File Under: Browsers

Firefox 3.6 Enters the Home Stretch, Release Candidate Arrives

Mozilla has announced the first release candidate of the next Firefox web browser.

This latest pre-release build of Firefox 3.6 has seen numerous bug fixes since beta 5, including the usual improvements in browser performance and stability. Existing beta users should have received Firefox 3.6rc1 over the weekend. If not, head to the Help menu and choose “Check for Updates.” If you’re not involved in the beta testing yet, you can download Firefox 3.6rc1 from Mozilla’s website.

Mike Beltzner, who heads Firefox development at Mozilla, tells Webmonkey that the final version of the browser should be released, “in the next couple of weeks.”

So, this will likely be the final pre-release version of Firefox 3.6. Beltzner remains optimistic that there will be no more changes, but a second release candidate isn’t out of the question.

The RC stage is when the code is fully complete, and it’s usually the point where web designers and add-on developers can confidently begin testing their creations to make sure they’ll work as intended once the final release arrives. Most start their testing early, however — Mozilla reports that over 75 percent of Firefox Add-ons have now been upgraded to be compatible with Firefox 3.6 betas, including the ever-popular Greasemonkey.

Sadly, two of our favorite web development add-ons, Yahoo’s YSlow and Google’s recently released Page Speed tool have yet to update for Firefox 3.6. If you’d like to help out the developers of your favorite add-on, grab the Add-on Compatibility Reporter, which, among other things, allows you to run add-ons that haven’t yet been updated.

Given that this is a release candidate, there are no flashy new features to speak of. But there have been some final bug fixes added since the fifth beta was released in December 2009.

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