I was very excited to hear, via Research Buzz, that Firefox has been downloaded more than 25 million times! That’s fabulous! Hopefully we’ll see it replacing Internet Explorer more and more in libraries.
Most of the library bloggers I know seem to use Firefox (or Safari), but I really haven’t seen it on library public access computers yet. I’m sure there are some libraries that have it installed, but all of the library administrators I’ve spoken to recently seemed very reluctant to switch from IE. I don’t really understand why. Yes, I know patrons hate change, but Firefox is just as easy to use as IE and practically has the same interface. It also lacks the security vulnerabilities of IE, which makes it ideal for use on computers used by patrons. It’s the best baby step a library can take into open source, and I really can’t understand why any library administrator would be opposed to installing it (other than the old “resistant to change” issue).
For you librarians who use Firefox at home, is it used in your workplace as well? How has it been received by patrons and staff? Have patrons had trouble using it? I’d love to hear some stories about libraries that are using some open source applications (Firefox, Open Office, etc.) and what their experiences have been. If you’re also interested in this subject, you should check out the Linux Librarian’s blog and website.
Sometimes because of previous bad choices, organizations can’t switch from IE. Those “bad choices” are typically web applications that only work with IE. (Such as those containing ActiveX controls.)
Otherwise, there are few reasons not to switch.
A few of our article databases at work don’t work well with Firefox. I blame the databases, not Firefox of course 🙂
But issues like that are one reason not to switch over the public PCs.
We have Firefox on all staff and public computers. I don’t think that many of the staff or the public choose to use it, but it is there if they wish. I encourage our more tech savvy computer users to try it, since it is my choice of browser. We also use Star Office on our laptops, which cut our costs for the computers and let us offer both Internet access and word processing on all of them. People firmly resent trying Star Office at first, but most of them like it once they try it and once they see that it doesn’t damage their documents.