Sunday, March 22, 2009

Newer != Better

We all know that just because something is new doesn't mean that it's better than what's gone before. A couple of examples I've had the misfortune to experience first-hand recently emphasize this:

Firefox 3 is dramatically inferior to Firefox 2. Not only does it feel much more sluggish, but the URL bar (in particular the drop-down menu) is terrible. Yes, the oldbar extension removes some of the maddening irritations of the look and feel, but the list of URLs presented is completely broken, to the point where it's worse than useless. I've not upgraded every machine I have, and the overall experience on the machines I have upgraded is pretty poor - so much so that I'm tempted to revert.

I've used emacs for decades. (And EDT/EVE/TPU before that.) For many years I've stayed with emacs 19.34, because it worked. Recently I've switched to emacs 22, because it's newer, maintained, and is what tends to be found on other systems. Again, the experience is staggeringly poor. Not only is it much slower but some of its features are just plain stupid. One of the more idiotic features I came across recently was that it assumes that a file named with a "zone" extension must be a DNS zone. (As a Solaris sysadmin, a zone is likely to be something else.) And if the file doesn't parse as it thinks a DNS zone file should then you are completely unable to even save the file - it's so smugly superior.

The world is full of other examples. Why do we put up with it?


Anonymous said...

ekiga 3.0

Justin said...

Before reverting back to FF2, try the latest FF3.1 beta, it is a huge improvement over 3.0

Charles said...

I would disagree completely. The "awesome bar" is a fantastic leap forward. For the first 15 minutes I used it I hated it. Then I noticed that I could type anything useful in the bar and get the site I wanted as the first entry. Site name? That works. Something in the URL? That works. And it's faster, looks better and is more standards compliant to boot.

Fernando Cassia said...

That's why some of us have skipped Firefox entirely and we continue using good old Mozilla (with Modern theme) which now continues life as SeaMonkey ( )

Two features that Firebadger still lacks after all these years:

1. (from any web page)
File->Email page (opens a new email in the mail client, with the web page being seen before attached as HTML, and with the page title already filled in the message subject line)

2. (Front any web page) File->Edit page (loads the currently loaded page in the HTML editor, highlight the adverts banners and other nonprinable crap, hit the DEL key, erase those blocks of cruft, and Ctrl-P to print.

That alone makes it worth keeping SeaMonkey alive... not to mention the email-browser integration and, and...

PS: Most firefox extensions can be installed and run on SeaMonkey with the addition of xsidebar.

Fernando Cassia said...

On my windows box, for instance, my bitmap editor of choice is Paint Shop Pro 5.0. Why? It weights just 5.5 to 6MB on disk, load blazingly fast on today's CPUs, and does its job well.

Why use something that weights 10 times more, to do the same job?. Last time I looked one of the latest Paint Shop Pro versions was over 50 megs, sheesh!.