Mozilla Firefox is an open source Web browser that accounts for roughly 28 per cent of total browser usage worldwide, according to recent reports published by W3Schools and StatCounter. The free and open source nature of the browser is a primary reason for the high adoption rates that Firefox has experienced throughout the decade because the browser can be easily customised to suit your needs. On the other hand, some users shy away from using Firefox because the browser cannot correctly render certain websites, particularly business websites, that were designed to take advantage of Internet Explorer technology. Many users have also complained that Firefox uses an enormous share of system resources, causing sluggishness and browser crashes.
Advantage: Extensions and Themes
Firefox is one of the most easily customised browsers with support for browser extensions, plugins and themes that fundamentally alter the function and appearance of the browser to best suit your needs. As of June 2011, the Firefox Add-ons library features more than 6,000 extensions and more than 500 themes. Extensions are capable of performing everything from providing access to your Facebook wall from the Firefox toolbar, keeping tabs on your Gmail and alerting you of breaking news to altering website elements with scripts, consolidating the Firefox interface and much more.
Firefox has been at the forefront of Web browser security, introducing numerous features that protect you from phishing schemes, viruses and other common exploits. The browser includes a powerful pop-up blocker and strong authentication protocols that prevent attackers from running unauthorised code when you are browsing. Furthermore, Firefox security can be greatly enhanced with extensions like NoScript and FlashBlock that enable you to selectively execute advanced code on websites.
Internet Explorer has a distinct advantage over Firefox in that it can run ActiveX controls that allow you to interact with the Windows operating system and programs like Microsoft Office. Those websites that utilise ActiveX controls to enable deeper Windows integration, among them many of the most used business websites, are incompatible with Firefox.
Disadvantage: Resource Usage
Mozilla Firefox is often among the most resource-intensive Web browsers when it is compared to other Web browsers in independent testing. While browser start-up times and RAM usage have improved with each successive release of Firefox, the installation of extensions often negates those improvements as the code used in extensions is not always the most efficient.