Not so fast: Latest Firefox beta posted, then un-posted

This morning, BetaNews FileForum received word that Beta 4 of Mozilla Firefox was posted for testers to download...and for a short time, that's how it genuinely appeared.

But as one of our readers soon found out -- and apparently Mozilla as well -- what went up in the properly named releases/3.0b4 directory was not the final public Beta 4 at all, but rather a release candidate for Beta 4 (as opposed to a release candidate for the final product). Essentially, it's the latest build for what Mozilla hopes to be able to distribute as Firefox 3.0 Beta 4.

A check of Firefox's status tracking page this afternoon clearly showed the last release candidate had officially passed all quality control checks. But once the file that had been posted to the Beta 4 directory (later removed) is installed, it clearly identified itself as a release candidate not for public use.

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Today was supposed to be the official Firefox 3 Beta 4 Test Day. It was originally scheduled to end at 5:00 pm PST this afternoon (8:00 pm EST), though according to an apparent update Mozilla's schedule, the Test Day festivities have been extended until 6:00 am EST (3:00 am PST). An amendment to the Test Day page currently reads, "(We will use the Release Candidate for testing)!"

The extended time may be on account of the posting confusion, but it might also conceivably give Mozilla a few more hours in which to post its final Beta 4, perhaps after a rebuild.

All that having been said, the RC of Beta 4 does still look promising, with more slight modifications to the standard appearance of the common buttons. There are no obvious new features added since Beta 3, so this latest release apparently concentrates on improving quality and reliability.

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