Firefox 3 Beta 2 out, Internet Explorer 8 taking shape

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Chicago (IL) – Following close on the heels of Opera 9.25, Mozilla has released a second, and much improved beta version of its Firefox browser. Microsoft also joined the announcement frenzy with a note that the software will be out in the first half of next year.

Web browsers are getting much more attention recently with Mozilla staying on its course to mature its next-generation Firefox browser and especially Microsoft, which apparently is reaching first significant milestones with IE8. The next Internet Explorer is scheduled for a H1 2008 released, which is rather surprising as IE7 is just over one year old now and IE6 has been in place for more than five years before the current version’s release.

According to Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of Microsoft’s IE team, IE8 “correctly rendered” the Acid2 page, which includes reference code to test a browser, on December 12. Microsoft considers the Acid2 test as “one of several milestones for the interoperability, standards compliance, and backwards compatibility that [Microsoft is] committed to for this release.”

Meanwhile, Firefox 3 Beta 2 has been released to developers and public download and delivers some important updates addressing stability and feature set of the browser – which wasn’t quite usable in its Beta 1 version yet. Mozilla said that the Beta 2 comes with more than 900 improvements over the first Beta. Changes include enhanced cookie management, some security improvements, the integration of a new download manager, a better integration with Linux, as well as improvements for the location bar, the smart bookmarks folder, the places organizer and protocol handlers. Mozilla said that the Beta 2 is substantially faster than Beta 1 as well.