The rise of the open source internet browser is no surprise with Firefox holding the number two spot as browser of choice after Internet Explorer which, as we all know, has the advantage of being packaged with the Windows operating system.
Mozilla, the open source community that has spent the last three years developing the newest incarnation, Firefox 3, may not be looking at the number one spot any day soon (current market share of 17pc) but plans to get into the Guinness Book of Records for the biggest number of software downloads in one day.
Available on Tuesday June 17th, eager users can pledge to download a copy and so far almost 4,000 Irish people have announced their intention and there are over one million pledges worldwide.
In order to set the record Firefox 3 must reach a download target of five million within the 24 hour launch period. Firefox 2 managed to notch up 1.6 million.
The hoopla surrounding the release of the newest version of Firefox is not unjustified: aside from plenty of new features Mozilla claims that it will load web pages in 60 milliseconds – seven times faster than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
However the most talked about new feature of Firefox 3 is the AwesomeBar – a new way of finding what you want from your bookmarks and history so that the URL address bar that sits on top of your browser is a powerful search engine.
“The staid and plain URL bar has been transformed into a much, much more powerful and useful tool,” says Mozilla employee, Deb Richardson.
“Dubbed the “AwesomeBar”, it lets you use the URL field of your browser to do a keyword search of your history and bookmarks.
“No longer do you have to know the domain of the page you’re looking for — the AwesomeBar will match what you’re typing (even multiple words) against the URLs, page titles, and tags in your bookmarks and history, returning results sorted by ‘frecency’ (a combination of frequency and recency).”
The results will be displayed as a URL as well as the page title and whether it has been bookmarked or tagged by you.
Ireland will be celebrating the release of the new improved browser by throwing a Firefox Ireland party on Thursday, June 19, hosted by Paul Walsh and sponsored by BT, Putplace, Blacknight, Segala, and wubud (yes, the mysterious wubud).
The venue for the Firefox event is provided by IOTC (Irish Open Source Technology Conference).
By Marie Boran