The latest release candidate for the new Mozilla Firefox Web browser should be posted for free download early this week, as the project's developers finish last-minute code checks and tie up loose ends.
For the Mozilla Foundation and the Firefox community, the posting of Release Candidate 3 (RC3) will be a huge milestone, because it will represent the final code for the long-awaited Firefox 2.0 browser.
"If there are no showstoppers, RC3 will be it" and will become the final version of the Firefox 2.0 release, said Mike Schroepfer, vice president of engineering for the open-source Mozilla Foundation.
The first release candidate for Firefox 2.0 was available Sept. 26, while the second was released Oct. 6 as developers sought additional input and bug reports from users.
And even as Firefox 2.0 approaches its debut, work is already under way on the next full version of Firefox 3.0.
To help create Firefox 3.0, the development team assembled a Firefox Feature Brainstorming Web page on the Firefox community wiki last week, where developers and beta users can add comments about features they would like to see in upcoming versions of the browser. Similar wiki pages were available to users who wanted to give input about features in Firefox 2.0, but the latest brainstorming wiki page will help formalize new-feature requests for all future versions of the browser.
"Anybody who has a good idea and wants to participate" can enter their comments on the wiki page, Schroepfer said. "We're just looking for as wide a range of feedback as people want to give. We've generally tried to solicit ideas in the past. It's part of how we work in general."
As the release of Firefox 2.0 approaches, the release date for the next version, Firefox 3.0, is undetermined.
"It's pretty far on the horizon at this point," Schroepfer said of Firefox 3.0. "I'd be thinking [about a release] late next year."