It never fails; when I tell people that my computer is filled with software that can be downloaded from the Internet, they assume that it’s all stolen. Then the open source software discussion begins.
I reassure them that, in fact, it is 100% legal and that people give their software away for free all the time. I tell them that, yes, I am serious. I explain that it is, in fact, very high quality, secure and, yes, legal. When all else fails, I tell them that, chances are, their web server is running open source software now; occasionally, they ask me if they should upgrade their web server.
If you didn’t know that there is software out there that you can use legally, free, you are not alone. And if you think that you’re not technologically savvy enough to use it, you are most likely wrong. We’re going to take a look at some open source alternatives with a series of posts spotlighting just a few of the ones that I use.
Today’s entry: Firefox Web Browser.
Firefox is probably one of the best known pieces of open source software around, so you may have already heard of it. Firefox is the second most used browser out there. It’s been around for a long time (its first release was way back in the Bronze Age of the Internet… 2002), and actually grew out of the old web browser Netscape Navigator, which was first released in 1994. If we consider that the true birthday, it pre-dates Internet Explorer by almost a year.
So, with almost three times as many people using Internet Explorer, why should you make the move to Firefox?
- It’s more secure. Security bugs are fixed in a matter of days, compared to weeks or sometimes months for Internet Explorer. Another security advantage is that anyone can look at the code of Firefox, so it is easier to discover security issues.
- It runs on basically everything. Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iPhone/iPod/iPad. Pretty much you name it.
- It comes in a crazy number of languages. Currently over 80. Even Esperanto.
- Hey. It’s free.
If you are ready to give it a try, you can download Firefox from their website. Give it a try, and let me know what you think.