November 9, 2005 5:00 PM PST

Firefox marks its first year on the Net

Firefox turned 1 year old Wednesday, marking yet another milestone for the popular open-source browser.

Since the debut of Firefox 1.0 last November, users have downloaded 106.4 million copies of the open-source Web browser, according to the Mozilla Foundation, which coordinated the development of Firefox.

And within a span of a year, Firefox has grabbed 8.65 percent of the market and put a dent into Internet Explorer's dominance, according to Web site traffic tracking in October by NetApplications.

"At the launch, we had a million downloads on the first day and have not seen any letup in demand," said Chris Beard, head of marketing and product management for Mozilla Corp.

In the past year, Firefox helped validate the concept of an open-source browser and encourage its use through viral word-by-mouth marketing, he added. And as Firefox enters its second year, several changes are in store.

Earlier this month, the test version of Firefox 1.5 Release Candidate 1 came out, featuring elements such as automatic updates and faster performance when hitting the "forward" and "back" buttons.

The final version of Firefox 1.5 may be ready as early as a few weeks from now, depending on the feedback received from the approximately 500,000 users, who are testing the browser, Beard said.

Firefox, meanwhile, plans to kick off next year with an aggressive product cycle, Beard said.

"In 2006, we plan to adopt a more aggressive product cycle," Beard said. "Firefox 2 will launch in the midpoint of next year and Firefox 3 will be out in the first quarter of 2007."

The ramped up product cycle will be driven, in part, by the acceleration Firefox has seen in Web services.

Firefox also plans to begin the New Year with scheduled security and stability updates every six to eight weeks.

"While we'll move to scheduled updates, we will, however, respond to critical issues as needed outside of the scheduled windows," Beard said.


Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Why do people use FF?
There have been alternative browsers for a decade, why is FF so popular? It's not even that great!

I use Opera, have for a couple years now. It is the most secure, most functional, and fastest browser on the internet.

FF has had more security patches in it's first year than IE had that year. FF requires plugins to do simple things that not only Opera does natively, but some of them even IE does natively!

I don't understand why the hype, it's not as good as alternatives that have been around YEARS before this came out!
Posted by PurePacket (28 comments )
Reply Link Flag
not sure...
I'm not sure... I tried out FF and it was OK, but nothing special.

You can tweak IE so that it is very secure, but the default settings leave a lot to be desired.

I've never had a problem with IE and it can browse all web sites wherease FF can't.

Not sure why it's popular. But I am glad that it is giving MS some competition in the browser market. It shows that you can do well if you don't put your money into lawyers and instead put it into the product.
Posted by DrakeLoneStar (22 comments )
Link Flag
A lot were put off Opera knowing they'd have to pay for it. Yes there may have been a free ad-supported version, but really no one wants that.

Now Opera is free, who knows... maybe their market share will increase. I still don't think it will jump that much though.

I gave Opera a try because it was free. I must say I'm very impressed with its rendering speed. A very smooth ride. However, I also didn't think Opera was all that good either. I spent a long time configuring it, checking out all the options, a lot of which I don't even know/need.

What's more it rendered a lot of sites oddly to be polite. We all know the coded for IE websites, but Opera makes the mistake of trying to be IE. After all that though, Firefox can render more pages correctly than Opera. That's just one of the reasons why Opera hasn't taken off like Firefox.

I guess you could say, why do so many people love iPod? There's plenty better products out there. It's all about branding.
Posted by SmokieUK (39 comments )
Link Flag
My reasons
#1: Free (I liked Opera, but hated the ads, too bad they waited so long to ditch them)

#2: It's fast (may take longer to load than IE, but once loaded, I find it renders pages must faster -- even friends and neighbors that I've converted to FF comment about its speed). I had been trying to use Mozilla (pre-FF versions) but it just seem to be very S L O W.

#3: It's more secure: I don't have to worry as much about vulnerabilities, spyware, pop-ups. etc. When problems are discovered, they're resolved quickly. Nobody that I've converted to Firefox (and used it consistently) has since experienced the problems that prompted them to call me in the first place (I had one lady who admitted she having trouble giving up her blue-e habit).

#4 It works with 99.9% of the websites I use (including all my banking/finance accounts). I'm not sure why so many people have complaints about websites that don't work in Firefox -- maybe they're hitting the obscure ones - I just don't find it happening to me. For those occasional non-standard sites, I simply right-click and activate my 'View in IE' extension.
Posted by zizzybaloobah (218 comments )
Link Flag
Why do people use FF reply
I'll tell you why people use Firefox. They are tired of the security problems with Internet Explorer. They want more control on the browsing experience. FF includes so many little things that IE doesn't have. Tabbed browsing for one. Also, there are virtually dozens of extra extensions that Mozilla calls them to make browsing great. You can customize the browser more to how you want it. It's fast and a simple browser. Opera is a good alternative, however, until recently it used to have a $39.99 price tag to remove the free ad version. Those ads took up a huge area of space when using the browser. Now, Opera has changed that which is a good move on their part. Netscape was a bit bloated with extra garbage and quite chunky. Firefox is a standalone browser and the Mozilla Organization and many testers are doing a great job on it. Security is taken seriously by Mozilla. You have to understand that the more a browser is used, the more exploits people will try to expose. You said FF has had more security flaws than IE in it's first year? But how many of IE's flaws were fixed usually the first time? More importantly, how long did it take to fix them? Mozilla seems to fix flaws in days, not months like Microsoft does with IE. Now that Firefox has made such a big break, holding 8% of the browser market share, Microsoft is starting to take the challenge seriously.

I've used Opera, now the ad-free version, it's a good browser but I don't see anything that it has that Firefox can't have. Mouse gestures you can get in FF as well.

Netscape 7.1 was a good browser or at least from what I have tried. FF is just a standalone browser that is what makes it nice, not too chunky. If you want a suite, you'd be better off going with Mozilla 1.7 or whatever the latest version of that is.

IE so many websites are built around, that's a reason some stuff is all native for it.
Posted by pentium4forever (192 comments )
Link Flag
Why I use Firefox
I had always used IE because frankly I didn't like Mozilla or Netscape. I tried Opera 7.x, but just could get past the interface. Firefox had a nice simple interface and fast page rendering. Security wasn't a big issue for me, but it was nice not to get all those stupid popups.

Since then I have donwloaded Opera 8.x and I use it along side Firefox. They 'cleaned' up the interface and made it a bit simpler. Of course free is always good too. They also support a lot of the W3C recommendation, just like firefox.

My personal opinion these days is you can't go wrong with with Firefox or Opera 8.5. I haven't had any problems with websites in either, except those that rely on activex or those created in frontpage.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
Its all about marketing. They sell their image just better than Opera has. Maybe because they were free from the get-go people just decided to stick it out with something they know will not cause problems in the long run. But anything that creates a hustle over at microsoft is good, knowing that we will get a better product out of them.
Posted by bobj123 (94 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Your right on that, FF has been marketed very well.
Posted by pentium4forever (192 comments )
Link Flag
FireFox has 11.5% Market Share
According to Firefox already has a 11.5% global market share. 14% US penetration.
Posted by a verdade (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
FF will work with just about 98% of sites out there
I would say FF works with 98% of the websites I've visited, it works with my bank site fine. I've also emailed the bank and praised them for it working with FF. LOL.
Posted by pentium4forever (192 comments )
Reply Link Flag

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot



RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.