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Firefox 2.0 Ships

Less than a week after Microsoft shipped the long awaited Internet Explorer 7, it's Mozilla's turn. Final code for Firefox 2 officially became available for download on Tuesday afternoon.

The near-simultaneous releases of the two leading browsers underline the horse-race analogy of the rivalry between Microsoft's venerable IE and Firefox, the young -- but maturing -- challenger to browser dominance.

Among new key features, Firefox 2 adds a "session restore" function that will automatically restore any open windows from a previous session. That includes text the user was typing online, in case the user accidentally closed a browser session -- or the browser itself crashed.

In addition, links that open new browser windows now open in tabs by default, and each tab includes its own close button. When more tabs are open than can be displayed across the top of a single window, scroll arrows let the user to navigate the list of open tabs, Mozilla documents state.

Other additions include a new anti-phishing feature and inline spell checking. And search suggestions now appear in the search box auto-complete window for Google and Yahoo searches.

Also in Firefox 2, the "Preferences" dialog has been redesigned, although in the Windows edition, the old buttons have been preserved. It can be customized in either version via the hidden browser preferences "instant apply" option.

The download of Firefox 2 is available here.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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