Firefox 4 RC targeted for Feb 25, final by March

More than a year and eleven - soon to be twelve - betas into the development of Firefox 4, frustration appears to be growing within developer ranks at continuing delays in the release of Mozilla's browser.

Last month, Neowin reported that Mozilla CTO and co-founder Brendan Eich had urged developers to take a hard-line on bugs slowing the release of the next major Firefox version.

Now, in a Google Group posting spotted by blog ConceivablyTech, Mozilla senior engineering director Damon Sicore has turned up the heat a little more, urging his team to ''take this hill'' and push through to ship a release candidate by February 25.

''Looking at the hardblocker bug list and not counting blocklist bugs, we have 22 bugs without patches (out of 51 open) that remain to be fixed to get to RC. This is it.  It's time to do the final push to get Firefox 4 to release candidate,'' he said.

Contributors seemed to be focusing too much on non-blocking bugs, he said - and that needed to change.

''We'll organize this today and announce in the engineering meeting. We can't afford to continue landing patches that risk significant regressions.  It's churn we don't need,'' he said.

There will be at least one more beta release before the RC hits, with a later post from Firefox release manager Christian Legnitto stating that beta 12 was nearly ready to ship.

''we are so close to beta 12 I can taste it! We have 8 open betaN hardblockers[2], and ONLY ONE without a patch!'' he said.

All going to plan, beta 12 should be the final Firefox 4 beta release, according to a Weekly Engineering Newsletter posted earlier today on the same Google Group. Mozilla vice-president Jay Sullivan has apparently told German tech site golem.de that Firefox 4 final will be released in March.

Meantime, ConcievablyTech has also spotted some of the first Firefox 5 mockups on areweprettyyet.com, a site known to be used by the Firefox UI team. While there isn't much to go on at this stage, the mockups show a larger search engine field, along with colour-coded labels for search engines.

Far more interesting are ''Site Specific Browsers'', which ConcievablyTech suggest bear some similarities to Mozilla's Prism project, which aimed to create desktop-like apps out of individual websites. Prism was retired earlier this month in favour of a new approach dubbed ''Chromeless''. Digging into the file names of the images on the site, it quickly becomes apparent that the idea was directly inspired by Prism.

The mockups appear to fuse Windows 7's Jump Lists with Firefox tabs, with each site tab allowing quick access to particular parts or features of that site. In the case of Facebook, for example, the Site Specific Browser would allow direct access to a user's News Feed, Messages, Events and Friends. It is, of course, far too early to know what features or changes will make the cut for Firefox 5, which Neowin reported may be due for release as soon as mid-year.

Image Credits: thenextweb, areweprettyyet

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Looking forward to the final release since most of my favorite add ons will officially support it, and as for FF5 shouldn't they put the firefox menu button before anything else? anyways, I think it's a bad idea to remove History and Bookmarks from the menu but as long as they have the bookmarks toolbar and a history button somewhere, I'll be good.

Well Id rather have 12 betas than a broken and buggy final release that's for sure, in away im glad they are taking their times ff4 is a massive upgrade from the 3 branch.

Wow, 25th for the RC sure is ambitious! They are supposed to get beta 12 out before that too.

Beta 12 will be real short in that case... I assume it'll be released before the end of this week then.

Let's face it Chrome released major number versions instead of minor iterations just to be ahead of IE by version number. Ubuntu does have a short release cycle, but at least their numbers mean something.

LauRoman said,
Let's face it Chrome released major number versions instead of minor iterations just to be ahead of IE by version number. Ubuntu does have a short release cycle, but at least their numbers mean something.

Chrome version numbers are a Sham.
If I had the money to launch browsers for free, I would number it Version:10^55 "The World's most Advanced Browser".

LauRoman said,
Let's face it Chrome released major number versions instead of minor iterations just to be ahead of IE by version number. Ubuntu does have a short release cycle, but at least their numbers mean something.

Google only do "milestones" nowadays. It's not really versions in the traditional sense. Chrome 11 is simply treated as the 11th milestone according to a fixed schedule. Google have stopped releasing versions based on features. This is to particularly reduce the QA test cycle between each release, and follow the HTML standards better as they evolve. You can't do that with yearly cycles.

Do you actually see Chrome referred to by number though? Rarely, unless troubleshooting. They intentionally aren't emphasising version numbers because of the internal updating mechanism - everyone should generally be on the latest version. All they generally announce is the addition of new features - exactly as it should be.

I think if they had released each beta as individual version , they would have failed opera (do consider the amount of changes they brought per beta were actually more than what i saw between opera 10 and 10.5 and 10.5 and 11 , and far more than what we see in versions of chrome , i dont wish to count also )

Mozilla seem to have really taken their eye of the ball lately! Whether the birth of Google Chrome has a part to play, with funding, coders, etc i`m not sure, but it does seem that`s the case.
Still like Fx4 though, browsers really aren`t that much different nowadays!

Yes... 12 BETAS that i'll do the trick, although in firefox's defense, i have seen products out there with 31 betas. Still....12 betas?

AnotherITguy said,
Yes... 12 BETAS that i'll do the trick, although in firefox's defense, i have seen products out there with 31 betas. Still....12 betas?

13 is a lucky number!

AnotherITguy said,
Yes... 12 BETAS that i'll do the trick, although in firefox's defense, i have seen products out there with 31 betas. Still....12 betas?

Yes - 12 betas. So? They decided to release frequent betas this time around to get better community feedback as Firefox 4 evolved. Instead of e.g. shocking users with a final release full of stuff their users didn't want or like.

JamesWeb said,
I can't see them having a record breaking 'download day' this time round.

True. People will think it is another joke. Maybe they can apply to the Record Books for "Highest Public Betas for a Software".

I hope they make it use the jump list in 7. A consistent UI experience is something that needs to be upheld. They've already made the splitbuttons act differently than they do in Windows which I hope is fixed by final.

KavazovAngel said,
March... We'll see how long that lasts.

+1

Last I believed that they will stick to Final Release in February story (Feb of 2011 in case anyone is wondering)

As a sound and biased hater on all things FF, i actually love the FF5 idea, sounds too good not to be snatched by the time they manage to get FF4 out.

Azyr said,
As a sound and biased hater on all things FF, i actually love the FF5 idea, sounds too good not to be snatched by the time they manage to get FF4 out.

It already is in IE?

denne said,
Over a year development for a browser version is just too long in today's fast-moving tech world.
Mozilla agree, and are planning to shorten it.

Yawn. They took too long. I'm sure they had their reasons with all the bugs and all but damn. Marketshare for FF will soon decline and fall behind chrome within a year. Used to be my favorite browser too.

NeoDecay said,
Marketshare for FF will soon decline and fall behind chrome within a year.

unless something drastic happens, i just don't see that happening. surely not 'within a year'.

because right now it seems Firefox is roughly double (or a little more than double) the userbase of Chrome right now.

Edited by ThaCrip, Feb 17 2011, 2:50pm :

Nikos_GR said,
Why does this article refer to ffox4 and has a huge photo of ffox 5 features?

@neobond, these have nothing to do with ff4.

I don't know, maybe read the article?

I REALLY hope site specific menus don't require a separate process like IE9 does!

The implementation appears to be a good one from the image above!

Neobond said,
I REALLY hope site specific menus don't require a separate process like IE9 does!

The implementation appears to be a good one from the image above!

IE9 has site specific menus?

Azyr said,

IE9 has site specific menus?

Doesn't google do the same thing with seperate processes? It actually can be a good thing if one doesn't respond and such, plus google chrome has its own task manager which is the best thing that ever came to performance management!

If im speaking relevant to this.

Neobond said,
I REALLY hope site specific menus don't require a separate process like IE9 does!

The implementation appears to be a good one from the image above!

Yeah, I noticed this with IE9 yesterday whilst I was tinkering through IE9 RC I hope not I don't like it.