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Firefox Tops 100 Million Downloads 349

webslash writes "Mozilla's Firefox web browser crossed the 100 million downloads milestone today. Webmasters are adding Firefox download counters on websites to keep track of the downloads in real time. Firefox celebrated 50 million downloads just 6 months back and with the release of Firefox 1.5 Beta 2. Additionally the Firefox 2/3 roadmap also looks promising."
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Firefox Tops 100 Million Downloads

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  • by xmas2003 ( 739875 ) * on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @01:56PM (#13828540) Homepage
    Looking at the browser data for this month so far on the halloween webcam [], there is 64.3% IE, 27.2% Firefox, 2.5% Safari, 1.2% Netscape, 0.8% Mozilla, 0.7% Opera, and the rest misc. - even a handful of hits from WebTV and Firebird.

    In comparison, the 2004 Christmas webcam [] had 67.9% IE, 21.1% Firefox, 2.7% Netscape, 2.7% Safari, 2.4% Mozilla, and 1.6% Opera. Not a lotta change, although one interesting thing is the drop in Mozilla (everyone uses Firefox now?) and Netscape - no surprise on the later.

    This would support some of the press that says Firefox growth is slowing. Having said that, Firefox just ROCKS - really sucks when you can do something cool in HTML/CSS (example :hover) and IE doesn't support it. And obligatory "extensions are cool" too ... GO FIREFOX!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    More sec bugs => more downloads
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Just so you're aware, the download counter doesn't count downloads initiated via "update"...
    • The bugs I had in 1.5b2 are fixed in the nightly builds, so people must reporting them. Glad the whole thing works.
    • Then again, think of it this way:

      More bugs found (who can honestly predict every issue?) = more bugs fixed by (team|community)
      More fixes = more patches released without some stupid schedule

      I think of this more as a way of saying "Go us!" and by 'us', I mean the users, supporters, contributors. We're smarter with our security practices and more active in making a good thing better. Not every FF user fits that mold, but it's more typical than IE. That's worth a little more than bugs in my opinion. Nobody can
    • True. Assuming that every user upgrades for every security vulnerability (not as big an assumption as you might think, bearing in mind that they get notified automatically), and not counting pre 1.0 versions, that "100 million" number gets slashed to 12 million. Still impressive, but these numbers should be taken with a pinch of salt anyway.

  • by sloths ( 909607 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @01:57PM (#13828553)
    What does this have to do with Google?
  • Net Installations (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Vile Slime ( 638816 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @01:57PM (#13828556)

    100 million, billion, jillion, whatever is great. Those numbers can be achieved via the same people downloading multiple releases. But, how many singular installtions are there. Now that would be an interesting statistic.
    • Yes well you also fail to take into consideration IT departments which download once and install multiple times. IT departments have to maintain control over installed software so they just maintain install images and a localized software depository and push it out when it is needed or update that one copy when needed. So the stat is flawed both ways.

      But I would say that I would think it balances out and that this still is probably the best stat we have for judging it's growth. It would be nice to see a gra
    • by nrgy ( 835451 )
      This is exactly why I realy don't pay attention to statistics all that much. For instance when Steve Jobs introduced the iPod Mini he gave a number of total music downloads the iTunes store had done to that date. He then took this number and averaged it to the number of songs downloaded per person. The result which he gave is most likely nowhere near the actual average. The problem with these kind of statistics is they never account for the user reformating windows 10 times in a day "I've done that with
    • I had heard that three Brazilian [] copies have been downloaded!
    • Re:Net Installations (Score:5, Informative)

      by VolciMaster ( 821873 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @02:39PM (#13828987) Homepage
      Updates done from within Firefox don't count against the download count. Additionally, it doesn't track people who may download the installers from mirrors.

      THat being said, I agree that it would be a more helpful stat to know how many unique installed copies there are out there (I've downloaded it multiple times on a couple computers due to reformats).

    • You would have a point if somebody were claiming 100 million installations, which they're not.

      Personally, I tend to prefer relatively simple, objective statistics (like how many downloads were served from some website). What do you propose as a metric? The benchmark of "singular installations" could just as easily be faulted... what about installations on computers nobody uses? What about somebody with 4 computers, should they get 4 "votes"? Or should different installations be weighted by usage, i.e

    • And those numbers can be depressed by people downloading once and installing across an entire computer lab.

      Download numbers are download numbers. They're not pretending that download numbers are usage numbers -- accurate usage numbers are hard to get, and patterns vary widely from site to site -- it's just an easy number to track for PR purposes.

      I'm sure it helps that it's guaranteed to always go up. That said, growth seems to be fairly constant -- each 25M milestone has taken roughly 2.5 to 3 months.
  • Go Firefox (Score:2, Insightful)

    It's at times like this when I feel so good about being part of the Firefox community. Let's keep working towards a safer internet and safer computers. Go Firefox!
  • by jkind ( 922585 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @01:58PM (#13828567) Homepage
    What are your percentages looking like on *your* web site ? Statcounter is telling me almost 40% are using some flavor of Firefox lately... Safari is on the rise too!
    • Even though most of my referer traffic (about 75%) is from slashdot my numbers haven't changed all that much:

      1 25510 53.43% MSIE 6.0
      2 16082 33.68% Mozilla/5.0
    • Year to date stats:
      Firefox 50.6 %
      MS Internet Explorer 43.6 %

      Last Month:
      MS Internet Explorer 49.1 %
      Firefox 41.7 %

      The high IE count is probably due to alot of visitors are from the local university where IE is default.
    • I have an educational site that gets a ton of people who don't know a whole lot about computers and probably just use the default "Internet" that comes with their computer... instead of some "new Internet."

      Nonetheless I have seen Firefox usage rise from 8.3% to 11.8% over the last 6 months. Things are looking good concerning average users switching to Firefox.
    • On my works sites:
      52.08% IE
      25.84% Mozilla
      5.85% Safari
      The rest is others :)

      This includes a few domains:
      and a few more.
    • 58.4% IE 36.1% Firefox 1.3% Safari 1.1% Netscape 1.1% Mozilla 1.0% Unknown .5% Opera .1% Konquerer Of course, my site's mainly a small forum, so we tend to migrate toward the same things, thus the strangely high amount of FF users.
    • My medium-traffic mainstream site shows Firefox climbing from 7.5% Firefox a year ago to 16.5% today. My low-traffic techie site has only been up a few months, but has Firefox at 42% and Opera at 12%.
    • I find that on my website (yes, by my name) the stats are whacked when it comes to Firefox. I'm seeing percentages like 68% firefox. And no, I don't advocate Firefox or have Firefox specific material on the website. I can safely assume that those numbers are not right and something is amis. I blame the prefetcher and the stats package that my webhost comes with.
  • by ergo98 ( 9391 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @01:58PM (#13828568) Homepage Journal
    This is not a troll, but ever since Opera went free-as-in-beer, my Firefox icon gets used about as frequently as my IE link does (I have the IE 7 beta as well, but it's just laughable in comparison).

    Of course to me the primary benefits of Firefox were standards compliance, features, cross-platform capabilities, and free-as-in-beer. I get all of those advantages, along with improved speed and a few more feaures (e.g. native SVG, something that is coming to a stable Firefox release any-year-now), in Opera. Of course I do miss some of the Firefox plug-ins, which is why I jump over to it on occasion.

    Am I alone in feeling this way? I suspect that the freeing of Opera has had more of an impact on Firefox than anything Microsoft is doing.
    • by real_smiff ( 611054 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @02:13PM (#13828739)
      yup, Opera is now my main browser. i jumped to it because i got fed up with Fx's memory leaks. funnily enough, i find similar problems with Opera, but its not *as* slow. i can't figure out whats causing memory use to keep climbing in both browsers yet. also like you i miss some plugins, but most of the vital stuff like mouse gestures and tab controls is in there, and its not so bad (lack of adblock or other content control) if you run everything through a proxy (proxomitron) anyway. i should add i do a ridiculous amount of web browsing and have both browsers open most of the time. i can't really decide which i like more, they're both great. i'm sure Opera is more normal-person (i was going to say newbie, but thats unfair) friendly though, so most people i set up get Opera now. and firefox is more flexible with its extension setup so probably better for geeks and people with "special needs".
    • Well native SVG support is in 1.5. Firefox 1.5 final is scheduled for delivery before the end of the year.
    • Do you know of a single site that uses SVG? Hell, I've been on the web for years, and I don't think I'm even entirely sure what SVG is... it's either a vector static image format, or a Flash replacement. Or maybe something else.

      In short, who gives a crap whether Opera supports some technology nobody uses?
      • Oncomine [] and HiMAP [] both use it to display network maps of interacting proteins. Both sites have quite useful tools for bioinformatics researchers. Native SVG in Firefox would be great, as installing Adobe's SVG plugin under *nix was a bit annoying.
    • I have both Opera and Firefox, and I use Firefox more. I like the extensions mostly. But I suppose it is a matter of personal taste.

      However, I've got to say that I love the shadow effect on the Opera icon. It looks pretty sweet when I zoom in to it on the Dock. Yes, I'm easily amused.
    • I suspect that the freeing of Opera has had more of an impact on Firefox than anything Microsoft is doing.

      Hard to say. Just looking at stats for my own medium-traffic mainstreamish site, Opera has had a more-or-less constant share of traffic (1%, give or take a few tenths) for the past two years. Firefox has climbed from 7.5% to about 16% over the past year. (By contrast, I have a more techie-oriented site that's pulling 42% FF and 12% Opera, with only 28% IE)

      On one hand, I haven't seen any sign o

    • I experience the same to a lesser extent. Once opera was free, I started using ff/opera about 75/25. But a couple weeks ago my java installation for ff broke, and I couldn't fix it with a quick reinstall (and I needed to use some java sites right then and there) so I started using opera even more. Now I'm at about 50/50. But there are some things I don't like about opera. First is that it chokes on gmail for some reason. There was a gmail problem back in v7 or so that was supposed to be fixed, but I've got
  • .... If a certian chair throwing CEO is taking note.

  • by radicalskeptic ( 644346 ) < minus painter> on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @02:01PM (#13828604)
    I have downloaded Firefox at least 5 times or so just for myself (upgrades, reinstalls, different computers, etc). I wonder what the statistics are on average number of downloads per person.

    Well even if they're ridiculously high, 100 million is a freaking huge number. Even if the average person has downloaded it 10 times, that still means over 10 million people are using it worldwide.
    • I think from the discussions I've seen at [] that there's awareness that the counter is really just a promotional tool, and that it can't possibly reflect an accurate count of users. You might download it 20 times; someone else might download it once and deploy it across a company of 200 employees.

      As a promotional tool, it's successful, but the meaningful numbers are usage statistics. Those are the numbers that web designers need to consider when creating content. By that measure, Firefox is
    • Even if the average person has downloaded it 10 times, that still means over 10 million people are using it worldwide.

      No, all it really means is that, if the average person downloaded it 10 times, 10 million people have downloaded it. You can't make any assumptions about usage from a download count.

    • No one knows, because while you (and I) download it five times each, some people download a single binary to install on 20,000 machines, and some build from the source and then pass it out to friends. There could be 100 million Firefox installs. Ten million seems somewhat low but possible.
  • Roadmap? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by temojen ( 678985 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @02:02PM (#13828611) Journal
    So we see what version numbers they plan to use. How about some indication of planned features (svg? css3? smil? Qt? client cert creation? ...)
    • SVG, at least, is coming for 1.5.
    • Re:Roadmap? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by bcat24 ( 914105 )
      You can find more information on the Mozilla developer wiki []. Here [] is a page on Firefox 1.5, for example. Some notable features include SVG support, JavaScript improvements, the canvas tag, faster back/foreward navigation, UI improvements, and an overhaul to the extension system (again).
  • Firefox 2/3 (Score:5, Funny)

    by tehshen ( 794722 ) <> on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @02:03PM (#13828624)
    Firefox two thirds? Since when did it slip down five sixths of a version?
    • Actually, since it's after 1.5, it's down at least 8/6. I believe this is due to their plans to replace most of the functionality of the browser with extensions.
  • promising? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by feNIX77 ( 512228 )
    "Additionally the Firefox 2/3 roadmap also looks promising."

    can you explain what looks promising in that link concerning 2/3? "The Ocho"? I guess thats promising...
  • It's my birthday today!
  • In case anyone was wondering where they got the name "The Ocho" for the name of FireFox 2.0, I believe it was from the movie, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story [], where the station that was covering the dodgeball tournament was "ESPN 8" aka "the ocho".
  • For 2.0 it's gonna be The Next Big Thing. And for 3.0 The Next Next Big Thing.

    What a promise!
    • If you look a little further down it gives marginally more information:

      # Improvements to Bookmarks/History
      # Per-Site Options
      # Enhancements to the Extensions system, Find Toolbar, Software Update, Search and other areas.
      # Accessibility compliance
      # More ... ?

      But I still think it's a major stretch to call that "promising".
  • I'm just glad that with more people using Firefox it means more websites can't ignore gecko browsers, especially since I use the Mozilla Suite. It has has the effect of discontinuing the suite, but at least I can use Seamonkey [] and get an updated suite, and maybe i'll switch over when they finish the whole XUL Runner [], so running multiple applications (Mail, Browser, Chat, etc), wont each create their own XUL baggage.
  • Are here []. Not many folks still using IE 6.0! Of course, RubyForge is a pretty niche web site...

    I would have posted the stats here, but the lameness filter stymied me. Ah well.
  • by denis-The-menace ( 471988 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @02:21PM (#13828816)
    I hope they have a separate counter for the release version of FF 1.5 because that will be truer account of FF's popularity.

    It's one thing to have FF 1.0x but given the auto-update feature in FF 1.5, you'd have to be a fool not to upgrade.

    I just hope you don't need to run FF 1.5 as Admin for the Auto-update feature to work.
  • by nickdot ( 916387 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @02:23PM (#13828837)
    I don't care so much about statistics, but got interested by this quote:

    Additionally the Firefox 2/3 roadmap also looks promising.

    Let's look the roadmap...
    2.0, "The Ocho", 2006, The Next Big Thing
    3.0, ???, Bugs, The Next Next Big Thing

    Nice, but what would be the goals for The Next Big Thing? To quote again:

    We are still working on goals for 2.0/3.0 and are drafting a PRD for its development. Some likely goals include:
    * Improvements to Bookmarks/History
    * Per-Site Options
    * Enhancements to the Extensions system, Find Toolbar, Software Update, Search and other areas.
    * Accessibility compliance
    * More ... ?

    That doesn't look very promising to me. It would be revolutionary if web browsers in general could break the monopoly of JavaScript and introduce other script languages (python, ruby,...) on the client side. This would boost the web applications much further as they are now. That's just a wish, but probably a security nightmare.

    Still my question remains: what's the next big thing for web browsers?
    • That doesn't look very promising to me. It would be revolutionary if web browsers in general could break the monopoly of JavaScript and introduce other script languages (python, ruby,...) on the client side. This would boost the web applications much further as they are now. That's just a wish, but probably a security nightmare.

      You used to be able to do that with Tcl via plugins. You could even run applets in the browser with Tk, like the java applet's we're used to, and there seemed to be a well thought o

  • by I'm Don Giovanni ( 598558 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @02:24PM (#13828842)
    Firefox has been on a precipitous decline at For each of the last 4 months Firefox has lost user share, while IE has risen. In fact, IE is the only browser with a rising share over the last 4 months. sp []

    May 2005 ===> Sept 2005
    IE 5 and 6: 71.6% ===> 75.5%
    Firefox: 21.0% ===> 18.0%
    Mozilla: 3.1% ===> 2.5%
    Netscape 0.7% ===> 0.4%
    Opera 7 and 8: 1.3% ===> 1.2%
  • Additionally the Firefox 2/3 roadmap also looks promising."

    should be:
    Additionally the Firefox 2.0/3.0 roadmap also looks promising."

    Just looks like Firefox has a 2/3 compromise... reminds me of 3/5 compromise []. Is that how browser statistics will be measured?

    /joking of course.

  • Been enjoying the releases, having it as preferred browser since the phoenix days, on different platforms. Windows releases are really great, Linux releases, well its a plugin thing, something which have been improved greatly.

    Now on the FreeBSD platform it is pretty stable as well, I just wish FreeBSD/Gnome/Mozilla+ could get together, especially I'ld cheer for much better plugin support/installation/management. But guess, the plugin system is still not that cross platform? having to have everything compile
  • "Additionally the Firefox 2/3 roadmap also looks promising. []"

    Really? All I saw listed for 2 and 3 was "The Next Big Thing" and "The Next Next Big Thing". Maybe this is the wrong link?
  • by rduke15 ( 721841 ) <rduke15&gmail,com> on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @02:35PM (#13828956)
    Firefox is certainly a great home browser. It's the one I use, and I recommend it to everyone else.

    But it is still far too dificult to deploy on a company network. I know, I have done it. I used FFdeploy to make it a bit easier.

    Now that FF is on a solid path to conquer the personal desktops it deserves, I would really like to see some progress towards helping administators manage network installs.

    How do I upgrade 25 client machines running 1.0.4 to 1.0.7 on a Samba network? Ideally, I would just put all files somewhere, and call xcopy from the logon script. Unfortunately, it is almost certain to break stuff (particularly with extensions).
  • It does?
    Looks like a mostly pointless document to me. Unless you mean the 4 minor "likely goals" listed that might be in 1.5, 2.0, or 3.0.

    I'm a relative outsider to the ins and outs of Firefox (a KDE/Konqueror user), but that page sums up the project as a whole to me. They've gotten too big, too quickly, and can't really cope.

    I hope the document is just wildly out of date.
  • by Junky191 ( 549088 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @02:47PM (#13829083)
    Anyone else noticing Firefox getting more and more bloated and buggy with every release? I remember it being swift and stable about a year ago (0.7 days?), but now it takes years to load, downloads don't always work, and I simply can't use tabs as it leads to a crash within an hour. I thought the idea behind the Firefox fork was a lighter, speedy alternative to Mozilla, but now Firefix seems to have a pretty alarming rate of feature bloat. I find myself wanting to know what the alternatives to the alternative are now.
    • I alo feel FF has gotten heavier in the last year or so... On my Mac, I used to use FF more and Safari less because FF was faster in every aspect - applcation start up, rendering, etc. Now, I am not so sure. FF feels quite heavy and I have shifted back to Safari...
    • Uh, no, I haven't experienced those problems. But then I've mainly used it on Windows and Linux, so I can't really speak for the stability of the Mac version.

      As for feature bloat, I'm not quite sure what you're talking about. They haven't added any features to the 1.0 series, just fixed bugs, so bloat is impossible by definition. The 1.5 series is still in beta, and so that's likely to be buggier than the stable version, but back to the feature bloat question...most of what's new [] isn't in the form of new
    • Have you been using the same profile ever since the 0.7 days? If so, try deleting it and creating another one.

      I had a profile that I'd been dragging around since 0.9.something. It had gone mysteriously rotten somewhere along the way, causing instability, problems with form submission, and other assorted hilarity. I moved it out of the way and started afresh, copying my bookmarks across from the old profile, and everything was just fine again.

      This is a bug, of course. Profiles shouldn't spontaneously corr
  • by WombatControl ( 74685 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @02:48PM (#13829090)

    I think Firefox usage is quite a bit higher than people think. A lot of blogs contain public Sitemeter information that includes browser share. For sites like Instapundit [], Daily Kos [], or Red State [] Firefox usage is anywhere from 25-40% of total browsers. My own site has IE just under 50%, Firefox with 35-40%, and Safari hovering around 10% depending on the time of the survey.

    Granted, blog readers tend to be somewhat more ahead of the curve than Joe or Jane Sixpack, but they're also indicative of where the market will be a few years down the road. The problem IE and Microsoft faces is that while they have a very high marketshare, their mindshare sucks - everyone uses Microsoft products but only those who take return trips to the Kool Aid bowl particularly like doing it. When an alternative like Firefox comes along that doesn't take a CS degree to use, people start switching, and the stats on more technically-oriented sites bear that out.

  • From an end user perspective, IE7, Opera and Firefox are ALL THE SAME. Why?

    1). All feature integrated pop-up blocking
    2). All feature Tabbed browsing
    3). All open webpages.
    4). All have their own specific security holes

    So why would I spend the time to download firefox or opera or any other browser for that matter if the one that comes with my OS does what I need. I use IE when I use windows (1% of the time) and firefox when Im in Linux (99% of the time). I'm glad the media hype has gotten Firefox in th

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