The Mozilla Corporation has decided this year to put out something called Firefox Campus Edition. What is Firefox Campus Edition? It’s simply the Firefox browser with three extensions already installed: FoxyTunes, Zotero, and StumbleUpon.
So, to me, this seems like just another silly promotional. That’s not to say that it hasn’t been useful. Before this was announced, I did not know about the newest of those three extensions, Zotero, which is also the most useful for college students. It’s a research aid, which allows you to take snapshots of websites and for pages it recognizes as articles, it will note relevant citation information which can then be used to generate citations in a given style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.).
The other two extensions are ones that I don’t use. Foxytunes may be nice if you tend to use the mouse a lot, but I am a laptop user, where using the keyboard is usually more convenient than using a touchpad and a mouse is a hindrance to mobility. I have not yet tried StumbleUpon, but from its description, it sounds like it would be a procrastination aid for me:
Channel surf the internet with the StumbleUpon toolbar to find great websites, videos, photos and more based on your interests. StumbleUpon learns what you like and makes better recommendations.
So, in the end, I think this is mainly intended to get a more featured version of the browser out to college students that don’t know about Firefox’s biggest advantage, which is its extensibility. Without extensions, there is little difference between Firefox and Internet Explorer or Safari, but with the added power of extensions, it gives a far superior browsing experience in my view.
For comparison with Firefox Campus Edition, here is my current list of extentions:
Favicon Picker 2
Find Toolbar Tweaks
Google Toolbar for Firefox (I keep most of the actual toolbar hidden)
Long Titles (Good for reading the alt-text for xkcd comics)
Pearl Crescent Page Saver Basic
Resizable Form Fields
Tab Mix Plus
Most of these (though not Pearl Crescent Page Save, Google Gears, or the Google Toolbar) can be downloaded from Mozilla’s Add-ons page. Not all of these are useful to all people, but that’s the beauty of Firefox extensions: they allow the browser to be customized to the specifications of each specific user.
So, while Firefox Campus Edition may provide extra use for new users who are unfamiliar with Firefox extensions, the true beauty of Firefox’s extensibility doesn’t come out until a user explores and selects extensions for his or herself.
It seems that Mozilla is distributing print-based advertising for their new browser bundle. I found this card in the school mailroom:
Saving 10% at the Mozilla store probably isn’t at the top of the list for college students who are not well acquainted with Firefox, but who knows? They might just get some traffic from this blog.