Why Internet Explorer is unsafe and my browser history

A tale of a bunch of otherwise normal, influential people who think dropping IE is a good idea:

http://browsehappy.com/why/

Why would someone give up the features that ActiveX and other parts of IE provide you in favor of safer, more stable alternatives? Unthinkable. Blasphemous.

Now seriously, it’s a good thing that people are starting to realize the advantages of alternative software, even if it is a browser. I know that it will be a small dent since a huge number of Internet users don’t even know what a “browser” is, let alone go to the trouble of downloading and double-click-installing something called Mozilla, but it should be enough for now.

As for my browsing, I can’t remember ever using Internet Explorer full time. My web-viewing days started when the wars between IE and Netscape were in full swing. I had also started building web-pages around the same time, so I was using both browsers, leaning more towards Netscape.

Once I discovered Opera, IE pretty much left the picture, forever. This commercial browser didn’t display Japanese until about a year later and didn’t run on Linux till long after that, but Opera became my favorite browser due to the features, speed and customizability.

Opera is also one of the few softwares that I have actually paid for (not counting games). It was for the long-awaited Linux version which compared really well to the aging Netscape 4.7x that most Red Hat Linux users were using at the time. Just a note. Opera has a freely downloadable version which comes with an ad-bar at the top. The license fee is for the full version where the space can be reclaimed.

After Mozilla started getting stable, I normally ran Opera as my main browser and Mozilla for sites that didn’t open in Opera. This lasted for a long time, but since each was a resource hog, it really put strain on my system. Galeon was another option, but I found it too unstable most of the time.

Lately, I’ve switched exclusively to Firefox. It is fast, simple and stable enough for most of my needs. After adding the java and flash plugin, there isn’t much else I need to do and virtually all sites open without any complaints.

The one thing that I do miss, which is also a blessing in disguise, is Opera’s save on crash/exit feature. It was really useful to open the browser after a power failure or shutdown and have the same pages open that I had before. Gradually, the tabs I thought were useful kept building up until Opera started using over 100MB of RAM and I had to live with the painfully slow experience. Now, I’m forced to bookmark useful pages in case the power goes before I’ve had a chance to read them and things are much smoother.

Lastly, I should mention lynx (and “links”), the text-based browser that just can’t die. I’m often logged into strange remote servers where running a full graphical browser is not possible or would be too slow. With lynx, I can view html files or trouble-shoot other problems without delays or putting strain on the system. “links” is the newer app that supports frames and limited javascript, though I didn’t like the way it handled copy/cut/paste on my system.

It’s getting late so I’m going to stop now. Hope someone finds this useful, specially those still stuck with Internet Explorer.

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