Firefox 2.0 beta due Tuesday

The new Firefox 2.0 gets its first public unveiling on Tuesday when the Mozilla Corporation will officially release the first beta of the open source browser. At the moment there are feature complete ‘release candidates’ which are available for testing.

Mozilla says there have also been a number of changes to the code although these may not be immediately apparent to users. However, the new version of Firefox is not nearly as radical as the current Beta 3 of IE 7.0 and in fact looks identical to 1.x. However, it does share some features in common such as the built in anti-phishing tool, which uses both a locally held list of bad sites or Google’s site listing. Others may be added over time.

The new version of Firefox also has a built in spell checker which will no doubt come in useful for the dedicated bloggers and social networkers. The browser also includes an improved RSS reader with the option of using either Firefox’s own or feed readers such as Google or MyYahoo!

There are also tweaks to the tabbed windows. For example, users can now close tabs from within another window and use horizontal scrolling.

Anyone who cannot wait for the ‘official’ beta launch on Tuesday can get the beta release candidate on the Mozilla FTP site where there is a Windows,, Mac and Linux version.

Anyone who wants to try the new version of Firefox. should be aware that it will probably not work with their current extensions. According to Firefox extension author, Hans Schmucker, the code won’t work because they have not been set to work with anything other than 1.x. Once the authors activate 2.x, 90 per cent of extensions will work.

Finally, for web site developers who want to check browser compatibility using Windows there is a ‘portable’ version of Firefox 2.0 that will let you install a copy of the beta alongside the existing 1.x version without messing up the settings.

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