Firefox 3.0 beta 2 due by year's end

Mozilla sets tentative release for Dec. 21; some bugs get pass to beta 3

Mozilla Corp. announced that developers have handed off the second beta of Firefox 3.0 to internal testing and that it will ship the next preview of the open-source browser before the end of the year.

The tentative release date for Beta 2 has been set for Dec. 21, said Mike Beltzner, Mozilla's interface designer, in a posting to a company blog yesterday. "If all goes well during the testing, Firefox 3 Beta 2 will be released on [Dec. 21] in the early afternoon, Pacific Standard Time. You can track our progress on the Firefox 3 Beta 2 Release Checklist," Beltzner said.

Mozilla dropped Beta 1 on users Nov. 20. A day later, Mike Schroepfer, the company's vice president of engineering, said the goal was to get another beta out the door before 2007 ended.

On Friday, Mozilla will hold one of its all-comers test days, where it asks for volunteers to run the beta through a series of stress tests.

Some bugs present in Beta 1, however, have not been fixed in the newest preview, according to messages on the mozilla.dev.planning forum. Last Friday, after the final five bugs that had held up Beta 2's progress were addressed, Schroepfer gave the green light, even though others proposed holding the code until three more problems were fixed.

"Nope, sucks if it is back, but I wouldn't block on it," Schroepfer said, referring to a bug that prevents users from submitting Firefox crash reports from a Windows Vista PC. None of the three bugs had been marked as fixed by Tuesday in Bugzilla, Mozilla's bug tracking database and management tool, but at least two other patches squeezed in under the deadline.

Mozilla will also take steps similar to ones put in place last month to prevent its servers from being overwhelmed as a result of bloggers or reporters linking to its "nightly builds" -- the code that's updated daily and used primarily by developers and testers. A posting to Digg.com before Beta 1 was ready led to a deluge of traffic, prompting Mozilla to redirect users to an explanatory page to keep the nightly server online.

"In order to limit distribution of this not-yet-tested release, anyone who [has] linked to the release candidate download directory will be redirected to this announcement," Beltzner said in his Monday post. "While we appreciate the attention and devotion of our users, we ask them to wait until we have completed testing."

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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