Major Firefox 2.0 Feature Dropped

While Microsoft has become a favorite target of critics who say the company has dramatically scaled back expectations for Windows Vista, Mozilla's Firefox Web browser is about to join that crowd.

Mozilla has decided to strip out a major new feature from Firefox 2.0 in order to ensure that the update meets a Q3 2006 release target, a post in the browser's developer forum indicated earlier this week. "Places," a complete rewrite of the browser's bookmarking system, will no longer be included in the release.

While Places had made it into the first public alpha release of Firefox 2.0, codenamed "Bon Echo," it had been pulled previously. In announcing the decision, Mozilla's director of engineering Mike Schroepfer said the company wanted to ensure a quality release.

"Rather than rush it to market - we'd prefer to spend the time it takes to get it right," he wrote. Schroepfer said that it was a difficult decision, but it would ensure that when released, Places would work as Mozilla intended it to.

The removal of Places is a blow overall to the Firefox 2.0 release, which was reflected in the responses to Schroepfer's comments.

"mozilla.feedback [the company's feedback newsgroup] has 'I don't see any big differences' repeated frequently over 2.0a1, and it had Places. From your post, Firefox 2.0 sounds like it should be called Firefox 1.6," a user named Matt Nordhoff said.

Schroepfer said that Firefox 2.0 would still offer many improvements over its predecessor even without Places, pointing to enhancements in security, tabbed browsing, RSS, performance, and extensions.

"In order words, all the reasons people love Firefox will get demonstrably better in this release," Schroepfer said. Bon Echo Alpha 2 is set to be available on May 9, he added.

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