Mozilla has released the Release Candidate 2 (RC2) of Firefox 4 web browser. Mozilla has a release date listed for Firefox 4 as March 22nd. The RC 2 build is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
Mozilla Firefox 4 is almost here! We updated the Firefox 4 release candidate with some minor security fixes and updates to several localizations, including the addition of a Vietnamese localized version. Firefox will now ship in 80 languages. We’re excited to deliver the new features, look and speed of Firefox 4 to our more than 400 million users worldwide.
Unlike Internet Explorer 9, FF 4 will support Windows XP, which is a great news for its users. However, FF 4 will not work on Windows editions prior to XP or on Apple Mac OS not running OSX 10.5 or 10.6.
According to an article posted (Web Archive link) at the Technology section of MSNBC aptly titled “Why Firefox 4 isn’t abandoning Windows XP,”
Clearly, it’s in the interests of Microsoft’s business to get Windows XP users to upgrade to new Windows versions. Leaving them in the cold on the new Internet Explorer is one way to prod them in that direction. But it’s also not an unreasonable suggestion. A decade is more like a century on the web.
Here’s the main problem: A bunch of us haven’t gotten the message. More than 40 percent of web users are still on Windows XP. And that’s the first thing Firefox engineering director Johnathan Nightingale brought up when I asked him about the issue. In an ironic twist, Mozilla’s upcoming Firefox 4 is supporting not only Microsoft’s Windows XP but also Windows 2000, even though Microsoft’s new browser doesn’t.
“That’s a decision that they get to make, but it sure did surprise us, because the best metrics that we’ve got say 40 to 50 percent of the web is still on XP. That’s too big for us to just leave them behind,” Nightingale said via phone. “Yeah, it’s harder work, because XP has a totally different hardware-acceleration story. You need to be using Direct3D there, instead of Direct2D on Vista and 7. It meant we had to do a lot more work architecturally to make sure we could offer a high-quality experience across both of them. But you know what? That’s the job.”