Well, I’ve taken the plunge. I just switched completely over to Firefox from Netscape. I was already using Firefox at work, but I was still holding out at home. I have a tendency to hang on to things until they wear out. Netscape was still working with all the websites I wanted to visit, and my computer could run it just fine, and it still looked nice and modern, so why change? I felt almost wasteful about replacing it. But a few days ago I found out that my favorite web browser has been marginalized for several years without my knowledge. Apparently nobody uses Netscape. And I thought the browser wars were still going on! Boy, I’m out of touch.
So now the up and coming thing is Mozilla Firefox. Why does it appeal to me when Netscape works fine, despite being unpopular? Well, Netscape seems to be dying off. AOL owns it, and they’re keeping it going, but they seem to be piggybacking off of Firefox (which makes sense, since Firefox grew out of Netscape to begin with), and their browser development department is apparently minimally staffed. Firefox, on the other hand, is open source and is supported by a thriving community. Open source to me means frequent updates and lots of fun add-ons. And since Firefox retains the aspect of Netscape that kept me devoted (the way it managed bookmarks) and already includes a few extra features I like, I decided the time had come for a change. I was planning to take it nice and slow, but right off the bat Firefox asked me if I wanted to import my bookmarks and settings from Netscape, and once it did that, I could literally pick up in my web browsing where I left off with Netscape.
Incidentally, for me, it goes without saying that I would not switch to Internet Explorer. I’ve never liked it for various reasons. First it was because it looked ugly and stored each “favorite” as an individual file, which seemed very unwieldy to me, especially since my bookmarks reached the thousands (I’m sort of a pack rat, but I like to think of myself as a web librarian). It was so much nicer to have all the bookmarks together in one HTML document that I could easily view in a web browser. Later I avoided IE because it was so notoriously insecure. If you use IE regularly, you may notice that your computer is bogged down by enormous amounts of pop-ups and spyware. These are allowed onto your computer by IE, I’m told. I do not have that problem, since I’ve been using Netscape all this time. In fact, I only use IE for three reasons: 1) on rare occasions (rarer now that in the past), a web page won’t render properly in Netscape because it has been designed for IE; 2) certain other programs require IE (though I don’t actually have to use it in those cases–the other programs run it in the background); and 3) it’s needed for Windows updates.
Anyway, now I’m on Firefox. I think I’ll wait a couple of days before uninstalling Netscape, just in case, or maybe I’ll do it when I do my spring cleaning on the computer. I have a lot of bookmarks to sort and extra programs to uninstall. It’s amazing how fast the gigabytes fill up!
As a side note, today I also switched to Trillian from the AIM client. Now I can be logged in to all kinds of things at once.