Firefox 3 downloads smash 5m mark

Since its release on Tuesday, downloads of Mozilla's Firefox 3 web browser have already exceeded the organisation's 'wildest expectations'

Downloads of Mozilla's Firefox 3 web browser have already passed the five million mark, approximately halfway through its 24-hour world-record attempt period.

The Mozilla team had aimed to exceed the 1.6 million downloads that Firefox 2 achieved in the first day of its release period, and had hoped for five million downloads for Firefox 3 in its first 24 hours of release, to set a Guinness world record.

Approximately 14 hours after its release, Firefox 3 passed the five million download mark. President of Mozilla Europe, Tristan Nitot, told ZDNet.co.uk that he felt as though he was in "a dream".

"We have exceeded our wildest expectations," said Nitot. "I'm so proud of the community. Five million downloads in 14 hours is mind boggling. I'm just concerned it's a dream and I'm going to wake up."

Nitot said it was difficult to predict what the final number of downloads would be, but that the total could reach eight million.

"Europe is just waking up, so we expect a few more million," said Nitot. "I don't know where it will end up, but we could get seven or eight million [downloads]."

Mozilla aimed to set a Guinness world record for the total number of downloads of a piece of software in a 24-hour period. As part of its marketing effort, it encouraged users to pledge to download Firefox 3 on its release, and to hold download parties.

The release was scheduled to begin at 6pm BST on Tuesday 17 June. However, the release could not begin as planned as Mozilla's servers had problems, which were exacerbated by the number of people wishing to download Firefox 3, according to Mozilla.

Nitot said that the main problems had begun before Firefox 3 had been released.

"It's true that downloads have exceeded out wildest dreams, but there was a failure even before the sites were open," said Nitot.

A Mozilla spokesperson confirmed that there had been problems migrating the servers, but said that the issues were fixed an hour later.

"There were a few technical issues migrating the sites and servers, then we went live an hour later," said the spokesperson.

A post by Mozilla marketing co-odinator Melissa Shapiro on the Mozilla blog on Tuesday, at the beginning of the release, said that the interest in Firefox 3 had been "overwhelming", and that Mozilla servers were under pressure.

"The outpouring of interest and enthusiasm around Firefox 3 has been overwhelming (literally!)," wrote Shapiro at the time of the release. "Our servers are currently feeling the burn and should be back to normal shortly. Download day will officially commence once the site goes live. The 24-hour period will be clocked from that moment."

As a consequence of the release being delayed for an hour, Firefox 3's 24-hour world-record download attempt period will end on Wednesday at 7pm BST.

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