Now that Firefox 3.0 is finalized, made available to the general public since June 17, and already in the history books, with over 8 million downloads in the first 24 hours, Mozilla is focusing on the next iteration of its open source browser. Very early versions of Firefox 3.1
codenamed Shiretoko have already been released to testers, and the first fully fledged Alpha
version is already cooking in Mozilla's open source ovens. But at the current development pace, the release of Firefox 3.1 could very well slip into early 2009.
Initially, Shiretoko seemed right on track for delivery by the end of this year, just as the availability of Firefox 3.0 was pushed back from the end of 2007 all the way to summer 2008, so the delivery of version 3.1 can be postponed all the way to early 2009. But testers, developers and power users will get to play with the first Alpha of Shiretoko very early, approximately a month after the release of Firefox 3.0.
Mozilla plans to deliver Firefox 3.1 Alpha 1 by the end of July 2008. But Shiretoko, unlike Firefox 3.0, codenamed throughout the development phase Grand Paradiso, will not spend that much time in Alpha stage. The first beta of Firefox 3.1 will drop in August 2008, the same month Microsoft is scheduled to release Internet Explorer Beta 2. The final version of Firefox 3.1 could hit either in the last quarter of 2008, or in the first quarter of 2009.
According to Mozilla, the focus with Firefox 3.1 will be spread on various areas of the browser from the installer to the update infrastructure, to the storage and then under the hood of the browser. Mozilla plans to continue to increase the performance level of the open source browser and it appears that Shiretoko will also be the first Firefox version to pass the Acids3 Test.
But for the time being Firefox 3.0 is available for download here