I’m launching a new browser switch site, with a bit of a twist. It’s promoting all alternative browsers, kind of like Browse Happy, but a bit more inclusive and aimed at a slightly different audience.
The idea is that a diverse browser “market”—one with three or four major browser suppliers all competing with each other—is the best way to maintain innovation and security. Anyone following the classic browser wars, the lull in IE development, and the sudden appearance of IE7 can see the difference competition makes for innovation. As for security… If someone can hit 90% of the world’s computers by hitting IE on Windows, we’re in trouble. But if they have to hit 30% each on IE, Firefox, and Opera, and even those are split among Windows, Mac and Linux, it’s a lot more effort for the bad guys.
I got the idea back in May, during some rather heated Firefox/Opera flame wars. It seemed to me that fans of the two browsers had more in common than they thought, if they’d just stop fighting each other. I worked on it during June, and launched a test version last month, asking for feedback from friends and from the Spread Firefox and My Opera communities*. It’s still not where I’d like it to be (Comic-Con, then procrastination), but after the net went crazy over Paul Thurott’s “Boycott IE” article I realized I’d better launch what I had and refine it later.
So, without further ado, I’m officially launching the Alternative Browser Alliance.
*I’ve since imported my comments from the post on Confessions of a Web Developer, my old blog at My Opera, because it was largely the same content. That’s why some of the comments here are dated earlier than this post.
Firefox – Switch [archive.org] is the first of these sites I noticed. Based on Apple’s “Switch” campaign, it’s aimed at raising awareness of Firefox and convincing people to switch from IE. It has stories of people who have switched, a top 10 list of reasons to switch, and answers to questions about just how you go about this switching thing, anyway.
Stop IE [archive.org] is, as its name implies, a negative campaign. It focuses on the security risks inherent in using Internet Explorer and provides a list of alternatives, though Firefox is the only one it deals with in any depth.
Browse Happy is my favorite of the bunch, because it’s an inclusive campaign. It’s run by the Web Standards Project, so the goal isn’t to promote Firefox or eliminate Internet Explorer, it’s to promote choice and get people away from today’s Internet Explorer. The WaSP’s ultimate goal is to encourage people to build a vendor-neutral web in which you can use whatever browser you want—including IE—and get the same high-quality experience. That’s a goal I can agree with, and that’s why Browse Happy is the one I promote. The meat of the site is stories of people who have switched away from IE, with profiles of four browsers: Firefox, Mozilla, Opera, and Safari.
Update (June 2007): Stop IE is long dead. I’ve updated the links to point to the Internet Archive of the site.