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Firefox 2.0 RC2. An Upgrade?

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Last week, Mozilla officially made the second release candidate (RC2) of its popular Firefox browser available for public consumption. As reviews pour in, an interesting debate is brewing amongst developers. Is Firefox 2.0 truly an upgrade from the current incarnation?

The early alpha builds of Firefox 2.0 boasted some promising features, to be sure. Chief among these were the totally overhauled bookmark interface and the new “Places” feature designed to provide keyword search ability for your history, bookmarks, and RSS subscriptions.

These features however, are conspicuously absent from Mozilla’s latest release candidate, leaving the testing community with the lingering notion that perhaps Firefox 2.0 is little more than a repackaged offering of version 1.5 laden with mostly aesthetic changes to give the browser a more “Vista-esque” luster.

Is this a reasonable assessment of the product? In all fairness, RC2′s session manager is clearly a new addition to the Firefox package. This utility gives users the ability to restore lost browsing sessions caused by system crashes, browser restarts, or the ever-nimble window closure as your boss is about to catch you in the midst of your daily forum trolling.

Integrated spell checking, antiphishing protection, SQLite storage and Javascript 1.7 support are also new features in RC2′s lineup. So while some of the more anticipated features of Firefox 2.0 have been scheduled for later implementation, it’s clear that Mozilla has been working to streamline the browser’s overall functionality.

Is the product still worthy of its 2.0 designation? It mostly depends on your subjective interpretation of release numerology. Since there is no universally accepted format for the numbering of new product versions, developers are free to implement whatever means they deem appropriate to label these releases.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter if you call it Firefox 2.0 or 1.6.3.2 it still looks pretty sweet. You don’t have to take my word for it though. Feel free to check out the release notes for yourself.

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Joe is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.

Firefox 2.0 RC2. An Upgrade?
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