Rating: 8.0 Stars (Excellent)
[How I Rate]
Awards: John’s Choice
- Auto-Update – Firefox has a built-in automatic update system that can find updates to both Firefox and installed extensions and themes.
- Customization – If you want more features, extensions provide a great way to add more functionality to Firefox. You can also download themes to change the way Firefox looks. I’ll be discussing Firefox extensions in a later review.
- Documentation – Firefox has lots of documentation, plus a â€œFor Internet Explorer Usersâ€ section under the Help menu.
- Download Manager – Firefox has a download manager that can easily manage multiple downloads and can pause, cancel, and restart downloads.
- Frequent Updating – Whereas Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6 will have been their “latest browser” for about six years, Firefox has been updated very frequently in the past.
- Interface – Despite all of the features and settings, Mozilla manages to make the Firefox interface very uncluttered and easy to use.
- Platform Support – Firefox works on Windows, Linux, and the Macintosh. Internet Explorer is only available for Windows and Macintosh, and Microsoft’s latest version (which has no version number change) only comes with Windows XP SP2.
- RSS Support – Firefox can save RSS feeds as “live bookmarks.”
- Security – Firefox does not support ActiveX and VBScript, which are two common methods of virus propagation.
- Settings – Firefox has many settings, and a whole gob of them can be found by typing â€œabout:configâ€ in the address bar.
- Speed – When running Firefox on my computer, the alternate browser loaded faster than Internet Explorer. I clicked on the Internet Explorer icon in my Quick Launch toolbar, and then clicked on Firefox’s icon. Firefox loaded first. When I first started using Firefox, the speed improvements weren’t that noticeable. But when I recently had to use Internet Explorer to view a webpage, it was painfully slow.
- Standards Support – Firefox supports the latest W3C standards, and can even display some pages correctly that Internet Explorer can’t (gasp!). Having a browser that supports universal, rather than proprietary, standards makes it a lot easier for webmasters like yours truly.
- Bugs – On rare occasions, Firefox will start to hog up processor cycles, slowing the computer to a crawl (though not to an unusable state). Also, occasionally when I open Firefox, the program will run in the background but not start up any window. These bugs probably happen to only a handful of users, since I haven’t seen these bugs reported. However it goes to show that, like almost all programs, Firefox does have bugs.
- Security – Just because Firefox doesn’t support ActiveX and VBScript doesn’t mean it’s secure. Firefox has its own set of security flaws, some as severe as those found in IE.
- Website Display – Because of Firefox’s lack of ActiveX support, it cannot display some pages, the most common of which can be found at, of course, Microsoft.com.