Browser Wars Redux

The Boston
Globe today
has an interesting article on the kid who wrote
most of Firefox, the open-source browser that is starting to chip away
at IE’s monopolistic dominance of the number one application class in
the world today.

At 17, Ross and another Netscape programmer, David Hyatt, started a
side project that became Firefox. They wanted to strip down Netscape
and the Mozilla suite on which it is based.

AOL ultimately spun off the project and created the not-for-profit Mozilla
Foundation to develop Firefox and related software.

Hyatt left to design Apple Computer Inc.’s Safari Web browser, but Ross
stayed and helped fix Firefox bugs from college.

Firefox was officially released Nov. 9. It was used by 4.6 percent of
Web surfers in early January, and that number could reach 10 percent
by mid-2005, according to WebSideStory, which tracks browser use. Microsoft’s
Internet Explorer has dropped to 90.6 percent this month from 95.5 percent
in June.

We are in principle in favor of any project that diversifies a market
and especially Bill Gates stranglehold on the world of PC computing.
In addition, we support the idea of open source software, and know a
bunch of really quality people who write the stuff, and have tried many
interesting open-source programs.  However, we don’t use any of
it regularly, at least as far as we know (is bit torrent open source?)

Firefox is as close as we have come in a while. We like the look and
feel, and it’s faaast. Rarely crashes and has tabs, which we
have become addicted to. But the deal breaker is a simple omission which
really puts
a crimp in the Dowbrigade blogging style – the lack of a "copy to clipboard"
option when right-clicking on an image on a web page.

In Safari
(we already eschew IE except when previewing pages designed for clients)
when we right-click (or option-click on the iBook) we get
the menu seen on the right.  If the image already has the desired
size and cropping, we select "Download image as…" However, if we need
to resize, crop, touch up or combine images to get the effect we want,
we "Copy Image to Clipboard" and then paste it into a new document in
Photoshop CS, which we have open on our desktop at all times. Photoshop
5, which we used for years, had a "New image with clipboard" option under
the File menu which is gone now, but when there is an image in the clipboard
the new version opens a blank document of the same dimensions so pasting
the image in is only one addition click away.

The problem
in Firefox is that although the right-click menu we see when we click
on an image is quite a bit longer than the corresponding
version in Safari, the is no "copy to clipboard" to be found.  We
can instantly add a bookmark or view the image in another window.  Copying
the image location just puts the image URL into the clipboard, not the
image itself.

We are forced to save it, then switch to Photoshop and open it, which
involves SEVERAL additional clicks and distractions, interrupting the
creative flow we depend on (the Dowbrigade is easily distracted) and
cutting into our production capacity.  In a life as tightly regimented
as ours, there is precious little time to be lost in unnecessary clicking
and navigating through files.

It seems like such a minor detail, but as they say, that’s where the
devil lives. We really think that if the next version of Firefox fixes
this deficiency, we might cut the cord to Safari forever.

article from the Boston Globe

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7 Responses to Browser Wars Redux

  1. Amy says:

    Not sure what version of Firefox you’re using, but on mine (1.0), the right-click menu has a Copy Image option, in addition to View Image and Copy Image Location.

  2. Michael Feldman says:

    We are also using version 1.0, and the menu is as shown in my posting. Perhaps this problem is limited to the Mac version. If so, that seems to bode well towards its solution in an upcoming update….

  3. stevegarfield says:

    I found a Firefox extension to allow copying of image to clipboard.

  4. Someone somewhere says:

    It’s ctrl-click on your iBook to bring up the contextual menu, not opt-click. Option-Click would automatically download what you click on.

  5. JoshAin says: looks like a firefox extension that does precisely what you are asking for. I have not tried it.

  6. Mom says:


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