Even though there has been a lot of publicity recently for the official launch of Firefox 1.0, the free, troublefree,
standards-compliant browser, I find that many people don’t understand exactly what it is and why they might want to try it.
Let’s start at the beginning. If you are using Windows, Internet Explorer is the program you use to browse the Internet (normally the world wide web, or
www). Why would you want to use another browser?
Unfortunately, IE has serious vulnerabilities to attack by viruses and malware (adware and spyware). IE (especially when used with Outlook, Outlook
Express or Entourage) is the major target of viruses in the Windows world. Viruses use security holes in the programs to spread worldwide almost
That’s where Firefox enters the picture. It is free, fast, simple to use, designed to be safer and includes features such as a pop-up blocker, an RSS
feed reader and the ability to add extensions.
You can download Firefox from the link on this page (just below Links on the right). Once you download and install it (don’t worry, installation is very
easy), you can set it to be your primary browser without disabling IE (you will still need IE for Windows updates, for instance, so don’t try to delete it).
Then take a little webtour and I think you’ll find Firefox is fast and easy to use. As I mentioned before, it includes a basic RSS reader (see my earlier
article in October 2004), so you can subscribe to your favorite websites and blogs inside your browser.
Using Firefox you’ll also make your web designers/developers very happy. Web standards have been/are being developed so that websites can be designed to
look the same on all browsers and to be accessible to everyone including disabled folks. IE only partially supports these standards, preferring to develop as
it sees fit, which causes a whole lot of hair-pulling by web developers. So, if you want to help your web designers/developers keep whatever hair they have
left in their heads, try Firefox.