A browser is a piece of software that enables you to navigate the World Wide Web on your computer. Many browsers are capable of handling multimedia information, such as sound and video, in addition to traditional graphics and text. There are five main browsers: Internet Explorer®, Netscape Navigator®, Mosaic®, Lynx®, and Opera®, although Internet Explorer is by far the most common, followed by Netscape Navigator. As a result, most Web sites are programmed to look and function best with Internet Explorer or Netscape. Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mosaic and Opera can read both text and graphics, while Lynx is a text-only browser, meaning that commands and Web site addresses can only be entered and manipulated with a keyboard, not a mouse. Mosaic was actually the first browser introduced back in the early 1990’s, but remains used by a small minority of Web surfers. Some browsers, such as Internet Explorer, come bundled with an operating system like Microsoft Windows 95, 98, Millennium Edition, NT, or 2000, while others, such as Netscape, have to be downloaded separately from a Web site. While some browsers are free, others, like Opera, have to be purchased. Most browsers eventually require plug-ins, or software modules that upgrade your browser’s capabilities, which most companies offer for free on their Web site.
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