05:21 PM

Firefox 2.0 Beta 1 Debuts

Among the features new to Firefox 2.0 are an in-line spell-checker, anti-phishing alerts, and restore-after-crash capability. But Mozilla says the beta is for developers, not end users.

Mozilla Corp. on Wednesday released the first beta of Firefox 2.0, the preview browser formerly known as Bon Echo.

The beta, which on Monday was reported as imminent (by TechWeb, among others), is not suitable for end users, Mozilla said. "We do not recommend that anyone other than developers and testers download the Firefox 2 Beta 1 milestone release. It is intended for testing purposes only," the company's site read Wednesday.

Among the features new to Firefox 2.0 are an in-line spell checker, anti-phishing alerts, and restore-after-crash; the browser also sports improvements to its tabs, news feeds, and extension and theme add-ons.

According to the still-posted development map, Beta 1 was originally scheduled to appear in June, with Beta 2 in July and a final in August. Notes of a Tuesday Mozilla staff meeting, however, indicate that Beta 2 won't appear until August 11, which would push a final Firefox 2.0 into September at the earliest.

Besides generally waving users away from Beta 1, Mozilla also noted that most extensions and themes won't immediately work with the browser.

Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux versions of Firefox 2.0 Beta 1 can be downloaded from this page of the Mozilla Web site.

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