Well, the time has come. I’m giving up Internet Explorer for Firefox. To be fair, I started out as a die-hard Netscape man (Firefox is the next step in the evolution of Netscape). Then I finally switched over to Internet Explorer because so much of the web seemed formatted for it. Netscape simply got edged out. I tried going back to…I believe it was Netscape 7…an open-source (as is Firefox) project, an attempt to make Mozilla (the code that Netscape is based on and also a very old browser) an IE-killer. Well, it didn’t work. The thing had too many bells and whistles attached. It sucked, quite frankly, and barely ever displayed web pages correctly.
But they’ve gotten it (almost) right with Firefox. Firefox is now stripped down, with barely any bells and whistles installed at the beginning except a somewhat annoying “Latest Headlines” menu which you can get rid of. It’s customizable, highly so. You can download extensions and skins (a skin, as the name suggests, alters the superficial way Firefox looks — you can make it themed pink, for instance, if you want), but you can also just use it as it is. It allows “tabbed” browsing, an interesting way to organize your open browser windows into one window, although it’s a lot more useful in theory than in practice. And for me, someone who has set their resolution to 1280 by 1024, it’s much more obliging in terms of quickly resizing text from websites that don’t respond to my call for 120 dpi display. Text that remains static in Internet Explorer is malleable with Firefox. Firefox also automatically updates itself — a nice open-source advantage that Internet Explorer doesn’t have.
The main reason to update to Firefox, though, is that it’s much much MUCH less prone to browser hijacks and spyware attacks. If you’re like me, and you surf the seamy underbelly of the internet a fair amount — I’m not talking pornography here, I’m talking serial numbers for shareware programs you want to use in full mode — then Firefox is for you. Even if you’re straight-laced about your internet usage, you should be aware that a lot of times you can get shunted off the straight and narrow and end up in a dark alley that hijacks your desktop and leaves you with eight hours of hard work to get it off — if you can get it off (I’ve been lucky — and smart, yes — so far).
So finally when Firefox asked me if I wanted it to be my default browser — I said yes. Yes I do, Firefox.
You can download Firefox at http://www.getfirefox.com.