[guispeak] Firefox 1.0

  • From: "Bundy, Keith" <Keith.Bundy@xxxxxxx>
  • To: <guispeak@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <vicug-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 9 Nov 2004 12:00:37 -0600

Below is an article that appeared a few days ago.  I am wondering if
anyone has already tried this program with a screen reader.
Free Firefox 1.0 ready to battle MSIE
By Joseph Menn
Los Angeles Times
published: 11/9/2004
Early editions of browser have lured 10 million former Microsoft users
Get ready for Browser Wars: The Sequel.
Six years after Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer defeated Netscape
Navigator in the signature fight of the online age, a direct descendant
of the pioneering
Web browser is exacting a small measure of revenge.
The nonprofit Mozilla Foundation today will release Firefox 1.0, a free
browser based on Netscape's technology but improved through the years by
of volunteer programmers. It's the first version intended for a wide
Earlier editions of Firefox attracted millions of users fed up with the
viruses and spyware that increasingly exploit Internet Explorer's flaws
to infect
After a series of security warnings this year, Explorer's share of the
U.S. browser market slid from more than 95 percent in June to less than
93 percent
last month, according to Internet consultant WebSideStory. Most of those
computer users went to Firefox.
A drop of a couple of percentage points may not sound like much, but
globally, it represents more than 10 million people who have dumped the
world's largest
software maker in favor of an outfit with 10 full-time employees.
It's part of a broader move toward so-called open-source software, which
has Microsoft on the defensive. In the most visible part of that trend,
many big
corporations and everyday users alike are powering their computers with
the free operating system Linux, encroaching on Microsoft's lucrative
Windows franchise.
Browsers have been free for a long time. But analysts say Firefox has
special significance because it could open many more eyes to the
possibilities of
open-source software.
Users like Firefox because it works about as fast as Explorer, adds
features such as multiple-window browsing and presents a less tempting
target for hackers.
Users also can change the way it works, for example, by barring all
images so that the text on Web pages appears more quickly. Most but not
all sites can
be visited with Firefox.
"It's actually quite intuitive, and it's very fast," said Shekhar
Venkataraman, an intensive-care doctor in Pittsburgh who has been using
the Mozilla browser
for more than a year.
Milton Blackstone, a retired TV writer and producer, said he turned to
Firefox after he became fed up with Explorer's frequent unexplained
crashes. Although
he complained he has had trouble following Web links in e-mails,
Blackstone said he was glad he made the switch.
"I think it's thought-out," said Blackstone, a resident of the San Diego
community of La Jolla. "I have a lot of respect for Mozilla."
As with Linux, the complicated computer code powering Firefox is freely
available for any programmer to examine, improve and pass along. Fans of
software say that sort of continuous review makes the programs stronger
and more reliable.
Because anyone can read the Firefox code, hackers could create malicious
programs the way they do with Explorer - and some have. But because
thousands of
volunteer programmers also can see any potential problems, they can
respond quickly to plug security holes.
"Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow," says Eric Raymond,
president of the nonprofit Open Source Initiative, which promotes the
development and
distribution of open-source software.
Firefox grew out of a 1998 project at Netscape Communications Corp. to
make the browser's underlying code public. It was released in a preview
version in
February and has been downloaded from www.mozilla.org as frequently as
250,000 times a day.
Keith Bundy
Director of Student Development
Dakota State University
Email: Keith.Bundy@xxxxxxx

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