Mozilla.org has released the latest beta-test version of Mozilla, the open-source browser suite on which AOL Time Warner's Netscape 6 is based.
Mozilla 0.9.6 fixes several bugs and adds new features, such as displaying page icons in the location bar and cross-platform support for .bmp and .ico image formats.
Although the browser is still in beta form, it is already used widely by the development community. Its page-rendering engine, Gecko, is used as the core of other browsers such as the Linux browser Galeon, from the open-source development project GNOME. When Mozilla reaches its 1.0 release, it will be used as the default browser by Red Hat, distributor of the most popular Linux distribution.
Among other tweaks, the new beta adds a Print Preview feature, and adds Page Setup for the Mac. An improved search feature lets users highlight any word on a page and find matches via a contextual right-click menu.
Besides a browser, Mozilla includes an email application, Usenet newsreader, and other functions. A developer said that the next two beta releases will focus on improving performance and stability of the newsreader and mail programs.
Netscape released the source code for Mozilla in 1999. The company's first release of Netscape 6, based on Mozilla, was roundly criticised, though the more recent 6.1 has received better reviews. While recent Mozilla releases have been praised by developers, many users have grown tired of waiting for the project to reach a conclusion.
The software is available from Mozilla's site, for Windows, Macintosh and Linux.
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