October 19, 2005 6:20 PM PDT

Firefox sees 100 millionth download

Just shy of Firefox's first birthday party, the Mozilla Foundation celebrated the 100 millionth download of its Web browser Wednesday.

Mozilla has seen steady adoption of its browser since its release last November. After a somewhat higher download rate immediately following its release, the browser has settled into between 200,000 and 300,000 downloads a day, said Asa Dotzler, the Mozilla liaison to the SpreadFirefox community.

"This is a great milestone. Our massive, worldwide community of grassroots marketers and users--not to mention the developers--have helped to put out a product that's really kicking butt," he said.

Firefox has enjoyed an enthusiastic user base the likes of which few companies in the tech industry experience. Thousands of volunteers help spread the word about the browser, participate in free support forums and discussion lists, and scour its code for flaws.

But the browser hasn't been without its problems. The number of reported security holes in Firefox continues to grow, and Symantec recently released a hotly contested report claiming that Mozilla browsers saw more reported vulnerabilities than Microsoft's Internet Explorer in the first half of 2005. In what could be construed as a shift in attitude toward the browser, its marketing Web site, SpreadFirefox.com, was brought down by hackers just last week.

However, the open nature of the Mozilla browsers allows the group to respond to new security threats quickly, and these developments haven't stunted adoption. If anything, Dotzler said, the company has seen a slight uptick in the past two months, which he attributed to new interest in other browsers and a renewed buzz surrounding the upcoming Firefox 1.5 release. If announcements of new security issues affected consumer adoption, it did so in both directions, Dotzler said. "When there's good press or bad press, people look at their overall browsing experience and look at ways to improve it, which can open them up to new browsers."

News of the milestone came on the same day that Netscape released an updated version of its browser, which is based on Firefox software and includes all patches that have been put forth to address security holes to date. Netscape recently made inroads in the browser war with a landmark deal in which Hewlett-Packard agreed to ship its consumer PCs and notebooks loaded with the browser.

While Internet Explorer is still the clear leader in the battle of the browsers, Firefox didn't get to enjoy its underdog status for long. Opera is gunning for Firefox's second-place seat, releasing an ad-free version of its free Web browser last month. The company said its download rate has quadrupled as a result.

But competition hasn't dampened the celebratory spirit among Firefox's users. For the 50 millionth download, a group at Oregon State University marked the occasion by painting a 30-foot Firefox logo on the school's quad under the cover of night. In honor of the 100 millionth milestone, they are reportedly planning to launch a weather balloon called Firefox 1. SpreadFirefox.com hosted a contest to see who could guess the exact minute that the 100 millionth download would take place. The site is also hosting a page featuring photos of users in front of the site's celebration page.

And as Dotzler said, Wednesday is a day of celebration. On Thursday, they'll get back to work on version 1.5, the first release of which should ship in about two weeks.

32 comments

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100 MILLION, thats a lot
I'm actually very impressed, I switched when it was around 25 million downloads, and it seemed not too long ago. If it keeps spreading at this rate, in a few years I think it will be up there with IE. But Internet Explorer would always have the advantage of being built into Microsoft Operating systems. That's the only reason its popular. You never seen anyone switching to IE because they want a good browser.
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<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.Remove-All-Spyware.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.Remove-All-Spyware.com/</a>
Posted by Roman12 (214 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I Keep Three Browsers On My PCs
I am impressed with Firefox, but I have switched to the free version of Opera as the browser I use most often. There are fewer chances of getting infested with malware using Opera since it is not wildly popular. The old IE6 also has a cherished place on my HDD. Just keep it updated, but don't use it much. Nevertheless, the 100 million mark is impressive - it will also entice hackers, jackers and crackers to exploit its flaws, just like with IE.
Posted by Des Alba (68 comments )
Link Flag
Agreed
Firefox is a browser which has, since day one, reaped the benefits of the OpenSource Community. People who find a program like Dreamweaver don't go tell all their friends about it when they see those friends using Frontpage. People who use Firefox practically pounce on folks who use Internet Exploere at every given chance. That's the nature of opensource - it's the mantality of "If you have 2 things, and both are free but one is better, are you not a lunatick to get the better one?"

This said, I'm a web designer. Firefox is both a dream come true and a curse of the demons for me. I've found that Firefox being fully standards compliant is great. I've also found that Internet Explorer not being fully Standards Compliant stinks.

In the Longhorn 5058 Beta which has IE 7, I've also found that their standards compliance gets worse, not better.

Long story short, if web designers want to make their job easier, they should do what I do - block internet explorer alltogether. Necessity is the mother of innovation. If people are forced to move to Firefox, between that and their friends egging them on, then I could easily see Mozilla holding 35% of the market a year from now.

One other small note: I alone accounted for over 130 Firefox downloads. Sadly, 100 million downloads doesn't mean 100 million users.

That plus I personally use Maxthon :P
Posted by mcadoar (14 comments )
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Maxthon
Not too nitpick but Maxthon is not a browser. It is a rather brave attempt to polish the turd known as IE.

I agree the download numbers are meaningless, but still a fun thing to keep track of.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Link Flag
Wait...What??!
You use Maxthon but block Internet Explorer users from viewing your websites? Why? I've managed to keep a highly functional website that works and looks great on Firefox, IE, and Opera it's not that hard. I may have to leave out some very minor features, but I can't leave out the IE users because most of the visitors to my site use IE, but I'm not going to use features that the Firefox users can't enjoy, if I did, I would be no better than Microsoft.
Posted by PCCRomeo (432 comments )
Link Flag
Meaningless numbers
Everytime there's a patch release you have to download, so divide this number by 3 (at least) to estimate installations. What counts is usage and that's about 8% of machines on the internet.
Posted by Betty Roper (121 comments )
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Usage
Even the usage numbers are not very accurate. If you have some sites that you use to measure and use ActiveX garbage that tilts the measurement.

If you collect from websites that technically ignorant people mainly go to, that tilts it towards IE.

If you collect from nerdy websites, open source browser will get a boost.

There is no accurate way to measure market share of browsers and even operating systems. The number of mass marketed PC's that are forced to carry windows get counted as windows, even though many will get the POS OS wiped off its hard drive.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Link Flag
then times that by 300
As a network admin for the State of Alaska, I download a new version of Firefox maybe once a month, then using patch management software (Update Expert) install it onto about 300 computers.

My fellow admins working in other departments do the same.

So while we have only downloaded about 30-50 copies a month, it has been installed on around 10,000 workstations - not including laptops for travelling engineers or those used by the State Legislature.
Posted by ajbright (447 comments )
Link Flag
Updates don't count...
Anyone should know that updates and upgrades do not count as long as you do it through the Firefox update. Duh!!!
Posted by PCCRomeo (432 comments )
Link Flag
I did my bit!
I've lost count of the number of times I've changed computers at my workplace...and one of the first things I do each time is to download Firefox. I simply love it. IE stumbles often...but Firefox works like a dream. In fact, I've shifted to a new desktop today and...guess what, I downloaded Firefox immediately; and I'm sending this message thru it! I wish Firefox all the success it richly deserves!
Posted by deepanjan_nag (23 comments )
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Me Too!
I downloaded it 1,000 times and then deleted it. Hope I'm not screwing up the metrics....

number of downloads..... useless numbers.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Congratulations :)
Hope many people use it. I hope the Firefox development team can update the browser as soon as possible exploits are verified. Keep up the great work :)
Posted by wakizaki (44 comments )
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Get over it
Its a browser......get over it. News.com promotes Firfox more than anyone.

IE works fine for 90+% of people just have autoupdate on and your good to go.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Lot's of people have gotten over it.
Just have autoupdate on and your good to go get a patch that screws up your system!
Posted by J_Satch (571 comments )
Link Flag
Why not?
Why are people like you so resistant to try something like Firefox? Do you really think a huge corporation like Microsoft is more deserving of your attention than a more public project like Mozilla's? It seems like too many people support the status quo for no reason and the users end up suffering when there's no room for competing projects to compete.
Posted by bartszyszka (69 comments )
Link Flag
Dummies us Auto Update...
Microsoft releases thes 2-bit patches that just screw up something else and cause more problems. I don't update Windows because I don't use IE and I like keeping my PC functional ;-)
Posted by PCCRomeo (432 comments )
Link Flag
Technical folks use Firefox
I have noticed that most of the "technical" people out there use Firefox. I'm sure you've heard the TWIT podcast - just about everybody in-the-loop are using Firefox.

I like the tabbed browsing and the RSS support.
Posted by Arbalest05 (83 comments )
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No we don't!
Firefox has had more critical security problems than any other browser in the last year. It requires closer association with your customers to maintain security. I maintain that a properly locked down version of IE is more secure than Firefox, Opera or others and crashes the system less. I don't recommend Firefox to anyone anymore, because I can't count on people to install updates downloaded automatically in the background with a prompt to install them when convienient,let alone install critical updates that do not do this. When Firefox downloads hickory baseball bats and whacks everyone in the head everytime they use it, I'll recommend it.
Posted by Muddleme (99 comments )
Link Flag
Rubbish
you say most technical people use firefox but thats just not true. technically, 90% of internet users browse with IE and fewer than 10 percent browse with firefox and I assure you that they are all technically considered people, yes even the spotty teenager across the street from you who is using IE is technically considered to be a person.

Secondly if you are trying to imply that most technically inclined people use firefox then you are sadly mistaken. I have been using internet explorer for years without suffering any errors or viruses, I switched to firefox and then back again because it was just not as good as IE and when I uninstalled it I could not use IE because it had screwed up my file extensions. After a while digging through the windows registry, I ended up back with IE a superior browser.

We will discover the security or lack of it in firefox when it becomes popular enough to compete with IE.
Posted by nickbyfleet (21 comments )
Link Flag
Divide by 5 and you have real number
I personally have downloaded the program's various versions at least 3 times each. Mostly due to the fact that my machines don't like the browser. It goes into a refresh loop on one of my machines, renders terrible on another and is fine on my laptop. That is, what, 12 downloads for me alone? Not to mention the times I redownloaded the same version to try again with the install.

It is still a young browser. I am trying to use it but will wait until it is seasoned before I try to use it again. Using Netscape and IE for now. They haven't given me any trouble. I might give Opera a try since it is ad free now.
Posted by hs4u (1 comment )
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