I’ve been using computers more or less actively for about 10 years now. My first encounter with a computer was a hulking 386, which I never really got the hang of. Since then, I’ve encountered computers in many different ways, but the first time I can remember getting a “So that’s what it’s all about” feeling, was back in the summer of 1996. Using Word (!) I constructed my very first website.
Ever since, the web has been a mainstay of mine. I’ve had an email adress since then, and I’ve used it for such things as keeping in touch with friends, maintaining several websites and blogs, applying for jobs, finding an apartment, and so on. The list is nearly endless.
About six or so years ago, I started fiddling around seriously with computers, and one of the first things I realized was that I had already experienced three webbrowsers (Internet Explorer, Opera and Netscape), and settled on a preferred browser (Internet Explorer). I also started to question why I had settled on this one, and so began my quest to find a different browser.
I had some sort of very faint notion that there must be something better than what I had, but I didn’t know what. Not, that is, until I found Mozilla Firefox. Since then, I have challenged my opinion on Firefox repeatedly, but it still sticks out as the best I’ve found so far.
I have two main arguments for Firefox, they are security and usability. Security, not because it is necessarily a more secure browser (as has been shown, it too has its share of problems), but because I believe there’s an innate level of security to not having you webbrowser built into the OS Kernel. As for usabiity, I realise Opera was way before Firefox with tabbed browsing, but I still don’t find Opera the user friendly browser I do Firefox.
Another thing is of course that knowing my way around Firefox, I can use it on whichever OS I wish. When I use Kubuntu, I don’t use Konqueror, I use Firefox. When I use Mac, I don’t use Safari (which isn’t half as much an integral part of the operating system as MSIE or Konqueror), I use Firefox.
Microsoft Internet Explorer was a decent webbrowser, oh about ten years ago. They then stopped developing it, while other software-manufacturers kept developing theirs. Among the prominent webbrowsers today are Mozilla Firefox (Windows, Mac, Linux), Opera (Windows, Mac, Linux), Safari (Mac OS and Windows), Internet Explorer (Windows Only), and Konqueror (Linux only). I prefer Firefox, for a range of reasons, the first being the fact that it is Open Source, and constantly being developed. Another is the fact that it is not an integral part of the OS. Should I tire of it, or wish to remove it for some reason (although I cannot now imagine how that would happen), I can remove it, and all trace of it with a minimum of moves.
Yet another argument is its adaptability and options for customization. It comes with a bare minimum of options, but you can easily add extentions that make your life easier. Mine shows the IP-adress of the site I am visiting, the hebrew date, and has a GUI-button that I can click to disconnect it from the web.
It annoys me that there are still developers out there that don’t write for all browsers, and only test their sites in MSIE. I feel this practice is exclusivist and elitist, and I hate it. If I can avoid using these sites, I do. I also inform the webmaster that this is so, and should they remedy the situation, I’d like to be notified. The problem is that MSIE, like many others (Firefox included, though to a lesser degree) has inherent non-compliance issues. This is a problem because many sites don’t work properly (if at all) in other browsers.
The point, in the end, is not about what you choose, but that you do choose. Only through making conscious, informed decisions can we better our days as users of these electronic gadgets many of us love so dearly. Good luck, and good night.
Note on the links in this article: All links to Firefox are rerouted through a program called SpreadFirefox.com. Should you wish to download Firefox, you will be rerouted directly to the download site, and my account with SpreadFirefox.com gets one download added. I do not earn money from this, only recognition. The links to Opera lead directly to the website of Opera Software. Whichever you choose, I think it is important to make a choice.