Mozilla sets Firefox 3.0 ship date

Look for a final release on June 17, says open-source developer

Mozilla Wednesday set next Tuesday, June 17, as the release date for Firefox 3.0, the first major upgrade of the open-source browser in nearly 20 months.

"We're proud to announce that we're ready," said Mike Beltzner, Mozilla's product lead. "It is our expectation to ship Firefox 3 this upcoming Tuesday, June 17," he said in a short message posted to the company's developer center Wednesday.

Previously, Mozilla had only said it was shooting for mid-June as a ship date for the browser.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mozilla rolled out a third release candidate after discovering that a bug in a recent Mac OS X update from Apple caused machines with Firefox to stall or crash at startup or shutdown.

Mozilla came up with a workaround that sidestepped the flawed component in Apple's operating system, and added the change to Release Candidate 3 (RC3). Only the Mac version of Firefox was changed; the Windows and Linux versions were not affected by the bug.

The workaround was kept as minimally intrusive as possible in order to push Firefox 3.0 towards a final, said Beltzner in an e-mail late yesterday. "We included the smallest, most minimal change that could fix the issue for our users," he said. "Aside from this issue, the feedback on RC2 has been exceedingly positive, and we wanted to minimize any changes as that would require us to do a full reset on the collection of feedback and our QA testing."

Apple has been notified of the bug in Mac OS X 10.5.3, an update it released two weeks ago. "The issue is being tracked in Apple's bug database, and if we're told that they've resolved it, we'll investigate removing our mitigation," said Beltzner when asked whether the workaround would need to be removed when, or if, Apple fixed the flaw.

Firefox 3.0 RC3 can be downloaded for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux in 43 languages from Mozilla's site. Unless last-minute problems pop up that require another release candidate, Mozilla will rename RC3 as final and re-issue it Tuesday through its Web site and via Firefox's own update mechanism.

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Gregg Keizer

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