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28 February 2011, 09:46

Mozilla releases Firefox 4 Beta 12 for testing

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Firefox Logo Following a number of delays, the Mozilla Project has announced the release of a 12th beta for version 4.0 of its open source Firefox web browser – despite earlier suggestions that there would be a 13th beta, Firefox 4 Beta 12 is now expected to be the final one. Firefox 4 is the non-profit organisation's next-generation web browser based on version 2.0 of the Gecko rendering platform (the Firefox 3.6 branch uses Gecko 1.9.2) and features a new Add-ons Manager and extension management API, as well as a new 'tabs on top' layout.

Zoom Firefox 4 Beta 12 on Mac OS X.
According to the developers, Firefox 4 Beta 12 "delivers improved performance and responsiveness when watching videos on your favorite video websites", through updates for viewing Flash content and improved plugin compatibility with hardware acceleration enabled. From Beta 12, when users hover over links, the URL is displayed at the bottom of the window rather than in the location bar. Other changes include general stability and compatibility improvements, as well as a number of bug fixes – to date, more than 7,000 bugs have been fixed since the first beta version from July of 2010.

As with all development releases, use in production environments and on mission critical systems is not advised. Users testing the release are encouraged to provide feedback and report any bugs that they encounter. Originally expected to arrive "before the end of February", and following various delays, a final release date for Firefox 4 has yet to be announced.

More details about the twelfth beta can be found in the release notes – a list of known issues is also provided. Firefox 4 Beta 12 is available to download for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Alternatively, existing Firefox 4.0 Beta users can upgrade to the new version, either by waiting for the automated update notification or by manually via the built-in "Check for updates" function.

Firefox binaries are released under the Mozilla Firefox End-User Software License Agreement and the source code is released under disjunctive tri-licensing that includes the Mozilla Public Licence, GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1. The latest stable release is version 3.6.13, a security update that addressed a critical vulnerability, from early December.

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