How to Feed a Lawyer (and Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground)

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Taco John

I disagree with the idea that everyone should use Firefox. Monoculture is what got Microsoft and Internet Explorer in the trouble that they are in in the first place. Opera is just as secure as Firefox, more powerful in some respects, and still a much better browser than Internet Explorer. While it either requires you to fork over $40 or look at some ads, it is still worth a look.


Taco John: I understand your point of view, but I don't see Firefox putting Internet Explorer out of business. Internet Explorer is a Microsoft product after all. We need as many non-IE users out there as possible, and Firefox is a great product. If Opera helps avoid a "monoculture" then I wish it much success as well.


Firefox does everything well, but it's certainly beneficial to have competitors like Opera around, although as long as Microsoft exists as the all-encompassing arch-villain it will continue to be a driving force of open source development. Nice post Jeremy.

A few months ago I was readng Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle and Evan recommended his "In the Beginning...was the Command Line." It's an excellent read, especially if you're intimidated by the prosepect of open source stuff like Linux, and it's genuinely entertaining to boot.


The idea behind Firefox is that it is far better than IE, AND, it is not a Micro$oft product, AND it is Free. Aside from Opera there are several other browsers available, however, FF is the best one. There is something fundamentally wrong with having to pay (involunterely) for the use of a browser--incidently, one of the reason for the demise of Netscape.


I have another reason you might want to try open source software: security. Many open source software products (Linux and Mozilla come jump to mind) offer tighter security than proprietary systems, such as those from Microsoft. I think this comes from a combination of areas. One, you have an incredible set of eyes watching the source for security issues. Two, because the open source community knows that to gain ground in users, security is an issue, they seem to respond faster and take it more seriously than Microsoft. And finally, because you can get the source, and compile your own binaries from the source, you can actually conduct your own code review for security. Granted, that's not a step most users will take, but open source does allow that--proprietary systems do not.

Yes, open source does mean that virus authors and hackers can also view the source and look for holes, but again, that _seems_ to actually work in favor of tighter security, because the open source community can then work to plug those holes faster. Microsoft's security track record doesn't seem to offer any evidence that keeping your source code away from prying eyes makes your software any more safe--in fact, it seems to imply the opposite.

Pete Holiday

Monoculture is not what got MS/IE where they are: poor security is. Sure, sure, more market share, more eyes, makes you a bigger target but the bottom line is that being a target isn't a problem if you've got your ducks in a row.

Of course, with Firefox getting all of the press (as it should -- at least as good as opera, arguably better, and FREE), I can see why Opera users and evangalists might want to play up the "monoculture" thing, but it's already been over-blown.


I'd also recommend The GIMP if you want a very powerful image and photo editor but don't want to shell out the $500 or so Adobe charges for Photoshop. It's made great strides in usability in the last few years and is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.


i love this web site -Gage-

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