Discussions over Tea (Of course, cutting maar ke)

Monday, September 01, 2003

IT : Why Mozilla Firebird is a better browser than IE any day.


I stopped using MS Internet Explorer about a year ago. While the change was forced due some problem which caused IE to slow down and crash often (Yeah, as if it wasn't slow enough and didn't crash enough earlier), I never looked back.
I first switched to Opera. Opera 6.1 (and then later 7.1) was much faster than IE any day. But Opera would not work on certain pages developed to function with IE and that's where Mozilla Firebird 0.6.1 came in. Firebird was a lighter version of Mozilla and hence was faster to start up and pretty much gave the same functionality as IE. The biggest advantages of Mozilla (Firebird) over IE -
  • Tabbed Browsing : Firebird, with it's extensions, allowed me the virtues of tabbed browsing. This meant that I could launch multiple tabs in the same window. Something, a person who opens multiple windows at the same time, appreciates very much.

  • Ad Blockers : Mozilla Firebird's greatest asset, as was Opera's, was that you could block ad popups like that. How many times have you opened your favourite site, just to get inundated with popups declaring "You're our one millionth customer" or "Select a color", etc. Well, Mozilla and Opera put a stop to all that. You can even turn off images from specific sites with Mozilla.

  • Text sizing : Have you been to pages where the fonts have been too large or infinitesmally small? Well, Firebird allows you to change the text size very easily if you have a mouse-wheel, or with two clicks if you don't.

  • Sidebars : Firebird allows you the luxury of sidebars which you can customize to include your favorite links and blogs.

  • Googling : The links bar of Firebird is pretty thin, leaving more space dedicated to the webpage. Yet it does contain a search tool bar (much like the Google Toolbar you have to download for IE), but allows you to select your search engine. Also, if you enter your search text in the text window without entering google, but it acts like the "I'm feeling lucky" button on Google.


Disadvantages : There are obviously disadvantages to the entire deal too. Mozilla, being under development and open source, still has some open issues and reasons why it crashes. Read the release notes, before you start to use it and you'll be fine. Mozilla, on account of being open source is very compliant with standards as described by the industry. But most of the web-pages you visit haven't been designed as per standards. This causes javascripts and HTML to not function properly at times. IE, isn't so rigid in it's specifications and hence allows a lot of faulty pages to pass through and function as intended.

Addendum : The greatest feature I miss about Opera was the restart session feature. If your browser instance closes down inadvertently (or even intentionally), you have the option of restarting from all those open sessions the next time you start Opera. Since browsers are liable to crash often, this is an amazing feature which lets you continue without losing track of your windows. Also, if you leave one day, in the middle of an open document, you have the option of restarting Opera the next day and resuming your reading.
The closest thing that Firebird allows, is the feature to un-close tabs. Which means that if you've shut down a tab, you can reopen it later, as long as the browser instance is the same.


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