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It's time to change to another browser…

First of all, if you are reading me from education.mozilla.org planet, sorry for my bad english. I’m trying to improve it!

Second, thanks to David Humphrey for adding me to the planet. I will try to keep you informed about thing we are doing in Spain, more concise, in education world (as I’m currently a college student).

One of my first problems on University was to see only Windows computers on it (I’m studying computer engineering, and this is a bit depressing). You shouldn’t have only Windows-machines availables to the students if you are going to teach future computer engineers. So we (my colleagues and me) discovered that we have Linux machines in laboratories, where we can write our own code in a standard way easily and using open source software.

But the most depressing thing about having only Windows-based machines is that you have only one browser per default: Internet Explorer. Not only the bad Internet Explorer. We have Internet Explorer 6!!

Nobody doubts about Internet Explorer. It sucks, and v6 is old (not updated for 5 years) and it’s slowing the web (and developers’ brain). So I’ve thought about trying to install Firefox on all computers. Well, yeah, I can’t, users don’t have enough perms to install new things.

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I’m not yet an expert about operating systems and LANs, but I think each student has her/his user, not an “student” standard account and I don’t know how are stored documents of each student, because we usually wait about a minute from the login window to the full desktop (it seems that all is retrieved from an intranet server).

So, what do you think I should do in order to try to make Firefox as the default browser on my University?

For me, the best option is to talk with IT guys and try to explain them what is Firefox (in case they don’t know it!). And then convince it about the Fox and his friends 😛

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Have you driven a similar change? If so, please, contact me on this blog post’s comments.

PS: And if you have time, please, write down my grammatical errors to improve my English. Thanks!

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  1. Hi, Guillermo

    First of all, you DON’T need administrator (nor advanced user) rights to install Firefox (provided you don’t try to install it in a protected directory, like Program Files), althought you will have to live without some plugins (or manually install the DLLs by yourself).

    Even with the most restricted user, you should have write rights in some folders (like the Desktop folder). Try to install Firefox in the Desktop folder.

    Regarding IE version, I know what you mean… As you know, I work where you study, and I’m having a though time updating our business web to be more modern while still displaying well in that old-aging browser (5 years? I’d say it’s 8!!).

    As I give courses there in some computer labs from time to time, I’ve had the opportunity to see Firefox installed in some of them. More often than not, sadly, it is an outdated version.

    Convincing IT department to install and keep Firefox updated requires several things:

    – first of all, official MSI packages. I think Mozilla must seriously take over this issue, because I think it is severely handicapping Firefox adoption in the business PCs. In our university, PCs are managed using Altiris (http://www.symantec.com/business/theme.jsp?themeid=altiris) software.

    – one of Firefox biggest strengths (customization) may also be one of his greater disadvantage in controlled environments. There should be a way to centrally manage and control which plugins, extensions and themes can be installed, and what values can have some prefs (like proxy-related ones).

    – there is some awareness of the importance of open web and standard-compliant browsers importance in IT area of our university, but some top-level managers don’t have those as their priorities. OTOH, other top-level managers do indeed care about it, so the trick is get Mozilla representatives to talk with the right person first, and with all TPTB later. 😉

  2. First off, I’m so glad you added that P.S. in there, because I’d love to help.

    Secondly, I don’t really have any tips on making Firefox the default at your school, but I would suggest looking up Portable Firefox for your own personal needs.

    One thing that stood out to me through the course of reading your post was this: “I don’t know how are stored documents of each student”. That appears to be an accidental thinking in Spanish (your native language, right?) and translating directly to English. The problem is, English has a different word order and has a different way of creating possessives (as I’m sure you’ve already learned). Here’s how I might say it: “I don’t know how each student’s documents are stored.”

    Other than an occasional slip-up of that nature, your English is pretty good. You look like you may need to work some more on your prepositions, pronouns, and possessives, and to learn how they are used differently in English. (For example, where “por” is used in Spanish to show possession, “by”—not “per”—is used in English.) All in all, though, it’s still very readable.