A little over one year after shipping the first major version of Firefox, its Web browser phenomenon, the Mozilla Foundation is poised to ship the next major version of the product, dubbed Firefox 2.0. Additionally, the Mozilla Foundation has pledged to speed development of Firefox so that it can more effectively compete with market leader Internet Explorer (IE).
On Monday, the Mozilla Foundation revealed that it would ship Firefox 1.5 Tuesday afternoon. The 1.5 release has been in beta since September and recently underwent three release candidate (RC) builds. Like previous Firefox products, Firefox 1.5 will be available for free. The product is incredibly popular: Mozilla Foundation reports over 100 million downloads of the Firefox 1.x versions so far, and it has snagged at least 8 percent of the overall browser market. For many influential Web sites, however, Firefox usage is on par with that of IE.
New features in Firefox 1.5 include a vastly improved software updating system, a thoroughly redesigned Options dialog, better support for Web standards, better pop-up blocking, and improved security features. You will be able to download Firefox 1.5 later today from the Mozilla Web site.