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Latest version of Mozilla's popular open-source browser won't launch until January, at the earliest
The release date for Mozilla Firefox 4, the upcoming version of Mozilla’s open source Web browser, has been pushed back from November 2010 to early 2011, according to product manager Mike Beltzner.
Firefox 4, which first launched in beta in early July of this year, will still be released in beta milestones through the end of December. Because Beltzner doesn’t mention the beta releases continuing later than December, our best bet for Firefox 4 launch is sometime in January.
“As those who have been tracking our nightly builds know, great things are happening with Firefox 4,” began Beltzner optimistically, in a group post. “Completing this work is taking longer than initial estimates indicated as we track down regressions and sources of instability. As part of our commitment to beta users, we will not ship software before it is ready.”
In its ongoing struggle against the swelling tide of quality Web browsers, especially Google Chrome, Mozilla is focusing on repairing two major Firefox weaknesses: speed and appearance. As far as performance is concerned, no one can really argue that Firefox is one of the slowest. And speed is exactly where Chrome excels. Firefox 4 will try to keep pace with its Google counterpart, while also increasing stability and preventing crashes all too often associated with add-ons.
The most obvious change in Firefox 4 to veteran Mozilla users will be the user interface. Taking another page out of the book of Chrome, Firefox 4 reconfigures the browser head completely, placing tabs atop the window with all other menu bars located beneath them. The transformation is desirable both for efficiency (the tab has become the central focus of the browser experience) and for aesthetic reasons (the development team “thinks its prettier looking”).
Of course, Firefox has always been about customizability and Mozilla says the user will remain in control with version 4.
Here’s to a new year of an even more ferocious browser war and increased innovation. We, the users, are still winning.
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