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Firefox turns 10 years old today (Phoenix v0.1) (mozilla.org)
255 points by mburns on Sept 23, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 45 comments

It's incredible how screenshots of archaic software can nearly move me to tears. Thank you so much for these!

From that overview:

"This newer strategy...with fewer releases but more features and changes manifesting in each one...has held through to subsequent Firefox releases to date."

History sure changes fast.

Well, Chrome cooked their goose with a totally different methodology. A little agility is never a bad thing when you're being out-competed by the same company who pays most of your bills.

Or rather history tends to repeat itself :)

10 years ago the browser market was very different. ie dominant and many sites (banking in particular) "ie only". Mac had a version of ie and linux as a web surfing platform was wanting.

Firefox has been a good thing.

for those using firefox, the browser has more information.

go to the address about:mozilla

Maybe "information" is a stretch, but its fun.

A little bit more than 10 years ago there was IE on Unix.


I actually have a copy of that still.

>You said this is a lean, lightweight browser, but it's 8MB! I laugh at your silly lies!

>Take it easy, sport. Phoenix has many files that override those in Mozilla, but it also has a new set of files. These files render a ton of files in Mozilla unnecessary, but we haven't yet stopped packaging the old files. It also still contains the modern theme and all the composer UI. In short, we haven't done any work yet to minimize the size, but we expect to be able to hit 6MB with a little work.

Things have changed quite a bit.

Firefox is currently 17MB. It's pretty amazing that that size includes (off tge top of my head): JavaScript interpreter/compiler, HTML4 & 5 parser, XML parser, CSS parser, graphics engine, layout engine, WebGL, lots of typographical features, plugin API, extension API, DOM, BOM, developer tools.

It's much less impressive when you consider that Opera offers basically all of that, plus a built-in email client, and built-in BitTorrent support, and a built-in IRC client, and built-in ad blocking, among other features. And the largest Windows installer of the current 12.02 version is merely about 10.5 MB, too.

How is bloatware impressive?

The vast majority of the world will never need to use any of that.

Built-in ad blocking is about the only useful thing you listed, and Ad-Block and ABP are widely used.

I think you missed the point. What is impressive is that Opera offers much more functionality than Firefox, yet its installer is nearly half as large. Whether or not the additional functionality offered by Opera is useful is irrelevant to this discussion.

Plus Sqlite.

Well, Sqlite is between 4k and 350k depending what features you activate. You can't really blame the bloat on it.

But they were saying how it's NOT bloated.

Congratulations! A toast to one of the most prominent (and, alas, one of the last, with Wikipedia) non-consumerist-centered tools of the web.

what about most webserver, middlewares, web programming languages, databases, etc?

Happy birthday. Thank you for serving me with my best interests at heart for so long.

I started using Phoenix at v0.3 and remember just how "new" it felt. At the time I was still running Windows (maybe even 98?) and was experimenting with Linux, but hated the netscape/mozilla options. Phoenix was fast, had tabs, a popup blocker, and no ads (unlike Opera). I was a proud user then, and I think they've done remarkably well given the massive competition from three commercial software giants - I'm still a happy user today. Well done Mozilla.

The Firefox Wikipedia page states:

"Initial release November 9, 2004; 7 years ago" [1]

Maybe they're referring to the 1.0 release? I do remember using Firefox way earlier than that, it must have been 2000 or 2001. I guess those were 0.x releases. Wikipedia doesn't seem to say anything about that.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firefox

Yes, I'm pretty sure I was using Firefox 0.7 in 2003 or early 2004, so that November date must be about 1.0 release.

EDIT: It was called Firebird back then, too

A while back I asked about this for another piece of software I work on, and was told that in general, Wikipedia preferred to use the date of the 1.0 release. Though looking at some other articles, it seems this is inconsistently applied at best.

yes, that's 1.0 release. still available here ftp://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/firefox/releases/1.0/

Here is my guide to run it under ubuntu karmik http://mapopa.blogspot.ro/2009/11/firefox-01-aka-phoenix-on-...

My guess the same instructions should work on ubuntu 12.04 lts

It's interesting that 0.3 had the ability to right click on an image to block the server it comes from... I'm assuming this is a preference or an extension nowadays!


right click on image -> view image info -> [tick] block images from domainname.tld

After making the jump from Netscape 4.5/4.72 to Mozilla 1.2, I stayed on Mozilla until Firefox 1.0 came out. I've been using Firefox ever since. I've got Chrome installed, mostly to check that websites work properly in it, but it never pulled me away from Firefox.

I really miss Phoenix. The tiny size, almost non-existent feature set, incredible snappy speed, and still wide compatibility with most (if not all) websites of the day.

Then there's Firefox. It's taken years to get to a point where you aren't swapping from three page loads. It has hardware graphics rendering and built-in video codecs. An entire development environment. And "helpful" features that try to guess what you're thinking and end up using more bandwidth, i/o and cpu than is necessary.

I know, i'm a luddite, i'm old-fashioned, i'm hindering progress. But get off my lawn! I just want a single tool that does something well. What's wrong with just releasing plugins for the features that aren't strictly text and image web content?

Already?! HB Firefox. And thanks for showing us that there was a better way than IE6.

I remember installing it for the first time and it felt just right. The other browsers at the time (Mozilla Suite, Netscape 6.x, IE) just felt so bulky.

You could tell right away that this software was going to go places.

I never thought I'd get to a time where web browser milestones began to make me feel old.

Early Firefox felt really responsive and it was more functional and safe than IE.

What happened? I still use it, but I definitely don't feel the same about it.

> What happened? I still use it, but I definitely don't feel the same about it.

People stopped using text and images, and moved onto vast quantities of active content. Look at how much data is shifted for your couple of sentences.

Phoenix was a really stripped down browser compared to other browsers of the day and you couldn't install lots of interesting extensions from day one. Firefox is still pretty barebones but so are other browsers now too, and most people install a ton of extensions that make it feel less snappy to boot.

A comparison via screenshots shows Firefox hasn't departed far from the spirit of Phoenix by default though. Phoenix 0.1: http://no.gd/p/phoenix-01-20120924-002927.jpg Firefox 16: http://no.gd/p/ff16-20120924-002834.jpg

because the web has changed. try to run an old firefox (or phoenix) again. really. try it. it won't feel fast. firefox got much faster in the meantime.

I've always disliked this current trend on how people values the quality of software by speed and "responsiveness", disregarding all other features.

I was a big fan of Phoenix. What bothers me about modern Firefox is forced updates combined with surprise browser resets that break plug-ins and delete settings data. A few more of these and I'll finally have to switch 100% to Chromium (except for site testing.)

Forced updates? Firefox has the usual set of update options, from automated and invisible to completely manual: http://i.imgur.com/eh84n.png

Uh... Chromium has automatic updates by default also!

Chrome happened. When something even better comes along, you might not be as satisfied with the old solution, especially if it's just trying to play catch-up over the next few years.

and what about a _working_ noscript, ghostery or torbutton for chrome? good luck. chrome is not even playing catch-up.

Second line down "earch" should be "Search", in case anyone at Mozilla is reading this.

What, no gimmick? PR fail.

(Not that it seems to have done much for Opera, but Mozilla is in a better position to capitalise.)

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