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02 March 2009, 09:40

Firefox 3.1 delayed, 3.0.7 beta released

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Mozilla will be adding an additional beta to the release schedule for Firefox 3.1. The free open source browser is being delayed, due to a particularly troublesome bug in the new JavaScript engine, TraceMonkey. Firefox 3.1 was originally intended to be an incremental update to the Firefox browser, however, many additional features have been added to the release, including the new JavaScript engine.

According to Mike Shaver, Mozilla's vice president of engineering, "A fourth beta will follow approximately six weeks after, as a vehicle for more testing of TraceMonkey, video, Places and other eagerly-awaited improvements, as well as feedback from Beta 3." The final release will now be delayed until at least the 2nd quarter of this year, possibly resulting in the renaming of the release from 3.1 to 3.5.

A beta for Firefox 3.0.7 has also been released that includes a number of bug, security and stability fixes. Bug fixes in the new beta include an issue where the cookies would go "missing" after a few days for some users and a Mac only problem where users of the Flashblock add-on would hear sound from a flash plug-in for a short time after the tab or window was closed. The stable version of Firefox 3.0.7 is scheduled to be released on the 4th of March. Following the 3.0.7 release, version 3.0.8 is expected to be released on the 14th of April.

Competition in the browser market is steadily increasing with a possible release of Internet Explorer 8 from Microsoft coming as early as next month and the recent release of Apple's Safari 4 beta which is nearly 40 per cent faster than the newest Firefox 3.1 build at rendering JavaScript. According to Shaver, "This is much more about having the product done right than getting it out fast."

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