It just so happens that I’ve been using Firefox the last few months, mostly to see if it really is better than IE.
My impression after a couple months of use?
For me, personally, for the way I work with a browser, Firefox and IE are roughly equivalent. Both have advantages and disadvantages. After using Firefox exclusively for a couple months, I now find myself using both, and probably will continue to do so.
Firefox tends to be a bit swifter loading a page, but not always. It does tend to have more problems displaying certain webpages than IE, but not often. The converse is true for IE; it’s slower but more accurate.
Most of the time, though, both of them get the job done just about as well.
Tabbed browsing? I tend to have multiple webpages open so that I can look at two or more at the same time, so clicking tabs holds little appeal for me. Then again, I also have dual 21-inch monitors, so I have plenty of real estate in which to indulge my preference.
However, if somebody told me that they preferred a tabbed browser, it doesn’t take an overdose of imagination to see that others can quite legitimately see this differently than I. If I were using a single 17-inch monitor, I’d probably have a different perspective on the matter, too.
We could go on and on, feature by feature, but what it would boil down to is how well (or badly) the particular browsers work with the way you work, or even just the type of personality you have.
When it comes to web browsers, I’m just not that finicky and/or impatient. So long as I get more or less what I want more or less when I want it, I’m satisfied, little mishaps don’t set me off. I don’t flip out if a webpage doesn’t load within two seconds; I’m not discombobolated if the color scheme on a webpage is a bit different using a different browser.
However, I know there are plenty of people who are when such things happen. Can’t say I think much of such personality traits, but since what others do on their machines has little-to-no impact on what I do on mine, if somebody else does something else that makes them happy, why should I care what they do?
Firefox is definitely OK enough to serve as a replacement for IE for most people. Whether you like it better than IE or not really depends on what’s important and not-so-important for you as an individual user, not any irrefutable “objective” factor.
There’s no harm trying it. Maybe Firefox fits into the way you work better than IE. If so, then certainly use it. If it doesn’t, though, that’s perfectly OK, too.
Don’t let any ideologues on either side tell you otherwise. If someone tells you that their choice is the only possible choice for anyone and everyone; they’re definitely wrong, and maybe nuts.