Mozilla Firms Up Plans for Firefox 4 Final Release

by Ostatic Staff - Jan. 25, 2011

Mozilla continues to ramp up development of its next big release of the Firefox browser: version 4. Many of us are now running the Beta 9 version, which is very stable but still going through some bug fixes. Mozilla has been actively seeking input on Beta 9 of Firefox 4, and has obviously gotten a mountain of feedback. Mozilla’s Christian Legnitto has put up a post confirming that a Beta 10 version and a Beta 11 version will arrive before the final release, which is due in February.

 According to Legnitto, Mozilla will release a Beta 10 version of Firefox 4 this week, and a Beta 11 release will follow next week. Legnitto writes:

"Code freeze for beta 10 and 11 will also be a bit different. Previous betas closed the tree to stabilize and reduce beta risk. At this point in development, every day counts--we cannot shut down mozilla-central over the weekend as we have done before. Instead we'll freeze what's in the tree and run with it, dealing with any beta issues on the relbranch. Instead of metering what goes in before a freeze we will be driving to get as many fixes as possible so they can get more beta coverage."

Firefox 4 will be one of the big browser releases of the year, and open source browsers are without a doubt driving innovation.  Firefox 4 upgrades the way bookmarks and browsing history are handled, offers much faster performance, and, in particular, boasts faster startup time. Google Chrome has been steadily booking the fastest startup benchmarks among all browsers, so Firefox does need to catch up there. Chrome has also largely leveled the playing field with extensions, too, as most popular extensions are available for it as well as Firefox. In all likelihood, competition between Firefox and Chrome this year will come down to exactly what users need.

Google has made clear that it is going to support non-prevalent video standards over the very prevalent H.264 standard. With competition between Google Chrome and Firefox running neck-and-neck, that decision could have a lot of play in how users decide between the next version of Firefox and Chrome. In any case, it looks clear at this point that the final version of Firefox 4 actually will arrive in February, and offer many conveniences. If you're following the beta releases, stay tuned for the updates over the next two weeks.