The Firefox project began as an experimental branch of the Mozilla project by Dave Hyatt and Blake Ross.
The Firefox project went through many versions before 1.0 was released on November 9, 2004. After a series of stability and security fixes, the Mozilla Foundation released its first major update, Firefox version 1.5, on November 29, 2005.
What makes Firefox different from other open source projects is its consumer appeal. Until now, the open source community has been very good at creating useful software but lousy at finding nontechnical users.
Firefox the browser is an impressive piece of software. It’s easy to use, easy on the eyes, and safer than IE – partly because it’s too new to have amassed a following of evil hackers. Firefox the phenomenon is something much bigger. It’s a combination of innovations in engineering, developer politics, and consumer marketing.