Firefox 3 Soldiers On As Firefox 2 Prepares Its Exit

by Ostatic Staff - Nov. 05, 2008

In October, Mozilla witnessed a surge in Firefox 3's market share as it continued its plan to decommission Firefox 2 -- and the Gecko engine that powered it -- before the end of December.

For two weeks in October, Firefox 3 claimed 20% market share, something that web metrics company Net Applications predicted might happen within a month of the new version's June release. Stalled growth, and Chrome's appearance caused some backslide, but Firefox 3's pulse is getting stronger.

The growth could well continue its upward climb as Mozilla releases its last few updates to Firefox 2. No official retirement date has been announced, but Mozilla expects Firefox 2 support will stop mid- to late December.

There was some concern that because the Gecko rendering engine version used in Firefox 2 is also being turned out to pasture, applications relying on that engine would be shut out. Thunderbird, SeaMonkey and Camino developers will have access to and be able to work on the Gecko code used for these applications, although Mozilla will not be actively maintaining it.

Mozilla says Firefox 3 composes 73% of all the "Firefox family" browsers in use. Mozilla plans to repeat an earlier "update offer" later in November to encourage Firefox 2 users to make the switch.