Firefox had to yank the new Firefox 16 this week because of a security problem. The flaw could have let hackers see a user’s browsing history. Firefox has issued a patch, but it’s still not out of the woods.
Now, I use Firefox. I’ve resisted the allure of Google’s shiny Chrome browser because I’m worried about privacy. I ignore the catcalls that I'm not cool because I use Firefox. I’ve never been cool. Why start now? But this security glitch has me spooked.
Jeff Howe, who teaches multimedia journalism at Northeastern University, says he doesn’t think Firefox will lose a lot of users because of the flaw - that's because people hate to change browsers. “They would rather curse under their breath, have Firefox automatically provide the patch,” he says.
That’s probably what I’ll do, but Howe says Firefox can’t afford another big mistake. Then there’s that coolness factor I mentioned. Roger Kay, a tech analyst with Endpoint Technologies, says Firefox hasn’t realized that the computing market has changed. “It’s become more like an automobile market," he says. "Where it’s about consumer marketing and branding and style and things like that.”
Kay says Firefox has to get up to date, or die.