The Mozilla Foundation has updated its Firefox web browser, offering new extension and theme managers, a changed default look and improved migration capabilities.
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Firefox 0.9, made available by the open-source software project, builds on the previous release with bug fixes and fine-tuning.
The download size for Windows users has been pared down to 4.7Mbytes, although Linux users have a heavier 8.1Mbyte download. The browser is available for free download at the group's website at www.mozilla.org.
A new online help system has been added, and migration from other browsers has been improved because the latest version imports data such as favourites, history, settings, cookies and passwords from Internet Explorer.
The release of 0.9 lays some important groundwork in anticipation of the Firefox 1.0 releases, expected in a couple months, according to Bart Decrem, a spokesman for the group.
"We are doing fit and finish work and debugging [on 1.0] so we expect the user experience to be improved but most of the major feature work is now complete," Decrem said.
Given that Firefox is unlikely to undergo any major changes between the 0.9 version and 1.0, Firefox's estimated three million users will have to be satisfied with the work the Mozilla Foundation has already put in.
Decrem said that one of Firefox's greatest features is the ability it gives users to modify and change it through extensions, making it their own.
"We may bring some third-party tabbed browsing extensions back to the browser, but there's no decision yet," he added.
Firefox users will have to wait for 1.0 to see exactly what it has in store. In the meantime, the Mozilla Foundation is preparing to release its Mozilla 1.7 internet suite, which includes a web browser, mail client, internet relay chat client and web page editor, later this week, as well as a preview release of its standalone e-mail application, Thunderbird.
Scarlet Pruitt writes for IDG News Service