Mimi's Kids Tell Her To Use Firefox Instead of I.E.
My kids keep telling me we should use Mozilla instead of IE.  I looked at it and can't figure out if it's any better or not.  What is your opinion?

Answer
Many folks are under the mistaken impression still that Firefox is the "safe browser". We've covered this before so we won't go into excessive details here (whew!) but suffice it to say that there have been more critical security flaws discovered in Firefox in the past year than there have been discovered in Internet Explorer. There's a general misconception that Internet Explorer is unsafe and Firefox is safe. The truth is the neither is completely safe. No software program is and none can make that claim. If you're being advised to install Firefox because it's safer than Internet Explorer, you have been ill-advised. In fact as this is being written there has been another highly critical vulnerability in Firefox which has not yet been patched. Charles McAuley has reported a vulnerability in Firefox, which can be exploited by malicious people to trick users into disclosing sensitive information. (For details see this page.)

Some folks swear that Firefox is faster than Internet Explorer. Our own tests and use of Firefox and comparisons of page-load times shows little difference between the two. Other tests online show the same kinds of results. If you're want Firefox because someone told you it's faster, you'd be disappointed because you won't notice much difference.

The single biggest thing Firefox has going for it is that it is not made my Microsoft. Period. It's a nice browser. If you liked tabbed browsing (which TC does not, EB does), Firefox offers tabbed browsing right now. You'll have to wait until Internet Explorer 7 comes out to get this "feature" in it. A reminder: Don't download the Beta of IE 7 unless you have two computers. NEVER put beta software on your main computer. If you want tabbed browsing now and your tempted to download Internet Explorer 7 just to get tabbed browsing, then download Firefox instead. Internet Explorer 7 is not yet ready for primetime. We've been using it for a few months and we can tell you that it has a long way to go before it's ready for general release. We're sure that many "experts" would disagree, but we're telling you the way we see it.

Finally, we think everyone should try Firefox and keep it as a secondary browser. Use it occasionally and see how you like it. We'd strongly urge you not to make it your default browser, not only because certain Web sites don't work with it (like some banking, gaming and financial sites) but because other programs on your computer which depend on Internet Explorer may not work right either once you've changed the default browser. So there's more to be considered here than just mere preference. Internet Explorer and Firefox coexist nicely on the same computer and downloading and installing Firefox won't affect other programs on your computer unless you choose to make it the default browser. Keep that in mind when installing Firefox -you'll be asked to make it your default browser. We suggest you say no.

We hope this helps you make an informed decision!
 


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