For some odd reason, I – literally – woke up today and visited mozilla.org to check their latest browser incarnation, Firebird. I had heard a bit about this new browser – most notably Jonas Galvez comments and softwaregod Joel Sposky’s opinnion – but I wasn’t really thrilled to test it. I’ve been a diehard Netscape user for quite sometime – my browser lineage goes like this: Mosaic, Netscape 1, Netscape 2, Netscape 3, Internet Explorer 3, Internet Explorer 4, Netscape 4, Internet Explorer 5 – but I have gave up long ago on the whole browser issue and selected MS’s beast for speed and compatibility’s sake. I had tried Netscape 5+ and some Mozilla releases, but dismissed them as mere pieces of bloat software with a mere resemblance to what Netscape once was.
So I decided to try Firebird today and, to my surprise, they’ve really pulled a good browser with this one. There are some new features, yes, such as the ability to use tabbed browsing or whatever – but that’s not the case. For me, more than new features, the most important aspect is that Firebird didn’t blow my browsing experience down the drill. It’s fast, it doesn’t have weird skins installed as default (as a designer, I prefer a neutral field of vision when browsing and working), it has many of the good features that Internet Explorer has, and also has the features that made Netscape my favorite for ages (Ctrl+U — eat that source obfuscators!). Also, it’s only 6mb.
I tested this browser for one day and I’m pretty surprised and satisfied with it. It has its little quirks (why pop-up blocking only has a “non-block” list, and not the other way around?), but it’s showing it has the guts to compete on the browser market (for users which select their browser anyway) seriously. Score a point for the free world.