22 March 2006

Firefox 2.0 Alpha Available

The Mozilla Foundation has released an alpha version of its popular open-source web browser, Firefox.

Firefox 2.0 alpha is now available from Mozilla's ftp server.

Lots of people are now using the Firefox web browser, but not as many are using Get Thunderbird!, Firefox's companion Email client. I recently convinced one of my friends to switch to Thunderbird, and he's been quite happy with it since the switch. Although Thunderbird doesn't have a built-in calendaring application and some of the other group/collaborative features that Microsoft's Outlook has, I find that it has what I need for even the most advanced e-mail tasks. However, a calendar application is currently being developed by the Mozilla Foundation.

As with all alpha versions of software, unless you really need the latest and greatest and you're very good at troubleshooting, it's probably best to wait at least until a beta version of Firefox 2.0 is available. Mozilla is releasing the alpha version to start getting the community involved in hunting down hunting down all of the bugs that inevitably pop up in new software applications and new versions thereof. (Wikipedia has a pretty good wiki on the software development process, including alpha and beta versions.)

Another reason that you might want to wait until a beta release is that alpha releases aren't finished being developed, and features are still subject to change. When the beta version(s) are released, the features are, by that point, pretty much set down and it's more about the bug-stomping than anything else.

So if you're adventurous, and you don't mind using a browser who features aren't set down yet, and you absolutely, positively, must have the latest and greatest technology products, then check out the 2.0 alpha version of Firefox.

InformationWeek | Browsers | Firefox 2.0 Alpha Imminent | March 21, 2006