Don't wait, download Firefox 5 beta right now
Mozilla has released the first publicly available beta of Firefox 5, which acts as a halfway house between the final stable, final release of Firefox and the developmental version, Firefox Aurora. The beta version offers a more stable environment than Aurora in which to road-test developmental features before they're implemented into the next final release.
On the surface there's little to differentiate Firefox 5 from Firefox 4 in this beta release, which installs over the top of any existing stable release, but it does feature the new Firefox Channel Switcher that allows users to move between developmental and stable versions of Firefox from a convenient dialog box.
At time of testing, the Firefox Channel Switcher only works when switching users from the Beta channel to the Aurora alpha channel. However, while Firefox Aurora is designed to be installed alongside the beta or stable version, switching to Aurora from the Firefox Channel Switcher actually overwrites the Beta version.
The Beta version also showcases the same Feedback button that's present in Aurora, and which is designed to encourage users to report bugs as well as general feedback about the build they're currently using.
The final release of Firefox 5, scheduled for late June, will also coincide with Mozilla's decision to forcibly upgrade the 12 million remaining Firefox 3.5 users to version 3.6 in a move that effectively signals the end-of-life for version 3.5 of the browser. In the meantime, Firefox 5 Beta is a free download for Windows, Mac and Linux users, but remember that it will install over the top of any existing stable Firefox application, so use with caution. To revert to an earlier stable version, simply install this over the top of the beta version.
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