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Mozilla browser gets some bite

The Mozilla development project introduces a swifter Web browser called Phoenix. But can it smooth over some of the bumps on its previous navigation tool?

The Mozilla development project introduced a new, swifter Web browser, called Phoenix, to smooth over some of the speed bumps of its previous navigation tool.

The group, sponsored by AOL Time Warner-owned Netscape Communications, launched Phoenix 0.1 on Monday, improving on Mozilla 1.1, which was introduced in August to mixed reviews. The latest browser, which is based on much of the Mozilla code, includes a customizable toolbar, new design, improved bookmark manager and loads in nearly half the time of Mozilla 1.1.

"Phoenix is not your father's Mozilla browser. It's a lean and fast browser that doesn't skimp on features," according to the project page on the Mozilla development home page.

Mozilla is an open-source project initiated by Netscape, now part of AOL Time Warner, to foster volunteer interest in its browser technology. Mozilla's features and its Gecko rendering engine are now used in the Netscape 7 commercial software from AOL Time Warner.

Phoenix is similar to other offshoots of the Mozilla project, including Galeon, K-Meleon and Chimera, according to the site. But the browser is written using XUL (Extensible User Interface Language), and it's designed to be cross-platform. It works on Windows and Linux operating systems.

Like its predecessor, Phoenix comes with some bugs, however. The browser doesn't allow people running Linux to tab through forms, for example. The development group is already working on a successor to Phoenix, which will include an updated wallet feature and download manager, among other improvements.

"Phoenix was designed with performance as a primary goal," reads the site. "The XUL experts built a browser that starts in nearly half the time of Mozilla and its commercial derivatives. New windows also snap into existence almost twice as fast as Mozilla and commercial derivatives."