Firefox 2.0 Alpha, MacTel Version Soon

Mozilla plans to have an early alpha version of Firefox 2.0 in users hands by February, with builds of Firefox, Camino and Thunderbird for Macs running on Intel processors available the following month, recent statements from company developers indicate.

Details of a release date for Firefox 2.0 Alpha 1 appeared in the January 4 staff meeting minutes released late last week. It also noted that a security and stability update would be coming to Firefox 1.5 by the end of this month.

Although the first alpha release of the next version of the popular alternative browser will not be feature complete, it should give users an idea of where the company plans to take Firefox in 2006. The year is expected to be a busy one; work on Firefox 3 is already underway with a release possible late this year or early in 2007.

The company also plans to have universal binaries of its products available for users of Intel based Macs by March. Up until now, a single developer, Josh Aas, headed the project and the releases were unofficial. However, the company is expected to accelerate development and soon deliver official bulds.

Aas told CNET that two issues remain before the releases could be certified for public use, and that they run "very well on Intel Macs." The two problems relate to Macromedia Flash and Java plugins, he said.

The unofficial builds currently have these features disabled and should work fine, although Aas recommends using the official non-universal builds for the time being under the Rosetta emulation layer that comes with Apple's new machines.

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