Mountain View (CA) - Mozilla announced on Saturday that it has put the finishing touches on the Release Candidate 1 code of Firefox 3. The developers are optimistic that RC1 is pretty much the final code of the new browser: If there are no unexpected bugs, RC1 will turn into Firefox 3.
At this time, Firefox 3 RC1 has been released into a closed beta testing phase to a group of about 1.2 million users. There is no information when RC1 will be made available to the general public, but we would expect the software to its download servers.
According to a post on the developer blog, Mozilla expects RC1 to become Firefox 3 final "if no new showstoppers are found". In case new bugs are surfacing, Mozilla intends to release further release candidates "until [Firefox 3] is ready to ship".
There is no information on the possible availability of Firefox 3, but given the optimism of the developer team, we believe that June is a realistic timeframe for the launch and boost of Firefox downloads - which stand at about 549.7 million as of this morning.
The release of Firefox 3 rings in another round in the browser battle between Mozilla and Microsoft. At least from today’s view, Mozilla seems to have a huge time advantage over Microsoft, whose IE8 is still in an early beta phase. You can read learn more about the differences between the two new browsers in our previously published story Firefox 3 Beta 4 reveals difference in design philosophy to IE8.