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Firefox 6 silently released ahead of official unwrap date

Mozilla FTP server cares naught for release schedule

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Updated Mozilla isn't officially breaking the seal on Firefox 6 until tomorrow, but the code for the latest iteration of its popular open source browser is already available online.

It is currently tucked away on the organisation's FTP server. A blogger over at TechnoBolt spotted that the code has been downloadable since at least Saturday 13 August.

In fact, in recent months it seems to be pretty standard for Mozilla to do a soft launch of its browser via its FTP server, without making an official announcement. The code can often be tracked down a day or two before the latest version of Firefox is given a marketed release.

Mozilla is still stating that Firefox 6 won't be available for download until Tuesday 16 August.

Notably, the browser-maker is also releasing a beta version of Firefox 7 on the same day as well as pushing out an early build of Firefox 8.

Mozilla said it was switching to much smaller tweaks to each browser release at the end of last year, in a clear nod to Google's Chrome release schedule.

The idea is to iterate often and so make the upgrade process appear seamless to web surfers that use the browser. Mozilla had previously spent many months crafting each new release, often making the updates a more major affair.

Here's the code for Mac, Windows and Linux versions of the software. We'll have more about the official release, including what new stuff has been injected into the browser, tomorrow. ®

Updated to add

Mozilla representatives have been in touch, saying:

We’ve seen the article you posted on The Register today and wanted to ask you to not point your readers to the not-yet-released or final Firefox. It hurts our FTP servers and affects our ability to release the final version of Firefox on time.

We're sure that this heartfelt appeal will have the desired result.

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