Firefox 3 Is Given to the World – Or Maybe Not

As you may have noticed, Firefox 3 is released today. Excited by this prospect, the first thing I did when I got up was to rush to my computer to download it (yes, pathetic, I know). And what do I find? That only Firefox 2 is on offer. I go to the main Download Day 2008 site, and for all its flash/Flash zoomable graphics, I can't find any information about exactly when Firefox 3 will be publicly available, which seems crazy: the one thing this site should be doing is making it easy for as many people as possible to download Firefox 3.

The danger here is that like me, others may rush expectantly to download Firefox 3 as soon as they wake up today, only to find that it is not available – and that there is no explanation as to why that is. Is it because there's some last-minute hitch with Firefox 3? Did they get the day wrong? Was it all just a big con? In any case, the public perception of Firefox is unlike to benefit from this confusion. Not everyone will persist, as I did, trying to find out exactly what it going on.

The answer, when I finally found it, was surprising: Firefox 3 is not actually being launched today, it is being launched at 10 am PDT today.

So what? You might say. Well, just step back and think about the implications of that: 10 am PDT corresponds to 7 pm in Poland (one of the leading countries in terms of the numbers of people who have pledged to download Firefox 3 today), 10.30 pm in India, 1 am on Wednesday in Beijing, and 5 am Wednesday in New Zealand.

In other words, for the vast majority of the world, Firefox 3 is being launched inconveniently late on Tuesday or early on Wednesday. That means huge numbers of people will be kicking their heels for hours, waiting for the fateful moment when they can join in the global fun. I suspect that quite a few will get bored or find better things to do (like sleeping, maybe) before the great moment arrives.

If the launch is Tuesday, 17 June, and Firefox belongs truly to the world, the logical thing would be to launch it at the one time that is independent of specific locations: the moment when midnight passes on the International Date Line – the first place it becomes Tuesday, 17 June. That way, everyone, without favouring any geographical or national spot, could download Firefox 3 as they wake up – a suitably affimative way to begin the day. It would also be a natural way to spread the load on the download servers across the day.

Choosing 10 am PDT suggests a blinkered viewpoint – as if anything outside Silicon Valley is of secondary importance.

That's sad. One of the signal achievements is that Firefox – particular through the splendid SpreadFirefox site – has become a beacon of open, egalitarian participation, something shared excitedly between friends as a gift, rather than handed down from on high with august pomp and circumstance by the stern priests in the cathedral. Releasing Firefox 3 at 10 am PDT flies in the face of all that; it says that contributions to the open source Firefox are of course welcome from anyone, wherever they may be – but never forget where the true centre lies. Ignoring the obvious neutral solution is insensitive to all those people living in timezones well east of California, and strikes a discordant note on what should be a day of global harmony and celebration.

Glyn Moody writes about open source at opendotdotdot.


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Why the rush?

bsinton's picture

What is the problem with waiting a day or three before downloading FF3.
Instant gratification seems to be a universal desire now.

However as Ubuntu 8.04 has been on my computer since April with Firefox 3, I did not get all exited.
Yesterday , one of the updates was a 20meg.Firefox ,so it would have had all the exta
dodads that have been incorporated into it since April.
I don't think that the couple of days before the latest Firefox got installed is my biggest problem at present.

Peace and Joy to you all.

What a Richard Cranium

tracyanne's picture

what an idiotic complaint.

certainly not an idiotic complaint

Anonymous's picture

Um, hate it break it to you, but there are people outside the US. I live on the other side of the earth, and while I would like to help Firefox get the world record or whatever, I'm not willing to wait until 0100; I'll just wait until tomorrow.

Firefox is more popular in Europe than in the US, so why not start the release at GMT or +1?

I suspect there isn't really a completely optimal solution, but still, the time chosen was definitely NOT optimal.

Workin' 9 to 5...

Kevin Shaum's picture

Silliest complaint evar...

The reason for choosing the time is obvious. It means that the staff at Mozilla, in California, can have some time to do set up before downloads begin, and time to troubleshoot problems after they begin, and still have some chance of working normal hours.

No matter what time it starts, it will be in the wee hours for *someone*, somewhere. Given that, why make your sysadmins come to work in the middle of the night?

Firefox 3 server overload...

Anonymous's picture

Anyone think that spacing out download opportunities might just prevent server burnout?


Anonymous's picture

Hey people, if mozilla foundation wants to be in the guinness world of records or whatever record registering company, they have to stick to some rules. Including exactly 24 hour exposition time.


Anonymous's picture

Hey people, if mozilla foundation wants to be in the guinness world of records or whatever record registering company, they have to stick to some rules. Including exactly 24 hour exposition time.

Lest we forget, Firefox is a software business

SeaMonkey Man's picture

If we expect the Mozilla Firefox organization to be purist and all truthful, we will be in for disappointment.

When Firefox first went 1.0, and asked for donations to run a full page ad in the NYT, I contributed.
They promised to send a full size poster of the ad with everyone's name who donated on it.

They never printed my name in the ad, and I never got any poster. Honest mistake? Maybe. Tried to correct it? Never. I contacted them and they did their best to avoid the entire situation. And there were quite a few of us who were left out:

We don't even know what really happened to the remaining funds, as there was controversy about how discounted their ad was from the NYT.,1000000097,39172163,00.htm

I too, would have liked to see them think this thru, and make all the right decisions when they release their product. It only adds to their mystique and open source roots.

But it seems, that they are not that 'philosopical' and so its really just another commercial software organization:

I still use it, but I prefer SeaMonkey more, not because of the politics, but for the efficiency. Seamonkey is the leaner, meaner Fox.

Well, it's quarter to 11,

Anonymous's picture

Well, it's quarter to 11, Pacific Time.

What do I get when I try to update with the "Check for updates" menu item?

"AUS: Update XML File Malformed (200)" an offer to visit a link and download manually.

Although I like Firefox, and I'll even support dick-waving if it's a nice enough dick, dick-TEASING isn't cool at all.

When - after noon

Anonymous's picture

I downloaded my copy about 1PM Pacific Daylight Time. I went to the Firefox page and clicked the appropriate buttons. Works just fine.

Who's missing to point?

freeman's picture

All you who say "stop whining": You're missing the point.

Mozilla hyped this "download day" for quite some time, but neglected to give important details, such as what time "download day" starts. This has led to confusion and disappointment among those of us willing to support their attempt at a world record. Most of us probably already have RC3, which I understand to be nearly identical to the official release. It's not that we're disappointed that we can't get our shiny new browser, it's that we're disappointed in Mozilla's coordination of this event. We came to help Mozilla achieve their goal, only to be confused when we couldn't find the official FF3 to download on "download day".

FF3 launch

freeman's picture

Bone-headed mistake Mozilla. It's just now "launch time" and the servers are overloaded. Glyn had the right idea. I would have had it by now, but now I'm not near as eager to fight overloaded servers just to get it today. RC3 will do until the servers are responsive.

I'm a huge firefox fan and v3 is certainly worth upgrading to, but I've got to say, Mozilla, you really screwed this launch up. Confusion followed by disappointment doesn't do much for your fans.

This launch was over-hyped and under-delivered. It doesn't even look like they have enough server capacity to meet their record-breaking download goal. What were they thinking?


joke's picture

'Linux Journal' credibility...sinking.


Anonymous's picture

No kidding, I just found this site about a week ago and I've read three articles; all of them were terrible

Wow! WTF with LinuxJournal?

Anonymous's picture


WTF with LinuxJournal? everybody with a sane IQ knows that the record is for exactly 24 hours, it logically begins at 0 hour UNIVERSAL TIME CLOCK (UTC).

I don't know why this article make it to the Today's most-read story on LinuxToday.

Mozilla is based out of

Anonymous's picture

Mozilla is based out of Mountain View, California. They're releasing it right on time.

Author is right

DG's picture

The author's point is spot on.

Mozilla made a clear mistake with two consequences. First, they will get fewer downloads for the world record (since the disappointed Europeans and Asians may not remember to try again tonight). Second, they've taken a bandwidth hit from all the people who mistakenly downloaded the old version.

What they should have done is:
1. Announced the release times (in all major time zones) at the moment they announced the release date
2. Put a message next to the 2.x version, and on the "world record" page telling people to wait.
3. Put a countdown clock on the download page

Maybe they'll get it right for FF4

How to piss off geeks

lyle howard seave's picture

Let's be clear, this is not the end of the world.
Chances were good that many of us geeks already had the beta's for quite a while and we were just downloading today to help this PR push, its not like we HAD to have it today.

But here it is lunch time on the east coast and all we hear is "What a bunch of buffoons!" from the guys in our IT dept.

This is how i got to this article, I got on a few web sites at work to see why it was still v2 taht was showing when we got to work, and got sidetracked somewhere around and ended up here... I always digress. Where was I? Oh yeah, everyone around here was trying to DL FF3, with IM and Twitters flying fast and furious through our company everybody trying to figure out what was going on and there it was... available 10AM PST.
Really? 1PM on the east coast.. I know some countries you mentioned have it a lot worse and again, its no skin of my back...but REALLY?
Was this one of those groupthink decisions that was trying to be a little too smart for its own good? Or a total brainfart?

This article illustrates well the problems FLOSS projects have against the slick PR machines of the proprietary giants: this felt contrived and cheesy fro the start but we all went along with it, because we love Firefox browser, the whole community side, blah, blah and you need to generate your own publicity. And they blew it.
No biggie. The browser is still amazing. My favorite extensions are about 90% usable as of today.
This wont change anything on how the browser and extensions like Gmail Notifier make me more productive.

This was just a PR stunt.

The execution was more high school than Steve Jobs.

Its ok, they will hopefully hear the voices this week and learn for v.4.


Anonymous's picture

those ppl could have just put a count down timer on their website...what a mess !!!!

Launch is 10am PDT, or 5pm

Matt Wilcox's picture

Launch is 10am PDT, or 5pm GMT.

Patience, you've an hour to go.

Get a life, buddy, and stop

Andrew's picture

Get a life, buddy, and stop whining. RC3 is available to download right now, and it's the same contents as the 'official' version.

Better late than early

Jose_X's picture

Rather than have people remember 12 hours after it's start, it's better if they remember 12 hours early. This way they have 36 and not 12 hours to get the downloads in.

A more extreme case would be people remembering 2 hours too late (or near bed time) instead of while still having 22 hours to go.

I am not sure but I think you can download more than once, at least as far as the record is concerned. There will likely be stats such as the likelihood you downloaded more than once and later on how many of those are being used.

Booooo hooooo... sheesh!

Anonymous's picture

Booooo hooooo... sheesh!

Download link, seems to

Anonymous's picture

Download link, seems to work. After dl, Help -> About -> Version 3.0

People..... While kicking

Anonymous's picture

People..... While kicking your heels waiting for the Firefox 3 release, you could always kill a little time by rearranging the following into a more meaningful phrase "life get a fucking"!

Glyn..... Seems like you might be a bit of a sad fuck!

I see it as taking part.

zimbi's picture

I see it as taking part. The record is to have FF downloaded the most within a 24 hour period. It doesn't matter a jot when it starts. You will get it when you can whithin those 24 hours.

You can't please some people. If the downloads became available 12:00 GMT you would still upset some people.

Don't moan and just take part. They are trying to make history. Be a part of it.

I'll be downloading tonight at 6pm and looking forward to the enhancements. If you need to check the features out now go get the beta.

nuff said!

You're right, but there's another way...

Nicola Larosa's picture

I agree with the sentiments expressed. The most natural time to release, to me, would have been on 12:00 UTC/GMT (no daylight savings time, it's not uniform between nations and emispheres): that's the only instant when the world is on the same date.

Or it would be if there were 24 time zones in the world, as one would presume. But human politics are everything but intuitive, and we have UTC+12:45, UTC+13 and UTC+14.

However, in those absurd time zones there are the Chatham Islands (New Zealand), Tonga, and Kiribati, and global warming is already taking care of those. :-(

I honestly do not agree

geek's picture

I honestly do not agree about the time of release (I am in Spain btw), I just do not think that it matters. However, I would be very helpful if on the mozilla and spreadfirefox sites it was clearly stated that it would be at such and such time, and such and such timezone. Whatever time it is it wont suit everyone, but be clear about it!

Please Grow Up

Anonymous's picture

For God sake grow up. FF is great and everything, but it's only a browser. You want to download it so soon as if your lives depend on it. Some people have nothing else to do but complain. Get a life PLEASE!

Mozilla wants a new record,

The_WB's picture

Mozilla wants a new record, but dropped the ball at the one yard line by their goofy download schedule. For me, my time starts today at 13:00 EDT in the United States. I'm sorry, but when you have a "Download Day" - it is the whole day of the release, not some goofy date - Mozilla - you blew it!

I remember in the 1980s

Anonymous's picture

I remember in the 1980s reading an American book about networking in which it explained that a network could be from one side of a room to another, one side of a city to the other, or even from one side of the country to another. As far as most Americans are concerned, the world starts at Califonia and ends at Florida.

This is reinforced by their belief that their laws apply to the whole world (both legally, eg DMCA, and politically, especially if you have oil).

They may be staggered to learn that over in Europe we now have mains electricity and some houses even have an indoor toilet, sorry bathroom, these days. Apparently someone from one of those insignificant European countries even wrote a UNIX-like operating system.

The world and world time do not begin with America.

Take two steps back and a deep breath

Anonymous's picture


We are only talking about the release of software which apparently is being released on June 17th, 10 AM PDT. Do the math and figure out your time zone. That will be the release time for your area.

As far as geographically disabled Americans, we can leave that for another topic. By the way, I have met plenty of provincial Europeans who were completely clueless about the United States.

I think you're missing the

Anonymous's picture

I think you're missing the point a little. By the time 10AM PDT rolls around, most people in Europe and further east will have left work for the day - so you get one download for my home machine instead of 200 for my work desktops which will have to wait until tomorrow.

Maybe I'm missing something...

Michael's picture

Aren't they shooting for a record within a 24-hour period? So if you head home tonight, you can still download it tomorrow morning onto those 200 computers and it will be well within the 24-hour period...right? Or am I missing something?

Filehippo has it available first before even the Mozilla site!

Anonymous's picture

Check the that offers the download before anyone else does! how it happens i don't know...the start page some how gives you the firefox release candidate theme but the about gives the version 3.0 clear.


Anonymous's picture


I suppose

Shawn Powers's picture

They could also wait until the last possible minute GMT, to make sure that no one can get it before Tuesday. I'm not sure if that would be more politically correct or not. I hope they don't try it though. :D

(Firefox team: Move along, move along, nothing to see here in this comment...)

Shawn is Associate Editor here at Linux Journal, and has been around Linux since the beginning. He has a passion for open source, and he loves to teach. He also drinks too much coffee, which often shows in his writing.

Okay, enough.... You got

HangLoose's picture

Okay, enough....

You got your 15 minutes of fame and viewers to your site...
You dont know how to wait for anything ? I think you keep banging your head against the glass doors of the bank before they open right ? Or you start to shout that in australia the banks are open till now ?

That's called time zones...

You are sad...

100% agree to the author

Klaas's picture

I really wanted to download firefox 3 today.
And if they'd decided to define "today" as 0am PST till midnight PST, I'd be ok with it. But to start at 10am PST is just downright dumb. That's waaay beyond business hours for me, and I'm not sure if I'm going to power up my computer tonight.

I have more important things to do than downloading a browser.

Will you be powering up

Anonymous's picture

Will you be powering up tomorrow? I mean, you've got until 10 am PST tomorrow to get the thing.

Are you really...

Nope's picture

that impatient to download a browser? Come on. It's a WEB BROWSER. It's not something that's life transformative.

I second the author

Chandru's picture

The author actually makes a valid point. Especially the one about releasing by International Data Line. That way everyone will get it on June 17 not some on 17 and others on 18.

Come on, the world is much larger than USA and this is an attempt for world record and not US record. Anyway at least for me (India) it is released on 17 and I'll be downloading it.

If I was in a place where release will be on 18th I'd not care to do all these time zone conversions and calculate when I'll get it. Why should I take pains to get them a record when they can't do some calculations for their own record setting attempt?

For a bunch of supposedly

MikeVx's picture

For a bunch of supposedly smart people, this bunch is not doing well today. The launch time makes perfect sense if you apply a few brain cells to it. If the people controlling this whole thing are in the US, they are probably in the Pacific time zone. When the downloads start, the servers are going to get hammered like watermelons at a Gallagher show.

With that in mind, you are going to want your support staff to be awake, and this is the important bit, alert. Therefore, timing the process to start during the early part of your support staffs working day is the sane thing to do. Problems are most likely to arise in the early phases, and an alert staff to hop on them is a good thing. It the servers were in the UK, I'd expect the start time to be in what is for me the wee hours of the morning, for exactly these reasons.

please add one more brain cell

Klaas's picture

If you were right and their support staff only wants to start at a decent time, these poor bastards still have to work overtime at the end of the 24 hours.

So, if none of them is willing to wake up early, the end result is that they will have to work very very late.

Never ceases to amaze

Kennon's picture

It really never ceases to amaze me how some people will interpret almost any hardly perceivable action by an American or in this case an American run company as some kind of slight to their national heritage/culture/gender identity/kung-fu style/'add your own bullshit here' or something. I mean does the whole rest of the world have such a low self-esteem that when an American gnat breaks wind from 1000 miles away in their general direction they see it as some kind of huge insult? Did anyone stop to think that perhaps the people who work at Mozilla HQ wanted to have a big ass party or release shindig? I mean, don't they deserve to have some fun ass count down and release party since they do 90%+ of the work on the product? Maybe they were up until after midnight last night making some last second adjustments to something and the Boss said "Hey lets have everyone roll in around 9:30 and we can kick off this party at 10!". I mean really people...don't they deserve it? For Christs sake you guys can find fault with almost anything, like a bunch of whiny old ladies. Like an earlier poster's a web browser, get a life!

the "stop whining" comments don't get...

Anonymous's picture

that it's a PR thing.

It's outright stupid, to make a big fuzz about "download day" and then not provide a download link when the day started. if it says june 17th, i expect june 17th anywhere at 0:00.

looking at the numbers on the download day website, by now 500000 people tried to download it and couldn't.

this campaign hurt the perception of firefox more than it helped.

epic FAIL for mozilla.

Who the hell cares! You

Kris Beck's picture

Who the hell cares! You complain that you haven't been able to test it yet, you would be the first to complain about the lack of new features or the bugs that it is bound to have.

I love FF3

Chandru's picture

FYI, I love Firefox 3. I have been using beta 5 and now RC1 (through Ubuntu updates). Except for disk thrashing due to the bug in its handling of sqllite, I have not come across any major bug and the feature set is awesome.

I'd be downloading FF3 from Mozilla's site only to help them get the record. Otherwise, I can happily wait for few more days till Ubuntu gives me an update.

Now I agree on the support staff part a bit, but come on they are aiming for a world record it not just another high quality major release. Also, the reminder mail sent to me just said that it will be released on June 17 and did not say time or time zone in it. In fact, when they have detected the country through my pledge, the mail could have been customized to suit my time zone.

So expecting a release on June 17 is natural, and I'm sure many (not so inclined in helping Firefox set a record) in the eastern part of the planet would have thought the release is delayed. For a world record, it is not enough if just the tech savvy crowd downloads it. Non-techie users should download it too.

I agree, narrow minded

Anonymous's picture

I agree, narrow minded idea's like releasing an "International" product in a US valid time frame only is stupid.

Calm Down People!

Dennis Lee's picture

Take your meds already!

I'm in Asia and I'm not complaining. Just installed FF3.0 and am posting this from it. When I went to the FF3 launch page yesterday and found nothing I just went to sleep expecting to see it this morning (June 18th). Sure enough, when I woke up it was there and it took about 28 secs to download.

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