The opposite of Feature Creep

It’s time for a rant. Those sensitive to ranting should avert their eyes and go read something else today. But for those of you who enjoy such things, read on.

I have brought this up here and there over the past year on The Linux Critic, but I think it’s time I actually just dedicated a full discussion to it.

There’s a disturbing trend that I’ve been running into everywhere for a while now, and I feel that it’s worth a rant. I’m talking about the tendency of developers committing what I consider to be the cardinal sin of software:

Thou shalt not release a new version that has fewer features than the previous version.

This is the kind of thing that spins me up to no end, and I’m seeing it everywhere. It’s time more attention got brought to this problem, because it’s really running rampant.
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Swiftfox: a fast Firefox alternative for Linux users only

In my ongoing search to find the perfect browser, I’ve generally stuck to Opera for the past several years, on Windows and on Linux.

I’ve used Firefox of course, but I’ve discussed a number of issues that I’ve had with Firefox over the years, and in my hunt for a great browser, I’ve always found myself going back to Opera.

Well, today, I’m here to report that this situation might well have changed, due to something called Swiftfox.

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Five reasons I prefer Opera over Firefox

I know, I’m a Linux guy, and an advocate of Free/Open Source Software.

However, I’m also a user, and I’m a right-tool-for-the-right-job kind of guy. I’m picky as hell about my software, and I think the simple fact that I choose Linux for my day-to-day desktop use says a lot about its ability to meet my needs.

However, I’ve never been in on the big love affair the open source community has with Firefox. Yes, I think it’s great that it’s taken enough market share away from Microsoft to spur them into action — it’s been argued that IE7 and IE8 would never have existed in any form approaching a “modern” browser if it hadn’t been for Firefox pushing them to catch up.

However, like Linux, Firefox needs critics. It may still be better than what Microsoft offers, but it isn’t perfect by a long shot. It doesn’t meet my needs as an end user, which is why I’m still using a closed-source browser as my primary web surfing tool. So why does an open source advocate like myself use Opera instead of Firefox? Read on.

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Firefox 4.0: IE7 revisited?

I saw the Firefox 4.0 screenshot mockups today and I have to say, it reminds me of Internet Explorer 7 more than anything else. Check out this side-by-side:

Ugh. I really don’t get it. Do they really need to dumb down the Firefox interface even more than it already is? I seriously hope that the final release of it includes an option that lets one bring back some of the stuff they seem intent on removing (like menus for basic things… “file”, “edit”, “view”, et al?). I mean seriously… even IE7 lets one do that much…

I know it’s not open source, but I still prefer Opera as far as an interface goes. I can rearrange, add, remove, or tweak various elements of it to work exactly how I want, and it doesn’t fight me every step of the way. It already includes functionality for which (to make it equivalent) I have to install no fewer than 5 extensions to Firefox 3.5, and is a smaller download, uses far less memory, and is faster on top of everything else.

I wish Opera would GPL their browser… if they did, it’d be the perfect choice for me.

Or, alternatively I could make this request of the Firefox developers. Guys, if you MUST emulate someone else’s proprietary browser’s interface and functionality, might I suggest NOT emulating Microsoft’s back-assward response to your OWN efforts from 5 years ago? IE7 has always seemed to me like a really bad Firefox 1.0 Beta. WHY on earth would you want to emulate that?

I’m positively baffled here, guys. Seriously. I understand that you’re just brainstorming, but don’t even joke about this as a starting point.

And another thing. If you decide NOT to emulate IE7 (like in the first screenshot), PLEASE don’t emulate Google Chrome by making the tabs at the top (like in the second screenshot). That’s even worse, in my opinion.

Thank you.