After a significant wait, the seventh beta of Firefox 4.0 has been released. The latest test release is almost two months behind schedule, but Firefox 4.0 Beta 7, which is feature complete, is the first real preview of the upcoming Mozilla browser.Mozilla hasn't made any announcements just yet, but Firefox 4.0 Beta 7 was expected to be available today, barring any last minute issues. Sure enough, the latest beta is now available on Mozilla's FTP servers.
The previous Firefox 4.0 Beta 6 is still being offered officially, but you can grab the freshly baked build from the download links below.
Firefox 4.0 Beta 7 was scheduled for a mid-September launch, but was pushed back by a large number of 'showstoppers,' bugs which prevented Mozilla from releasing the beta build to the public.
Compared to the previous release, the new beta is a lot more polished. It is also feature-complete, meaning that everything you see in Beta 7 will be present in Firefox 4.0, nothing more, nothing less.
JaegerMonkey has been in the works for the better part of this year and is now ready for a wider release. It builds on TraceMonkey and focuses on areas where the current engine doesn't excel.
WebGL, the native 3D graphics API which Mozilla, Google and a number of other companies and organizations are trying to standardize, is now enabled by default on all supported platforms, Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
Some hardware acceleration features, for 2D content, are also enabled in Firefox 4.0 Beta 7 on Windows and Mac.
Improved web typography is supported by Firefox 4.0 Beta 7 which comes with support for more advanced features such as ligatures and contextual alternatives. You can read more about them here.
Mozilla's revised plans, after delaying the Firefox 4.0 launch to 2011, was to have three more beta releases by the end of the year. It remains to be seen if the team manages to get Beta 8 and Beta 9 out the door by the end of the month and Beta 10 in December, though it is rather unlikely.
Firefox 4.0 Beta 7 for Windows is available for download here.
Firefox 4.0 Beta 7 for Linux is available for download here.
Firefox 4.0 Beta 7 for Mac is available for download here.