Mozilla 1.6 Released, Roadmap Readied

The open-source group finished work on its updated Web-browser suite and made it available late on Thursday. Coordinator Dotzler offered glimpse of followup version.

The Mozilla Foundation late on Thursday released the next version of its open-source Web-browser suite.

The Mozilla 1.6 release, out in a beta version since December, includes expanded authentication support that is particularly useful for enterprises as well as greater integration with the GNOME desktop that is popular among Linux users.

Mozilla 1.6 is available for download through the Mountain View, Calif.-based foundations Web site and runs on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. Since the beta release, which included the most significant new features, developers have focused on code clean up and testing, said Mozilla release coordinator Asa Dotzler.

The software is the foundations namesake suite that includes applications for Web browsing, e-mail, Web design and chat. But the foundation also develops a standalone Web browser, named Firebird, and an e-mail client, named Thunderbird. Both of those applications will be updated in the next few weeks, Dotzler said.

With Version 1.6, Mozilla adds support for a Microsoft-specific NTLM (NT LAN Manager) authentication mechanism into its Linux and Mac OS X versions in addition to the Windows version. Another new capability is support for GNOME MIME-type associations, allowing Mozilla to adopt the same associations as the GNOME desktop for determining which application to launch for particular file types.

/zimages/5/28571.gifeWEEK Labs took a look at the beta version of the GNOME 2.4 desktop environment. Click here to read the review.

Mozilla has pushed much of its development effort toward the standalone applications to get them to full releases. Firebird is in a Version 0.7 release, while Thunderbird is in a Version 0.4 release.

Some in the open-source community thought Mozilla would abandon the full suite, but foundation spokesman Bart Decrem said Mozilla remains committed to it. Mozilla is expected to publish this week an updated development roadmap that confirms plans for future development of the suite, he said.

"Were moving forward and shifting our development attention to Firebird and Thunderbird, (but) were not going to abandon the suite," Decrem said.

In fact, Mozilla has found that many enterprises and larger organizations considering Mozilla want a full application suite, Decrem said. The foundation, which broke away last year from AOL Inc.s Netscape subsidiary, has vowed to focus on end users and the enterprise.vowed to focus on end users and the enterprises.

/zimages/5/28571.gifOracle on Thursday said it will let Mozilla for Linux run Oracle applications. Read more here about the support.

Work already has begun on the follow-up release of the application suite, Version 1.7. The alpha development cycle, which began in mid-December, is winding down, and a beta should follow in the next month or so, Dotzler said.