Mozilla 1.1 goes for speed

The new open-source browser improves performance and stability, but some remaining bugs are yet to be ironed out

The Mozilla Organization has released a new version of its open-source Mozilla browser suite, with improved stability and Web-page compatibility, as well as tweaks to a number of specific features. The broswer can be downloaded from the Web site.

The release of Mozilla 1.1 comes relatively quickly after Mozilla 1.0, which arrived in June after years in development. The browser is the result of an experiment by Netscape Communications, now part of AOL Time Warner, in which the company released its next-generation software to the open-source community in exchange for the volunteer efforts of developers around the world. The technologies developed for Mozilla are later integrated into Netscape's own commercial browser software, as well as into other open-source browsers such as Galeon, on the Linux platform.

Open-source software is covered by licences which, broadly, allow developers to freely modify and redistribute the software, as long as the modifications are returned to the community.

The most important improvements with Mozilla 1.1 are in application and rendering performance, stability and Web site compatibility. There are, however, a number of minor improvements aimed at making the browser easier to use: distinct window icons for the various Mozilla applications; the ability to trigger Microsoft Windows dial-up networking to establish a new connection; an improved Download Manager; better drag-and-drop and a new button for making Mozilla the Windows system default in one click.

For Macintosh users, the browser now supports MathML, a specification for encoding and displaying mathematical notations, and uses the Quartz rendering engine, in Mac OS X 10.1.5 and later.

Some users may want to stick to version 1.0, however, which the organisation still flags as its most stable release. A few users have reported bugs persisting in version 1.1, some of which were ironed out of version 1.0 when that software was being finalised.

The Mozilla developers are now turning their attention to the alpha version of Mozilla 1.2. A 1.2 beta is scheduled for October, with a final release expected by the end of the year.

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