) legacy while you are in Google Voice, will likely get it working. The GV legacy setting was not sticky for me. This meant the next time when using Google Voice, legacy needed to be re-selected again, to get it to work Firefox. ( And I had to remember what is needed to fix it). So yes, is probably way simpler to just use another browser. Regards,

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            • #329033

              Thanks again.

              Every once in a while I have to remind myself: The computer is supposed to be working for me, not vice versa. Much as new tech is tempting, I’ve been trying to keep it to what I need. Or at least what’s useful.

    • #328926

      I’m forced to use  IE for updates.  At one time there was a Firefox add on to do MS updates instead of IE but it was found to have malware.

    • #328946

      I, too, am a staunch Firefox user and have made good use of About:config to tweak it the way I want it to perform. Not really a fan of Chrome (Google comes in there somewhere) but I am a Gmail user. IE gets used for accessing the work portal, others work but not as well as IE although Safari works great on IPad. I also agree that no browser should come installed OS or otherwise.


    • #328997

      I was reading your article regarding browsers and you mentioned that you use Chrome but I think you ought to give BRAVE a shot on your desktop.  Personally, I refuse to use Chrome as I do not trust Google.  I was using Edge and thought it was OK but I was plagued by ads, pop-ups and trackers that wanted to know every move I was making.   At one point someone pointed me to a test on https://panopticlick.eff.org/ to test how well my browser was protecting me from tracking and Edge failed miserably and I suspect that Chrome would fails as well.  I then tried Firebox which I found to OK but I had to install an ad blocker add-on to maximize my protection.  Then I read about Brave adopting the Chromium internals like what Microsoft is doing with Edge and when I installed Brave the first thing that struck me was how fast this browser renders pages as it was so much faster than Firefox or Edge.  The next thing I noticed was that it passed the test on https://panopticlick.eff.org/ .  Then I found out that it has built-in TOR browser capabilities if I ever felt that I needed it.  Above all it blocks adds and trackers without having to install an add-on.  Since I installed Brave on my PC back in mid-December brave has blocked 11,117 trackers and has blocked 20,699 ads and this alone has saved me approximately 27 minutes of browsing time according to Brave’s statistics.  At this point in time I’ve found Brave to be a really compatible browser to use and  Edge now has a very high bar to match what Brave can do.  I know that this may sound like a fake testimony but it’s not.  I’m just a retired Client Server Support Specialist that wants to protect himself from companies that what to know what other companies I do business with and what products interest me and in my book Brave is a real winner of protecting me.  My suggestion would be to try Brave for 30-60 days as your default, one and only browser, and see if you don’t get hooked like I did.

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    • #329011

      Did I miss something? I’m curious about why you didn’t discuss Vivaldi. I started experimenting with it a couple of years ago (I’m a composer Vivaldi fan) and find myself relying more and more on it, using DuckDuckGo search engine. Although I really haven’t explored Vivaldi’s many features, I keep stumbling onto things I like, such that I’m using it increasingly. Chrome is still my first choice, largely because of familiarity and the Google search engine. Also I just bought a Chromebook and am learning how to use it in an attempt to wean from the Microsoft system. Just wonderin’.

      • #329020

        There are dozens of browsers that are all based on Chromium, like Vivaldi, Brave, Opera, and of course Chrome itself (and coming soon: Edge). When you’re talking about “browser wars,” it’s all about market share, and in the Windows world, the heavy hitters are Chrome (obviously), IE (which MS says isn’t a browser, so don’t use it), Edge (which is being discontinued in its current form), and Firefox.  There are too many to mention them all!


        Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
        XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon
        Acer Swift Go 14, i5-1335U/16GB, KDE Neon (and Win 11 for maintenance)

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    • #329062

      one hare-brained idea (recently rescinded) has to give you pause.”

      Assuming that is the crippling of ad blockers,  it doesn’t sound like it is completely rescinded.


      Google has proposed changes to its Chrome Extension renovation plan that answer some but not all of the concerns

      I think the matter is still in play.

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    • #329146

      Right now, Chrome is pushing the idea of their new system disabling all external scripts, which would make userscripts no longer work. So I’m having to consider moving back to Firefox simply for that. I’ve already started what I did when I moved from Firefox to Chrome: build up my extensions and get everything up and running on the new browser in case the rug is pulled out from under me.

      The entire idea to change how extensions work after Firefox started implementing WebExtensions seems fishy to me.

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    • #329364

      These days, I use PaleMoon and Tor Browser. Chrome sometimes, purely for certain site compatibility issues. Keep meaning to try Brave.

      Group B for WIN7 w/ ESU, plus trying out Linux builds in dual boot.

    • #329472

      I second using the Brave browser with Duck duck Go as the search engine of choice!

    • #329523

      If you’re stuck with I.E. 11 at work and can’t install another browser, you can still use the Tracking Protection List (TPL) feature in I.E. to block ads and trackers.

      IE Options > Programs tab > Manage Add-ons button > Tracking Protection > Get a Tracking Protection List online.

      That last step should take you to https://www.microsoft.com/iegallery  where you can pick the same Easylist and EasyPrivacy filters used by Adblock Plus and uBlock Origin.  Scroll down, they’re at the bottom of the page.  Once added to I.E. , they will show up in Manage Add-ons.  From there, you can enable or disable, as well as view the filter’s contents.  They update weekly.

      Note: to be able to add filters to the TPL, *.live.com, *.gfx.ms, *.s-microsoft.com, and  *.microsoft.com needs to be in your Trusted Sites zone.   This may or may not be something you have to do, depending on your security settings at work.


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