Update: Mozilla servers back up, serving Firefox 3.0

Guinness record launch promotion takes down servers

After a blackout of more than an hour caused by users trying to download the final release of Firefox 3.0, Mozilla Corp. has restored service to its servers.

As of 3:30 p.m. Eastern time today, Mozilla's download servers were available and offering the final version of the open-source browser's latest update. A special launch page where the company had posted details about setting a one-day download record, however, was still offline.

Within minutes of Firefox 3.0's official launch at 1 p.m. Eastern time, Mozilla's servers were overwhelmed by the traffic. (See Computerworld's review of the new browser.)

"We've had a huge influx of requests, so the systems are in fact overloaded," said Mike Schroepfer, Mozilla's head of engineering, in an e-mail an hour after the launch. "The Ops team is working right now to bring up more capacity."

Users trying to update existing installations of Firefox through the browser's built-in update mechanism have also reported errors, but Schroepfer said that was by design. "We were planning on only offering full downloads today from Getfirefox.com, so 'check for Updates' will continue to return nothing, or an error if the systems are overloaded," he said.

Mozilla shipped the final version of Firefox 3.0 today after months of alpha and beta previews, plus three release candidates, the latest of which was issued less than a week ago.

As part of the launch promotion, Mozilla had urged users to help set a single-day download record. No such record currently exists, Mozilla had admitted late last month in a FAQ, but it was pursuing one nonetheless. "This is the first record attempt of its kind, so there is no set number. We'd really like to outdo the number of Firefox 2 downloads on its launch day, which was 1.6 million," Mozilla said in the FAQ.

Mozilla has said it will petition the Guinness World Records organization to accept its Firefox 3.0 download tally as the new mark to beat.

Firefox was last revamped in late 2006, and accounts for 18.4% of browsers in use, according to data from Net Applications Inc. Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer is the world's most-used browser, with a 73.8% share of the market, while Apple Inc.'s Safari holds third place with 6.3%.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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