Thanks to a blog link (I’m really sorry, but I don’t remember which one), I stumbled on Firebird, the newest web browser from the good folks at the Mozilla Foundation.
For those who don’t know, Mozilla is the open-source spinoff of Netscape, the company that built the web browser that reshaped the World Wide Web. From a 1994 press release:
Mosaic Communications’ network navigator achieves its dramatic performance improvements through new capabilities such as:
- Continuous document streaming, enabling users to interact with documents while they are still being downloaded rather than waiting for the entire document to load.
- Multiple, simultaneous network accesses, allowing several documents or images to be downloaded simultaneously.
- Native support for the JPEG image format.
If you’re scratching your head, just take my word for it – this is stuff you take for granted today.
After Netscape’s market share began to decline due to the aggressive (and illegal) promotion of Internet Explorer, Netscape released its browser as open-source software. Initially, the code was slow, unreliable, and not very innovative, minimizing its ability to compete with Internet Explorer.
Firebird is different. It’s fast, easy to install, and feature-packed. The keyboard shortcuts allow me to navigate most web pages without even touching my mouse. This is really cool.
There’s also a little search box that lets you search Google or any other service with a compatible Sherlock plugin. (Yes, that’s Apple Sherlock.) The address box is flexible, too. By setting up special keywords in bookmarks, you can do the “smart keywords” that most browsers have in a non-proprietary way. And if you type text into the address bar, it does a Google I’m Feeling Lucky search. For example, typing “Waileia” as of the date this entry was written will take you straight to my site, http://blog.sorrab.com/.
I have faith in Firebird. So much, that I’m blogging this entry in it. I think before too long, IE is going to go the same route as Briefcase. Never heard of it? My point exactly.