Firefox 0.9 has been released a few days ago, and it certainly looks worthy of upgrading to (or installing, if you’re not using it yet).

Joel Spolsky lists three reasons to switch web browsers today. Of particular interest is the following one:

You’ll help break the Microsoft Monopoly on web browsers. Microsoft took over the browser market fair and square by making a better product, but they were so afraid that Web-based applications would eliminate the need for Windows that they locked the IE team in a dark dungeon and they haven’t allowed improvements to IE for several years now. Now Firefox is the better product and there’s a glimmer of hope that one day DHTML will actually improve to the point where web-based applications are just as good as Windows-based applications.

As an ex-Microsoft employee, he probably knows what he’s talking about… In fact, I have often wondered why IE hasn’t embraced popular new features like tabbed browsing, but I assumed that this was mostly because it didn’t fit into Microsoft’s user interface conventions. But I suppose it is quite possible that they deliberately kept IE simple to prevent web applications from competing with Windows-based applications.

One thing to keep in mind when upgrading from an earlier Firefox version (such as 0.8) to 0.9 is that several people have reported problems with the upgrade. A clean install might be a safer option.

I am still looking for a good solution of sharing bookmarks between IE and Firefox (see my original posting). This situation will be further complicated by the fact that I have just ordered a laptop, which I want to keep synchronized with my desktop as well. Bookmarks Synchronizer, a Firefox Extension that stores bookmarks on a user-configurable FTP server, looks like a very nice solution to this problem. It does not solve the IE / Firefox synchronization, but since I find myself using Firefox almost exclusively these days, I might be able to live with using Firefox as my main Bookmark manager and occasionally performing a manual export to IE.