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Mozilla guns for Guinness world record with Firefox 3.0

Slips out RC2 ahead of the download madness

Firefox

Mozilla aims to make Firefox 3 a record breaker. It wants the release of the next version of its flagship open source browser to be accompanied by a record for the most software downloads in a single 24-hour period 1.

Download Day - as Mozilla dubs it - will begin the minute Firefox 3 is generally available and continue for 24 hours. Ahead of this release, expected in mid-to-late June, Mozilla has set up a website (spreadfirefox.com/worldrecord). This encourages people to organise Download Day parties, to run around collecting sign-up pledges at their university or place of work, and to place Download Day buttons on their websites.

Firefox 3 is based on Gecko 1.9, an updated layout engine. The browser features a cleaner layout, better bookmark handling and more stability. And it's faster.

RC2

Mozilla decided to release a second release candidate for Firefox 3.0 at a meeting on Tuesday, in response to the discovery of 10 performance and stability bugs. The alternative would have been to patch these potential "showstoppers" after the browser shipped. But another round of testing is the safer option - not least from the standpoint of public relations. This will probably set back the official launch by five days or so.

Last November Mozilla hit back at claims that multiple bugs in its forthcoming Firefox 3 browser would be ignored in order to meet release schedules. At that point Mozilla was grappling with 700 bugs marked as "blockers" (i.e. a flaw serious enough to justify delaying a release, or at least merit a closer inspection).

Skip forward six months and we're at the point where the browser is in fine-tuning to eliminate the last few high-priority bugs.

In a development list posting on Tuesday, Mozilla's lead developer Mike Beltzner explained the strict patch acceptance policy for Firefox 3 RC2. "Just because we've decided to product another release candidate does not mean that we are accepting new patches - only those which fix issues that have been identified as required fixes for RC2 will be accepted, and even then your patch must come with a risk assessment and tests," he writes. "Many of the issues to be fixed in RC2 have already been patched, reviewed, approved and landed."

1 Mozilla is trying for a record in a new category, according to a representative of the firm. That means it doesn't have an existing mark to better. The open source browser outfit aims to secure over 1.6m downloads over 24 hours.

Firefox will be available from multiple locations. We must assume the bandwidth and server capacity will be in place to service the rush.®

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