Firefox quietly celebrates first birthday

'I don't think there will be a big party, as we are all very busy putting the finishing touches to Firefox 1.5,' says the president of Mozilla Europe

The open source Firefox browser was launched a year ago today, but the celebrations are expected to be low-key.

Tristan Nitot, president of Mozilla Europe, told ZDNet UK that he is currently sitting in his office "drinking a Diet Coke". "I don't think there will be a big party, we are all very busy putting the finishing touches to Firefox 1.5," he said.

Firefox 1.5 is due by the end of the year, although "hopefully before then", according to Nitot.

But one year ago, things weren't this quiet. The weekend after the Mozilla Foundation released Firefox 1.0, around 7,000 Firefox fans celebrated its launch at 350 parties around the world, according to the Firefox community marketing site,

But although Firefox's birthday is likely to be a low-key event, Nitot was jubilant about what has been achieved over the last year.

"One year ago Firefox was not even released yet — the world was a big promise and we still had to deliver. One year later we have delivered and have conquered market share in an amazing way. The numbers are really impressive," said Nitot.

As for the low-point of the last year, Nitot struggled to think of one, but eventually said that Microsoft's decision to release a seventh version of Internet Explorer was a tricky moment.

"We had mixed feelings — it was bad in the sense that our competition has finally woken up. We knew that it would be harder when our competition was not sleeping any more. But the good news was that we were succeeding with the Mozilla mission to promote choice and innovation on the Internet," he said.

Nitot also admitted that when Bart Decrem, the marketing contact for the Mozilla Foundation, said he expected the browser to achieve 10 percent share by the end of 2005, Nitot thought he was "crazy".

But Firefox has already passed 10 percent market share months before its deadline, according to a number of Web analytics firms. Last week, said Firefox has achieved a global market share of 11.5 percent, while XiTi showed the browser passing 10 percent market share in March, according to a study published on Wednesday.

Some statistics still put Firefox at less than 10 percent. For example, WebSideStory, said that Firefox only had a 7.9 percent market share at the end of September, according to its blog.

Click here to see a list of Firefox highlights from the last year.