So the browser wars are over and Internet Explorer won?
Well Microsoft would like you to think so and they'd like you not to worry your pretty head about the security, they're have it all worked out sometime soon in the next year or two.
Well, not many people are convinced about those arguments and are looking for alternatives. One such is Firefox. Way before Cert warned users not to use Microsoft's browser, we were well aware of the pitfalls of the browser. Most of them concentrate on the browser's integration with the Windows operating system and ActiveX controls. Hackers and virus writers have exploited these to take control of systems and use them to steal information and turn the humble pc into the willing servant of a bot-net.
Readers of our magazine have also been taking up with Firefox in their numbers. The number of hits from Internet Explorer clients for www.scmagazine.com has decreased from 72.5 per cent in April to 62.5 per cent at present.
Luckily, there is a great alternative in the shape of this nippy little browser. Out of the ashes of Netscape, Firefox has sprung on the computing world almost fully-formed. In fact its rendering engine is based on Gecko, which was built almost from scratch. Over the last few years Firefox, and before it the Mozilla suite, have been getting better and better.
On this magazine we have waited with anticipation for Firefox to make the leap from Beta to fully-fledged application. It has not been so much a leap as a small step.
However it is a giant leap for the internet. It is truly the best and most secure browser on the planet. Every step of the way this product has been getting better and better. In fact, some of the so-called betas have been a heck of a lot more stable than full products we have reviewed in the magazine. The full version does not disappoint and has a lot of features added in at the last moment that are wonderful.
When firing up the browser for the first time, porting bookmarks was a joy and installation did not require us to uninstall a previous version.
When looking at a secure site, such as PayPal, the address bar turns yellow and a padlock appears. This is much better than just a padlock appearing in the status bar almost as if it were trying to hide away.
We have liked the way that any security vulnerablility (and really there haven't been that many) have been dealt with extremely quickly and patches issued almost in the blink of an eye.
To the main purpose of the application, displaying pages. It starts up very quickly and renders web content very quickly. There have been vast improvements in displaying web pages meant for optimum display in Internet Explorer look perfect in this browser.
Overall, if you are looking for a browser that does what it says it will do, look no further than Firefox, your PC will thank you for it.