It has been five years since the release of Firefox 1.0, a spin off of the Mozilla suite which aimed to bring the Mozilla browser back to the basics.
No longer is IE synonymous with browser, as by today Firefox has managed to grow to a point that it actually threatens the share of Internet Explorer. Although IE still has a share over 60%, Firefox's owns nearly a quarter of the internet, which is no small feat.
As noted at the blog hacks.mozilla.org, times are about to get very interesting for browsers. New competitors have emerged in the form of Safari (for Windows), and Chrome. If EU's proposed ballot for browser choices does get implemented, the competition might finally start depending on which browser is best rather than which is bundled with the most popular OS.
What keeps people attached to this browser is its wonderful collection of powerful addons,, which are possible thanks to the modular design of the browser. The result is that an estimated 25% to 33% of Firefox users have some kind of addon installed (and some, like the author of this article have as many as 20 addons enabled and 60 installed!)
This flexibility is not without its flaws though, and a recent security report claims that Firefox tops in vulnerabilities, quite a few of them are due to the presence of third party addons.
Overall Firefox has had a brilliant five years, and the future is no less bright. Firfox has branched to mobiles, which are appear to be the future platform for portable internet. The internet itself has transformed greatly in the past five years, and we now see internet becoming less of a interweb of links and more of a network of applications which share data. Whatever shape the internet takes , you can be sure Mozilla will be right there, leading the charge.
For those running an HTML5 browser (such as Firefox 3.5), here is a video which takes you through the history of Firefox: