On schedule, according to the latest estimate, Mozilla has released the first Firefox 3 release candidate. For Mozilla it means what says in the label: unless there is some major bug reported for this release, the “release candidate” part will just be dropped from the name and become Firefox 3 final. Otherwise, additional candidates will be released until the desired level of stability is attained.
If you’ve been following Firefox 3 release, this post is for you as it focuses on changes introduced since the latest Firefox 3 Beta 5 released on early April.
For the full scoop, I have updated the full Firefox 3 review with all the details you want to know.
Most of the changes in this release are related to the visual refresh, particularly on Windows. On Vista, the Library (Bookmarks Organizer) toolbar now features a black glossy background similar to other Vista management windows.
You can select multiple files in the download manager and copy the download location, visit the original web site you downloaded the files from or open the containing folders. In the latter case, it’s not smart enough to detect they are all in the same folder so you get multiple windows for the same folder.
Also, the Clear List button was added back.
The DOM Inspector, a useful tool for web and extension developers, has been removed from the installer and is available at Mozilla Add-ons as an extension only.
Help is no longer shipped with Firefox. Instead, all documentation will be available online at Mozilla Support.
On Mac OS X, pressing the up and down keys while in single line text boxes moves the cursor to the beginning and the end as expected on Mac OS.
Cairo, Firefox 3 new graphics layer was updated to version 1.6.
An option was added to the malware detection page to bypass the warning and continue to the requested page.
Note that this isn’t the final Firefox 3 and there may still be some ugly hidden bugs that could mess with your data. Unlikely, but that’s why it is called a release candidate.
You can download Firefox 3 RC1 from Mozilla Corporation’s web site. As usual it is available for Windows (7.1 MB), Mac OS X (17.2 MB) and Linux (8.6 MB) in more than 45 languages. On Windows, RC1 requires at least Windows 2000. It won’t work on Windows 95/98/Me.
I noticed the installer has a checkbox to set Firefox as the default browser checked by default. This seems too pushy for users just trying it for the first time. Neither Opera 9.5 nor Safari 3.1.1 installers attempted to do the same.