Following recent Apple Computer’s announcement of their new Intel processor based Macs (replacing former IBM’s PowerPC) Mozilla Foundation’s Josh Aas declared to ZD Net Australia that new Firefox versions for this platform will be available as soon as next March as update 184.108.40.206 (220.127.116.11 version is scheduled for the end of January for all platforms and will include a number of bug fixes and security patches).
Unofficial versions of Firefox for Mac Intel are available since last July but still present some issues when running Java and Flash applications that should be corrected by the time this version goes out.
The Mozilla Foundation has released the second iteration of Thunderbird, the open source e-mail, feed reader and newsgroup application. Thunderbird 1.5 is now available in 24 languages (with more to come in the next few days) for Windows, MacOS X and Linux platforms.
It is the most important update to Thunderbird since its initial release in December 2004, and it is full packed with new features and bug fixes:
- Automated update to streamline product upgrades. Notification of an update is more prominent, and updates to Thunderbird may now be half a megabyte or smaller. Updating extensions has also improved.
- Sort address autocomplete results by how often you send e-mail to each recipient.
- Spell check as you type.
- Saved Search Folders can now search across multiple accounts.
- Built in phishing detector to help protect users against email scams.
- Podcasting and other RSS Improvements.
- Deleting attachments from messages.
- Integration with server side spam filtering.
- Reply and forward actions for message filters.
- Kerberos Authentication.
- Auto save as draft for mail composition.
- Message aging.
- Filters for Global Inbox.
- Improvements to product usability including redesigned options interface, and SMTP server management.
- Many security enhancements.
Google has just released the Google Pack, a collection of applications managed from a single interface called Google Updater.
The pack includes Google Toolbar, Google Pack Screensaver, Google Desktop Search, Google Talk, Google Earth, Ad-Aware SE Personal, Picasa, Firefox, Adobe Reader, Norton Antivirus 2005 SE (including a 6 month subscription), Trillian and Real Player 10.
The suite adds no integration to the tools as they don’t seem to interact with each other and there are even some duplicates like Trillian and Google Talk, both instant messaging applications, though Trillian supports all major IM networks (Yahoo, MSN, AOL, ICQ) where Google Talk only does Jabber. It becomes even more confusing considering Google hired recently open source instant messenger, Gaim main developer, Sean Egan. So Google plans in the IM area are still unclear.
According to eWeek, some analysts speculate that Google Pack could be bundled in consumer and business PCs shipped by Hewlett Packard, Dell and Gateway as they already do with the Google Toolbar. Firefox is already bundled with PCs shipped by Dell UK.
This would be great news for the Mozilla Project since it could become an important outlet for its products.
According to Net Applications, a web analystics firm, during past December, Firefox was the browser of choice of 1 in 10 web users. Though other reports position Firefox at a better spot, 2005 was clearly a year of steady growth not only for Firefox but other web standards conscious browsers like Opera and Safari.
Why market share matters you ask? In short it means more and more pressure on web site creators to conform to web standards rather than to a specific browser (say Internet Explorer.) Competition will then shift to more user relevant areas like features, accessibility, usability and security and not plain “you can’t see this site with that browser.”
No doubt Firefox success is largely due its users who care about creating a better Internet and telling friends, relatives and coworkers about how they can enhance their web experience.
User Friendly, a technology oriented comic strip by J.D. Illiad Frazer calls Firefox one of 2005’s “turning points in tech industry” in its past December 30th edition.
On related news, Newsforge has an interview with Frazer about User Friendly becoming a privately owned company.