Happy Birthday: Firefox has turned 15

mongeese

TS Maniac
Staff member

Firefox was a smashing success from the moment it first became available, being emblematic of the best the internet and technology had to offer. It introduced staple features of the modern web browser (tabs!), supported all the emerging web infrastructure we rely on today and was faster than its contemporary, Internet Explorer 6.

But pivotally, it was the first and possibly last time that a group of developers from all over the world banded together to produce an open-source consumer-oriented product that defeated the tech giants. Despite the criticism we may level at Mozilla’s methods occasionally, as a non-profit group that protects the internet and its users, they are unparalleled.

Flattery aside, Firefox had an easy time of it in late 2004. Microsoft had slain the venerable Netscape Navigator a few years prior by including IE as the default browser in Windows but had become complacent in their success. At the time, they publicly laughed off the threat that Firefox faced. Firefox grew in popularity until 2008, when it plateaued at about one-third market share for two years.

Then Chrome arrived. The racehorse had met a Ferrari. From 2010 to 2016 Chrome went from 5% to 65% market share, brushing Firefox and IE to the side.

In late 2017, however, Mozilla made the “quantum leap” forward – to match Chrome in terms of speed and stability. While I doubt any Chrome engineers were losing sleep, bringing Firefox up to parity gave Mozilla a platform to base their new privacy and security technologies on.

Presently, Firefox has fantastic tracking protection, blocking 3rd party cookies, blocking “share” button tracking, blocking fingerprinting and blocking crypto mining scripts. It also has privacy breach alerts, secure messaging, and various other features. Even if you prefer Chrome, Opera, or Edge (seriously, why?) a lot of what they do for privacy and security is done because Firefox has been pushing it first, and for that reason, we wish Firefox another fifteen happy years.

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psycros

TS Evangelist
The funny part is that that Firebox became popular through bundling and default browser takeover. They made nearly all of their money by selling out their users to Google. For a decade you needed multiple addons to achieve better privacy than IE. Then Google decides to cut out the middleman and renders FF largely irrelevant overnight, and Mozilla responds by repeatedly throwing its developers under the bus and becoming SJW fascists.
 

Puiu

TS Evangelist
The funny part is that that Firebox became popular through bundling and default browser takeover. They made nearly all of their money by selling out their users to Google. For a decade you needed multiple addons to achieve better privacy than IE. Then Google decides to cut out the middleman and renders FF largely irrelevant overnight, and Mozilla responds by repeatedly throwing its developers under the bus and becoming SJW fascists.
I'm sorry, but putting IE and "security" together, in that time period, does not compute. People moved to FF because it had more features and it was also more secure (with or without plugins)
 
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cliffordcooley

TS Redneck
Then Chrome arrived. The racehorse had met a Ferrari. From 2010 to 2016 Chrome went from 5% to 65% market share, brushing Firefox and IE to the side.
You might not want to put how they accomplished such a feat. I remember all the times I had to manually adjust a third party installer not to install Chrome. And a few times it slipped passed, which lead me to uninstalling Chrome. Chrome was potentially unwanted software damn near forcing itself on everyone's machines. But yet you never add this fact to any of your articles. Which makes your articles just as edited as our history books.
 

Irata

TS Addict
From my experience, the people who worked on Seamonkey and then Firefox in the beginning were really nice enthusiasts. Sadly, they were replaced with "I am so awesome, important and professional" people.
 

hahahanoobs

TS Evangelist
From someone that started using Firefox when it was beta, then chrome when it was in beta, I like Firefox better in 2019.

Features and options are easier to find and use, and the mobile browser has better new tab customizations as far as bookmarks and pinned sites go. Full screen YouTube transitions are smooth af too.

For 85% of users Firefox and Chrome are the same browser. Only difference is the name imo.
 
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navuho

TS Rookie
The funny part is that that Firebox became popular through bundling and default browser takeover. They made nearly all of their money by selling out their users to Google. For a decade you needed multiple addons to achieve better privacy than IE. Then Google decides to cut out the middleman and renders FF largely irrelevant overnight, and Mozilla responds by repeatedly throwing its developers under the bus and becoming SJW fascists.
Apparently you don't know the history. Firefox was the most used browser in the world because of a single feature - TABS, yes they were the first. Then plugins and other features. Google then created the crappy Chrome and copied a lot from Firefox but made the browser faster and liter, altho crappier. Google then made enormous marketing campaign and every banner in every corner on the web and custom apps and programs were encourage you to try Chrome. People start using it because web loading was faster and Firefox was sluggish from that many features and a bit outdated.
Today Firefox is by far much better browser, and the speed is similar. But Chrome is one giant crap. For example Chrome font rendering engine is retarded at custom DPI chrome fonts looks like crap, animations are choppy and not correctly executed as coded. CSS is not properly implemented with countless bugs. Even Edge is better then Chrome.
I'm a web developer, so I have to use all browsers and I can see stuff you will never see. My daily driver is Firefox from a loong time and I don't see this changing anytime soon.
Just think about that, Google does not allow to use ad blocker in Chrome on android... They force you to watch stupid ads... so if my bookmarks and stuff were on Desktop Chrome I would be forced to use Chrome on mobile with all the ads, no thanks. Case Closed.
 
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SixTymes

TS Rookie
Back in the day when I owned a small pc business, and fire fox was thought to be a secure browser, it was the complete opposite. I sure made a lot of money off customers that had pc's riddled with viruses. I would ask each customer what browser do you use? every single one of them answered "I only use fire fox"

yes I know times have changed... still, that went on for a decade.
 

ZedRM

TS Enthusiast
There is so much fail in the comment section here, I really don't know where to begin. So I won't.

Happy Birthday FireFox! You're the best! Here's to another great 15 years!
 

amghwk

TS Guru
The popularity of Chrome can be likened to Windows 10... forced or bundled through everything. Otherwise, there's nothing special about it. I really wanted to see what the fuss is about Chrome, but ended up uninstalling it. Tried this install/uninstall cycle many times. But it's cumbersome, less modular compared to firefox, and simply, uninteresting. Heck, I even kick it out of my rooted phones.
 

jobeard

TS Ambassador
I'm a web developer, so I have to use all browsers and I can see stuff you will never see. My daily driver is Firefox from a loong time and I don't see this changing anytime soon.
me too. when you test them side-by-side, I've always found FF comes to the presentation quickly even w/o caching.
 
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EClyde

TS Evangelist
I'm sorry, but putting IE and "security" together, in that time period, does not compute. People moved to FF because it had more features and it was also more secure (with or without plugins)
Very few moved for the reasons you gave. It mainly had to do with what was on their computer when they fired it up the first time
 

Puiu

TS Evangelist
Very few moved for the reasons you gave. It mainly had to do with what was on their computer when they fired it up the first time
IE was on their computer, unless a friend (or hacker that used an IE bug) installed FF for them without their knowledge.
 

bexwhitt

TS Evangelist
I used to use Firefox on the Mac but it was a memory hog so switched to opera. Now I'm back on windows and Opera is just chromium with a skin I'm sticking with that as I like the speed and it's not Chrome.
 

spitfire14

TS Rookie
Apparently you don't know the history. Firefox was the most used browser in the world because of a single feature - TABS, yes they were the first. Then plugins and other features. Google then created the crappy Chrome and copied a lot from Firefox but made the browser faster and liter, altho crappier. Google then made enormous marketing campaign and every banner in every corner on the web and custom apps and programs were encourage you to try Chrome. People start using it because web loading was faster and Firefox was sluggish from that many features and a bit outdated.
Today Firefox is by far much better browser, and the speed is similar. But Chrome is one giant crap. For example Chrome font rendering engine is retarded at custom DPI chrome fonts looks like crap, animations are choppy and not correctly executed as coded. CSS is not properly implemented with countless bugs. Even Edge is better then Chrome.
I'm a web developer, so I have to use all browsers and I can see stuff you will never see. My daily driver is Firefox from a loong time and I don't see this changing anytime soon.
Just think about that, Google does not allow to use ad blocker in Chrome on android... They force you to watch stupid ads... so if my bookmarks and stuff were on Desktop Chrome I would be forced to use Chrome on mobile with all the ads, no thanks. Case Closed.
The first browser to add tabs was Opera as far as I know. Most of the new features other browsers like IE,
Netscape, Phoenix (Firefox's first name), as well as other small players of the time, mostly took Opera's features. Sadly these days it's just another Chromium/Blink fork, but used to lead the browser innovation back then.
 

navuho

TS Rookie
The first browser to add tabs was Opera as far as I know. Most of the new features other browsers like IE,
Netscape, Phoenix (Firefox's first name), as well as other small players of the time, mostly took Opera's features. Sadly these days it's just another Chromium/Blink fork, but used to lead the browser innovation back then.
Wrong, it was not Opera who first invented tabs, it was NetCaptor in 1997, and its not about who invent it, but who made it in a way that people like it and want to use it and popularize it.
Apple did not invent touch nor mobile devices with touch, but they were the first to make it avaliable to the public in a way public liked it.
 
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lazer

TS Addict
I started with FF way back when.... I still use it. I remember Netscape and the early IE.
I still hate IE, never ever use it. Don't like Chrome, too much Google gathering info for me.
I like very much FF, there are just soooooo many good and great add ons....
Happy Birthday FF!