IE 7 May Beat Firefox 2.0 To Market

Firefox 2.0 RC2 went live late Friday, with the update pushed automatically to users of earlier editions of Firefox 2.0, the open-source browser's first major update since 1.5 in November 2005. Others can download RC2 in versions for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux in 39 localized editions, including ones for Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, Mongolian, Russian, and Slovakian speakers.

However, at least one more release candidate will be issued by Mozilla. "There are a handful of security and stability bugs we'd like to see get in before the final FF2 release. Thus we'll be doing a third release candidate," wrote Mike Schroepfer, Mozilla's director of engineering, in an entry on the developer's message forum.

But while Mozilla has not set a final release date for Firefox 2.0 -- on this calendar, it was once pegged to late October, but was withdrawn weeks ago -- rival Microsoft said that it will ship IE 7, the first significant upgrade to its browser since 2001, this month.

"The final release of IE7 is fast approachingand I mean really fast," wrote Scott Graff, an IE program manager, on the team's official blog. "[IE 7] will be delivered to customers via Automatic Updates a few weeks after it's available for download," added Graff. The headline of the entry: "IE 7 Is Coming This MonthAre You Ready?"

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Graff also posted links to developer, site designer, and enterprise administrator resources, including tools for testing applications and sites with the new browser. He also noted that companies can block the automatic installation of IE 7 using tools Microsoft unveiled in July.

If Mozilla follows its most recent pattern of taking a week to roll out a release candidate after it's closed the version's code, RC3 would appear sometime during the week of Oct. 16. With that schedule, it's unlikely the final of Firefox 2.0 will make it out the door before the end of the month.