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Final beta of Firefox 3 available now

Code frozen for RC1 on April 8

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Mozilla has made the fifth beta version of its upcoming Firefox 3 browser available for download today, and is freezing code for release candidate 1 in only six days.

Trailblazers can get Beta 5 here and the release notes over yonder.

Beta 5 includes more than 750 changes from the previous beta release, including "improved stability and web compatibility". It also promises a speed boost over Beta 4, which by all accounts was already appreciatively fast.

The updated beta offers better integration with Windows, Mac and Linux, with improved OS X and Vista interface and support for widgets. Linux gets a default icon and menus conforming to the native GTK theme.

In personalization, Mozilla has added the Places Organizer, a function that lets users organize and search through bookmarks, tags and browsing history. Users can also create and restore full backups to get back from an application crash a bit faster.

As usual, here's your obligatory warning that the release is beta, meaning it could crash, burn, mess up your computer, break your heart, leak arcane energy through a rift and space in time, and nobody would feel very sorry for you.

The remaining bugs should be relatively minor, however, given Mozilla intends to freeze the code on April 8 for the first release candidate. The final version of Firefox 3 is expected to arrive in June. ®

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