back to article One in four don't clean their stinky old browsers - especially Firefoxers

Nearly one in four netizens are using outdated web browsers and are therefore easy pickings for viruses and exploit-wielding crooks. The average home user upgrades his or her browser to the latest version one month after it is released, according to a survey of 10 million punters. Two thirds of those using old browser software …

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Meaningful statistics?

I'd have thought that the frequency with which new updates for a browser are released has a very major impact upon the proportion of users that are up-to-date. Firefox has had a lot of updates (I think) so perhaps that's a factor that needs to be taken into account?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meaningful statistics?

I'm on V10.0.4 of firefox.

I'm also on the ESR channel, so perfectly up to date. Do the figures take this sort of stuff into account?

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Re: Meaningful statistics?

@ AC

It is now up to 10.0.9 so you are not up to date, sorry.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meaningful statistics?

Try 16.02

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Re: Meaningful statistics? - You are both out of date

You are both out of date, 10.0.10 ESR is the latest Firefox ESR build, see http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/

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Re: Meaningful statistics?

About Firefox tells me I have got 16.0.2 and am on the release update channel.

My updates happen in silence and painlessly . On an Apple imac!

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So can this be read as....

"Browser vendors do not pay sufficient attention to code quality, and as a result need to update their browsers too frequently for their users to keep up".

I'm pretty sick of every other day being told that there is a new version or new patches of whichever browser I am using at that moment. I probably use as much of my home bandwidth updating my browser as I do on actually browsing HTML web pages. This surely cannot be right.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So can this be read as....

All you have to do is to turn off automatic updates (I'm doing it on my PC for every piece of software, Windows included). If you don't know hot to do it, then you shouldn't wander out of Microsoft garden.

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Re: So can this be read as.... @ac 14:55

... and in doing so you leave yourself vulnerable to problems that have been fixed.

Turning off update notifications so that you are not bothered by the update requests appears to me like burying your head in the sand and waiting to get pwned.

And I suggest you look at my other posts. I've never been in the Microsoft garden!

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The reason firefox users don't upgrade

Simple - firefox versions come out as often as chrome but it's as painful to upgrade as IE - the worst of both worlds

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Re: The reason firefox users don't upgrade

Ah, this FUD again. You're right though, I can't count the number of extensions I've had break since they moved to Jetpack & the faster release cycle.

Because there were no breakages to count.

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Re: The reason firefox users don't upgrade

"Simple - firefox versions come out as often as chrome but it's as painful to upgrade as IE - the worst of both worlds"

What an unbelievable load of bollocks.

Update manager says there's a new version available; click "install", enter password, restart browser after installation.

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Re: The reason firefox users don't upgrade

If you click on 'About Firefox' it wanders off to check if it's the latest version all by itself.

Plug ins and add-ons are auto-checked as well.

I've never had to upgrade manually and it still works.

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Re: The reason firefox users don't upgrade

The only pain in updating Firefox is if the firefox.exe is locked (e.g. because you have multiple logins on the same machine) in which case the update fails. Otherwise it happens pretty much automatically.

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Joke

@Elmer Phud - Re: The reason firefox users don't upgrade

Wrote :- "If you click on 'About Firefox' it wanders off to check if it's the latest version all by itself."

I just tried it - doesn't happen. My version must be too old for that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The reason firefox users don't upgrade

W7 X64 running as a standard user I'm never notified there's an update. Even after updating as an admin my non-admin browser continues to show the Restart to Update button.

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FAIL

Re: The reason firefox users don't upgrade

"If you click on 'About Firefox' it wanders off to check if it's the latest version all by itself."

"Plug ins and add-ons are auto-checked as well."

You make it sound so easy, streamlined and surrounded by fairies and rainbows.

Too bad it's all bollocks.

I'm running some 18 add-ons, with Greasemonkey, and at least another half-dozen scripts that go along with that.

Of those, some are not updated regularly, and won't install without another add-on, or at least some tinkering, and then, after forcing it to work, I need to test it - some don't work, in which case I need to find an alternative or, wait till a suitable alternative comes along.

That's along with several regular boxes, and a portable drive to keep up to date.

On top of that, I have to keep an eye on the odd bugs and breakages that happen with upgrades - I don't test every facet mind you, but I've caught the simple oversights.

"I've never had to upgrade manually and it still works."

Well, good luck to you, and say hello to the fairies for me.

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Re: The reason firefox users don't upgrade

The only pain in updating Firefox is if the firefox.exe is locked (e.g. because you have multiple logins on the same machine) in which case the update fails. Otherwise it happens pretty much automatically.

That is simply a reflection of your computing environment being relatively standard and predictable. It gets flaky on more advanced installations and positively guaranteed to break on other installs.

Auto-update seems only to address the common case - a binary install, preferably a user install using the official installer, with standard settings and common plugins. If you use anything slightly off the beaten path it may still break - for instance several upgrades have erased the Kerberos configuration despite that being a feature of the core build. Firefox will always regard even a minor point release as being more important than ongoing compatibility with a plugin and will simply disable anything incompatible even if it is business critical.

Going further away from that common case things get even more fragile:

If you built from source, it is liable to break. Changed that to guaranteed if there are no binary packages for your platform.

If it isn't packaged the way it expects it is liable to break. This includes even fairly common routes such as a portable installation on a flash drive.

If there's any kind of other funkiness going on, it's liable to break. One perennial problem I have is it gets completely wedged by the fact a native NetBSD build may have a translation layer between the native Firefox and Linux-only binary plugins.

If any of these cases and more apply autoupdate is either unreliable or reliable broken. I tend to disable it as a first thing to do on a new install. If it simply didn't work when it encountered things it didn't understand I could accept that but it doesn't. It proceeds anyway and trashes the existing installation.

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Does this have anything to do with the grumpy subset of Firefox users still utterly convinced that the UI completely changed in some irreversible fashion in Firefox 4? I still hear people whining about how the interface "constantly changes" when mine still looks exactly like Firefox 3.

Changing the subject completely, those browser stats seem a bit out of whack - is that stats for Kaspersky's customer base? I seem to remember IE being much higher in the global user stats. Then again, with the differing methodologies and arguing going on, there's always someone willing to argue that x browser is dead and y browser now reigns supreme.

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FAIL

Really? I have to move the Reload and Home buttons out of the "Awesome Bar" back to their proper places, put the spinny circle back in place AND install that status bar plugin with the stupid name to get recent versions looking like Firefox 4 or 3.5.

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That's me, that is..

After firefox moved to the update every few hours or so model, it became not unusual for me to have to spend half an hour re-configuring things like my mouse (zoom buttons, forward/backward buttons, etc - I have slight impairment of my right hand function following a bike accident, so such things are important for my ease of use) - and possibly my add-ons, but I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise that they don't work if the browser engine has been updated, but it's still a hiccup. Mouse functions though, should not be affected.

Upgrading should be seamless, and if it isn't folk are going to be reluctant to move from something that is working well, to something that doesn't work well any more.

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Anonymous Coward

Firefox auto update...

may also be partly to blame.

"The proportion of users with the most recent version installed was 80.2 per cent for Internet Explorer and 79.2 per cent for Chrome, but just 66.1 per cent for Firefox."

I've found though using FF for many years that the auto update never seems to update to the latest version, only to the next version, so if you were on say 8.x for a while, the next update offered would be 9.x or even 8.x.x instead of the latest! This means the only way to effectively update is to manually go and download from the Mozilla website. A v annoying feature, but not enough to put me off FF (which is a great browser).

Also the number of tabs we keep open these days probably adds to peoples resistance to restart their browser (I currently have 8 FF windows with 10+ tabs open in each!), even though the data is saved, once in a blue moon it doesn't, and you lose all your tabs without being able to recover them easily.

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Re: Firefox auto update...

10 tabs open here and 220 MB in use. That's on a 32 bit Linux

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Anonymous Coward

@HolyFreakinGhost - Re: Firefox auto update...

No, no! Don't stick with Firefox, please move to any other browser you might think it fits you. Please!

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Re: Firefox auto update...

Only updates to the next version in the series?? That's is very strange; today I ran my netbook online for the first time in MONTHS - it automatically updated to the latest version (16.02), from the 12. whatever, I was using in China last year.

(Been using it off line since then).

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Linux

Re: Firefox auto update...

I know I have been lax in closing some tabs - just did a quick count: 98 tabs open in this window, plus seven groups, coming to a total of 176 tabs open.

800 MB RAM used, so I think your issue lies elsewhere. This is FF ESR 10.0.10 on Linux (Mageia 2) fwiw.

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WTF?

Really?

"79.2 per cent for Chrome"

I'm finding it hard to believe this, considering Chrome updates itself automatically as standard. Surely 20.8% of Chrome users haven't switched this functionality off...

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Re: Really?

I was surprised at that, too. To be honest, I'd rather have a slightly outdated browser than give Google the ability to silently install stuff onto my machine...

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Meh

Re: Really?

I find Chrome will happily sit there at whatever version until I hit help/about.

At which point it'll update itself without asking........

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Re: Really?

I'm find that I get warnings from time to time that i'm not running the latest Chrome at home, usually from Google stuff. This is probably strictly accurate, since I'm running Chromium under Linux, not Chrome.

I wonder whether these statistics are treating me (and all other Chromium users) as 'not up to date'?

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Re: Really?

"79.2 per cent for Chrome"

I'm finding it hard to believe this, considering Chrome updates itself automatically...

Maybe the figures for Chrome include Chromium and other variants which only have manual updates (e.g. Iron).

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Re: Really?

Maybe the figures for Chrome include Chromium and other variants which only have manual updates (e.g. Iron).

Don't think so - these are Kaspersky customers, and presumably none of them use Chromium/etc. Maybe Kaspersky turns off auto-updates... :)

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Extensions

I have firefox installed on my machine for a single purpose - and that is the dragdropupload extension. I need this extension for a single job I perform occassionally and it saves me handselecting 170 files. The extension has not been updated for ages.

Recently I had to uninstall an automatic firefox update and find an old version specifically to use this. Now I keep the downloaded install file specifically.

Perhaps if extension writers kept up with the browser ...

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Coat

Re: Extensions

http://xkcd.com/306/

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"Firefox users tend to be the worst for keeping up to date"

My installation never seems to tell me when an update is available unless I go and look on Help > About. I don't recall turning off any notification, just an out-of-the-box installation. Before I upgraded from XP to 7 the update always failed as a Limited User, often completely screwing up the installation in the process.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Because they keep breaking things

In your case I suspect any explanation would be superfluous. Grow up,

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Meh

Re: Because they keep breaking things

Downvoted because without the link that you've referenced but withheld your post is drivel.

Also because you care about downvotes whilst Anonymous Coward

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Because they keep breaking things

Thanks for explaining, damned if I do, damned if I don't give the link!

I liked the FF3 look, and wanted to keep it - which meant wasting an hour or two of my life life after upgrading from 3.6? something. I was delighted to find this:

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/firefox-3-theme-for-firefox/?src=userprofile

- which now says :

NOTE:

The Firefox developers are planning to remove "tabs-on-bottom" mode from Firefox in the near-future and enforce Google Chrome-style "tabs-on-top" mode. When this happens, it will in my opinion be impossible to make Firefox look anything like it did in Firefox 3. For this reason, I have reluctantly decided to stop updating this theme. :-( If you do not wish to see this choice be taken away from the users, I recommend that you post on the mozilla.dev.apps.firefox newsgroup (there is already a "tabs-on-bottom mode" thread):

https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!forum/mozilla.dev.apps.firefox

... and CC yourself to this Bugzilla bug, which is to remove tabs-on-bottom mode:

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=755593

Personally, I recommend that you stick with Firefox 14.0.1 and configure it never to update. I am going to switch to SeaMonkey's browser, which still has a tabs-on-bottom display. I will also be developing a Firefox 3 theme for SeaMonkey's browser in the future, so if you're interested in continuing the Firefox 3 experience, keep checking back at my website for updates on that:

http://ffaddons.game-point.net/

It's been fun using Firefox, but sadly it looks like Mozilla have decided to make Firefox's GUI look as close to Google Chrome's as possible, at the expense of user choice.

(feel free to upvote to restore my approx 4:1 karma of up:down votes, LOL)

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Anonymous Coward

@The lone lurker

"Also because you care about downvotes whilst Anonymous Coward"

If you're going to whine about ACs post under your own name, buffoon.

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Netscape 0.9

My first browser came on a floppy disk.

Incidentally, isn't Windows supposed to offer a choice of browser in Europe? The Windows 8 laptop I bought last week didn't. And neither did the previous two computers.

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Boffin

Try...

... Secunia PSI. It regularly scans your system and checks for updates, many of which can auto-install.

Not hard.

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My Mac Firefox stalls (spinning beach ball) several times a week and successive updates have not helped so I'm not so exercised about updating all the time. Firefox isn't getting any better, as far as I can make out, but I'm used to it. Security is a worry though.

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Boffin

Remember folks,

the data for this study came from people who paid for Kaspersky AV.

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Re: Remember folks,

But that is the reason why I have a subscription for a security suite...

Remember, practically the only way any of the browser security holes can be exploited is though the execution of malware - something the security suite should be detecting and preventing ...

So are the AV vendors getting worried because they are having to retain detection capabilities in their products for exploits for which security fixes exist for much longer than they would like?

Obviously, there are problems with my legacy Windows 98 system which can only run IE6 (and my soon to legacy Windows XP system running IE8) and aren't supported by modern security software.

The rise of VM's does mean that whilst Microsoft may have stopped supporting the OS, it doesn't necessarily mean that people won't continue to have systems running an unsupported OS.

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ESRs?

FF is my secondary browser, so I've decided to stick to the 10.x ESR branch as the updates aren't as frequent as with the main releases. I would expect that's also the norm for corporate desktops using FF.

I wonder whether Kaspersky included the ESR releases as up to date or not.

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