I started using Netscape about 15 years ago when it first evolved from Mosaic. I kept using the latest versions until just a few years ago when I switched to Firefox—the offspring of Netscape (they use similar Mozilla engines). I never liked Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) because it didn't work well on some of the scientific websites. Safari is okay but not as easy to use as Firefox, in my opinion. I'm not that familiar with Opera. (Most bloggers have to have several different browsers in order to make sure their blogs look good for all readers.)
Firefox is about to release a new version and this event is covered on the Scientific American website [The latest version of the Firefox Web browser: Fast and secure]. It's interesting that Scientific American would consider this a newsworthy event. I assume it's because so many scientists are using Firefox?
Anyway, that's not what I want to talk about today. Here's part of the SciAm article.
Where would we be without the ubiquitous Web browser? More than a decade ago, Netscape, AOL and its ilk helped transform the Internet from simply a network of networks to the backbone of modern society by giving users access to anything and everything that was searchable. In typical fashion, Microsoft soon took hold of the Web browser market with Internet Explorer, which chased its competitors down to single-digit market share and borderline irrelevance.One of the advantages of Firefox is that there are many second party add-ons because of the open source nature of the browser engine. Some of these widgets are pretty useful.
That's the way it was until 1998, when Netscape (battered by Microsoft in the browser wars) decided to share its Mozilla browser software with the public for free. To make a long story short, the public tweaked and improved the software over time until, in 2003, the Firefox Web browser was born. Today, there are about 180 million people using Firefox to navigate the Web, according to Mozilla Corp., formed three years ago to oversee a number of public software projects.
With the Firefox version 3.0 (the latest) only a few weeks away from launching, the Web browser poses a serious threat to Internet Explorer's dominance. As of April, about 40 percent of Web surfers were using Firefox compared with 55 percent relying on Internet Explorer to navigate the Web, according to W3Schools, a Web site that tracks browser usage. Not bad, considering Microsoft held nearly 69 percent of the market at the end of 2005, the first year Firefox started its rise to prominence. (Firefox, which runs on the Windows, Linux and Mac operating systems, was used by about 24 percent of Web surfers at that time.)
I'm not too excited about the upcoming changes in the new version of Firefox but it looks like other people might be more impressed. The trend is clear. Firefox is on the verge of displacing IE from it's dominant position.
Here's the question. What browser do you use? You can answer in the poll found at the top of the left sidebar. Why do you like your browser?