Agreed. (a) and (f) are particularly bad in Opera right now. (b) and (c) are particularly good.
The problem is that, considering the huge amount of plugins, one is bound to find one that one cannot live without, and that's bye bye for non-plugin browsers!
Here's something very telling about (a). Chrome has better support for the current (broken) web as it stands right now, and Opera has been around for years...
I agree on everything except for the part about the non-plugin browsers going the way of the dodo. This is already happening now and people still stick to certain browsers. I don't think all these can be attributed to user loyalty either but I can only really speak from my own experiences.
Firefox right now is an application I can't live without but it is for this very reason that it becomes an application I don't use as a browser.
All these features are:
(a) Very scary to get used to when browsing especially when you end up in a computer with none of these features. It could really leave you in a rut.
(b) Also very scary when you need speed and stability so that is one of the features, plugins take away.
(c) Truly very scary when plugins break each other or become unsupported.
That's why I'm much more comfortable being a multi-browser user. It's like transportation. Sometimes you like to walk or use a bike both for the exercise and the lack of fuel necessity and other times you want to be the driver and other times public transportation is just enough. 9 times out of 10, most people have a certain bias towards one over the other but they can't live in a world where only one such mode of transportation exist or if they do, they'll end up crippling themselves when trouble happens.
I think there should be some guidelines on how to make extensions visible in a browser without taking over it, but so far there's nothing, and so plugins don't integrate as cleanly with a browser as they do with other type of programs.
I'm not a developer but I think many developers already have adapted many of these guidelines.
Here's just a few of them:
a. When in doubt, turn a toolbar into a drop down button.
b. Always provide an option to remove everything viewable and scrunch it up in the tools submenu
c. Make extensive use of the sidebar
d. Always provide a start page after every installation
e. Always give the option to provide a changelog every update.
f. Always provide hotkey and context menu support.Role Models:
It now has become a case where the problem isn't on the plugin maker but on the developers handling the core program and how disconnected or politicized they may become from having millions of free servants at their whim.
Gnosis does seem similar to IE slices in a way, but I ignore what are the benefits of this 'semantic' web thing hype it has been building for some time. If someone cares to explain...
For me the hype is overblown because I think many proponents are ignoring the value of the prosumer consciousness. The usefulness of semantic web comes from the idea of better and more intelligent searches. Think of your music organizer overblown and adapted into the entire world wide web. The outcome is something that provides you with a list of search results extracted from meta-tags which in turn gives you this whole view of search results but in much more details and in more categories than you would normally get from using Google + keywords.
The idea is to aggregate all these information so you basically get Answers.com on steroids as opposed to requiring a user to key in certain keywords to "feeling lucky" through the results that they are shown.
It's aim is to give you a file explorer like way of browsing through searches so not only are you now able to better filter through the noise and the information, you can also merge Wikipedia, Crunchbase, RSS Feeds, Lifestream and other services into the entire internet in such a case that the ideal vision is to have something as convenient as Wikipedia but now no longer held back by the Wiki or the Encyclopedia concept and gobble that concept up into Google so the ideal result is that it no longer is a case where you search until you get tired but you get relevant results tailored to you and make you want to read it all even when you get tired transforming search from what was once a directory into a computer generated novel that you would not want to put down.
For more casual examples of Semantic Web, get a bunch of friends and abuse the People Sidebar of Diigo or upload a bunch of your rss into BlogRovr and see how information finds you instead of the other way around. Not that you need to go through such lengths because many Semantic Web features have already been painlessly integrated into our tech lives without us noticing. Ex. tags, visual searches, online mindmaps, Twitter, Plurk, FriendFeed, Profilactic, Social Media, etc.
I'm not a coder though so this definition may be wrong but as a casual user who've heard little of it, this is what it all sounds to me. Please correct me if I'm wrong.