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Mozilla pushes out second Firefox 3.1 alpha

Early developer milestone

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Mozilla has released the second alpha of Firefox 3.1 a week after Google unveiled its shiny new browser, Chrome.

The latest advance version of the Mozilla Foundation’s upcoming browser is codenamed “Shiretoko”, and is intended for trailblazing software developers and testers only.

Meanwhile, the so-called “code freeze”, or build lockdown, deadline for Firefox 3.1 is now expected to go chilly on 30 September rather than tomorrow (9 September). Mozilla hasn’t yet announced when the beta itself will be released, but it’s likely to be sometime in October.

In the meantime, brave souls can fiddle with the second alpha of Firefox 3.1, which is built on a pre-release version of the Gecko 1.9.1 rich internet apps platform.

It comes loaded with new features, including support for a video tag element debuted with the HTML 5 standard, a nifty option that allows you to drag and drop tabs between browser windows and better integration with Vista’s Aero “Glass” theme.

Mozilla’s latest alpha release comes just a week after Google wonks revealed they had been quietly working away in (presumably) an underground lair for two years on the company’s own browser, Chrome.

For now, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is top of the pops in the browser wars. However, in recent months, Firefox 3, which was released in June this year, has made some small inroads into Redmond’s huge market share. ®

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