Firefox 3.0 released, servers overwhelmed

Mozilla has released Firefox 3.0, the final release of the newest version of its popular Web browser. The company may have been a bit unprepared for the onslaught of Web traffic the release generated; reports note that its servers have been overwhelmed since the release.

Mozilla released Firefox on Tuesday after a public preview that lasted months, through myriad alpha and beta development builds and several release candidates.

New features in Firefox 3.0 include one-click bookmarking, instant Web site ID (to help identify online scams and unsafe transactions), improved performance, Web page zooming, password management, a smart location bar, and platform-native look and feel.

Mozilla hopes to set a world record for downloads with Firefox 3 on Tuesday. Though the big “Download Day” was set to begin at 1 p.m. ET, Mozilla’s Web site was down or working sporadically all morning on the East Coast, and users still could not download Firefox 3 from the site more than an hour later.

A Firefox spokeswoman said via e-mail just after 2 p.m. that the company was aware of the problem and “working to get it back up quickly.”

Mozilla also outlined the problems it was having with its Web site in a blog entry.

“The outpouring of interest and enthusiasm around Firefox 3 has been overwhelming (literally!),” according to the post. “Our servers are currently feeling the burn and should be back to normal shortly.”

Mozilla will begin registering downloads for the record for 24 hours from the moment the site goes live, according to the post.

System requirements call for Mac OS X v10.4 or later, G3 or better (including Intel), 128MB RAM, 200MB hard disk space.

Elizabeth Montalbano of IDG News Service contributed to this report.

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