Yes, I'm afraid it's true; Firefox is the most popular browser out there. Standing at this moment at over 11.5 millions downloads since its production release Tuesday, June 17. How can I make such a sweeping statement? It is the most popular browser ever because of the number of voluntary downloads. Firefox doesn't come standard on any OS--although a few Linux distributions package it in by default. (Note the word voluntary above. Internet Explorer may enjoy more installations but it's shoved onto every Windows computer by default and you really have no choice in the matter).

Wow, I'm overwhelmed with excitement for the folks at Mozilla.com. No, seriously overwhelmed. To start a new browser in the already well-established browser world was something of an enigma back in 2004.

Perhaps the folks at Mozilla.com knew something we all didn't or don't yet know. Maybe they realized at the time that creating a cross-platform browser that is stable, fast, free, and customizable is something that is needed in the Internet community. A browser that is equally at home on Windows, Unix, Mac OS, or Linux with Java support, plugins galore, and speed and stability to boot is what the world needed--and still needs.

At last count, Firefox accounts for approximately 20% of the world's share of Internet browser usage. The number is probably somewhat outdated in light of 11.5 million downloads but it still has a ways to go before usurping the No. 1 spot from Internet Explorer. I only recently 'upgraded' to Internet Explorer 7 on one of my computers because, inexplicably, Internet Explorer 6 stopped working consistently. I am OK with IE 7. It seems to suck less than I originally imagined and has yet to cause any problems for me.

In case you're wondering what I am doing with IE anything, the explanation is simple: I am a tech writer who writes on a variety of topics--not just Linux and open source, although that is the bulk of what I do. I have to maintain virtual machines with all kinds of crazy configurations. You'd be surprised at what some people are still running--I have to maintain a Red Hat 7.3 VM just to stay compatible with one of my support venues.

Yes, Firefox may be the most popular Internet Browser ever and it's here to stay. Try it out by joining the fray at http://www.mozilla.com.

Maybe. But 11mil downloads. Doesn't mean 11mil unique users.

I work with IE, Firefox and Opera on a daily basis. They all do what I want them to do—some times. And they all have the un-nerving ability to bring me *this* close to tears every so often.

I don't see what the fuss is about.

With a massively publicized almost childish attempt to claim the record for the most downloaded software ever, I don't think that all these downloads are unique. I tried using the upgrade facility of the browser, but the connection timed out from the server for 3 attempts, but when I tried downloading manually, the server had no problem handling my download request, which made me suspicious if the distributors were trying to discourage people using the upgrade facility in order to increase the download count.

My opinion would be to see how many would be actually upgrading for future releases in order to get a more accurate measure of the number of unique users (or rather computers) that have installed and are using Firefox. I don't think we will have to wait for too long until the next patch because according to the DV Labs Advisory Bulletin, there is a critical flaw in FF3 that was discovered just hours after it's release.