Firefox 6 Alpha 2 released in parallel with Firefox 5 Beta

| Sunday, May 29th, 2011

The Firefox team announced that its Aurora channel has been updated to Firefox 6 Alpha. This may seem like odd news, because Firefox 5 Beta was just released last week. This is part of the Firefox team’s new development strategy, which calls for having three major versions in development at any given time.

This means Firefox 4 is the current stable release, with Firefox 5 being in Beta, and Firefox 6 being in Alpha. To make things even more interesting, they also have the Firefox Nightly builds available for download as well. Now, this is a bit confusing for the user, but is far from unusual in the browser industry. This has become the norm these days, with Google’s Chrome team doing exactly the same thing. Google has its Chrome (stable), Chromium (beta development), and Canary (alpha development) builds all publicly available at any given time.

Time will tell whether this strategy will result in faster or slower browser development, though it looks pretty good so far, with Google advancing browser technology at an extremely rapid pace.

Of course, Firefox 6 Alpha is an extremely early build, so it’s missing nearly all of the features it will eventually have. It does already have some new features, though. Firefox 6 Alpha includes enhanced HTML5 support, new features for Panorama, a better add-ons manager, and a revamped permissions manager that aims to help you manage your privacy better than ever before. The team also announced some developer-oriented features, such as a Javascript scratchpad that will allow you to test Javascript on websites you have open in the browser.

Interested in trying out the future of Firefox? You can find the development channels for download here.

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