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Oft times I take a while to mull things over before posting things to the site, which is why I don’t tend to post on stuff as soon as they happen. One of the largest drop times has been the release of Mozilla Firebird (ex-Phoenix) version 0.6. This is the most “use it as a browser all the time” version of Firebird so far. In that I mean it’s stable and has all the features you would expect. The UI has also seen significant clearing out since the 0.5 release. This release has also shifted me from Opera, the first release to do so.
In actuallity, the long time between release and post is that I've been using the CVS version of Firebird on Linux and Nightly on Windows for a long time now, so the release of 0.6 was not so big in my world. The actual release version had been pretty much feature settled for a few weeks before it came out so I'd been enjoying 0.6 functions for a long time. It wasn't a big leap for me to 0.6. In Win I'm using the release 0.6, in Linux a post-0.6 CVS self compile. I've not been able to compile for a a couple of weeks now, I think I may need a new source tree. As I only tend to update the browser and toolkits via CVS I think I may have missed out a vital update somewhere that is causing the compile to fail. After exams I'll try to sort this out. Last one tomorrow!
Anyways, there's been quite a bit of excitment about the new Firebird. I saw somewhere on Mozilla.org that it had generated a bigger server load than any other Mozilla release to date. This sparks of good things, maybe switches to Firebird from other browsers, like myself. Though I don't particularly love Firebird, just it does what I like, I don't like IE any more so any move away from that is, of course, good =) I think recently there has been more willingness to try a switch, and now Firebird is good enough to be viable to use all the time. Also there is starting to be what's being dubbed as 'stealth-switching' where tech-savvy people have been swapping over people to Firebird without mentioning Firebird specifically. Just said "Want a browser that blocks popups? Try this" and plopped them into Firebird. With the Luna skin, it's a very familiar environment to IE users. I think this is the way to sell people on alternative browsers --- most people don't give a second damn to whether the browser they use is Standards Compliant, but **everyone** hates popup adds!
In a positive development, it appears MS are going to not make standalone browsers available for download, but instead use Windows Update to update the browser components individually as needed. This is a much better picture of what could happen. Most Windows users on broadband use Windows Update, so new browser releases should make their way to most people. If it all works the way it should, I think we can breathe a sigh of relief. But that's a big if... crossed fingers on my part, kids.