The Case for Firefox

Even though the internet is new to some of us, not too new for the rest of us, we still manage to get into “habits of usage,” or, in not-so-nice terms, we get into ruts.

As far as internet browsers are concerned, most of us used Microsoft’s Internet Explorer for years. I always preferred Netscape Navigator, and as a web developer, I had to test my new sites for browser cross-compatibility, so I used both at times to see how the web sites looked.

Most recently, however, the internet has become less gentle and far more jungle-like. It’s a battleground pitting you against worms and viruses, Trojans, spy ware, automatic update features and digital rights management technologies.

Additionally, marketers are always with us, and every time somebody finds a way to ignore their advertisements, the marketers find new ways to thrust themselves and their wares in our faces.

It has become impossible to use Internet Explorer without pop-ups knocking you over, and, for people using dial-upâÂ?¦.well, let’s say, some of them have simply given up.

I used Netscape Navigator exclusively for years, but when the new version came out, I didn’t like it. In case you didn’t know, Netscape Navigator was developed by the team who created the Mosaic web browser at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Mozilla was the codename used during the development stage and it stuck. One of the reasons for the unfortunate changes to Netscape Navigator is that AOL bought it for $4.2 billion.

I gave up on Navigator when I discovered Mozilla Firefox. I downloaded it free at the beginning of March 2006, and, I have to tell you, I’ve been more than pleased. I’ve noticed absolutely no compatibility issues with Firefox, and it blocks all pop-ups.

It is software created and owned by users, with no hidden agendas, no secret alliances, and no back-room marketing deals. Firefox is a free, open source, cross-platform, graphical web browser developed by the Mozilla Corporation and hundreds of volunteers.

For PCs, these are the system requirements:

Windows Operating Systems:

Windows 98
Windows 98SE
Windows ME
Windows NT 4.0
Windows 2000
Windows XP (Recommended)
Windows Server 2003

Minimum Hardware
Pentium 233 MHz (Recommended: Pentium 500MHz or greater)
64 MB RAM (Recommended: 128 MB RAM or greater)
52 MB hard drive space

Firefox is available for other operating systems, including Mac OS X Universal, Mac OS X PowerPC, and Linux i686, and in more than 40 languages other than English from Afrikaans to Turkish. In Finland, for instance, Firefox accounts for nearly 40% of browser usage.

According to Wikipedia: “On October 19, 2005, Firefox had its 100 millionth download, just 344 days after the release of version 1.0.[5] Firefox 1.5 was released on November 29, 2005, with more than 2 million downloads within the first 36 hours.”

Firefox Awards
âÂ?¢ UK Usability Professionals’ Association Award Best Software Application 2005, November 2005
âÂ?¢ Macworld Editor’s Choice with a 4.5 Mice Rating, November 2005
âÂ?¢ Softpedia User’s Choice Award, September 2005
âÂ?¢ TUX 2005 Readers’ Choice Award, September 2005
� PC World Product of the Year, June 2005
� Forbes Best of the Web, May 2005
âÂ?¢ PC Magazine Editor’s Choice Award, May 2005
“…Firefox is a great little browser. It’s a quick download, occupies very little disk space, and has a clean, no-nonsense interface.”
âÂ?¢ SC Magazine Global Awards “Editor-in-Chief” Award, February 2005
SC Magazine calls Firefox “one of the most secure on the market.”
âÂ?¢ CNET Editors’ Choice, November 2004
âÂ?¢ LAPTOP Magazine Editors’ Choice Award – Best Web Browser, October 2004

Maybe I’ve already convinced you to try this streamlined little browser, but please read on. There are other issues most people aren’t aware of which make it even more important to consider using Firefox to browse the internet.

There are many companies out there, not in the future, but in the present who are doing all they can to control your computing experience. Microsoft, Symantec, Sony and Google (and many others, namely spyware/adware companies) are changing our relationships to our computers. These external control systems will make our computers much less useful by limiting what we can do with them.

Our computers will be much less reliable because we won’t have control over what is running on the machine, what it does, and how the various software components interact. Eventually, what serves us so well in so many ways now could become nothing more than a glorified television.

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