Date set for Firefox 3.1 beta

Mozilla developers aim to release a test version of the update to the public later this month

Developers working on the next version of Firefox aim to release a beta to the public in August.

The project team has set a date of 19 August to freeze features and make the test version of Firefox 3.1 available, according to a calendar posting to the Mozilla wiki. However, the posting notes that the date is an estimate.

Expected new features in Firefox 3.1 include native support for the open-source Ogg Vorbis audio codec and the Ogg Theora video codec, according to a draft list posted to the wiki. The inclusion of the open-source formats accompanies support for HTML5 in the browser, which will mean Firefox 3.1 will work with audio and video html tags.

"The backend has been committed to the main Mozilla source code and is enabled by default," wrote developer Chris Double in his blog. "This original commit is a work in progress. There are unimplemented bits, bugs, etc that need to be sorted out. But it's a start towards using a common codec across all platforms and will improve as we get towards the 3.1 release."

The last full version of the open-source browser, Firefox 3, racked up more than eight million downloads within 24 hours on its release on 17 June, setting a world record.