Firefox 3 RC2 on tap, final ship in mid June

Updated: The Mozilla Firefox 3 team decided Tuesday to make available a Release Candidate 2 that resolves some of the remaining showstopper bugs but they say it won't impact the ship date by much.During the team's weekly conference call today, Mozilla lead developer and phenomenologist Mike Beltzner said the RC2 code will freeze on Wednesday, May 28th, be sent out to build on May 29th and likely made available during the first week of June.

Updated: The Mozilla Firefox 3 team decided Tuesday to make available a Release Candidate 2 that resolves some of the remaining showstopper bugs but they say it won't impact the ship date by much.

During the team's weekly conference call today, Mozilla lead developer and phenomenologist Mike Beltzner said the RC2 code will freeze on Wednesday, May 28th, be sent out to build on May 29th and likely made available during the first week of June.

Firefox 3 is currently scheduled to ship during the second week of June. Although Beltzner acknowledged that cleaning up the remaining bugs will delay the final ship date by five days, he claimed that other groups within Mozilla gave his team a "green light" to ship the final code in the second week of June anyway so there is little material impact on the web brower's actual ship date.

There are currently 1.6 million daily users of Firefox 3 and a very small percentage of them -- roughly 11,000-- are affected by the bugs, he said. 

During the hour long call, developers narrowed down the list of important bugs to be fixed in RC2 to three, including one bug that causes Windows XP to crash and other incompatibilities that impact the browser's use with Facebook, Hotmail and eBay. But most of the fixes are in and the outstanding issues won't slow down the schedule very much, team developers said.

As of late last week, the Mozilla team was undecided about whether to do an RC2 or to move to ship. That's no longer up in the air.

"We are going to do an RC2. Overall ship effect is five business days," said Mike Beltzner. "But this does not imply the ship date is five days after the second week of June.  We're still aiming for mid June. "

When asked to describe the severity of the unsolved bug, one unnamed developer said that as a "top crasher it stands out compared to any crashes we had all week.

Editor's Note: Mike Beltzner conducted the call and was quoted in this article, not Mike Schroepfer as originally published. This ZDnet blogger regrets the error.