While the Mozilla browser gained rave reviews out of the gate, its progress was hamstrung by the Mozilla project’s affiliation with Netscape and AOL. These organizations insisted that Mozilla was just for developers and that regular users should instead choose the inferior Netscape browsers of the time. While several 1.x versions of Mozilla were released, the classic browser suite never saw a 2.0 version.
Once the Mozilla Foundation separated itself from its Netscape/AOL legacy, it focused on building a streamlined browser-only release designed to be attractive to regular Web users as well as to advanced developers and other power users. The result was Firefox 1.0, which was immediately popular with users looking for an alternative to IE.
Firefox 3.0, the current generation of the Mozilla browser, launched with a host of significant improvements to usability and security and with a new look and feel. In every way, Firefox 3 is an excellent browser, but it now competes in a completely different world than the original Mozilla did: The browser as a tool is much more important to businesses, and Firefox is not only dueling with IE but also faces serious competition from Google Chrome, Apple Safari and Opera Software’s Opera browser.
8Future of the Web
While it has come a long way, from Mozilla 1.0 to Firefox 3.0, Mozilla continues to work toward the future of the Web and the browser. Much of this work is done at Mozilla Labs, where projects such as Prism point to a future where browsers will enable the cloud operating system.