Firefox 1.5 beta hits the Web

The eagerly awaited beta includes plenty of new features, including better support for the Mac

The beta of Firefox 1.5, codenamed 'Deer Park', is now available for download from the Mozilla Foundation's Web site.

The beta version of the popular open source browser includes new features such as drag-and-drop reordering of browser tabs and faster navigation. There have also been improvements to usability, including descriptive error pages, redesigned options menu, RSS discovery and a "Safe Mode", according to Mozilla.

Mozilla also said Mac users have been catered for, as there is better support for Mac OS X (10.2 and greater) including profile migration from Safari and Mac Internet Explorer.

An 'Automated update' has been added to streamline product upgrades. Notification of an update is more prominent, and updates to Firefox may now be well now only involve downloads of a few hundred kilobytes.

Security issues have been addressed and popup blocking has been improved.

Mozilla warned that the beta is "not the final release of the Web browser, and has been made available for testing purposes only, with no end-user support."

The release of the beta was initially planned for July, which was then pushed back to August, then September.

New features of the beta also include new support for Web Standards including SVG; CSS 2 and CSS 3; JavaScript 1.6; a Clear Private Data feature which provides "an easy way to quickly remove personal data through a menu item or keyboard shortcut"; and the addition of to the default search engine list.