Enterprise desktop support is a mindset.  If you’ve never done it, it’s likely you’ll not understand the issues of how things scale.  A solution for 5 PCs may not scale to 4000 PCs.

Today’s support problem is Firefox.  And it’s not that I don’t like Firefox, indeed, I use it myself.

But I don’t support the idea of having TWO browsers to support in an Enterprise IT shop.  Choice in Enterprise IT is generally bad, as it adds costs; in training and support.  To illustrative the problem of choice, let’s look at a hypothetical problem which arrived at a hypothetical help desk.

The FRED web application performs slowly in Internet Explorer (IE).  It works fine in Firefox.

The bozos who created the FRED application didn’t test FRED with Internet Explorer, which is what our 4000+ desktops have.  Their ineptitude becomes our problem.

We spend some time investigating.  Essentially the problem boils down to how Internet Explorer displays a web page, in comparison to Firefox.  (Internet Explorer is more fussy/strict/picky/<insert your own word here>).

Our solutions to fix FRED?:

  • Change our default browser to Firefox, on all 4000+ desktops.
    This will break some of our existing web applications which work just fine with Internet Explorer.
  • Replace our proxy server backend.
  • Tell the FRED developers to fix their application.

Here are some of the issues we’d hit if we deployed Firefox along side Internet Explorer:

  • No ActiveX support with Firefox.
  • Application compliance.
    Some customers have applications which have applications which have been rigorously tested and certified by third-party government bodies.  The customer would need to recertify these applications with Firefox.
  • Support resources.
    We don’t have the support resources to increase our workload by taking on an additional application.  Sure, we can get those extra resources.  But who pays?