Firefox 3 Beta 3: Milestone Release Ready For Testing

Dennis Faas's picture

Mozilla recently released Firefox 3 Beta 3: a beta version of the latest edition of its Internet browser which is a rival to Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

For those unaware, A 'beta' edition is one that is largely operational but may still have some bugs which need finding and fixing before an official release. The software is freely available to download from Mozilla's website, though the firm says it's not ready for 'casual' users.

The biggest changes include technical improvements that should make web pages load quicker, easier bookmarking of favorite pages, a progress indicator in the status bar to show how much of a file has downloaded, and built-in anti-virus checks.

The new edition also includes a tool to easily find out who owns a website. There are around 1,300 changes in total, most of them minor technical alterations. The new edition fixes around 350 situations where the program would use more computer memory than needed. (Source:

Some changes couldn't wait though: earlier this week Mozilla released a software update for the current edition of Firefox which fixed three problems that could have been exploited by hackers. (Source:

The firm is also experimenting with live support for people using the browser. At the moment the system is only available for a few hours a day and is staffed entirely by volunteers. So far the system has dealt with an average 100 enquiries a day, and the most common problem is users being unable to access websites because of their firewall settings. There are no plans to charge for the service, unlike Microsoft which gives limited support and then charges $59 for each additional help session. (Source:

Mozilla can't compete with the financial resources of a giant like Microsoft. But its open source policy means independent software developers and experts can share ideas contribute to Firefox's development. Whether this makes for a better product is largely a personal choice.

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