Firefox Not Perfect

Internet Explorer gets lots of knocks for vulnerabilities, but its main rival, Firefox, isn't perfect, either. The most recent rev, Firefox 3.0, has a hole that could let a hacker run code on your computer. Details haven't been released, as the Mozilla Project hasn't finished its patch yet.

Redmond Report reader David pointed out that while Firefox may have fewer flaws, he finds them harder to fix. Here's what Dave had to say:

"I don't care how many patches are released for IE, or how few for Firefox. I patch Microsoft products with WSUS, which automatically approves critical and security patches so they install on all the client PCs without admin or user involvement. Even if the PC is sitting at a log-in prompt, IE will be patched automatically. And I have an e-mail waiting for me each morning to notify me of errors or problems.

With Firefox, I'm relying on an update mechanism that cannot be monitored, and requires user intervention to initiate updates. It's the most administrator-unfriendly program I've allowed on my network.

I don't have any unpatched instances of IE on my business LAN. I hope that's true of Firefox, as well, but I have no easy way of knowing. It only takes one unpatched vulnerability, so unless Firefox can assure me that it'll never require even a single security patch, I'm at much greater risk from Firefox than I ever will be from IE. As a user, I'd probably prefer Firefox, but not from the admin standpoint."

Is This Your Next PC?
Every year, Microsoft holds a contest for the best leading-edge PC designs. I love seeing the cool ideas that come from college students around the world. My only beef? These puppies never make it to market.

The latest round of designs, which will likely never be produced, include the Napkin PC, a Backpacker's Diary and a computer built for pre-schoolers.

The Napkin PC sits on a table like a napkin, and can be written on like a napkin. The PC, however, can't take care of your coffee stains. The irony, of course, is that many seminal PCs, like the original Compaq Portable, were designed on napkins. I'm not sure if the Napkin PC was sketched on a napkin or a CAD program.

The Backpacker's Diary also uses a paper metaphor -- in this case, a book rather than a single sheet of absorbent paper. Each page features a different function. One nice thing for those out in the woods for days: solar charging!

If you were to design the next PC, what would do? Let us know by writing me directly at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Can Gates Code?
Bill Gates is retiring this week to spend his time helping save the world (that's no joke -- the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation does amazing work).

The editors at our sister publication Redmond Developer News, aimed at corporate software development managers, decided to find out if Gates was as good at making software as he is at making money. Longtime analyst guru Will Zachmann took up the challenge and spoke to a who's-who of software to see just how good Gates was at the craft.

The conclusion? Gates was and is a fine technologist, and clearly knows his code.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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