The Mozilla Foundation announced this morning that it has shipped Firefox 1.0, its long-awaited milestone release of the most popular Web browser alternative. Already in use by several million users in pre-1.0 form, Firefox is expected to garner millions of more users with the 1.0 release and continue eating away at market leader Internet Explorer (IE). Officials from the Mozilla Foundation say that Firefox's popularity is due to two factors: First, it's excellent software. And second, Microsoft has essentially stopped updating the buggy and insecure IE.
But Firefox isn't entirely a recent phenomenon. The genesis of this software began in 1998, when Netscape started Mozilla.org, later renamed to the Mozilla Foundation, to develop open source versions of its browser technology. Initial releases of Mozilla.org browsers were entire browser suites that included email, chat, and other applications, and indeed, the company still issues such a product. About two years ago, several members of the Mozilla Foundation began developing a standalone browser, originally named
Firefox has always impressed technical users, thanks to its advanced features, like tabbed browsing, pop-up blocking, inline searching, and better security. But lately, Firefox has also begun resonating with average users, many of whom are tired of IE being the primary conduit for malware on their PCs. This year, Firefox and other Mozilla.org browser have raised their market share to 6 percent, up from 3.5 percent in early 2004. Now, the Mozilla Foundation says its goal is to grab at least 10 percent of the market from IE, and with over 8 million downloads of pre-release Firefox downloads under its belt, the organization may very well hit that target.
Mozilla Firefox is completely free. For more information about Firefox 1.0 and the free download, please visit the Mozilla Foundation Web site.