Every few months, I try out some of the open-source web browsers and email clients, to see whether any of them have matured to the point where they can serve as adequate replacements for the programs I’m already using. In the past, not to put too fine a point, the answer has always been no. It looks like that has finally changed.

I’ve been using Firefox as my primary browser both at home and at work since Sunday, and the experience has been satisfactory. There have been a couple of pages that looked kind of funny, and it still seems to have a tiny bit of trouble with line-wrap in forms (such as the one I’m using to post this). On the other hand, the pages were still readable and the forms still worked and there was at least one instance (cookie handling after a software upgrade on Whistle Stopper) where CrazyBrowser/IE had trouble and Firefox didn’t. I’ve also been using Thunderbird for email at home. While it lacks some of The Bat‘s display flexibility, overall the interface is nicer and all of the needed functionality (including multiple SMTP servers) is there. Accordingly, I’m going to make these my default browser and email client for a while.

By the way, I have found that Suzuki Hisao‘s popserve.py is an indispensable tool when switching between email clients. Almost every program claims that it can import mailboxes from other programs; every one that I’ve tried does a terrible job at it. Importing by setting up a temporary local POP server has proven much more effective for me.