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Firefox and Thunderbird Garage

Firefox and Thunderbird Garage

3.5 2
by Chris Hofmann, Marcia Knous, John Hedtke

Welcome to the next Internet revolution

Enter your Firefox and Thunderbird Garage ...where you master the incredible free software that's helping millions of people use the Web and email faster, more efficiently, and more safely. Your guides know Firefox and Thunderbird better than anyone. They're the Mozilla insiders who helped


Welcome to the next Internet revolution

Enter your Firefox and Thunderbird Garage ...where you master the incredible free software that's helping millions of people use the Web and email faster, more efficiently, and more safely. Your guides know Firefox and Thunderbird better than anyone. They're the Mozilla insiders who helped create them—sparking a new Internet revolution, in which real people take back the Internet from monopolists, spammers, and spyware artists!

The basics are just the beginning: this book shows how to customize and extend Firefox and Thunderbird so they'll work exactly the way you want, and do more than you ever thought possible. We're talking better productivity, faster searches, easier downloads, and more fun.

  • Discover why Firefox and Thunderbird blow away Internet Explorer and Outlook Express

  • Make Firefox even more secure: Manage passwords, clean caches and history, and more

  • Trash unwanted popups, ads, and other Web annoyances

  • Make the most of Firefox's built-in search tools and shortcuts

  • Create "live bookmarks" that update automatically

  • Harness tabbed browsing to get more done faster

  • Download files more quickly and reliably

  • Install today's hottest Firefox and Thunderbird plug-ins

  • Set up email, RSS, and newsgroup accounts fast—and manage them efficiently

  • Organize the messages you want, and dump the messages you don't want

  • Get under the hood! Hack Firefox and Thunderbird configuration files

  • Includes quick-references to keyboard/mouse shortcuts, security, and more

With its easy, quick-learning modules, insider tips, rants, and blog entries, Firefox and Thunderbird Garage is far more than a software manual: it's your guide to the new Internet revolution!

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Product Details

Prentice Hall
Publication date:
Garage Series
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt


The Internet has become central to our lives—it’s how we communicate, find, and share information with colleagues, friends, and family. It has permeated the fabric of our lives to the point where its enticements can now be found on prominent display on television, print media, movies, and any other form of advertising you care to think of. The Internet has grown so rapidly and taken such a hold, not just because of its fundamental utility, but also because of the ease of which people are able to make use of it. In the 1980s, for the first time computer software evolved to a point where it was possible for ordinary people to transmit and receive information through networks. The early 1990s followed with the development of the World Wide Web and software designed to navigate it—web browsers. The rich nature of the web with its graphics, flexible presentation options, and open construction made it easy for people to connect, contribute, and benefit. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, software vendors have focused on making connecting to the Internet as simple as possible. They have had a large degree of success. In 2002, the CIA’s The World Factbook estimated 159 million Internet users in the United States alone.

With so many people using the Internet and the technology behind computers still being something of a mystery to most of us, in the past few years, Internet users came under attack. Computers began to slow down and crash. Data was lost or, even worse, stolen. The web experience began to degrade as more and more sites began showing popup windows with advertising. Junk email was on the rise. It became harder andharder to get value out of the Internet when much of people’s time was spent dealing with this new generation of digital annoyances. The situation was in part due to the open design of the underlying systems—Microsoft Internet Explorer and Outlook/Outlook Express were never intended to be exploited in such ways, in part due to tricks of social engineering and in part due to flaws in the Internet software most people used. Microsoft had won market dominance after several years of fiercely competitive battle with Netscape Communications Corporation and ended up distributing its software to every user of Microsoft Windows, in effect becoming the portal to the Internet for most people.

Microsoft designed Internet Explorer to be a developer’s paradise, an extensive programming API that allowed for rich content and add-ons to be effortlessly deployed to thousands of users. With the flexibility came a price, however—it was not long before individuals sought to capitalize on users’ lack of understanding to foist “spyware” software onto their machines: key loggers, data grabbers, popup ad generators, viruses, and other deviants. Microsoft Outlook suffered a similar set of problems whereby users could inadvertently run malicious programs attached to unsolicited email.

One of Netscape’s last great acts was to open its client development process with the creation of mozilla.org in 1998—the source code of its web browser and email reader would be opened for all to read, understand, and contribute to. Two and a half years after the source release in November of 2000, Netscape released Netscape 6.0 based on the results of this effort to date. The product was exceptionally buggy, slow, and laden with misguided attempts to make a quick buck from browser users. It was a product marketing disaster, and much of the remaining user base abandoned Netscape for Internet Explorer. But the core was solid, and Netscape and the open source community continued to develop the browser over the following years, improving the performance, stability, and features. Security was always important to Netscape and its customers, so the software was designed with a more restrictive view of how content should be handled.

Eventually, a group of us who had worked for Netscape during the 6.0 development cycle and some others from the Mozilla community decided that the secret to better success in the marketplace was better presentation—more of a focus on relating to the user, more focus on simplicity of purpose, and then selling the resulting software on those strengths first to a technically adept set of early adopters and then to the world as a whole. It was this set of ideals that led to the formation of the Firefox browser project, initially known as Phoenix and Firebird and the Thunderbird Email project.

By staying true to these principles, the relentless pursuit of perfection in the details of user conversion, and optimizing common tasks such as searching for and managing information while staying true to some of the original design philosophies of Mozilla and Netscape software, we have created a useful tool that is also remarkably successful at keeping much of today’s Internet nastiness at bay.

That said, no software is perfect, and, as I have said, many exploits are cunning tricks of social engineering. What is really called for is an increased awareness from people as to what’s going on when they browse the web. We’ve tried to make increased awareness easier in Firefox and Thunderbird, and we will continue to develop them to better alert you when we think you might be going down an undesirable path. But fundamentally, the more you know about the way your software and the Internet works, the safer you’ll be from exploitation.

This book should give you a better understanding of what makes Firefox and Thunderbird tick, how to get the most out of them so that you get the most out of the Internet, and how to stay safe when you’re online. I hope you enjoy your Internet experience with Mozilla software. Stay safe out there.

—Ben Goodger, Lead Engineer, Firefox Project

Meet the Author

About the Authors

Chris Hofmann is Director of Engineering at the Mozilla Foundation. For eight years, he worked at Netscape and was involved in every Netscape and Mozilla Browser release since Netscape 3.01. In August 2003 he was hired as the first employee at the Mozilla Foundation and spent the first 18 months in startup mode, working with the small team that has been successful in getting the Mozilla Foundation off the ground and running as a independent and self-sustaining organization and continuing to organize the work of thousands of open source contributors to make great Internet software. In 2004, he contributed a wide variety of management efforts that led to the worldwide release of Firefox 1.0 in November, and is helping to fulfill the Mozilla Foundation's goal of continuing to support open web standards and provide innovation and choice for Internet client software.

Marcia Knous is a Project Manager at the Mozilla Foundation and has been working with the Mozilla Project for five years. She is involved with both the Firefox and Thunderbird projects. In the freelance realm, she is a frequent contributor to a number of online websites, including http://www.fanstop.com, where she writes a weekly NFL column called Monday Night Musings. In addition, she has written dozens of online articles about the historical contributions women have made to the world of sports. Marcia has a Masters in Cinema-Television and enjoys working on films in her spare time. She recently wrapped up cinematography on the documentary Common Hours. Born and raised in the splendid confines of New England, Marcia now resides in the Bay Area.

John Hedtke has written 24 books, close to 100 magazine articles, and hundreds of manuals and online help systems for all kinds of technical and non-technical documentation for all levels of readers. John owns and operates a company that provides writing, consulting, and training services to private and government clients in all fields. He also speaks to professional groups all over the world on subjects such as career planning, time management, and writing books and magazine articles. John is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication. In his spare time, John writes buttons for a button company in California, donates blood, and sings and plays banjo and guitar (something he's been doing since 1971). He says he gets a lot of requests when he plays the banjo, but he goes ahead and plays it anyhow. A long-time resident of Seattle, John now lives in Eugene, OR, with his amazingly patient wife, Marilyn, where they share four cats. He can be reached through his website, http://www.hedtke.com.

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Firefox and Thunderbird Garage (Garage Series) 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book is not for beginners. It is assumed that you are somewhat familiar with both Firefox and Thunderbird. It is written in a manner of a bunch of 'Mozilla-ites' sitting around having a brewsky and everyone is discussing their favorite little 'how to' tips, or slipping short snippets of things they remember about both programs. They saved a lot of money on printing ink by making the text small and very light. The text in the orange background sidebars is difficult to read and the headers in the sidebars are 'garage shop' stylish but that really means hard to read. Beginners: Stay away, this book will make you want to discard the Firefox-Thunderbird idea and go to Opera or some other browser.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well, that did not take long. Firefox was released just a brief time ago and here is a book to help explain why you might adopt it as your browser. The chapters reflect the current concerns of many. Immediately after an introductory chapter, there is one for guarding your privacy. Firefox comes replete with strong measures for its password manager and has detailed cookie control. Even nicer is a way to stomp popups and for blocking images. The book also offers help with blogging. Though perhaps this may not be all to the good for some of you, if you already spend too much time reading or writing them. As for the companion topic of Thunderbird - it seems intriguing. Its best feature might simply be its coordinated integration with Firefox. But without the latter, I couldn't discern much advantage beyond whatever mail client you are currently using. The functional space of mail clients has seen relatively little innovation in recent years. Most clients have comparable functionality and Thunderbird by itself seems likewise.