The browser wars are heating up, as the first beta of Firefox 2.0 is due on Tuesday July 11th, and Internet Explorer version 7.0 is now on its third beta release.
Firefox fans, and browser junkies have an opportunity to get a jump on Tuesdays beta, as a public “release candidate” has been posted on the Mozilla FTP site. This nightly build is finally feature complete, although its still not completely ready for mass consumption.
Reports from early testers compliment two of the significant new features: an integrated spell checker, and an anti-phishing tool. The spell-checker promises to make blog and forum postings more lucid. The phishing filter (an integrated component of IE 7.0 as well) works with locally stored lists of bad sites, along with Googles site listing, and possibly others down the road.
The rest of the interface stays mostly the same, unlike the more radical changes in IE 7.0. Firefox 2.0 does include a horizontal scrolling capability for tabs, and an ability to close a tab directly from within the tab itself. The Options dialog has been reworked to include a horizontal, tabbed based interface, and numerous changes have been made under the hood.
This new version of Firefox also offers relief for early adopters of intel-based macintosh hardware. One tester on Digg was overjoyed, saying “Oh thank you lord, Firefox finally work correctly on my Mac Mini!”