Page last updated at 00:28 GMT, Thursday, 3 July 2008 01:28 UK

Firefox download record official

By Maggie Shiels
Technology reporter, BBC News, Silicon Valley

Screengrab of Firefox webpage, Mozilla
So far there have been more than 28 million downloads of Firefox 3.0

Mozilla has officially made history with a new Guinness world record for the largest number of software downloads in a 24-hour period.

The final record breaking 8,002,530 downloads for web browser Firefox 3.0 took place in June.

"The enthusiasm and creativity of Firefox fans was key to making this happen," said marketing head Paul Kim.

Gareth Deaves of Guinness World Records called it "an extremely impressive accomplishment".

The official figure was confirmed after logs from download servers were audited and checked to ensure duplicate and unfinished downloads were not counted.

Mr Kim told the BBC News: "The notion of going for a world record, as... nutty as it may have sounded, was a really sticky idea.

"It was an idea that translated really well across national borders and to all different kinds of people around the world."

Marketing manager Mary Colvig said no party was planned to celebrate the record until the actual certificate was presented by Guinness World Records in London next week.

"Here at Mozilla headquarters (in Mountain View) I think most of us are just going to try and get to bed early now that we have the confirmation. We are all tired."

Security flaw

On launch day some of the shine was taken away by security firms claiming to have found the first flaws in the new software.

Within five hours of Firefox 3.0 making its debut, DV Labs/Tipping Point reported a flaw that potentially let an attacker take over a PC if a user clicked on a booby-trapped link.

Mr Kim told the BBC News: "Firefox users are safe. We have a patch in the works and hope to release it very soon."

mozilla hq at end of the download day
Mozilla says the number of downloads surpassed their expectations

Another potentially disastrous glitch ahead of the world record attempt came when servers handling the downloads collapsed under the weight of visitors checking to see if the new version of the browser was available.

Once they were all up and running the clock started counting down.

At their busiest, the servers were handling more than 9,000 downloads per minute. Within five hours the number of downloads for Version 3.0 exceeded the 1.6 million set by Firefox 2.0 in October 2006.

Market share increase

Another boost for the open source browser comes with the announcement that it has increased its market share to more than 19% making it the second most popular browser after Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE).

Statistics firm Net Applications said a chunk of the gain seemed to have come from rival IE, although much of the growth came in users upgrading.

The company said while IE reached a record low last month, it predicted Firefox would break the 20% share bar sometime this month.

Mr Kim said: "We offer the best browsing experience and this shows people are getting the message and voting with their browser choice."

Meanwhile, Mozilla has shipped a high priority update for Firefox 2.0, warning that there are at least five serious vulnerabilities that could lead to code execution attacks.

Mr Kim said Mozilla would continue to support Firefox 2.0 until the middle of December.

After that users will be expected to switch over to Firefox 3.0, which since its launch over two weeks ago boasts 28 million downloads and counting.

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