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The challenge to Internet Explorer

Could the Firefox browser signal a turning point from what we expect in software?

The Internet browser Firefox is going to whomp Microsoft Internet Explorer. I don’t think that’s a prediction; Firefox is ripping gobbets of market share from Internet Explorer. It is already in the hands of millions who are anti-Microsoft and will move into millions more who are unhappy with the security problems of Internet Explorer (among other things). And you know what? I don’t think this triumph is the most important thing about Firefox. Yes, Firefox will become the most successful open-source consumer product ever, and force Microsoft to get off its duff. More important, I think and I hope it signals a turning point in what we expect from software.

Reviews of Firefox abound, so I won’t plunge into details. Most reviews are favorable but hedge–there’s a reason for that, which I’ll get back to. My point of view is simple: You owe it to yourself (and your business) to try it. Firefox is fast (Web pages pop), secure (it was built for security, and should stay that way for a while), runs on many platforms (Windows 98 and up, Linux, and Mac OS X), and uncluttered (the user interface is a model of simplicity). Since Internet Explorer–which until recently had over 95 percent of the market–is not fast, not very secure, not multiplatform, nor uncluttered, Firefox deserves to succeed.

The non-profit Mozilla Foundation >

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