firefox 3.pngDevelopment on the Firefox 3 browser is finally starting to wrap up. It’s been a year and a half since Firefox 2 was released to the public, and by the end of May Firefox 3 will have entered the Release Candidate stages. This is all preparation for what looks to be a June 2008 launch of the long awaited Firefox 3 browser.

Mozilla has been fortunate enough to have over 1.2 million users test out pre-release versions of Firefox 3. With a test base that large it’s expected that Mozilla will deliver a top-notch browser, and I strongly believe that they are doing just that. I’ve been running nightly builds of Firefox 3 since before it hit the Alpha stage, and the progress I’ve seen is rather remarkable.

There are quite a few notable features in this release, but the thing that really takes the cake are the performance enhancements. As I’ve already shown the memory usage of Firefox 3 is much better than it was with Firefox 2, and even beats out most of the mainstream browsers. It’s nice to see that Mozilla didn’t compromise performance for the sake of adding spiffy new features.

It’s likely that there will be other Release Candidates available before the final version is pushed out the door, which is something Mozilla wanted to make clear:

If no new showstopper issues are found in RC1 it will become Firefox 3 final. If we find any critical issues we will continue to release new Release Candidates until we are ready for final ship.

All of this also means that there won’t be many changes between what you see now and what’s available in the final version. If you hate the new theme(s) or were expecting new features… sorry, at this point everything is pretty much carved in stone. Bug fixes are pretty much the only changes permitted from here on out.

Thanks to Change for the tip!