While the wait for the final Firefox 3.0 is still far from over, with the browser needing to continue to bake for approximately one month, the first bits of what could end up as the gold release are already available for download. At this point in time, Mozilla is in the final stages of cooking Firefox 3.0 Release Candidate 1
, but the code for this version of the browser is complete since May 10, 2008. Mozilla is in fact serving the first taste of Firefox
RC1 via nightly builds preceding the fully-fledged Release Candidate.
As far as Firefox 3.0 is concerned Mozilla has already dealt with the string freeze phase and closed the tree since the beginning of April. And on May 11 it handed off the code in order for the first builds to be put together. Unlike Microsoft who manages a closed development process for its proprietary Internet Explorer browser, Mozilla's Firefox benefits from the input of the community, via a building process characteristic for open source solutions. This is the reason why intermediary builds that are labeled as candidates for the RC1 version are already available.
The progress of Firefox 3.0 RC1
is also available to the public and the Release Tracking & Schedule features a link to Mozilla's FTP servers that permit access to the nightly preview builds of the next release. However, users are advised not to grab the Firefox 3.0 RC1 bits in advance and wait for Mozilla to finalize the build. Exception to this rule make of course all those involved in the development process of Firefox 3.0 RC1.
"This server is the only place to obtain nightly builds and needs to remain available to developers and testers. High bandwidth servers that contain the public release files are available [on Mozilla's FTP servers]. If you need to link to a public release, please link to the release server, not here. Thanks! Attempts to download high traffic release files from this server will get a "550 Permission denied." response", reads a message posted on the FTP website.
Firefox 3.0 Beta 5 is available for download here