in Browsers

Firefox, Safari and Chrome: Battle of the Betas

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Consumers benefit from competition, and as the Browser Wars 2 heat up, Internet users have a lot of choice for web browser. 

As Apple and Google work to nibble at Firefox’s share of the browser space, all three vendors have a beta version available for users to try out.

If you use one of these browsers, you may be tempted to download and install the beta version. Running beta software can be fun, especially if you enjoy being one of the first to try out new features. Maybe there is one special feature you’ve read about that is begin added that you can’t wait to use. Or if your current version is crashing, you may be hopeful that installing the newer version, even if it is a beta, will make your Internet experience more reliable. Or you may be hoping to get faster performance out of the beta, since all three of these browsers are touting faster Javascript performance. 

The downside to installing beta software is that beta means it isn’t finished yet. This usually means the software hasn’t been completely tested, is at least somewhat unstable, and prone to crashing. If the software was ready for prime time, it wouldn’t have the beta designation.

I saw on Twitter this week where someone I was following was having crashing problems after upgrading to the 3.5 beta version of Firefox. My response, “Beta? Betta not, at least not on the computer you rely on to get things done.” And I’ve said this for years.

Maybe I’m getting old and cantankerous, but I’ve gotten to the point where I just want my computer to work and do the things I want it to do. I’ve suffered through enough buggy software and operating systems that I’m willing to wait until the developers iron out the problems and release a stable product. I’ve had enough with problems, I’m not signing on for more.

So if you’re going to install a beta version, have fun with it. But don’t complain about crashing — that is par for the course with beta.

That said, I dare you:

Note: Internet Explorer  8 was just released, so no beta for 9 yet. And I wish I could get excited about Opera, but the bug never caught.