The Mozilla Firefox browser was one of the applications that opened my eyes to Open Source. Familiarity with Firefox did not become for me some kind of point of no return. Rather, it was the cumulative effect of working on multiple open source applications. This resulted in the fact that I gradually switched to Linux and forgot about the old days. With the switch to Firefox—which, by the way, happened long before my conscious switch to open-source applications—I became an avid user of this browser.
My phone was running Firefox OS until the developers abandoned the project. The funny thing is, I don’t consider myself a Firefox fanatic. I have used it before and use it now only because it remains the best browser available. Here are five reasons to use Firefox and the benefits of using Firefox.
THE TOP FIVE REASONS TO USE FIREFOX
1. FIREFOX VALUES PRIVACY
Firefox is operated by the Mozilla Foundation, a non-profit organization that has no interest in collecting your personal data in any way. Mozilla doesn’t care about your searches, the sites you visit, or the amount of time you spend online. This is not the business model of Mozilla, but of other popular browsers.
Even if you don’t mind having your browser track your activity for privacy reasons, you must have come across a situation where, when buying an unusual gift, you had to see ads for this product on all the sites you visited. The Internet is big, so “tuning” it to the interests of the user is sometimes quite justified. I admit that if I could add the phrase “open source” to all my search queries, I would get better results. But then again, I would like to be able to enable this option myself, and not put up with the regular installation of this and many other unknown settings that someone chose for me and over which I have no control.
Mozilla has the following policy: Take less. Keep better. No secrets. Firefox doesn’t stop there and offers account monitoring, an add-on service from Mozilla that will alert you if your account is compromised in a large-scale data breach. In addition, Mozilla offers a paid VPN using the open-source Wireguard software, so you can surf the web securely anywhere.
2. Firefox is familiar with containers.
It’s hard to believe, but there were times when the most popular web browsers lacked tabs. In the late 90s and early 2000s, when you wanted to open two web pages at the same time, you had to do it in two different browser windows. Firefox (then still the Mozilla browser) was practically the pioneer of the tabbed interface.
Now all browsers are supposed to have tabs. But there is a very interesting twist to the tabbed browsing experience in Firefox extensions. The Firefox Multi-Account Containers plugin, developed by Mozilla itself, can turn each tab into an isolated “container” within the browser.
Let’s say your employer uses Google Apps, but you personally don’t trust Google with your personal information. In this case, you can use the Multi-Account Containers plugin to isolate your professional activities. Then Google will only “remember” what you do at work and not get access to other areas of your life.
The same site can be opened in two different accounts. There is another bonus-color-coded tabs. It’s very handy if you want to isolate sites or just add new visual cues to the browser.
3. DESIGN OF THE FIREFOX USER INTERFACE
As much as we humans love everything new, we need something familiar and reliable to be comfortable. Firefox has updated its interface multiple times over the years; many innovations have appeared in it, which are now considered unofficial industry standards. But, in general, the design itself has remained almost unchanged—it has retained all the ideas you are used to about the user interface.
When you download a file, you are prompted to choose what Firefox will do with the file. You can open the file in a suitable application or save it to disk. Firefox may remember your choice or ask you each time you download a file.
You can open the application menu by clicking on the newfangled hamburger icon… or press Alt and the “traditional” menu will open on top of the Firefox window.
Everything about Firefox feels familiar to both longtime users and newcomers alike, as the application is based on years of experience in user interface design. Where something can be improved, it will be improved, but where it would not be intuitively correct to change something, Firefox will leave everything in the form we are used to.
4. FIREFOX DEVELOPER TOOLS
Once upon a time, when the World Wide Web first appeared, you could open any site and view its source code. Repeating this several times, it was possible to learn HTML well. Everything was open, transparent, obvious and relatively simple.
Over time, the Internet has become a powerful cloud supercomputer. Sometimes, to get meaningful information about the site, you need something more than a text piece of markup. And so that everyone can figure out how a particular site works, Firefox has added a set of powerful developer tools to the browser.
This feature was originally developed in Firefox (in 2006 it was also called Firebug), but it is now available in many browsers. Not all developer tools are the same. But it was the dev panel that made Firefox my go-to browser for web design and UX testing.
5. OPEN SOURCE IN FIREFOX
Most importantly, Firefox is completely open source. It’s a great browser with nothing to hide. The developers have no ulterior motives; their goal is to keep the web open, educate people about the possibilities of the Internet, and promote open-source to solve everyday problems.
You can make Firefox better. For example, by sending a report about what you don’t like. You can also view the code that is being executed while you are browsing the Internet. Firefox has championed the open web for decades. He remained true to his principles and even recruited several competitors into his camp, who are unlikely to have decided to voluntarily move to open-source if Firefox had not lived up to public expectations. Firefox is a powerful tool for the modern web and a great browser. Firefox works on desktop and mobile. So do yourself a favor and download Firefox.