The Mozilla Web browser suite branched out to Version 1.7 on Thursday with improvements to its pop-up blocking, new e-mail features and greater authentication support for enterprises.
Mozilla 1.7 is considered a "stable branch," or a significant yearly release aimed at those deploying the suite widely within an organization and that includes more noticeable performance enhancements, said Chris Hofmann, director of engineering for the Mozilla Foundation.
It is expected to serve as the technical underpinnings for other browsers and applications, he said. Already, America Online Inc. officials have said that a summer update to the Netscape Navigator browser will be based on Mozilla 1.7. Mozilla also is included in a range of Linux distributions.
Mozilla 1.7 provides blocking of more types of annoying pop-up windows, said Mozilla release manager Asa Dotzler. Pop-up blocking is one of the major differences between Mozilla and Microsoft Corp.s market-dominant Internet Explorer browser, which does not stop pop-up windows. Microsoft plans to add pop-up blocking with its update to Windows XP due for release later this year.
"Were keeping up with the changing Web," Dotzler said. "Web sites are always coming up with novel ways to do pop-ups, so we always are adjusting what we consider to be requested and or not requested pop-ups."
Performance upgrades to Mozillas Gecko rendering engine also were a main focus in the new release. Mozilla 1.7 is about 10 percent faster than the last update, Mozilla 1.6. But users still on the last stable branch, Mozilla 1.4, will notice the biggest improvement, Dotzler said.
The Mountain View, Calif., foundation already has incorporated Mozilla 1.7 code into its latest stand-alone Web browser and e-mail client—Firefox 0.9 and Thunderbird 0.7—both of which were released earlier this week, Dotzler said. An update to Camino, Mozillas Mac-only browser, is due next week.
The updated application suites Mozilla Mail includes support for multiple identities, allowing users with more than one e-mail address to specify the reply address in outgoing mail as well as to customize such functions as signatures for each identity.
"This is one of the biggest leaps weve made in Mail to satisfy a vocal group of users that really wanted it," Hofmann said.
For enterprise users, Mozilla 1.7 expands support for more authentication mechanisms common in Microsoft shops, Hofmann said. It supports Kerberos HTTP authentication in the browser and the POP 3 Secure Password authentication method, or MSN authentication, for accessing e-mail.
Mozilla 1.7 is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux from the Mozilla Web site.