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Mozilla Firefox 3.1 gets 4th beta

Mozilla Firefox 3.1 gets 4th beta

Mozilla has confirmed that it will add another beta to the Firefox 3 .1 development schedule, a move that will push the browser's ship date to the second quarter or later.

"We're going to wrap up Beta 3 in the next week regardless of 'upvar' status," said Mike Shaver, Mozilla's vice president of engineering, referring to a particularly troublesome bug in Firefox 3.1's new JavaScript engine that has held up releasing that preview.

"A fourth beta will follow approximately six weeks after, as a vehicle for more testing of [the] TraceMonkey [JavaScript engine], video, Places and other eagerly-awaited improvements, as well as feedback from Beta 3," Shaver said in a message on a company forum.

The decision was not unexpected. Last month, Shaver said that bugs in TraceMonkey had slowed the development pace, which in turn had kicked the browser's release into next quarter . He also said that developers were considering a fourth beta.

Shaver's decision to push out Beta 3, come hell or high water, followed comments by a few Mozilla developers who wondered whether it's smart to hold up Firefox for TraceMonkey fixes.

One company programmer speculated that minus the new JavaScript engine, Mozilla could have wrapped up Firefox 3.1 by this point. "Without TraceMonkey, we probably could have shipped 3.1 final by now, or, if not now, within the next month," said Firefox developer David Baron last week.

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