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Hey all you crusty ol’ Net fogies — remember Netscape Navigator? Most of us old farts who can recall the dawn of the Internet popped our Web-surfing cherries on Navigator. But in the late ’90s, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser busted onto the scene, packaged as the default browser for Windows, and swept up the majority of the cyber population. But recently, an alternative browser by the name of Firefox (getfirefox.com) began making waves and edging in on IE’s virtual stranglehold on the browser market. Free to download, Firefox was created by a team of programmers from Mozilla (mozilla.org), the phoenix that rose from the ashes of Netscape. Launched in November 2004, Firefox v1.0 claims to be faster, easier and more secure than IE, and is available for Windows, Linux and Mac systems. Through just word of mouth, Foxfire spread far and wide, and today Mozilla claims the browser has already been downloaded 25 million times. WebSideStory reports that already 4.8 percent of surfers are using Firefox (IE still claims 92.7 percent), and one Firefox contributor has boasted that the browser will soon claim 25 percent of the market. There are other alternative browsers out there, such as Opera (opera.com) which was purportedly downloaded by 20 million people in 2004, and Safari (apple.com/safari), the default browser for Macs … but all of these browsers are based on open-source coding, and many were developed by the same programmers, so they’re all fairly similar.

And FYI — Netscape is still around, and not just a browser anymore. At netscape.com, you’ll find a vast collection of links to articles on every subject imaginable, as well as Netscape’s new Internet service provider.

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