The Mozilla Foundation has released a beta version of Firefox 2, the next major version of its Web browser.
This is the first beta version of Firefox 2 to be made publicly available, and Mozilla hopes that software developers will download it and test whether it is compatible with their existing Firefox extensions.
"We have over 1,000 extensions already, but they may not work with this new version," said Tristan Nitot, president of Mozilla Europe.
According to reports, the beta version comes with a built-in antiphishing tool, improved search box capabilities and an integrated spell checker. Changes have also been made to the RSS support.
Nitot declined to speculate about the features that might appear in the commercial release of Firefox 2, pointing out that changes may be made following public reaction to the beta.
The latest beta can be downloaded from Mozilla's FTP server.
In late June, Microsoft released the final beta for the next version of its browser, Internet Explorer.
Graeme Wearden of ZDNet UK reported from London.