But such a response for an arguably niche product is nothing new to this audience, which applauded a rare simultaneous, multiplatform release of software. eWEEK.com spoke with Ben Goodger, the lead engineer for the Mozilla Foundation, about developing for multiple platforms and what lies ahead for the Mac version of Firefox.
Though Mozilla does not break out numbers by platform, the company said a preview release of Firefox was downloaded more than 8 million times. In addition, a statistic from Web metrics company WebSideStory claimed that in June alone, the alternative browsers share rose from 3.5 percent to 6 percent, even as usage of Microsofts Internet Explorer browser shrank from 95.5 percent to 92.9 percent.
However, as pointed out by Web sites such as Chuck Upsdells Browser News and Kerry Watsons Browser Statistics Page, these data are difficult to confirm. Browsers often spoof their identity, sending to servers messages that they are, in fact, Internet Explorer.
This is in the hope of not being locked out of sites designed only for Microsofts browser. In addition, these pages note that statistics vary widely, depending on the measurement criteria, with Internet Explorer 6 showing up with a usage share as low as 51 percent in some cases, and browsers based on Mozilla code, as Firefox is, with a correspondingly higher share.
Goodger, who has been with Mozilla since 1999 and has worked on the Firefox project since its inception in 2003, said development for multiple platforms, including Windows, Mac OS and Linux, was a goal from the beginning.