November 9th, Internet Independence Day
November 9th, Internet Independence Day|
or Rediscovering the Web Using Mozilla Firefox
I don't know if you knew this but there's a revolution happening on the Internet. For years now, fiery, idealistic geeks have been gathering silently in internet cafes and plotting to 'take back the web.' No need for alarm, though: they've come to help and they promise there will be few, if any, beheadings. But what is this all about, you say? And why should I, of all people, get mixed up in a revolution?! I've got a husband and kids to think about!
Please fasten your seatbelts, and put your trays in an upright position. Don't worry - you won't need a passport where we're going...
Welcome to the Internet. We hope you enjoy your stay.
Come for the sites, stay for the delicious delicacies.
The Internet is in many ways a country of its own. For those that have discovered its gorgeous attractions and its diverse, welcoming community, a sort of dual-citizenship is gained: one with the real world, and one with the virtual world that the Internet provides.
The Open Source Movement
Does anyone remember Netscape anymore? In a final Hail Mary play to save their company from the death grip that Microsoft's Internet Explorer had put them in, they decided to publicly release the source code for their browser, a technique known as open-sourcing. Unfortunately, it could not save the company, but because of their bold move we have Firefox today.
Open sourcing follows the ideology that software and the technologies that computer scientists develop should not be proprietary. It would be like Einstein keeping the proof for his famous E=mc2 equation a trade secret. If other scientists wanted to know how it worked, they would have to discover it on their own.
The open-source community believes that such secretiveness hinders progress. You might as well be in the Middle Ages telling Galileo to stop looking at the stars.
Its locals constantly work to provide the best for their travelers. They are concerned for your safety because they know the terrain can be rough sometimes. Continually, they strive to make it easier for you to find what you are looking for. And in the end, they just want you to enjoy your stay without having to feel lost, and, well, feel like a tourist. They want you to feel at home.
That is why the natives have been cooking up something very special for the past 7 years. Something that will make your visit just that much more fun and relaxing. It is a new way of experiencing the web, and it will become as vital to your web traveling as much as carrying a toothbrush is vital when traveling in the real world.
The Firefox Browser
"So, why take 15 minutes out of my day to download this newfangled web browser? I mean, what's it got that Internet Explorer is lacking?" Well, it's just like how DVDs are better than VHS. I mean, yes, you could rent a VHS copy of a movie and still find it an enjoyable experience; but imagine having to go back to VHS after using DVDs:
"Where's the menu on this movie? I just want to show my friend this one scene."
"Wait, you mean I have to rewind this thing? Ha! Please, I have better things to do!"
So, it's kind of like that. The Firefox browser doesn't change the basics of surfing the web, so at first, you'll be wondering what's so special about it. But, after using Firefox for just an hour, you'll start noticing the little things that do make all the difference. And it's these little things that make browsing the web just that much more natural.
For example, the first thing that will strike your eye is the search tool in the top corner. Let me just tell you now: you will seriously wonder how on earth you were browsing the Internet without it. It gives you the power of Google, Amazon.com, eBay and many other search engines right at your disposal. You might as well have been surfing the web without a mouse until now.
Another fantastic feature: it gets rid of popup ads, bane of the browsing experience. Heck, you can get rid of all the ads that are on a page (with an extension called Adblock). It's like TiVo for your web browser. Skip all the commercials - get to the good stuff that you came for in the first place.
Finally, Firefox is transparent. Once you get going you'll forget it's even there. And that, dear reader, is its greatest strength. It seamlessly works with you and provides you with what you need so you can just move on with the rest of your life.
Keep on rockin' in the free world
The people that have created Firefox are not trying to sell you something. They are simply a non-profit organization that believes: you deserve better.
When you step back and look at it all, the Internet really rather is an amazing place. It shrinks our vast Earth down to the size of your computer screen. Everything is at your fingertips: information, shopping, news, communities, entertainment. Even your Great Aunt Sally living in Alaska is never really that far off. Take a look again: these are incredible times that we live in.
And this is what these passionate revolutionists fight for, what they sweat for. They love this country they call the Internet and everything it represents, and they want nothing more than to see it grow to its full potential. November 9th shall be remembered by the Internet as its Independence Day, a day that its people vowed to make the web a place of their own again.
There's a revolution out there that's nearly 8,000,000 strong. It is a peaceful one and it is one full of hope for the future of the web and for the physical world that it complements. I think it's about time you discovered what the fuss is all about.
Mime Čuvalo is a computer programmer and extension writer for Firefox. He has been avidly following the Mozilla project since its inception in 1998 and is glad that it's finally come to blossom. He will still respect you even if you don't decide to use the Firefox browser. (But he must warn you: there are some old ladies quietly knitting away in the corners of the Internet. He's not quite sure what that's all about.)
written in late November 2004
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.