Why Firefox

One of the challenging issues for some schools is, "Why support more than one browser?" For example, some schools only want to use Internet Explorer or Safari, the default browsers that come with an operating system. Browser choice can sometimes be quite a contentious discussion.

Although I'm increasingly using Google Chrome as my browser of choice, it's not a browser I'd recommend (yet) for general use in schools today. Why? Here's a short list:
  • Chrome doesn't work with Moodle GUI editor
  • Chrome Diigo extension isn't as developed as the one for Firefox, allowing you to highlight and send content straight to blog entries.
  • There are web pages or services that don't recognize Google Chrome, but work just fine with Firefox and/or Internet Explorer.
Now, another question that schools face is, "Why not load Firefox onto school computers?" While few would argue that you should load ONE browser only on a computer, which browser should be loaded? It seems like a silly question, obvious in these times...in fact, I use 3 browsers:
  • Internet Explorer works with some service providers that no other browser will work with.
  • Firefox allows for extensions/add-ons that just aren't available.
  • Chrome is a very fast browser...but...ok, I use it because it's fun.
So, I asked folks, "Why Firefox?" Here are some of the responses I received:

Internet Explorer is too easily hacked17%
It's important to have an alternate way of viewing the Web.320%
Firefox plays audio/video better than IE and interacts with media plug-ins better.213%
Very Satisfied
1 -
5 -
Very Satisfied

You can see the raw data online here, but here are some of the comments:

  • We wanted more compatibility and flexibility and Firefox does that with plugins and add ons. It depends on how much control IT wants over the environment. You lose the control of being able to restrict via GPO in AD like you can to IE but you gain a better end user experience.
  • Do we really need to "control" our browsers? Is "control" a primary criterion for usefulness/effective?
  • We use firefox and chrome as alternate browsers when Internet Exploder doesn't want to cooperate.
  • Why not? It's not an additional security threat. It's not in any way a support issue. Install the tool and let the students/teachers choose what they want.
  • Our online classes through our local community college actually require the use of Firefox over IE and OdysseyWare recommends it.
  • On the security note, it [Firefox] is not as easy to control and lock down in AD, but is in itself more secure than IE (less security flaws to exploit).
While these are preliminary results, I would REALLY appreciate it if you added YOUR school districts perspective at the survey link below:

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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