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Mozilla pulls latest browser downloads

The developers of the open-source browser discover a bug in the newest 1.2 version that cripples dynamic HTML coding on some sites.

Mozilla has pulled downloads of its open-source Web browser after discovering a bug that cripples dynamic HTML coding on some sites, according to the AOL Time Warner-backed group.

The bug surfaced on Mozilla 1.2, the latest version of the AOL-supported browser that was released Nov. 26. The notice on was brief, noting developers would release Mozilla 1.2.1 with a software fix "shortly."

An AOL representative did not immediately return calls for comment.

Just last week, Mozilla released version 1.2 of its Web browser, with more than a dozen new advancements. Among its updates, Mozilla 1.2 improves support for the programming language Java with Mac OS 10.2 (code-named Jaguar) and adds tools to browse the Web in clusters of related pages, or tabbed browsing.

The newest bug affects some Web pages developed with dynamic HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), or DHTML--an advanced programming language that combines JavaScript, cascading style sheets, and the Document Object Model (DOM), among other technologies, to create a page that can change dynamically after it has loaded onto a browser. Marketers have taken a shine to the technology for creating eye-catching Web advertisements.

Mozilla is an open-source browser development effort funded by AOL's Netscape Communications subsidiary. The movement was conceived at the height of the browser wars between Netscape and Microsoft in the late-1990s. Similar to the Linux movement for operating systems, Netscape hoped to tap the software developer community to create a more competitive alternative to Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Along the way, the effort was detoured after developers had to rebuild the browser's software code from scratch. The technological issues halted the software's release until earlier this year.

Despite the somewhat buggy nature of the Mozilla open-source browser, it has many hard-core fans. In recent weeks, a list of Mozilla's Web browser capabilities has been circulating on newsgroups and discussion forums frequented by programmers. The list enumerates 101 of Mozilla's features that outdo those of Microsoft's market-leading IE browser, including the ability to navigate numerous browser windows through tabs and the ability to block pop-up advertisements.

Some people operating the newest browser noted that some advertisements did not appear on certain pages because of the bug. Others applauded Mozilla's quick response to fix the glitch.

"It's nice to see the developers make a quick move to get the problem fixed, instead of saying, 'Oh well, look to the 1.3a release to fix that problem.' Kudos, Mozilla team!," said one post on the Web page.