Sunday, December 03, 2006

Firefox 2.0

Here's a brief overview of the newest, best web browser and why it is better than Internet Explorer. is a link to download it at the top of the page.

It is easy to download and install, even with a dial-up connection, and won't interfere with Internet Explorer. You can use either or both. Just leave the box to always ask checked in the preference dialog that pops up and you can easily make either your default browser. Even your bookmarks (Favorites) and homepage can be migrated automatically, if you wish.

I've tried the new Internet Explorer 7 and find it a poor copy of Firefox 2.0 that has obvious bugs. I'm really disappointed that Microsoft rushed the release of IE7 just to get it out a few days before Firefox 2 and left so many bugs in it. I couldn't even resize the browser window by grabbing the borders. That means IE7 isn't written to basic Windows standards, but Firefox is. Also, there are far more useful add-ins for Firefox than IE, not that you need them. With built-in phishing (bogus web domain) warnings, easier to use tabs, and a cleaner interface on Firefox 2, I think you will agree with me that Microsoft has lost the right to claim they have the best browser. Just having RSS feeds built in is a welcome addition. Don't miss the weather add-in that sits on the status bar.

Experts recommend switching from IE6 due to the numerous security problems it has. If you are switching to a new browser, give Firefox serious consideration. Generally, most users will find Firefox 2 easier to use than IE7 and it has options that are easier to figure out and select. The only shortcoming I see so far is the lack of zone security control. But the Noscripts add-in with icon options to temporarily allow scripts for a particular website for example is much easier and faster to use. This add-in allows everyone to run with higher security by default than with IE.

There seems to be fewer security issues for basic browsing with Firefox so that offsets the ability to lock down the browser (disable most features) for most websites as you must do with IE6 using zones.

Both issue security patches promptly and regularly and update automatically or manually (from the Help menu in Firefox). But security issues in IE are exploited much more often and much faster.

It is much easier to remove personal data stored by Firefox than Internet Explorer 7. As Martha says, that's a good thing!

Overall, I don't feel like I'm missing anything by using Firefox 2 which also has Adobe extensions and there are lots of add-in features not available in IE7 (I love the forecastfox add-in for the status bar along the bottom). If I do come across a website that simply won't work with Firefox (Microsoft's requires scripts normally not allowed by the Noscripts add-in), I can make a temporary or permanent website exception or even use Internet Explorer. The two are mutually exclusive.

Try Firefox 2 and decide for yourself. I'd like to know what you think.


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