Firefox must qualify as the most successful open-source development project, not because it is nearing 1 billion downloads this weekend, but because the numbers of people it has affected.
And there is a thriving community of Firefox add on developers that help add lots of value to the browser. This is an excellent achievement.
But it's not without potential problems. There are a lot more competitors to Firefox these days. Companies that didn't offer a browser a few years back do today (Google, Apple.)
Part of the reason is that there is money to be made in browsers, specifically in the search bar. Mozilla, the organization behind Firefox receives more than 85 per cent of its revenues from Google. Total revenues in 2006 were $66.8 million.
Apple also gets money from Google for featuring it in its search box. It has been whispered that GOOG effectively underwrites the Mac OSX development.
It's no wonder that Google has created its own browser and is now working on its own operating system -- why underwrite these type of key product development at organizations you don't control!?
Here is more info on the one billion downloads which could be reached this weekend: http://www.spreadfirefox.com/news_events