How to make Firefox irresistable

So far, Firefox has really been kicking ass and taking names. But a recent letter to Infoworld from a happy convert made me stop and think for a moment. The user’s only complaints were a few rare sites coded for IE, and of course Microsoft’s Windows Update. Now,there’s not much we can do about sites coded for IE, but there is something we can do about Windows Update. If you change your user agent string to look like IE, the Windows Update site loads fine, with some minor visual differences, although the ActiveX control doesn’t load since Firefox doesn’t support AX controls. But there is some work on supporting AX, such as with limited instances of AX in Netscape. Lots of people bemoan the fact they still need to use IE for Windows Update, in fact. So, what we need is an extension specifically written for Windows Update. It could come with a custom style sheet so the page renders better, and some mechanism for triggering the AX control on Windows systems when the Windows Update site is visited. Yes, this would only be useful for one site, but that one site is incredibly important for Windows users, and the ability to use it would give many people the reason to never load IE again.


  1. Thumper had this to say,

    August 1, 2004 @ 7:54 am

    Windows Update requires VBscript support as well though. Pretty sure this is a separate issue to ActiveX. I really don’t see someone writing a whole VBscript engine for Mozilla.

    – Chris

  2. Matthew Wilson had this to say,

    August 1, 2004 @ 8:54 am

    This problem should decrease as time goes by, since Windows Update is built in to XP and doesn’t require the user to run IE to get their updates.

  3. Quark had this to say,

    August 1, 2004 @ 11:06 am

    Um, no. Why can’t people use an MS product for FIVE MINUTES to update another MS product?

  4. Nobody had this to say,

    August 1, 2004 @ 9:07 pm

    How about pointing out that since most of the things in windows update are to fix IE from letting your computer being taken over, that you don’t really need to go to windows update if you aren’t using IE.

  5. Tristor had this to say,

    August 1, 2004 @ 11:16 pm

    I think you hit the nail on the head, I have actually had people that I couldn’t convert for this sole reason (yes it’s ridiculous, but what do you expect out of windows lusers?). If this were done, it would make it much more appealing to the masses than it already is, and would allow existing users to convert their friends to the light side 😀

  6. Grey had this to say,

    August 1, 2004 @ 11:54 pm

    Quark: You say, "Why can’t people use an MS product for FIVE MINUTES to update another MS product?" Let’s assume for a moment you have been shot, and the bullet has lodged itself deeply in your abdomen. Now, you’re going to say you want a doctor and anesthetic for the surgery, but why? Can’t you take some dull metal imstrument, say a spoon, and for just 5 minutes dig out the other dull metal instrument (the bullet)? I mean, come on! Don’t be a wussy! 🙂

  7. franCk had this to say,

    August 2, 2004 @ 12:42 am

    Well Windows Update is using IE? True but if you don’t tell anybody they won’t know. On XP there is a specific item in start to launch WU and you don’t need to know it is IE to use it…
    Windows explorer may have the same look as IE too if you want, would you want to replace it by Firefox?
    Just think as Windows Update as a specific app, you launch it, it update your WIndows, then you close it…

  8. Justin Wood (Callek) had this to say,

    August 22, 2004 @ 2:45 am

    In-Fact I have been considering updating the file:// protocol work at some point in FF/Mozilla just because of the fact that "Windows Explorer" is IE in other means, (all explorer.exe)