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For years, I’ve used Mozilla Firefox as my default web browser. In that time, Internet Explorer has improved, but the wealth of add-ons for Mozilla Firefox keeps me with Mozilla Firefox.
Recently, Mozilla has released version 7.0.1 of Firefox, which uses less memory than Firefox 6, which had a lifetime of about one month. Traditionally, Mozilla has been quick to respond to security threats. The fact that it doesn’t execute Active-X code is an advantage, from a security point of view.
Firefox’s add-ons set it apart.
There’s a huge selection of add-ons available, including powerful add-ons that find package tracking numbers on a page and display their in-transit status, and others that track stocks and commodities, etc. Here are my favorite Mozilla Firefox add-ons (cue Julie Andrews’ “These are a few of my favorite things”):
AdBlock Plus: This prevents advertisements on web pages from displaying. You simply don’t see them, although you can choose to see them when you wish. (When installing it, be sure to subscribe to at least one filter, or it won’t block anything.)
Cookie Culler: Control which cookies you wish to protect from deletion, and which ones you wish to delete at the start of each session. It’s simple and effective. (I choose the “Delete Unprotected cookies on Startup” option, and drag and drop the cookie button on to the navigation bar.)
Noscript: If you want to prevent websites from taking actions that you object to, noscript is the add-on for you. Caveat: by default, it disables all client-side scripting on all pages. It will take a bit of experimenting on your favorite websites until you discover exactly how much scripting power you wish to grant each website. Once you’ve tweaked noscript, it’s great.
Torbutton: Toggle TOR on and off with the press of a button. (TOR is The Onion Router, a way to hide your true IP address from websites.) It’s bundled with Vidalia bundle, and not available from Firefox’s built-in add-ons.
In some cases, Firefox interprets HTML tags slightly differently than Internet Explorer does. This can be maddening for web site developers. I’ve read that Firefox adheres strictly to HTML standards, but there are rare cases when its display doesn’t make sense to me.
The name “Mozilla”? In the early days of the web, Mosaic was the leading web browser. Netscape (Mozilla Project’s ancestor) hoped to crush Mosaic like Godzilla crushed buildings.
Update: October 23, 2011 Steve Gibson (GRC), a programmer whose opinion I respect, found that Firefox 7 was chewing through memory, to the extent that when left with maybe 2 dozen tabs open, it consumed 1.8 GB(!). He reinstalled previous versions and found that every Firefox version since 4.0 consumed way too much memory (over time). He’s reverted to Firefox version 3 dot something. I may do the same, or just switch to Google Chrome. – RB