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For the upcoming release of Firefox 3, Mozilla aims to set a new world record for the largest number of software downloads in 24 hours.
The company has put out a call to its global community of users to pledge to download the new 3.0 version of Firefox on the day the browser is made available to the public.
Given that there's no established Guinness World Record for software downloads, Mozilla is destined for the record book no matter what happens. A Mozilla spokesperson said the company is working with the Guinness Book Of World Records to verify the record attempt and will be furnishing 10% of the company's download logs for an extrapolated final download count.
Justin Fitzhugh, director of IT for Mozilla, is confident that Mozilla will be able to handle the bandwidth surge, which he said is likely to be a fraction of the load Mozilla bears when it releases automated browser updates to its installed base of users. "We've scaled for this already," he said, noting that in addition to the servers in its own data center, Mozilla relies on donated server capacity around the world.
Mozilla claims that it has 175 million users in more than 230 countries. The United Nations recognizes 192 member states. Presumably, Mozilla is counting perhaps a dozen countries with limited or substantial international recognition (Taiwan), several would-be countries not recognized by other nations (Abkhazia), and a variety of territories (Norfolk Island).
Over at SpreadFirefox.com, there's an interactive map that lists by country those who have pledged to download Firefox 3.0 on the designated day. At the time this article was filed, the United States had the lead, with almost 38,000 promising to participate in the download event. In Turkmenistan, only six people have committed. Enthusiasm for the download record attempt is clearly higher in neighboring Uzbekistan, where 50 people have pledged to participate.
About two weeks ago, Mozilla released Firefox 3.0 RC1, a version of the new browser deemed stable enough for public testing. Mozilla says the official 3.0 release will occur in June.
Firefox 3.0 RC1 is noticeably faster than version 2.0. It also handles memory better.
As of May 29, Firefox has 17.76% of the global browser market share, according to Net Applications. Microsoft Internet Explorer accounts for 74.83%, and Apple's Safari accounts for 5.81%.