Firefox.Opera.Opera Watch posted an interview with Firefox co-founder Blake Ross yesterday, in which he talks about Firefox, Opera, and the relationship between the two. When asked about the rivalry between fans of the browsers, he says, “I think it’s ridiculous. Millions of people out there rely on us to make the Web better, not have pissing contests.” I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I launched The Alternative Browser Alliance primarily in response to that rivalry.

I found it interesting that when asked to describe Opera in three words, Ross’ response was: “Our best ally.”

Firefox.Opera.Internet Explorer.

Microsoft will be releasing the long-overdue Internet Explorer 7 any day now (possibly as soon as Wednesday, if rumors prove correct). It will only be available for Windows XP SP2, Windows Server 2003, and the upcoming Windows Vista.

I know there are people out there still using Windows 2000, Windows 98, Windows Me, and other older systems that won’t run IE7. Why not take the opportunity to check out something new? Firefox 2 is also due out this month, and Opera 9 just came out this summer.

Despite what you may have heard, the vast majority of websites really do work on all major browsers. And with alternative browsers gaining popularity, the number of websites that block anyone but Internet Explorer is shrinking.

Opera and Firefox will bring you tabbed browsing, RSS Feeds, security and privacy controls, built-in searching, pop-up blocking—all the advantages IE7 boasts over IE6. Plus you get more customization, built-in spell checking, download management, session saving, and support for up-and-coming web technologies like SVG graphics and WebForms 2. Opera adds blazing fast display, voice commands and mouse gestures (leave that keyboard behind!), and per-site preferences.

Check out Opera. Check out Firefox. Or check out a dozen other alternative web browsers. Try them out, and see what works best for you.

Today I noticed a spike in traffic coming from a post on Spread Firefox where I had made a comment. Not a ton of traffic, just ~15 hits from the same page on the same day, but that’s unusual for traffic from SFX posts—especially old ones. I checked to see if it had climbed into the site’s list of top posts (the usual explanation), but it wasn’t there. I just couldn’t figure out what was causing the traffic.

Then I realized the author of that post had another story show up on Slashdot today. I discovered this chain of links:

  1. Slashdot: Just what has Microsoft been doing for IE 7?
  2. Idealog: Microsoft Drops The Ball on Internet Explorer 7 Standards Compliance [archive.org]
  3. SFX: Should NewsCloud.com Remain Firefox Only? [archive.org]
  4. The Alternative Browser Alliance (via signature in comment)

You can see how powerful the Slashdot effect is, if it can cause a noticeable (if minor) spike in traffic to a page 3 degrees away!

Of course, it pales next to being linked from the ISC Handler’s Diary, which seems to have pulled in 10 times as many visitors in 2 days. (Thanks!)

It’s been a good week for the Alternative Browser Alliance.

Last weekend, Opera Watch linked to it in the follow-up to the RSS icon controversy. (I use the site as my URL when posting on browser-related blogs and forums, and Daniel was kind enough to include the link when he highlighted the news I’d posted in the comments.)

On Tuesday, I linked to it myself in a comment on Slashdot. For once, a couple of hundred people clicked on the link. Not long afterward, it started popping up on StumbleUpon after a dry spell. (Coincidence? Well, maybe.)

On Thursday morning, the site got posted to Linkfilter, which led to a few dozen visits.

And finally, Thursday night, BBSpot posted it in their daily links, resulting in over 1500 visits over the past three days!

Thanks to everyone helping to spread the word!

Now I have to start replying to comments…

In related news, I’ve finally broken down and added Flock to the list. Mainly I stayed away from it because I’d already listed 7 Gecko-based browsers (8 if you count SeaMonkey separately from the Mozilla Suite), and it seemed overkill to add one more. I first tried out Flock back in October, and while it seemed interesting, it didn’t really grab me. Now that it’s in beta, it looks like progress is solid, and it’s different enough from Firefox or SeaMonkey to warrant inclusion.

I found a three-year-old blog post by Arve Bersvendsen on web browser zealots that, sadly, is just as true today. Only the names have changed (Phoenix to Firefox).

Seriously, I think these people are hurting the fight for standards….In having to choose whether to believe the Operanians or The Mozillians, I believe J. Random User will believe both. He’ll believe the Opera fans when they say “Phoenix [Firefox] sucks”, and he (or she) will also believe Phoenixers who say “Opera stinks”. And so, J. Random sticks with MSIE.

Arve mentioned his earlier post when he weighed in on the Opera splash page download kerfuffle, which is a great example of why I created the Alternative Browser Alliance. Both Mozilla and Opera have stated goals of promoting choice on the web. Both want to unseat the current dominant browser (i.e. IE). Those goals are better accomplished, if not by outright cooperation, at least by civility. As Arve puts it:

Please, instead of wasting all that time on endless flamewars against the “other browser”, spend your time evangelizing the product you actually use!

Also, a big thanks to Rijk for the shout-out on his blog!

Alternative Browser Alliance