Mozilla Releases New Firefox 3.1 Update, Prepares for Third Beta


Mozilla has released what appears to be a complete or near-complete version of Firefox 3.1 beta 2, just one day after officially deciding to insert a third beta in the browser's development plan.

The build, branded as Firefox 3.1 beta 2 rather than as Mozilla Minefield, appeared in Mozilla's nightly builds directory early Wednesday morning, as first spotted by the folks at TG Daily. It has the much-touted TraceMonkey Javascript engine enabled, along with what TG Daily interprets as a "look and feel" that "appears to be final."

Mozilla had originally planned to have Firefox 3.1b2 locked down by early November with a release soon after, so this would fit within that same timetable. The preliminary plans, though, called for the full 3.1 release to follow by late 2008 or early 2009. Now, a third beta will be debuted in early January instead.

The extra beta will be used primarily for last-minute fixes and testing, particularly related to features added into beta 2. Those features include TraceMonkey as well as the private browsing mode and other improvements.

"The insertion of another beta also offers another public consultation point for web and add-on developers, allowing us to react to their feedback," lead developer Mike Beltzner explains. "With wide-reaching changes like those listed above, it was felt that this was prudent, especially if it could be done without major impact to schedule."

Beltzner says no changes affecting themes or add-on compatibility will be made in the third beta.