Firefox 3.0 Voted Best Browser for Web -- for Now

By Mossberg, Walter S. | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 8, 2008 | Go to article overview
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Firefox 3.0 Voted Best Browser for Web -- for Now


Mossberg, Walter S., Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


If you buy a new Windows Vista PC, it comes with a decent built- in Web browser, Internet Explorer 7. If you buy a new Macintosh computer, it comes with a decent built-in Web browser, Safari 3.0. So why would you want or need a different Web browser?

That is the question that Mozilla, the nonprofit organization that makes the leading alternative browser, hopes to answer this month when it releases version 3.0 of its Firefox Web browser. In some tech-industry circles, Firefox already is preferred over Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Apple's Safari, but it still isn't used by most people, and Mozilla is hoping to broaden its appeal.

The new version will be released simultaneously for Windows and the Mac's OS X operating system, as well as for Linux. While each of the three editions will have the visual style of the operating system on which it runs, all three will have the same features.

I've been using pre-release versions of Firefox 3.0 for months, and have recently been testing a near-final version and comparing it closely to IE and to Safari. I have tested it on multiple Windows PCs and Macs, on desktops and laptops, over slow connections and fast ones. I have tried it with well over 100 Web sites.

My verdict is that Firefox 3.0 is the best Web browser out there right now, and that it tops the current versions of both IE and Safari in features, speed and security. It is easy to install and easy to use, even for a mainstream, non-technical user. It can be downloaded, free, on their Web site by clicking on "Firefox 3 Sneak Peek."

This situation may change. Microsoft is working on a new version of IE, scheduled to be introduced later this year, with some impressive new features. And Apple is always working on new iterations of Safari, though it is secretive and hasn't disclosed its plans. But for now, in my view, Firefox 3.0 rules on both Windows and Mac.

I couldn't find any significant downsides to Firefox 3.0. Every page I tried rendered properly and rapidly on both platforms. I ran into only one glitch, in a preference setting. That problem appeared on only one of my four test machines and was fixable with the help of Mozilla, albeit via a geeky method.

In the one or two cases where Firefox lacked a feature I thought important, such as the "auto fill" feature in Safari that can quickly fill out an online form, I was able to find an add-on that did the trick from Mozilla's vast library of add-ons, which are written by people all over the world.

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Firefox 3.0 Voted Best Browser for Web -- for Now
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