Firefox beta out of the foxhole

Browser's test version offers such features as automatic updates and improvements designed to speed browser navigation.

A test version of an updated Firefox browser is out, offering such features as automatic updates and improvements designed to speed browser navigation.

Firefox 1.5 Release Candidate 1, which came out earlier this week, is a preview of the upcoming version of the browser. The final release is expected later this year, following several delays.

"It has been made available for testing purposes only, with no end-user support. If that sounds scary, you'd probably be better off with the latest version of Firefox 1.0," according to a statement on the Mozilla Foundation Firefox Project's Web site. The Mozilla Foundation assists in the development of the open-source browser.

Firefox 1.5 Release Candidate 1 offers several new features, ranging from navigation changes to increased support for the Mac OS X operating system.

The test release includes automated updates and more prominent notice of an available update. In addition, the test release is designed to speed navigation via changes to its back and forward buttons.

Security features include enhancements designed to improve pop-up blocking, as well as the ability to quickly remove personal data through a keyboard shortcut or menu item.

Increased support for Mac OS X versions 10.2 or greater includes profile migration from Safari and Mac Internet Explorer.

Firefox has been rapidly gaining on Microsoft's Internet Explorer, with the popular open-source browser receiving its 100th million download several weeks ago--just short of its anniversary.

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