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Charles H
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Re: Best browser

#11 Post by Charles H » Sun Jun 22, 2008 10:54 pm

What are you all going on about! :?:
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Allen Walker
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Re: Best browser

#12 Post by Allen Walker » Mon Jun 23, 2008 7:22 am

Oh dear.
Let me qualify my original statement:
Internet Explorer 7 (which is installed with most Windows-based PCs) is fine.
Firefox (downloadable from http://www.firefox.com) is better.
Both are browsers, i.e. the windowy-page-openy-thingy you use to look at the webinet-thingy. :wink:
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David Withers
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Re: Best browser

#13 Post by David Withers » Mon Jun 23, 2008 7:55 am

Good Morning, Allen.

I have seen reference to Safari and Firefox elsewhere and guessed they were alternative internet browsers. That's as far as I went 'cos my existing set-up gives me what I need and I wouldn't want to chance meddling with it.

I'm just inquisitive as to why these other browsers exist. Do they make money from advertisements or something, or are they examples of some of the wonderful stuff that enthusiasts do for free?

David.
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Allen Walker
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Re: Best browser

#14 Post by Allen Walker » Mon Jun 23, 2008 8:31 am

David,
Back when the internet was in it's infancy, a product called 'Netscape Navigator' was the daddy of browsers. Then Microsoft decided to flex its considerable financial muscle and more or less force every PC maker wanting to install Windows on their PCs to install Internet Explorer and omit Netscape Navigator. At one point around 98% of all browser usage was on Internet Explorer.
Because of this almost total dominance, and the reluctance of Microsoft to adopt or promote 'standards' (why should they, they were the daddy now), web designers were forced into designing sites that worked well with I.E. but not so well on other browsers (because a broken site would only affect that 2%). We can still see the effects of this today. It is still quite difficult for web designers to create a site that looks and works correctly on all platforms and browsers. IE7 has addressed many of the issues, but IE6 is still used by 30% of web users.
To date, Microsoft have been fined billions of dollars for this piece of 'anti-trust' or 'anti-competition' skulduggery both in the US and Europe.
Firefox was created by the Mozilla open-source group, so yes, a bunch of (very clever) enthusiasts committed to open standards. I'm not sure how they make their money, probably from advertising on their site, but no advertising exists on the browser itself.
Safari is simply Apple's own browser, pre-installed on their machines. It is also based on Mozilla.
Thankfully, as I say, Firefox will quite possibly soon overtake all versions of Internet Explorer so (nose-thumbing action) to you Mr Gates.
Sorry if anyone's bored by this, the original post wasn't intended to create this much discussion.
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David Withers
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Re: Best browser

#15 Post by David Withers » Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:23 am

That was a very good answer, Allen. Even I understood it!

I do now recall the anti-trust action against Microsoft. I'm surprised I'd forgotten this as I followed major anti-trust and other big-company litigation cases as part of my work and Microsoft came up quite often as both biter and bitten.

In about 1997 I was invited by the UK Patent Office to put arguments for and against patents being permitted in Europe for software programs, as was being allowed in the United States, so I studied this aspect in depth as well - and Microsoft featured yet again!....

Interestingly (to me anyway!), in 1991 Bill Gates was on record as being strongly opposed to patents for software on the basis that they would kill off small software companies. But he soon had a change of mind and in 1994 Microsoft was the only software company to argue for patenting of software during a study by the USPTO (US patent office).

By 1997 Microsoft had obtained 400 software patents and were soon aggressively threatening any other company who might stray near them!

I was reminded of the facts by http://eupat.ffii.org/players/microsoft/

Yes, I know I'm a sad case! :(

But I've retired from all that, and most of you are still slaving away. :D
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