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CNET Editors' Rating 5.0 stars

Spectacular

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Use it for Java, not much else."

    January 25, 2005  |   By the Otter

    Summary

    Firefox 1.0 has the makings of a great browser, but itÂ’s obviously a 1.0 release. While its Java performance blows away Safari 1.x, Firefox is plagued by bugs that will slow you down at every turn.

    Filling out forms is great, as long as youÂ’ve never been to a site before; otherwise, itÂ’s a nightmare. Pop-up menus appear on fields you didnÂ’t select, and clicking elsewhere on the page doesnÂ’t dismiss them.

    Dragging text to a clipping is likewise nigh impossible: if you pause over the text for even half a second, a contextual menu pops up and won’t go away until you make a selection within it (e.g. “Select All”)—an annoyance at best.

    Scrollbars in small windows (e.g. textboxes) do not collapse as normal. If you have set the OS to display both arrows at the top and bottom, the extra arrows should disappear if the scroll area is small enough. Firefox doesn’t seem to get this concept, forcing the user to scroll with the arrow keys—quite annoying, if you’ve got a long list. (Admittedly, many other programs don’t do this correctly, either, but a widespread bug is still a bug.)

    A few of the themes I installed donÂ’t work very well, either. I know this isnÂ’t the browserÂ’s fault, but I canÂ’t understand how a theme would make the scrollbar completely disappear.

    The bottom line is that Firefox has a phenomenal Java engine without the applet bugs I see in Camino, so IÂ’ll keep it on my computer for that. I also like its RSS support, which neither Camino nor Safari has. But for all intents and purposes, its days may very well be numbered. Safari 2.0 will contain enhanced Java and CSS when itÂ’s released, in a few months, and I donÂ’t see Firefox offering anything beyond that time.

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