After a bit of a breech birth – caused by visitors overloading its web servers – Mozilla released Firefox 3 Tuesday seeking to set a Guinness World Record for the most downloads in 24 hours as a way to stir up interest and at the same time stick it to Microsoft.
At one point Mozilla was serving up 17,000 free downloads a minute. The first-day total number came in at more than 8.2 million, almost as many downloads as words written about the launch. Mozilla counted up at least 500 articles and all the major rags covered it.
It is the first Firefox rev in three years, available in ~50 languages, reportedly two to three times faster than Firefox 2 and said to contain 15,000 improvements, including malware blocking, performance tweaks, bookmark sorting and a smart location bar, also called the “Awesome Bar,” that learns as people use it adapting to user preferences and offering better fitting matches over time.
Firefox 3 works on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
By the way, there is no download world record and Guinness World Records has to validate any Mozilla claims, which will take a while.
Right before the advent of Firefox 3 Microsoft’s Internet Explorer owned 73.8% of the browser market; Firefox, the open source contender supported by Google, nominal descendent of Netscape and self-appointed defender of Internet openness, was at 18.4%. Apple’s Safari had most of the rest.
And Microsoft’s proprietary lock on web site access is broken.