Firefox 3.5 gears up for a possible Tuesday public release

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A Mozilla spokesperson confirmed to Betanews early this evening that, if all pans out as planned, the organization will officially release the Firefox 3.5 Web browser to the general public as soon as Tuesday, June 30. No longer a beta, users will get the first opportunity to see a completely stable version of Firefox's new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine, whose latest new features were demonstrated to us today by two of its engineers.

We're seeing demos that simply are not possible with what officially passes today as the stable Firefox browser -- version 3.0.11 isn't nearly as powerful or as swift. One demo, which testers of Firefox 3.5 RC can see for themselves here, demonstrates the browser's new support for HTML5 with not only embedded video, but JavaScript that can embed graphics or video in the embedded video, in real-time, several frames per second.

"What's important here is that somebody has to take a stand," said Mozilla senior platform engineer Damon Sicore in an interview with Betanews Friday, in response to our question as to what Mozilla is doing to encourage Web developers to adopt development principles such as HTML5 embedded video tags, even though Firefox doesn't have the most usage share. "Somebody has to put open video on the Web. It's important that these formats are unencumbered. We feel that it's something that's in our mission that we have to do to keep them moving forward, in keeping the Web open."

"Video tags have a way to do fallback, so many of these sites can use the video if its supported, or they can fallback to a plug-in such as Flash or Windows Media Player, to actually deliver some type of content to users on other browsers," added Vladimir Vukicevic, infrastructure developer for the Firefox browser. "The nice thing is that, Firefox is sitting at about 30% market share -- in some places in Europe, it's significantly higher. So we actually can rely on users having a good chance of having Firefox, and as our market share trends go up, we think we'll see a lot of pressure come for other browsers to support these [features] as well."

We'll have more of our interview with Sicore and Vukicevic next week.

In what may be one of the last tests of Firefox 3.5 RC3 performance compared to new releases of the Google Chrome 3 and Opera 10 betas, the browser was posting scores that were 246.3% those of Firefox 3.0.11, in Betanews tests of RC3 on a physical Windows 7 platform. Right now, the Betanews relative index score for RC3 for Win7 stands at a flat 9.00 (nine times the performance of Internet Explorer 7 in Windows Vista), compared to 7.48 for RC3 in Vista SP2, and 9.59 on Windows XP SP3. However, the very last private builds of tweaks to RC3 were posting scores as high as 10.04 in XP.


An updated word about our Windows Web browser test suite


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