The Firefox Hardware Report - gHacks Tech News

The Firefox Hardware Report

The Firefox Hardware Report is a weekly updated report of the hardware used by a representative sample of Firefox's release channel user base.

It is a tool for developers primarily but published so that anyone may access it. It can be best compared to the Steam Hardware Survey which is a monthly report on the hardware and software used by a sample of Steam's population.

The Firefox Hardware Report answers interesting questions. It reveals the operating system distribution on the release channel, as well as the processor, graphics, and Flash distribution.

Firefox Hardware Report

firefox hardware report

The report website displays general distribution statistics at the top. The most used operating system is Windows 7 for instance followed by Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Mac OS X. Windows 7 leads by 10% and sits comfortable at 45% of the market share.

Adobe Flash, which was once installed in nearly any browser on the market, continues to drop. About 64% of Firefox release channel installations have Flash installed at this point.

A click on "more details" displays charts that offer additional details. If you click on the link underneath operating systems, you get a chart that details operating system changes over time.

Windows 7 did not lose much market share in the past ten months while Windows 10 managed to slowly work its way up. The April 2017 stats show Windows 7 at about 48% and in January by 44%; not a large drop.

Windows 10 market share increased from 17% to now 34% in the ten-month period. Other Windows versions dropped, and other non-Windows systems remained steady in regards to market share. The chart excludes XP and Vista because the population was moved to Firefox ESR by Mozilla.

What about 32-bit vs. 64-bit? The Firefox Hardware Report answers that as well. Firefox 32-bit dominated much of the year but was surpassed by 64-bit versions of the browser in late October.  More than 66% of the release channel population runs 64-bit versions of Firefox as of January 2018.

How does that correlate with the architecture of the operating system?  80% of operating systems are 64-bit according to Mozilla's statistics as of January 2018 indicating room for further growth.

The charts offer information that you don't find listed in summary at the top. There is a memory chart for instance that shows how much RAM systems have. Systems with 4, 8 and 16 Gigabytes of RAM are on the rise while systems with less than 4 Gigabytes are losing market share.

What about display resolution? This is probably the most crucial metric for web developers. The display resolution 1366x768 sites at 33%  and 1920x1080 at 23% of the market share. No other resolution has a market share of more than 10%.

Closing Words

The Firefox hardware report offers useful insight for web developers and users interested in trends.  (thanks Günther)

Summary
The Firefox Hardware Report
Article Name
The Firefox Hardware Report
Description
The Firefox Hardware Report is a weekly updated report of the hardware used by a representative sample of Firefox's release channel user base.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Appster said on January 16, 2018 at 3:18 pm
    Reply

    And this is why I use Waterfox (or would turn off telemetry when I use Firefox). My hardware is not their business. Hardware-based tracking can be done, folks. I don’t know if they do, but they could. Turn it off.

    1. wow said on January 16, 2018 at 5:04 pm
      Reply

      wow, how can someone be such a big troll. Fascinating.

      1. Appster said on January 16, 2018 at 6:07 pm
        Reply

        @wow:

        Ad hominem stuff, how creative… So you are basically saying that hardware-based tracking is not a possibility, right? Mozilla is essentially in the datamining business via Ghostery.

    2. Jed said on January 16, 2018 at 10:46 pm
      Reply

      Actually, hardware is their business. In order to make a web browser properly run, it will need to know what hardware it is running on, and allow Mozilla to make optimisations to Firefox in order to make it perform better. Mozilla need to know the combinations of hardware in order to fix bugs, be they obscure or common. Not allowing them to know the hardware means they can’t properly optimise the browser and run the best it can.

      It’s the same as web development, I always allow Google Analytics, as although it allows some tracking via Google, it provides invaluable tools and insights to web developers. I don’t mind hardware and diagnostic information being made available in order to make the product better.

      Honestly, it’s up to you whether you allow hardware and diagnostic information to be sent, but if a bug crops up that only you seem to have or is rather obscure, don’t come crying to Mozilla to beg for it to be fixed, as they could fix it a lot easier/quicker with your diagnostics and crash reports.

      1. John Fenderson said on January 17, 2018 at 9:34 pm
        Reply

        @Jed

        If you want to allow telemetry for the purposes you cite, I won’t argue that you shouldn’t (I also won’t argue that anybody should!) That said, allowing Google Analytics doesn’t make sense for that goal. Google Analytics isn’t used to improve Google products. It’s used to provide data to advertisers (the “analytics” refers to “market analytics”), not to provide data for bug fixing.

        “but if a bug crops up that only you seem to have or is rather obscure, don’t come crying to Mozilla to beg for it to be fixed”

        OK, I won’t. I wouldn’t anyway. If it’s a problem that I can’t tolerate, I’ll just use different software that doesn’t have that problem.

    3. Anonymous said on January 18, 2018 at 6:03 pm
      Reply

      This data is useful for hiding in the crowd: You know what it looks like.

  2. TelV said on January 16, 2018 at 3:54 pm
    Reply

    It’s a pity the site only functions with Firefox. I would have like to have seen what the data would have been when applied to both Basilisk and Waterfox.

    Basilisk crashes at least once a day on my system with Exception Code 0x80000003 and the description: “A breakpoint has been reached” which I’ve been advised courtesy of the Pale Moon / Basilisk forum is a hardcoded breakpoint but that the browser doesn’t use them so there has to be something amiss on my machine, and Waterfox takes forever to load sites unless the option to delete the browser cache on exit remains unchecked. But Waterfox never crashes which I would have expected it to if something was wrong with my Windows 8.1 system.

    Swings and roundabouts I guess. Anyone not familiar with the saying see: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/swings_and_roundabouts

    1. Tom Hawack said on January 16, 2018 at 5:30 pm
      Reply

      Well, you could ask Waterfox and Basilisk developers to include the required telemetry and that its data collecting be sent to Mozilla.
      Half-joke because I still don’t know what is anonymous and what is not in Mozilla’s telemetry data collecting.

      1. John Fenderson said on January 16, 2018 at 8:08 pm
        Reply

        “I still don’t know what is anonymous and what is not in Mozilla’s telemetry data collecting.”

        In this day of Big Data, there’s no such thing as anonymous data collecting, really. The best you can hope for is that whoever is doing the collection will pinky-swear that they won’t deanonymize the data they’ve gathered.

      2. Anonymous said on January 18, 2018 at 6:01 pm
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        @John

        At least with Firefox, you can check in the source code what is sent and independently infer privacy level from that. Or you can disable the sending of anything.

      3. John Fenderson said on January 18, 2018 at 8:01 pm
        Reply

        @Anonymous

        Yes, this is true. I was commenting about the notion of “anonymous” data collection being a misnomer generally, not about Firefox in particular.

        It’s a good thing that FF allows you to disable data collection, but it’s a bad thing that it’s opt-out rather than opt-in. That decision makes me seriously wonder when the opt-out will no longer be possible in the standard release.

      4. Anonymous said on January 19, 2018 at 1:02 am
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        That decision makes me seriously wonder when the opt-out will no longer be possible in the standard release.</blockquote

        The large investment in the Tor uplift project blocks that route. Can't do both at the same time.

      5. John Fenderson said on January 19, 2018 at 6:25 pm
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        @Anonymous

        Perhaps. I’m not as certain about that as you are, though.

        Nonetheless, the decision to make telemetry opt-out rather than opt-in does cast a bit of a shadow over FF as far as trustworthiness goes.

      6. Anonymous said on January 18, 2018 at 5:59 pm
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        @Tom

        Everything is anonymous, but that doesn’t mean you want to send it. I don’t.

      7. Tom Hawack said on January 18, 2018 at 6:31 pm
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        You know, Anonymous (or rather you may not know) but I dislike certitudes and doubt invites a mind to consider things in a more complex and nuanced way than bad and good, which is demagogy.
        What I mean is that I can consider an anonymous telemetry if it is to report — anonymously; I repeat — data related to the software in the context of a user’s device, in order to improve the application: as such it doesn’t bother me. The problem is that I doubt of a company’s sincerity when it certifies that telemetry sens anonymous data. This is why I mentioned a “half-joke” to what John Fenderson made me understand that in his opinion my joke was worth being full.

        Because I don’t know what respects anonymity, because I don’t know if companies always lie or if they happen to say the truth, because evidence of companies lying as they breath does exist which means my precautions do not result from paranoia, I act consequently on the Web and with applications. The principle of precaution.

  3. Leo_sk said on January 16, 2018 at 6:55 pm
    Reply

    Why is the screenshot with opera? Where’s firefox?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2018 at 8:52 pm
      Reply

      Why not? The website in question does not require Firefox.

  4. Cigologic said on January 16, 2018 at 10:00 pm
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    Based on Firefox’s Hardware Report, my system’s low-average specs actually falls within the overwhelming majority amongst (official) Firefox users. In contrast, when reading Ghacks’ user comments, I have the impression that the majority (Firefox user or not) has a fantastic machine.

    Also saw something rather interesting at Steam’s Hardware Survey regarding Steam users’ OS language (Dec 2017):

    1) Simplified Chinese: 63.90 %
    2) English: 17.78 %
    3) Russian: 5.27 %
    4) Spanish: 2.20 %
    […]
    11) Traditional Chinese: 0.55 %

    I never realized that most Steam gamers are from mainland China (excluding Hong Kong & Taiwan, both of which use Traditional Chinese) — with English-OS users ranked at a very distant 2nd position !

    1. Paul's dad. said on January 17, 2018 at 1:12 pm
      Reply

      Well, not Steam itself. Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. That’s the reason for those 63.9%.

  5. AnorKnee Merce said on January 17, 2018 at 7:20 am
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    The Firefox Hardware Report is likely and mostly representative of computer dummies because most computer techies would have disabled FF’s Telemetry collection. Many computer techies use Linux and/or Win 7.
    … IOW, the report is dummily biased against Linux and Win 7.

    In 2015/2016, millions of Win 7/8.1 computer dummies were auto-upgraded to Win 10 by M$’s aggressive GWX KB3035583 campaign.

    1. Cigologic said on January 26, 2018 at 1:47 am
      Reply

      >> AnorKnee: “The Firefox Hardware Report is likely and mostly representative of computer dummies because most computer techies would have disabled FF’s Telemetry collection. Many computer techies use Linux and/or Win 7.”

      My machine’s specs is highly representative of the sample collated in Firefox’s Hardware Report. So based on your reasoning, I should be a typical dummy.

      Yet, I use Win 7 on a heavily-secured machine. And from Day 1, telemetry & all privacy-intrusive options are disabled, & security options hardened in Firefox & everywhere else. According to your line of reasoning, this makes me sound like a techie. ( I don’t claim to be one though …)

      Sometimes, we have to be careful about making simplistic deductions about the real world, which is much more complex than what one might think.

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