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Mozilla Gears Up for v1.3 Final

Open-source project Mozilla began final preparations this week for the next phase of its multi-platform Web browser - version 1.3.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based consortium said more than a dozen improvements have been made to the native look and feel in both the browser interface and the browser content area. The group Thursday established a separate branch for v1.3and place it under tight control for Mozilla 1.3final.

"It will remain open for only driver-approved check-ins until we release 1.3final," according to the group's Web site.

The reason for the unusually tighter control is that the open-source group wants to avoid another 1.2.1-style situation. Only two days after the final version of Mozilla 1.2 was released, more bugs than any previous version were uncovered. Lizard wranglers at Mozilla put the brakes on the FTP downloads and issued the patches.

This time around, QA contributors are being asked to keep testing the branch right up until release. The ideal release for 1.3 was scheduled for late last month, but so far the final version has not been made widely available. The group is already working on the alpha-version of Mozilla 1.4.

"Each milestone ends with a release to gather automatic crash reports ("talkback"). We believe that this feedback must be gathered and acted upon at least every five or six weeks, based on our several years' experience. We hope that alpha and beta milestones need no more than a few days' tree closure to prepare for release," the group said.

The group also updated its Macintosh-compatible Web browser named Camino (formerly Chimera) for download. Along with the new name, version 0.7 of Camino has a new history sidebar, a new download manager and a new text encoding menu.

Other advancements include setting the default resolution to 96dpi, to better match other Mac browsers; picking up changes made to the system proxy settings (e.g. when you change Locations in the Network System Preferences) without having to be restarted; and the addition of a "Send Link" command to the File menu (with an optional toolbar button), which opens a mail message with the URL of the current page in your favorite mail application.

Camino's main obstacle, however, remains the Safari Web browser that Cupertino, Calif.-based Macintosh maker Apple Computer released at the beginning of the year.