Okay it’s not often that I plug a specific product but I feel this is definitely one that deserves some accolade. Firefox is a web browser that I have been using exclusively on my PC. It’s created by the Open Source community with various and numerous developers who have come together to work on a piece of software that has been downloaded more than 50 million times at the end of April. It’s obvious how popular the browser has gotten even when I check who has visited this blog. Quite a number of them are using Firefox, one version of it or another.
So here I’m going to try and convince you Internet Explorer users to switch over at least for a try and if you don’t like it, go back to IE. I’m sure you’ll enjoy your stay though. 😉
First off, what has Firefox got over IE? Well its developed by the open source community which means its source code is pretty much available for anyone to modify in the goal of furthering the browser. It’s also more secure than Internet Explorer which is riddled with security holes. I’m sure you’ve read your fair share of articles about newfound leaks. Firefox also has its share, but they’re less apparent and quickly patched up.
That brings me to one of two problems I’ve found with Firefox. Whenever new security holes are patched up, Mozilla releases a new version of Firefox to the net. Now for new users, they can just download the new version and be up and running with the newest level of protection. However for existing users, updating involves downloading the whole new application and installing it. I wish (and I’m sure they eventually will) they would get a sort of updator built into the browser that only downloads a patch instead of the whole new version. This would help people update (especially those on a slower internet connection) and won’t fill your system up with multiple versions of the Firefox install app.
Well I may as well get the problem out of the way for now since I’m dissing it. Since the majority of internet users still have Internet Explorer as the default browser, most websites code their pages for maximum compatability with IE. That means some pages get screwed up in Firefox. It’s mostly formatting though. It’s nothing some more properly coded pages can’t fix. So that’s not really even Firefox’s fault. =D
Ok, now that those are out of the way, I can rant and rave about how good it is. Haha, well one of the big things about it is the tabbed browsing. This means you can open up just one Firefox application but have multiple sites open in that one program. So you can unclutter your desktop quite a bit that way. Also, since the broswer is open source, it’s quite customizable which means you can get a load of different themes (or skins, whichever you call them). Also, you can get some very useful extensions for Firefox that make the web browsing experience oh so much better.
For example, there are two specific ones that I use quite a bit. The first is something that may not apply to some people. I use the Gmail Notifier extension that allows me to automatically sign into my Gmail account and check for emails. The other one that’s probably more useful for the average user is the Adblock extension. It allows you to block all those nasty banners and “BUY ME” flashing annoyances. It’s a shick to me now if I see an ad. It’s great how much cleaner the surfing experience has become since using Firefox and it’s addons.
Finally to end it off, there’s just another little ‘hack’ that you can do to make page loading a bit faster. In the address bar type in ‘about:config’. That brings up a page of Firefox settings that you can change. Now chances are, you probably don’t know what most of the stuff means, but filter for ‘pipelining’ and then enable both piplining and proxy.pipelining. Then change the max request to something around 25 or 30. That’ll allow Firefox to request up to 30 different portions of the page at a time.
So there you have it. If I think up of anything else I’ll update this. Firefox is definitely a very nice complete web browsing package whose problems should be easily fixable. I’m using it and will continue using it.