We’ve secretly replaced the browsers at Company X with the new and improved Browser Y. Let’s watch on hidden camera to see what happens.
You probably have to be a child of the ’80s to get that. Several things bring the browser wars to mind. Foremost is my recent involvement with a soon-to-be-unveiled project to promote the Firefox browser, in addition to my own fairly recent switch to Firefox.
Post-foremost is my having been directed to Browse Happy, a project sponsored by the Web Standards Project with the aim of showing people that there are alternatives to the usual suspect, Microsoft Internet Explorer. They go out of their way to note that they have nothing in particular against Microsoft but that there are superior, more secure, standards-compliant browsers out there that many non-power users may simply not know about.
I’m also reminded of a blog entry I read here recently whose author complains about sites that tell him he should use Firefox. He cites a couple of debatably incorrect reasons he uses MyIE2 instead of Firefox, and he gripes that he’s big enough to decide on his own what browser to use. Fair enough. So I’m not going to tell you you should use Firefox (though I don’t think it’d be a bad idea), but I’m going to tell you briefly a few of the reasons I use it.
- It’s free. Debatably, so is IE, but it comes at the cost of using Windows. That’s not free.
- It’s free. This is important for two reasons, the first of which is economic. The second is more socio-political. I believe in the free software movement, which is in many ways similar to grassroots movements, which I find empowering and appealing.
- It’s frequently updated with fixes. Last major revision to IE was a couple of years ago, right?
- It’s extensible. If I want to add behavior to my Firefox, I can do so with relative ease. By which I mean that (as a standard user) I can download extensions or that (as a programmer) I can write my own.
- It’s cross-platform. I can have the same environment on my Windows box and my Linux boxes (or my Mac, if I had one).
- It’s less than a browser and more than a browser. That is, it’s a lean browser, slim on many of the bells and whistles that constitute bloat unless you choose to install extensions. But it’s also a lot more than a browser because it has the Gecko engine underpinning it, and you can take advantage of that to use Firefox (using XUL) as a development platform. Much more than a browser.
If you happen to be game for learning more after reading this briefest of summaries of why I use Firefox, try downloading it here.