Ahead of a planned full launch for the Firefox 3 Web browser in June, the Release Candidate 1 has now been made available for download. Still intended purely for developers and testers, it should be the last test we see before the full version is made available for the general population.
I’m a big fan of the Firefox browser, and have been using Firefox 2.0 for a couple of years of problem free Web browsing now. So I’m excited about the prospect of the third incarnation of the browser being released next month. Until then, the testing continues to try and iron out all of the issues and foibles associated with any new release.
Release Candidate 1 has now been released by Mozilla, the company behind the open source browser. RC1 has appeared sooner than expected, with Mozilla’s chief engineer warning just last week that it wouldn’t see the light of day before late May. Hopefully, this could lead to the launch of Firefox 3 also being brought forward.
The new browser is based on Gecko 1.9, which has been under development for 33 months. Release Candidate 1 is now available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux and with support for 45 languages.
Mike Beltzner, Mozilla’s interface designer tried to put off casual users from downloading the release candidate by stating on Mozilla’s blog:
“The Firefox 3 Release Candidate is a public preview release intended for developer testing and community feedback,”
Testing of the new version has been happening for months now, and even as far back as March the beta version was considered stable enough for more than just developers and testers to download.
So what improvements should we expect when Firefox 3 finally gets released in a month’s time? For starters, it’s thought that the browser will now be the fastest available, with tests of the beta version back in March showing it beat competitors such as Safari, Opera and Internet Explorer in speed tests.
Other improvements are said to include a new look and feel more in keeping with Web 2.0. New features including auto-complete tools and bookmark backups. There will also be increased security and stability as well as improved performance. For a full list of the improvements, visit the Mozilla release notes.
The Firefox browser continues in march upwards in popularity, passing 500 million downloads in February of this year. Firefox 3, once it arrives next month should help that march continue, and even speed up.