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No Popup Ads, No Flashing Ads - Use the Mozilla Web Browser - Take Back the Web!

Popup Ads, flashing images in Banner Ads, "Flash" animations that won't quit, unreadably small text, obnoxious JavaScript - GONE FOREVER.

  1. 3 steps to take back control of how you use the web
  2. Taking Back the Web for the User
  3. Taking Back the Web for all of us, forever
  4. Reservations and Notes

Update: Although distributed by a large corporation (AOL), Netscape 7.1 does actually allow control of images, popups, flash, etc, and also allows for installation of the "Preferences Toolbar", as described below for Mozilla. And since it uses the Gecko rendering engine that mozilla uses, it has most or all of the same standards compliance. I apologize for any confusion I may have spread. (I still prefer to use Mozilla, as it comes with less stuff I don't use anyhow and is a smaller download and install. But if you like having some plugins pre-installed (say Flash, for example), you may prefer Netscape 7.1).

3 steps to take back control of how you use the web

  1. Go to http://www.mozilla.org. Look for the download of the Mozilla web browser that is appropriate for your operating system. Version 1.4 is the stable version as of this writing (July 27, 2003). Download and install per their instructions.

    If the download will take you too long because you have slow Internet access, I'll send (to the first 20 who ask) a CD with Mozilla on it, per the terms in Note 3, below.

    Mozilla has the code to allow you these new freedoms, but does not make it as easy as it could be. So...

  2. Go to http://prefbar.mozdev.org Scroll down to the 'Install Now' section and follow the instrcutions for installing the prefbar. This will include restarting the browser (not the computer).

  3. Your browser will now have an additional toolbar with checkboxes for turning on and off JavaScript, Images, etc.

    There will probably items you'll want to add to the Prefernces Tollbar (or "prefbar"). To do this, click the "Customize" button on the toolbar, if it is visible, or use the menus Edit->Preferences->Advanced->"Preferences Toolbar" to bring up two windows - the left one shows things you can add to the Preferences Toolbar, the right window shows what's already on the Preferences Toolbar.
    To add something to the "PrefBar", click on it in the left window, then click the "Add Item" button to move it to the right window (and therefore onto the PrefBar). You can change the order of things on the toolbar by click on them int the right window, then using the "move Up" and Move Down" buttons.

    I add "Popups", "Font+" and "Font-". The first gives me a checkbox I can use to enable/disable popups. The other 2 give me a single buttton to click for increasing the size of text and another button to click for decreasing the size of text. Click OK and you have customized your toolbar - which allows you to control what webpages do on your computer.

Background - Taking Back the Web, Right Now, for the User

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I've hesitated on making this recommendation for a long time, but the time is here. Mozilla works, it works well, and with the addition of it's perfbar2 feature, it is so good to the user that everyone should use it.

Some background: Most people only know of Internet Explorer web browser, made by Microsoft, followed, distantly by Netscape, made (at least until recently) by Nescape which is owned by AOL.

Recent versions of Netscape, starting with version 6.0, are based on an Open Source project called Mozilla, at http://www.mozilla.org. The fact that Mozilla is Open Source and not owned by a corporation, means that the decisions on how the browser will work are made by the programmers themselves, with user input, rather than big corporations.

What does this mean to you? It means that you get features the everyone wants to have - except that, when browsers come from big corporations, you get the features they want you to have, not the features you want. (Even though Netscape 6 and 7 are based on Mozilla, they still don't provide these features, because Netscape is published by AOL, a big corporation.)

Here's an example: Do you like popup advertisements? - those obnoxious extra windows that clutter up your screen when you go almost anywhere on the web - windows that you don't want, didn't ask for, must spend extra time closing? Of course not. Nobody does. With Mozilla, they are gone forever, unless you decide you wnat them (hey, I suppose it could happen...)

How about banner ads comtaining images that flash and flash and flash and won't stop for anything? There are at least 2 ways that these are done - images and Flash animation - that Mozilla let's you kill instantly.

Ever run into a page where the web-"master" has made the font so small that it is unreadable, and has specified the font size in the 'code', so that you can't affect how the page looks by changing font in your browser? (And even if you could fix this by changing fonts, you would need to navigate thorugh sevrral menus to do so.) With Mozilla, bigger or smaller print is a single click away - and unless the text is part of an image file, it will resize.

With these features in Mozilla, and with their ease of access using the preference toolbar, I don't understand why anyone would not want to use Mozilla whenever possible.

Background - Taking Back the Web for all of us, forever

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The Web is supposed to be based on open standards - standards which define the protocols used for webservers and web browsers to interact. For an understanding of the importance of open standards, consider the Internet - the network structure on which the World Wide Web Operates. The Internet uses networking and routing protocols which are defined in in an open fashion, and which are published freely for all to use. Because of this, no vendor owns the internet. No vendor can try to make proprietary addons which hurt compatibility.

The World Wide Web started that way. But it has not completely remained that way because one player - Microsoft - has achieved dominance at one end of the conversations between Web Browsers and Web servers. Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser is estimated to be the browser in use by 90% to 95% of all users of the Web.

By itself, this dominance might not be bad. But Microsoft has chosen to flout the standards agreed to by the Web Community, for the sole reason fo giving competitive advantage to it's Web server products and other server products.

In the world that Microsoft desires, all software of any sort would come from Microsoft, and would be paid for at the rate of "whatever the traffic will bear".

If all web browsers are Internet Explorer, Microsoft's job is made easier. They can build features into the browser that only their servers can provide, thereby making sites that run on non-Microsoft webservers non-functional. (An additional effect - that many webmasters only test their site "code" against MIcrosoft browsers because of their dominance - tends to make the Web less standard.)

Eventually they would leverage their dominanace of the browser market into dominance of the server market as well.

Once that end is achieved, they could charge whatever they like for the software at both ends of the conversation.

By using Mozilla in numbers, we convince webmasters that there are standards and that these standards are not whatever Microsoft want us to think they are.

By using Mozilla, a browser whose designers have "standards compliance" as one of their chief goals, we fight against dominance of the Web by any single company.

Reservations and Notes

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Are there any reasons not to use Mozilla? Only a few come to mind:

  1. It's large and a little slower than the mainstram browsers. Old machines might have csome trouble. I am running it successfully on a Pentium 166MHz, with 64 MB of RAM. This is not to say that this is the minimum hardware requirement, it's just the oldest machine I personally have run it on.

  2. If you go to a loat of sites that have used code that is specific to Internet Explorer, you may be unhappy with Mozilla.

  3. If you have slow internet access, downloading Mozilla can take a long time. If you are in this situation and don't want to spend the time to doanload this, for the first 20 responses, I will send you a CD with Mozilla on it. Fill in the following form, being sure to give me your mailing addresss and the operating system your computer uses. For convenience, you may wich to provide your email address, but it is not mandatory. Here is the form.

Notes:

Netscape subsidized Mozilla until recently, by allowing Netscape employees to work on it. This has ended.

The Galeon browser (http://galeon.sourceforge.net) adresses many of the issues of making the features of Mozilla easier to use, but Galeon does not work on Windows.