“The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.” – George Eliot

Continuing our series of summer updates I’m proud to announce the forthcoming release of Mozilla Firefox onto our corporate desktops. For a long time we have only provided support for Internet Explorer but with there now being a viable alternative we are going to be giving our staff and students a choice about which browser they use.

Firefox is one of the biggest software success stories of recent time. When it entered the market Microsoft had pretty much beaten back Netscape and the other 3rd party browsers with only Safari (due to it being the standard on Apple Macs) showing any kind of competition. Development of IE had slowed down significantly and versions 5-6 showed no massive changes except for security features. It was at this stage that Firefox entered the arena and proved an instant hit in the IT technical community. It’s wonderful features such as modular add-ons and tabbed browsing made IE 6 look completely outdated and soon had Microsoft racing to compete again.

During the time before IE7 was released Firefox took a large market share away from Microsoft’s browser and showed that people really did think about what they wanted from their web surfing tools. Despite this Firefox still remained quite fringe with the majority of home and corporate users unaware of their options or content to stick with what they knew. The lack of support for roaming bookmarks and limited security lockdowns made Firefox difficult to deploy in a business environment, until recently that is…

After lots of discussion and trials IT Services are finally in a position where we can offer Firefox with the same security as we provide for IE. While we still haven’t achieved success using roaming bookmarks (favorites) we feel that we can now offer Firefox up as an option. IE will still remain the default browser but staff and students will be able to pick Firefox from their network programs list if they want to use it. As Mike showed in his recent post Firefox usage is still growing significantly in some areas, it is our hope that we will see a lot of users trying it out. A lot of companies are now looking at Firefox as an option, even Dell are considering pre-installing on the computers they sell.

In my personal opinion Firefox is a fantastic browser, I still use Internet Explorer for a few things but I tend to use Firefox 90% of the time both in work and home (I’m using it right now to write this post actually!). My advise would be: Exercise your choice, try Firefox!