Archive for the ‘ Firefox ’ Category


Five new features coming in Firefox 21

Written by admin
May 15th, 2013

A new ‘Do Not Track’ option and an expanded Social API are among the highlights to expect in this new release.

It’s been about six weeks since the release of Firefox 20, so assuming Mozilla stays on its usual schedule, Firefox 21 will make its debut on Tuesday.

This next version of the popular open source browser has already attracted attention for the changes brought in early versions to Firefox’s “Do Not Track” capabilities, but those are by no means the only interesting additions we’ll see.

Several changes and new features are slated to arrive in the final version of Firefox 21, in fact. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights you can expect to find.

1. Three ‘Do Not Track’ options

As I noted a few weeks ago, Firefox 21 is the first to expand users’ Do Not Track options beyond just a single checkbox to indicate that they don’t want to be tracked by advertisers. Instead, Firefox 21 now gives users three options: “Do Track,” “Do Not Track,” and “no preference.”

2. Firefox Health Report

Firefox fans may recall reading last fall about the new Firefox Health Report tool for tuning up the browser, and it looks like Firefox 21 will offer a preliminary implementation of that feature, according to the beta version’s release notes.

3. Startup suggestions

Also aiming to help users improve performance, the new Firefox 21 “will suggest how to improve your application startup time if needed,” the release notes explain.

4. Improved performance

Targeting performance from a graphics perspective, meanwhile, a number of graphics-related performance improvements have apparently been made as well.

5. An expanded Social API

Last but certainly not least, Mozilla in this release has also been working on expanding upon the Social API it released last fall with Facebook integration to include other social providers as well. Cliqz, Mixi, and msnNOW are the three it has been testing over the past few weeks, with Weibo integration coming soon, according to an April post on Mozilla’s Future Releases blog.

“As more and more services integrate with Firefox via the Social API sidebar, it will be easy for you to keep up with friends, family, news, and events no matter where you are on the Web,” Mozilla explained at the time. “For example, you can stay connected to your favorite social site or service even while you are surfing the Web, watching a video or playing a game.”

Watch for Firefox 21 tomorrow. It’s slated to be available as a free download for Windows, Linux, and Mac on the Mozilla site.


 

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Internet Explorer only? IE doubt it

Written by admin
February 18th, 2013

Fewer businesses standardizing browser use on Internet Explorer, but the practice isn’t gone yet.

Just as Internet users in general have defected in huge numbers from Microsoft Internet Explorer over the past several years, the business world, as well, is becoming less dependent on the venerable browser.

Companies that used to mandate the use of IE for access to web resources are beginning to embrace a far more heterodox attitude toward web browsers. While it hasn’t gone away, the experience of having to use IE 6 to access some legacy in-house web app is becoming less common.

“Things have changed a lot in the last three years, and I think a lot of it has to do with the emergence of the modern web and the popularity of mobile. They have made it very different for companies to truly standardize on a browser,” says Gartner Research analyst David Mitchell Smith.

One example of the changing face of business browser use is SquareTwo Financial, a Denver-based financial services company that works primarily in distressed asset management. The firm’s 280 employees handle both consumer and commercial business, buying and selling debt, and a franchise program means that there are upwards of 1,500 more people working at SquareTwo affiliates. According to CTO Chris Reigrut, the company takes in roughly $280 million in annual revenue.

“In addition to buying and selling debt, we also provide a software-as-a-service platform that our franchises (and we) use to actually negotiate and litigate the debt,” he tells Network World.

Square Two hasn’t needed to standardize, he says, because keeping their offerings diverse is part of the idea – the company’s various online resources all have differing requirements.

“We do distribute Firefox on Windows systems – however, Safari and IE are both frequently used. Our internal wiki is only officially supported on Firefox and Safari. Our SaaS ‘client’ is a pre-packaged Firefox install so that it looks more like a traditional thick-client application. Most of our employees use their browser for a couple of internal systems, as well as several external services (i.e. HR, training, etc),” says Reigrut (who, like the other IT pros quoted in this story is a member of the CIO Executive Council Pathways program for leadership development).

The Microsoft faithful, however, are still out there. Many businesses have chosen to remain standardized on IE, for several reasons. SickKids, a children’s research hospital in Toronto, sticks with Microsoft’s browser mostly for the ease of applying updates.

“We have more than 7,000 end-point devices. Most of those devices are Windows workstations and Internet Explorer is included as part of the Microsoft Windows operating system. As such, this makes it easier and integrates well with our solution to manage and deploy upgrades, patches and hotfixes to the OS including IE,” says implementations director Peter Parsan.

“Internet Explorer is more than a browser, it is the foundation for Internet functionality in Windows,” he adds.

The complexity of managing an ecosystem with more than 100 types of software – running the gamut from productivity applications to clinical programs – requires a heavily controlled approach, according to Parsan.

Smith agrees that IE still has its advantages for business users that want just such a strictly regimented technology infrastructure.

“If you want a managed, traditional IT environment … really, your only option is Internet Explorer,” he says, adding that both Firefox and Chrome lag behind IE in terms of effective centralized management tools.

Some companies, however, have gone a different way – standardizing not on IE, but on a competing browser.

Elliot Tally, senior director of enterprise apps for electronics manufacturer Sanmina, says his company’s employees are highly dependent on browsers for business-critical activities. Everything from ERP to document control (which he notes is “big for a manufacturing company”) to the supply chain is run from a web app.

Tally says Sanmina made the move to standardize on Chrome in 2009, in part because of a simultaneous switch to Gmail and Google Apps from IE and Microsoft products.

“It made sense to go with the browser created and supported by the company that created the apps we rely on. Also, Chrome installs in user space so it doesn’t require admin privileges to auto-update,” he says. “It also silently auto-updates, as opposed to Firefox, which requires a fresh install to update versions, or IE, which is similar. Chrome, over the last year or so, has supported web standards better than any other browser, and (until recently) has offered significantly better performance.”

Plainly, broad diversity exists both in the actual browsers used by workers and the approaches businesses have taken in managing their use.

That diversity, says Smith, is the reason Gartner has been advising clients against standardization from the outset.

“Standardize on standards, not browsers,” he urges. “That was a controversial position for 10 years. People really didn’t agree with it, they didn’t listen to it, and they paid the price.”

Microsoft, as well, has had to pay a price.

“[Standardization] hurts Microsoft’s reputation as an innovator; as a forward-thinker,” he says. “When people’s impression of using Microsoft technology – whether it’s a browser, whether it’s an operating system – is something that is two or three versions old, because they’re dealing with it through what enterprises want.”


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Mozilla commits to Metro version of Firefox on Windows 8

Written by IT Trainer
February 14th, 2012

Mozilla said yesterday that it will build a “proof-of-concept” version of Firefox for Windows 8′s Metro touch-first interface next quarter, then follow that with more functional editions later in the year.

 

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The company is the first of Microsoft’s browser rivals to publicly commit to a Metro edition. Microsoft has said it will ship both Metro and traditional desktop versions of Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) with Windows 8 and Windows on ARM (WOA), the new OS targeting tablets and other low-powered devices.

Metro is Microsoft’s label for the touch-enabled interface at the center of both Windows 8 and WOA. Windows 8 will run Metro and traditional 32- and 64-bit Windows applications, but WOA will run only those third-party apps designed for Metro.

In an update to its 2012 roadmap published Sunday, Mozilla said that it would craft a “technology proof of concept” of Firefox on Metro as a first step. “This is not [an] alpha or a beta, but should demonstrate the feasibility of Firefox in Windows 8 Metro,” Asa Dotzler, the product director of Firefox, wrote in a roadmap overview.

The proof of concept is currently slated to roll out in the second quarter of 2012. Alpha and beta versions of the browser will follow in July through December.

“The Alpha will prove the installation path and basic browsing features, [and] the beta will be feature complete for a 1.0-capability product,” Dotzler added.

In a more detailed planning document, Mozilla spelled out some specific goals of Firefox on Metro, saying that it will rely on existing Gecko libraries in 32-bit Windows to avoid having to port the bulk of the browser’s code to the WinRT API (application programming interface).

Gecko is the Firefox browser engine, while WinRT refers to “Windows Runtime,” the new programming model Microsoft is promoting for developing Metro apps in Windows 8.

“Firefox on Metro [will be] a full-screen App with an Appbar that contains common navigation controls (back, reload, etc.,) the Awesomebar, and some form of tabs,” the document stated.

If Mozilla’s assumptions are correct — that it will power Firefox Metro on Windows 8 via current Gecko libraries — its new browser would run only on Windows 8, not on WOA.

Mozilla has already put considerable resources into Firefox for Android, and has talked about creating a Web-based operating system of its own, dubbed “Boot to Gecko,” for tablets and smartphones.

Mozilla said it will have a better idea of the work necessary to create a Metro Firefox on Windows 8 after Microsoft ships the Consumer Preview of the new operating system on Feb. 29.

Metro apps will be distributed only through the Windows Store, Microsoft has said.

Google Finally Responds to the Reader Outrage

Written by admin
November 3rd, 2011

After ten days of hemming and hawing, Google is ready to address — but not apologize to — those users upset by the death of Reader’s social features. “We understand that some may not like this change,” a Google spokesperson told The Atlantic Wire. “Retiring Reader’s sharing features wasn’t a decision that we made lightly, but in the end, it helps us focus on fewer areas and build an even better experience across all of Google.”

 

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Related: How to Survive the Switch from Google Reader to Google+
Undoubtedly, some people like Reader’s facelift for the cleaner design, but those opposed are increasingly vocal. As we’ve reported last week, the group of Google Reader evangelists known as the Sharebros did not take Google’s decision to redesign the social RSS-site lightly. About 10,000 disgruntled Sharebros have signed a petition, and some are even working on building their own replacement site, HiveMined, that resurrects the now missing following, sharing and commenting features as Google encourages people to use Google+ for these kinds of things. Francis Cleary, the developer that came up with and has been building the Reader replacement, told us on Monday, “Google+ is a cool idea, but it’s not about content first. It’s about page views — that’s not what people want.”
Related: The World Is Surprisingly Angry About the End of Google Reader

Then there’s the matter of the Iranian freedom fighters. Because Google Reader worked effectively like a social network, and because it existed in the google.com domain, the Iranian government didn’t block access as they had for Facebook and Twitter. The network of Iranian activists protested loudlywhen Google announced the move to Google+, because they were worried that the Iranian government would cut off yet another lifeline used to organize online. In a post on their official Farsi blog, Google addressed the Iranian protesters but not the domain issue. A rough (Google Translate) translation reads:[indent]
We are currently developing solutions to tackle other forms of support for the identity (beyond the common use of real names), but in time we’ll try to post more information that’s not in this report. We believe that support for pseudonyms valuable feature for Google+ and the team is trying to accomplish it. Meanwhile, Google Reader continues to support the RSS feed Subscribe (RSS Feed) to a large group of users in Iran.[/indent]
Pseudonyms could protect Iranians freedom fighters from being identified on social networks, but Iran’s history of blocking freedom of speech suggests that the probably won’t have access to Google’s social network at all. In July, Iran’s culture minister called Google+ “a new spy tool on the Web” andcut off access less than two weeks after launch. But don’t worry, “a large group of users in Iran” can still read RSS feeds. Free speech between the Iranian citizens, be damned.

Microsoft’s share of the global browser market fell 0.92 percent in September in comparison with the prior month. What’s more, Internet Explorer’s market share has declined 7.5 percentage points since the same time last year, according to the latest data from Net Applications.

 

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On the other hand, 22.1 percent of all Windows 7 machines accessing the Internet worldwide were running Microsoft’s latestIE9 browser at the end of September, the web metrics firm said Saturday. The other top browsers running on Windows 7 machines were IE8 (31.6 percent), Firefox 6 (13.7 percent), Chrome 13 (13.1 percent) and Chrome 14 (5.9 percent).

Microsoft specifically designed IE9 to take advantage of the advanced graphics capabilities of the latest desktop PCs, laptops, netbooks and media tablets running Windows 7. As a result, IE9 on Windows 7 machines accounted for a 31 percent market share of the browser market in the United States last month.

“Microsoft has been pushing IE9 and Windows 7 as the best browsing experience on Windows 7 because of IE9′s use of hardware acceleration and its integration with the Windows 7 user interface,” said Net Applications, which is based in Aliso Viejo, Calif.

Leveraging Windows 7 Machines
Given that most people never change the browser that ships with their new machines, IE9′s market share will inevitably continue to rise as more people upgrade to new hardware. According to Net Applications, machines running Windows 7 accounted for 30.4 percent of all browser users worldwide at the end of September.
However, IE9′s emphasis on advanced hardware characteristics made it impossible for Microsoft to offer IE9 support on older machines running Windows XP, which was introduced in August 2001. Microsoft reports that IE6 still held a 9 percent share of the global browser market in September.

In China, for example, IE6 held a 28.7 percent market share and also continues to post significant numbers in South Korea (11.9 percent), Japan (7.1 percent), India (7.1 percent) and Taiwan (6.6 percent). Asia as a whole currently accounts for more than 42 percent of the world’s Internet usage, according to Internet World Stats.
Elsewhere in the world, however, IE6 is tottering on the edge of extinction. In the United States last month, for example, IE6 held a mere 1.4 percent share of the browser market and also posted similar low share numbers throughout Europe, Africa and South America.

Chrome Uptake Climbs
Mozilla notified its browser developer community last April that Firefox would be moving to a shorter development cycle with respect to future releases. Under the new system, Mozilla can in theory issue a Firefox browser refresh at six-week intervals from now on. Nevertheless, Firefox’s 22.5 percent share of the global market at the end of September was slightly down from where the browser stood in April.

The shorter development cycles are great for individual users, but corporations take a while to accept and implement a new browser throughout their workforce, said Net Applications Executive Vice President Vincent Vizzaccaro.
“This factor alone can put a ceiling on what non-IE browsers can hope to achieve in terms of usage market share,” Vizzaccaro said. “Mozilla may be backing off of a rapid development cycle and [I] would guess that the reason [would be] to bring corporations back into their mix of users.”

By contrast, Chrome’s share of the global browser market leaped from 12.5 percent in April to 16.2 percent in September. Apple’s Safari browser uptake also rose in September as is generally the case at the start of the annual back-to-school shopping season.

“This year, Mac share rose 0.42 percent to reach 6.45 percent of worldwide desktop usage and 13.7 percent in the United States,” Net Applications said.

Joe Hewitt, one of the most important software developers in recent history, published a provocative and sad post on his personal blog today, predicting that unless the open and free Web gets someone to own and take responsibility for advancing it, it will inevitably fall into virtual obscurity in the dust of fast evolving platforms like iOS, Android and Windows. Chris White, one of the co-founders of Android, offers a compelling argument against Hewitt’s perspective, though.

 

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Hewitt was one of the primary co-creators of Firefox, he single handedly built the Facebook iPhone app and when he left Facebook fed up with Apple’s approval process for apps – he announced that his next aim was to build tools for mobile HTML5 developers. Apparently that work has led to some frustrating experiences trying to support the open web. It’s not surprising, but it is pretty heartbreaking. It’s hard to imagine a decentralized platform like the web evolving to make as many things possible, as quickly and at scale, as the big centralized app platforms.

‘The Web has no one who can ensure that the platform acquires cutting edge capabilities in a timely manner (camera access, anyone?),’ Hewitt writes. ‘The Web has no one to ensure that it is competitive with other platforms, and so increasingly we are seeing developers investing their time in other platforms that serve their needs better… I can easily see a world in which Web usage falls to insignificant levels compared to Android, iOS, and Windows, and becomes a footnote in history. That thing we used to use in the early days of the Internet.’

Hewitt says standards bodies are debilitatingly slow, that Web-first evangelists are guilty of staggering arrogance that puts principles above relevance for users and developers and that apps just won’t run on the web in the future unless something changes dramatically.

The web needs an owner, Hewitt argues. It needs a single code repository and a strong leader to push it forward.

‘Can’t believe I’m saying this, but 2 years later, I’m seriously considering developing for iOS (natively) again,’ Hewitt Tweeted today.
The Other Side of the Story

So far it seems that most people are in dissapointed agreement with Hewitt. One who’s not is Portland, Oregon internet marketer Uriah Maynard. ‘Arguing for ‘an owner’ of the web is like winning the American revolution and then arguing that we need a king,’ Maynard says in articulating a counter-position well. ‘No owners, no masters. That is a killer feature of the web, and the reason it will never die, even if it fades in popularity. What we need is to learn how to efficiently run truly democratic organizations.’ Uriah’s in Portland and clearly needs to put a bird on it.

Chris White, one of the co-founders of the Android OS, puts it a little bit differently. ‘The web is only interesting because it’s a standard,’ White writes, on Google Plus.
‘As new experiences become commonplace, they get rolled into the one standard platform Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, et al agree on. The cutting edge will always occur on proprietary platforms first. Asking for a private entity to control the web is like asking for a sovereign country to control the United Nations (or the world).

‘The web is suppose to be lowest common denominator. That’s what makes it work.’

What do you think, readers? Do you think the future will be one where the open web is just a shadow of what it is today? That proprietary platforms will steal the world’s heart away? Or is this just how it goes? The innovation comes from the corporate world and then defuses?

Personally, I don’t feel qualified to venture a guess on such a big question. But I’m going to read the conversation closely and keep an eye out for clues that indicate things are going one way or the other. I hope Joe Hewitt is wrong. I imagine that there’s a healthy dose of truth to all the perspectives above.

How To Hide Your Data

Written by admin
June 13th, 2011

Basic File Hiding
If you don’t trust the cloud, that only leaves your hard drive for fast access to files. So how do you keep those important files incognito? There is a very basic way to hide something, even right on your Windows desktop: Make it invisible.

Here’s how to activate a folder cloaking device in Windows XP/Vista/7:

 

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1) Folders typically need a name, even if it’s super short. You can get rid of the name though. Rename a folder on your desktop by highlighting it. Hit F2 and type 0160 with the number pad (not the numbers above the letter keys) while you hold down the Alt key. The numbers will NOT appear to change. Press Enter. The name of the file will be blank.

Note: You can only do this to one folder on the desktop at a time, as Windows sees no name as the name and won’t let you duplicate folder names.

2) The name is gone but the folder icon is still there. Right click on it and select Properties. Go to the Customize tab and click Change Icon. Windows will give you a choice of icons to change it to; three of those choices are blanks (you can find them about 12 columns from the right). Click on a blank one and then click OK.

Your folder is now invisible on the desktop. You can then combine these steps with some basic encryption. For example, use software like WinZip, WinRAR, or 7-zip to create a file archive that is encrypted with a password of your creation. That way, if someone does find the folder you’ve concealed, that person still won’t be able to get to it. You can also change the file extension, from say .ZIP to .JPG, to obscure that it’s an archive.

Caveats: If you do this to a folder inside another folder and view the contents in list or details mode, the invisible folder will show up at the top. The name is blank, but the space will be obvious. Also, on the desktop, if someone clicks and drags with a cursor to highlight multiple icons, the invisible one can be highlighted and thus be seen—like throwing paint on the Invisible Man. So this method is free but far from foolproof.

You don’t have to do all this hiding yourself; you can also turn to software. Tools like Hide My Folders (14-day trial is free and then $39.95) or My Lockbox 2 (free or $24.94 for Pro edition) promise to hide your valuable data on Windows. Mac users can try Altomac’s Hide Folders (free or $24.95 if you want passwords on hidden folders) MCITP Training .

Hide the Whole Drive
Making a file or a whole folder invisible is one thing, but what if you’ve got a hard drive filled with secrets? Interestingly, it might be even easier to hide.

The simplest thing to do is make a Windows volume with its own drive letter, whether it’s a partition, a second internal drive, or an external drive (even a USB drive), and hide the letter from Windows Explorer. The open-source No Drives Manager does this, providing you with a list of drives from A to Z. Put a check next to the drive you want to hide and click “Write current settings to the registry.” The software adjusts Windows, so after you log off and back on again, that drive is no longer visible in Windows Explorer. When you want to access it, go to a command line—you can use the search bar in the Windows 7 menu—and type the drive letter with a colon to access it. Because No Drives Manager changes the registry, you don’t have to install it. You can keep it on a USB key and run it as needed to hide or unhide drives.

Note: This might not work if you use a Windows Explorer replacement tool.

Want to go the extra mile and add in some encryption? The free TrueCrypt software runs on multiple operating systems (Windows, Mac, and Linux) and can encrypt parts of a hard drive or an entire drive partition. What’s more, it can create a volume on the drive that it not only encrypts but hides.

Install and run TrueCrypt and the Volume Creation Wizard will appear. Tell it you want to make an “encrypted file container” on a “standard TrueCrypt volume.” Put the volume anywhere except your C: drive (for now, it doesn’t matter where you put it, but remember the path to the .TC file you create). Give the volume a strong-as-Hercules password. Let TrueCrypt create an encryption key, click Format, let it go, and exit the wizard. But wait, you’re not done yet.

In a command line window (to get one, type CMD in the Windows search box) and type:

Attrib D:\volume.tc +h

Make sure the path matches the one you used (we’ve shown an example above). The “+h” makes it a hidden file, so it won’t appear in Windows Explorer.

Go back into TrueCrypt and you’re going to mount the volume that you made and hide as a virtual hard drive using an unused drive letter. Again, type in the full path to the .TC file and click Mount. Dismount when finished, again using TrueCrypt. (The software offers to help you make a hidden volume inside an obvious volume on the drive, but I couldn’t get the hidden drive to work.) TrueCrypt can even hide your entire operating system, so you end up with two Windows installations—one for show and one for secret work.

Other software that promises to encrypt and hide include BDV DataHider, Folder Vault, and SafeHouse Explorer.

Yahoo said it only had to make one minor adjustment to its website for traffic optimization as a result of World IPv6 Day.

“Yahoo is very excited about how smoothly World IPv6 Day went for everybody. It’s a great testament to the preparation that went into this event,” said Jason Fesler, an IPv6 architect at Yahoo. “The early data says there is minimal risk to pushing forward.”

 

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BACKGROUND: World IPv6 Day: Tech industry’s most-watched event since Y2K

Akamai and Limelight also said they were stepping up their efforts toward full, commercial-grade support of IPv6 due to the success of World IPv6 Day.

“We’re going to look at the data for IPv6 usage and use that to improve our services,” said Andy Champagne, director of engineering at Akamai, which had 30 customers participate in World IPv6 Day using its beta IPv6 service. “Then we are going to work with our customers to roll out IPv6.”

Tom Coffeen, director of global network architecture for Limelight, said it had IPv6-enabled every server on its network for World IPv6 Day and that it had encountered only minor issues that involved some routing policy changes.

“We were surprised and pleased to see no bugs. The few issues we did encounter were quickly resolved,” Coffeen said. “We had many customers choosing to stay IPv6-enabled going forward. We’re ready to move to an opt-out model for our customers, where they have to request no IPv6 availability.”

Despite these successes, World IPv6 Day participants conceded that IPv6 still has a long way to go before it approaches the ubiquity of IPv4.

Colitti said Google estimates that only 0.3% of its users have adopted IPv6. He said it was too early to determine how many of its users suffered from broken IPv6 connections; estimates prior to World IPv6 Day put IPv6 brokenness at 0.03% to 0.05% of Internet users.

Similarly, Lee said that Facebook estimates that about 0.2% of its users were able to reach the website via IPv6.

“Once the world gets to about 1% adoption [of IPv6], then this will be for real,” Lee said. “That’s the initial mass that you need to have for global adoption.”

MORE: What if IPv6 simply fails to catch on?

Content providers are migrating to IPv6 because the Internet is running out of addresses using IPv4. The free pool of unassigned IPv4 addresses expired in February, and in April the Asia Pacific region ran out of all but a few IPv4 addresses being held in reserve for startups. The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), which doles out IP addresses to network operators in North America, says it will deplete its supply of IPv4 addresses this fall.

IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses and can support 4.3 billion devices connected directly to the Internet, but IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses and can connect up a virtually unlimited number of devices: 2 to the 128th power. IPv6 offers the promise of faster, less-costly Internet services than the alternative, which is to extend the life of IPv4 using network address translation (NAT) devices.

At least, we’re assuming some engineer deep within the bowels of the open-source-themed company is expressing such a statement. That’s because the company’s latest incarnation of its flagship browser, Firefox 4, just surged past 100 million downloads (as tracked by the company’s own real-time download meter).

 

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European Firefox users have contributed the most to Firefox 4′s download share, grabbing the browser around 38.6 million times since its March 22 launch. North American users have eaten up just shy of 30 million downloads, and users downloading the browser in Asia rank a respectable third with around 20 million downloads.

As far as countries go, the United States is leading the download charge with more than 24.4 million downloads to its name. That’s crushing the total of second-place Germany and its 7.3 million downloads of Firefox 4 to date.

Of course, it’s not just about the specific countries that are downloading the latest version of Mozilla’s browser. As for how the browser itself tracks against its peers, StatCounter reports that Firefox 4 has grown to a market share of 8.04 percent since its launch. That’s a bit off from Internet Explorer 8′s commanding 30.4 percent market share and, indeed, the 18.41-percent market share for version 3.6 of Mozilla’s Firefox browser.

The number of worldwide users running Internet Explorer 8 has remained relatively constant since Firefox 4′s launch, hovering around a market share of approximately 30 percent. Users running Firefox 3.6 dropped from around 23.1 percent to 18.4–go figure–and users of Google’s Chrome browser remained relatively constant at around a market share of 15 to 16 percent.

So what does this tell us? It appears that Firefox 4 has done a great job of serving as an upgrade for those previously running the browser, but its ability to siphon off users from its two big rivals remains unimpressive, at best.

In fact, Firefox use itself–across all versions of the browser–dipped slightly from Firefox 4′s launch week to the present-day, dropping from a market share of 30 percent to 29.4 percent. The percent of worldwide users running Chrome has remained virtually unchanged, and Internet Explorer use has taken a tiny jump up from 44.8 percent to 45.1 percent.

As for how StatCounter arrives at its numbers, the service chronicles browser figures based on more than 15 billion monthly page views across the more than three million websites that the service counts within its network.