You should be using Mozilla Firefox
A constant of technology is that it always changes. You need not try every “innovation”, that’s my job! But you should keep abreast of significant trends. The migration from Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) to other browsers is a significant and ongoing change. Two years ago IE accounted for 80% of the market. Today it has about 67% and its share is sinking. Apple’s Safari and Mozilla Firefox are gaining share daily.
Firefox works on all personal computers—Windows, Mac and Linux. It has over 21% of the total market today and this share is growing. This is significant in absolute numbers and because users, other than on Linux computers, have to download, install and learn to use it. Mozilla’s market share is actually much larger than 21% if one takes into account that probably one-half of the computers in use are attached to corporate and government domains. In these locations, the system administrators lock the machines and do not let users install applications. Sysadmins are conservative by nature, for good reason. If is not broken they will not fix it. Changing from IE to Firefox is a substantial commitment for a sysadmin who has other demands on his limited time. If we eliminate these computers from our calculation, Firefox’s adjusted market share is between 40-50% where a user has a choice.
Safari, with about a 9% share, comes standard with Macs. It is understandable that Safari’s share has risen, since Apple’s share of computer sales has been growing. Many users use the applications that come with their machines. Windows users are likely to use IE and Mac users are likely to use Safari. Safari is available for Windows but is little used.
Firefox is my browser of choice because it has thousands of free add-ons, AKA extensions, which allow you to customize the browser to the way you want. This open-source community of add-on developers is a big reason why Firefox will continue to make IE and Safari second choice browsers for those in the know.
My favorite extensions are Adblock Plus, IE Tab (Windows only), Toolbar Buttons, Foxmarks Bookmarks Synchronizer, and Delicious Bookmarks.
Adblock Plus stops distracting banner advertisement images from downloading and displaying on your computer. This enhances your view of web pages and speeds up their display. There is a filter set you can subscribe to, which keeps the Adblock Plus database up-to-date. This is automatically shown to you after you install Adblock Plus.
IE Tab lets you switch the underlying browser engine for a web page on Windows machines from Firefox to IE. This means you do not have to open Internet Explorer to view those few non-standard web pages that are improperly coded to display on anything besides IE.
Toolbar Buttons adds buttons that a user can add to Firefox’s toolbar. I add the three zoom-related buttons to my installations so that I can zoom in, out or reset my page display with a single click. Firefox is smart about zooming. It remembers the last setting for a page when you return to it.
Foxmarks Bookmarks Synchronizer is useful if you use more than one computer as many of us do. Foxmarks works in the background to keep your bookmarks and, optionally, your passwords both backed up and synchronized.
Delicious Bookmarks integrates Yahoo’s Delicious web site service with Firefox. Delicious lets you keep your bookmarks in the cloud so that you can access them from any operating system or computer. Delicious Bookmarks lets you quickly bookmark a page to the Delicious server.
I also change the Firefox Tools > Options… > Tabs menu to: Always show the tab bar and When I open a link in a new tab, switch to it immediately. I recommend selecting the Options Advanced tab Search for text when I start typing feature. This allows you to quickly find text or hyperlinks in a web page.