Besides the ugly new theme, the convoluted “too-cool” first-run website, and the myriad of half-baked features that Firefox 2.0 brings to the scene, there’s a couple of not-so-welcome policy changes in Firefox 2.0 that make us wonder what’s going on at Mozilla. Basically, these changes go against everything that the Firefox team has been doing for the past couple of years, and make it look like Firefox wasn’t run by an open-source community so much as a big corporation with nothing but money on its mind.
When Firefox 2.0 came out, we didn’t really care to review it – after all, there were plenty of reviews already out there from the Beta and RC stages. But now, a month into the RTM release of Firefox 2.0, we find a re-cap being called for.
The “New & Improved” Theme?
We’re not going to delve into this too deeply, suffice to say that when we first said Firefox’s excellent theming engine’s only shortcoming was the lack of a decent default theme we didn’t think they’d actually change anything. What we really didn’t expect was some washed-out toolbar icons that looked like they came from Internet Explorer 4 with some “Web 2.0” shading (gamma circles) applied. They just don’t fit Firefox!
Ugly, New First-Run Website?
Since the release of Firefox 2.0, the first-run homepage has undergone several iterations – all of which are absolutely appalling compared to the original “Welcome to Firefox” page that used to display in the old 1.5 series. To tell the truth, it looks like someone handed a 3–year-old a bunch of vector-drawing tools, and told him to ‘go Picasso’ – without the slightest idea regarding color theory, aesthetics, or knowledge of the generally-accepted location for body parts – except it didn’t come out quite as nice as Picasso’s work did.
Who blends orange and blue? It turns a ghastly shade of green, and especially when you add to it the improperly done “wave lines” it’s just a complete eye-sore to be showing around to someone turning on Firefox for the first time. Compare that to the default Internet Explorer 7 page: clean, aesthetic, and simple! But the problem is, that start page was changed several times since 2.0 was released, yet it still looks appalling.
Firefox was one of the first browsers to take RSS to the next level, and is largely responsible for the ubiquity of feeds today. But for some reason, Firefox has serious issues implementing a decent RSS reader into the browser. Before 2.0 you could view the headlines for RSS feeds and click-the-link to view the rest. Firefox 2.0 has an “improved” RSS reader that finally displays full-text articles for feeds. But it still lacks the ability to filter out entries based on categories and tags, nor dynamic searching of feed entries.