After twelve betas, one release candidate and a year of development, Mozilla plans to release the final version of Firefox 4 on March 22 around 7AM PDT.
Tech blog ConceivablyTech spotted the date on Mozilla's official release schedule yesterday and a message to developers from Mozilla senior engineering director Damon Sicore indicated the first and only Firefox 4 release candidate would likely ship as the final version of the browser. Firefox 4 RC1 was made available on March 9.
''As of now, there are no known issues that would stop us from shipping RC1 as final...March 22nd is the day we would ship. Both IT and Marketing have indicated that March 22nd is an acceptable final launch date. If at any time we discover issues that would block final release, we would issue an RC2 as soon as possible, reset the ship date, and communicate to everyone,'' he said.
Despite Mr Sicore's mention of the possibility of a second release candidate, Mozilla planning notes indicate the company would most likely push Firefox 4 out the door on March 22 and follow-up with an incremental update to fix any minor issues.
''Several issues have been identified as potential ridealongs, meaning we might do a 4.0.1 release,'' the notes said.
The final version of Firefox 4 was originally scheduled to ship in November 2010, but repeated delays saw the release schedule revised on more than one occasion. Given that rather chequered history, it remains to be seen if Firefox 4 will actually ship on March 22 as planned.
Based on the Gecko 2.0 engine, Firefox 4 will bring an updated user interface, new ways to organize tabs, a revamped add-on manager, support for HTML5 video standards, multitouch support on Windows 7 and a range of performance and security enhancements.
Mozilla has indicated a desire to move to a faster release schedule following Firefox 4, with mozilla.org co-founder and Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich telling developers users could be running the fifth version of Firefox just months after Firefox 4 is released.