Thursday, September 13, 2007

Debunking the 'Firefox Myths' page

Not long ago, the web site hit,, and several other sites. One of the links on that page was to a "Firefox Myths" site. Right away, two things jumped out at me. There were several "Testimonials" in the left hand navigation bar, all raving about how wonderful the site was, but there was no "Comments" section. Read what you want into this, but there were no comments that were critical of Andrew K. on the site.

I looked at the other links on the page, and began to suspect that was, in reality, nothing but a hoax site designed to drive traffic to Andrew K's web site. If this is the case, then I have to admit it was a clever and effective way to bloat his Google Pagerank, and no doubt get a few dollars from ad revenue while he was at it. Nothing drives traffic to a site quite like outrage.

At the bottom of the page, Andrew K claims that "Anyone even posting a link to [On] will have it removed, their account deleted and their IP address blocked.

If true, such a claim deserves to be investigated, so I did a little hunting. I quickly found a article on this very topic:,_bans,

The user Nanobe had this to say:

Here's the story: Mastertech (a.k.a. Andrew K., the author of the Firefox Myths article) submitted his Firefox Myths page to digg a whopping 12 times, once or twice every time he updated the page. He also commented on just about every web browser related article with a template message advertising his page. To put it simply, he was banned for significant levels of spamming, and his website was also banned to prevent him from advertising it under different names (and he is known to pass himself off under many different identities, including David Dobsen, David H. (which is actually my name -- he used it to promote his webpage knowing that I'm a vocal critic of it), Drew, FFeLEET, GeneralAres, Jim, Joe Somebody, Mike G., MT, NewsHound, Realist, TheHardTruth, Thor, Vincent, and possibly others). LOTS of people reported him, there were LOTS of complaints from different people whenever he spammed his page, and I'm frankly surprised it took so long for him to be banned.

It doesn't help that his page contains outright lies and deliberate misquotes from many people including myself. This will make for an interesting read:

The Techspot link that Nanobe provided was very informative I followed it and found that's "testimonials" and "Fanboys" were crafted by heavily editing the comments of others to the point where the very meaning of the original comment changed. For example his web site recounts the quote:

"Patches are... always sufficient to protect Internet Explorer against auto-installation of malware... Clearly assertions to the contrary are unhelpful & patently untrue." - Thomas

According to however, the original quote was:

"Reality - Patches are not always sufficient to protect Internet Explorer against auto-installation of malware; several zero-day exploits in past months have highlighted this very issue. Clearly assertions to the contrary are unhelpful & patently untrue. Nor should occurrences of such installations be a source of derision."

Notice how it was edited? The original statement claimed that applying security patches will NOT protect users from all auto-installed malware. When crafting his edited quote, Andrew removed things like the negating word "not" and the mention of zero-day exploits, completely reversing the meaning.

Already was on shaky ground, and I hadn't even gotten to the actual content!

The next red flag for me was the remainder of the "Disputes" section, wherein he makes vague references to "a few rather amateurish and rash 'rebuttals' to this page" but never links to any of them. He never gives any voice to his critics and the rest of the section degrades into rants about "Fanboys" and claims of a conspiracy to keep his site from being mentioned on

I decided to examine his "Firefox Myths" page and come to my own conclusions. As a disclaimer, I am a Firefox user. This is because I have a PC at work, a Mac as a home desktop and Linux running my Personal Laptop. Firefox, combined with Google's Browser sync, means I can have a consistent interface and set of bookmarks across all three operating systems. That said, I'm always open to new ideas. I've switched web browsers before and if Andrew could make a good argument, I could be persuaded to switch again.

Myth - "Firefox and Mozilla are the same thing"

This isn't so much a Myth, as a bit of confusion common to new Firefox users. A casual read of the Mozilla web site reveals the difference. While the "Myth" is indeed false, it's hardly relevant to the value of Mozilla as a web browser.

Myth - "Firefox and Mozilla are Not for Profit"

The existence of a non-profit foundation, established to fund Firefox has lead to the common misconception that Firefox is itself devoid of Commercial interests. Andrew K helpfully links to a article that goes into more detail, but the bottom line is there is an official, commercial entity monetizing Mozilla. The browser itself may be a free download, but, like Opera, people are making money off of it.

So far I was encouraged. The first two "Myths" were addressed and debunked with relevant references. The next myth just plain amused me:

Myth - "Firefox is spelled 'FireFox' and abbreviated FF"

To tell the truth, I found this "debate" to be comparable to the question of if you should write "email" or "e-mail." Whatever The Mozilla Foundation's "official" stance on the matter is, people will spell it however they want. Still, I'm sure the Mozilla Foundation appreciated having another voice repeating their Official stance on the product's name.

Myth - "Firefox is not a Religion"

This had me laughing. The bottom line is, all technologies have their fanatics and Andrew K found a number of examples of Firefox evangelists raving about how great it is, including a rather poorly executed Humor piece claiming that God Chooses Firefox.

The Browser wars however are a poor place to go for entertaining examples of Fanboys raving about their chosen technologies. The best Fanboy ranting I've seen is in the Console wars, specifically, PS3 vs XBOX 360 vs Wii.

To be blunt, the fanatical advocates for ANY technology, be it Internet Explorer, Opera, Windows, Linux, Mac or whatever are generally boring and rarely offer any useful information. Yes, the advocates consider getting people to try their pet technology to be a moral crusade, but in the end, people only stick to a technology if they find it works better. Calling Firefox a "religion" grants the zealots a defining level of power that, to be blunt, they don't have in real life. The logic Andrew uses to declare Firefox a religion could be used just as easily to claim that Internet Explorer, Opera, Windows, BSD or any other technology is a "Religion."

Myth - "Firefox has lower System Requirements than Internet Explorer"

The only "example" given for this myth is a JPEG hosted on Andrew's own web site. The image is of an undated posting by some random individual with no information on WHO the "source" is or with what authority they spoke. The article then links to the System Requirements for Internet Explorer 6, SP1, and Firefox 2.

Why would he compare the requirements for the 2002 version of Internet Explorer with the requirements for the CURRENT Firefox? There's a five year gap between the applications. Netscape 4.x was the browser competing with IE 6, SP1. Firefox as we know it didn't even exist.

Let's try an Apples to Apples comparison, specifically, Firefox 2.x vs IE 7, SP2.

Firefox 2 System requirements:


Operating Systems

* Windows 98
* Windows 98 SE
* Windows ME
* Windows NT 4.0
* Windows 2000
* Windows XP (Recommended)
* Windows Vista

Minimum Hardware

* Pentium 233 MHz (Recommended: Pentium 500MHz or greater)
* 64 MB RAM (Recommended: 128 MB RAM or greater)
* 52 MB hard drive space

Internet Explorer 7, SP2

Computer with a 233MHz processor or higher (Pentium processor recommended)

Operating System

Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1)

For Internet Explorer 7:

* Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) - 64 MB

* Windows XP Professional x64 Edition - 128 MB

* Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) - 64 MB

* Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 ia64 - 128 MB

When you compare the current versions of Firefox and IE, as opposed to comparing the current Firefox to a FIVE YEAR OLD version of IE, we find they have the same minimum system requirements, but Firefox 2.x runs on more windows versions than Internet Explorer 7.x.

To use an automotive analogy, this is a bit like Toyota comparing their safest 2007 Sedan to the late 1980's Ford Pinto and using that comparison to claim that Toyota cars are safer than Ford. Such comparisons make it look like you have something to hide.

- "Firefox uses less memory than Internet Explorer"

The iexplorer process does indeed use less memory than Firefox. Many of Internet Explorer's components are loaded into the OS at boot time and are broken off into other processes. While the total memory usage of IE is difficult to calculate, it's not really relevant. Firefox is something of a memory hog compared to Opera and the visible IE footprint.

So far, I was still willing to give Andrew the benefit of the doubt. He'd only really screwed up on one "Myth" thus far.

Myth - "Firefox is Bug Free"

I've been a professional programmer for nine years now, and the concept of anything being "Bug Free" is laughable, a fantasy spouted by people who are either ignorant or are seeking to sell you something. I actually have a rule of politely escorting any vendor who claims a "Bug Free" product to the door.

The fact that Andrew chose to link to a forum post on as an example of people who think Firefox is bug free is, in and of itself, a cause for concern. I've heard people claim that Firefox has fewer bugs than IE, and that claim generally degrades into a debate about bug severity and the difference between a mere cosmetic defect and a major rendering or security flaw. If you use the right criteria, you can make any claim you want about IE vs Firefox in terms of relative "bug" status.

Exploring THAT issue, the question of which has more real security bugs, would have been a worthwhile "Myth" to address, and yet there's no mention of the debate on the "Firefox Myths" page. The closest Andrew comes is this laughably softball claim that "Firefox has no bugs."

Myth - "Firefox is Stable"

This too, is a lost opportunity. Andrew chose to address stability problems stemming from poorly written extensions as opposed to any stability issues in the core browser itself. How stable is stock, out of the box Firefox when compared to Internet Explorer? Andrew doesn't say, or even point at any resources on the topic.

What he DOES do is point to resources about how a poor extension can munge up the works. I was immediately reminded of having to dive into the Widows Recovery Console when a Dell desktop at work was rendered unbootable by a bad video driver. I was reminded of the time a bad sound card driver caused a Compaq Desktop to reboot whenever the "New Mail" message played. I was also put in mind of debates I'd had with friends over how many of Windows 2000's stability improvements were related to real code changes, and how many to the "Driver Signing" initiative to increase device driver quality.

I was also reminded of all the times I had to clean up AOL installs that had rendered the office LAN connection useless on "Road Warrior" laptops.

Andrew had a chance to pit Internet Explorer against Firefox on stability and instead chose to point out that Firefox, like all software, is vulnerable to problems caused by poorly written third party developers. It's a shoddy misdirection tactic that, yet again, makes it look like he's trying to hide something. Why does Andrew fail to pit IE 7 against Firefox 2 in a real stability contest? Is he trying to imply that IE can't be crashed by a poorly written third party add-on?

Myth - "Firefox is the Fastest Web Browser"

While the source Andrew links to decrys itself as being "over two years old" it does include statistics for recent versions of Opera, IE and Firefox. I was not surprised to see Opera was the fastest browser. Opera is, after all, the vendor of choice for optimized and embedded web browsers. It looks like some of their optimizations made it into the main browser.

That said, I was surprised that Firefox 2 and IE 7 were neck-and-neck, with one browser outperforming the other at different functions. With the exception of starting the web browser, the average user will likely see no real difference between them, as the gains of one area will be swallowed up in the losses of the other.

Myth - "Firefox is Faster than Internet Explorer 6"

Andrew used as his source, and I will do the same. I will use this data to compare IE 7, Firefox 2 and Opera 9. To see how Andrew's beloved IE 6 stacks up, I'll include it as well. The speeds are in seconds.

Browser name

Cold start

Warm start

Rendering CSS

Rendering table

Script speed

Multiple images


Firefox 2.0








Internet Explorer 6.0








Internet Explorer 7.0 (b3)








Opera 9.01








First we see that Opera is, indeed the fastest. Opera's experience in writing embedded browsers has clearly served them well. It's the fastest in all categories. IE 7 is the slowest on some tasks, while Firefox 2 is the slowest on others. Surprisingly, IE 6 was the slowest on script execution.

What I want to point out is the gap between Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7. Notice how IE 7 performs worse than IE 6 on all tasks except Script Speed.

Myth - "Firefox is Faster than Internet Explorer 7"

Andrew writes: "Internet Explorer 7 is clearly faster than Firefox 1.x and 2.x in 4 out of 7 measures of performance" and he's right. Of the performance measures given, IE 7 outdoes Firefox in 4 out of 7.

Of course, IE 6 out performs IE 7 in 6 out of 7 of those same metrics. Why isn't he crowing about that?

Myth - "Firefox is Faster than Mozilla"

The test results would lead one to believe that once you get outside of the realm of Hyper Fast Opera, most the other browsers are snails on Valium. This seems a fair assessment. With the exception of launching the application, Firefox 2, IE 6 and IE 7 differ by less than half a second on most tasks. Firefox Murders IE 6 and IE 7 on Script Speed, but is in turn pummeled on "History" browsing, something that the original tester describes as a test of how efficiently the browser used it's cache.

Ultimately, the average web user will only notice a real speed difference when launching the application, or when doing ANYTHING in Opera.

Myth - "Firefox Gained 25% Market Share in May 2007"

Myth - "Firefox Achieved 20% Market Share in January 2006 in Europe"

Myth - "Firefox Achieved 10% Market Share in 2005"

I'm grouping these three together because they are just claims about where Firefox's market share was at a given point in time. Geocities was once the single most popular free website destination and AOL once provided Internet access to over 70% of the people who were online. Netscape 4.x was once the KING of the web browsers to the point where people giggled at Internet Explorer. How many of those statements are true today?

What matters is not the popularity of a browser at a given place in time, or the accuracy of a given article about that popularity but trends in the browser's growth. The problem of course is that it's damned difficult to get reliable browser metrics. Yes, you can get a report about the popularity of a web browser on a given web site, but estimating worldwide popularity or even regional popularity is a hit or miss proposition. The ease with which Firefox and Opera users can spoof their Browser ID makes accurate detection even more difficult.

According to, one of the sources used by Andrew in his "Myth Debunking" Firefox grew from 11.84% of the browser market to 14.37% in the space of 11 months. According to the picture is very different:

















Just looking at the stats from a different site gives Firefox a full third of all browser usage.

I think the definitive word on the matter comes from

Caution: stats mislead. Caching distorts raw data; audiences vary for each site; methodologies vary for each survey; surveys miss or omit important details; surveys mis-identify browsers or other user agents; some search spiders pose as browsers; small sample sizes exaggerate fluctuations; and stats don’t count those who stay away because their browsers are not supported.

Caution: browser stats may help you decide when a browser is so uncommon that a site need not support people who use it; and the stats may satisfy the curious; but the stats are useful for little else.

They then give a breakdown of stats based on their source. Please note that Mozilla and Firefox are lumped together in their graph under the heading "Gecko Based."

Browser Usage Stats (%)














IE5 (windows)







IE5 (Mac)



KHTML based







Gecko based
































As you can see, you can make whatever claims you want about browser popularity if you pick the right source. The margin of error is massive.

The only REAL question for developers is: "Should I support Firefox on my web site and if so, what versions?" Given the fact that anywhere from 11% to 39% of all Internet users are running Mozilla, I'd say the answer is probably "Yes."

Myth - "Firefox Achieved 150 million downloads in January of 2006"

Yes, there was one month where the number of downloads was over counted, specifically by about 20 million. Firefox really had 130 Million Downloads in January of 2006. I'm sure lots of people cared in January and February of 2006.

Myth - "Firefox is Secure"

Compared to what?

As Andrew points out "You only need one vulnerability to be insecure" so let's take a look at the metrics he uses and compare Firefox to Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 7, and Opera 9, all on Windows. After all, it wouldn't be fair to count Linux and Mac bugs when comparing Internet Explorer to the other browsers on security. If IE is an option for you, you're running Windows, and Mac and Linux bugs aren't really relevant.

Elsewhere on the page, Andrew makes a big deal out of the need to patch your browser and keep it up to date.

Unpatched Vulnerabilities

Total Vulnerabilities

% unpatched


Firefox 2.x




Less Critical

IE 6




Moderately Critical

IE 7




Highly Critical

Opera 9




No Rating

Is Firefox perfect? No. Is it more secure than Internet Explorer? According to it is.

Andrew's next source is CVE

According to a CVE search for the term "Firefox" there are 290 Entries.

For Internet Explorer, there are 606

For Opera, there are 79.

The search Andrew used does not tell you which of these are patched and what their severity is. According to CVE, Internet Explorer has over twice as many vulnerabilities as Firefox. The search Andrew used doesn't tell us how many of these are unpatched vulnerabilities in the wild. A quick review of the first page of hits tells us that for all three browsers, most the "vulnerabilities" are patched, and some only happen under very specific circumstances. CVE-2007-3924 for example, only happens if a user has IE and Netscape on the same machine, and uses a link in Internet Explorer to launch Netscape.

Andrew's CVE number is not just useless, it's misleading.

Finally, there's the 190 Security Advisories on all of which are fixed and most of which were fixed BEFORE any exploits were in the wild.

Myth - "Firefox is the Most Secure Web Browser" -

To be fair, according to, Opera is far more secure than either Firefox or Internet Explorer. Many people are fond of saying that Firefox's superior security rating is due to it's reduced popularity. Could Opera's current rank be due to it having less than 2% of the total market share, or is it just written better? Ultimately, we won't know unless Opera, Firefox and IE evenly split the browser market.

Myth - "Firefox Vulnerabilities are Quickly Patched"

Andrew links to two bugs that have been unpatched since 1994. One of them is a Mac OS only bug, hardly relevant for Windows users. It exposes users to a potential Phishing attack if Java is enabled. The other bug refers to the fact that a web site can set a country wide cookie. For example, a web site in the .ru domain could set a cookie that can be read by all .ru domains.

Of course, Internet Explorer has vulnerabilities that have remained unpatched since 2003, "which can be exploited by malicious people to execute arbitrary script code on a user's system."

In the end, evaluating the relative security of a web browser can't be done by counting off the number of "bugs" that have been found. Windows XP shipped with a much mocked 64,000 "defects" most of which were cosmetic annoyances only the developers noticed. Counting off "Vulnerabilities" with no regard to the relative security of those vulnerabilities is the trick of a Pointy-Haired boss with little to no understanding to technology.

A real evaluation of Firefox vs IE or Opera requires more than a handful of security warnings cherry picked from the Internet.

Myth - "Firefox is More Secure because it is not integrated into the OS"

The only mention of this "Myth" on

is the line "Not being in the operating system is a phenomenal advantage for us."

The quote is largely out of context. Firefox, Safari and Opera developers share an advantage over IE, in that they don't need to worry how their changes will, for example, impact the OS Help viewer. There are fewer vectors for software bugs when your product is not part of the Operating System.

The reality is, your COMPUTER is more secure when your web browser isn't integrated into your operating system. Merging the file and web browsers alone opens you up to a variety of potential threats. Let's take a corporate situation as an example. A user accesses a shared network drive and in one of those folders is an HTML file that, if opened in your web browser, will infect your PC with malware. It's a Zero-Day exploit (Happens to all web browsers, even IE) and it's so new your corporate antivirus program does not yet detect it.

If your file browser is NOT integrated with your Web browser, then you open the directory looking for that quarterly report, see it's not there and move on. You'd have to open the file itself with your web browser to get infected.

If your web browser IS integrated into the file browser, as it is in Windows, when you open the folder Windows parses the HTML file in order to generate a thumbnail for your viewing pleasure, thus allowing the virus to infect your PC.

I don't pick this example lightly, as it describes the process by which an entire department at one of my former jobs found their PCs infected with a virus. Some people tried to delete the virus laden file from the network drive, but ended up betting infected themselves in the process. It was the last day anyone in that department used the "Thumbnail" view for Windows Explorer.

Let's take another situation. A MAJOR security flaw is discovered in your browser of choice. If it's NOT integrated into your operating system, you can, if you so choose, uninstall it. You can do that with Opera and Firefox, but you can't do it with Internet Explorer.

The Web Browser is not necessarily more secure if it's not integrated into the OS, but the OS is more secure if there are no integrated web browsers.

Myth - "Firefox is More Secure because it does not use ActiveX"

In the bad old days, AxtiveX was essentially a technology that allowed web developers to write executable code that ran whenever someone visited their web site. This code ran on the local machine of the end user, not on the server. Many viruses, trojans and other malicious programs were written to exploit this technology.

The major difference between this and Java, aside from Java being cross platform, was that ActiveX ran wihout a sandbox. Java code ran in an isolated form and barring a software bug, could only touch your local files if you granted it permission. ActiveX on the other hand could upload your entire "My Documents" folder to "Hackers R Us" in the background without so much as asking you if it can read a file.

Eventually, Microsoft added a confirmation prompt to execute ActiveX components. Ironically, this was not because of security concerns, but because of a legal dispute over a patent. It seems Microsoft got to bypass a lengthy and expensive legal battle by adding that dialog box.

Today, the security is a little tighter, but it's still painfully easy for ActiveX to muck up a Windows PC, Dave Massey's Blog notwithstanding.

Myth - "Firefox Extensions are Safe"

Third party products are always a potential vector for security problems. The ease with which Firefox add-ons can be developed has lead to a number that are less secure than they should be, and a few that are downright deceptive. There's an ongoing debate about how easily the "Trusted" designation is granted to Firefox add-ons. This "myth" is another of the rare instances where Andrew raises a valid point. People are not as aware of the security vulnerabilities present in third party products as they should be.

All that said, I find myself wondering if similar security concerns exist for Opera Widgets and Internet Explorer Add-ons. The wise course would be to assume that the third party code for those browsers is as vulnerable as that of Firefox.

Myth - "Firefox is a Solution to Spyware"

No, Firefox won't uninstall existing spyware, and it won't protect you from downloading and running a virus infected executable, if you are indeed dumb enough to do such a thing.

If you click "Yes" to grant an unknown Java program unfettered access to yoru PC, you can get a bevy of Spyware, even with Firefox.

Yes, older versions of Firefox are apparently vulnerable to a InstallVersion.compareTo() exploit.

I've dealt with a long list of sales reps and office personnel who had chronic spyware problems. Installing Firefox stemmed the tide, because suddenly, they had to actually DO something stupid to get infected, as opposed to merely visiting the web site. I like to compare using Firefox to using a condom. It's not 100% safe, but it's a damn sight better than the alternative.

Myth - "Firefox 2's Phishing Protection is better than Internet Explorer 7"

I'm going to flat out Andrew K a liar on this one.

The test he linked to did NOT evaluate Mozilla 2.0's Anti-Phishing filter. The Firefox Phishing filter was introduced in version 2.0, but the study only tested IE 7 against Firefox 1.5.x running the Google Site Adviser. The ONLY mention of Firefox 2.0 is the line "Mozilla recently released a beta of Firefox v2 that incorporates some of this technology directly into the browser, using the same block list service as Google’s “Safe Browsing” tool."

The study Andrew K used to "debunk" Firefox 2's anti-phishing filter never even evaluated that filter.

Myth - "Firefox's Memory Leak is a Bug"

This is one of the few gems of actual information in the article, particularly the link to the article on reducing Firefox Memory Usage.

Myth - "Firefox supports Extensions and Internet Explorer does not"

Yes, IE had "Ad-ons" as early as 1997, but the interface and development kit was poor and cumbersome. They were poorly integrated and infrequently used. The real innovation for Firefox was the creation of a quick and easy process for creating plug-in technology and the integration of an easy, simple Add-On Manager.

Yes, Microsoft did it first, but they did it so poorly it wasn't until Firefox came along over a decade later that anyone took notice.

Myth - "Firefox supports Extensions and Opera does not"

I was pleased to learn that Opera had added "Widgets" as of version 9.0. It's only fair, after all, Firefox did steal tabbed browsing from Opera.

Myth - "Firefox supports an Inline Search Feature and Internet Explorer does not"

This "Myth" should just be reworded to say "IE does not support inline search, unless you install extra software." Remember, Andrew K argues that Ad-ons are a BAD thing when discussing Firefox stability, why then does he advocate one here?

The simple fact is, Firefox supports it out of the box, IE does not. Andrew K didn't mention any of the performance tweaking tutorials for Mozilla when discussing relative speed and performance, why should he then get to mention an add-on for IE?

Myth - "Firefox was the first Web Browser to include an Integrated Search feature"
Myth - "Firefox was the first Web Browser to include Pop-up Blocking"

Again, here, Andrew gets it right. Integrated Search and decent pop-up blocking were first introduced by Opera. Opera also introduced tabbed browsing. I'm surprised Andrew didn't mention this.

Myth - "Firefox had Pop-up Blocking before Internet Explorer"

This is more a word game than anything else. Mozilla, the suite from which Firefox evolved, had pop-up blocking long before Internet Explorer. Since the Firefox name wasn't applied to a Gecko based browser until after IE added rudimentary pop-up blocking, you can technically, if misleadingly, claim IE had it before Firefox.

Myth - "Firefox Blocks all Pop-ups"

I want to see an actual source for this claim, other than the screen shot hosted on Andrew K's site. I've never before heard anyone claim Firefox blocks ALL popups. I've heard people say they haven't gotten once SINCE installing Firefox, but that's not the same as claiming it blocks them all.


Andrew's comments about browser speed were the best supported of the article. Outside of that, most of his really "good" points were either pedantic, like Firefox NOT being abbreviated with a "FF" or turned to random, uninformed comments posted in unrelated forums. If the major source for a myth is, like the "Firefiox is Bug Free" claim, a Pet Lover's web site, then the myth itself isn't really worth discussing.

He chose questionable, even laughable sources for his "Myths" and took outrageous statements, like 'Firefox is bug free" and treated them seriously, as if the rantings of a handful of ill-informed newbies were representative of opinion at large.

He also took great pains to massage data to where it suited him. He was inconsistent with which browser versions he used for comparison, mixing and matching Firefox 1.x, Firefox 2.x, IE 6 and IE 7. This resulted in a highly biased article that gave the impression of trying to hide something.

He did make some good points, particularly when evaluating the relative speed of the Firefox Web browser against Opera, but these were lost in a sea of poorly supported half truths. If he stripped away the carefully massaged statistics and pointed out some of the potential flaws in his own arguments, he could make a very good case for trying Opera. Sadly, he chooses instead to stoop to misleading tactics and pedantic issues, squandering the opportunity to do more than just piss off die hard Firefox users.

Ironically, he fails to mention the fact that the free Opera browser is no longer ad supported.


Anonymous said...

Andrew K does like to go over the same old ground, and trying to engage in any sort of reasonable debate with him is quite impossible, so be warned if he does turn up, this is the sort of thing that's going to happen:

I wasted a lot of time trying to counter his propaganda a while ago- he was popping up on every forum under the sun telling people that IE6 was just as secure as Firefox. This was just before the rash of IE6 exploits and ActiveX exploits that allowed auto-installing spyware on that browser.

His response to the evidence that he was wrong was to ignore it completely:

Be prepared for a head meets brick wall type of encounter if Andrew/Mastertech/OptimizeXP does notice your blog.

Andrew K said...

First of all you haven't "debunked" anything on my page.

None of my pages have comment sections because my pages are not blogs but all the testimonials are from real emails that is a fact. Go to any companies site and see how many critical comments you will find on their site. That is absolutely ludicrous. There are plenty of fanboy rants about my page online, none of them factually correct or debunk anything but they are "critical".

The author of the whyfirefoxisblocked is Danny Carlton not me.

Nanobot is a flat out liar who is mad because I caught him redirecting visitors coming from my site to different pages. I never spammed my page to Digg I posted it anytime a new version was released which had updated and new information. I also never used any of those names. Of course there were complaints from the fanboys who did not want anyone to read the truth about Firefox! There are no lies on my page and all quotes in the fanboy quotes section are and were intended as satire.

The Techspot link is about as informative as the Iraqi propaganda minister. Only the fanboy quotes were satire NOT the testimonials.

I will never give any voice to people who can't read and comprehend facts and sources and flat out lie.

There was obviously a deliberate intent by the Digg administration to keep my page from being posted on This was brought to my attention by various people who attempted to have it submitted and then had the post removed, their account deleted and their IP address blocked. I link to one such testimonial. Conspiracy? I have no idea but deliberate? You bet.

Myth - "Firefox and Mozilla are the same thing"

It is clearly a Myth if people believe it and it has been debunked. "Value of a web browser" has nothing to do with my page, it is about Firefox Myths. I can see you are starting off as if my page is some attempt to convince people what to use, it is not, it is to stop the spread of Myths about Firefox, period. I don't care what browser you use.

Myth - "Firefox is spelled 'FireFox' and abbreviated FF"

This is still a Myth and as you can tell a largely believed one, regardless it is clearly debunked.

Myth - "Firefox is not a Religion"

I have since clarified this one much better with sources I should have used from the begining, my intent was never that Firefox is an organized religion but as the definition I clearly provided says:

"A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion."

In my experience which goes back over 15 years and I have been online since 1996, I have never seen more fanboys then those who mindlessly endorse Firefox. I provide overwhelming evidence for this and thus the Myth is debunked.

Myth - "Firefox has lower System Requirements than Internet Explorer"

First of all read the examples are not myths section. Regardless I had multiple sources for many Myths but I only started screen capturing them as I found them go off line one after another after I linked to them. There is nothing I can do about it other then to show the screen capture.

The page came out in 2005! Regardless there is no "apples to apples" comparison. I actually compare IE6 to both Firefox 1.x to 2.x IE6 has the most market share of any browser period and the Myth is debunked.

Myth - "Firefox uses less memory than Internet Explorer"

If you could please provide a link that shows what part of IE loads when I would be interested and am still waiting for two years for proof of. Regardless the Myth is debunked.

Myth - "Firefox is Bug Free"

What you consider a Myth is irrelevant to what many others believe. Many people believe this and thus it is a Myth and obviously debunked.

Myth - "Firefox is Stable"

Corrupt Preference Issues and Profile Issues are core browser issues! Again you show your bias for what you think the page is about, it is not to sell a browser or promote IE. I state nothing about IE here and yet you do, I can clearly see now how you are incapable of reading what I clearly state. It is to debunk Myths. This myth is clearly debunked.

Myth - "Firefox is the Fastest Web Browser"

Firefox Myths is 2 years old! You then make ridiculous comments about my "beloved" browser which makes you loose even more credibility when I state no such thing. Regardless this Myth is clearly debunked, Opera is fastest. You however point out irrelevant things to a page about Firefox Myths. This is not IE Myths.

Myth - "Firefox is Faster than Internet Explorer 7"

Hello the page is not about IE!! This myth is clearly debunked.

Myth - "Firefox is Faster than Mozilla"

This is all your opinion not substantiated by any data and irrelevant to the page. This Myth is debunked.

Myth - "Firefox Gained 25% Market Share in May 2007"
Myth - "Firefox Achieved 20% Market Share in January 2006 in Europe"
Myth - "Firefox Achieved 10% Market Share in 2005"

These Myths are important to highlight the obvious bias Firefox was getting to promote an untrue market share.

W3CSchools is a horrible example that site simply records visitor statistics and is severly biased.

The Browsernews is even more biased looking at the sources as it trys to compare single domain page hits with companies who monitor web traffic across hundreds of thousands of pages. Ridiculous. If you don't understand the difference I cannot help you, regardless these myths are debunked.

Myth - "Firefox Achieved 150 million downloads in January of 2006"

This was widely spammed at the time which is why it was listed.

Myth - "Firefox is Secure"

Secure as in not vulnerable to anything. This is not a comparison! Security comparisons to be non-biased must be done between a set timeframe since it is obvious a browser that was out for 3-5 more years would have more vulnerabilities. Regardless Firefox is NOT secure and the Myth is debunked.

Myth - "Firefox Vulnerabilities are Quickly Patched"

This clearly proves that Firefox vulnerabilities are not quickly patched thus this Myth is debunked. IE is irrelevant to this Myth and another excuse as you seem to like to make many of them.

Myth - "Firefox is More Secure because it is not integrated into the OS"

The examples are not the sources of the MYTHS!! I know you failed to read that but it is getting old. Mozilla clearly stated what they said. The Myth was debunked by Microsoft.

Myth - "Firefox is More Secure because it does not use ActiveX"

Again debunked by Microsoft

Myth - "Firefox Extensions are Safe"

It is proven that they can clearly not be safe, thus debunked.

Myth - "Firefox is a Solution to Spyware"

The nonsense about drive-by infections are from those who run unpatched versions of IE and has nothing to do with IE fully patched. I have used IE since it came out and have never been infected by "drive-by" installs and neither do my clients. You can do the same using this guide:

All for free. But Firefox is clearly not a solution to Spyware and thus debunked.

Myth - "Firefox 2's Phishing Protection is better than Internet Explorer 7"

No I did no lie. The Google Anti-phishing tech was built right into Firefox 2, regardless I added more sources and the myth is still debunked.

Myth - "Firefox supports Extensions and Internet Explorer does not"

You excuses are meaningless, this is not about which is better which is an opinion, the Myth is clearly debunked.

Myth - "Firefox supports an Inline Search Feature and Internet Explorer does not"

Don't put words in my mouth and stop making excuses, this myth is clearly debunked. Tweaking tutorials? WTF? Are you insane?

"Opera also introduced tabbed browsing. I'm surprised Andrew didn't mention this"

Um I did mention Opera invented Tab Browsing under the myth labeled: TABBED BROWSING! It is now clear to me that people read what they want and not what is there.

Myth - "Firefox had Pop-up Blocking before Internet Explorer"

No this is a Myth and debunked, Firefox is NOT the Mozilla Suite. The only thing misleading is stating it any other way.

Myth - "Firefox Blocks all Pop-ups"

I am not going to go over this again. The sources and examples are NOT the same ect... Myth debunked.

Clearly you read nothing on my page as my sources for the Myths were multiple locations none of which were the examples.

I didn't "massage" any data and it is all clearly sourced. I also did not try to hide anything as this page came out in 2005 and is clearly SOURCED!!!!

"Ironically, he fails to mention the fact that the free Opera browser is no longer ad supported."

Really? "Opera (now 100% Ad free)"

Give me a break, try reading my page completely next time and not make assumptions or jump to ridiculous conclusions.

Andrew K said...

Freewheelinfrank is a Firefox Fanboy spammer who has done nothing but spread lies and libel about my page. This is why he is listed on my page as such.

He has never been able to provide me with a URL that proves "auto-installing" spyware on IE.

FYI, they like to link to sites where the comments were closed before I could respond or my acount was banned simply for defending myself.

Anonymous said...

"Freewheelinfrank is...This is why he is listed on my page as such."

Must be true then.

"I never spammed my page to Digg"

Andrew K has been banned four times from digg for spamming. A serial ban evader, he can still be found on digg using the name OptimizeXP.

"...all quotes in the fanboy quotes section are and were intended as satire."

The quotes were originally posted without the dots which now indicate the missing words. The form they take now is more a form of juvenile spite than satire. If Andrew K was not a coward who hides behind an anonymous site, he might be less inclined to indulge in such unscrupulous behaviour.

Firefox is now a mature browser and Andrew's Rain Man collection of "myths" now looks very silly. Nevertheless, he'll take out the pack and recite them all for us again at the drop of a hat.

Danny Carlton has given him some fresh publicity, but was it really good publicity? Some right-wing fundamentalist Christian nutter sees Firefox as a threat to religion and capitalism, and cites Firefox Myths, and everybody thinks Danny Carlton is Andrew K, and Andrew K can't prove he isn't because all his sites are anonymous.

How ironic!

Anonymous said...

Frank, you are a serial liar. I have only been banned one time from Digg. Your delusional obsessive behavior is why you are confused. I never "ban evaded" and my active account is proof that I am not currently banned.

The Fanboy quotes from day one were Satire but fanboys such as yourself were too stupid to figure it out. The dots were also there the first week it went up.

Being mature and relevant are too different things. Firefox is loosing market share and is now below 15%:

That is what happens as more people learn the truth Frank and there is nothing you can do about it anymore, over 5 million people have.

Danny Carlton made no reference to religion outside of the definition I use on my page. His concerns were purely profit motivated and that is his right. None of which changes the fact that he has nothing to do with me. With or without his links FirefoxMyths gets tens of thousands of hits a day.

The only irony Frank is you obsession with my page and myself. Are you gay? Because I am not.

Anonymous said...

"I have only been banned one time from Digg."

Who was it using the name poptech, banned for spamming Firefox Myths 29 times?

Who was it using the name Populartech, banned for spamming his blog over 50 times? I should say your blog of course, the very same that Danny linked to: Firefox the new religion.

Who was it using the name PopTech here, linking to both the Firefox Myths site and the 'new religion' blog site, and clearly ban evading?:

Andrew, you are a pathological liar. You lie when you can, because you can. I believe your one of those people who don't have a conscience about lying: it simply amuses you, it seems expedient at the moment, or it's just another trolling tool.

"The dots were also there the first week it went up."

That claim is simply false, a plain lie.

Your continued attempts to re-run the same old arguments about Firefox is getting a bit tired now, and people are noticing:

"There is something TOTALLY OFF about Mastertech.

He claims his motivation is some sort of Platonic campaign for the truth and against "Myths" (the capital letter just kills me.) but ... c'mon... it's just a friggin' piece of software!

I have a weird admiration for obsessive people and some have become my best friends. Even my most obsessive Asperger friends don't get so vitriolic about something so inconsequential to our real lives as a web browser."

Some of us may have thought your behaviour over Firefox Myths was a bit off, but I think everybody had a big laugh when your pages (Firefox Myths and Firefox the new religion) where taken up by Danny 'religious kook' Carlton, the man who not only didn't get that the Book of Mozilla is a joke, apparently takes it quite seriously as an act of sacri Now everybody thinks you are Danny:

"That page links to "Firefox Myths", a page created by someone who either loves to troll or is severely retarded. Either the same guy is behind it, or someone who is as retarded as him or just loves to troll."

(Danny Carlton seems to share a lot of your 'troll' vocabulary when responding to critics: 'morons', 'cretins', 'idiots', 'clueless'. I'm beginning to think I may be mistaken in thinking you are not the same person!)

By the way, aren't you busy with your new project now? The 'myth' of global warming?

The same old cut and pasting of endless quotes and links, and the same refusal to respond to counter arguments:

"And reposting the same assertions, without taking into account any of the information presented to you, only makes you a troll, it doesn't make you right."

As with Firefox Myths, you've assembled your set of Rain Man cards to shuffle and recite, and if anybody actually takes one of the cards from you and looks at it, you throw a tantrum:

(The global warming resource is on the forum of the blog that posted 'Firefox, the new religion'- author, Andrew K.)

You certainly know how to pick the losing side of any argument. First the security of IE6, just before even MS drop that turd, and now the human influence on global warming, only now denied amongst the creationists and 'young worlders' on right wing forums. Danny Carlton is truly an appropriate bed fellow for you.

Anonymous said...

"an act of sacri"

Apologies fro the typo: should be sacrilege.

Anonymous said...

Frank, you are the pathological liar. I never used those names on Digg! I also do not have a Blog and the PopularTechnology site is not mine, we went over this many times. I have never ban evaded ect... You simply think that if you keep repeating lies they become true.

The dots were there and it is regardless to the fact that it is and always was Satire, it is so easy to play with weak minded fanboys such as yourself.

My intentions with the page are simple, I was tired of people stating Myths that were untrue to promote Firefox and it needed to stop. I have done this and more.

Yes I realize it is just software but obviously not to you fanboys who resort to everything including spreading lies about me online simply because you do not like the truth. Unfortunately it has backfired for you and now MILLIONS have learned the truth about Firefox.

Your problems with the Populartechnology author should be taken up with him.

He does have a good page clearly debunking Man-Made Global Warming:

The Anti "Man-Made" Global Warming Resource

It is pointlessly arguing with you as you do nothing but repeat the same tired lies and you are the lone person doing this obsessively. So I take it you have Aspergers which explains your behavior.

I am not going to do this everytime you spam your lies but for anyone reading this, everything Frank says negative about me is a lie. Frank seek psychiatric help.

Anonymous said...

Andrew K (Firefox Myths, OptimizeXP)= Mastertech/ Andrew (Popular Technology)= Pop(ular)tech

There was a time when people gave Andrew K the benefit of the doubt when he claimed that these two people were not the same person, despite the fact that they said exactly the same things, and Andrew K posted links to both sites all over the net.

Then everybody learnt what a liar Andrew K is and now nobody believes him any more.

A bad liar too because he made some extraordinary claims while posting on digg as Poptech: he claimed that he was Andrew but that Andrew K also was a member of the Popular Technology forum. When asked what name Andrew K used on the forum, he said 'Andrew'. When pointed out to him that he'd just posted the global warming page and claimed to be its author, but that the page was posted on the forum by Andrew, he claimed that Andrew K and Andrew shared the same account on the forum.

Would you believe this nonsense?

Check out the facts:

The shrinking world of Andrew K:

Anonymous said...

Matthew, I think I owe you an explanation of this dispute. Here's a brief history:

Andrew K was posting on the avast! forum as Mastertech. I raised some of the things said by the Popular Technology author, and suggested that Mastertech was the same person.

Several heated arguments ensued and threads were deleted.

The nub of it is that Mastertech claimed that Firefox Myths was (his) unbiased look at Firefox, and that Andrew's anti-Firefox, anti-Open Source views on Popular Technology were nothing to do with him.

Doing a bit of Googling, I found the truth was this: Andrew K had been posting articles from both the Comcast and Popular Technology sites under the name Mastertech but denying authorship of both sites. He then began to admit authorship of the Comcast site under the name Mastertech. He was caught out using multiple sock puppet identities in several blogs, the owners of which linked all these posts to the same IP addresses. Andrew K was banned from many forums for spamming and trolling (one of them being the avast! forum). Proof was found that Andrew K and Andrew were the same person (for those that ever doubted it). Andrew started posting his global warming page under the names poptech and PopularTech.

We came full circle when PopularTech registered at the avast! forum, but was promptly identified as Mastertech ie Andrew K and again banned.

All of this is of course entirely my view of Andrew K's history, but there is proof available for everything. I've provided links here.

I believe that readers of his comments deserve to know his history, which is why I post on blogs like this.

Matthew Miller said...


The rabbit hole just gets deeper and deeper.

He registered a great URL and if he'd written a simple, well researched, unbiased piece with a neutral tone it would probably have ended up a VERY popular site with considerable longevity.

Anonymous said...

Well, controversy certainly generates hits, but his reputation has been severely tarnished by the tactics he's used to stir up this controversy.

Anonymous said...

FreewheelinFrank is a liar who has invented stories to smear my page. He creates sockpuppet accounts or has someone create them to smear me. You will find he is the only one doing this online about my page. He stalks my page and person and has contacted my ISP to try and have my page taken down. Thankfully I have found the truth about him being a Pot Head and the world can see where he gets his delusions from. I am not going to entertain his fantasies. His links all link to comments I never participated in and can find no record of such as the images he saved or photoshopped. He is the prime example of the obsessive fanboy who will stop at nothing to hide the truth about Firefox. The only liar is him. Unfortunately I do not smear people like he does and have no fake evidence of this.

Anonymous said...

It is a well-known tactic of a scoundrel caught out in a misconduct to turn around and accuse his accuser of guilt, and to appeal to onlookers for the benefit of the doubt.

It may work for a while Andrew, but I think you're fooling fewer and fewer people.

"I do not smear people like he does."

Let's have a look at that pot-head link. That Freewheelinfrank clearly states that he lives in northern California.

A little Google research into the FreewheelinFrank with an interest in computers clearly reveals he is in the UK:





(Automatic detections of a broadband exchange local to within 100km or so- certainly not in sunny California.)


(This one may require registration.)

Seems like a pretty crude smear attempt to me.

For the record, I never asked your ISP to take your site down. I did e-mail them to complain that I was being misquoted in the testimonials section of the Firefox Myths site to appear to be praising the site.

Your response was of course to move these misquotes to a separate section and to indicate with dots were words had been removed.

I believe in freedom of speech, but freedom of speech does not give you the right to misquote people.

Freedom of speech does not give you the right to post "sock-puppet" responses to discussions of your page.

Freedom of speech does not give you the right to say one thing in one place and another elsewhere and to go unchallenged.

Freedom of speech does not give you the right to post abuse.

I am not the only one to have pointed out and criticised these tactics.

Covering up evidence by deleting posts is not going to help you. Who is possibly going to believe that the anti-Firefox zealot at Popular Technology is not the very same self-proclaimed objective debunker of Firefox Myths, when you both share the same name, both link to each other's site, both share the same name, both share similar nicks, both share the same name and both say the same things?
Oh, and did I mention that you both share the same name?

True, I could take a page from Popular Technology and edit it to say anything I wanted. I suppose anybody really curious could register at Popular Technology and ask D or Karl about the truth.

That's if they think this page is a fake.

Your conspiracy theories about Firefox fanboys plotting to hide the truth are a fantasy: it's the lies and deceptions that result in the constant and unwelcome place in the spotlight.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know "The UK" was a county in California!

It must be true, because Andrew K says so.

Anonymous said...

Hey Andrew, I did a little digging of my own and found out some ASTOUNDING things about you.

See, EVERYONE named "FreewheelinFrank" is the same guy and this one MUST live in England AND The Western US. He must be filthy stinking rich to afford two houses so far apart.

So I figured everyone named "Andrew K" MUST be the same person.

So I was surprised to learn you were a famous DJ!

And a photographer!

I gotta say, you may be a moron but I have to admire your ability to get women to pose nude.

And I have NO idea how you find time for all that while still being an Economics professor at Berkley.

By the way Andrew, watch out for this Matthew Miller guy. He's a Hollywood Lawyer.

Anonymous said...

You guys are bigger fools then I thought if you do not think people can lie about where they live online or use proxy accounts to fake their IP. Freewheelinfrank has been exposed for the pot head delusional loser he is. Pot Heads always cover their tracks. Why does Frank not give us his full name and address in the UK? I thought so, fools.

Anonymous said...

Ah shit that is not my full name, it was a typo.

Anonymous said...

Andrew John Katelaris, author of the infamous page is in fact, an Australian Doctor arrested for growing Pot!

Anonymous said...

"Ah shit that is not my full name, it was a typo."

I wonder. Interesting. Anybody know any Andrew Khans working in IT? Ex telephone support, experience in OEM, now maybe working as a consultant?

Anonymous said...

Opera was not the first browser with tabs.
Interworks had this in 1994.

Anonymous said...

If every is so against this guy why is everyone making such a big deal? "There is no bad publicity".
I do find this whole thing very funny.