Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Deceptive bug counts

Get Firefox! The downloads of Firefox have surpassed 100 million. This news makes me happy and I take this opportunity to give Firefox another plug at the top of my blog! :)

That is not why I post though. I want to point out the ambiguity of the bug counts listed in recent news items about Firefox vs IE. I think it's important that we remain healthily skeptical of hints that Firefox is invulnerable and that it is significantly "better" than IE. The truth is it's better than IE, but mostly because it's free and open source. And of course Firefox has had security flaws too.

Yahoo news says:
IE, however, still had a higher proportion of serious vulnerabilities, with 9 of the 13 flaws rated as highly severe. By comparison, 11 of the 21 Mozilla browser flaws were deemed highly severe, and just 7 of the Firefox flaws were seen as highly severe. The IE flaws also took longer to fix – an average of 43 days, compared with 26 days for Mozilla browsers.
There is more to read into this, however. According to our project manager, programmers on average introduce X bugs per hour of work, some less, some more. (Obviously I would be on the side of more!) Based on this, if company A discovers N bugs in their software and company B discovers only half N bugs it doesn't make company B's product better. Rather it makes company B's product worse because half of the bugs are still in there and need to be found! With reference to IE and Firefox, let's take into account that IE has at least 8 or 9 times as many users so bugs should be discovered at nine times the rate as with Firefox. Note on the flipside, possibly Firefox users are more IT-savvy users in general so bugs are reported more often when they do crop up.

So what's the upshot out of this? As an end user, I want bugs to be found as quickly as possible and I want them to be fixed as quickly as possible. I'm not statistically analysing this, but for me it's clear Firefox wins handsdown in both categories!

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9 Comments:

Blogger Anthony said...

"Firefox: Take Back The Web". I like the sound of that...

November 01, 2005 12:47 pm  
Anonymous mick said...

Hi, My name is mick and I'm an IE user.

I tried to quit, I really did, but I found that too many apps just didn't work quite so well with Firefox.

I am however truly dedicated to Thunderbird.

November 04, 2005 4:06 am  
Blogger Lisa said...

I have to make a confession that when I want to listen to the latest free MP3s at Triple J (here) I always use IE so they'll just play embedded in the browser and not prompt me to download. I can't stand using IE most of the time though, mostly because you have a window for each page instead of a tab and I usually have ten or so tabs open at a time.

So do keep persevering with Firefox, Mick, or simply leave the shortcuts to both on your desktop/quicklaunch!

November 04, 2005 1:42 pm  
Anonymous mick said...

Oh, I do toggle backwards and forwards between the two... I just find that so many apps are written specifically for IE that in the end I have to make IE my default browser. It bugs me, I like tabs, I love open-source, but Firefox isn't quite working as well as it could... maybe with the new 1.5 (beta) version they can win the coveted prize of being my default :-)

November 05, 2005 12:46 am  
Anonymous mick said...

oh yea, i really like your blog's new format. i want to change mine but... i can think of a million reasons why i haven't done it yet, i'm barely even posting at the moment let alone tweaking the format.

November 05, 2005 12:49 am  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thanks Mick. I just spent a few minutes tweaking the CSS in the blog template because I didn't like the defaults.

Look forward to your "redesign" sometime in the future eh...

November 06, 2005 1:54 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

I like the new photo. You look quite different in it. It seems like a different person.

November 07, 2005 11:59 am  
Blogger Lisa said...

Different person? Probably both photos are equally scary but this one doesn't cut off half of my face.

November 07, 2005 2:14 pm  
Blogger Sarah said...

I love firefox... and on the very few occasions when I go to a website that makes it crash, I blame the website for not being fox-compatible, not the other way around.

And your new photo is indeed very nice :)

November 07, 2005 10:48 pm  

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