First alpha release of Firefox 2.0 is imminent

Release of the first alpha version of the Firefox 2 browser is imminent, its developers say.

Developers at the Mozilla Foundation are readying the first alpha version of the Firefox 2 open-source browser, and could release it as early as Tuesday. The release includes a new "Places" feature intended to make it easier to find and return to recently visited Web pages.

The development team decided to freeze the code for what will become Firefox 2.0a1 as of last Thursday, with a view to releasing the code this Friday, according to the minutes of a Firefox 2 status meeting held March 14 at the foundation's headquarters. However, another notice posted to the Web page of the Mozilla Developer Center advised that the Thursday code freeze could lead to a release as early as Tuesday.

The foundation's "tinderbox" server, which automatically recompiles and packages the latest Firefox code as it is updated, listed a package labelled firefox-2.0a1 as available for download last week, prompting some Mozilla watchers to claim the alpha version had already been released.

However, that file is for internal use, and Mozilla engineers will officially release the software when they have finished testing it, according to Tristan Nitot, president of Mozilla Europe.

If testing goes well then the software will be released, but if it uncovers major problems, they will be fixed and the testing process will begin again, he said.

"You can never be sure of the [release] date. It might be tonight, it might be Friday," he said.

Unlike beta versions of software, which are usually feature-complete but may contain bugs, the first alpha release of Firefox 2 will lack many of the new features planned for the final version.

One of the hallmarks of Firefox is "tabbed browsing", allowing users to flip between views of different Web pages they have opened by clicking on "tabs" like those found in a card index. Firefox developers plan to add an "undo close tab" feature to help users return to a page for which they have accidentally closed the tab, but this feature has now been pushed back to the second alpha release, due next quarter, according to the minutes of the status meeting.

An on-the-fly spelling checker for text typed into Web forms was also pushed back to the alpha 2 release because of difficulties integrating the code into the foundation's e-mail client, Thunderbird.

Features included in the alpha 1 release include the Places dialog, which makes it easier to find and return to previously visited pages based on their content rather than their address, and a system for remotely disabling third-party extensions to the browser. These extensions can be installed by users to add functionality or change the behavior of the browser, but may cause it to crash or pose a security risk. Firefox 2 will consult a list of extensions on a central server and refuse to load those that the Mozilla developers consider unsafe.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?