Mozilla Firefox 1.0 Finally Arrives

The day has finally arrived for the Mozilla Foundation and its sleep-deprived developers; Firefox 1.0 is out the door, ready to make its official debut. Billed as a faster, more secure alternative to Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Firefox has already garnered rave reviews and ignited the browser war flames once again.

Firefox is built upon the open source Mozilla platform, with a focus on usability and security. The browser brings to the table innovative features such as tabbed browsing and extensions, which take Firefox beyond its core functionality. More than 100 extensions are available to serve a variety of purposes ranging from "skinning" the browser to checking spelling, or even searching through eBay listings.

On the security side, Firefox's pop-up blocking -- an essential option of any modern Web browser -- provides users full site-specific control. Firefox clearly displays the identity of secure sites to protect users from phishing and spoofing attempts.

"This is the culmination of over two years worth of herculean work by a great team of people," Mozilla developer Ben Goodger wrote in a posting to his Web log.

The extensive development phase has allowed Firefox developers to build a solid browser capable of unseating market leader IE through a massive community of supporters. Looking to the mainstream, Firefox raised more than $250,000 through donations in just ten days to fund a full-page New York Times ad promoting the 1.0 release.

To aid potential Firefox converts picked up during the Spread Firefox marketing campaigns, the browser imports existing bookmarks, passwords and cookies from Internet Explorer and other browsers.

Progress is already apparent; Microsoft's IE market share fell for the first time this year, and Mozilla recently topped 6 percent usage. Firefox developers say they are aiming for 10 percent of the market by the end of 2005.

The Mozilla team also has the backing of search king Google, which has created a special start page for Firefox 1.0 and offers its Google Toolbar as a Firefox add-on.

Firefox is completely free and available in over a dozen languages for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. CDs can be purchased from the Mozilla Store.

"It's been a long road but we're finally here," wrote a humble Goodger. "No software is perfect, we did not fix every bug, implement every feature, but what we did do was create what we believe to be the best browser around."

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