This is a translation from Japanese of this blog post
. It's a quick and dirty translation while I sat in class, so don't expect much quality out of the translation.
I laughed at a point made in this review of Firefox
I'm not that smart, so I tend to believe every translated article.
1. English = they're saying it in the global standard, so it must be true (authority)
2. The translator took the time to translate it to Japanese, so it must have enough value for the effort (added percieved value by the reader)
I think the two above are the reasons I do so.
But let's just get to my point.
As the linked article states, Opera has much more features, and Opera seems to have greatly surpassed Firefox even with standard things like CSS, SVG rendering and JS engine (I don't know if it's true or not, but I've recently been getting the image that Opera is greater somehow). Smart people around me also use Opera by their choice, probably after considering many things. However, Firefox is gaining more in popularity. I think this is a strange thing too.
Is it because Firefox has better marketing? No, that can't be. Mozilla's end-user marketing sucks, and that's a widely acknowledged fact. (<-I'm evil)
A fame they inherited from Netscape? No, probably not. When Firefox 1.0 was released in 2004, the significant majority of new users never heard of Netscape, and the people who knew Netscape considered it dead.
Or is it because it has extensions? That might be one of the reasons, but I don't think that's all. Not everyone uses those extensions anyway.
The reason Firefox is popular is because of the fact that Firefox is not feature-loaded by itself. People can't really understand things that are too great, things that are too different. They can't fully comprehend it. But if it's just a little bit different than what they're used to, then they can understand it. The degree of Firefox's difference relative to IE was just the right amount of "a bit different," and that's why it became popular.
In a sense, it's good that IE7 and Firefox 2 are in the same arena. When the similar two stand next to each other, the extensions, the single biggest feature of Firefox, stands out as the "a bit different" point (Might be different if IE7 had more add-ons). If the users start using the extensions from there, then the ugly swamp, no, the quicksand, no, the deep and interesting world where heavy users are stuck in lies ahead of them.
I know Opera has somewhat simplified the initial UI in order to get to those new users, but I must agree that Firefox is, by default settings, a lot simpler and closer to IE than Opera. Even after the default UI was simplified, I still find myself turning off more than a few toolbars that I don't use. Also, things like the "first mouse gesture notification" should include a link that explains what a mouse gesture is (I don't remember if it does now... does it?), rather than only asking the user whether he wants to enable it or not.
I know Opera wants to show its new users many of its features, but perhaps it should show less? Microsoft definitely simplified the UI even more in IE7, and I'm sure they did a lot of usability testing to make it easier for starters.