Firefox 3.5 RC due early June

The long beta cycle of the next major version of the popular Firefox web browser is nearly over. Firefox 3.5 - originally labelled 3.1 but bumped up a few version numbers due to the amount of time and work that has been involved in development - was released in its fourth beta version at the end of last month and it now seems the code will be locked down fairly soon in preparation for a RC (release candidate) and then the final release.

The project's director Mike Beltzner revealed to the developers' mailing list that targets have been set for completion of the code to be complied into RC builds. Due to "great progress we've been making on blockers over the past two weeks, and estimates from the component leads" next Wednesday (20th May) has been scheduled as the target date for a code freeze with May 21st set aside for fixing any remaining issues found with the nightly builds produced from this code, leaving the 22nd onwards to produce the actual RC builds.

The first week of June is the expected delivery date for an RC version of Firefox 3.5, presuming no large bugs or issues are found between now and then. Once the final RC build is released it should pave the way for a final release soon after.

Features expected to be added in the RC, since the current 3.0 version, include Mozilla's new TraceMonkey javascript rendering engine (which promises better performance and stability), geolocation tools, and a private browsing mode (much the same as the similar features in Internet Explorer 8, Chrome and Safari 4). As well as this there are improvements to the Gecko layout engine and better JSON, HTML5, SVG and CSS support.

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