Firefox seems to be emerging as the most popular alternate browser, especially after the release of version 1 around a year ago. The main reason seems to have been the delay in the release of the next IE version (& also the security flaws in IE), as a vast majority of the users are still using it. Now that version 1.5 has been released with the basic features being revamped & a number of small changes, its popularity should increase furthermore. However, there seems to be some stability issues with v1.5.
Features: Firefox comes with the currently popular features like tabbed browsing, popup blocking, a download manager, RSS feed reading, skinning etc. However, the power of Firefox – both its strength & weakness lies in its extensibility, i.e. its extensions. To truly cover the power of the extensions a separate post will be required, & I am not including it right now (will be updated).
Pros: The browsing experience is highly customisable as a result of the vast number of extensions available for it. Lots of features can be added to the browser by the means of its extensions, ranging from AD blocking to user-scripting, form fillers to audio program controllers. The list is enormous. One is often tempted to try out many plugins, & improve the browsing experience.
Cons: Powerful as Firefox may be with its rich set of extensions, this also turns out to be its weakness. The first noticable problem is that of speed (mainly the loading time), when one installs a number of extensions. The memory requirement also tends to increase, though this may not be a major concern if one has sufficient RAM. There can also be stability problems, with too many extensions installed. There may also be a few instances of websites not being displayed properly, but such occurences are not very common. However, it should also be noted that there are a few utilities available to tweak Firefox as such & overcome some of the problems.
What next: There are also some other useful projects being undertaken by the Mozilla foundation like the SeaMonkey project which is derived from the earlier Mozilla Application Suite (basically a browsing suite). There is also a mail client, Thunderbird from Mozilla.
To check out Firefox follow the link below:
To try out the extensions available for Firefox try: