Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Firefox 3, Freedom, Personal Responsibility

Update: To set the world record, it has to be downloaded by 1pm, EDT on June 18th. Shame, shame on those of you who missed it.

With the release of the Firefox 3 browser today, I had to find a way to work a blog around this glorious event. First of all, let me share with you the reasons, if you have yet to be free from the dreaded bonds of Microsoft's Internet Explorer. I think I likened it to drunk driving and downloading Firefox to taking away the keys. But here's the reasons to go open source in general and Firefox in particular:

First, don't put all your eggs in one basket. Idiot Explorer comes with every Windows computer. In fact, you can't remove it because of how deep it's buried into the operating system. So if there's a weakness in Internet Exploder, or Windows itself (you Vista people KNOW!), then it's a big and easy target. Oh, and then there's the pop-up blocker. Nuff said.

Tabbed browsing. I know, Incompetent Explorer 7 finally added it. However, consider that Firefox has had it for years, and has many features that will end up in the Impotent Explorer eventually, just not as well.

Add-ons. After my son found some interesting sites by typing the letter K a few times, it took me less than five minutes to filter that stuff out. Because somebody developed that to keep out content you don't want your kids to see. And add-ons are fun too.

Open source. This is the big one. There is not some group in a company developing it. Open source means there are lots of people around the world participating in the evolution of the browser. People who want it to do what they, and you want it to do.

So what are you waiting for? Start the download, then finish the post. I know that's what I'm going to do, assuming they post it before I go to sleep (It's 12:30 AM EDT and they haven't posted the release yet.).

Firefox 3

Okay, now to the political point. Rather than being dependent on a monolith with ultimate power (in this case, a would-be Microsoft), there's competition in operating systems from Mac OSX and Linux, the cross-platform browser of Firefox, the wholly free OpenOffice.Org and Google Docs (where I'm writing this!), and numerous choices, downloadable and free. The fact is, this is a free market at work, with choices of every kind in view.

As for personal responsibility? Don't just take my word for what is good. Spend an hour a week looking for software. The nice thing about the internet is that the cream rises to the top, and if you check out the right sites (my faves are Download.com (here's a more in-depth article on Firefox from there) and, when necessary, sourceforge.net ) then you can really make your computer a better place. But it is your responsibility to do so, not your computer's manufacturer, your computer guy, your internet service provider (I do tell people this when appropriate), Bill Gates, or the government.

Also, if you really have a tech question or need a suggestion on any program, I do suggest things for free. Drop me a line or post your needs. I have links. Lots and lots of links.


Beth said...

Okay Patrick, I just downloaded Firefox, it will take some getting used to, but I appreciate your recommendations.

Patrick M said...

Beth: you'll have to keep checking back and download Firefox 3 when they release it. They haven't yet.

But you will find out how fun and good it really is no matter what.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

Whoah whoah whoah!!!!

Let me get this straight. Are there free-market forces at work here??

You mean to tell me Patrick that if there is a great enough demand and it's profitable that such demand will bring it to market?

I'm amazed. Truly truly amazed. Because you see...I was always led to believe that free-markets don't work.


Gayle said...

I've discovered a computer geek! Yay! I know there are times when I will need one so you've been bookmarked. I do use Firefox but will check for Firefox 3. Thanks! :)

Patrick M said...

Master of the Soapvious: The most amazing thing is that everything I recommend will be free. That's the most unique part of this.

Gayle: Bask in the geekitude!

Beth said...

I didn't realize that what I downloaded was not version 3, so I will have to upgrade then when it becomes available.

(What a sly way to get us hooked on your blog Patrick, but you don't have to worry, you write great stuff here that brings me back!)

Dave Miller said...

Hey man, I've been a firefoxer for years.

It is just simple, easy, and uncluttered.

Patrick M said...

Beth: It's okay if you want to call me a manipulative bastard. Really.

Because my whole goal is world domination by getting EVERYONE to read and emote from my wisdom.

Dave: The problem is that IE still dominates, thus, in addition to getting people to download firefox 3, I was trying to get the people still stuck in the browser of last resort away from it.

Glad you've been on the bandwagon a while now.

Beth said...

Okay, well now I am official and I even got the certificate to flaunt it.

Beth said...

Over 8 million downloads, I am sure in great part thanks to you promoting it here!