The targeted release date for Firefox 3 Beta 3 is now February 11 and follow on Beta 4 is "tentatively" scheduled for February 26, according to Firefox meeting notes posted on Mozilla.org Tuesday.
With that, it appears Firefox 3 will be released in early 2008 as planned, although no exact date has been announced.
The team started release candidate builds after the Beta 3 features code freeze on January 29 but planned at least one more beta before version 3 of the open source browser is released.
The Firefox development team has decided to put out a Beta 4 version of Firefox 3 to refine the Windows, Linux and Mac OSX themes and overall "Visual Polish," as well as improved offline support, security UI and Places feature, according to the meeting notes. Beta 4 is referred to as the "final ship"
One major bug in Places, for example, makes it impossible to drag and drop items across different views and menus. "This is the cause of much weeping and gnashing of teeth," the report notes.
Still, the Firefox team is in the final stages of development and has fixed more than a thousand bugs since Beta 1. The development team is working to resolve the last slate of bugs and the quality and assurance team is fhammering on the upgrade's new add-ons manager, the Mac OSX theme and icons (formerly known as Proto), web protocol handling, the Places UI library and safebrowsing and phishing protection, according to the meeting notes.
The team is now considering a Firefox 3.1 version as well as a planned Firefox 3.5 version this year as it prepares for a switch to the Mozilla 2 platform, according to roadmap information on the web site. The next major upgrade, Firefox 4, will be based on a redesigned Mozilla 2 platform that is aimed at improving performance and functionality for the Web 2.0 era, with better support for web protocols and AJAX, according to meeting notes.
Mozilla developer Mike Beltzner said that version 3.1 and version 3.5 are "indeed considerations and speculations."
Firefox 1.5 was released in November of 2005 and Firefox 2 was released a year later, in November of 2006. Firefox 3 will ship in early 2008 -- I'm guessing in March. But that's my guess -- the Firefox team has not specified an exact release date. Firefox 4? I'd expected a release in 2009 but the Firefox team has not announced an exact timeframe.