Now official, it's up to the public to test Firefox 3.5 RC2
Although two (2) "candidates for release candidates" for the next Mozilla Web browser have been released in the past week (with the first being given the weird title "Beta 99"), the official notice of what it's calling "the Firefox 3.5 Release Candidate" was posted this morning.
Initial Betanews tests of RC2 in Windows 7 show the browser posting essentially the same performance profile as RC1, with a performance index score of 8.85 versus 8.81. But that's not where it could have been, as last week's tests of an internal preview build showed a big burst of speed -- a 9.35, representing 935% the overall performance of Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 in Windows Vista SP1.
Testers with beta builds of 3.5 will be given automated notices that RC2 is available, and some browsers have likely already downloaded RC2. It's probably too soon to speculate how many days remain before the final release, and if the last couple of weeks are any indication, speculation is probably a fruitless art anyway. But next Thursday, the organization has scheduled a "Support Firefox Day," with live community chats and product demonstrations. There, the community will be actively recruiting new product support personnel, all of whom will need to be rapidly educated about new features such as Private Browsing Mode.
Meanwhile, the moment 3.5 does receive final approval, the clock will start for a four-week interval leading to the official release of Firefox 3.6 Alpha 1.