Mozilla Firefox is a webbrowser. It’s loosely based on the Netscape source code that was released back in the days when Microsoft won the Browser Wars.
But it is not Netscape, and it is not Internet Explorer either.
Since I discovered Firefox (which didn’t happen until it got smooth scrolling, sorry to say), I’ve grown to love the browser. Not only as a comfy leisure browser, but as a browser that shows things right.
Here’s why I think you should get Firefox, right now…
Top 5 reasons to get Firefox
- Tabbed browsing
- It renders HTML right
- It’s light-weight… but extensible
- Popup blocking
- Integrated Search
It works wonderfully well. Just click a link with the middle mouse button, and it opens in a tab in the background.
… meaning, if you write your HTML code correctly, it will render exactly as it is supposed to, completely unlike bug-ridden Internet Explorer.
Not only are popups simply blocked in Firefox, they are more effectively blocked than any popup stopper I’ve tried for IE, including Googles Toolbar.
By default, a Google search field is placed conveniently next to your address bar. But it is not limited to Google. Adding more searches is the easiest thing in the world.
Other great features include customizable themes, a great download manager, great bookmark features, and easy installation/un-installation.
Okay, so you’re maybe not completely convinced. After all, Internet Explorer is right there, and it’s so easy to access.
Well, Firefox is a quick download, a painless installation, and if you don’t like it, it’s a clean uninstall. So you have no excuse not to try it.
Step 1. Getting Firefox
Download Firefox via one of these mirrors: Firefox Download Mirrors.
Step 2. Configuring
To configure the menu bar as you want it, you have only to right-click one of the buttons on the toolbar, and select “Customize”.
I like my Firefox this way:
Be sure also to configure your default homepage. I like to start with a completely blank browser, but it’s up to you. Configure the start page by clicking Tools > Options > General, and type in the address of your choice.
Step 3. Extending
There are some extensions, I think should simply be a part of Firefox from the beginning. Others are just extensions I got used to so fast I can’t live without them anymore.
The name refers to a collection of mouse gestures in one package. I wrote more about it here… needless to say, it’s a great extension that allows you to navigate faster and easier.
Well, this is more of a cosmetic thing. It adds small icons in your context menus.
If you’re a developer, and has Firefox for your primary browser, this extension is invaluable. It adds an option to view the current page in Internet Explorer.
Step 4. Getting Real Player and Quicktime to work
You probably already have both. Unfortunately, the only way I know how to make QT and Real work in Firefox, is to install, or re-install them once Firefox IS installed.
Before you install Quicktime and RealPlayer—there are alternatives…
Also, be sure to check out this document, elaborating on plugin support.
Installing Quicktime in Firefox
Go to Apple’s Quicktime Download site, and get the player you need. Install it, AFTER you’ve installed Firefox, and it allows you to install a Quicktime plugin for Opera/Mozilla/Netscape. Point this to the Firefox directory and it should work.
Installing Real Player in Firefox
I … really hate RealVideo. The video is crappy and jagged. It’s the only video I know that has variable framerate! The player is filled to the brink with spyware, and I wish nobody would use Real. They do, however, so go get the player at Real’s Download site.
Install it and point the Opera/Mozilla/Netscape plugin to the Firefox directory.
I’ve been looking through my google referrals, and a number of people have come to this page, looking for how to install either “Real Alternative”, or “Quicktime Alternative” in Firefox.
Upon investigation, it seems they are hacked versions of the real applications, posing as CODECs.
While they are likely not completely legit, they should work well.
I have found no official download websites for Real or Quicktime Alternative. You’ll have to search for them.
Installing Real Alternative or Quicktime Alternative in Firefox
The process of installing these hacks, is no different than installing the /real/ players. Just make sure you install the Opera/Mozilla/Netscape browser plugin, and point it to the Firefox directory.
Un-installing Internet Explorer
It should be possible, using XPLite or 2000Lite available here. Do this at your own risk, though.
There are only a few things where Firefox is still lacking.
Mainly Firefox’ “cold-boot time” is much longer than that of IE. This is of course because Internet Explorer is built-in to the operating system, and Firefox is not… However, with each new version of Firefox, It’ll get faster at booting. And after all, once it’s booted once, it’ll lie resident in memory and load faster the next time you start it.