Major Firefox release delayed

With development of new features taking longer than expected, Mozilla feels it's 'risky' to set a firm launch date for Firefox 1.5

The next version of Firefox has been delayed for a few months, the Mozilla Foundation confirmed on Thursday.

Earlier this week the Firefox roadmap on the Mozilla Web site stated that the next major release of Firefox, called version 1.1, would be released in July. But, on Wednesday, lead Firefox engineer Ben Goodger updated the roadmap to indicate that the next major release would now not be until after August.

Adding new features to the open source browser has taken "a bit longer than initially expected", according to Tristan Nitot, the president of Mozilla Europe.

The next release will now be called Firefox 1.5 as it includes more features than initially planned, said Nitot. "What we have been doing is better than initially planned, so instead of calling it 1.1, we think it deserves the name of 1.5," Nitot told ZDNet UK.

The Mozilla Foundation is planning to release a beta version of Firefox 1.5 in August, and has said the final version will be out some time around September. Nitot said the Foundation generally avoids committing itself to firm release dates as they can easily slip.

"You won't see many occasions where we mention release dates because we know it's risky to mention them," said Nitot. "I've been in the software industry too long to make any commitments in terms of dates — you always end up being wrong."

Earlier this week ZDNet UK published an interview with Asa Dotzler, the community co-ordinator for the Mozilla Foundation, where he explained some of the most important features in the next major release of Firefox. These include an automatic update system, support for the SVG standard and a package that allows the creation of custom clients for Web services.