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Firefox 1.0 is almost here

The final version of Mozilla’s Firefox will be arriving on September 14th accoding to lead engineer, Ben Goodger.

Open source browser fans, and those who have grown distrustful enough of Internet Explorer’s security flaws to consider alternative browsers, will be looking forward to the first non-beta release of the Mozilla Foundation’s Firefox. This standalone browser has been in development since 2002.

The Mozilla Foundation renamed its standalone browser, formerly known as Mozilla Firebird, to Firefox with its 0.8 release earlier this year.

Goodger’s says, ” Our target for our 1.0 release is ‘best of breed’ browser product on Windows, Linux, and MacOS X and before we can make that claim, a number of things need to be done.” These include squashing “high complexity/risk and localization impact” bugs.

To make the ambitious release date, some features, such as the Font Options UI (user interface) and the Bookmarks Manager UI have been frozen.

Still, as a quick look at the Firefox 1.0 Release Forum will show, users are concerned that the developers are pushing too hard to release the program on time without fixing minor bugs, such as memory leaks, which others regard as “showstoppers.”

Goodger addresses these concerns in the forum writing, “Again, no software release is ever flawless. We need to draw a line in the sand otherwise we’ll never ship, which means we’ll never be able to begin the more aggressive feature goals we have for the post 1.0 period.”

Goodger is also well aware that recent Internet Explorer security problems has greatly increased interest in Firefox, ” as a result of the IE security scares, (there has been) 722,000 downloads of 0.9.1 in one week from Mozilla servers.”

Marius Kirschner, president of the small NY/NJ ISP, Agora Online, is one of those 722-thousand, “I tried FoxFire last week. I have to say I’m impressed. The pages load faster, I’m in love with the tabbed browsing, it has a build-in popup stopper and a host of other well thought out features. It’s been now 5 days and I don’t intent to switch back.”

That said, as others have observed, Kirschner has found some trouble with IE-specific sites. “The bad news is that at least one of my admin sites was written for IE and if I want to access that site I need to use IE. However, unless I run into some major problems I’ll keep FoxFire as my primary browser.”

So it is that between IE security concerns and Firefox’s increased functionality, it appears that there will already be a large user community awaiting Firefox’s final release this fall.

A version of this story first appeared in eWEEK.

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