Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Firefox and Pakistan(is)

Just posted the following as a comment at:


Good to see you all discussing this (the Firefox release; see previous entry). From the moment I saw the Vamosi article yesterday, I have wanted to write to all of you to discuss this. Here's why:

I am a (technical) writer in Silicon Valley and have had a preference/bias for Netscape (and then Mozilla)for the same reasons everyone else on forums like this does. But the reason for not shutting out use of IE by myself or family members completely was because something that I learnt on a visit to Karachi back in 1998. The patrons and admins of a cyber cafe in Karachi (the one in Clifton center across from Motta's for people that know that neighbourhood) expressed the opinion that "IE works faster". I later got a technical explanation for this from a techie who has interned at the Microsoft mothership up in Redmond, WA: the graphics rendering engine in IE is definitely faster than the one in Netscape. And a difference like that can help one's sanity when surfing over a very slow connection and paying by the minute. It is things like this that reinforce my respect for the online and techie community in Pakistan--they know their tools and know how to get the best out of them. (And my opinion for the technie and NetSurfer community of Karachi has only gone up recently, as I have seen the sheer number of Orkut members from our fair city.)

Which is why, since I saw that article, I have wanted to get feedback from the streets of Karachi on how Firefox is playing out in the cybercafes and desktops out there. Does it really compete with IE in the "real world", outside our cosy work areas with fast connections and OpenSource shrines?

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