I’ve been running Firefox 3.5 and Internet Explorer 8 on this machine for a little while now. Both are worthy upgrades to their line, addressing their previous shortcomings quite nicely - Firefox is now faster and more importantly leaner on memory use, and Internet Explorer seems to have mostly shaken off the dull, bare bones feel that it’s had in the past, and is definitely faster and more standards compliant.
I actually feel I could use any of Firefox, IE, Safari, Chrome or Opera now and be fairly happy. I’m sticking with Firefox, because the addons I use still keep it ahead of the alternatives as a user experience for me - the reason that I find it better is, I think, that a vibrant community inherently produces enough breadth that I can always find things which make a substantive improvement to the way I personally want to use the browser. No matter how many snazzy features a single team decides to put in a browser, they’re never going to hit the mark with everyone, and I find that only a small percentage of the in-the-box feature points of IE8, Safari or Chrome are of any real interest to me. That’s why just a speed bump and memory optimisation was all I really needed from Firefox 3.5; I make my own recipe of must-have features from the community instead.
But still, the days of ‘browser X sucks compared to browser Y’ seem to be mostly over for the moment, as competition has levelled the playing field to the extent that it’s mostly personal preference on the small things that remain. That’s a huge improvement from Microsoft particularly, who deserved their reputation for producing terrible browsers in the past, but who I think have now earned the right to shake off that reputation. As much as it’s a difficult adjustment to make, IE is no longer a bad browser. It’s just another decent browser that is missing my Firefox addons 😉