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Firefox 1.1 delayed

Next version has slipped three months, but allegations that Google is root cause dismissed as "wacky speculation."

Firefox 1.1 will be released three months later than originally planned, according to Ben Goodger, the lead programmer on the browser.

"In a move that I would hope should surprise exactly nobody, we're pushing back 1.1 by a little bit because of the realities of the work remaining to be done," Goodger said in a blog posting last week.

Some reports have speculated that the change in date was caused by Goodger's recent move to Google. But Goodger denied these reports in a later post.

"Also, the slippage from March is not due to my move to Google; it is due to us needing to ensure the 1.1 release is of identical quality and scope as the 1.0 release--that means a period of testing, the localization system needs to be brought back online, etc.," Goodger said. "These things are done by more people than just myself, so quit with the wacky speculation."

Firefox 1.1 was initially scheduled to be released around March 2005. But the final version has been delayed until June 2005, as shown on the updated Firefox road map on the Mozilla Web site.

David Hallowell, a Mozilla contributor, said one of the primary goals for Firefox 1.1 is to improve the browsing experience for non-Windows users.

"One of the main aims of 1.1 is to improve the user experience for users on Linux and Mac machines so that they can have a version of Firefox that fits in with their operating system as well as the Windows version fits in with the Windows OS," Hallowell said.

Firefox 1.1 is aiming to tackle the enterprise market by making the browser available in Windows Installer format for easier corporate deployment. The open-source browser has not experienced many enterprisewide deployments, according to some analysts.

Browsing will be faster in version 1.1 due to improvements in the rendering engine, according to Hallowell. "A lot has gone on behind the scenes in improving Gecko, which is the rendering engine used by Firefox, Mozilla and other browsers such as Camino," Hallowell said. "1.1 will see the result of these improvements, including faster page rendering, further improved standards support and further incremental improvements."

The current version of Firefox 1.0 has been downloaded more than 20 million times since its release in November 2004. It is approaching a 5 percent market share, which may rise to 20 percent by the end of 2005, according to research.

Ingrid Marson of ZDNet UK reported from London.