After Firefox updates, it will launch with a new tab for its What’s New page and recently they’ve added a version check to the page to warn you if you have an outdated version of Adobe Flash. If you update Firefox and have an out of date version of Adobe Flash installed, you’ll likely be greeted with this message when Firefox restarts:
Not only is this message not very welcoming or user-friendly, but it also scares people right into the arms of Adobe’s Download Manager a.k.a. GetPlus+. This recent change of Adobe’s has not been going over too well, prompting this article to provide instructions on How to get Flash without GetPlus+ for Firefox. Adobe’s Download Manager has needlessly complicated the process of updating the small Flash plug-in which leads to angry, disenchanted Firefox users since Mozilla prompted them. The security reasons might justify the message, but at the same time I know a number of people that have switched to Google’s Chrome browser because Adobe made a mess of their Firefox profile once the next update came along and GetPlus+ started prompting for User Account Controls or admin privileges.
I can draw the line in my mind between what is not Mozilla’s fault and what is Adobe’s, but I’m not sure many users will since Mozilla led them directly to the Download Manager add-on. Regardless of that, I was quite surprised to receive the following message from Mozilla when I went to upgrade from Firefox 3.0 to Firefox 3.5.3 on one of my user’s computers.
We’re sorry to report this, but your computer does not meet the minimum system requirements to run this version of Firefox.
Fortunately, the link at the bottom, “Want to download Firefox anyway? Click here.”, allowed me to get the setup executable and install Firefox 3.5.3 despite its warning (which ran perfectly, by the way). Which requirement was the computer lax on?
All of the posted requirements (Windows XP, Pentium 233 MHz, 64 MB RAM, 52 MB hard drive space) were soundly beaten. I captured this screenshot with the system properties open to show that everything surpassed the minimum requirements and I can assure you the computer had more than 52 gigabytes free, let alone 52 megabytes.
I know that neither of these things are life or death, but two things come to mind:
- If Mozilla is going to try to use these smart pages to take the guesswork out of visitor interactions, they should darn well get them right. If you can’t do it correctly, stay out of my way so I can do it like I always have before this.
- Mozilla is often in the news for increasing its share in the market place against Internet Explorer, but things like this that turn visitors away certainly are not going to lead to further growth nor encourage current users to keep their browser up to date.
It looks like Mozilla has recently launched a request for feedback, which you might see on their site as an orange triangle in the bottom-right corner. If you stumble upon either of the two problems I listed above or new ones, be sure to send them your feedback.
If you do run into other problems with Mozilla’s “smart” pages, please share them in the comments so that others might be aware.