Firefox, Thunderbird and NVU

One thing a lot of people miss about open source software is that a lot of great programs have Windows versions too.

I just installed the excellent Mozilla Firefox 0.9 web browser today, and liked it enough to make it my default browser. I like Internet Explorer fine, but Firefox has some stuff I use quite a bit, especially tabbed browsing, which opens up multiple tabs – each holding a web page – inside a single browser window. This has the advantage of not clogging up your task bar.

Mozilla Thunderbird is a fantastic email program, one I’ve been using for about a month. It has a pretty good junk mail filter, one that gets smarter the longer you use it, but the feature I appreciate most is a really simple one that deserves explaining.

When you get an HTML message, the web browser inside your mail program calls back to the server to load up the pictures. This is one way spammers know that your mailbox is a real one.

Thunderbird gets around this by blocking images inside an HTML message, so that the spammers can’t see that you’ve opened it. Which is always nice.

The last program to check out is called NVU (pronounced N-view), which aims to be an open-source alternative to Dreamweaver, and is built around Mozilla’s Gecko web-page rendering engine. Pretty slick stuff.

You can get Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird for Windows, Mac and Linux at http://www.mozilla.org, and NVU for Linux and Windows at http://www.nvu.com.

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