One Year and 100 Million Downloads Later, Firefox

By Thomas Rutter
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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.

We teamed up with SiteGround
To bring you the latest from the web and tried-and-true hosting, recommended for designers and developers. SitePoint Readers Get Up To 65% OFF Now
  • Lira


    I can’t believe it’s been just a year though… I got so used to it that I could’ve sworn I had been using it for a lot longer than that.

  • Chris

    it’s been a year for mainstream Firefox but almost 3 for me.

    I love this software, it really is the best web browser for Windows.

  • The update system to the latest RC didn’t work for me. I was stuck at beta 2 :(

  • kris

    I support firfox and try to use it as much as possbble, but i hope they will reduce it’s start up time, it takes too long!

  • As Chris said it’s hands down the best browser for the moment, only Opera 8 comes near but personally i think opera is a little too bulky and overwhelming. The 1.5 release of firefox is alot faster too. Thumbs up ff, onward to the 2 year celebration and 50% marketshare :)

  • kris

    Something cool to be added to firefox is a fouth button on the top right coner for closing all tabs at once, instead of getting the confirmation box.

  • Dr Livingston

    lets hope microsoft are watching the download meter increase ever more at the same rate of knots ;)

    if this isn’t a frightening prospect for microsoft then i don’t know what is… if anything the number of downloads in such a small time frame speaks volumes.

    are microsoft asking why firefox has took off i wonder?

  • jpatterson

    I definately agree, Firefox is by far the best browser for Windows, and deserves to take over much of Internet Explorer’s market share!

    Kris, if you don’t want to see the confirmation messages every time you close multiple tabs, just go to Tools -> Options -> Tabs and deselect “Warn when closing multiple tabs”. Hope that helps?

  • 100 million downloads is nice, but the real indication of how much of an impact Firefox has had is that Microsoft is working on IE 7.

    One year ago, IE was dead. Version 6 was it — deal with it. Bugs? Code around them. Missing features? Too bad. Slow performance? Get a faster ISP.

    Now suddenly IE is undergoing major changes — playing catch up.

    Thanks Firefox! No matter which browser ultimately “wins”, we can hopefully look back and say that you made all of our lives better.

  • Fenrir2

    Firefox has many cool features, but I use Opera because it loads much faster. I still miss the web developer toobar however…

  • Dr Livingston

    opera loads faster i suppose but not when we are talking about TABLEs for example.

    the forums here on sitepoint are one example – the page loads in quick but the browser is playing catch up building up the page which in my view is ugly.

    on the other hand, firefox et al are slightly slower – in a few seconds more than opera – but the page is there for you, there is no catch up.

    it is a lot worse in opera with dial up btw…

  • nemanja_nq

    FF & web developer toobar = rules !

  • kris

    Thanks jpatterson for your comment, i do know about that option, but best of both worlds would be to have an additional button to close all tabs, so you only click on that when you are sure, but if you click the normal one by mistake then you get the warning. Does it make sense to you? It does to me.