Tis the beginning of the New Year for me and yet today I find myself pondering the recent releases of browsers-- specifically the current browser war between Foxfire 2.0 and Internet Explorer 7-- rather than my ancestors.
I downloaded Internet Explorer 7 and was immediately confronted with tons of grief. I worked on reviving various crashed components of the main home computer for 15 hours before surrendering and calling the [free through November 1] Internet Explorer 7 Customer Support phone number.
The level one techie bravely tried to help me, even reading off the script to hack into the registry. At one point when I was already there, he insisted that I return to RUN and re-type in REGEDIT. He would not have it any other way. When his directions were not in sync with the way the registry sets up how to get into it to adjust things, he could not adjust his thinking and was unable to answer my questions. Finally, he gave up and put me on the queue for a level 2 techie to call me back.
Three days later the level 2 techie called me back. I discovered that the level one had told me to alter the wrong part of the registry. The level 2 techie got points for being polite and being able to ascertain that I was comfortable with the guts of my computer. Fortunately, his directions worked.
The fact that IE7 caused chaos did little to endear me to it. The fact that IE7 had a security patch issued the day after it came out is also worrisome. Internet Explorer 7 is all design and very little guts. There is no room for personalization in the Gates Universe. The tabs and buttons are oversized. Once again, the conglomerating monopoly which is Micro$oft and Windows/VISTA demonstrates its' belief that the computer-using public is incapable of anything other than point-and-click. And shame on the average member of the public for buying that story.
Foxfire 2.0 is open-source which automatically makes it more secure and customizable. The hackers of the 80s have migrated over to Linux and other places there-in, using their skills to provide security testing and more. Foxfire was an easy download with no trauma attached. Its' buttons are sleek, it is skinable, and there are a gazillion options for personalizing the way the browser functions. My foxfire browser functions the way I want it to because I set it up to do what I want it to do. I have options regarding scripts, blogs, bookmarks, rss feeds, adding or deleting toolbars, and web design set up on mine. I use my Foxfire primarily for websurfing and my add-ons for del.icio.us dot com [unfortunately now owned by Yahoo] and StumbleUpon reflect that. I have a sense of ownership and community with Foxfire that I have never had with any of the Gates Empire products.
I also have Flock installed on the main computer for another member of the household to use. I selected Flock partially because it is light-weight and partially because I was able to control the features for a non-techie with little clue about how computers work. Flock also has add-ons, including those at http://www.kroft.com as well as those on its' homepages. Again, with Flock there is a sense of ownership and community that is lacking with IE7. I also have a Flock installed on one of the laptops and customized for my blogging efforts.
I tried Opera 9 and although there are those who swear by it, I didn't like it. I did not find the customization options with Opera 9 that I found with Flock and with Foxfire 2.0-- though certainly Opera 9 is far more lightweight a browser [in terms of spacehogging or not spacehogging] than IE7.
I suspect that I will also be migrating to a dual-boot system on the main computer soon and be installing some flavor of Linux. For me, open-source is the way to go. I look forward to the time when I will be able to test-drive Konqueror as well as to write my own add-ons and modifications to Foxfire and Flock. Meanwhile, I just keep studying and practicing so that way I too will be able to leave my mark upon the vibrant open-source community.
- sapphoq reviews