Running Away From Microsoft

A lot of people (Chas Martin for one, Todd Turnbull for another) have been telling me I should switch. Now I've had a chance to play with the software, I'm a convert.

I'm talking about Mozilla, the phoenix browser that's rising from Netscape's ashes.

I entered the Internet back in 1993 when my father opened up a family account on GEnie. E-mail was something that I worked with strictly through the University of Waterloo, and I didn't think of the Internet as a visual medium until early 1995 when I saw my first Mosaic browser. Then Netscape grew out of that browser and dominated the scene for years; my first web page was drafted on Netscape.

Microsoft employed some serious monopolistic tricks to transform Netscape's dominance of the browser market into complete irrelevance. I'm not a fan of corporations that employ such tricks and, if I can get a chance to get one back at Microsoft, I take it. Internet Explorer was my default browser (with Opera a close but ad-supported second), until now. Before Netscape's untimely end (read, sale to America Online), the sourcecode was handed out to the geek community to play with. The recent release candidate for Mozilla 1.0 is the end result. This browser offers everything that Internet Explorer offers. It is stable and fast and, best of all, it's free, ad-free, and not Microsoft. I highly recommend downloading this program and installing it on your computer.

You know, it is now possible to completely replace Microsoft's Office Suite with a free version that's just as powerful and easy to use. Open Office 1.0 is the successor to Star Office 5.2. Star Office was a full-fledged operating suite purchased by Sun Microsystems and offered free in competition with Microsoft's Office 2000.

Open Office 1.0 is entirely compatible with Office, but drops Star Office's troubled e-mail and browser programs. Mozilla not only offers a good browser, but an excellent e-mail and newsgroup reader. The only thing missing is a scheduler and address book as powerful and as integrated as Microsoft Outlook. Even without this missing link, Open Office and Mozilla offer us the opportunity to work efficiently, and thumb our noses at Microsoft at the same time. It does my semi-socialist heart proud.

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