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Firefox 2.0 to Go Live Today

Fit and finish, that's what's left and then a shiny new Mozilla Firefox Web browser will be fit for public consumption.

Firefox 2.0 release candidate 1 (RC1) will be available for download starting at 6 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) today.

The release isn't expected to introduce any new features or major functionally but it will improve stability and fix bugs that have been found in the still-under-development Firefox 2.0 release.

RC1 follows the beta 2 release by less than a month. The Firefox 2.0 public release cycle began nearly six months ago with the alpha 1 release.

The new browser adds a long list of improvements over the current 1.5.x Firefox browser. Among them is a solution to the tab overflow issue which has dogged Mozilla for years.

There are also native anti-phishing capabilities that take advantage of some Google technology.

Though the new browser bears strong resemblances to its predecessor, it has undergone a visual refresh.

There are still a few bugs left on the list for Mozilla developers, so they've currently scheduled a second release candidate release for October 6.

The final stable Firefox 2.0 release could come as early as October 17, pending the feedback that Mozilla gets from RC1.

"We are in the end game here -- which means days matter and our tolerance for risk is *zero*," Mozilla developer Mike Schroepfer wrote.

"We will not take bugs unless they are of great benefit: crashes, Web compatibility, and major regressions. IMHO [In My Honest Opinion] FF2 RC1 is already a tremendously superior product to FF 1.5. So let's wrap this up!"

Mozilla's Firefox 2.0 chief rival, Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7.0, is racing toward its final release as well.

IE 7 RC1 was released in late August and is expected to be finalized by the time Microsoft Vista is available later this year.