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Mozilla rejigs Firefox release schedule in nod to Google's Chrome

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Mozilla has added a new channel to its Firefox release schedule in a move to release more browser software code at various stages of its pregnancy.

The latest tweak to the open-source outfit's roadmap is another clear nod in the direction of Google, which is arguably winning the PR war on the browser front by refreshing its stable Chrome stack every six weeks. It keeps testers happy.

In the meantime Google continues to smash its way through new builds of its browser without having to make the kind of song 'n' dance about new releases that Mozilla and indeed Microsoft's Internet Explorer team have previously done.

The schedule is clever because it in fact allows Google to put out a more measured message about how far along the company is with its browser development.

Mozilla has now fallen into the same camp. It already confirmed in February that it would switch to a quarterly release schedule, in effect ending the long gestation period it had with each new major version of Firefox.

And on Wednesday it sprinkled a bit more Chrome magic on its release schedule.

"Today, we launch the Aurora channel as part of a broader initiative to create channels which deliver features to users at various levels of quality and polish," wrote platform engineering director Damon Sicore on Mozilla's blog.

"The Aurora channel is where users can test the latest features and innovations. Users can expect an increase in polish from the raw, cutting edge features in our nightly builds."

However, he cautioned that "Aurora releases may not be as stable as beta or final releases."

The idea behind Aurora is to provide a buffer for developers between Mozilla's shaky, early nightly builds and beta versions of the popular Firefox browser.

The first such middle-man test build is here containing an early look at Firefox 5 and Firefox 6 code. ®

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