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Firefox version 3 makes beta

New features for the brave, or foolhardy

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Version 3 of Firefox, the alternative web browser of choice, is now available to download for its first beta test.

After 27 months of hard work the Gecko 1.9 rendering engine has been integrated, and the development team is feeling ready to share its project with the world.

Version 3 has improved security features to combat phishing and communicate with anti-virus software, as well as respecting parental-control settings such as those used by Windows Vista. Better zooming and tab controls, and tweaks such as offering to save tabs on closing and use of the Mac OS X spellchecker, are also included.

More than two million lines of code have been changed and 11,000 issues fixed, which should bring faster rendering and better memory management (apparently more than 300 memory leaks have been fixed in this version).

The Beta 1 is clearly marked for testing purposes only, but when installed will overwrite any existing Firefox installation (unless you're doing something clever with virtualisation or similar). But testers are needed so the final bugs can be tracked down and fixed, before the rest of us follow suit once it's safe to do so. ®

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