September 20, 2004 3:47 PM PDT

Firefox beats million-download deadline

With days to spare, the Mozilla Foundation beat its 10-day goal of 1 million Firefox downloads.

Released six days ago, the first preview release of the Firefox 1.0 Web browser passed the million-download mark early in its fifth day, according to the Mozilla Foundation. By Monday afternoon, the download number had swelled to 1.3 million.

"Beaten would be an understatement," said Mozilla spokesman Bart Decrem when asked about the 10-day goal. "I think we're setting new records here in terms of new browser downloads, and it shows that people are ready for an alternative."

An alternative, that is, to Microsoft's dominant Internet Explorer browser. With Microsoft having abandoned development of standalone IE, and with Firefox getting an increasingly warm reception from Web surfers and developers alike, scattered statistics suggest that Firefox may be starting to chip away at IE's market share.

The Mozilla Foundation, spun off from AOL Time Warner last year as a nonprofit, carries on the open-source development work launched in 1998 by Netscape Communications and its Mozilla.org wing. Considered a pioneer in the realm of company-sponsored open-source work, Mozilla nonetheless failed until recently to produce a strong challenger to IE.

While IE's reputation took a beating after a long string of security problems and years without significant feature or standards upgrades, Mozilla put its efforts into designing Firefox as a smaller, faster version of its Mozilla browser. Months before the preview release of version 1.0, Firefox had begun attracting users, prizes and buzz.

Now Mozilla is facing the problems that come with success: handling increased security scrutiny by security experts and malicious hackers, and coping with hundreds of thousands of downloads per day.

Decrem noted that Firefox had achieved its million downloads despite being a preview release. The final Firefox 1.0 is scheduled to be finished this fall.

The browser's pre-release status hasn't hurt recruitment efforts at the Mozilla Foundation's newly launched volunteer marketing site, Spread Firefox. There, more than 7,500 volunteers have signed up since Tuesday's launch, and more than a million and a half people are visiting per day, according to Decrem.

Decrem said the next few days would bring new initiatives that would deploy Spread Firefox volunteers to market Firefox to a broader audience. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the browser has proved popular primarily with early adopters and technology enthusiasts.

11 comments

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Too bad this hype isn't over Opera, instead
Opera is awesome! I love it! The best out there and the Suite of features is awesome!

The keyboard shortcuts, mouse gestures, voice command capability in version 7.60 Preview, etc….. wow!

I'm talking about a sensational suite of browser, email client, newsgroup reading client, RSS newsfeed reader, and IRC Chat client all tied into one tight package that integrates fabulously in a smaller download size than Mozilla Firefox. No reliance on 3rd-party extensions for wonderful functionality, either, in Opera. Thus, no need of worrying about 3rd-party stuff breaking the browser or being incompatible with a particular version of the suite/browser.

39 minutes into the show &#8230; interview with Opera CEO: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.webtalkguys.com/mp3/webtalk-7-3-2004.mp3" target="_newWindow">http://www.webtalkguys.com/mp3/webtalk-7-3-2004.mp3</a>

Also,

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://tntluoma.com/opera/lover/7/" target="_newWindow">http://tntluoma.com/opera/lover/7/</a>
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.opera.com/features/" target="_newWindow">http://www.opera.com/features/</a>
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://nontroppo.org/wiki/WhyOpera" target="_newWindow">http://nontroppo.org/wiki/WhyOpera</a>
Posted by treego (9 comments )
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Reply
39 bucks for Opera or you have to look at an ad every time you use it. I don't care if it is smaller its not worth it for what you get. Any speed increase you get is marginal at best.
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
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FireFox rocks!
The fact that a browser came out that's better than IE is not
surprising. IE is a rotten corpse that hasn't been upgraded in
years. What is surprising is that FireFox is better than Safari on
the Mac.
Posted by macslut (25 comments )
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pre-release
Firefox is still in it's pre-release state and has been for quite a while yet their developers advertise and promote it's use like it's a final releasable product. They've already broken the first rule of software engineering which is to test before release. Unless of course if they intended the world to be their beta testers like Microsoft or are hiding behind the smoke-screen of Beta-status to divert the bad publicity of discovered bugs in a final product, like ICQ.
Posted by nrlz (98 comments )
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Open Source version numbering
Version numbering in the Open Source world is a bit different to the Microsoft world. In the Microsoft world we accept that things won't start working until about Version 4 (only now the version names have changed to years, or non-numeric, we take that as "The 4th release").

In the Open Source world we're still running on a number of tools that are at version 0.9 and have been in use and stable for years. A 0.9 just means "we don't think its quite finished yet so we're not happy to call it 1.0", but a lot of Open Source 0.9s are a lot better than a lot of proprietry 3s and 4s!

I've been using Firefox since about 0.6 or 0.7, and it worked well even at that point in its development cycle.
Posted by Not Bugged (195 comments )
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some observations
Too bad this hype isn't over Opera, instead

Hype is something you do to get people to do something, hype may or may not be true. Reporting that FireFox reached a million downloads is a fact, something that already happened.

pre-release?

Yes its a pre-release, one with more features, fewer bugs and fewer security concerns than IE which in its 6th incarnation.
Posted by Not Bugged (195 comments )
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