New browser versions have been released for free public download: Firefox 2.0 today and Internet Explorer 7 last week. You can download the new Internet Explorer here and you can download Firefox here. A lot of people are busily installing these, while other veterans of many new software installations are hanging back, waiting for the first service pack to be released.

I have yet to install either upgrade, but that’s been a "no time" thing. I figure that they have been in public and private beta so long that no real harm can come from upgrading now.

Early commentary has been mixed, but generally positive for both. One long-time Firefox user calls it "a dud" and indicates some should consider switching to the "surprisingly solid IE 7.0." Another ZDNet reviewer reacted to that, saying "Firefox 2 is no dud" and providing a nice brief list of the FF improvements. PC World published a nice, detailed comparison of the two browsers. I think it is fair to note PC World’s characterization that Internet Explorer 7 is "radically different," while Firefox upgrade is a "measured step." IE has added tabbed browsing and RSS newsfeed support. (I’ve told several groups that this may be the trigger that brings RSS into much more common usage. We shall see.)

Both browsers have antiphishing tools and other improved security features.

I think those who choose to wait to upgrade have history and experience on their side. But the best option this time seems to be to go ahead and jump in. Improved security is a good thing and IE users will take a big step forward with new features. One commentator suggests that since you will have to get used to a new Internet Explorer interface anyway, you should just get used to a new Firefox interface. But this is one matter of great public debate where you need not choose a side. Unless you are very short on hard drive space, just install both upgrades. Explore the new features and see what you think. You don’t even have to tell others which one you finally select as your defualt browser.