Firefox 3.5 release candidate is out

With Safari 4, Chrome 2, and Internet Explorer 8 now out, what's happening with the next major revision of Firefox? It's not quite ready yet, but Firefox 3.5 has now reached the release candidate stage. In other words, you can already sample the near-final version, and the full release isn't far off.

Firefox 3.5 RC2 (RC1 apparently slipped by pretty quickly) is available here for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux in more than 70 languages. Mozilla stresses that this is a "public preview release intended for developer testing and community feedback." Aside from a possible handful of leftover bugs, though, this ought to be pretty close to the final product.

In case you haven't been paying attention during the browser's lengthy development cycle, Firefox 3.5 brings performance enhancements from both its improved Gecko layout engine and its new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine. You'll also find a handful of new features, including a private browsing mode, support for HTML5 video and audio tags, and support for other new web technologies like downloadable fonts. (Thanks to TR reader SH SOTN for the heads-up.)

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