There’s been a flood of posts on the web about the discovery of Minefield, an enhanced new web browser by Mozilla, that just leaves Chrome and the others biting the dust due to its serious performance superiority.
As most Mozilla Links readers may know, Minefield is the main code repository for Firefox (the trunk) where patches and new features that are meant to be included in the next Firefox release first land.
When a milestone is approaching (alpha, beta or final), the trunk is frozen so nothing but stuff related to the goals set for the next milestone will go in. The frozen code is used to make a build, the build is QA’d, mirrored and released as an alpha or beta (code name Shiretoko for Firefox 3.1, Gran Paradiso for Firefox 3, all names of national parks).
After the release, then the trunk is unfrozen and patches allowed again for the next development release.
When a final release like Firefox 3, happens, a branch is created (the code copied to a separate area) so it can be maintained with stability and security updates (like the latest 3.0.3).
Here’s an attempt to make it understandable for visual types.
In summary, Minefield is not a different product but the next (always the next) Firefox minus all the testing and infrastructure to call it even a development release. It may speed things up just as it may delete all your bookmarks or computer documents.
That, however, doesn’t stop about 10,000 people who live on nightlies most of the time.
Most of the improvements you may find on Minefield can be tried in the latest Firefox 3.1 Beta 1, a more stable release, and a better trade off if you’re not ready to risk your data.