neil's got the lowdown || MAIN || what blake said

September 12, 2004

gaining with web developers

It looks like Gecko's finally starting to pick up some real steam with web developers as measured by w3schools.

If you add in the couple percentage points from Opera, non-IE browsers are more than 1/5th of the w3schools readership. Not bad at all!

We're switftly approaching the Firefox 1.0 release and it's then, I believe, that we can expect to see more traditional browser users start to mirror this web developer trend line.

What's the magic number? How many web developers do we need and how quickly do we need them if we're going to stave off the proprietarization of the web, and will Opera and Safari help us get there?

What are your thoughts on browser stats or web development trends?

update: I got a somewhat rude email asking me how I came up with these stats so I thought I'd just post here and pre-empt any further emails (I hope). I added together the Mozilla and Netscape 7 numbers and added together the IE 6 and IE 5 numbers. Then I messed up and posted the wrong starting numbers. I'll be correcting that shortly but until I do, it's Gecko: 7.20% Opera: 1.70% and IE: 87.20% from July of last year. Sorry 'bout that. Opera has indeed made a larger gain in the last year than this graph suggested.

update 2: I've corrected the image.

update 3: I've replaced the image with a less colorful one since this post got slashdotted.

Posted by asa at September 12, 2004 08:42 PM

This is suprisingly bad for a web development site. I guess there would be a lot of newbies who've never made a web site before, that would make up the IE numbers. Anyone who uses IE full time is not a real web developer.

I use Opera as my main browser, Firefox at uni and download nightlies to keep track of it's progress. Asa, it's good to see you're not dissing Opera. There's a lot of Firefox zealots out there insulting Opera at every opportunity. Opera has excellent standards support (XHTML1.1/CSS2.1) and is working towards the same vision of the web as the Mozilla project.

Posted by: Luke Shingles on September 12, 2004 10:45 PM

I've complained earlier about using W3Schools for statistics since they aim for a niche market, although I see the point that they might be the early "switchers" since they have to design sites for the web browser trends. However, what I found impressive recently was that I yesterday looked at a random Diablo II site (a game only available for PC) that posted its stats. And get this -- the Windows OS dominated by 97.6%, but Mozilla/Netscape browsers now had and impressive 11.5% share. :-) And that's a site that makes no effort of being aimed for neither open source software, being cross platform, or anything like that. Just a "site on the web".

Posted by: Jugalator on September 12, 2004 11:24 PM

My web site has about 2.1% mozilla market share.

Posted by: me on September 13, 2004 01:33 AM

My web site (entirely non-technical - see the link on my name) has 73% IE, 12% Mozilla, 4% Netscape, 2% Safari and 1% Opera. These figures have been improving month-on-month since the beginning of the year. I think it's looking pretty good!

Posted by: Andrew Smith on September 13, 2004 01:43 AM

In Poland and perhaps some other underdeveloped countries these stats would be different.

Firefox is quite unknown here, there is one "promo" site (, albeit it's almost dead now, still featuring FF 0.9.2. And I just know one person who would have heard of Firefox. Mozilla is only known for the seamonkey and for its bulkiness and problems with rendering.

I've been using FF for a few years now and it's very difficult to use it with banks or payment services. They simply don't work with Gecko. IE only. (Even Opera fails there).

On the other hand, who would really care.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 13, 2004 02:07 AM

Anonymous Coward: I am a Pole, and I must strongly object to what are you saying.
1. Poland is not the most developed country in the world, but is not not underdeveloped too -- we are in EU.
2. It is true, that is looking as dead but is not. The developers are just (in my opinion) too obsessive with quality and there are too much internal quarrels within the Polish dev team.
3. You can download 0.9.3 from, or you can just use English version with Polish Language pack, available from
4. There are more than one Polish site advocating Mozilla. See for example and many blogs.
5. From what I can say, as a participant in grassroots campaign that there is definitely a Polish Mozilla community. We are giving support for people on forums and on newsgroup and despite all odds there are some people who are using it. Most of us are converting others to Mozilla browsers.
6. My online banks are working just fine with firefox. (One of them will work even with lynx, but that is another story). Just see the list at where smiled faces means that bank works OK with Mozilla. What you usually need is just the newest version of Sun's Java.
7. Yes, In Poland stats are worse, but just see the Rendering engine share is 91.5% for IE, 4.1% for Opera and 3.9% for Gecko. Firefox had 0.2% of market share at the beginning of the year, while now it has 1.5%.
8. Please stop sharing misinformation, will you?

Posted by: Pshemekan on September 13, 2004 03:03 AM

My site. (I have one document on creating skins for Mozilla mind you)

MS Internet Explorer 50.9 %
Mozilla 33.7 %
Unknown 6.5 %
Netscape 2.6 %
Safari 1.9 %
UP.Browser (PDA/Phone browser) 1.8 %
Opera 1 %
MultiZilla 0.3 %
Firebird 0.2 %
Konqueror 0.2 %
Others 0.3 %

As far as I can tell the Netscape stats are for all versions of netscape pre & post gecko.

Posted by: Neil on September 13, 2004 11:15 AM


I didn't mean to hurt your feelings with what I said about Poland. What I said is just my opinion (after I have spent some time working in one of the more fortunate countries). And of course I am not going to quarrel over it...

The banks chart is not very accurate as most of the banks were checked in mid 2003 and it's September, 2004 now. For one, Citibank has added some javascript cruft in the mean time, resulting in it being usable only in IE and Opera. Try it yourself.

What I meant to state was that FF (ok -- almost) all but recognised here. So, where exactly am I misinforming?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on September 13, 2004 11:29 AM

"What I meant to state was that FF (ok -- almost) all but recognised here. So, where exactly am I misinforming?"

You were misinforming in a whole lot of places -- you do realize he answered to your previous post, right?

After you corrected yourself to say "all but recognized browser" and leaving thoughts about Poland (huh??) out of this, that's probably a bit more fair, so let's work to change that, right? :-)

As for the usage, until another polish statistics source has been shown, I can only use that one and it shows probably more than every twentieth Internet user should be aware of Firefox (I'm assuming at least a few of the Opera users are aware of FF since they belong to the crowd that actively look for different browsers). So there's definitely a sizable crowd along with multiple Mozilla info sources in Poland, too. :-)

Posted by: Jugalator on September 13, 2004 12:01 PM

AC: OK. Perhaps I should not use the word "misinformation". I apologise.

But in a true Open Source spirit I must ask: Where is the patch? Send update to the list, call the Citibank support (you are their client, their obligation is to help you). Spread the word about Firefox. We can do Polish Internet a better place. It can't be done at once but we can do it.

This discussion does not belong here. If you would like to continue, just use mozillapl forums or newsgroup.

Asa: Sorry for this Off Topic discussion.

Posted by: Pshemekan on September 13, 2004 12:02 PM

I know one thing that really keeps me using Firefox is the Web Developer Toolbar by Chris Pederick.

I would still use Firefox if I didn't have that, but as a web designer and developer it makes my job that much easier.

My browser stats:

MS Internet Explorer - 51 %
Mozilla - 19.8 %
Unknown - 11.3 %
NetNewsWire - 7 %
Safari - 5.7 %
Opera - 2.2 %
Netscape - 1.6 %
Firebird - 0.5 %
Konqueror - 0.1 %
Galeon - 0.1 %
Others - 0.2 %

I think that Unkown is probably a combination of news readers. My most request file is my RSS feed.

Posted by: Jeremy Flint on September 13, 2004 01:08 PM

I thought that my spam portion should be here, too. ;)
Mostly technical oriented people. I'm advertising Firefox and maybe sometimes too aggressively by providing real life exploit samples for browser weakneses, including Firefox when there are any. Here is yesterdays stats.

IE 6.0 50.41%
Firefox 0.9 19.72%
Firefox 0.8 5.74%
Mozilla 5.0 4.96%
OP 7.54 4.68%
IE 5.5 2.66%
OP 7.23 2.11%
OP 7.50 1.45%
IE 5.01 1.38%
OP 7.60 1.06%
Firefox 0.10 0.94%
IE 5.0 0.94%
OP 7.53 0.83%
and so on.

Many of my visitors hates me for this propoganda but the time will show who was write and who was wrong...

Posted by: CooLynX on September 13, 2004 04:30 PM

Yes, there definitely is a trend. I've compared my stats for an old website that is not related to Mozilla or even web development and here are the results:

         Jul. 2004   Sep. 2004
IE          85.28%      80.08%
Gecko        4.57%      13.24%
Opera        1.47%       2.21%
Netscape     0.86%       0.32%
KHTML        0.63%       0.44%
Unknown      7.19%       3.71%

The site has about 45% German and 45% American visitors.

Posted by: Wladimir Palant on September 15, 2004 04:41 AM

Agreed... here is some stats for

15.94% Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.7) Gecko
9.95% Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1)
7.38% Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 1
5.43% Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0)
3.63% Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/125.
3.41% Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1; .NET
2.82% Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.0; en-US; rv:1.7) Gecko
2.08% Googlebot/2.1 (+
1.87% Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0; Crazy Brow
1.62% Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0; .NET CLR 1
1.38% NaverBot-1.0 (NHN Corp. / +82-2-3011-1954 /
1.30% Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/1
1.25% Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.7) Gecko/2004080
1.19% msnbot/0.11 (+
1.11% Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; de-de) AppleWebKit/1

Posted by: Jacobus on September 15, 2004 05:07 AM

An earlier post said about Firefox: "it's very difficult to use it with banks or payment services. They simply don't work with Gecko. IE only."

In my experience, that is rubbish. I have used Mozilla, and now use Firefox, with online banking (including making payments), and I have never had any problem. I have also used Mozilla and Firefox with online stocktrading services - no problem. Just because one bank - Citibank - reportedly requires IE, doesn't mean that most banks are equally shortsighted.

Posted by: Nick on September 15, 2004 05:21 AM

Yep, absolute rubbish.

I've been using Firefox since the early Phoenix versions, and I can't remember the last time I had a problem with an important site. And I work in the financial services/software industry, so I use a *lot* of these types of sites.

In fact, the most glaring example of incompatability is still the UK's Odeon cinemas website - a supreme testament to their incompetence.

Posted by: RoryWinston on September 15, 2004 05:29 AM

I use Citibank without problems. It gets blocked by the popup blocker because of a stupid design - instead of opening the popup on a link click, they open it on page load. Once you whitelist the Citibank domain everything works fine.

Posted by: Wladimir Palant on September 15, 2004 05:29 AM

Last year I had problems with BKB (Switzerland), they only worked with IE (I was using Opera), but later on the year the added support for other browsers, now I use Firefox, and the site works very well with the three of them. So generalizations are not at all good. Viva FF !!

Posted by: Ale on September 15, 2004 05:47 AM

About the banking: Some bank sites do have problems with Firefox, mostly because their browser checking doesn't take it into account. There is an extention you can use to spoof your browser name / version for these sites, and then they work fine. My recommendation would be to contact the web developers for that site and tell them about the problem.

I really want there to be a trend here. Making hacks to force pages to render correctly in IE is getting old. I don't care what people use for a browser as long as it's standards compliant. Hopefully Microsoft realizes this is a problem and improves their standards support in future versions of IE.

The trend of web developers moving toward FireFox is important. The more developers who discover FF, the more they will communicate this discovery to the end user, especially if they're as fed up with IE standards support as I am.

Posted by: eric on September 15, 2004 06:03 AM

My website, which is a techie site, shows a higher percentage of Gecko-based browsers than Internet Explorer-based browsers. Yet also a higher percentage of Windows Operating Systems, than Linux Operating Systems:

Posted by: Philip Van Hoof on September 15, 2004 06:09 AM

Sorry for OT: AC and others that mentioned Citiabank -- while it may state that IE is required, the site works perfectly fine in Firefox with UA switcher. FWIW, the requirement there is largely to discourage "your site is broken" complaints from users, but there is no IE-specific functionality there, as far as I know.

Posted by: Ceesaxp on September 15, 2004 06:15 AM

The banking problem was in regards to Poland. Here in the US it is rare that a bank doesn't work with gecko, even ones that pop up a warning that you aren't using IE 4 (!).

Posted by: Damien on September 15, 2004 06:40 AM

From what I can tell the content material of your web site will affect the browsers you are getting. If you have something that is oriented towards the techie then you are more likely to get larger non-IE figures. Other sites that are oriented towards the general public will get a smaller non-IE percentage.

You also have some sites that have been designed by IE-centric web designers that wlll affect the vistor stats. These sites are usually chock full of Javascript that depends on IE's non-W3C conformant DOM. This means that even if you come along with Firefox et al. you are forced to dust off your copy of IE. You realise how bone headed some of these designers are when they won't accept a simple fix to make their web site work everywhere.

What I always find curious is the number of people who says other OSs, such as the Mac, are bad because they have less choice, yet at the same time stick with MS products, such as IE and Office, without having even checked out the competition.

Posted by: sha0lin on September 15, 2004 06:47 AM

To the guy who said diablo 2 is only available on PC: You are a noob.

Blizzard has been dual platforming their games for a long time now, diablo2 included. It may be true that the majority of diablo 2 players use a windows machine, but that doesnt mean you can't play on a mac.

Posted by: Patrick on September 15, 2004 09:14 AM

Here is a list of banks that do not work w/ gecko. It is a bit old; some of these may have been fixed, and there may be others added... I used to have a bank that didn't work, but wasn't listed here, for example.

Posted by: teedz on September 15, 2004 09:32 AM

Is this not a bit self full filling: Linked twice on, and hey, we have more hits from firefox users. The slashdot crowd should be taken out of the stats.

Posted by: Norbert on September 15, 2004 09:59 AM

I use Opera as my main browser, Firefox at uni and download nightlies to keep track of it's progress. Asa, it's good to see you're not dissing Opera. There's a lot of Firefox zealots out there insulting Opera at every opportunity. Opera has excellent standards support (XHTML1.1/CSS2.1) and is working towards the same vision of the web as the Mozilla project.

Posted by: Luke Shingles on September 12, 2004 10:45 PM

Ok first of all, why the hell are you using Opera. Personally my primary is Mozilla, i do dev for IE but not by choice.

I see alot of developers switching over to FireFox. moreso now that the 1.0 preview has been released.

Netscape + MAC is also a very common combination.

Posted by: Project-X on September 15, 2004 10:02 AM

Cause Opera got more features, is faster and slimmer..
It also got more standards support. Next version will support css3 voice.

The only thing mozilla is better at is Ms standards (like wysiwyg formatting forms).

Posted by: supa on September 15, 2004 10:17 AM

Don't bash Opera, code like zealots, try to clean up & make faster, reliable, better software. Good work you've done.

Posted by: Peter on September 15, 2004 10:40 AM

Luke wrote "This is suprisingly bad for a web development site. I guess there would be a lot of newbies who've never made a web site before, that would make up the IE numbers. Anyone who uses IE full time is not a real web developer."

In the grand scheme of things, the Linux/open source community is tiny compared to the Microsoft community. You might find it cool and chic to slam IE and make that comment, but at the end of the day it is up to the developer what tools he uses to create the solution. Each platform has its pros and cons, but it is narrow minded and ignorant to put down your peers just because you favor one browser over another.

Posted by: John on September 16, 2004 08:34 AM

Among CNET readers, site visitors with the Firefox and Mozilla browsers jumped to 18% for the first two weeks of September, up from 8% in January 2004. Downloads of the Firefox browser have doubled from 3 mln for version 0.8 to 6 mln for version 0.9. Web analytics company WebSideStory says Mozilla-based browsers' market share grew to 5.2% in September, from 3.5% in June 2004.

Posted by: Alex Moskalyuk on September 16, 2004 08:46 AM

Some German stats: (the publishing house bringing out one of the most popular computer magazines in Germany) reports a rise from 26.2% to 36.2% for Gecko browsers on their site in the last year (at the same time IE share went down from 58.9% to 44.0%) -

A poll on (a popular general-purpose magazine in Germany) shows that 59.49% of the site visitors use Gecko browsers, IE share is 17.57% (ok, it's a poll, not a proper stat, and then it is in an article about IE loosing market share) -

Posted by: Wladimir Palant on September 17, 2004 04:53 AM

Gecko browsing is becoming more and more popular all over the world especially after the new IE vulnerability exploits. Stats for a site I have (mostly C and Delphi programming)gave me the following stats. And note to all those who say that IE has more vulnerabilities, loopholes etc. just because there are more users on IE and therefore more hackers using IE - I do not know any hacker who uses MSIE as a standard browser. It's just buggy, old and outdated and full of quirks (the NCSA Mosaic core, 10 years old now, still forms 80-90% of IE's core). Use FF if you don't like to see your OS crash on a daily basis.
User stats on SEP/19/04
MSIE 6.x 51.22 %
Mozilla/Firefox/NN/Gecko 33.01 %
MSIE 5.5 3.93 %
Opera 7.x 3.38 %
Galeon 1.50 %
Old Netscape 1.07 %
MSIE 5.0 and older 0.50 %
Other browsers 5.09 %
Unknown browsers 0.30 %
And I live in Romania. Eastern Europe, really underdeveloped (not like Poland), and people know and use Firefox here. I use firefox and opera with FF for general use - I like it more - it's lighter. As for online banking :))) Nobody uses such features in my country and therefore no bank provides such features nor any e-shop provide any on-line payment systems.

Posted by: Mihai Catalin on September 20, 2004 07:28 PM

I agree

here are my site stats

MSIE: 63.30 % (3861)
Netscape: 31.87 % (1944)
Opera: 1.705 % (104)
Konqueror: 0 % (0)
Lynx: 0 % (0)
Search Engines: 2.426 % (148)
Unknown: 0.688 % (42)

Posted by: PyraX on September 23, 2004 12:18 AM

oh and the url is

Posted by: PyraX on September 23, 2004 12:19 AM

As a website developer, I always check my sites with IE just to see how much it bastardizes standard CSS2/XHTML.

Having a market share as big as it does it really really holds me back on what I could really be developing as I'm always stuck doing the "make it compatable" routine rather than just sticking with standardized code.

I have seen a nice shift in mozilla vs. IE usage on my sites though, which I do like and I'll keep pimpin' the goodness of Mozilla.

Posted by: Darryl on September 26, 2004 06:05 AM

Post a comment