In its first year of official release it has enjoyed more than 100 million downloads (check out the celebratory photo gallery) and is now tipped to have reached 10% market share (see Asa Dotzler’s excellent blog).
One year after releasing 1.0, version 1.5 is just around the corner, with the second release candidate build available for download now. I have been following the patches and submitting bugs for a year now, and am very proud that some bugs I reported have been fixed in the upcoming version. Submitting bug reports to the Mozilla crew has been an impressively positive and rewarding experience, due to its supportive community and team of developers and patchers.
One of the most exciting, to me, updates in Firefox 1.5 will be its incremental updates system. Updates can be downloaded automatically in the background, and installed the next time the browser restarts. What’s more, the updates are incremental – no more downloading the entire 6 MB each time a minor update is released.
If you decide to go download and install a release candidate build of Firefox, you may need to upgrade some or most of your extensions manually, and you may find that some extensions do not have updated versions available. Extension authors are being encouraged to upgrade their extensions based on the new release candidates in time for the 1.5 release.
SitePoint’s book Firefox Secrets, which is a complete guide to using, personalising and tweaking Firefox, also contains information on a lot of the new features of Firefox 1.5 (called Firefox 1.1 at the time the book was published), such as the new, simplified options panel. Selected chapters from the book are available for free online.
Next step for me? Maybe I’ll have a go at writing a Firefox extension one of these days. Maybe I could get more stuck into XUL and try my hand at submitting a patch.