Freeware Flash – Firefox

Today, I commence one of what I hope to be many entries in a series where I shamelessly advertise freeware available on the market.  And I begin with what many regard as the jewel in the open source crown, Firefox.

Firefox logo

Firefox logo

First and foremost, hasn’t it got one of the best logos ever!  I mean, it’s instantly recognizable, fantastically colourful, and just plain cute (albeit, not very descriptive as to the program’s function).  But a good logo doesn’t make a program (though I do think a bad logo can break a program), and it does have the bite to back up it’s bark (and I realise that that metaphor is usually used in reference to dogs rather than foxes).

Depending upon who you talk to either FF3 or Google’s newest product, the web browser Chrome, or maybe Opera, is the fastest browser out there.  Of course, as the saying goes, there are lies, damned lies and statistics, so whatever you here you have to take it with a pinch of salt.  One thing is consistent throughout the tests (except those from Microsoft): Internet Explorer is the slow-mo of the pack.  So the browser is speedy, that much is clear, but it is less clear as to by how much.  The latest tests on lifehacker state that Firefox is not the nimblest, but they also show that the Mozilla team have put paid to the memory problems that have so beleaguered them in previous versions of their software.  And what does that mean for me, I hear you ask.  The answer is that while you may lose a few milliseconds a page on load times compared to other programs,  an extended web-surfing session does not slow your whole computer down to a crawl.  So if you are trying to write an essay, searching for resources through Google, while talking on Facebook and listening to some internet radio, you wont find that whatever you type takes and age to appear on screen.

Another major plus for Firefox is it’s wide range of extensions.  There is a whole corner of the internet (though the internet does have many corners) dedicated to the things, so whether you are aiming to pimp your browser with the latest bling (yeah I’m down with the kids using their street lingo), or streamline your webmail access, there will be something available for you to use.  On this laptop, I’m currently running a rather minimal installation if the truth be told, since I’m limited by it’s rather meager resources.  If you are interested, I use download statusbar because I find the normal download window rather irritating, better g-mail because it gives it a hugely cool blue-grey colour scheme, and Google gears, since it (apparently) speeds up WordPress.

What I really love about Firefox is that it’s often the hub of browser-innovation.  Right from the start they’ve included tabbed browsing (which I can’t live without), and the new predictive “awesome bar” which suggests what you might be typing and gives a brief description of the predictions streamlines internet use hugely.  And guess what, within a generation of these features being included (along with many others) Internet Explorer seems to have grown them as well (I’m sure there is no coincidence there at all).  I wonder what the next fantastic feature to be released will be, and how long it will be after that before IE mimics it.

One thing that does annoy me about it is the huge culture of fanboy-ism that is growing up around it.  And I know I might sometimes insist that Firefox is the best without backing up my statement, and I often disregard everything anyone might say to prove me wrong, so I’m often just as bad.  But maybe it is nice one in a while to sit back smugly and revel in the fact that I use the better browser.

But then again…

Perspective

Perspective

Good night everyone.

Oh and I’ll probably give Chrome a try once it’s out of beta and ready for linux (if that ever happens – I notice that Gmail still wears it’s beta tag like a badge of honour, and that’s been around for years).

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~ by Dominic on 26 September, 2008.

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