April 29, 2005 3:31 PM PDT

Firefox passes 50 million download mark

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November 9, 2004
The Mozilla Foundation's Firefox Web browser passed a significant milestone in adoption on Friday, with more than 50 million copies of the program downloaded, according to its distributors.

To commemorate the moment, the foundation said on its Web site that it would create 50 limited-edition coins, to be distributed to people with stories of spreading the browser online. An additional, a still-unnamed prize will be given to the owner of the Web site responsible for the 50 millionth download.

"It's funny how the counter just blows by 50 million without a care in the world, isn't it?" Mozilla developer Blake Ross wrote on the foundation's Web site. "But it's not just a number to us. It's a validation of half a decade of work, and the beginning of half a decade more."

With its first full-fledged release last November, Firefox has shaken up a Web browser market that most analysts had deemed almost wholly mature. For the first time in years, the market share of Microsoft's Internet Explorer has begun inching downwards as Firefox adoption rises.

Much of the interest in Firefox has been driven by repeated security holes found in Internet Explorer. Some prominent security researchers have even recommended against using IE if possible, a criticism that has stung in Microsoft executive suites.

Indeed, after years of saying that Internet Explorer was inextricably tied to new releases of Windows, Microsoft executives said in February that they would release a new version of IE before the due date of Longhorn, the next planned operating system release. That new version would focus on creating a secure browsing environment, the company said.

However, Firefox itself has begun to show the wear of popularity, with the emergence of several critical security flaws over the past few months. Open-source developers have contended that the browser's architecture is still safer than IE, however.

94 comments

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It's not all about security
Well, while security is really an important matter but it is also important to have a browser which supports standards, actively developed and easy to customize. Open source software will never die as far as users feel the need. It is so powerful that it can even drive other companies to listen to the users and not just do what they want to do. That is were security fits too if looking in the correct direction: it is not that hard to imagine an open-source project to redesign the whole code if needed, but it is totally a fiction for big companies to do that. These are just some of the reasons why I believe Firefox is the best browser around.
Posted by pooyak (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
true
besides even with the security holes, which get fixed within weeks, it is still more secure than IE. after all, everything that is wrong with firefox is multiplied 1000x in IE. go with the Fox
Posted by Scott W (419 comments )
Link Flag
Very Insightful
I'm amused, and a little frustrated, that every article I see about Firefox seems to be about its security, as if that is the one and only advantage Firefox has over IE. Although security is important, it is not the primary reason I use Firefox. In the real world, I think that most people feel the same. After all, it obviously didn't keep me and the vast majority of people browsing the Web from using IE before, did it?

I use Firefox because of the features. My personal favorite is the numerous extensions that one can optionally load for added functionality. Right now, I'm running the extensions BugMeNot, ImageZoom, Adblock (of course!), SwitchProxy, Copy Plain Text, Flashblock, and Diggler. These functionalities shouldn't be built into a browser, because not everyone wants or needs them. However, each one gives me another reason to use Firefox instead of IE.

Everyone I know who has tried Firefox (and I tell LOTS of people to try it) has loved it and, given the choice, continues to use it. Most of these people are people like my dad and my sister, who really don't care at all about the security features of Firefox.

I do use some open source software and consider myself an advocate, but I'm not a fanboy. I just want the best software for the job at hand, and when it comes to browsing the Web, Firefox is it, plain and simple.
Posted by (11 comments )
Link Flag
Security is #1
Yes, FF is far better then IE for many reasons. But, security is the most important thing for any piece of software. It doesn't even matter if that software never connects to the internet. It could be a game, spreadsheet, browser, chat client, whatever, if it is not secure, it does not matter how many bells and whistles it has, it is not ready for use.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Link Flag
It's not all about security
Well, while security is really an important matter but it is also important to have a browser which supports standards, actively developed and easy to customize. Open source software will never die as far as users feel the need. It is so powerful that it can even drive other companies to listen to the users and not just do what they want to do. That is were security fits too if looking in the correct direction: it is not that hard to imagine an open-source project to redesign the whole code if needed, but it is totally a fiction for big companies to do that. These are just some of the reasons why I believe Firefox is the best browser around.
Posted by pooyak (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
true
besides even with the security holes, which get fixed within weeks, it is still more secure than IE. after all, everything that is wrong with firefox is multiplied 1000x in IE. go with the Fox
Posted by Scott W (419 comments )
Link Flag
Very Insightful
I'm amused, and a little frustrated, that every article I see about Firefox seems to be about its security, as if that is the one and only advantage Firefox has over IE. Although security is important, it is not the primary reason I use Firefox. In the real world, I think that most people feel the same. After all, it obviously didn't keep me and the vast majority of people browsing the Web from using IE before, did it?

I use Firefox because of the features. My personal favorite is the numerous extensions that one can optionally load for added functionality. Right now, I'm running the extensions BugMeNot, ImageZoom, Adblock (of course!), SwitchProxy, Copy Plain Text, Flashblock, and Diggler. These functionalities shouldn't be built into a browser, because not everyone wants or needs them. However, each one gives me another reason to use Firefox instead of IE.

Everyone I know who has tried Firefox (and I tell LOTS of people to try it) has loved it and, given the choice, continues to use it. Most of these people are people like my dad and my sister, who really don't care at all about the security features of Firefox.

I do use some open source software and consider myself an advocate, but I'm not a fanboy. I just want the best software for the job at hand, and when it comes to browsing the Web, Firefox is it, plain and simple.
Posted by (11 comments )
Link Flag
Security is #1
Yes, FF is far better then IE for many reasons. But, security is the most important thing for any piece of software. It doesn't even matter if that software never connects to the internet. It could be a game, spreadsheet, browser, chat client, whatever, if it is not secure, it does not matter how many bells and whistles it has, it is not ready for use.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Link Flag
Firefox is simply the best
I'm glad I switched from old Internet Explorer to Firefox. I have much less problems now, in fact almost none. It also displays pages faster and more correctly. I also like all the extra features and better security. And it is also translated into my mother language. Firefox is simply the best web browser and I'm not going back to obsolete IE.
Posted by JLP (38 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Safari is the best
It's even better than FireFox :)
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Link Flag
Firefox is simply the best
I'm glad I switched from old Internet Explorer to Firefox. I have much less problems now, in fact almost none. It also displays pages faster and more correctly. I also like all the extra features and better security. And it is also translated into my mother language. Firefox is simply the best web browser and I'm not going back to obsolete IE.
Posted by JLP (38 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Safari is the best
It's even better than FireFox :)
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Link Flag
It is a fun browser to use, and you...
....don't have to sware loyalty to Redmond each time you load it.

It has a near cult-like popularity that goes beyond simply looking at web sites.

Right now, as I'm a Firefox user, I can tell that it will be cloudy with rain later today, the national terrorist threat level is Yellow-Elevated, and Abe Vigoda is still alive. Plus I have a custome skin, and six other windows open in tabs.

The other cool part is that when I load some software and such, all the bloatware spy features load into IE, and leave my Firefox alone! :)

NWLB
****
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.NWLB.net" target="_newWindow">http://www.NWLB.net</a>
Posted by NWLB (326 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You swear loyalty to Open Source Fanatics
And you said you love ForeFox, uh? :)
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Link Flag
It is a fun browser to use, and you...
....don't have to sware loyalty to Redmond each time you load it.

It has a near cult-like popularity that goes beyond simply looking at web sites.

Right now, as I'm a Firefox user, I can tell that it will be cloudy with rain later today, the national terrorist threat level is Yellow-Elevated, and Abe Vigoda is still alive. Plus I have a custome skin, and six other windows open in tabs.

The other cool part is that when I load some software and such, all the bloatware spy features load into IE, and leave my Firefox alone! :)

NWLB
****
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.NWLB.net" target="_newWindow">http://www.NWLB.net</a>
Posted by NWLB (326 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You swear loyalty to Open Source Fanatics
And you said you love ForeFox, uh? :)
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Link Flag
FireFox is Safer
First, the security issues with Firefox are NOT real, just potential problems. No actual exploit exists. Unlike Microsoft, Mozilla fixes the problem before they become an issue.

Secondly, I have used FireFox for at least six months and I have had no adware,spyware or browser Hijack since then. IT IS SAFER!
Posted by Classic Software (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"Potential" Problems?
I see, so potential problems are not problems. This is interesting. So Ford can simply say "Pinto has potential problems so that's not our fault and we don't need to fix it or be responsible for it"? Give me a break :)
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Link Flag
FireFox is Safer
First, the security issues with Firefox are NOT real, just potential problems. No actual exploit exists. Unlike Microsoft, Mozilla fixes the problem before they become an issue.

Secondly, I have used FireFox for at least six months and I have had no adware,spyware or browser Hijack since then. IT IS SAFER!
Posted by Classic Software (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"Potential" Problems?
I see, so potential problems are not problems. This is interesting. So Ford can simply say "Pinto has potential problems so that's not our fault and we don't need to fix it or be responsible for it"? Give me a break :)
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Link Flag
Now, if I could just....
.... totally eliminate IE/OE from my PC's - termination with extreme
prejudice, as the CIA says in the movies. I know I can't remove the
code, MS hid half of the criticalt Windows code in IE/OE. But Iwould
settle for making IE/OE impossible to run under any circumstance.

Or maybe someone can tell me how to keep XP from reloading the
files I just put in the trash?
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IE in trash
Remove ms windows and install your choice of linux and do some research.
Posted by Willy Wonker (73 comments )
Link Flag
You still need it...
...for things like windows update. Just get rid of the shortcuts and you'll never notice it. IE isn't a danger if you don't use it : )
Posted by Michael Grogan (308 comments )
Link Flag
Now, if I could just....
.... totally eliminate IE/OE from my PC's - termination with extreme
prejudice, as the CIA says in the movies. I know I can't remove the
code, MS hid half of the criticalt Windows code in IE/OE. But Iwould
settle for making IE/OE impossible to run under any circumstance.

Or maybe someone can tell me how to keep XP from reloading the
files I just put in the trash?
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IE in trash
Remove ms windows and install your choice of linux and do some research.
Posted by Willy Wonker (73 comments )
Link Flag
You still need it...
...for things like windows update. Just get rid of the shortcuts and you'll never notice it. IE isn't a danger if you don't use it : )
Posted by Michael Grogan (308 comments )
Link Flag
Not again
# of downloads make no sense at all, I think some people just don't get it :)
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'd explain it...
... but that would just be a waaste of time.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
What don't you get?
That FF is gaining traction, and becoming more popular?

That FF is leaps and bounds safer then IE?

That FF is more standards compliant, thus makes web design, faster and cheaper?
Posted by pcLoadLetter (395 comments )
Link Flag
I agree
I use Firefox at work and home, but the number of downloads is kind of pointless to me. I have downloaded it myself at the very least 30 times for various reasons. I suppose it shows that people are downloading it, but it doesn't show how many are still using it. Or how many are point update downloads.

I did take the advice of one poster on these forums about looking at the security of Firefox, IE, and Opera over at <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://secunia.com/" target="_newWindow">http://secunia.com/</a> . The one think I found amusing was that it killed their argument. I suggest everyone go and check it out.

Changing gears a bit here. I happen to agree that the browser shouldn't be an integrated part of the OS. Any thing that browses the web shouldn't have that much access to your files. To me it doesn't matter if it's Linux, Windows, or Mac OS. In my opinion the OS should be your first line of defence against attacks that come from the network or drives. Antivirus and Firewall software should be your second line of defence and the user should be the third line of defence.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
But it's a metric that people understand
There's also a market-share metric based on the reported browser visiting various sites but that metric is also flawed since it may be skewed to the preference communicated among the measured website's audience.

The key is to understand the flaws of whatever measurement you're looking at since it's impossible to get a completely accurate measurement.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
AGREED
Number of downloads is bragging rights that hide actual success. According to Janco, FireFox today has lower adoption than Mozilla did in 2001-2003. And IE has a larger user base than it did during the same years. So, what the acutal usage reports show, is that FireFox is not competing against IE as well today as Mozilla did from 2001-2003. Once FireFox can demonstrate the same kind of success as the early Mozilla versions did, these claims of overwhelming adoption rates and the "end of IE" may... no... wait... they still won't be anywhere near accurate.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Not again
# of downloads make no sense at all, I think some people just don't get it :)
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'd explain it...
... but that would just be a waaste of time.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
What don't you get?
That FF is gaining traction, and becoming more popular?

That FF is leaps and bounds safer then IE?

That FF is more standards compliant, thus makes web design, faster and cheaper?
Posted by pcLoadLetter (395 comments )
Link Flag
I agree
I use Firefox at work and home, but the number of downloads is kind of pointless to me. I have downloaded it myself at the very least 30 times for various reasons. I suppose it shows that people are downloading it, but it doesn't show how many are still using it. Or how many are point update downloads.

I did take the advice of one poster on these forums about looking at the security of Firefox, IE, and Opera over at <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://secunia.com/" target="_newWindow">http://secunia.com/</a> . The one think I found amusing was that it killed their argument. I suggest everyone go and check it out.

Changing gears a bit here. I happen to agree that the browser shouldn't be an integrated part of the OS. Any thing that browses the web shouldn't have that much access to your files. To me it doesn't matter if it's Linux, Windows, or Mac OS. In my opinion the OS should be your first line of defence against attacks that come from the network or drives. Antivirus and Firewall software should be your second line of defence and the user should be the third line of defence.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
But it's a metric that people understand
There's also a market-share metric based on the reported browser visiting various sites but that metric is also flawed since it may be skewed to the preference communicated among the measured website's audience.

The key is to understand the flaws of whatever measurement you're looking at since it's impossible to get a completely accurate measurement.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
AGREED
Number of downloads is bragging rights that hide actual success. According to Janco, FireFox today has lower adoption than Mozilla did in 2001-2003. And IE has a larger user base than it did during the same years. So, what the acutal usage reports show, is that FireFox is not competing against IE as well today as Mozilla did from 2001-2003. Once FireFox can demonstrate the same kind of success as the early Mozilla versions did, these claims of overwhelming adoption rates and the "end of IE" may... no... wait... they still won't be anywhere near accurate.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
CNet won't get off the "security flaws"...
Which were patched before CNet even wrote one word about them.

At least this isn't a mainstream site, so the general public won't be harmed by the irresponsible reporting.
Posted by M C (598 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Security Nagging
Nagging about security is the tactic of the Anti-MS movement that includes many of the people and writers for News.com. It is also a legitimate gripe about software in general. Every browser and platform has security issues, and it only takes a single security breach to do real damage. If your system has just 1 hole, it is vulnerable, and no amount of finger-pointing makes you any safer or more at-risk than the next guy running a different OS. CNet likes to beat the security drum because it calls out all the Anti-MS people who post replies and keep the site popular. Everybody should be working on security issues. Nobody is immune to software flaws that create security problems.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
CNet won't get off the "security flaws"...
Which were patched before CNet even wrote one word about them.

At least this isn't a mainstream site, so the general public won't be harmed by the irresponsible reporting.
Posted by M C (598 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Security Nagging
Nagging about security is the tactic of the Anti-MS movement that includes many of the people and writers for News.com. It is also a legitimate gripe about software in general. Every browser and platform has security issues, and it only takes a single security breach to do real damage. If your system has just 1 hole, it is vulnerable, and no amount of finger-pointing makes you any safer or more at-risk than the next guy running a different OS. CNet likes to beat the security drum because it calls out all the Anti-MS people who post replies and keep the site popular. Everybody should be working on security issues. Nobody is immune to software flaws that create security problems.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Firefox validates Open Source
the best about Firefox is that it schow that Open Source can not only produce "cheaper" copies of existing software, but that real innovation can be done. And the the underlying "Gecko" could really be a thread to Microsoft Longhorn in the short term. The question is where will Firefox keep innovating if Microsoft fixes its security problems? If you remember MS vs Netscape.... with all due respect IE turned out to be the superior browser at one point... sad bud true...
tim - <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.humano2.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.humano2.com</a>
Posted by edbong (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
FireFox underperforms Mozilla
If FireFox is the shining example, then all hail early Mozilla versions... which competed far better against IE than FireFox can currently manage.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Netscape went downhill drastically when...
...AOL bought it. Commercialization with the attendant advertising garbage crippled it, what else would you expect? Corporate greed ruins everything it touches.
Posted by Michael Grogan (308 comments )
Link Flag
Firefox validates Open Source
the best about Firefox is that it schow that Open Source can not only produce "cheaper" copies of existing software, but that real innovation can be done. And the the underlying "Gecko" could really be a thread to Microsoft Longhorn in the short term. The question is where will Firefox keep innovating if Microsoft fixes its security problems? If you remember MS vs Netscape.... with all due respect IE turned out to be the superior browser at one point... sad bud true...
tim - <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.humano2.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.humano2.com</a>
Posted by edbong (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
FireFox underperforms Mozilla
If FireFox is the shining example, then all hail early Mozilla versions... which competed far better against IE than FireFox can currently manage.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Netscape went downhill drastically when...
...AOL bought it. Commercialization with the attendant advertising garbage crippled it, what else would you expect? Corporate greed ruins everything it touches.
Posted by Michael Grogan (308 comments )
Link Flag
 

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