Firefox 3 Beta 1 is available for download, but Mozilla recommends that only those with a strong stomach download this release. That disclaimer aside Firefox 3 Beta 1 seems pretty stable in the early going.
As reported by Paula Rooney Monday, Mozilla was prepping the release of the first Firefox 3 beta. This beta is the ninth developer milestone. One developer told Paula that Beta 1 is the “most thoroughly tested” software from Mozilla Q&A team in the last few years. But first the disclaimer from Mozilla:
We do not recommend that anyone other than developers and testers download the Firefox 3 Beta 1 milestone release. It is intended for testing purposes only.
Despite that disclaimer, my early stress tests show this beta to be as stable as Firefox 2. My stress test usually includes about seven streaming quote windows open and about a dozen tabs.
Update 9:50 a.m. PST: Let's amend that last statement. Firefox 3 has gobbled up a chunk of memory and led to a major crash that required a restart. Yahoo Mail in its new format is a no-go (that's a bit of a deal breaker). And I was getting some sketchy code in WordPress when I'd cut and paste from Microsoft Word. Looked fine on Firefox 3, but no one else could see it (that's definitely a dealbreaker). Bottom line: I'm on Firefox 2 for working hours.
Back to your regularly scheduled post...Specifically, Firefox 3 Beta 1 (release notes) has the following (see gallery for more):
- Better security;
- Revised password management, add-on installation and download procedures;
- More personalization with one-click bookmarking;
- New graphics and font rendering and offline application support;
- Improved performance with more than 300 memory leak fixes.
A few quick observations as I take Firefox 3 for a spin:
- The bookmark manager has been improved with the ability to tag specifica pages for better organization.
- Security features do seem enhanced, but I think all the prompts for invalid certificates could get old quickly.
- There are a lot of features under the hood to be explored. The interface is very similar to Firefox 2. And thus far the stability is at least on par with Firefox 2 too.
- Yahoo Mail stumbles badly in Firefox 3. Errors spring up at every turn. Yahoo Classic Mail works.