File Under: Browsers

Happy Birthday, Firefox: The Little Web Browser That Could Turns 10

Phoenix Logo. Image: Wikimedia.

It was 10 years ago this week that a proto-Firefox crawled out of the Mozilla code swamp and first appeared on the web.

Version 0.1 of what was then known as Phoenix was released Sept. 23, 2002. Don’t believe us? See for yourself: you can still grab a copy from Mozilla’s server.

Mozilla has the release notes available as well, which tout Phoenix’s “customizable toolbar” and “reasonable default settings.” The FAQ is well worth a read, with gems like this one:

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.

Remember when a couple MBs of disk space mattered? Simpler times, those.

Opera may deserve more credit for pushing the boundaries of what a web browser can be, but it’s hard to imagine what the web would look like today without Firefox. We suspect it would be a dark, proprietary place, one best not contemplated for too long.

So happy birthday, Firefox, and thanks for all the open source fish.