Firefox 4 due next month

Mozilla's director of platform engineering says the browser is entering the home stretch

Hot on the heels of last month's Firefox 4 beta 8 release comes word from Damon Sicore, senior director of platform engineering at Mozilla, that both a Firefox 4 release candidate and final version are due in February.

In a post to the Google group, Sicore says there are about 160 hard blockers (serious bugs that could render a product unshippable) left to fix and notes that "historically it has taken us six weeks to reach RC once we have 100 blockers left." He does note that the number of remaining hard blockers does call for at least two more beta releases ("We'll drive the beta bugs to zero and ship another beta. If we can't get them to zero in reasonable time, we'll repeat, deliberately") before the product moves to the release candidate stage.

Further, Sicore reminds his team that plug-in testing is of vital importance and asks them to not disable Silverlight, Flash, or other such plug-in platforms. He is also paying particular attention to issues that may be raised by hardware acceleration on Windows machines.

Sicore finishes his road map with a pep talk, telling his testers that "Firefox 4 is gonna kick ass, and you should be fiercely proud of it."

Mozilla is no doubt looking to Firefox 4 to provide a boost in its efforts to gain more browser market share. The company recently claimed its first market share crown and has seen the gap between Firefox and Microsoft's Internet Explorer narrow. However, this dynamic is largely due to IE losing market share to Google's Chrome, while Firefox's share has remained steady. If Firefox 4 takes off, it could drive an increase in market share, helping close the gap even further.

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