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Mozilla pushed out a first beta version of Firefox 3.6 on Friday, ahead of a planned release by the end of the year.

The delayed release promises improved JavaScript performance and faster load-up, addressing a sluggish start problem that has become an issue with recent builds of the open source browser. Firefox 3.6 will also be easier to customise as well as introducing the ability to natively display video in a full screen display.

The browser, based on the Gecko 1.9.2 web rendering engine, supports the latest web formats (such as HTML5) and introduces support for the the WOFF font format.

With developers in mind, Firefox 3.6 beta will debut a feature that allows users to drag and drop files from a PC to the browser. The technology is designed to make it easier to update web sites.

Firefox 3.6 also features technology that will alert users about out-of-date plugins, a potential security and performance headache.

However, most add-ons are yet to be upgraded so that they are compatible with Firefox 3.6 beta. Firefox 4.0 introduces a different approach to add-ons that will make such compatibility problems less of a problem in future.

The full run-down of what comes with Firefox 3.6 can be found in a blog posting on Mozilla's Developer site here. ®

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