Mozilla open-source Web browser nears milestone release

It's been more than four years since Web browser vendor Netscape Communications released its source code in early 1998 and created the Mozilla.org open-source community to work on the development of future browsers.

Now, The Mozilla Organization open-source project is putting the final touches on the first release candidate of its long-awaited Version 1.0 of the Mozilla Web browser. In a posting on Mozilla.org's Web site earlier this week, the group said it's "very close to the finish line for 1.0. ... We look forward to celebrating Mozilla 1.0 shortly!"

The release candidate of Version 1, which isn't yet finalized, will soon be available for download to allow wider testing and feedback before a final Version 1 release or a second release candidate is ready, according to the group.

Mitchell Baker, a spokeswoman for Mozilla.org, said no date has yet been set for a final release.

Just last month, Dulles, Va.-based America Online Inc. said it was testing several open-source software products to run various parts of its Internet service, a move that could presage a shift from Microsoft Corp.'s Web-browsing software. The company, a subsidiary of New York-based AOL Time Warner Inc., began testing software to run the Web browser bundled with its AOL Internet service software.

The test version of the AOL software is powered by what is known as the Gecko rendering engine, which is the technology responsible for allowing Web pages to be displayed in a browser. Gecko powers the latest versions of the Netscape browser and is at the core of Mozilla.

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