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Major Firefox release delayed

Adding new features to the open-source browser is taking "a bit longer than initially expected," the Mozilla Foundation says.

The next version of Firefox has been delayed for a few months, the Mozilla Foundation confirmed Thursday.

Earlier Mozilla stated on its Web site that the next major release of Firefox, called version 1.1, would be released in July. But on Wednesday, lead Firefox engineer Ben Goodger updated the group's road map to indicate that the next major release would now not be until after August.

Adding new features to the open-source browser has taken "a bit longer than initially expected," according to Tristan Nitot, the president of Mozilla Europe.

The next release will now be called Firefox 1.5 as it includes more features than initially planned, Nitot said. "What we have been doing is better than initially planned, so instead of calling it 1.1, we think it deserves the name of 1.5," Nitot told ZDNet UK.

The Mozilla Foundation is planning to release the beta version of Firefox 1.5 in August, and has said the final version will be out sometime around September. Nitot said the foundation generally avoids committing itself to firm release dates because they can easily slip.

"You won't see many occasions where we mention release dates because we know it's risky to mention them," Nitot said. "I've been in the software industry too long to make any commitments in terms of dates--you always end up being wrong."

Earlier this week, ZDNet UK interviewed Asa Dotzler, the community coordinator for the Mozilla Foundation, about some of the most important features in the next major release of Firefox. These include an automatic update system, support for Scalable Vector Graphics, and a package that allows the creation of custom clients for Web services.

Ingrid Marson of ZDNet UK reported from London.