Firefox 2.0

Technology Review describes it as “the Honda Civic of Web Browsers”, which is an interesting metaphor. Here’s what they mean by that:

Tapping once again into the collective talents of the open-source community, the new Firefox 2.0 Web browser is unambiguously a success. Released late Tuesday, the Mozilla Foundation’s latest Net-surfing tool is almost everything Web denizens have come to expect from the popular Internet Explorer alternative. Firefox 2.0 offers a handful of obvious improvements in searching and security and a couple of new features, and it largely keeps doing well what it has done well before.

This said, it breaks little genuinely new ground.That’s not a criticism, particularly given that the Web has long since become as mainstream as microwave ovens. Indeed, developers say their goal for the new browser was decidedly evolutionary, despite high hopes for a few advanced features that didn’t make the final cut.

“We wanted to continue the evolution that started with Firefox 1.0,” says Mike Beltzner, the Mozilla Foundation’s “phenomenologist.” “We wanted to make sure users still have full control over the browser and the full ability to customize it, and make sure they can actually understand those options.”

This continued focus on simplicity and extensibility makes Firefox 2.0 an extremely solid product, with a few flashes of brilliance. It’s suitable for anyone from novice Web surfers to hard-core coders. But this time around, its pathway into the market isn’t quite as clear…

Don’t you just love the idea of an organisation that employs a phenomenologist!

I see that Quentin has downloaded the new version. His view seems to coincide with Tech Review’s.