Architecturally Firefox is no better than IE in any way. But their marketing strategy is so superior that so many people digg FF voluntarily without knowing they are just being sold to. Mozilla’s success lie heavily in coming in alliance with Google and web standards (related organizations and evangelists and such) rather than the inherent goodness of the browser itself.
Complying with standards is actually not that much a reason why FF should be better than IE. IE has its own tasks to fulfill as not only a browser but an integral part of Windows system, not to mention its own abundance of features that few web developers / designers have ever explored and used to amuse the IE visitors which have always been the majority of all web audiences.
You don’t. Instead, you are *manipulated* (this is a rather strong word used just for metaphor) or being marketed to by *standards* setters and gurus to believe W3C should be the rightful decision maker of how Web should look like in the future, blaming your own inability in developing for IE on Microsoft not complying with the standards. You know why? Because you were introduced into the world of web standards (W3C) in the first place and take everything else (such as the way of Microsoft) as wrong and not acceptable.
It’s nothing but a school of thought, open up your mind, IE blamers. Lean and embrace the difference. Waive the sacredness of web standards and W3C.
What you see now as rendering nuances between browsers especially those between IE and other *praised* browsers are nothing compared to how browser compatibility issues agonize the HTML/CSS developers in the last 10 years of the 20th century. It was then simply impossible to write fully cross-browser compatible front end code. You are lucky to have IE6, and even lucky to have IE7. Be thankful that Microsoft is committed to change now and start to favor web standards, or believe me, you will only need one version of your front end code now and that is targeted to IE.
Security issues exist in IE not only as the browser defects but also in the system level. Many’s the time when the public blames a web browsing bug or malicious site attack on IE but it’s actually something wrong with Windows or Office. Taking into account of the vast availability of potential victims who are using Windows system and the IE browser, attackers are understandably much more motivated to target Microsoft products rather than Mozilla’s. This means anything but IE is inferior in security than FF. In this sense, IE is actually more bullet proof as it has always been standing in the security frontier shielding most of the bash, gaining the potential to become the most experienced in balancing features and security. Just because FF is rarely attacked doesn’t mean it’s more secure. It’s just that it stands behind IE thus having the chance to learn from it and correct any mistakes before things go wrong and got exposed.
Update: Saw a very interesting stats graph released in the web security vulnerabilities report by Cenzic.
You can download the original PDF. As it is shown, Firefox is the most unsafe browser and accounts for 44% of browser security issues as of the first half of 2009. It’s pretty appalling considering the market share of Firefox. How can it be that bad? Even I have some serious doubts regarding the accuracy of the numbers. But still.