The Mozilla Foundation has released version 1.0 of its Firefox browser, an open-source product that has generated lofty expectations that it will offer real competition to Microsoft's ubiquitous Internet Explorer.

A preview release of the Firefox browser available since last month has been downloaded over eight million times, the Mozilla Foundation says in a press release this week.

Firefox 1.0 is available in 12 languages for Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS X and Linux. The product is available as a free download or in CD format with a user's manual for $14.95 (£8).

The result of an open-source project, Firefox became a reality "thanks to the tireless efforts of hundreds of community volunteers and developers around the world," the Mozilla Foundation says.

Firefox 1.0 features an integrated pop-up ad blocker, and safeguards against online scams such as phishing and spoofing by displaying secure sites' identities, the Mozilla Foundation says.

The product also attempts to improve the browsing experience by consolidating multiple web pages into a single Window and organising them with tabs, a feature the Mozilla Foundation calls "tabbed browsing”.

For those concerned about a bumpy migration to Firefox from other browsers, the Mozilla Foundation says the product can import bookmarks, passwords and cookies.

The Mozilla Foundation, based in Mountain View, California, is a nonprofit organisation founded in July 2003 to support the Mozilla open-source software project, launched by Netscape Communications in 1998.