Browsers

3.3665187064191 (1577)
Posted by pompos 03/25/2009 @ 12:12

Tags : browsers, internet, technology

News headlines
Google launches improved Chrome browser - USA Today
Google today introduces a new version of its Chrome browser that it says is 30% faster, safer and less prone to bugs. Existing Chrome users will find their browser automatically updated within the next 3 weeks, says Google. If you want it quicker than...
Microsoft Cancels Antitrust Hearing in Europe - PC World
In January the Commission accused Microsoft of distorting fair competition in the market for Internet browsers by tying IE to Windows which, it argued, gives IE an advantage over rival browsers. The case is similar to one focussed on IE in the US...
Mozilla Labs Scopes Out the Future of the Web - eWeek
But what about the browser itself? How will future browsers interact with sites and applications? Will we even have browsers as we know them today, or will everyone use browser-like single-purpose applications to access different areas of the Web?...
New images from iGear's Teletran-1 Playset - seibertron.com
We highly recommended using the newest versions of those browsers to increase your browsing experience here on Seibertron.com. Older browsers such as IE5 and IE6 are not supported. This website is optimized for monitors with resolutions that are at...
Skyhook Unveils Loads of Browser Location Partner Sites - Wi-Fi Networking News
Skyhook's Loki location-finding service for browsers has a pile of sites enabled to use the technology: Skyhook Wireless has been developing its Loki plug-in and related service for some time, but this is the first big rollout of major partners that...
mocoNews - The Top Mobile Browsers Are Not What You Think - Washington Post
While the media has been good at playing up the browser war storyline in the mobile industry, it appears the most prolific browsers are the ones you likely never heard of. Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Access, which provides technologies to handset makers,...
Close the Java Security Hole in Many Browsers - PC World
As we noted earlier, there's a rather large security hole with Java in Web browsers in all versions of OS X. Because of the way Java applets work, you can be attacked by simply visiting (not even clicking a link on, or downloading a file from) a Web...
Intelligent Life Sciences Search Engine: Grid Browser Understands ... - Science Daily (press release)
ScienceDaily (May 21, 2009) — A web browser that can understand technical terms in life sciences and automatically find additional resources and services has been developed by European researchers. It could lead to a new generation of intelligent...
Yahoo Mobile Abandons Its Smartphone App To Focus On The iPhone - TechCrunch
But just last March during a briefing I had with Adam Taggart, head of product marketing for Yahoo Mobile, when I asked whether Yahoo was leaning more towards distribution through apps or mobile browsers, he replied: We are embracing both,...

Comparison of web browsers

The usage share of web browsers described in this chart. Source from Net Applications[1]      Internet Explorer (67.51%)      Mozilla Firefox (21.73%)      Safari (8.00%)      Google Chrome (1.15%)      Opera (0.71%)      Other (0.90%)

The following tables compare general and technical information for a number of web browsers. Please see the individual products' articles for further information.

This is a table of personal computer web browsers by year of release of major version, in chronological order, with the approximate number of worldwide Internet users in millions. Note that Internet user data is related to the entire market, not the versions released in that year. The increased growth of the Internet in the 1990s and 2000s means that current browsers with small market shares have more total users than the entire market early on. For example, 90% market share in 1997 would be roughly 60 million users, but by the start of 2007 9% market share would equate to over 90 million users.

This table focuses on OS and browsers of the 1990s and turn of the century. The year listed for a version is usually the year of the first official release, with an end year being end of development, project change, or relevant termination. Releases of OS and browser from the early 1990s to before 2001-2002 time frame are the current focus.

Basic general information about the browsers: creator/company, license/price etc.

A brief overview of the release history.

Please note that the list is not exhaustive, but rather reflects the most common OSs today (e.g. Netscape Navigator was also developed for OS/2 at a time when Mac OS X did not yet exist) but does not include the growing appliance segment (for example, the Opera web browser has gained a leading role for use in mobile phones, smartphones, the Nintendo DS and Wii, and Personal Digital Assistants, and is also used in Interactive televisions).

Information about what common browser features are implemented natively (without third-party add-ons).

Information about what common accessibility features are implemented natively (without third-party add-ons). Browsers that haven't any ECMAScript support don't need any Pop-up blocking abilities, so that fields are marked as N/A.

Information about what common accessibility features are implemented natively (without third-party add-ons).

Information about what web standards, and technologies the browsers support, except for JavaScript. External links lead to information about support in future versions of the browsers or extensions that provide such functionality.

Information about what web standards, and technologies the browsers support, except for JavaScript. External links lead to information about support in future versions of the browsers or extensions that provide such functionality.

Information about what web standards, and technologies the browsers support. External links lead to information about support in future versions of the browsers or extensions that provide such functionality. Java support is for built-in support by the browser without the plugin from SUN.

Information about what JavaScript technologies the browsers support. Note that although XPath is used by XSLT, it is only considered here if it can be accessed using JavaScript. External links lead to information about support in future versions of the browsers or extensions that provide such functionality.

See what parts of DOM your browser supports.

Information about what internet protocols the browsers support. External links lead to information about support in future versions of the browsers or extensions that provide such functionality.

Information about what image formats the browsers support. External links lead to information about support in future versions of the browsers or extensions that provide such functionality.

Most browsers are available in more than one language.

This comparison of unpatched publicly known vulnerabilities in latest stable version browsers is based on vulnerabilities reports by SecurityFocus and Secunia. See computer security for more details about the importance of unpatched known flaws.

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List of web browsers

A rough estimation of usage share by percent of layout engines/web browsers, see usage share of web browsers.

The following is a list of web browsers.

This is a table of personal computer web browsers by year of release of major version, in chronological order, with the approximate number of worldwide Internet users in millions. Note that Internet user data is related to the entire market, not the versions released in that year. The increased growth of the Internet in the 1990s and 2000s means that current browsers with small market shares have more total users than the entire market early on. For example, 90% market share in 1997 would be roughly 60 million users, but by the start of 2007 9% market share would equate to over 90 million users.

Browsers created for enhancements of specific browsing activities.

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Timeline of web browsers

A time line of web browsers from the early 1990s to the present. Prior to browsers, many technologies and systems existed for information viewing and transmission. For an in depth history of earlier web browsers see the web browser article.

The following table chronicles the major release dates since 1993 for the more popular web browsers.

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Opera (web browser)

Opera logo.png

Opera is a web browser and Internet suite developed by the Opera Software company. Opera handles common Internet-related tasks such as displaying web sites, sending and receiving e-mail messages, managing contacts, IRC online chatting, downloading files via BitTorrent, and reading web feeds. Opera is offered free of charge for personal computers and mobile phones, but for other devices it must be paid for.

Features of Opera include tabbed browsing, page zooming, mouse gestures, and an integrated download manager. Its security features include built-in phishing and malware protection, strong encryption when browsing secure web sites, and the ability to easily delete private data such as cookies and browsing history by simply clicking a button.

Opera runs on a variety of personal computer operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris. Though evaluations of Opera have been largely positive, Opera has captured only a fraction of the worldwide personal computer browser market.

Opera has a stronger market share, however, on mobile devices such as mobile phones, smartphones, and personal digital assistants. Editions of Opera are available for devices using the Symbian and Windows Mobile operating systems, as well as Java ME-enabled devices. In fact, approximately 40 million mobile phones have shipped with Opera pre-installed. Furthermore, Opera is the only commercial web browser available for the Nintendo DS and Wii gaming systems. Some television set-top boxes use Opera as well, and Adobe licensed Opera technology for use in the Adobe Creative Suite.

Opera began in 1994 as a research project at Telenor, the largest Norwegian telecommunications company. In 1995, it branched out into a separate company named Opera Software ASA. Opera was first released publicly with version 2.0 in 1996, which only ran on Microsoft Windows. In an attempt to capitalize on the emerging market for Internet-connected handheld devices, a project to port Opera to mobile device platforms was started in 1998. Opera 4.0, released in 2000, included a new cross-platform core that facilitated creation of editions of Opera for multiple operating systems and platforms.

Up to this point, Opera was trialware and had to be purchased after the trial period ended. But version 5.0 (released in 2000) saw the end of this requirement. Instead, Opera became ad-sponsored, displaying advertisements to users who had not paid for it. Later versions of Opera gave the user the choice of seeing banner ads or targeted text advertisements from Google. With version 8.5 (released in 2005) the advertisements were removed entirely and primary financial support for the browser came through revenue from Google (which is by contract Opera's default search engine).

Among the new features introduced in version 9.1 (released in 2006) was fraud protection using technology from GeoTrust, a digital certificate provider, and PhishTank, an organization that tracks known phishing web sites. This feature was further improved and expanded in version 9.5, when GeoTrust was replaced with Netcraft, and malware protection from Haute Secure was added.

Also in 2006, editions of Opera were made and released for Nintendo's DS and Wii gaming systems. Opera for the Wii, called the Internet Channel, was free to download from its release on April 12, 2007 until June 30, 2007. After June 30, Wii users had to pay 500 Wii Points (about US$5) to download it. The Nintendo DS Browser is likewise not free; it is sold as a physical DS game cartridge.

The Opera Software company claims that Opera is "the fastest browser on Earth." One set of third-party speed tests concluded that Opera 9.5 was indeed faster than Internet Explorer 7 and prerelease versions of Firefox 3 and Safari 3. Technology website ZDNet's speed tests showed that out of Internet Explorer 7, Safari 3, and pre-release versions of Firefox 3 and Opera 9.5, Opera is the fastest in some areas, but the only browser that Opera clearly outperformed was Internet Explorer.

Opera includes built-in tabbed browsing, pop-up blocking, fraud protection, a download manager and BitTorrent client, a search bar, and a web feed aggregator. Opera also comes with an e-mail client called Opera Mail and an IRC chat client built in.

Opera includes a "Speed Dial" feature, which allows the user to add up to nine links (or more, by editing the speeddial.ini file) to the page displayed when a new tab is opened. Thumbnails of the linked pages are automatically generated and used for visual recognition on the Speed Dial page. Once set up, this feature allows the user to more easily navigate to the selected web pages.

Opera supports "Opera Widgets", small web applications that start from within Opera. Alongside Widgets, "User JavaScript" may be used to add custom JavaScript to web pages. Greasemonkey support is limited, and there is no interface to manage scripts or toggle 'Greasemonkey-on' functionality.

Opera is extensible in a third way via plug-ins, relatively small programs that add specific functions to the browser. However, Opera limits what plug-ins can do and does not support full-fledged third-party extensions to the browser. Opera does this as a quality assurance measure, so that third-party extensions cannot introduce bugs.

Opera was designed with a commitment to computer accessibility for users who have visual or mobility impairments. As a multimodal browser, it also caters to a wide variety of personal preferences in the user interface.

It is possible to control nearly every aspect of the browser using only the keyboard, and the default keyboard shortcuts can be modified to suit the user. It is the only major browser to include support for spatial navigation. Opera also includes support for mouse gestures, patterns of mouse movement that trigger browser actions such as "back" or "refresh".

Page zooming allows text, images and other content such as Macromedia Flash, Java and Scalable Vector Graphics to be increased or decreased in size (20% to 1000%) to help those with impaired vision. The user may also specify the fonts and colors for web pages, and even override the page's CSS styling as well. This can be useful for making sites appear in high contrast or in more readable fonts.

Voice control, co-developed with IBM, allows control of the browser without the use of a keyboard or mouse. It can also read aloud pages and marked text.

Opera has several security features visible to the end user. One is the option to delete private data, such as cookies, the browsing history, and the cache, with the click of a button. This lets users erase personal data after browsing from a shared computer.

When visiting a secure web site, Opera encrypts data using either SSL 3 or TLS, both of which are highly secure encryption protocols. It then adds information about the site's security to the address bar. It will also check the web site that is being visited against blacklists of phishing and malware, and warn if it matches any of these lists. This behavior is enabled by default, but the user may opt to not make such checks automatically. If this check is disabled, the user can still check sites individually by opening a Page Info dialog.

The user can protect every saved password stored in Opera with a master password. This way malware cannot decrypt those passwords unless the master password is known. To catch security flaws and other bugs before they are exploited or become a serious problem, the Opera Software company maintains a public web form where users can submit bug reports. According to Secunia, a computer security service provider, the mean average of unpatched vulnerabilities in the last 365 days is 0.01. This stands in contrast to Firefox (5.77), Internet Explorer (38.3), and Safari (1.54).

In January 2007, Asa Dotzler of the competing Mozilla Corporation accused the Opera Software company of downplaying information about security vulnerabilities in Opera that were fixed in December 2006. Dotzler claimed that users were not clearly informed of security vulnerabilities present in the previous version of Opera, and thus they would not realize that they needed to upgrade to the latest version or risk being exploited. Opera responded to these accusations the next day.

Opera was one of the first browsers to support Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), now a major building block of web design. Today, Opera supports many web standards, including CSS 2.1, HTML 4.01, XHTML 1.1, XHTML Basic, XHTML Mobile Profile, XHTML+Voice, WML 2.0, XSLT, XPath, XSL-FO, ECMAScript 3 (JavaScript), DOM 2, XMLHttpRequest, HTTP 1.1, Unicode, SVG 1.1 Basic, SVG 1.1 Tiny, GIF89a, JPEG, and full support for PNG, including alpha transparency.

Since version 9, Opera also passes the Acid2 test, a test of whether or not a browser properly supports certain web standards. Opera was the fourth web browser to pass the test and the first Windows browser to pass the test.

Opera 10 will support TLS 1.2.

Aside from the main edition of Opera for personal computers, editions of Opera are available for a variety of devices. All are based on the same core, but there is some variation in the features offered and the design of the user interface.

Opera Mobile is an edition of Opera designed for smartphones and personal digital assistants (PDAs). The first version of Opera Mobile was released in 2000 for the Psion Series 7 and netBook, with a port to the Windows Mobile platform coming in 2004. Today, Opera Mobile is available for a variety of devices that run the Windows Mobile, S60, or UIQ operating systems.

Users may try Opera Mobile free for 30 days, but beyond that it costs US$24. Devices that use the UIQ 3 operating system, such as the Sony Ericsson P990 and Motorola RIZR Z8, come pre-installed with Opera Mobile, the price of Opera Mobile being included in the price of the phone.

One of Opera Mobile's major features is the ability to dynamically reformat web pages to better fit the handheld's display using Small-Scale Rendering technology. Alternatively, the user may use page zooming for a closer or broader look. However, like previous versions of Opera for personal computers, Opera Mobile's user interface has come under fire for being difficult to use or customize.

Opera Mini, offered free of charge, is designed primarily for mobile phones, but also for smartphones and personal digital assistants. It uses the Java ME platform and consequently requires that the mobile device be capable of running Java ME applications. The browser began as a pilot project in 2005. After limited releases in Europe, it was officially launched worldwide on January 24, 2006.

Opera Mini requests web pages through the Opera Software company's servers, which process and compress them before relaying the pages back to the mobile phone. This compression process reduces bandwidth use by up to 90% and the pre-processing smooths compatibility with web pages not designed for mobile phones.

The Nintendo DS Browser is an edition of Opera for the Nintendo DS handheld gaming system. The Nintendo DS Browser was released in Japan July 24, 2006, in Europe October 6, 2006, and in North America June 4, 2007. It is sold as a physical game cartridge for US$30.

The Nintendo DS Browser includes the same Small-Scale Rendering and page zooming technology present in Opera Mobile. It also includes handwriting recognition software and an on-screen keyboard to enable user input. Additionally, Nintendo partnered with Astaro Internet Security to provide web filtering for the Nintendo DS Browser. The technology is simply a professionally maintained proxy server that blocks web sites related to pornography, discrimination, security hacking, software piracy, violence, gambling, illegal drugs, alcohol, tobacco, dating, weapons, abortion, and other content that Nintendo deems objectionable. Users can configure the Nintendo DS Browser to receive web pages through this proxy server, and this setting can be password-protected (by a parent, for example) to prevent circumvention.

In August 2007, the Nintendo DS Browser was quietly discontinued in North America, although it is still available from Nintendo's online store. Instead, Opera will be available on the Nintendo DSi through the DSi Shop.

On May 10, 2006, the Opera Software company announced that it was partnering with Nintendo to provide a web browser for Nintendo's Wii gaming console. Opera for the Wii, called the Internet Channel, was free to download from its release on April 12, 2007 until June 30, 2007. After June 30, Wii users had to pay 500 Wii Points (US$5) to download it.

Scott Hedrick, an executive of the Opera Software company, explained that the Wii browser was designed to suit a "living room environment". In contrast to Opera's appearance on computer monitors, fonts are larger and the interface is simplified for easier use. Notwithstanding the changes in design, the Wii browser supports all the same web standards as the desktop version of Opera 9, including passing the Acid2 test.

As of September 2008, usage data on English-language sites show Opera's share of the browser market as being below 1%. The browser has seen more success in Europe, including about 18-20% market share in Russia and Ukraine, and 5–6% in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Czech Republic.

Since its first release in 1996, the browser has had limited success on personal computers. It has had more success in the area of mobile browsing, with product releases for a variety of platforms. Approximately 40 million mobile phones have shipped with a copy of Opera pre-installed.

In addition to mobile phones, smartphones, and personal digital assistants, Opera has found a place with Nintendo's Wii and DS gaming systems. It is used on some television set-top boxes as well. And in 2005, Adobe opted to integrate Opera's layout engine, Presto, into its Adobe Creative Suite applications. Opera technology is now found in Adobe GoLive, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Dreamweaver, and other components of the Adobe Creative Suite. Opera's layout engine is also found in Virtual Mechanics SiteSpinner Pro.

Critical reception of Opera has been largely positive, although it has been criticized for website compatibility issues, partly because many web sites do not adhere to web standards as diligently as Opera. Because of this issue, Opera 8.01 and higher have included workarounds to help certain popular but problematic web sites display properly.

Opera version 10, codenamed Peregrine (after the Peregrine Falcon), will have an improved user interface, increased standards support, bug fixes, performance improvements, and new tools for web developers. An alpha version which scores 100 / 100 on the Acid3 standards compliance test was released on December 3, 2008.

A new JavaScript engine called Carakan, after the Javanese script, will be used in future Opera versions after Opera 10. According to Opera Software, Carakan is 2.5 times faster at the SunSpider benchmark than the Opera 10 alpha engine. Also in development are improvements to Opera's vector graphics library, Vega, that allow it to be used for all of the browser's rendering, allowing platform specific rendering code to be replaced with code for Vega. This will help Opera implement some advanced CSS3 properties, such as backgrounds and borders. The new version of Vega will also allow hardware acceleration with optional OpenGL and Direct3D backends.

Opera Turbo will be in future versions of Opera.

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Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox Icon

Mozilla Firefox is a web browser descended from the Mozilla Application Suite and managed by Mozilla Corporation. Official versions are distributed under the terms of a proprietary EULA. Firefox had 21.73% of the recorded usage share of web browsers as of February 2009, making it the second-most popular browser in current use worldwide, after Internet Explorer.

To display web pages, Firefox uses the Gecko layout engine, which implements some current web standards plus a few features which are intended to anticipate likely additions to the standards.

Firefox includes tabbed browsing, a spell checker, incremental find, live bookmarking, a download manager, and an integrated search system that uses the user's desired search engine (Google by default in most localizations). Functions can be added through add-ons created by third-party developers, the most popular of which include the NoScript JavaScript disabling utility, Tab Mix Plus customizer, FoxyTunes media player control toolbar, Adblock Plus ad blocking utility, StumbleUpon (website discovery), Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer (bookmark synchronizer), WOT: Web of Trust security site advisor, DownThemAll! download enhancer, and Web Developer toolbar.

Firefox runs on various versions of Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and many other Unix-like operating systems. Its current stable release is version 3.0.7, released on March 4, 2009. Firefox's source code is free software, released under a tri-license GNU GPL/GNU LGPL/MPL.

Dave Hyatt and Blake Ross began working on the Firefox project as an experimental branch of the Mozilla project. They believed the commercial requirements of Netscape's sponsorship and developer-driven feature creep compromised the utility of the Mozilla browser. To combat what they saw as the Mozilla Suite's software bloat, they created a stand-alone browser, with which they intended to replace the Mozilla Suite. On April 3, 2003, the Mozilla Organization announced that they planned to change their focus from the Mozilla Suite to Firefox and Thunderbird.

The Firefox project has undergone several name changes. Originally titled Phoenix, it was renamed because of trademark issues with Phoenix Technologies. The replacement name, Firebird, provoked an intense response from the Firebird free database software project. In response, the Mozilla Foundation stated that the browser should always bear the name Mozilla Firebird to avoid confusion with the database software. Continuing pressure from the database server's development community forced another change; on February 9, 2004, Mozilla Firebird became Mozilla Firefox, often referred to as simply Firefox. Mozilla prefers Firefox to be abbreviated as Fx or fx, though it is often abbreviated as FF.

The Firefox project went through many versions before 1.0 was released on November 9, 2004. After a series of stability and security fixes, the Mozilla Foundation released its first major update, Firefox version 1.5, on November 29, 2005. On October 24, 2006, Mozilla released Firefox 2. This version includes updates to the tabbed browsing environment, the extensions manager, the GUI, and the find, search and software update engines; a new session restore feature; inline spell checking; and an anti-phishing feature which was implemented by Google as an extension, and later merged into the program itself. In December 2007, Firefox Live Chat was launched. It allows users to ask volunteers questions through a system powered by Jive Software, with guaranteed hours of operation and the possibility of help after hours.

Mozilla Firefox 3 was released on June 17, 2008 by the Mozilla Corporation. Firefox 3 uses version 1.9 of the Mozilla Gecko layout engine for displaying web pages. The new version fixes many bugs, improves standard compliance, and implements new web APIs. Other new features include a redesigned download manager, a new "Places" system for storing bookmarks and history, and separate themes for different operating systems. The current version is Firefox 3.0.7.

Development stretches back to the first Firefox 3 beta (under the codename 'Gran Paradiso') which had been released several months earlier on 19 November 2007, and was followed by several more beta releases in spring 2008 culminating in the June release.

Firefox had 21.53% of the recorded usage share of web browsers by January 2009, and Firefox 3 had over 8 million unique downloads the day it was released, setting a Guinness World Record.

The precursory builds of upcoming Firefox releases are usually codenamed "Minefield", as this is the name of the trunk builds. Pre-release versions for Firefox 3.5 (based on the Mozilla 1.9.1 branch) are also available. Development on the Mozilla trunk (mozilla-central) is currently directed towards the subsequent Firefox 3.x release, which has been temporarily designated version 3.6.

After three initial beta releases under the Firefox 3.1 moniker, Mozilla developers have decided to change the numbering of this release to version 3.5, to reflect a significantly greater scope of changes than was originally planned.

Version 3.5, codenamed Shiretoko, is planned to include support for the <video> and <audio> tags as defined in the HTML 5 specification. The goal of Firefox's open-source in-browser video is to offer video playback without being encumbered by patent issues associated with so many video technologies.

Cross-site XMLHttpRequests (XHR), which would allow for more powerful web applications and an easier way to implement mashups, is also in planning. Native JSON DOM binding, a powerful feature for web developers, may also be included, together with full CSS 3 selector support. Firefox 3.5 will use the Gecko 1.9.1 engine, which includes a few features that were not included in the 3.0 release. Multi-touch support will also be added to the release, including gesture support like pinching for zooming, swiping for back and forward and twisting for changing the tab.

The Alpha 1 was released in late July 2008. Alpha 2 was launched on September 6, 2008, adding new video support. TraceMonkey was added to enhance the speed of some JavaScript computations, similar to the V8 JavaScript engine in Google Chrome. Beta 1 was released on October 14, 2008 and Beta 2 on December 8, 2008. Beta 2 includes a Private Browsing feature which, when active, does not store any data revealing a user's visited sites on the hard drive. Beta 3 was released on March 12, 2009.

Version 3.5 will also change the default search engine in Russian language builds, using the popular Russian search engine Yandex rather than Google after a survey of Russian Firefox users indicated they preferred Yandex.

The release following Firefox 3.1 (since changed to Firefox 3.5) was originally referred to as 3.2. Since the change, Mozilla developer Mike Shaver has indicated that the release number will be referred to as 3.6 ad interim. The release date is not yet known. Development started on 1 December 2008. This release will use the Gecko 1.9.2 engine on the Mozilla 2 platform and include several interface improvements, such as new graphical tab-switching behavior, which was removed from 3.1 Beta 2.

On October 13, 2006, Brendan Eich, Mozilla's Chief Technology Officer, wrote about the plans for Mozilla 2, the platform on which Firefox 4.0 is likely to be based. These changes include improving and removing XPCOM APIs, switching to standard C++ features, just-in-time compilation with JavaScript 2 (known as the Tamarin project), and tool-time and runtime security checks. It has also been announced that support for the Gopher protocol will be removed by default to lessen attack vectors, but it has also been suggested that the protocol could be retained if someone were to implement Gopher support in a memory-safe programming language.

Mitchell Baker, Mozilla's former Chief Executive Officer, has spoken of the Mozilla Foundation's plans to create a version of Firefox, codenamed Fennec, that will run reliably on mobile phones, as well as a strategy for syncing content downloaded on a PC with mobile handsets.

Meanwhile, integral offline application support technology—similar to Gears—is also being developed for Firefox. Baker has said that given the level of investment made in the web as a platform, taking applications to the next level will require that they continue to work when a computer is offline.

Features included with Firefox are tabbed browsing, spell checker, incremental find, live bookmarking, an integrated download manager, keyboard shortcuts, and an integrated search system that uses the user's desired search engine.

Users can customize Firefox with browser "add-ons". Mozilla maintains a repository of these developed extensions and themes at addons.mozilla.org with nearly 6,500 available as of December 2008.

Firefox provides an environment for web developers in which they can use built-in tools, such as the Error Console or the DOM Inspector, or extensions, such as Firebug.

Mozilla Firefox implements many web standards, including HTML, XML, XHTML, SVG 1.1 (partial), CSS (with extensions), ECMAScript (JavaScript), DOM, MathML, DTD, XSLT, XPath, and (animated) PNG images with alpha transparency. Firefox also implements standards proposals created by the WHATWG such as client-side storage, and canvas element.

Firefox passes the Acid2 standards-compliance test from version 3.0. Like all other stable browsers as of January 2009, Firefox 3.0 does not pass the Acid3 test; it scores 71/100 and does not render the image correctly. Firefox 3.1 scores 93/100, renders the image correctly except for using the wrong favicon, and does not pass the performance aspect of Acid3.

Firefox also implements a proprietary protocol from Google called "safebrowsing" (used to exchange data related with "phishing and malware protection"), which is not an open standard. It is in direct contradiction with Mozilla Manifesto, an often cited document in Mozilla marketing efforts.

Firefox uses a sandbox security model, and limits scripts from accessing data from other web sites based on the same origin policy. It uses SSL/TLS to protect communications with web servers using strong cryptography when using the https protocol. It also provides support for web applications to use smartcards for authentication purposes.

The Mozilla Foundation offers a "bug bounty" to researchers who discover severe security holes in Firefox. Official guidelines for handling security vulnerabilities discourage early disclosure of vulnerabilities so as not to give potential attackers an advantage in creating exploits.

Because Firefox has fewer and less severe publicly known unpatched security vulnerabilities than Internet Explorer (see Comparison of web browsers), improved security is often cited as a reason to switch from Internet Explorer to Firefox. The Washington Post reports that exploit code for critical unpatched security vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer was available for 284 days in 2006. In comparison, exploit code for critical security vulnerabilities in Firefox was available for 9 days before Mozilla shipped a patch to remedy the problem.

A 2006 Symantec study showed that although Firefox had surpassed other browsers in the number of vendor-confirmed vulnerabilities that year through September, these vulnerabilities were patched far more quickly than those found in other browsers. Symantec later clarified their statement, saying that Firefox still had fewer security vulnerabilities than Internet Explorer, as counted by security researchers. As of December 10, 2008, Firefox 3 has one security vulnerability unpatched according to Secunia. Internet Explorer 7 has ten security vulnerabilities unpatched, the most severe of which was rated "extremely critical" by Secunia.

Browsers compiled from Firefox source code may run on various operating systems, however officially distributed binaries are meant for: Microsoft Windows (Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 or Windows Vista), Mac OS X 10.4 (or later) and Linux (with the following libraries installed: GTK+ 2.10 or higher, GLib 2.12 or higher, Pango 1.14 or higher, X.Org 1.0 or higher). Official minimum hardware requirements are Pentium 233 MHz and 64 MB RAM for Windows version or Macintosh computer with an Intel x86 or PowerPC G3, G4, or G5 processor and 128 MB RAM for Mac version.

Firefox is free and open source software, and is tri-licensed under the Mozilla Public License (MPL), GNU General Public License (GPL), and the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL). These licenses permit anyone to view, modify and/or redistribute the source code, and several publicly released applications have been built on it; for example, Netscape, Flock, Miro, and Songbird make use of code from Firefox.

The official end-user builds of Firefox distributed from mozilla.com are licensed under the Mozilla End User License Agreement (EULA). Several elements do not fall under the scope of the tri-license and have their use restricted by the EULA, including the trademarked Firefox name, the proprietary artwork, and the proprietary closed-source Talkback crash reporter in Firefox version prior to 3. Because of this and the clickwrap agreement included in the Windows version, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) consider these builds proprietary software. However, BreakPad, an open source crash reporting system, has replaced Talkback in Firefox 3.0.

In the past, Firefox was licensed solely under the MPL, which the FSF criticizes for being weak copyleft; the license permits, in limited ways, proprietary derivative works. Additionally, code under the MPL cannot legally be linked with code under the GPL or the LGPL. To address these concerns, Mozilla re-licensed Firefox under the tri-license scheme of MPL, GPL, and LGPL. Since the re-licensing, developers have been free to choose the license under which they will receive the code, to suit their intended use: GPL or LGPL linking and derivative works when one of those licenses is chosen, or MPL use (including the possibility of proprietary derivative works) if they choose the MPL.

The name "Mozilla Firefox" is a registered trademark; along with the official Firefox logo, it may only be used under certain terms and conditions. Anyone may redistribute the official binaries in unmodified form and use the Firefox name and branding for such distribution, but restrictions are placed on distributions which modify the underlying source code.

Mozilla not only forbids creating derivative works from Firefox logo (i.e. modifying it), but also strongly discourages creating independent, but similar logos.

There has been some controversy over the Mozilla Foundation's intentions in stopping certain open source distributions from using the "Firefox" trademark. Former Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker explained in an interview in 2007 that distributions could freely use the Firefox trademark if they did not modify source-code, and that the Mozilla Foundation's only concern was with users getting a consistent experience when they used "Firefox".

To allow distributions of the code without using the official branding, the Firefox source code contains a "branding switch". This switch allows the code to be compiled without the official logo and name, for example to produce a derivative work unencumbered by restrictions on the Firefox trademark (this is also often used for alphas of future Firefox versions). In the unbranded compilation the trademarked logo and name are replaced with a freely distributable generic globe logo and the name of the release series from which the modified version was derived. The name "Deer Park" is used for derivatives of Firefox 1.5, "Bon Echo" for derivatives of Firefox 2.0, and "Gran Paradiso" is used for derivatives of Firefox 3.0. The codename Minefield and a modified version of the generic logo stylized to look like a bomb is used for unofficial builds of version 3.0 and later, and for nightly builds of the trunk.

Distributing modified versions of Firefox under the "Firefox" name requires explicit approval from Mozilla for the changes made to the underlying code, and requires the use of all of the official branding. For example, it is not permissible to use the name "Firefox" without also using the official logo. When the Debian project decided to stop using the official Firefox logo in 2006 (because of copyright restrictions on its use incompatible with the project's guidelines), they were told by a representative of the Mozilla Foundation that this was not acceptable, and were asked either to comply with the published trademark guidelines or cease using the "Firefox" name in their distribution. Ultimately, Debian switched to branding their modified version of Firefox "Iceweasel", along with other Mozilla software.

The rapid adoption of Firefox, 100 million downloads in its first year of availability, followed a series of aggressive marketing campaigns starting in 2004 with a series of events Blake Ross and Asa Dotzler called "marketing weeks".

On September 12, 2004, a marketing portal dubbed "Spread Firefox" (SFX) debuted along with the Firefox Preview Release, creating a centralized space for the discussion of various marketing techniques. The portal enhanced the "Get Firefox" button program, giving users "referrer points" as an incentive. The site lists the top 250 referrers. From time to time, the SFX team or SFX members launch marketing events organized at the Spread Firefox website. As a part of the Spread Firefox campaign, there is an attempt to break the world download record with the release of Firefox 3. The idea is to have the newest version downloaded by as many people as possible within a 24 hour time period.

The "World Firefox Day" campaign started on July 15, 2006, the third anniversary of the founding of the Mozilla Foundation, and ran until September 15, 2006. Participants registered themselves and a friend on the website for nomination to have their names displayed on the Firefox Friends Wall, a digital wall that will be displayed at the headquarters of the Mozilla Foundation.

On February 21, 2008 in honor of reaching 500 million downloads, the Firefox community celebrated by visiting FreeRice to earn 500 million grains of rice.

Some of Firefox's contributors made a crop circle of the Firefox logo, at coordinates 45°07′25.68″N 123°06′49.68″W / 45.1238°N 123.1138°W / 45.1238; -123.1138 (Firefox crop circle).

Mozilla Firefox's market share has grown for each growth period since inception, mostly at the expense of Internet Explorer; Internet Explorer has seen a steady decline of its usage share since Firefox's release. As of February 2009, according to NetApplications, Firefox had 21.77% worldwide usage share of web browsers, making it the second most-used browser, after Internet Explorer.

Downloads have continued at an increasing rate since Firefox 1.0 was released in November 2004, and as of November 3, 2008 Firefox has been downloaded over 700 million times. This number does not include downloads using software updates or those from third-party websites. They do not represent a user count, as one download may be installed on many machines, one person may download the software multiple times, or the software may be obtained from a third party. According to Mozilla, Firefox had more than 220 million users as of January 2009.

Forbes.com called Firefox the best browser in a 2004 commentary piece, and PC World named Firefox "Product of the Year" in 2005 on their "100 Best Products of 2005" list. After the release of Firefox 2 and Internet Explorer 7 in 2006, PC World reviewed both and declared that Firefox was the better browser. Which? Magazine named Firefox its "Best Buy" web browser. In 2008, CNET.com compared Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer in their "Battle of the Browsers" in terms of performance, security, and features, where Firefox won top honors.

In December 2005 Internet Week ran an article in which many readers reported high memory usage in Firefox 1.5. Mozilla developers said that the higher memory use of Firefox 1.5 was at least partially due to the new fast backwards-and-forwards (FastBack) feature. Other known causes of memory problems were malfunctioning extensions such as Google Toolbar and some older versions of Adblock, or plug-ins, such as older versions of Adobe Acrobat Reader. When PC Magazine compared memory usage of Firefox, Opera and Internet Explorer, they found that Firefox used approximately as much memory as the other two browsers.

Softpedia also noted that Firefox 1.5 took longer to start up than other browsers, which was confirmed by browser speed tests. IE 6 launches faster than Firefox 1.5 on Microsoft Windows since many of its components are built into Windows and are loaded during system startup. As a workaround for the issue, a preloader application was created that loads components of Firefox on startup, similar to Internet Explorer. A Windows Vista feature called SuperFetch performs a similar task of preloading Firefox if it is used often enough.

Tests performed by PC World and Zimbra indicate that Firefox 2 uses less memory than Internet Explorer 7. Firefox 3 uses less memory than Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari, and Firefox 2 in tests performed by Mozilla, CyberNet, and The Browser World.

The Mozilla Corporation's relationship with Google has been noted in the media, especially with regard to their paid referral agreement. The release of the anti-phishing protection in Firefox 2 in particular raised considerable controversy: anti-phishing protection enabled by default is based on a list updated by twice-hourly downloads to the user's computer from Google's server. The user cannot change the data provider within the GUI, and is not informed who the default data provider is. The browser also sends Google's cookie with each update request. An additional, explicitly opt-in security feature has been added to recent builds by the Mozilla Foundation. This anti-phishing feature provides live protection by checking each visited URL with Google. Some Internet privacy advocacy groups have expressed concerns surrounding Google's possible uses of this data, especially that Firefox's privacy policy states that Google may share information gathered with "safebrowsing" service with third parties, including business partners.

In 2005, the Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation had a combined revenue of US$52.9 million, with approximately 95 percent derived from search engine royalties. In 2006, the Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation had a combined revenue of US$66.9 million, with approximately 90 percent derived from search engine royalties. In 2007, the Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation had a combined revenue of US$75 million, with 88 percent of this sum (US$66 million) from Google. Mozilla Foundation is being audited by the IRS and some believe its non-profit status may be called into question.

A Microsoft SEC filing on June 30, 2005 acknowledged that "competitors such as Mozilla offer software that competes with the Internet Explorer Web browsing capabilities of our Windows operating system products." The release of Internet Explorer 7 was fast tracked, and included functionality that was previously available in Firefox and other browsers, such as tabbed browsing and RSS feeds.

Despite the cold reception from Microsoft's top management, the Internet Explorer development team maintains a relationship with Mozilla. They meet regularly to discuss web standards such as extended validation certificates. In 2005 Mozilla agreed to allow Microsoft to use its Web feed logo in the interest of common graphical representation of the Web feeds feature.

In August 2006, Microsoft offered to help Mozilla integrate Firefox with the then-forthcoming Windows Vista, which Mozilla accepted.

In October 2006, as congratulations for a successful ship of Firefox 2, the Internet Explorer 7 development team sent a cake to Mozilla. As a nod to the browser wars, some readers joked about the cake being poisoned, while others jokingly suggested that Mozilla send a cake back along with the recipe, in reference to the open-source software movement. The IE development team sent another cake on June 17, 2008, upon the successful release of Firefox 3.

In November 2007, Microsoft employee Jeff Jones criticized Firefox, claiming that Internet Explorer experienced fewer vulnerabilities and fewer higher severity vulnerabilities than Firefox in typical enterprise scenarios. Mozilla developer Mike Shaver discounted the study, citing Microsoft's bundling of security fixes and the study's focus on fixes, rather than vulnerabilities, as crucial flaws.

Firefox security vulnerabilities have been patched relatively quickly. Symantec's Internet Security Threat Report Vol. 10, based on data from the first half of 2006, reported that while Firefox had more vulnerabilities than Internet Explorer during that time period (47 vs. 38), Firefox's vulnerabilities were fixed on average one day after the exploit code was made available, as compared to nine days for Internet Explorer.

The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) stated in Oct 2004 that Internet Explorer's design makes it very difficult to secure. In contrast, almost none of their concerns apply to Firefox.

There are a number of significant vulnerabilities in technologies relating to the IE domain/zone security model, local file system (Local Machine Zone) trust, the Dynamic HTML (DHTML) document object model (in particular, proprietary DHTML features), the HTML Help system, MIME type determination, the graphical user interface (GUI), and ActiveX… IE is integrated into Windows to such an extent that vulnerabilities in IE frequently provide an attacker significant access to the operating system.

Some security experts, including Bruce Schneier and David A. Wheeler, recommended that users should stop using Internet Explorer for normal browsing, and switch to a different browser instead; Wheeler specifically recommended Firefox.

Several technology columnists have suggested the same, including Wall Street Journal columnist Walter S. Mossberg, Washington Post columnist Rob Pegoraro, USA Today’s Byron Acohido and Jon Swartz, Forbes's Arik Hesseldahl, eWEEK.com Senior Editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, and Desktop Pipeline’s Scot Finnie.

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Source : Wikipedia