The Firefox 3.0 alpha, code named Gran Paradiso, targets Web application developers and Mozilla's testing community, the company said on its site. It was released on Friday. The company also waved off end users: "Current users of Mozilla Firefox should not use Gran Paradiso Alpha 1."
Gran Paradiso sports rendering changes implemented in Gecko 1.9, the next-generation Mozilla layout engine that has been under development since August 2005. Other additions to the alpha include a complete overhaul of the graphics subsystem, changes to the way pages are painted, and new Scalable Vector Graphics support. However, the alpha doesn't yet feature any changes to the user interface or end-user tools.
Firefox 3.0, which is currently scheduled for release before the end of 2007, will be the first Mozilla browser to drop support for Windows 95, 98, and Millennium, as well as for Mac OS X 10.2 and earlier.
Developers and testers can download Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux editions of Gran Paradiso Alpha 1 from the Mozilla FTP site.
The current production version of Firefox, v. 2.0, debuted in October; as of the end of November, it accounted for 3.6% of all browsers used that month.