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The Firefox Movement Continues...

Last month, Firefox, my Internet browser of choice, had officially launched its version 1.0 to much relief for many users of Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE), full of security flaws that made surfing the Net for information and doing business at best a risky proposition. Six weeks and about 13 million downloads later, experts believe Firefox is showing undeniable momentum. However, does it signal the beginning of the end to Microsoft's monopoly over the basic software used to access the Web?

According to one European survey, it does. IE's marketshare dropped under than 90 percent mark (88.5) during the third week in November, a 5 percent dip compared to estimates six months ago.

The major problem experts say that could prevent Firefox from growing beyond early-adopters like me: The ongoing tendency of Web authors to code their sites to work with IE. Despite the existence of Web standards, examples abound on the Web of sites and applications that don't work well with Firefox or other non-IE browsers.

To attack the compatibility problem, the non-profit Mozilla Foundation that created Firefox plans to hire new staff to ferret out IE-only sites and advocate standards-based coding methods to their authors. For most people like you and me, however, that should be much of a problem. Mozilla regularly tests the 1,700 most trafficked Web sites and performs side-by-side comparisons of how they work in IE and Firefox. The group's data shows Firefox is 98 PERCENT COMPATIBLE with the Web content on those sites. That's up from 75 percent four years ago, according to the foundation.

So, if you haven't downloaded the Firefox browser yet, what are you waiting for? To avoid the needless pain and stress viruses can have on your PCs and you, I strongly recommend downloading Firefox and try it out.

CNET News December 24, 2004

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