So tomorrow (Tuesday, June 17, 2008) is the official release of Firefox 3, and to mark that day Mozilla is asking everyone to download it. You can even make a pledge (not of the monetary type) that you will do so. And I did make that pledge. And I do intend on downloading the browser. But I wonder something...what about those people (like myself) that tend to install with apt-get. Will those downloads count? Or what about the fact that some will download it once and install it on many machines?
Ah, there's the rub when trying to tally up numbers for Linux. And it's the age-old battle for Linux to gain respect. But this time, should Firefox break (or create - I don't know if anyone has actually set a record for this yet) the record for most downloads in a day, it should at least give some credence to open source software. I realize Firefox Download Day isn't something Linux can claim because there are plenty of people who will download Firefox for Windows and/or Mac. But hopefully those delightful developers will have a means to keep track of which versions are downloaded. It would be meaningful to know the percentage of users who download for Linux, Windows, and Mac. Why? (1) Most of the Windows users I know no longer use IE for browsing...they use Firefox. A huge amount of Windows users would show Microsoft that their browser is the horrible wreck that it really is. (2) It would give an indication of how many Linux:Windows users there are.
In the grand scheme of things one would easily think that there should be far more Windows Firefox downloads than Linux downloads. Why? Well, if what most of the media says is true, Windows outnumbers Linux something like 3 gajillion to 1. That being the case, the ratio of Windows:Linux Firefox downloads should reflect that. I would like to see things even out a bit here. I can't say I would like to see the tables turn and have the Linux:Windows ratio of Firefox 3 downloads be Linux' 3 gajillion to Windows' 1. Because I would much rather Windows users be using a much more safe and secure browser than IE.
I have tried pretty much every browser known. From Lynx to Flock to Opera to IE to Firefox to Konqueror to Safari to Camino...you name it, I've tried it. Of all those browsers Firefox is hands-down the best. The more people that use Firefox, the better the interwebs will be!
So, in the name of all that's good, fair, and open source...make sure you add your download to Firefox 3 Download Day to help set the record straight!
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.