Firefox 3 'Download Day' cripples Mozilla site

By Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service |  Internet, Firefox, web browsers

Mozilla's big plan on Tuesday to set a world record for downloads with the Firefox 3 browser hit a snag when its Web site would not work properly.

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 indeed repaired the U.S. download site and had it up and running by just before 3 p.m. ET. However, the European site for downloading Firefox 3, which kicked off the 24-hour record-setting process, was up and running at about 1:15 p.m. ET, about 45 minutes before the crippled U.S. site.

In a blog entry soon after the U.S. site went up, the company said it was logging about 14,000 downloads a minute.

"This will put us well into the tens of millions of downloads in a 24 hour period if we can sustain it," according to the post.

Mozilla unveiled a campaign on May 28 to set a Guinness World Record for the most software downloads in 24 hours with its Firefox 3 browser. There is no world record for software downloads; Mozilla is trying to create one.

The company asked users to pledge to download the browser on the day it was released, and was even hosting a Download Day event, the Camp Firefox BBQ, at its offices in Mountain View, California, to promote its cause.

The company also has asked Firefox fans to host parties to encourage friends to download with them, and place "Download Day" buttons on their Web sites as reminders of the big day.

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