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'Bug-free' Firefox 3.0 RC2 now available

Mozilla fixes 40 flaws, prepares for final release


Mozilla has released Firefox 3.0 Release Candidate 2 (RC2), fixing about 40 bugs that were identified after Mozilla issued the first release candidate three weeks ago. Among the higher-profile patches added to RC2 was one that addressed a performance problem in Firefox for Linux.

Mozilla made the decision to go with another release candidate last week - rejecting the option of shipping Firefox 3.0 as is, then following up with a bug-fix update later. Mozilla executives assured users that the additional RC would not delay the expected launch date, which has been set for mid-month.

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Previously, Mozilla has said it needs at least a week between issuing a release candidate and - assuming no major problems crop up - calling that build final and starting to ship Firefox 3.0.

Although all the bugs uncovered during RC1 testing have been fixed, several outstanding issues remain, according to Bugzilla, Mozilla's bug-tracking database and management system.

But none are in the browser itself, confirmed Mike Beltzner, Mozilla's lead developer. "[They're] all server-side and website-related," said Beltzner. "And I should note that 'bug' in our parlance really means 'to-do.' It's our way of tracking issues." The remaining bugs will be handled before the browser ships, he promised.

One of Mozilla's to-dos concerns Firefox's online help and support, which for Firefox 3.0 will be handled by the company's support.mozilla.com domain. "That's awaiting resolution as our IT and WebDev teams work out the best way to handle the traffic," said Beltzner in reply to questions about the bug.

Some developers had expressed concern last month that the online help pages took too long to render. Beltzner, in fact, said last week on Bugzilla that, "Well, we damned sure can't ship with what we have right now. Hit F1 and tell me if you think that's good enough."

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Yesterday, Beltzner was confident the problem would be solved. "[The bug] isn't fixed yet, but will be soon," he said. "The solution is all server side (the URL we load in the product is the right one) so we can make the required changes without issuing a new build of Firefox."

Firefox accounts for 18.4 percent of the browser market, according to the most recent data from Net Applications. Microsoft's Internet Explorer remains the most widely used browser, with a 73.8 percent share, while Apple's Safari comes in third with 6.3 percent. On Monday, Net Applications predicted that if Firefox keeps on its current pace, it should jump the 20 percent bar next month.

Firefox 3 RC2 can be downloaded for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux in 43 languages from Mozilla's site.

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