main mozilla tech

The world stands on its head

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Every one of us has those moments when you find yourself old. Even teenagers do, when their younger friends teach them how to use the latest hype du jour on the Internet. I, for one, feel profanely old today, and kind of hardly accepting the reality of the approaching “middle age” thing.

“It’s rare that you see an artist in his 30s or 40s able to really contribute something amazing.” said Steve Jobs. Thanks Steve…

But that was not supposed to be about me becoming 26. It was supposed to be about another miracle that nobody expected to ever happen. Or at least, I’m still genuinely surprised whenever I see the dream of yesterday becoming reality of today.

So, maybe for many of you it will not come as anything striking, kind of  “yea, Poland has always had good community and Firefox market share is above average”, but for me it’s an impossible coming real.

Down to the point just published another round of their browser stats for Poland. According to those, Chrome just passed 3% of market share in Poland. It is a real deal. I remember Firefox having 3% – in December 2004, month after 1.0 release, after 6 years of work, Mozilla based browser reached 3% of market share. But that’s not only that! Opera just week ago gained a point and reached 10% of market share in Poland! I remember it – May 2005 – Firefox 1.x at 10.2%.

And having that, we have also Firefox breaking 52% of market share in Poland! 52% is the high and it is clearly an outstanding result that heavily influences the way we should think about Internet in Poland. It’s an amazing award from the users to the Mozilla project and, especially, a group of people in the team and those working on community forum.

In result of all of this, Internet Explorer in Poland, the one web browser that dictated, for over 10 years, how the web looks like, ten years in which the Internet has been shaping up, this web browser has now only 33.38% of market share. One third. Vox populi at its best.

We have 2/3 of users using modern web browsers, and if we add IE8 here, it gets to 3/4, 75% of users. IE6 is used by less than 9% of users and it means that, for example, just by watching the stats, companies will do better by investing in making sure their website works with Opera than checking it in IE6!

Hard to express this feeling. It’s amazing that we can see modern browsers not cannibalizing each other, but sharing the market share gains.

Wake up, revisit the web today, it’s party time!
Think of what’s possible because of that. We have the Web today that means something different for the users and web authors. They can slowly start to ignore IE6, and that is a real deal for everyone who does the web hacking. Users can utilize the powerful webtools, banks can invest in reach online banking, people are also free to choose their operating system because their online experience wont degrade because of that. People can choose out of four major web browsers that are in a healthy competition or they can choose from one of the less mainstream, but still high quality ones like K-Meleon, Camino, Seamonkey, Arora, Epiphany… Over 52% of Polish internet users can change how the websites look via extensions, and how their browser works and what they see via adblocks, flashblocks and others. They can influence their experience and by vast majority they chose their web browser by themselves, understanding what they are doing and knowing that they have a choice now.

I’m pretty sure that this is true not only for Poland, but for other countries. Hungary, where Firefox is at 52%. Latvia with Firefox at 50%,  Bulgaria, where Firefox is above 45% and just passing by IE. Ukraine where Opera has 34% and Firefox has 26%… and I’m still talking about just one region, while the rest of Europe is going through the similar process.

Five years after Firefox 1.0 has been released, we have a different web. The web which has new challenges and opportunities. We have to raise to them and I believe that the next 5 years is going to be super exciting!

13 replies on “The world stands on its head”

The only problem is, we don’t seem to be growing anymore. We’ve been stuck around 52% since August. Look at the quaterly graph – it’s almost flat in this quarter. Have we reached all that was possible, or can we try to get even more? 🙂

BTW, on a positive note, if someone told me five years ago that I’d be worried about Firefox being stuck at 52%, I’d have thought it’s totally crazy. But hey, that’s where we are now. 🙂

Ok! Great news! Here in Kenya Firefox is ubiquitous. Sure it has over seventy per cent of the browser market.

Marcoos : we’re not looking after market domination. Market share is important to influence our competitors and make sure they build better Web browsers, but market dominance is not required for Mozilla to be successful.

Also, with regards to your first comment, there is seasonality in Firefox adoption, at least at a global scale, and I see it on’s graph too. There is limited growth between Q3 and Q4 each and every year.

I also agree with your second comment! 52% is just crazy when you think about it 🙂

Keep up the good^W great work,


One of the things which is quite good as well is Mozilla’s new effort for quick turn around browsers. With 52% of the Market share and if there were long cycle releases like Firefox 2 to Firefox 3 it would perhaps not do the web justice.

Mozilla needs to keep pushing forward, onward and faster 🙂

Of course, we’re not looking for market domination itself. But, to paraphrase Linus T., that’s just a nice side effect. 🙂 In order to keep the web open, though, we have to take care about our market share, even in countries like Poland, where Mozilla is what the majority uses. Treat market share as a tool, not a goal.

As a web developer, I really like WebKit, it’s a nice engine almost as good as Gecko and much better than Opera’s engine. As an open web supporter, I’m worried about the possibility of WebKit winning the so-called “second browser war”, though, because that would, for example, make H.264 a “de facto standard”, which would be pretty sad. And, while WebKit is below 5% in Poland now, it’s rapidly growing thanks to Google on the desktop and iPhone/iPod on mobile.

So, Gecko/Firefox is basically our only hope in the fight for a *really* open web. The more market share Mozilla gets, the better. (Yeah, I’ve changed my mind. I used to think it would be best to have each rendering engine at equal percentage. Today, my perfect web browser world would look like this: 70% Gecko, 15% Opera, 10% WebKit, 5% all the rest :))

And this is also why Fennec is really important in the mobile area. We really have to make it kick Mobile WebKits’ asses (plural ;-)), by making it a lot better, faster and available on any reasonably powerful phone. 🙂

“So, Gecko/Firefox is basically our only hope in the fight for a *really* open web. The more market share Mozilla gets, the better.”

Beware of self-proclaimed saviors.

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