Firefox 1.0.5, which has been in testing for several weeks, can be downloaded from the Mozilla Web site free of charge.
"This is a collection of security bug fixes and stability improvements," said Chris Hofmann, Mozilla's director of engineering. "We're also trying to anticipate some potential security problems with this update by patching vulnerabilities that alone aren't that significant, but might be used together to create an exploit. Most of them involve quite a bit of user interaction."
Hofmann also said that similar updates for Thunderbird and the Mozilla suite would follow later this week, and that the second alpha for Firebird 1.1 -- dubbed Deer Park in an attempt to stop users from trying out the unready browser -- would appear sometime Tuesday.
Deer Park is progressing, albeit slower than earlier Mozilla road maps, which as recently as January touted June as the release month for the final of 1.1. "We should have a beta version [of Deer Park] in about a month," said Hofmann.
Firefox 1.1 will be the first version of the open-source browser to offer an internal software update mechanism that doesn't require a complete download and re-install to upgrade the code.