Foxy Software


It's only been a few hours of test-browsing, but so far I really like Firefox. The alt-browser seems to use about 10X less memory than big, bloated MSIE. And—wonder of wonders—it actually imported years and years of Explorer bookmarks correctly and quickly.

But there still seem to be issues with Java on some sites that make Firefox react in odd ways. Once I suss those out, I'd be very tempted to deep six Explorer for good.

NEXT: Search 'n' Sniff Update

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  1. just wait: eventually you’ll get fed up with its various minor shortcomings, and realize it blows.

  2. There’s also a tonne of available extensions. Some good ones:

    Adblock (block adds)
    SpellBound (textblock spell checker)
    BugMeNot (passwords for sites needing login, unfortunatly not updated for 1.0 yet)

    All can be snagged at

  3. Love it myself, and I’m not even that much of a M$ basher.

  4. IE blows. The question is how Firefox compares to Netscape.

    Also, macs are neat-o.

  5. I have played around with Foxfire for about a couple of weeks, it is noticably faster than IE, I like that, but the fonts suck. I’m running with a 1600×1200 screen resolution. By default, the text is so small I need a magnifying glass to read it. If I bump the font size up a notch I can see the read it from across the room.

  6. I had trouble with firefox when visiting hit and run.

  7. That’s a good point JDog, and I recall really liking Opera for awhile too. Getting all the plug-ins up and running is a pain, too.

    Still, I blame Bill Gates.

  8. Sorry OSS folks that would be Firefox not Foxfire. I know how testy y’all can be sometimes.

  9. I am no MS-basher yet I’ve been using FF for months now. The problems I’ve had:

    1) H&R’s fonts are really tiny.
    2) PDFs take forever to load.
    3) I am so used to hitting Alt-Tab to change windows that I’m just now getting used to using the mouse to change tabs.

  10. I had some trouble with Java when I upgraded to 1.0 yesterday. I rebooted my machine and everything was OK after that.

  11. Firefox seems to have some issues with dealing with certain form applicatoins. I’ve had difficulty doing certain things with microsoft exchange as well.

    My understanding is it’s real advantage over IE is that its relative obscurity, and hence people who produce the pop-up software spend less time trying to figure out how to overcome its pop-up blockers.

  12. Been using it (and Mozilla before it) for about 2-3 years now. Except for some Citrix iLink sites I have to go to I pretty much use Firefox for all of my browsing (on the Windows and Linux side of thing).

    – Tabs
    – Cookie control
    – Image control
    – Damn good pop-up blocking (that doesn’t kill the ability to open up pop-up links you want)
    – Extensible

    – On my Win2K box, if left open for a few days with heavy browsing it gets sluggish (memory leak?) requiring a reboot.

  13. I’ve been using it for a few months and love it. I still keep IE around for the pages that don’t work well in FF though.

  14. DNL-
    You know, you don’t have to use the mouse to change tabs (sounds like it’d be irritatingly slow). You can just CTRL-Tab to cycle through.

  15. “The question is how Firefox compares to Netscape”

    Netscape, Firefox, and AOL’s browser are all about the same product. When Netscape went down, the source code to Netscape Navigator was GPL’d. You’ll have to go to or google around for all of nuances about this.

    It is my understanding, that the Firefox browser is 100% OSS, other browsers, like those mentioned, are a mixed bag of OSS, based on Navigator, and proprietary enhancements.

  16. And you can Ctrl + to make the text size go up.
    Press Ctrl – to make the text size go down.
    Alt-D to focus on the address bar (just like in IE!!!)
    / to search the page, F3 to search again
    FF is the shiznit

  17. Heh,I’ve been using FireFox for over a year now (since at least 0.6) and I’ve learned more shortcuts today than I learned in the entire time I’ve used it. Like the ctrl+ thing. Helpful.

  18. Firefox is great on Windows & linux. It suxx0rs on mac OSX.

    It consumes ridiculous amounts of memory & crashes all the time. I had to install it to read gmail, however. gmail is not compatible with the old version of safari. And the new version of safari is not compatible with the old (10.2.x) version of OSX.

    In case you can’t tell, the browser situation on mac is less than perfect. The rest of it is as slick as the ads say.

  19. Everybody please encourage those around you to switch too. I am sick, sick, sick of accounting for MSIE’s cascading style sheet limitations. If enough people move to Firefox there is a chance that my favorite bloated defacto monopoly will be forced to get off their slack asses and fix or replace their current shortcomings.

    Then I will be able to build better looking, more functional and accessible websites for you all.

  20. How about the folders? Create folder on the bookmarks bar, then drag a bunch of your favorite blogs into it, then right click the folder and open it in tabs…

    voila, you got your ten favorite blogs open in one window…

  21. Welcome to a few years ago 🙂

    To be fair, a lot of the same stuff can be done using IE as well. Check out Slimbrowser for an IE based equivalent of Firefox, with tabbed browsing, spellchecker plugins, ad blocking plugins, autotranslate into multiple languages and lots of other nifty little tools for the geeks among us. There are others out there too. It is definitely worth it to take a few minutes to try some different ones out to find one that suits you and does what you want it to do.

  22. mac:

    Try Camino. It’s much, much faster; faster even than the new version of Safari.

    It’s linked from

    That being said, I’m using Firefox on a Mac at work (because of the Web Developer plugin) and it works well enough. Going to IE 6 on our test PC always feels like going back about three years.

  23. FF is much better than IE and Netscape. Faster and does not crash. FF has tabbed browsing which is GREAT. It is much faster and never crashes. Tabbed browsing: use CTRL-TAB to cycle between tabs. Another good tip: open the group of tabs you want, and then save them ALL as your home page; then when you open FF it opens all.

    Good extensions: PRGooglebar; Duplicate Tab; and Ad Block.

    But, don’t “Deep six” IE, you need to keep it for a few things, like checking for Windows or Office updates; or accessing certain patent office things.

  24. I’ve got Firefox .8 and I have issues loading H&R time to time (and also grabbing pdf’s from the net)…I keep Internet Explorer around because it still works around the pdf problem and Firefox has been great about popup blocking

  25. I’ve been on FF 0.8/0.9 for awhile- Excellent! -except for a few sites that don’t size themselves appropriately…

    But, I do always have to increase text size on HitandRun(especially the comments)- guess I’m just getting old.

  26. Can you import Netscape bookmarks onto Firefox? If so, I’ll give it a shot.

  27. drew,

    I just downloaded Firefox. The first thing it asks you is if you want to import bookmarks, preferences, etc. from another browser. I said yes (from Netscape 7), and that was all I had to do; it was done in seconds – amazingly easy.

  28. Glad to see so many people liking Firefox, although I rather suspect H&R readers may not be typical netizens. I’ve been using FF for about six weeks, and overall I rather like it, although I still find myself going back to Opera a lot. My main reasons for preferring Opera over FF are

    • mouse gestures
    • the incredibly fine-grained control Opera gives you – you can turn images on or off with a single click, change the page rendering mode, change the size, the browser identification, plugins…all with trivial ease.
  29. JD

    I believe this may help you with respect to FF and mouse gestures. How good it is with respect to Opera’s I have no idea; I have used neither.

  30. Java and PDF

    But there still seem to be issues with Java on some sites that make Firefox react in odd ways. Once I suss those out, I’d be very tempted to deep six Explorer for good.

    Posted by Jeff A. Taylor at November 10, 2004 03:25 PM

    I used to have a problem with not automatically updating the display. Instead of the automatic Java install, go to the “Manual Download” page at, and get the Java installation file from there. I have no idea what the issue was, but that version worked for me.

    2) PDFs take forever to load.

    Comment by: DNL at November 10, 2004 04:07 PM

    Try this:

    Why do Adobe pdf files load slowly in Windows?

    Adobe Reader 6.0 for Windows loads lots of unused plugins on startup. The Inquirer has a great article explaining how you can disable those unneeded plugins and make Adobe Reader load faster.
    Basically, you need to do the following:

    1. Install Adobe Reader 6.0 and notice where it is installed.

    2. Navigate to that folder in Explorer, locate the plug_ins subfolder and rename this folder to plug_ins_disabled.

    3. Create a new plug_ins folder.

    4. Move the files EWH32.api, printme.api and search.api from plug_ins_disabled to plug_ins.

  31. Are you guys talking about Java or Java script? Most likely the latter.
    Your problems originate less with FF, but rather with Microsoft’s decisions to do things differently, their way, not according to the standard, but not necessarily better. Has a lot to do with market penetration and their desire to dominate. Many developers have written and tested specifically for IE. We’ve all been paying the price. I suspect people at Mozilla or Opera couldn’t be totally compatible without getting sued for using MS proprietary standards.

  32. addendum:
    Microsoft’s version of java is different than Sun’s and partly not compatible.

  33. I used Firefox for a bit, but it takes a while to open on my 400+MHz cpu compared to Slimbrowser.
    Even Slimbrowser has problems on some sites.
    I prefer to save pdf files to my computer and read them when I’m done browsing.

  34. I’ve been using Firefox for about three months – overall I’m pleased except for:
    – the long loading time
    – the inability to block Reason’s subscription popup (it blocks all others except Reason’s – don’t know why…….)
    – sites that are targeted at IE occasionally don’t work, because they aren’t standards-compliant

    Before that I used MyIE2 for a couple years (now it’s called Maxthon). It’s very good, too. It has all the bells and whistles, and it’s based around IE’s browser functionality so it’s essentially just a wrapper around IE. I still use it exclusively at work, and it’s what I turn to when Firefox doesn’t work. Since I do a lot of web design, I keep both for testing purposes.

  35. DNL: you can use Cntrl-Tab to switch between tabs (on a Windows machine). It makes browsing even easier.

    JD: Firefox has a lot of mouse gestures to choose from.

  36. It’s fairly easy to fix the font problems with Hit & Run in Firefox.

    I wrote an article on my blog that explains some basic Firefox tweaks. There are a few easy settings you can change that will take care of most of the problem, and one customization with a bit of text editing that will make the fonts just right.

    About the PDF problems, yeah, I hear ya. I’m one of the developers of Adobe Acrobat, and unfortunately Adobe’s emphasis has been on Internet Explorer. With the way Firefox has been taking off, hopefully that will change. I’ll certainly do what I can to see that it does. (I’m not speaking for Adobe officially here, of course.)

  37. There’s no real reason to switch completely both are free, so use IE or firefox depending which makes the most sense. I like the tabbed browsing and scroll-wheel font scaling in Firefox. But it’s unfortunate that Google’s desktop search doesn’t work with Firefox and that Firefox google toolbar is not as good as the IE version (and AFAIK, there’s no Google toolbar yet for FF 1.0). Also IE does a better job of saving web pages (I like the single file web archive feature). Anyway, I still use both.

  38. Hey JDOG, if you are still around, go to view, under text size there is a setting for normal. That should be an acceptable font size.

  39. I have been using Opera for about 5 years ( It is an excellent browser.

    I’ve downloaded FF and it loads pages incredibly fast.

    You FF users out there, how can I get my bookmarks to always display is alpha order?



  40. I’ve watched Firefox off and on since I first saw it in the movie theater and I have to say it’s one of Clint Eastwood’s most underrated movies. I haven’t seen Mozilla though. Is that another Mothra/Godzilla crossover?

    P.S. I’m on Safari at work and IE at home, and they work well enough. What is the benefit of Firefox to the casual user?

  41. MarkW, the Googlebar does work with FF 1.0. It’s just not listed on the official FF extensions site yet. You can get it here.

    Also, I recommend the IE View extension which makes it easy to open a page in IE from Firefox.

    Lee, you can sort the bookmarks menu by right-clicking in the menu and selecting Sort by Name. For the Bookmarks sidebar (Ctrl+B), use the Bookmarks/Manage Bookmarks menu and then select one of the sort options from the View menu.

    More details on all of the above are in my blog article.

  42. Brian: What is the benefit of Firefox to the casual user?

    One place to start is the list on the Firefox site.

    For myself, the most useful features are the tabbed browsing and the ability to override the font size of any site with Ctrl+Plus.

    I use the tabbed browsing especially for Google searches. I start with a search and then I hold down the Ctrl key while I click on links in the search results. These links open in new tabs within the current window. Then, if I want to set that aside for a moment and work on some other search (which I do often), I open a new window for that other search and repeat the process. Each window is then its own collection of websites related to that search. I can save all of the tabs in one of the windows as a bookmark folder and come back to it later, reloading the whole collection of sites at once. This is extremely handy if you do any kind of research on the web.

  43. Mac,
    It’s funny you mention the FF/Apple problem. I’ve been using FF for about six months, with Mozilla for well over a year before that, on my G4 powerbook. Liked Moz, love FF, and I’ve had no problems with it at all.
    My wife’s G4 iBook, however, crashed constantly when running FF, and she had to ditch it. The processor speed on both machines is comparable, as is the memory, so I was surprised by her problems with it, considering how well its worked on my machine. All I can figure is that when I installed FF, I had performed the Chant of Installation in Sanskrit, while my wife prefers Latin. Maybe that was your problem?

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