Firefox 3.0 is so close, we can taste it

Browse IT Blogwatch: in which the second release candidate of Firefox 3.0 is out. Not to mention that movie about those four New York women ... with green faces...

Gregg Keizer reports:

Mozilla Corp. late yesterday unveiled the second release candidate of Firefox 3.0 and said all of the issues that remain are on the server or site side, not in the application itself. Firefox 3.0 Release Candidate 2 (RC2) fixed about 40 bugs identified after Mozilla issued the first release candidate three weeks ago. Among the higher-profile patches added to RC2 was one that addressed a performance problem in Firefox for Linux. Mozilla made the decision to go with another release candidate last week -- rejecting the option of shipping Firefox 3.0 as is, then following up with a bug-fix update later. Mozilla executives assured users that the additional RC would not delay the expected launch date, which has been set for mid-mont. more

Walt Mossberg adds:

In some tech-industry circles, Firefox already is preferred over Microsoft’s (MSFT) Internet Explorer and Apple’s (AAPL) Safari, but it still isn’t used by most people, and Mozilla is hoping to broaden its appeal ... My verdict is that Firefox 3.0 is the best Web browser out there right now, and that it tops the current versions of both IE and Safari in features, speed and security. It is easy to install and easy to use, even for a mainstream, non-technical user ... Firefox 3.0 rules on both Windows and Mac. I couldn’t find any significant downsides to Firefox 3.0. Every page I tried rendered properly and rapidly on both platforms ... [it] regained the speed crown. It beat IE 7 handily on my test Windows computers and edged Safari slightly on my test Macs. more

Mozilla's Mike Beltzner links it up:

The second Firefox 3 Release Candidate is now available for download. Ongoing planning for Firefox 3 can be followed at the Firefox 3 Planning Center, as well as in and on in #granparadiso. You can find out more about the new Features of Firefox 3 in the “What’s New” section of the release notes. Testers can download the second Firefox 3 Release Candidate builds for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux in over 45 different languages. Developers should also read the Firefox 3 for Developers article on the Mozilla Developer Center. more

Andy Merrett counts the ways:

There's a mountain of improvements in Firefox 3 compared to Firefox 2, many relating to the important issues of security, reliability, and performance ... there's malware protection, a web forgery protection page, checks for add-ons and plugins, protection against cross-site attacks, and the ability to see information about a particular web site simply by clicking on its icon in the location bar. Firefox's JavaScript engine has been speeded up, and memory leaks (the curse of many a Firefox user) are supposed to be tightened up. Additionally, user data (such as bookmarks, cookies, and preferences) are stored in a more secure database format so that, even if the browser crashes (ha ha) they'll be protected. Added to these, a whole host of features have been added which are supposed to make FF3 easier to use, including better password management, simplified add-on installation, full page zooming, tab scrolling, and better integration with Windows and Mac OS X operating systems. more

Kevin C. Tofel runs with it:

Although one could argue for or against another personal favorite, I'm inclined to agree with [Walt]. Sites render accurate and quickly, bookmarking is easier and the browser seems more intuitive to use in general thanks to a smart bookmark feature for most visited sites and such ... My general impression is that Firefox uses much less memory in general, even over a long day with multiple tabs open. I live in the browser for ten or more hours a day and I have yet to close and reopen Firefox 3 just to reclaim memory. more

Here's the aptly-named Scott M. Fulton, III:

But this does not mean FF3 doesn't produce a big memory footprint. Granted, I'm the heaviest Web browser user there could ever possibly be, but on an average day, my active FF3 pre-release consumes up to 400 Mb of memory in my 2 Gb production system. However, apparently due to FF3's improved memory allocation, that footprint is stable. I can overload FF3 with pages with active scripts and even running videos, while noticing far less of a performance hit on other running applications than with FF2. A few years ago, my friend and colleague Angela Gunn wrote for her USA Today blog (the evidence of which has apparently been wiped clean from the face of the planet) that Firefox 2 was the "worst upgrade ever." To paraphrase Pres. Johnson, if you lose Angela Gunn, you've lost the everyday American user. But in the same way that Windows 98 SE was easily the greatest Windows 95 upgrade ever produced, there's a very genuine possibility now that Firefox 3 will be the best Firefox 2 upgrade in human history. more

Brad Linder clarifies:

Yes, we know that there was a file labeled Firefox 3 RC2 available on the Mozilla FTP server for the last few days, and we thank everyone who sent us links letting us know. But until Mozilla updates the links on the download page, it's not official. Mozilla may want to do some last minute testing or tweaking. Or they might just want to make sure the servers are ready to handle a ton of traffic. more

And finally...

Buffer overflow:

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 21 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email:

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