Mozilla to release Firefox 1.5 Tuesday

After a host of test releases and one false start, a new version of the Firefox browser will be ready on Tuesday, according to a media alert issued by the Mozilla Foundation on Monday.

Firefox 1.5 will be available for free on Tuesday afternoon, U.S. Pacific Standard Time, at www.getfirefox.com and www.mozilla.com, according to the open-source group. A complete press release outlining the new features in Firefox 1.5, as well as some additional Mozilla news, will be issued at the time the new version is available.

New features in Firefox 1.5 include a better system for updating software, faster navigation using the “Back” and “Forward” tabs, and a redesigned Options/Preferences window that increases the number of category icons and moves them from the left side of the window to the top.

Firefox 1.5 also includes new support for Web standards, adding support for Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), JavaScript 1.6 and new versions of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). SVG is a language based on XML (Extensible Markup Language) for writing sophisticated two-dimensional graphics, and JavaScript 1.6 is the latest version of the scripting language. CSS is a W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) standard for adding style elements, such as fonts, colors and spacing, to Web documents

In addition, the Firefox update adds better pop-up blocking and a host of security enhancements, according to Mozilla. Other new features include the addition of Answers.com to Firefox’s list of search engines and a Clear Private Data function that allows users to quickly remove personal data through a menu item or keyboard shortcut.

Firefox, which celebrated its one-year anniversary Nov. 9, has become a popular alternative to Microsoft Corp.’s Internet Explorer browser. Last month, downloads of Firefox topped 100 million.

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