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Mozilla releases second Firefox release candidate

Mozilla on Sunday released a second release candidate of Firefox 3.6, a modest upgrade that embodies Mozilla's effort to increase the frequency the open-source browser is developed.

Mike Beltzner, president of Firefox, announced second Firefox 3.6 release candidate Sunday but didn't share details. The release notes were equally mum, but the update process called the new software a "security and stability update."

The software is available from Mozilla's download site. More than 1 million people are testing Firefox 3.6 at present, and more than 300 million overall use Firefox, Mozilla said.

The new version includes Personas to let people customize the browser's appearance; blocks third-party software from encroaching on its file system turf to increase stability; and--perhaps most significantly given the competitive threat from Google Chrome--shortens start-up time and improves responsiveness and JavaScript performance.

Mozilla has been moving to a faster release cycle for Firefox and, more recently, the Thunderbird e-mail software. With Firefox, Mozilla recently changed course to try to produce updates more often that add new features but don't disrupt interfaces or otherwise require users or Web developers to change their ways.

The first of these non-intrusive releases, code-named Lorentz, is scheduled to arrive in the first quarter as Firefox 3.6.5.

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