Mozilla Firefox Review

Being a fan of technology, I am also a fan of cool little pc desktop apps. Every once in a while I’ll highlight a particular favorite of mine. Today I’ll be discussing the Mozilla Firefox web browser.
Some of you may have heard of this, some of you not. It is an alternative to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE). Microsoft, until recently, had stopped development on IE. It just sits there, stagnating on your desktop like a boil. Bugs that have been around forever are still there, not to mention that fact that spyware, malware and viruses are written mostly against IE because the most people use it. Back in 2001, I got sick of using IE and switched to a browser called Opera. This browser had a much faster rendering engine and incorporated tabbed browsing, the first I’d ever seen this feature. I never used IE again. Opera has since been replaced by Firefox.

Firefox is a nice alternative because it is highly customizable for every user. If you don’t want certain features, you don’t have to have them. When you download Firefox, the browser is a bare bones application that does the basic browser features. One of the basic features of Firefox that IE doesn’t do, just yet, is tabbed browsing. If you have multiple websites open, they are all kept within one browser window and tabs at the top let you quickly switch between your open pages. It’s a very nice feature that you immediately wonder how you lived without. If you want more advanced features you download what are called “extensions”. I’ll delve into extensions more deeply another time, but they include things like email checkers, weather forcasts, ad blocking, search bars, etc. You name it, someone has made an extension for it. You can also download themes which change the “look and feel” of Firefox to something more appealing to you. I currently use the Metal Lion theme which addes a brushed metal look to the entire browser. I love it.

If you would like to tryout Firefox, go to the Mozilla web site here. They just released Firefox and should be releasing version 2 at the end of spring. Hope some of you discover the joys of alternate browsers with me.

Update 1/31/2007 – Version 2 has been released. Click on the Take Back the Web – Firefox button in the bottom right Links section of my sidebar to get the newest version.

If you want to check it out, Opera still has a browser, which is now free. Check it out here. They are up to version 8.5.

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