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Firefox 3.6 hits Alpha 1

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From the 'ongoing development' files:

The first Alpha milestone release of Firefox 3.6, codenamed Namoroka is now out. The early indication from Mozilla developers is that this release will be out in less time than it took to put out Firefox 3.5.

Firefox 3.5, was originally supposed to be Firefox 3.1 and got stretched out to a year of development after the Firefox 3.0 release.

"Unlike the year that passed between Firefox 3 and Firefox 3.5, we expect that this 3.6 release will be released in a small number of months," Mozilla's Christopher Blizzard blogged."
"Our main focus for the 3.6 release will be end-user perceived performance, TraceMonkey and DOM performance and new web developer features."

When 3.6 was first announced in April of this year, one of the key release goals was faster startup time - and it will be interesting to see as the milestones are release how that is achieved. At the time of the first 3.6 announcement, 3.6 was pegged for a mid-2010 release -- given Blizzard's comments now we might well see Firefox 3.6 somewhat sooner.

Overall, 3.6 at this early stage includes some new CSS 3 features including: background size and gradients for background images.. Tracemonkey (Firefox's JavaScript engine) gets a speed boost and there is a new technology called Compositor which according to Mozilla, "moves Gecko to using one native widget per top-level content document."

Early days still to be sure, and with Firefox alphas there are always new features added in with each milestone, so lots to look forward too in this release as it continues to develop.

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