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Is Firefox 3 ready for prime time?

By   |  June 2, 2008

With release candidate 1 available, Firefox 3 is edging closer to a final release. But is Firefox 3 in a fit enough state to be released? Right now it doesn’t look so. So much so that the development team has decided a second release candidate will be made available this week. (Vote)

Open source software has long been known for its habit of regular and rapid updates. But over the past year a new worrying mantra seems to have crept in: release on schedule.

Increasingly, we see big-name software projects announcing how pleased they are to have met their planned release schedules. It’s something that Ubuntu did with its latest release, Hardy Heron, which has been met by a degree of criticism from users that feel Hardy wasn’t ready for release but was released anyhow to make sure schedules were met.

Similarly, late last year Mozilla fought off claims that developers were ignoring bugs in early Firefox builds to meet release schedules. Whether this is actually the case is hard to say, except that Release Candidate 1, supposedly the all-but-done release of Firefox 3, is still noticeably buggy and prone to regular crashes. This is not what users should expect from a product which is meant to be “feature complete” and one step away from a huge international release.

The outstanding bugs in Firefox 3 were not unnoticed, it seems and at a developer meeting last week a decision was taken to make a second release candidate available this week.

Which is good news for both users and the reputation of open source software. As part of the plan to release Firefox 3 this month, the Mozilla team is hoping to set a world record for the most downloads in on day. Undoubtedly this publicity stunt will net huge international interest and many first-time users will get their first taste of Firefox. If that first impression is a browser that crashes or locks up the first time it is used there probably won’t be a second time.

Let’s hope that release candidate 2 is the real deal that proves Firefox 3 is ready for mass adoption.

Which version of Firfox are you using? Vote.

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3 Responses to “Is Firefox 3 ready for prime time?”

  1. Dwayne Bailey
    June 2nd, 2008 @ 4:33 pm

    Don’t forget to try the Afrikaans builds which you can get here:

    I’m finding Firefox has some glorious hangs. But the new features such as the much improved location bar are a real win. Theoretically it uses less memory but I really can’t tell.

  2. Tectonic » Firefox 3 RC2 fixes critical bugs
    June 5th, 2008 @ 9:11 am

    […] The Mozilla team yesterday released a second release candidate for Firefox 3. The decision to release a second release candidate follows widespread opinion that there were still too many bugs in RC1 (see: Is Firefox 3 Ready for Prime Time?). […]

  3. Tectonic » Ready, steady, get Firefox
    June 13th, 2008 @ 2:37 pm

    […] one planned release candidate but a number of significant bugs meant the team decided to release a second Release Candidate. Now, a third Release Candidate has been issued to fix a showstopper bug on Max OS X. RC3 includes […]

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