Open-source browser fans, and those who have grown distrustful enough of Internet Explorers security flaws to consider alternative browsers, will be looking forward to the first nonbeta release of the Mozilla Foundations Firefox. The standalone browser has been in development since 2002.
The Mozilla Foundation renamed its standalone browser, formerly Mozilla Firebird, to Firefox with its 0.8 release earlier this year.
"Our target for our 1.0 release is a best of breed browser product on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X, and before we can make that claim, a number of things need to be done," Goodger said. 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 addressed the concerns in the forum, writing, "Again, no software release is ever flawless. We need to draw a line in the sand, otherwise well never ship, which means well 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 have greatly increased interest in Firefox. "As a result of the IE security scares, [there have been] 722,000 downloads of 0.9.1 in one week from Mozilla servers."
Marius Kirschner, president of the small ISP Agora Online, based in New York and New Jersey, is one of those 722,000. "I tried Foxfire last week. I have to say Im impressed," Kirschner said. "The pages load faster, Im in love with the tabbed browsing, it has a built-in pop-up stopper and a host of other well-thought-out features. Its been five days now, and I dont intend to switch back."
But as others have observed, Kirschner said hes 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, Ill keep Firefox as my primary browser."