I have a confession.

In UNSW’s library, students are offered a choice of browsers: Firefox or Internet Explorer (IE). Whenever I use a PC, I’ll leave the Firefox browser open so that the next student who uses the PC will at least try using Firefox (if they’re not using it already).

Why do I do this? I honestly think that a lot of people still use Internet Explorer just because they don’t know that there is a reputable alternative to it.

People accuse me that I only use Firefox because I am anti-establishment, that I don’t like using standard Microsoft products. Which is probably true, but that is not the case here.

My close and dear friends, if you’re still not using Firefox, I hope I can convince you to do so, and there’s no better time than this Tuesday, 17th June, when Mozilla Foundation drops the latest version of Firefox—Firefox 3.0. At the same time, we at SpreadFirefox hopes that Firefox will be in the Guinness World Record for Most Software Downloaded in 24 Hours.

I’d assume that those still using Internet Explorer (IE) are using the IE7. You like the tabbed browsing in IE? The search bar? You love the new pop-up blocker?

Let me tell you one fact: those features have been standard in Firefox since 2002! Many believe that IE was forced to update itself in 2005 (after 4 years without major overhaul) because of these standard features in other browsers.

Where IE7 intrudes through Windows Update and painstakingly needs you to check the authenticity of your Windows before installing itself into Windows, Firefox is free and can be installed on any operating system. Where IE7’s installer file is a humongous 14.7 MB, Firefox 3.0 is half its size at 7MB. IE’s add-ons hasn’t grown much since its release (you even need to pay for some of them), while Firefox now has around 5000 free extensions (and growing).

For those of you blogging/webmastering, have you ever need to tell your friends to view your blog/website with Firefox? Because IE doesn’t display it correctly? I, for one, am sick that I have to include certain snippets of code just to make sure that IE can display the website correctly, when there’s nothing wrong with the coding in the first place.

Don’t you think the design of IE7 is downright clunky and counter-intuitive? Enormous tabs, useless misplaced menu bar, odd icon placings… What’s with the “refresh” and “stop” buttons being in the middle, inconveniently far away from the “back” and “front” buttons? And the “home” button…somewhere below that? It doesn’t make sense at all!

IE7 buttons

For IE users who are not even using IE7? Seriously, I urge you to join the new ages and ditch IE completely. You’ll be surprised how much technology has improved since 2001.

For my fellow Firefox regulars, there are a number of significant improvements in version 3.0. The useful password manager will ask you if you’d like to save your passwords after a login. No more embarassing wrong password being saved. The new download manager allows you to pause your downloads. The new location bar will almost telepathically guess the website you need as you type the address in, based on your history.

Sure, there are other alternatives to IE, and they all have their own merits. In my 14-year history of browsing, I have used Netscape Navigator, Opera, Safari, Konqueror, Flock, Maxthon, Avant, etc. Nevertheless, there isn’t a more satisfying browsing experience than using Firefox.

So, come on now. Download Firefox 3 on 17th June. It will probably be the wisest decisions regarding internet that you’ll make this year.

Come on, how can you even resist the cuteness of the Firefox mascot?

Download Day - English