The availability of the third beta release of Firefox 3.1 has been announced by Mozilla. The beta fixes many bugs, and brings the browser just a little closer to its final release. This release comes only a week prior to the final release of Microsoft’s IE8.
Late last year, Firefox 3.1 was planned to be an incremental update release, but the Mozilla Foundation has now moved the version number from 3.1 to 3.5 in recognition of the significant feature set improvement. Firefox "3.5" delivers a plethora of notable improvements which are now included in the code base currently being used for the 3.1 beta builds.
The 3.1 release will usher in many very impressive changes among which include performance enhancers for both developers and users. The features were demonstrated during the Southern California Linux Expo by Chris Blizzard.
. A new CSS3 feature will allow the viewing of shadows and border images.
Another interesting feature is Firefox 3.1’s Private Browsing Mode, which is very similar to the InPrivate mode developed by Internet Explorer. This feature aims at removing any trace that someone has been browsing - and now has features that let you delete just the "last hour" of browsing, for example, to make it even less obvious to a snooping boss or partner that you've cleared your history. This mode has been called “porn mode” by reviewers, journalists, and bloggers. During these browsing sessions all of the records of pages that are visited, passwords, form entries, downloads, cache files, and cookies are deleted following these private browsing sessions. Unfortunately, unlike IE8 users are not protected from having third-party sites track your activities.
Firefox 3.1 beta 3 can be downloaded in 64 languages for Windows, Linux and Macintosh operating systems from the Mozilla website
. Though it is not ready to be adopted on a mainstream level it is at a point where use by developers and testers will be a breeze. Of course, one should expect an occasional hiccup. Only one more beta version is scheduled prior to the release, though the date has not been announced. The final release should be available this summer.