Next Major Release of Firefox Delayed

Elizabeth Millard,
Mon Jul 25, 4:39 PM ET

The Mozilla Foundation is delaying the release of the next version of the increasingly popular Firefox Web browser, adding more development cycles to create better features for the next big update.

Firefox 1.5, codenamed Deer Park, was tentatively scheduled to be released during the summer, but the project remains in the alpha development stage. The official launch of the major upgrade now will be moved to September, according to Mozilla, after a beta version appears in August.

Mozilla said that once 1.5 is released, the foundation will be focusing all its efforts on developing version 2.0, which is scheduled for the first quarter of 2006. Mozilla has cautioned users that the dates still are subject to change.

Lock Down

Mozilla noted that it is feature additions, not security concerns, that have caused the release date to be pushed back. But developers also are working to strengthen the browser against vulnerabilities after several flaws were exposed over the past two months. In July, the foundation had to update 12 security flaws found in the Firefox code and put out stability fixes as well.

Possible additions to future versions of Firefox include improvements to the bookmarking and history functions, Mozilla engineer Ben Goodger noted on the foundation's site. Other areas of focus include enhancements to the browser's extensions system, search capabilities and software-update functions. (Poster Note: Not a coincedence that these are the areas where other independent browser kick Firefox's butt all day. lol)

"We have ambitious goals for the workload between now and our next major release set," wrote Goodger.

Quick Action

Firefox users will be happy to see more automated patching and security features, said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at security firm Sophos. "As Firefox has matured, it's starting to deal with the type of problems that mature browsers have," said Cluley. "Mainly, that attackers are examining it for holes."

It is to the Mozilla Foundation's credit that it works quickly to address security issues, said Cluley, but such speedy action also has its downsides.

"They're ending up having to do updates to their updates," he noted. "Users get tired of that pretty quickly. So it's good that they're addressing some of these issues for the next version."