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Mozilla released an "almost ready" version of its upcoming Firefox 2.0 browser on Tuesday.

Firefox 2 Release Candidate 1 is described as a preview of the final version of the much anticipated browser. The release is targeted at web application developers, testers, and ordinary users interested in getting a sneak peek at the software. Users are warned extensions, plugins and themes from previous versions of Firefox may not work properly with the preview version of Firefox 2.

Project deadlines for Firefox 2.0 continue to slip with the Release Candidate 1 version of the code appearing a week later than an already delayed release schedule date of 19 September. The final release date, penciled in for 24 October, is now unspecified on Mozilla's development calendar.

Originally, the browser was due to ship in August. As previously reported, developers asked for extra time to iron out bugs in features such as an integrated spell checker.

Some features in the alpha version of the code won't make it into FireFox 2.0. Functions such as an improved bookmark and history system have been axed but may re-emerge within future versions of the browser.

Version 2.0 of the software will still feature a raft of new features including an integrated in-line spell checker, as well as an anti-phishing tool (a must-have accessory that's in Opera 9 and will be included in IE 7), tightly-integrated search, and improvements in tabbed browsing.

Firefox 2.0 will have a shiny new user interface and better support for subscribing to RSS feeds. Firefox 2.0 will resume from where you left off after a system crash or browser restart, a useful feature addition of the type Opera users have enjoyed for some time.

Firefox 2 Release Candidate 1 for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux can be downloaded in more than 40 languages from Mozilla's website here. ®

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