RealTime IT News

The Lizard Roars

Exactly three months after leaving the Netscape nest, the Mozilla lizard heads have made a bold push to target end-users with a slew of new product releases.

After scoring a $2 million pledge from America Online and separating itself from Netscape Communications, the non-profit Mozilla Foundation released Mozilla 1.5, the last version of its Web browser project under the Mozilla brand.

Mozilla 1.5 features a nifty spellchecker for MailNews and Composer and an overhaul to ChatZilla, the built in inter-relay chat (IRC) client.

The open-source alternative browser project also introduced a new version of the Mozilla Firebird browser with enhancements for tabbed-browsing, pop-up blocking and privacy controls. Mozilla Firebird version 0.7, formerly Phoenix, is touted as a lightweight browser that strips away the bloat and doubles the speed in which Web pages are displayed.

A upgrade to the Mozilla Thunderbird mail project was also released.

The Mozilla Foundation also announced a major push towards serving end-users, introducing a redesigned beta Web site to hawk software CDs, browser downloads and telephone support for end users of the Mozilla Internet suite.

It is the first time end-user support would be available for users of the Mozilla products. The Foundation said telephone support would cost $39.95 per incident.

Mozilla's moves mirror those of Norway-based Opera Software, which also introduced new browsers this week for the Windows, Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris platforms.

Mozilla and Opera compete with Microsoft's dominant Internet Explorer (IE) in the Web browser market.