A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Wise Independent advice on your web browser.....

The Independent has now followed where 'EnviroSpin' went first on June 30 (see my blog: 'Time to get foxy over your web browser'): 'Microsoft's browser dominance at risk as experts warn of security holes' (The Independent, July 5):

"Its curved blue 'e' sits on almost every computer desktop in the world, but the global dominance of Microsoft's web browser could soon be over following a stark security warning from a senior panel of internet experts who say it opens the door to online criminals.

They are urging all users of Internet Explorer (IE) to stop using the browser because they say it is vulnerable to hackers and credit card fraudsters.....

The team, which advises the US government and is a senior authority on Net weaknesses, said that flaws in the software expose users to criminals who can spy on their activities, steal their personal details or send junk e-mail from their computers without them knowing.

It said internet users should consider dumping the Microsoft software - which comes as standard installed on PCs - and switching to another web browser, such as the free Mozilla or commercial Opera products......" (read on)

This is precisely the view I took last week, having listened to pretty expert byte-sized soundings on the problem from my highly computer-literate son-in-law. I have now myself moved onto 'Firefox' for my browser and to 'Thunderbird' for my e-mail client (both from the open software Mozilla stable). They are excellent.

Here, therefore, are the download links to the recommended alternative web browsers:

(a) The 'Firefox' browser can be downloaded free from here: 'Firefox Download'. 'Firefox' runs on Windows (98 to XP, but it is especially suitable for XP), Linux, and Mac (full system requirements are provided - I believe it also supports Solaris and OS/2). The Windows download is a mere 4.78MB, which takes seconds on a fast broadband connection. I found the download to be easy to install and trouble free, and the browser runs seamlessly on my machine. You can even import all the original settings (e.g. Favourites) from your previous browser;

(b) The associated e-mail client, 'Thunderbird', can be downloaded free from here: 'Thunderbird Download'. Again, 'Thunderbird' runs on Windows (XP best), Linux, and Mac, and the Windows download is likewise small at 5.9MB. It supports IMAP/POP and HTML mail, and it has a simple system for auto-importing your address book from your previous mail client. I am really enjoying using and configuring 'Thunderbird' to my needs;

(c) The other notable alternative browser is 'Opera', and this can be downloaded from here, although it is not free (USD39). Nevertheless, PC World, US, voted it the 'Best Browser of 2004';

(d) And, finally, even 'Netscape 7.1' remains freely downloadable, (here).

As I wrote in my blog on June 30:

"What is clear... is that there is at last an excellent range of alternative browsers from which to choose, and one can, therefore, perhaps for the first time since the old 'Netscape' wars, exercise genuine consumer power.

I would thus recommend hunting with the 'Firefox' and the 'Thunderbird', or having a night at the 'Opera'."

Philip, pleased to see himself entirely in agreement with The Indy for once. Too early for morning coffee?

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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