Recommended Software - Web/Internet

Here we take a quick look at two excellent web browsers - Firefox 4 and Opera 11. We also highly recommend the NoScript plug-in for Firefox. Need to use SFTP, or SCP? Try out FileZilla or WinSCP.

FireFox 4

Firefox 4 screenshot


Firefox 4 Homepage

Firefox 4 has finally hit the streets. It's pretty much been redone from the ground up and sports a brand new User Interface (UI) which makes it look more like Google Chrome, Safari, and Internet Exploder. The new Firefox is faster and has better support for newer web technologies like HTML 5. The downside? Some of your favorite Firefox 3.x plugins may not work with Firefox 4 yet. NoScript works though!


Noscript screenshot


NoScript Homepage

NoScript is a fantastic Firefox plugin which hardens your web browsing against security threats by blocking web scripts based on a blacklist model. By default every website's scripts are blocked or substituted with safe ones unless you "Allow" it. Once a site is allowed it is added to the whitelist of trusted sites and loads normally as if NoScript wasn't installed. NoScript also blocks Java, Silverlight, Flash, and other potential infection vectors on sites you haven't explicitly whitelisted.


FileZilla screenshot


FileZilla Homepage

FileZilla is a free File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client and/or server distributed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Basically, FileZilla is for you if you need to FTP a lot of files. The client is cross platform and supports FTP, FTPS, and SFTP. It supports transfer and resume of large files, tabs, bookmarks, drag & drop, directory comparison and all sorts of essential features.


WinSCP screenshot


WinSCP Homepage

WinSCP is a good alternative to FileZilla, plus it supports Secure Copy in case you ever need to use SCP. As its name implies, WinSCP is only available on Windows and supports SCP, but it also does regular and secure flavors of FTP. Which one is better? It's a matter of personal taste, but in general, end users will probably prefer FileZilla while developers would probably use WinSCP. Either way, both of them beat the pants off web and command line FTP clients.


Opera screenshot


Opera Homepage

We've always been puzzled by claims that Opera is the fastest web browser, but the new version 11 seems to deliver on speed. Although not very popular, Opera has been around forever and is a very feature rich browser. One nice feature is Speed Dial, which is a tab of website thumbnails for sites you use frequently. No need to even use the address bar, just click on a thumbnail. Other nice features include tab grouping and a cool thumbnail image of a site when you hover over a tab. Our take on Opera is that this is THE browser to try if you are a heavy web user.