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Mozilla delivers first preview of Firefox 3.6. Tentatively sets release of minor upgrade for November

firefox Mozilla released Firefox 3.6 Alpha 1 on Friday, the first public preview of what the company says will be a minor browser upgrade currently slated to ship this November.

Codenamed "Namoroka" -- the name taken from a national park on the island of Madagascar -- Firefox 3.6 is set to wrap in the next few months as an interim step toward Firefox 3.7, a more substantial update tentatively scheduled for 2010.

As it regularly has in the past, Mozilla warned off most users from trying the alpha. "Please note that this release is intended for developers and testers only," Mozilla said in announcing 3.6's availability.

Firefox 3.6 is based on Gecko 1.9.2, the in-development upgrade to Mozilla's rendering engine.

According to Mozilla, Firefox 3.6 Alpha 1 includes speed improvements to the TraceMonkey JavaScript engine, startup speed tweaks and several under-the-hood changes.

In an interview last month, Mike Beltzner, the director of Firefox, said Mozilla's internal and volunteer developers were trying to decide whether the follow-on to Firefox 3.5 would be a smaller-sized release that would simply "make 3.5 better," or if it would become a more ambitious upgrade, similar to 3.5's improvements over 2008's Firefox 3.0.

"We're seeing a lot of the competition doing [the former]," Beltzner said, referring to rivals such as Google, which has been aggressively updating Chrome.

Some have criticized Mozilla for falling behind rivals like Chrome and Apple's Safari in speed tests, or playing catch-up to other competitors, such as Internet Explorer, in areas like private browsing, or to Chrome in its ability to "sandbox" each tab.
The debate between making Firefox 3.6 a major upgrade that would involve "wholesale technology change" and "take a fairly long time," said Beltzner, and a minor update that would involve fewer changes and result in a shorter development cycle ended with Mozilla going for the latter. "Namoroka is to be an incremental release, building upon the success of Firefox 3.5," Mozilla said in its Firefox 3.6 public roadmap, which was revised as recently as Saturday.

The schedule that Mozilla has laid out for Firefox 3.6 has the first beta shipping in early September and a second later that month, then a release candidate would available by mid-to-late October. "Aiming at final release for November 2009," Mozilla said in its roadmap.

Among the goals for the upgrade are major performance improvements to browser startup and several common tasks, such as opening new tabs and loading bookmarked pages. Mozilla also wants to customize browser behavior based on the user's past history, add the ability to search for an existing tab and enhance the browser's built-in download manager to support chores like deleting and moving downloaded files.

The Windows version of Firefox 3.6 will also support some Windows 7 features, including "Aero Peek," a new addition to the operating system that lets users look behind any open window to see the desktop.

Firefox 3.6 Alpha 1 can be downloaded for Windows, Mac and Linux from Mozilla's developer center.

Mozilla Developer Center

Firefox 3.6 Alpha 1 now available for download

The first developer milestone of the next release of Firefox – code named Namoroka Alpha 1 – is now available for download. Namoroka is built on pre-release version of the Gecko 1.9.2 platform, which forms the core of rich internet applications such as Firefox. Please note that this release is intended for developers and testers only.

This Alpha of Namoroka / Gecko 1.9.2 introduces several new features:

Anyone interested in Namoroka should read the article about Firefox 3.6 for developers on the Mozilla Developer Center. For a full list of changes, see this list (it’s big).






Please use the following links to download Namoroka:

We would appreciate hearing about any feedback you have, or any bugs you may find.

source: Computer World & Mozilla


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About Hugo Repetto

Ubuntu is a Linux distribution that offers an operating system predominantly focused on desktop computers but also provides support for servers. Based on Debian GNU / Linux, Ubuntu focuses on ease of use, freedom in usage restriction, regular releases (every 6 months) and ease of installation.
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