Red faces at Mozilla as Firefox 3.0 demand crashes sservers

Mozilla's servers were quickly overloaded yesterday by users trying to download the final release of Firefox 3.0.

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Mozilla's servers were quickly overloaded Tuesday by users trying to download the final release of Firefox 3.0.

Within 35 minutes of the debut of the new open-source browser, attempts to reach Mozilla's usual sites, as well as the launch page where the company is trying to break the one-day download record, were blocked.

"The server at www.spreadfirefox.com is taking too long to respond," read errors received by multiple Computerworld staffers across the U.S.

Mozilla confirmed that its servers were overwhelmed. "We've had a huge influx of requests so the systems are in fact overloaded," said Mike Schroepfer, Mozilla's head of engineering, in an e-mail Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. "The Ops team is working right now to bring up more capacity," added Schroepfer.

Users trying to update existing installations of Firefox through the browser's built-in update mechanism were also seeing errors, but Schroepfer said that was by design. "We were planning on only offering full downloads today from getfirefox.com, so 'check for Updates' will continue to return nothing, or an error if the systems are overloaded," he said.

Both Mac OS X and Windows versions of Firefox returned the error "AUS: Update XML File Malformed (200)."

Mozilla shipped the final of Firefox 3.0 Tuesday after months of alpha and beta previews, and three release candidates, the latest issued less than a week ago.

Firefox was last revamped in late 2006, and currently accounts for 18.4% of
the browser market, according to data from Net Applications, Microsoft 's Internet Explorer is the world's most-used browser, with a 73.8% share, while Apple Inc.'s Safari holds third place with 6.3%.

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