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Mozilla's Firefox 1.5 RC1 Roll Out Sparks Complaints

Users - many of them running Windows - have packed message boards with complaints about glitches in Mozilla's update mechanism, one of the most touted features of the new browser.

Mozilla Corp. posted Firefox 1.5 Release Candidate 1 for downloading late Tuesday, but users quickly packed message boards with complaints about glitches in Mozilla's update mechanism, one of the most touted features of the new browser.

The release candidate -- one step closer toward the final 1.5, which is expected before the end of the year -- can be downloaded in versions for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux from Mozilla's Web site or its FTP servers. Users of Beta 1 or Beta 2, however, can simply wait for the automatic update to kick in; the update to RC1 runs about 690K, compared to the full Windows download of 5MB.

Many Windows users, however, experienced problems with the update service, and voiced concerns in messages posted to the MozillaZine site as well to Asa Dotzler's blog about the availability of RC1. Dotzler heads Mozilla's quality control.

"When I do software update in firefox, it downloads sometimes 686KB, sometimes [sic] 6.0MB then says 'Firefox is installing...' after some 20 seconds Firefox comes up again still saying it's Firefox Beta 2 in the titlebar. Same for the 'About Firefox' dialog. I can do that as often as I want to it still remains on beta 2," wrote a user identified as "gvd" to MozillaZine.

TechWeb reproduced the problem in a machine running Firefox 1.5 Beta 2. Only after manually downloading the 5MB installation file for RC1 was TechWeb able to successfully update the browser.

"It seems Automatic Update needs more "tweaking" than expected," wrote another user, Alex Herrero, in a comment to Dotzler's blog.

Other users claimed that Firefox 1.5 RC1's check for valid extensions hung after the update was installed, but once the browser was restarted, the program worked fine.

According to Mozilla's developer center, Firefox 1.5 will see at least one more Release Candidate before the browser goes final. RC2 may show as early as Nov. 11, "depending on the feedback from RC1."

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