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Mozilla's Newest FireFox Takes Flight

The open source Mozilla Foundation, which traces its history to AOL's Netscape, is about to release Mozilla FireFox 0.9, just four months after changing the browser's name from Firebird to Firefox.

The Mozilla Foundation, which was created out of Netscape in July of last year, said the FireFox release is still considered to be a technology preview. That means only when the full 1.0 release hits will it become "feature complete."

Firefox 0.9, available for Windows, Linux and MAC, is expected to show more maturity in this version with new features aimed at making it easier for an end-user to migrate to that browser. For example, a one-click migration feature in the new release easily imports Favorites, History, cookies and passwords from Internet Explorer, alternative browser Opera, and previous versions of Netscape and Mozilla browsers.

The size of the program has been reduced to 4.6 MB for Windows users. A new SmartUpdate feature is also included, as well as a revised help system and extension manager. The browser sports a new theme on both Windows and Linux versions intended to further improve the usability of browser.

The Mozilla Foundation is also expected to release its final stable version of the current generation Mozilla 1.7 browser suite this week.

The latest Firefox version comes as the Mozilla Foundation and Opera Software team up on a W3C standards initiative on Web Forms. For its part, Opera Software has also been developing its Internet Explorer alternative.

Last week, Opera unveiled its Mobile Accelerator technology, which is intended to make web browsing on mobile devices up to 250 percent faster.

Microsoft, whose Internet Explorer browser enjoys at least a 90 percent market dominance in the browser market overall, isn't resting on its laurels either. IE is slated for update as part of the company's upcoming Windows XP SP-2 release. Microsoft officials have promised substantial updates to the browser with the latest release.



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