Mozilla has just released the English version of Firefox 3 Alpha 2 (codename Gran Paradiso) and it is the first release of Firefox that passes the Acid 2 test. Well, it is still a pre-release version but it is on its way to be the final version that will be released later this year. If you haven’t heard by this point, the big thing with Firefox 3 is replacing the rendering engine with Cairo…which has improved a lot of things including how it scales images. Here is a list of what’s new from the Firefox 3 Alpha 2 release notes:

  • Core layout code affecting the calculation of widths in tables, floats, and absolutely positioned elements has been rewritten. The code for handling incremental layout of pages (as data arrives over the network, as images load, or as dynamic changes are made) has also been changed extensively.
  • Resolved remaining issues with ACID2 test compliance.
  • Support for the Web Apps 1.0 API for changing stylesheets.
  • The inline-block and inline-table values of CSS 2.1’s display property are now implemented.
  • XML documents can now be rendered as they’re downloaded instead of only after the full document has been loaded.
  • Greatly improved Mac widgets support since Alpha 1.
  • Improvements in the Cairo graphics layer.

I’m definitely excited about this release, but I just can’t bring myself to switch to this as my primary browser at this point because my GMarks extension doesn’t work. I know that I could just use the built-in bookmarking system but it is always nice to have my bookmarks available wherever I go. I’ve contacted the extension developer and he is currently looking into it, and once that gets fixed I plan on permanently switching over.

So what does the future look like for Firefox 3? As of right now the Alpha releases will be every 6 weeks or so, but they do not mention exactly how many of them they plan on doing. That puts us at the End of March before we see the next Alpha release and my estimation for the final release date is sometime this summer (probably the June/July timeframe). It will definitely be fun to see what the future has in store for us!

Note: In case anyone is wondering Places has not been put back in yet.

Portable Firefox 3 Alpha 2 for Windows
Windows: Gran Paradiso Alpha 2 exe
Mac OS X: Gran Paradiso Alpha 2 dmg
Linux: Gran Paradiso Alpha 2 tar.gz

Thanks to natmaster for the tip!