Mozilla (Firefox), Microsoft (Internet Explorer), Apple (Safari), and Google (Chrome) have all recently released new browser versions for the next-gen browser wars, and soon Opera will join the pack. In the meantime, Opera Software today announced the first release candidate for Opera 10.
"The release candidate pushes us closer to the final launch of Opera 10," said Jan Standal, VP of Desktop Products, Opera. "We paid special attention to the mail client, which is one of our most enduring and popular features."
According to Opera Software, the RC is feature complete and sports a fresh look, a new application icon, and of course improved speed and performance over previous versions, up to 40 percent faster than Opera 9.6, the software maker claims. Other new features include an inline spell-checker, automated crash reporting, Web integration for email, a resizable search field, RSS Feed previews, and more.
Interested in giving Opera 10 a spin? Grab your copy here, or chill out until September 1st when the final version is expected to launch.
Mozilla is also hoping that Firefox 3.5 will help them champion the open HTML5 standard, and start putting a dent in proprietary video technologies such as Adobe Flash or Windows Media. HTML5 has seen a lot of support from third party browser developers lately, and could prove to be a very capable and flexible alternative. “Somebody has to take a stand” said Mozilla senior platform engineer Damon Sicore. "Somebody has to put open video on the Web. It's important that these formats are unencumbered. We feel that it's something that's in our mission that we have to do to keep them moving forward, in keeping the Web open."
Have you been playing with the Beta or RC version of Firefox 3.5, or do you like to wait for the final release?
Mozilla, who still plans to release Firefox 3.5 by the end of the month, took one step closer to that goal on Friday by finally making available the first Firefox 3.5 Release Candidate (RC). Prior to Friday, lingering bugs had forced Mozilla to delay the RC rollout on more than one occasion.
If you've already installed Firefox 3.5 Beta 4, you should receive an offer to update to the RC automatically. If not, try using the "Check for Updates" option under the "Help" menu.
In just a couple of days, Mozilla will make available a release candidate (RC) for its upcoming Firefox 3.5 browser, and according to Pocket-Lint.com, a final version is expected by the end of the month.
Firefox 3.5 -- which trails in release behind Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 and Apple's Safari 4 -- sports a number of improvements, over 5,000 according to Mozilla. Some of the more notable features include private browsing, a faster rendering engine, geolocation functionality, and better tab management.
Already looking ahead, Mozilla's next browser, currently codenamed Namoroka, will take a page from Google's Chrome and utilize process isolation features. There will also be a 64-bit version of Firefox for OSX users.
Microsoft's latest Windows version, Windows 7, has already proven to be too popular for the Internet's own good. Back in January, Microsoft planned to offer the Windows 7 beta to only 2.5 million lucky downloaders over a two-week period, but that didn't last long. As servers crashed under the weight of digital "gold rush" fever, Redmond extended the date to February 10th while lifting the download cap.
This time, with early demand for Windows 7 RC from TechNet and MSDN members crashing servers at the end of April, Microsoft is telling the public to relax:
You don't need to rush to get the RC. The RC will be available at least through July 2009 and we're not limiting the number of product keys, so you have plenty of time.
Wondering how to get more product keys the easy way? Having problems restoring a file backup you made with Windows 7 Beta to Windows 7 RC? Join us after the jump.
Starting yesterday, MSDN and TechNet subscribers have been able to download the Release Candidate (RC) for Windows 7, Microsoft's upcoming operating system. This latest version represents the final phases of development and is geared towards giving hardware and software partners a headstart in coding device drivers and services.
"Listening to our partners and customers has been fundamental to the development of Windows 7," said Bill Veghte, senior VP for the Windows business at Microsoft. "We heard them and worked hard to deliver the highest quality Release Candidate in the history of Windows. We have more partner support than we've ever had for an RC and are pleased to say that the Windows 7 RC has hit the quality and compatibility bar for enterprises to start putting it through its paces and testing in earnest."
That should come as good news to everyone who plans on upgrading once Windows 7 starts shipping. By contrast, Vista's release was the polar opposite to what Microsoft is claiming we can expect out of Windows 7. Driver issues, particularly with Nvidia hardware, plagued Vista's release, as did several performance hampering bugs.
If you're not an MSDN or TechNet subscriber, you still won't have to wait long to get your hands on the RC. Microsoft says it will make Windows 7 RC available to the general public on May 5, which is next Tuesday.
According to Mozilla, beta 4 will be the last beta before the final version of Firefox 3.5 is released.
As stated by Mike Beltzner, Mozilla’s Director of Firefox, all of the remaining beta issues in Firefox 3.5 have been worked out. And, while they don’t rule out the possibility of beta 4 uncovering additional issues, they fully believe that they’re on track for a release sometime in late Q2.
Mozilla is estimating that nearly 900,000 people are currently using the beta versions of Firefox 3.1/3.5, and they hope that all of this support will allow them to release full versions more regularly. While it took them about two years to release 3.0, it’s only taken them one to develop 3.5.
Recent postings on the Microsoft Partners website suggest that Redmond's about to pour a refreshing glass of Win7 RC the first full week of May.
Although the Microsoft Partner Program page that Neowin.com posted last week has since been updated to remove the Download Windows 7 RC button, the newest version of the page now notes that May 7 (two days after the reported public release of Windows 7 RC noted in the earlier version) will be Windows 7 Virtual Partner Readiness Day.
Does this indicate that Microsoft is delaying the public release of Windows 7 RC by a couple of days? We won't know until later, but early May continues to look like RC time.
Microsoft released the release candidate for Windows Vista SP2 (Vista SP2 RC) to the public yesterday. You can now download it from the Microsoft TechNet website. However, before you install Vista SP2 RC, here are ten essential facts about the latest update to Windows Vista:
SP2 RC doesn't include a lot of visible razzle-dazzle, but....
.. it's designed to make your system work better with the latest hardware...
...and to clean up after itself.
It includes over 600 hotfixes to help your system work more reliably, but there are a few glitches to watch out for.
You're not ready for Vista SP2 RC if you don't have Vista SP1 installed.
vLite-streamlined Vista SP1 won't work with SP2 RC
Vista SP2 RC is available in a bunch of installation flavors, but if you want to get it via Windows Update right now, you have some extra work to do.
You can help Microsoft make the SP2 installation process better, but nobody's forcing you to do so.
Yeah, your desktop will remind you you're running a pre-release program
If you're on the Microsoft Connect testing list for Windows Vista SP2 or Windows Server 2008 SP2, Redmond has just rung the "come and get it" bell - SP2 RC (the same package upgrades both Vista SP1 and Windows Server) was released to MS Connect testers yesterday, Ars Technicareports.
So, what's special about SP2 RC? Some highlights include:
Support for VIA's 64-bit CPU
Integration of the Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless, including support for Bluetooth 2.1
Support for writing to Blu-ray media
Integration of Windows Search 4.0
Better and more secure installation experience
Over 690 hotfixes
If you're not among the fortunate few testing Vista SP2 RC, what should you be doing until you can try it? For our suggestions, as well as an early comparison with Vista RC1 (not to mention your chance to sound off), join us after the jump.