Saturday, November 20, 2004

Love Thy Enemy

In an unusual approach, Microsoft is providing the Firefox browser for download at their WindowsMarketplace site, ref Boingboing - and giving it rave reviews as well. Perhaps they are just spreading the love.

Mozilla Firefox is a fast, full-featured browser for Windows that makes browsing more efficient than ever before. Firefox includes pop-up blocking; a tab-browsing mode that lets you open several pages in a single window; integrated Google searching; simplified privacy controls that let you cover your tracks more effectively; a streamlined browser window that shows you more of the page than any other browser; and a number of additional features that work with you to help you get the most out of your time

While this might seem odd, Microsoft is possibly acknowledging the alternative, while still touting the benefits of tight integration between their browser and the Operating System. Firefox is a wonderful tool, although it isn't quite enterprise-ready yet. For example, it does not use the Group Policy settings of Windows, and stores its information in an external location to the registry. It is likely that Microsoft is planning a generational shift in browsing technology that might mean current browsers are left far behind - strange things lurk in Microsoft Research (C.A.R.Hoare, for one, and The World Wide Media Exchange, for another)

Best case scenario: Microsoft decides to start supporting independent browser development in a shared development model with the Mozilla foundation. Funds are provided and co-development provides bounties to everyone. That way, Big Green gets to keep an eye on the competition, and is seen as what it normally is not - a team player.

For some reason, the styleswitcher I have on my blog in the left sidebar doesn't work right with Internet Explorer. All it does is store a cookie and specify the stylesheet to be used. It works just fine in Firefox. Inputs are welcome.

In case the WindowsMarketplace item is pulled down,here is a permalink to Firefox via Microsoft
firefox

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