The View from Landmark

Trends and issues in personal computing from Bud Stolker, a long-time PC consultant. The View from Landmark features tips and techniques to make time spent with your computer more productive and rewarding, commentary on new personal computer policies and trends, plain-English explanations of new hardware, software, and network designs and their relevance to you, and answers to common questions. There may be personal material interspersed if Bud believes it is of general interest.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

What browser should I use?

See update 3-11-2005 at bottom of this entry for updates on Firefox and Mozilla.

Here's an interesting graphic from Re_Invigorate Propaganda, a site I wandered upon this morning. The font is so small and dark that I wonder how anyone can read it. Probably done on a Macintosh! The solid colors look ratty because I lightened up the whole image a bit after doing a screen grab.

It shows the most popular Web browsers and the most popular operating systems -- allegedly in real time. I don't think so, given that the latest Netscape listed is Version 5!

Look at the stats on Internet Explorer: in use by 90% of the market. A client who doesn't like the Microsoft browser called yesterday asking what's his next step forward from Netscape 4.76. Should he upgrade to the Netscape 7.2 Web browser and email program? (He's still using Windows 98.)

No, I said. New versions of Netscape are slow and burdened with ugly graphics and technical difficulties (which I won't go into here). I suggested Mozilla as a free alternative. Mozilla isn't even listed on this chart, but the chart has got to be a couple of years out of date. The new Mozilla is supposed to be fast and unburdened with the Netscape legacy.

Other choices are Opera ($39) and Firefox (also by the Mozilla people --fast, free, and capable).

Update 3-11-2005: The scene has changed considerably since August 2004 when I first published this entry. Today's top browser choice for those in the know, hands down, is Firefox. It's been downloaded 27 million times and is on its way to displacing Internet Explorer at the top of the heap. The Mozilla Foundation is calling it quits with Mozilla because Firefox and its email companion, Thunderbird, are proving so popular.

The last release of Mozilla will be Version 1.7.