Hey, Firefox, kids who were freshmen in college when you started now have pointless internships in big cities and colossal amounts of student debt. Congratulations! You're officially old by Internet standards.
You've hit the one billion downloads mark and captured a truly significant percentage of Internet browser users. And you've got a hardcore community of open-source developers and fans who contribute to the thousands of extensions, plugins, and skins that make the user experience so customizable. But most importantly, you helped pave the way for the creation and mainstream proliferation of a bunch of nifty alternative browsers and provided impetus for aggressive improvements to Microsoft's Internet Explorer.
Here's a happy little video on how liberating and revolutionary the Firefox experience is for Internet users:
Moving forward from the motivational fanfare, Mozilla evangelist Christopher Blizzard at the Hacks.Mozilla.Org blog has a rather in-depth and interesting post on the rise of modern web browsing, the triumph of standards in web development, the hackable goodness that is browser UI customization, user generated content and geeky stuff like RSS, APIs, and JSON
He concludes, "Mozilla has been at the heart of many of the issues of the Internet over the last five years. We've vastly improved the browsing experience for hundreds of millions of people around the world. We've managed to keep Microsoft honest and forced them to release newer versions of their browsers. Firefox's presence was a large factor in Apple being able to ship a browser to its user base as the Mac came back to the market. We've made it possible for third party browser vendors like Google to enter the market."
He noted that future releases of Firefox with deal with issues such as users' sharing data with websites, more open video codecs and improvements to mobile browsing.
Over at the Mozilla blog, the company's flack Melissa Shapiro shares some interesting stats. Since Mozilla's auspicious one-million-downloads-in-four-days start, she writes, "that number has swelled to over 330 million users worldwide; almost a quarter of Internet users worldwide choose Firefox. Today, Firefox ships in more than 70 languages and offers users more than 7,000 add-ons to help customize their browsing experience."
In fact, some websites report that nearly half their visitors are Firefox users. WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg writes that Firefox users represent nearly 46 percent of Wordpress' blog stats as opposed to Internet Explorer users, who comprise around 39 percent. "This is the first time I've ever seen Firefox pass IE in market share for a mainstream audience like WordPress.com has," said Mullenweg.
Firefox is sharing its official, worldwide celebration with users everywhere via their special anniversary site, where folks can share pics and videos from their Firefox parties or submit commemorative poster designs.