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Firefox Turns Five Today

Gordon Kelly

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iPhone viruses? Rupert Murdock planning to sue Google News? It seems like a pretty bleak start to the week, so here's some happier news...

Firefox is five years old today. Yep, back on 9 November 2004 Firefox 1.0 was released into the wild and it brought with it innovations such as pop-up blocking, integrated search engines, add-ons and "Tabbed Browsing {which} allows many web pages to load within the same window, improving the speed and utility of web browsing". Bless.

To celebrate Firefox is hosting parties around the globe as part of a campaign called 'Light the World with Firefox' and will be shining the Firefox logo from the world. We got a Firefox cupcake this morning - and very nice it was too!

"Five years ago today, Mozilla launched Firefox 1.0 with belief that, as the most significant social and technological development of our time, the Internet is a public resource that must remain open and accessible to all," said company spokesperson Sarah Doherty in an official blog post. "From your desktop to your mobile device, Mozilla is committed to building an open and participatory Internet. We've come so far in the past five years and we're incredibly excited about the next five."

That's fair comment. Firefox 1.0 was downloaded more than one million times in its first four days of release and that figure has now topped one billion with over 25 per cent of web users (roughly 330m) now using it. That said, impressive as this is the hardest times certainly lie ahead.

When Firefox launched out of the ashes of Netscape, Internet Explorer was a sleeping giant and IE6 lasted an incredible 3 1/2 years! Today the browser space has transformed radically. Speed and interoperability have become key focuses with the likes of Google Chrome and Safari developing stunningly fast browsers built around the WebKit engine. Internet Explorer has also woken up with the release of IE8, but for our money its user experience still significantly trails its rivals and the controversial Windows 7 browser ballot could open things up over the coming months.

So what can we expect from Mozilla and Firefox in the near future? The mobile space is key one with Firefox Mobile (known as Fennec) due a wide scale roll out in 2010 and Firefox looking to overhaul its add-on system via the more nimble Jetpack system. The browser wars are only going to intensify.

Exciting times...

Links:

Firefox 5th Birthday Celebrations

Mozilla Blog Post

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