back to article Firefox hits 400m download milestone

Firefox hit a significant milestone on Friday as it crossed the 400m download mark. After its launch in 2004 the open source browser took around a year to reach 100m downloads in February 2005 before hitting the 200m milestone in July 2006. The number, of course, does not represent the actual number of Firefox users. Even …


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  1. Konstantinos


    Make the Fox Bite IE's Ass Right On :)

  2. Lewa

    I hope Firefox beats IE...

    If only because it has a prettier logo. *Girlygirl*

  3. Edward Rose


    I wonder how many are repeat downloads, and if they take into account downloads from GNU/Linux mirrors?

  4. Jamie Edwards


    I myself have downloaded FireFox over the last 3 years more than 30 times (between new computers or reformats). I wonder how many others have done the same as me.

  5. Ed

    Google Desktop?

    Did I miss something? Why is Google Desktop a browser?

  6. Nigel R Silver badge

    so what are El Reg's stats?

    Perhaps El Reg could share it's stats with us on this - what percentage of Reg pages get browsed via Firefox?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I remember rolling out FF to a few of my business customers when it was new. The rolled eyes, snarky remarks, references to "why don't you just use IE, like 99% of other people..."

    And now I can say, "But it's only 60-some percent now! Haha."

    No, really. Way to go, Mozilla-- you've had an uphill fight all the way. I am truly impressed.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not bad...

    What's that? Maybe 20m-50m users?

    Now to do the same with Thunderbird & OpenOffice.

  9. Brian Miller

    @ Inaccurate

    And how many people have downloaded it once on to there USB key and distributed amongst their less techy friends in the droves....

    I know I have downloaded it like 3 times and installed it on at least 10-20 seperate machines. Beauty of open source is that this is legal and convenient.

  10. Richard Neill

    Sources of error

    1)This is an overestimate of number of users, because:

    - Repeat downloads (different versions, upgrades, reformats)

    - Some users use more than one machine.

    - Some failed/duplicate downloads

    - Some users try and then return to IE.

    2)This is an underestimate, because:

    - Some people get FF from GNU/Linux mirrors

    - Some people get FF from magazine covers

    - Some people get FF preinstalled

    - Some people only download once, and then share with friends/family

    - Corporate downloads are once, for a whole system image.

    Anyway, we can be fairly confident that the number of users is in the range 40 million -> 4 billion. :-)

  11. Cameron Colley

    RE:so what are El Reg's stats?

    Indeed! I, too, would be very interested to read which browsers/platforms are used to access El Reg.

  12. vale

    Keep it up Firefox!

  13. Nigel

    Dont sit on your laurels Mozilla.....

    Version 2.0 had a bit of a bumpy ride... remember FireFox dev guys, we liked it because it was FAST, RELIABLE and WORKED. (unlike IE - but nowhere near as much as people liked to admit)

    v2.5 / 3.0 better keep up this trend and avoid bloatware and crap features no one wants/needs (thats what plug-ins are for - I dislike the default option to install Google search but I can live with that), otherwise youll begin to see just how "loyal" people are....


  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dream Turned Sour

    Have any of you checked open connections while using Firefox? After realising Firefox is Google's #1 bi-tch I await a true "secure" browser.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When IE Fails...

    Working at a help desk, if for whatever reason, I can't get someone's IE up and running again, I have them download Firefox. It hasn't let me down yet. If someone is using Vista, M$ won't let you redownload IE7; it tells you you already have it, even when a fresh download is probably the only way to fix whatever is wrong. At least with IE6 you can uninstall 7 and redownload. But with Firefox...install over the same version? No problem, and it won't lose your settings, either. I use it exclusively here at home unless some site hasn't caught onto the fact that Firefox is rapidly gaining on IE and will probably become the number one browser in a year or so...

  16. Daniel Snowden

    Way to go!

    It's good to see the market share of IE dipping. Now please bear in mind that I'm not saying this as a Microsoft hater. Anyone who'd ever tried to get web sites to render properly on FF and IE will probably share my sentiment.

    W3C compliant XHTML/CSS tends to render fine on Firefox. IE on the other hand tends to do some strange things.

    Of course, to be fair, IE isn't as bad as it used to be. Thankfully I didn't have to develop in the days of IE4 and the much loved IE workarounds that (fairly) complex pages needed.

    If only Microsoft would create a browser that actually follows the (W3C) rules!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: When IE Fails...

    Well, you suck at being a help desk technician then.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Way to go!

    "Thankfully I didn't have to develop in the days of IE4 and the much loved IE workarounds that (fairly) complex pages needed."

    I did and I'm still recovering several years later. Put me off web development for life it did.

  19. Matt


    W3c only releases standards. Standards are optional and non-enforceable. As such they're not 'rules'.

    If MS had strictly followed the standards process you wouldn't have AJAX now, and how many of you are gushing at the very thought?

    Browser usage stats are meaningless unless you know the sample of sites they were gathered from. For example, and shouldn't be considered! Similarly 'designer' sites will haev a larger trend towards firefox, while sites geared more towards 'users' will have a higher prevalance of IE. You all know this.

    But quite why designers keep designing for a minority product and complain their sites don't work on the majority product, is beyond me...

    What's best is irrelevant, your design practices are what need looking at!

  20. Xellina

    Re: Dream Turned Sour

    I can't comment for sure on the exact connections you're seeing, but I'd guess they have something to do with either FF's phishing filter (which uses Google for its data) or the Google toolbar that's installed by default.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    That should have been - Make the Fox Bite IE's Ass Right Off :).

    Foreign language prepositions are a sod aren't they.

  22. Sabahattin Gucukoglu

    Re: When IE Fails...

    You can't install a version of IE from the mainline on an OS that integrates IE at that same version or better. So, IE6 on 2000 is mainline and can be removed/repaired (provided you don't trash your undo info, which you can do). On XP, IE6 is integrated, so IE7 behaves much like IE6 on 2000. You can always use the downloader program to fetch the installers for IE (the iexsetup.exe takes command-line switches) but you can't use the installer on operating systems that already include that version or above of IE.

    This is all explained in hideously incomprehensible detail in some M$KB somewhere that I once read a long, long time ago while trying to prefetch IE6 for 2000 for bunging on a CD.

    And Firefox? Yay!



  23. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    @ FFS! / Matt

    You sound rather too like one of the muppet web "developers" who is under the delusion that just because their website happens to work "OK" on their local computer/operating system, using their browser, with their particular screen resolution that everything is perfectly acceptable.

    The standards are there for a reason - to ensure interoperability. They're NOT their to ensure no innovation or advances (that's the role of monopolies).

    Any user agent that claims to be able to be a "web browser" must follow the rules, any user agent that doesn't follow them is not a truly valid web browser. It's a shame that none of the current browsers fully and properly support the standards.

    For example, modern networking and, in particular, the Internet is ONLY possible because of standards and the adherence to them. To do otherwise is akin to something monumentally dumb like deciding that because your developers are too incompetent to implement a working TCP/IP stack, they should only bother to develop a few bits of it and introduce all kinds of custom constructs and shortcuts to fudge the required functionality in place.

  24. g e

    AJAX Schmajax

    As all AJAX fans will no undoubtedly be aware, IE7 has only just got a properly working xmlhttprequest if I remember that function name correctly. Surely the rest of the world couldn't have been so right in their implementation that M$ had to mend it for V7... it's not like they'd change their way of doing stuff to fit in with everyone else after all... So maybe "AJAX" wouldn't exist without M$ and IE (did microsoft invent the function or something?) but it took everyone else to make it work right and then code the usual user-agent MSIE workaround for broken browsers...

    IE will never be a development browser until it can behave like Firsfox with Firebug and Web Developer Toolbar. When I have to debug something in IE I find myself reaching for the Firebug popup to see why it's being got-wrong and then instantly hate the moment when I realise there is no Firebug.

    Let's have the Reg stats for User Agents too, good idea.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How long until fashion dictates Firefox is the new big-bad?

    Apart from innerHTML, AJAX, dymanic layout engines, actually worthwhile CSS support, XML support, XSLT, support for HTML4 table elements, automatic image resizing, alpha support in PNGs (IE5.0/Mac back in the 90s) the ability to reduce or enlarge font sizes easily, RTL text and the ability to render simple, valid HTML tables that lack optional closing cell tags... what has IE ever given us?!

  26. Randy

    Re: Curious, and Inaccurate! and all the other losers

    Holy crap, you retards!! Do you not know how to read?!

    <quote from the FIRST PARAGRAPH IN THE ARTICLE!!!>

    The number, of course, does not represent the actual number of Firefox users. Even disregarding failed downloads, many users have downloaded multiple copies of the open source browser.


  27. Antoinette Lacroix

    Firefox is hyped by Linux

    I never liked Firefox, it's bloated like hell.

    Themes and extensions break with almost every new release.

    Not to mention CVS . . . ( but then again, what do Windows users know about CVS ? )

    Visit a Flash or Shockwave site with any *nix version of Firefox, and you'll be bitterly disappointed.

    Utube, Google Video and similar sites crash faster than you can say segfault . .

    (but then again . . what do Windows users know about segfaulting . . )

    IMHO Opera is the way to go.

  28. Graham Lockley

    No IE until....

    .. it supports my favourite Firefox plugin, NoScript. Oh and develops a (proper) NoActiveX equivalent. Let me decide what scripts etc. run, then Im happy.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ... what else has IE given us

    Bugs. Poor support for standards. Security holes. Lousy programming practices. Reliability issues....

    Bugs: Peekaboo. Doubled float margin bug. Expanding boxes. Disappearing text that just buggers up your pages. Text selection bugs. Incorrect formatting of text. Incorrect zooming of text (IE7)... I could go on.

    Poor standards support: CSS, loads of issues. Expanding boxes, etc. Can't be arsed to list them all.

    Security holes: ActiveX. What in the name of anything logical would make anyone implement things in this way? Oh yes; "embrace and extend", the strategy of the mid nineties that still plagues most users every day. Building it into the OS - nice one.

    Lousy programming: we all make mistakes. But because IE is so tolerant, it means that crap pages break in other browsers. Great in the nineties when fighting with Netscape 3/4, but the legacy will be with us forever. Especially with the child programmers that 'work' in the Office group.

    Reliability: it just falls over. When it does it may well take the whole OS down. But that's not news. In my experience IE7 is worse than IE6.

    More anyone....

    OK, no innovation in the last 6 years. IE7 has nothing new to show.

  30. Andrew Norton

    FireFox schmirefox

    All those people out there saying 'Firefox is the best' really do need a reality check. I remember the days of Netscape Nav, when depending on what you were searching for, you used different types of search engine (such as yahoo, or webcrawler) and when forms and frames were the new hot things.

    I thus look at a browser not in terms of what it's said to be able to do, but what it actually does. I focus my opinion not on some ideological twist, but on the quality of the software. With that in mind, the $2M advertising campaign for FireFox back when it was released didn't work for me. I tested the software, wasn't as fast as opera, just as compatable, and required me to do too much to it to be usable. i've tested it over the years (I'm maybe 20-30 of those downloads) and I still have found it to be inferior, each time, to opera.

    Someone above commented on standards, opera was the first to pass the rendering test. I love the crash recovery option, to reload and continue where I was. Speed dial is immensely handy, saving me time (nothing like being able to monitor 9 pages at once for changes, in one tab)

    Of course, we come to the last argument, one that's always put out "but Firefox is open source" to which, i have to say, it gets a big apathetic 'so what' from me. i don't care that it's open source, and opera is closed source. I'm not going to look at the source either way. Nor, for that matter will 99.9% of those making the argument. Many will claim to, but if they do, they'll casually browse it. If they were actually going all the way through the source, why didn't they fix the many bugs in the code at the same time, or at least find them?

    To those that get firefox because it's open source, and no other reason, I pity you. Use the best software for the job without having to delude yourself that 'its better because it's open source' If there are other free products, that are better, support them. Maybe it'll provide some impetus for the open source projects to improve.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It just tastes better...

    Annette: Try visiting a site with IE on a *nix system, and you'll be not only disappointed, but s.o.l. As for Opera, I've tried it, and while I find it preferable to IE, I'm not especially impressed with it. Utube videos will crash any browser or media player--whether u view them from the site or capture them--it all depends on the skill/ineptitude of the video creator--some are great, some will refuse to play--not a matter of browser. I often switch to IE to render something that won't work with Firefox, only to discover that it doesn't work any better with IE.

    In my experience with Firefox, it is a hell of a lot more stable than any version of IE I've ever used. And while some of the plugins are not immediately supported with every new release of Firefox, there are many extremely useful plugins that simply aren't available for IE. To say nothing of the the ability to pick up right where u left off in the event of a crash.

    To the Helpdesk Guy: Do a websearch for "Dial-a-fix" Among the array of extremely useful tools, there is an option to reinstall IE, (sorry, not V7 on Vista, at least not yet) though it isn't recommended for anyone not somewhat savvy.

  32. John Kirkham

    Opera for me !

    Opera has so many milestones to it's name, has proven far more secure that FF,IE and so much more reliable than the other two.

    @ Andrew Norton, agree with you one 100% !!!

  33. Ian


    Yep, Opera is the mutts

  34. ryan

    Firefox backlash in full swing. Lynx developers optimistic.

    Firefox is clearly far to popular to be cool anymore. any browser with a similar level of performance but a smaller user base is instantly MUCH BETTER.

    Not only can it do all the things Firefox can do with little discernible difference, but it also lets me roll my eyes at anybody silly enough to use a browser that is *shudder* mainstream. And in the end, that's what matters.

  35. Cameron Colley

    My 2P

    As a Firefox user on Windows (standard and portable) and Linux, I have to agree with the Opera crowd that opera does seem to have a better rendering engine and also seems to be faster (I have Opera under both OSs too).

    In fact, the only thing stopping me from using Opera is that it doesn't have my favourite plugins -- NoScript, Adblock, Magpie and ShowIP. If I could get the same functionality I would change to Opera.

    Similarly, I find Konqueror to be a good browser -- bit it's cookie-handling, with lack of "whitelist" winds me up -- as does the lack of the aforementioned extensions.

    The thing to remember, whether you love Firefox, Opera, Konqueror, Nautilus or Safari (does anyone?) is: As long as it's not M$ you're using you're helping support web standards and cross-platform functionality.

    To those who like Opera: good on you -- but please don't forget that those who use Firefox are on the same side against the microsoft takeover of the web.

    Oh, and Lynx rules!!!! ;~)

  36. Lee

    Yeah but...

    ...does anyone actually use it?

  37. Steve Sutton

    Re: Yeah but... (@Lee)

    Unfortunately, I still have to use it at work, because we generally have to target most of our websites at it. But at least I get to use FF for personal browsing.

    Also, I still have to use it, because one of the nice features of my credit card co's website is ActiveX only. I've nearly paid off the card though, so will probably ditch them after that's sorted.

  38. Edward Rose


    Firstly, Randy.. Retards? You can read I take it.

    'How many?', not 'some are'. Curious to exact (ish) figures, and not stating the bleedin' obvious.

    To the opera crew, point taken, but last time I used it it had one fault. Very space consuming adverts. Okay, they have been ditched now I believe. But, why?

    Great browser, but old habits die hard (IE isn't a habit by the way).

  39. k Rymell

    Fox in the chicken coop

    I like FF, and can't remember the last time I used IE. Opera is OK its a personal choice I believe and people have good and bad experiences on all browsers. I am pleased IE has some competition, this is only good for the future..

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