Firefox is five years old

Original author: Michael Keylor
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Today marks exactly five years since the release of the first version of Firefox. The historical release of Firefox 1.0 took place on November 9, 2004.

The immediate parent of Firefox was the open Mozilla browser, which had been distributed since 2002, but was widely considered unsuccessful. The Fire Fox was supposed to be a lot of work on bugs and a second attempt to remove the main competitor, Microsoft Internet Explorer, from the throne. It seemed an almost impossible task.

Five years later, the situation has changed dramatically. Although IE still leads the way with 60% of the market, about one in four people on the Internet now uses Firefox. This achievement can be considered the undoubted success of an open project, which puts it on a par with other non-profit phenomena of the new era, such as Wikipedia, Ubuntu Linux, WordPress and the World Wide Web itself.

Five years ago, the battle with Microsoft seemed to be the main concern. Indeed, in the absence of competition, this company had the opportunity to impose its network standards and shape the image of the Network the way it wanted to see. But the popularity of Firefox has created a new platform for web standards and made Redmond take open technologies seriously.

Firefox now has a bigger challenge. This browser needs to continue to innovate and try to meet the demands of an ever-changing and much more competitive market.

“When Microsoft and we were the only ones, the plot was simple - the little guy against the giant,” said Mike Beltzner, director of development for Firefox. “Now in the ring, heavyweights like Microsoft, Google and Apple are all fighting each other, so the plot is becoming much more interesting.”

The Network itself has changed significantly over the past five years. This is no longer a web of hypertext documents, but a full-blown platform for real applications that run inside the browser and exchange data with each other. Five years ago, none of this happened. There was no concept of "Web 2.0", Google Maps had not yet appeared, and the newly launched Gmail was new. The fact is that at that time browsers were not yet ready to support all these features, that is, the Network as a software platform.

Firefox was one of the first browsers for the new web. As a result, he quickly received support from developers and users. But soon fierce competition began. To date, an entire ecosystem of excellent browsers already exists: Apple Safari is running head to head with Firefox, Internet Explorer quickly catches up with them, and Google Chrome, released a year ago, takes on the virtues that once brought Firefox success: unsurpassed simplicity and speed.

In addition, Google launched an extensive public relations campaign to promote the use of the browser as a platform for applications such as Gmail and Google Docs. They successfully introduce the importance of browser features such as speed and performance into the minds of developers and the general public.

In other words, Google again made the browser race a fun experience [Google brought sexy back to the browser].

Thanks to Chrome, it has again become interesting to discuss various technological features in browsers, engines for rendering and processing scripts, etc. All this again became interesting to the public. Actually, even Mozilla benefited from this: they started making shows from every new feature in Firefox and started the Hacks blog , which constantly publishes announcements and videos demonstrating future features, sometimes up to three or four videos a week.

In the new environment, it was decided to release new versions of Firefox more often than before. After all, two years have passed between the release of Firefox 2 and 3 - a whole era by the standards of the Internet. Under the new plan, releases will be released no less than once every six months. So, Firefox 3.6 should be released before the end of 2009.

The conceptual tasks that Firefox developers set themselves are to improve support for HTML5, as well as lobby for open font and video standards Web Open Font Format (WOFF) and Ogg Theora. The principle of openness will remain a key element in the development of Firefox in the future.

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