A very popular open source Web browser for Windows, Mac and Linux from the Mozilla project. Including a search box for Google and other major sites, the Firefox user interface was designed to be easily customizable by adding "extensions," such as a stock tracker, autofill and hundreds of others.|
Quite an Impact
Introduced in 2004, Firefox received rave reviews and caused much notoriety. Within a few months, millions downloaded it, and by mid-2005, Firefox captured more than 10% of the Web browser market, a huge gain in such a short time. By 2010, it reached 25%. Many view it as a safer alternative to Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) browser, which is constantly being attacked.
An ongoing debate is whether Firefox is safer because it was designed better than IE or simply because very few hackers have a quarrel with open source software.
A Ghost from the Past
Firefox stems from the Netscape browser, which was soundly trumped by IE in the browser wars of the late 1990s, when Microsoft developed IE and gave it away for free. Netscape continued to evolve into a very large and somewhat bloated application, which was turned into the open source Mozilla project (see Mozilla).
Phoenix to Firebird to Firefox
In the early 2000s, the Gecko rendering engine was excised out of Mozilla and combined with the XUL user interface language to create a leaner, faster Mozilla browser. Renamed Phoenix, then Firebird, it finally gave birth as Firefox. For more information, visit www.mozilla.com. See Greasemonkey.
An innovative browser, Firefox was one of the first to organize viewing history and provide tabs. By 2010, Firefox had 25% of the browser market.