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Mozilla Firefox

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      05.05.2012 21:58
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      Review covering everything important about the Firefox internet browser, including major changes.

      Introduction

      This review cover's how I heard of Firefox, why I considered it to begin with and how I found its installation. I've also included in the review- details of installation and use of Firefox, on Windows and Ubuntu. This includes thirty-two and sixty-four bit Windows operating systems, as well as alternative software to Firefox. Besides that, I've covered information about the program, including the newest major feature and basic information about some other programs I've used, which are made by Mozilla.

      How I heard of it

      I first installed Firefox in the dial-up days, the browser was relatively new, and my Internet Explorer was painfully slow. The browser kept freezing, and whenever it worked - it was extremely slow. I knew this wasn't a problem with my computer, because everything except Internet Explorer worked as it was supposed to. The poor performance wasn't even due to temporary files, cookies or cache, which I made sure to clean out regularly. As an XP user at the time; I only needed to know one run command (%temp%) to access the junk files, which I would manually delete. I don't think software such as CCleaner - existed at the time.

      I was recommended Firefox by a friend, so I decided to install it. I was informed that this browser is a lot faster than Internet Explorer, and it's a lot more stable, user friendly and customisable. I found all these claims to be true.

      Installation

      There haven't ever been compatibility issues with installing Firefox, whether on Windows, Linux or other operating systems- in my experience.

      The installation is, and has been very short and simple- as long as I can remember it.

      As computers progress in sixty-four bit architecture; I believe Firefox can make a few adjustments, or create an alternate compilation for higher processing architectures for Windows users. The Linux distributions of Firefox- are already available in thirty-two and sixty-four bit compilations. I use the Ubuntu Linux Software Centre, which automatically installs the sixty-four bit version- on my Linux computer.

      The installation on thirty-two bit Windows is to the %programfiles% directory (Program Files), while on a sixty-four bit Windows, the installation is to %programfiles(x86)% (Program Files (x86)). I never find any problems with Firefox- running on sixty-four bit Windows 7, only the installation is in thirty-two bit format. Sixty-four bit software install's to the %programfiles% directory.

      One thing I like about the installer- is that it doesn't install unnecessary adware, or any other programs. Nor does it contain anything else, other than the Firefox installation files. So I'm not prompted to choose ask.com toolbar and search engine, which a lot of other freeware installations contain. I don't particularly like ask.com, nor do I like their toolbar, so it's always a relief to know that Firefox installation remains free of ask.com.

      Running a new installation of Firefox is fast, and doesn't have to look for any further content updates. But updating an existing installation- sometimes needs to find updates for incompatible addons. I usually find this to be the case with Kaspersky URL advisor, which is an addon that takes some times to update- for the newest stable Firefox builds. Firefox automatically checks for updates, if you click the top left Firefox button, then click Help, and click About Firefox. When an update is available, it can be applied from there. I've found this to be a very fast method for updating Firefox, but for me- it's definitely not a substitute to manually downloading the installable file. I always make sure to keep an installer (installation file) saved to disk, so that I can quickly reinstall it after the Windows is reinstalled. I find that the Windows operating system can become a bit corrupt, and could require reinstallation quite often. There's no guarantee that it will get corrupt, but the last time I reinstalled Windows- two years ago; was after a week of prior reinstallation.

      I never need to keep a Firefox installer for Linux, because Linux is a lot more stable in my experience. I've only ever had to reinstall Ubuntu once, which was after a hard drive failed- following a power surge.

      Using Firefox on Windows

      I've found a few performance issues early last year, when Firefox was working a bit slow. I use a sixty-four bit Windows, so I began looking for an alternative to Firefox. I found two alternatives, which are very close to Firefox- in appearance and functionality. Firstly Waterfox, which is a third party sixty-four bit compilation taken directly from Firefox source code. This can't be run parallel to Firefox, as they use the same extensions, cookies, cache and temporary files. The other one is Pale Moon, which can be used in parallel to Firefox, and has its own application data directory.

      I found neither Pale Moon, nor Waterfox- suitable to replace Firefox. Other users may find one of those two as a good replacement. I kept Pale Moon installed, and use it quite often along with Firefox. There are some functions, which don't work in Pale Moon. An example is collectively bookmarking all open tabs, which is a useful default feature in Firefox.

      Most of the functionality of Firefox- is available in the sixty-four bit Windows alternatives. Even the latest version number of Pale Moon, accurately matches the Firefox build, because its built on the same initial source code, with a few modifications.

      Using Firefox on Ubuntu Linux

      I found my first install of Firefox on Ubuntu to have the old menu-bar view, which was the default. I right-clicked in the top blank part of the Firefox window and unchecked the Menu-bar feature, which left the window view with the new interface.

      Without tweaking, Ubuntu 10.04's repository has version 3.6 of Firefox and thunderbird. I used Ubuntu Tweak to manually add the up to date installation repository for Mozilla. The version I use is compiled for sixty-four bit architecture computers. It's installed by default to usr/lib, but the installation can be made portable and customised to the user's needs in Linux. I find the default installation good enough, and the application/user data is easy enough to backup. The procedure is simply to copy the user data folder, which back's up all the data, including all the extensions.

      Linux also has alternatives to Firefox, which are very similar in appearance and functionality. I've used IceCat, and still use it at times. In my opinion, IceCat isn't as good as Firefox, because I've found it to slow down at times and even crash. Although IceCat nearly always works very well, a few hiccups in the program are enough to change a person's opinion.

      Program and Updates

      Firefox is one of the applications, made by Mozilla. The software is available to download at www.mozilla.org , and can also be accessed by typing www.firefox.com , which is redirected to the correct page. Downloading the program is very easy, you have to simply visit http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/all​.html , and choose the language and operating system, which you wish to download it for.

      The latest versions of Firefox have a newer feature, which improves upon the tabbed browsing experience- at least it does so in my opinion. I've found the Tab grouping feature to come in very handy for saving a lot of window space for heavy browsing, especially as some of us may be used to opening many unrelated tabs. This feature can be used to quickly put tabs into groups, and even label each tab group. The tab groups button can be access at the top right corner of the browser, this button is next to the window control buttons. The button has a symbol, which is made of four rectangles.
      Company

      Mozilla has several other projects, which include Thunderbird (an email client), Seamonkey (All-In-One web browser with email and calendar functionalities). I use Thunderbird and Seamonkey, but I don't use Seamonkey as often as I use Firefox, and it's not much of an alternative to Firefox- in my opinion. I haven't used their other software as much, e.g. Lightning and Sunbird, so I can't really say what I know about them; you'll find the little I know from their website at this URL: http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/projects/

      My conclusion

      Using Firefox for a number of years has given me plenty of time, in which I can get to understand the features, functions, performance and changes in Firefox. I've come to the conclusion that Firefox is the best browser overall, whether analysed from a speed point of view, or user customisation, appearance and functionality. I've found Firefox, Pale Moon and Safari to run at the highest speeds. I found Firefox, Pale Moon and Chrome to be the best in features and customisation. I've found Internet Explorer, Chrome and Maxthon to be rather slow and crash more often. I've found Opera to be the mediocre in most cases, except customisation, in which it's not so good. Safari doesn't work on Linux, so I can't give it as high ratings as I give to Firefox. Pale Moon's few limitations in functionality, drop it slightly lower in grade- compared to Firefox. This is the basic theoretic view of why Firefox is my favourite browser, even though I use many browsers.

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        21.01.2012 20:47
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        A browser that will suit anyone

        @ The Browser, Speed @

        Mozilla firefox has been my browser for a number of years and in my experience, its been a great alternative to internet explorer. Its the features that put it above all else and is the browser for computer programmers sourcing and finding code from web pages thanks to its firebug add-on. The browser is very well laid out with everything where you would expect it to be in the menus and options are explained with very helpful help pages. There is little computer jargon on the menus apart from preferences which is a minefield of jargon. None the less the help pages will help make sense of it all and the mozilla support pages have other users who can help solve your problems.

        The browser is generally fast to load but will start to drain if you open multiple copies of firefox. Say for example, you run three browsers, your speed will be drained, crashing becomes more frequent and displaying web pages becomes a chore for your system, which is why firefox uses tabbed browsing, so you only ever run a single firefox window. To get firefox to load its own windows like the options window, its instant. There is no lag or latency with loading pages and windows.

        @ Quality, Add ons and Features @

        Firefox does have a low budget feel to it, it isn't like safari or I.E 7 with chrome and brightly coloured finish to it, but the build quality (coding) is solid. No problems with flash or HTML pages, and it wont crash every five minutes. I have had it crash on a few occasions but these are few and far between, sometimes once every two months and thats it.

        The other great thing about firefox is the number of ways in which you can customise it to your usage. Programmers can get firebug which lets you see website code, and there are lots of helpful app like features such as reminders, and colour slider so you can even change the browsers colour. Firefox lets users make their own add ons and then upload. Them to mozilla website. And the best part about this. Most of them are free to download.

        @ Overall @

        Overall this browser is suitable for anyone, and thats because you can make it your own. Firefox has always been an ugly browser and i personally don't like the layout but there is always very good support and help pages. What we have here then is a free browser, which is better than internet explorer, more reliable than other browsers and runs perfectly in just one window. That for me is worth a full 5 stars.

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          29.01.2011 18:29
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          Avoid this software

          Until 2 years ago, Firefox was perhaps the best browser available. Upon switching from Microsoft Internet Explorer, I was impressed. Firefox seemed faster and included many add ons. Also, who would want to use a browser that is made by a company that has such a huge monopoly.

          However, recently Firefox has gone downhill. For the last year my notebook computer and netbook both appeared to struggle to run Firefox on Windows XP. With a Firefox browser open and a DVD video running at the same time, the system just felt slow and sluggish.

          Recently I installed Google Chrome, since then all problems have been resolved on my laptop. Google Chrome is a lot faster than Firefox and the difference is especially obvious if you are running a single core CPU with less than 2GB of ram. Firefox uses up a lot of ram making a simple task such as checking your email a chore. It's a shame since Firefox is open source software that was once reliable.

          Any computer made within the last 5 years should easily allow you to do basic tasks such as checking your email, however Firefox will make make your PC seem as if it only has 100mhz CPU with 128mb of ram.

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            26.01.2011 00:56
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            The Browser for Me.

            Mozilla Firefox has been recently at the forefront of browsers surpassing its rough competitors such as the famous internet explorer and safari. It is quickly becoming the number one browser for everyone. Currently Firefox 4.0 is in beta while 3.6 is out for everyone to enjoy.

            So why switch to firefox?

            Customization: I think of Mozilla Firefox similar to Apple's products where the customization is so great, it feels like each person has their own personal style. With Mozilla firefox, there are thousands of customizable skins, and styles for personal likes and dislikes. Not only that, but also the amount of add-ons, extensions, plugins and toolbars you can add that makes browsing more than just browsing. To me it feels like Apple's APP Store where you can view thousands of things to add to customize your own product. I currently use AdBlock Plus, Swagbucks toolbar, flagfox, ghostery, and more!

            Speed: The speed is definitely one of the selling points. Although Google's Chrome to me seems a bit faster, it does not seem a huge significant difference. With the customization I can do with my Mozilla Firefox, the very slight difference in speed does not mean much. I have yet to test the speed difference between the new Internet Explorer versions but I know that Mozilla Firefox will compete!

            Easy Use and Install: The installation and start-up use is very easy for newcomers. It is very similar to any other browsers with tabs, search bars, etc. What is even nicer is the easy way to delete cookies, history, etc. as well as other privacy measures to know you are secured when browsing.

            Overall, I would highly recommend Mozilla Firefox as your browser of choice. It will be mine for a while!

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            30.08.2010 17:30
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            :)

            Firefox is a popular alternative solution to interent browsing aside for Internet Explorer. Essensially it works in the same way, with the menu bar contained across the top, tabs contain all the different web pages open and an address bar for website addresses.

            The basic version of the software is simple to use but for more advanced users Firfox is hightly customisable. You can download lots of add-ons for Firefox to make the software quicker, more intuitive and to further fullfill your needs as a user. These add-ons can be found at the officail site, https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/, and cover a huge range of things. My personal favourites are: Firebug (a web development tool to help locate faults and change html/css/php coding.) Amazon Assist: (slightly commercial but as a high user of Amazon I find this add-on quick and easy to find products I need) Zoodles: A child safe add-on which makes firefox kid friendly and stops them changing settings letting children use the interent in a child safe enviroment. Of course there are many more and there is always something for every one.

            Firefox is genrally know to be much more secure than Internet Explorer. I also think Firefox is a much quicker and better looking peice of software so always choose to use it over IE.

            If you think Firefox maybe for you it is easy to download and install from: http://www.mozilla-europe.org/en/firefox/

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              24.08.2010 22:33
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              Download this now, its fantastic

              Mozilla Firefox is a fantastic and free alternative to Windows Internet Explorer, and is much easier to use once you become familiar with it. Firefox is taking the world by storm and is much much safer than Internet Explorer, mainly because IE is the most commonly used browser in the world and is therefore the most obvious target for virus programmers. Also Mozilla Firefox doesnt allow for scripts to just run whenver they want like IE does, meaning that the viruses cant just Install thereselves onto your system as easily as they expect.

              The user interface of this browser is strikingly similar to that of its Microsoft rival, mainly so that new users dont find it too difficult to settle down. It took me no longer than an hour for myself to become familiar with it. There are all the trademark features of a standard internet browser too, with tabbed browsing available and Thousands of free add-ons to download, such as the option to have the weather forecast in your toolbar.

              Firefox is a suprisingly quick application to install and does all the work for you. It will import your homepage, settings and cookies from Internet Explorer so you dont have to start over. It also runs a lot quicker than rival browsers, Though Google Chrome is a little faster.
              Downloads are also managed very well by Firefox, with the ability to pause downloads and resume them another day if needed. All downloads are saved in a list, so its always easy to locate them on your harddrive if you cant rememebr where you saved the file.

              Overall i would say that this internet browser is the best one i have ever used and i will never be going back to Microsoft Internet Explorer, its rubbish compared to this.

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              03.07.2010 18:21
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              It's the little things that makes Firefox the best browser out there.

              With the Internet becoming a huge source of income and opportunity for millions worldwide, its only natural that web browsers would evolve along with everything else. At the moment my opinion would say the Firefox is by far the most superior browser around right now. It takes more than just loading pages efficiently nowadays for a browser to be declared the best one around. Firefox has so many features and so many potential community made add ons that it without a doubt the best browser to surf the net on.

              1) Browsing - Firefox might have all these cool features here, there and everywhere but it is it's browsing ability that goes above the call of duty. Firstly there is the Google integrated search feature in the address bar. No longer do you need to go to google to find what your looking for, instead all you have to do is type your search criteria into the address bar and you will be flung to either the page you were looking for all to a Google search page with the results ready for you. For example, say your looking for the official website of Billy Ray Cyrus, just type in "Billy Ray Cyrus Website" into the address bar and you will instantly get taken to the website. Browsing has never been so easy.

              2) History - With Firefox 3.5, the user is now able to cover their tracks better than ever. Now the user is given the ability to "stealth browse". What this means is that the user can now browse with absolutely no data being saved into the history and no way for anyone to find out that you've been visiting stampcollectors.com! It's not just that but also the option to delete your history depending on when you want to, now you can delete you past 1-4 hours history as well as the entire days history.

              3) Tabs - Now many other browsers use tabs, but Firefox is able to use them much more efficiently. Your able to multitask to the extreme with an unknown amount of tabs being open without your computer blowing up

              4) Add-Ons - No browser in the history of the Internet has as many add-ons as Firefox. From the helpful tool that will help slower computers out by blocking all Flash videos until the user allows them to be played to the jovial add on that plays MC Hammers "Stop, Hammer Time" lyric every time the user clicks the stop button.

              It's the little things that makes Firefox the best browser out there.

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                17.05.2010 11:43
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                Better than Internet Explorer.

                Firefox is a pretty fast internet explorer that comes with a lot of handy java plug ins for flash media. It's a really good browser, specifically because it's really fast and really reliable, by which I mean sites with even the most complicated HTML or other scripts always load very quickly with everything in the right place and nothing omitted. Downloads also go noticeably faster with Firefox, although the whole thing is still not quite as fast as Google Chrome.

                The interface is more or less the same as Internet Explorer apart from the fact that some of the functions have different names. Despite this though, Firefox is still really easy to get used to and is incredibly intuitive and customizable.

                Even better than this is the fact that it can be downloaded completely free from the Firefox website, unless you want to actually pay for the latest explorer model, but this is barely worth doing because they update it all the time and it doesn't really get much better, all things considered.

                This is a really good explorer, I can't stress that enough, and since 90 million people globally use it, perhaps it's worth giving a go. It also comes with a really wide variety of Internet Security features to ensure you can browse very safely, many of which are far superior, like all of Firefox's features, to Internet Explorer. I strongly recommend downloading and installing Mozilla Firefox.

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                  08.04.2010 19:57
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                  Pretty good

                  Mozilla or Firefox as it was simply known then, was a browser I downloaded after becoming ever more tired of the constant glitches on internet explorer. So this review is based on this particular browser as well as a comparison between them both.

                  The downloading of the browser was troublesome and quick and finally I had the option of choosing between 2 browsers. I am not particularly interested in the technical side of things and simply use the browser, there are other add ons you can also download but this is not something I have pondered as of yet.

                  What I like about the browser is it's very smooth and you can quickly move from one website to another without encountering any slowdown under normal circumstances. Likewise pop ups which can be a real nuisance and before you know where you are, pop ups are crawling all over the screen, therefore it is of great reassurance to know that firefox automatically blocks them and will only display one or all if you give your permission.

                  This requires a few clicks, is very straight forward and this is what encompasses firefox, it's a good browser which does not bombard with you many things, allowing you to simply get on with browsing the internet.

                  It is by no means a flawless browser though as firstly some sites simply don't support the code used by firefox and therefore will not display themselves properly on screen. Likewise while the browsing is usually quite smooth, there are some sites which seem to cause a lag on firefox and can sometimes lead to it crashing, when this happens, you are forced to close all screens and restart firefox.

                  Thankfully though firefox will recognise this and the next time you restart the browser you will be given the option of opening an existing session. Overall this is a very good browser which provides some much needed choice.

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                  08.04.2010 18:12
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                  Highly recommended to all.

                  We have used Mozilla Firefox in our house for a number of years and it is definitely our preferred internet browser. It is easy to download, for free of course, from Mozilla's website and gets updated by them on a regular basis (you don't have to do anything to update, just "allow" them to update when you are using the program and it remembers all of the windows that you have open and reopens them if it has to close down to install the update - super helpful!).

                  I find the Firefox interface very easy to use, but am so used to it now that Internet Explorer seems really different and difficult. I love adding all my favourite bookmarks to the toolbar, neatly separated with separators, so that I can access all my favourite sites easily (easier than having to go through "My Bookmarks"). Depending on how you have it set up, the toolbar can be kept to a minimum allowing you maximum space in the browser window, which is what I prefer.

                  The best thing about Firefox in my opinion is the security and this is how we got to it in the first place. Following numerous virus infecting our old computer through Internet Explorer, we looked for something that offered better protection. No (or relatively little) pop-ups is also a massive attraction because that had also become very frustrating with Internet Explorer. Firefox even tells you when it is preventing a pop-up from opening, just in case you want to check it out! We have had no virus issues at all (from memory, but definitely nothing major if I can't remember it) since using Firefox.

                  Over the past few years a number of friends and family members have talked to us about problems they are having with their computer and internet use - continuous pop-ups "warning" them that their computer is infected or not protected (which are of course scams/viruses in themselves), and the like. We recommended Firefox, along with AVG anti-virus software and Ad-aware (also both free to download) and this not only cleared their computer of the current problems they were having, but they have also not had any problems since.

                  As you can see, I am a massive Firefox fan and will not be going back to Internet Explorer no matter how flash the new version may be.

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                    30.03.2010 16:08
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                    What is the price of customisation?

                    I have been using firefox since the 1.0 came out and very few people knew what it was. Back then it had so many benefits from the Microsoft alternative which had been left to rot as browser competition died after the browser wars of the early 90's. A lot had changed since then and not all of it for the good.

                    The community which develops and tests the program is now bigger and more active than ever. However, the more features are added the less I want to use it. There is such a thing as too much choice and too many features. All the sum of which makes the browser feel slow and bloated and more prune to crashing. All the things in fact it was designed and built to avoid in the Internet Explorer from Microsoft.

                    What you do get though is a simple browser which will show you web pages as the designer intended using all the web standard out there. You as the user can customize the functionality of the browser and the look of the interfaces to what you want. You can even have different profiles for when you are at work or when you are at home. What it isn't however is the fastest browser out there today and it hasn't been for sometime.

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                    16.03.2010 11:10
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                    A very good internet browser

                    After ten years of internet explorer (perhaps longer) I felt that for my current computer it was running a bit slow in its load up times etc and thought perhaps it was time for a change. I was recommended Mozilla Firefox by my girlfriend and haven't used Windows Interned Explorer (IE) since.

                    Now I must admit I started with Explorer as a teenager and have never gone into playing around with it and fine tuning different parts so I cant compare the two exactly in that regard but Firefox for me is a lot faster then Explorer.

                    Firefox is a free web browser like Explorer where you can do your usual searching web pages, dooyooing and nosing on facebook, the application is pretty much the same in appearance to IE but where as IE has a slight lag when you click on a link Firefox will load almost instantly.

                    On the Mozilla Firefox website there are hundreds of add on available to enhance Firefox, these range from youtube video downloaders, to toolbars, some of which are extremely useful and of course some not so useful, I came across a useful add on which fills in forms with a click of a button which has saved me quite a bit of time.

                    The Firefox browser features many the same/similar elements to IE, such as tabbed browsing, spell checking, live bookmarking, a download manager (which is a lot better as you can actually pause software and the like that you are downloading and see how its progressing), private browsing, location-aware browsing (a Google service) with a search system that uses Google, which is probably the best search engine anyway.

                    Apparently some, more Microsoft intended websites are slower on Firefox but I have yet to come across any such sites so maybe that is just a rumour. I believe Firefox to be safer against fraud, phishing and the like because it is so often updated and it helps that it is not as commonly used as IE and naturally the bad boys focus on IE weaknesses. But it's getting more popular all the time - and is the second most popular right now, so as always be careful dooyooers with your personal details. I actually use Firefox to remember my passwords for websites that do not know my bank details only.

                    A strong browser which seems faster the Internet Expplorer so I would recommend giving it a go, but, yes but its not a huge improvement on the very reliable Internet Explorer which is fine

                    Tony

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                      19.02.2010 00:08
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                      An excellent browser, tonnes of features more than IE, but a few websites dont work properly.

                      Well i was strictly a Microsoft Internet Explorer user until about 2006, when i discovered Mozilla Firefox.

                      It seemed to run much faster than Internet Explorer, IE always seemed to have a slight lag when you click a link, it doesnt load for a while then suddenly starts, Firefox does this instantly.

                      Also when IE6 got released, i instantly disliked the change of the GUI, the buttons were all moved and made into tiny little icons that are a pain to click.

                      Really i think Firefox is a safer option to IE, its updated more often, and as its a less used browser, most virii and phishing programs are designed to target IE users.

                      There are also thousands of add-ons available for download at the Mozilla website, these range from youtube video downloaders, to toolbars. Some of which are extremely useful.

                      Firefox also has many settings of which you can alter, although i don't know enough about them to tell you what they all do.

                      Other than the things i have outlined, Firefox is almost exactly the same as Internet Explorer, a slight change in GUI and Firefox running faster and having a ton of add-ons are the only difference. Of course Firefox is always an options for those anti-Microsoft people out there. Firefox also has a built-in toolbar which links to an RSS feed of worldwide news, if you ever want to check on the latest happenings.

                      As respects to web page compatability, most sites work better with Internet Explorer, and some better with Firefox, but nearly all are compatible with Firefox.

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                        04.02.2010 18:45
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                        An extremely customisable browser that, for me, is still setting the standard

                        Long has it been said that 'the customer is always right'; we, as people and too as consumers like to get our own way, we like things to suit our needs, our style, our way of doing basic tasks. You could say that browsing Dooyoo and the web in general was quite a basic task, but when you can do it just the way you like to - that's when it gets a bit more interesting, and a bit less basic.

                        Mozilla Firefox, the great 'alternative' as I've seen it labelled on so many occasions, is an Internet browser which allows users to drastically customise the way they surf the web. Claiming to be the world's best browser (a bold claim), it argues being 'made just the way you like it' - how can this be? It's because you can indeed, mould it to be just the way you like it.

                        Of course, as with any product that claims to be 'customisable', there's only a certain amount you can do - there's always got to be a decent core product in the first place. Firefox has just that; well, more than just decent. Built on the Gecko layout engine (basically this is what renders each page) and now including the TraceMonkey Javascript Engine (again, part of rendering the web page and applications) Mozilla is fast and efficient at loading your websites. It's not the fastest browser out there, but it's still very quick, considerably more so than Internet Explorer. I always find that pages will load up correctly and with all the elements in their respective positions, something which other browsers focused more on the speed aspect are lacking.

                        The list of basic features to this browser is a long one, but some of them can't be overlooked. Firstly you have the location bar, dubbed the 'Awesome Bar'; using your browsing history, Firefox is often able to find you a website you may only vaguely remember just by you entering one or two key terms. It also searches through your bookmarks, as well as using any tags which you may have associated with your bookmarks, another useful feature. The Private Browsing feature allows you to browse without leaving a trace behind you, and this can be easily turned on and off; a very useful feature if you're buying online from somewhere other than your personal computer (or Mac, ok).

                        Security is big with Firefox, and they have several measures in place to ensure you're browsing safely. Using its own database Firefox will warn you away from any attack sites which may be aiming to pass on to you some lovely viruses, worms, trojan horses (bad things) etc. It also keeps control in means of their anti-phishing (this is when websites pretend to be other websites, in order to acquire your personal details) set-up. It does this by keeping a database of web forgery sites which is updated 48 times a day (that's every half an hour!), then warning you if you attempt to access any of these flagged websites. The pop-up blocker also works effectively on the most part, with notifications allowing you to adjust settings should you in fact trust the website to pop-you-up, as it were. Finally, Firefox works with your computer anti-virus to ensure that all downloads are scanned and verified upon being downloaded.

                        When it comes to passwords, one can always feel reluctant to allow browsers to save them, particularly for important websites such as your online banking facility, or Facebook (other people changing your status is becoming a big problem). Then again, if you don't let it remember, and you're not the type to make a note of important things such as these, what happens if you forget? Well, if you can remember just one password then your problem is more or less resolved. Using the password manager you can set a master password, which means whenever you access a website with a previously saved password, you'll just be asked to enter the master password and your details will then be automatically filled in for you (note that you'll only be asked once in an active session). Just make sure you remember that master password...As for saving passwords themselves, it's quick and easy. When registering on a new website, Firefox will ask you via a little bar at the top of the page whether or not you wish to save your password - simply select your option (a 'never for this site' option is available also) and you're done.

                        Finally, one feature that must get a mention is Form Complete, which works on a similar principle to that of the 'Awesome Bar', but for forms instead. When filling in fields such as 'Shipping Address', Firefox will use information previously submitted on other websites in similar fields to provide you with suggestions. Like the 'Awesome Bar', this feature shows its true colours after you've been using Firefox for a fair amount of time, but before long those forms will be done within seconds.

                        Now onto what is Firefox's main selling point (for me, anyway) - its customisation. Firstly, and arguably the best part of Firefox overall, the add-ons. These work in a very similar way to the 'apps' that you hear of for Apple's 'iPhone'. In the same way that 'there's an app for that', there's usually an add-on for just about anything you could think of - all for free. It's really a case of you searching through to see what you want, because the whole point is that you customise it to be how you want it. A few of my favourites include CoolIris, a stylish and 'stunning' way to browse through videos and photos (entire Facebook albums for example) on the web. Talking of Facebook, there's Facepad, an add-on which allows you to download entire Facebook albums within seconds and with just a few clicks. Those of you that write your reviews online on Dooyoo itself may wish to try out Tab Mix Plus. This allows you to, among other things, protect and lock your tabs from being closed or navigated away from. These are just a few add-ons; you may be thinking you don't need any of these. These are my examples, ones that suit me as a user, not necessarily you. It's all about discovering them for yourself! Installing these add-ons is simple and can be done online or through the browser's integrated add-ons manager.

                        A new feature in Firefox 3.6 (the latest version upon the writing of this review) is Personas. These change the way the browser looks without changing the way the navigation buttons and other features appear. Themes on the other hand change appearance much more wholly, and will require a restart of Firefox to be installed, unlike Personas (if you're in a non-default Theme then you may require a restart upon using Personas).

                        Other features that I like to be able to customise are the general appearance and layout of Firefox. I like as much web page screen space as possible, so reducing the size of the toolbars at the top is always useful - and can be done in Firefox through customising these toolbars. You can also easily set up all of your favourite links on to a 'Bookmarks Toolbar' (I delete the names and leave the Favicons (the little icons associated with a website) to fit more on).

                        Finally, one must consider usability, the general performance of the programme as a whole. Back to the start of the whole process, with the installation, and it's plain-sailing. The installation file is small, the installation itself is a breeze, and importing settings from other previously used browsers is as equally simple. However, the speed of using Firefox in general may not be so fast the rest of the time you're using it. Load-up times have long been criticised and I find that first loading of Firefox is always rather slow. It does of course depend on certain factors; these include the size of the cache (this is where browsing history and data is stored), as well as how many add-ons you're using. Whilst pretty, they can also be damaging if you get too overcrowded with them. Slow loading times, and slow performance also can be an issue. Within a couple of hours for example, Firefox for me has risen from using 200mb of memory, to more than double that. This 'leaking memory' as it can be labelled, has also been a long-term criticism of Firefox, one that they always claim to be addressing. One factor to consider in terms of performance however, must be the number of tabs you have open - whilst writing this review I had at least five open at any one time, which almost certainly is why it's eating up so much of my resources. Saying all of this, on their website, Mozilla claim that minimum system requirements in terms of memory are, '64 MB RAM (Recommended: 128 MB RAM or greater)'. This suggests to me that it may well just be your system and its capabilities that defines how much Firefox wants to take from you.

                        Other negatives that I've experienced include crashes, especially recently with BBC iPlayer and this new version of Firefox (3.6). Firefox will nearly always recover your tabs however, and with this particular issue it's likely that a patch will fix the problem.

                        So, the question is still there; should you use Firefox? (that is, if you're not currently). Popularity isn't everything - just because it's the second most used browser doesn't make it the best. Indeed, Internet Explorer is the most used browser by far and it's not the best - not the latest couple of versions anyway. The so-called 'browser wars' will be present for a while yet, with other competitors such as Opera, Safari and the newest arrival, Google Chrome all making names for themselves. So how should you know which to pick? I don't know - all users are different, and that's what makes Firefox such a universal and yet personal browser to go with.

                        Overall, I have to say that you should most definitely give Firefox a try. Speed may be an important factor, and it's still quite tight between the browsers, but it's not everything for me. For me, even with Google's latest introduction of extensions, you simply can't contest the customisability of Firefox. It's a browser which can meet everyone's needs in one way or another, and if you're reading this on anything but Firefox, I politely recommend that you give it a go - can always put the fire out if you don't like it...

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                          15.01.2010 04:38
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                          Firefox is hot!...............until it burns out

                          Given the wide range of web browsers available, why is it that Firefox is increasing in popularity? What is it that it offers that others don't and is this worth changing browsers for?

                          I used Firefox for round about 5 years, and in that time it has changed greatly; ultimately I have swapped to another browser, but what made me change to it in the first place? I think the answer to this question goes some way to explaining this program's popularity. Like most teenagers I sought a way to be different, and in the computer world this means doing something crazy like using Linux or swapping to Firefox to lash out at Microsoft's monopoly etc. etc. Admittedly these reasons were stupid, but I did swap to Firefox (no way I was venturing near Linux; that's a protest gone too far!) and did find myself enjoying it. Firefox has established itself as an alternative to people, and it is this allure that I would argue brings users. But is it any good?

                          Firefox's big draw for me was that it was fast and customisable, but as I found out to my dismay these two things were often incompatible with one another. Firefox in its untouched state is fast, there is no denying that. This makes for easy browsing, which is ultimately what everybody wants. However, there are a huge range of customisation options available. Being open source, anybody can develop apps for this browser; there are apps letting you download embedded videos, apps letting you download entire facebook albums, apps organising your bookmarks and downloads and even apps telling you whether certain celebrities are still living or not. These are ultimately very useful things, and allow a truly user-tailored browsing experience, but this is unfortunately to the detriment of both speed and stability. Ultimately my firefox became so unstable that I had to replace it with another browser. Sometimes I would venture back to a new version of firefox only to have it break a while later.


                          Firefox looks like most web browsers do (excepting chrome of course) and has all of the standard menus and toolbars and the likes. With customisation users can take this further, but the standard browser as it stands if....well.....pretty standard. If anything it is a little cluttered, but only in comparison to google Chrome which has a tendency to make even minimalist art look positively cluttered and messy.


                          In conclusion, Firefox is a great browser, until the moment it isn't. I've found it's reliability to be poor, but this only really occurs after heavy customisation. 'Don't customise it then' is the obvious response, but that is the only real feature Firefox has. Sure it introduced the world to tabbed browsing, but every browser has that now. Firefox is wonderful because it can be customised, but be careful not to go overboard.

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