Following this week’s release of the latest release candidate 2 for Mozilla’s celebrated Firefox 3 browser, the founder and president of Mozilla Europe informed us today that the final release of Firefox 3 is ‘weeks away, not months’ and that it will be available in 50 different languages 'on day one'.

As the company gears up to promote Firefox 3 Download Day via the Spreadfirefox.com website, Download Day parties and other clever marketing initiatives, the question on everyone’s lips is ‘when IS download day?’

We'll ship when it's ready

Mozilla will not release the final Firefox 3 until the company is happy that all the bugs are ironed out, Tristan Niton, founder and president of Mozilla Europe told TechRadar this morning.

Niton informed us that Mozilla’s marketing people have something of a hard time, because they don’t work to a traditional ‘release date’ or launch date, as the company will only release the final version of the browser when they are happy that it is ready.

“But I assure you it will be ready within weeks, not months,” Niton told TechRadar.

Territorial differences

Niton also commented on his thoughts about the fact that there are a higher proportion of Firefox users in Europe, compared with the US.

“There are many reasons, but this differs from country to country. Overall in Europe (and the UK is probably an exception), Open-Source is understood and accepted more than anywhere else, so users feel more comfortable using Open-Source software such as Firefox in Europe, than in various other regions such as the US,” Nitot told us.

Exemplary localisation

Looking at the pick-up of Firefox across Europe, there are considerable differences in the proportion of Firefox users between countries.

Niton comments: “There are other reasons that may relate to the local cultural values. For example, in Germany, people tend to favour neatly engineered products and put strong emphasis on privacy and security. In these three domains Firefox has proven to be leading the market, hence its success.”

 Discussing the significant uptake of Firefox users in Poland and eastern Europe, Niton added: “I think localisation plays a big role. Localisation is very expensive for a proprietary software company in smaller markets, it doesn't make sense to provide a localised version of the product, at least from an economic standpoint.

50 languages at launch

“Firefox being Open-Source and relying on our community of users to localise (translate) Firefox in their local language, we do not suffer from this economic barrier. For example, in Spain, we already offer versions of Firefox in Spanish, Catalan, Basque and the Galician version is on its way. This enables us to address the needs of the users in territories where proprietary software vendors see no interest in covering.

“For countries such as France, Germany and the UK, the markets are big enough to get a localised version of the products. But for Eastern European countries, where the IT market is not as big, Firefox is localised sooner than other browsers. In this regard, the launch of Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 was significant: it was only available in one single language on launch date, American English. Other versions in French and German came several weeks later. In comparison, Firefox 3 is going to be available in close to 50 languages on day one.”