Mozilla's open-source Web browser crosses the half-billion mark, as it continues to spread at a rate just shy of 20 million downloads per month.
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Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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Sometime last night, Firefox downloads crossed the 500 million threshold.
It's an arbitrary but interesting milestone for the open-source Web browser, whose development is overseen by Mozilla but that's also developed and extended by a large number of outside programmers. In September 2007, Firefox crossed the 400 million download mark, indicating an average rate a bit shy of 20 million per month at present.
According to the Spread Firefox site, there had been 500,168,448 downloads as of 6:15 a.m. PST. About 12 hours earlier, there had been more than 499,900,000.
Firefox has spread widely in the years since its release. The project originally was named Phoenix to symbolize a rising from the ashes of the Netscape open-source browser project that began in 1998 but languished for many years as Microsoft's Internet Explorer solidified its lead.