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Mozilla aims for February Firefox 4 release

While Mozilla's Firefox 4, the latest version of the popular open-source web browser, has suffered numerous delays and additional betas to fix some last-minute bugs, the development team thinks it's on top of the problems - and is hoping to release the final version in February.

In a internal message to the Firefox team, Damon Sicore explained: "We've worked tremendously hard on Firefox 4, and it's time to ship it. I'm seeing the same burst of excitement and activity that we've seen in the endgame of every release. Over the past several days, component leads have again reduced their blockers by identifying hard blockers and those we can live without."

Referring to 'blockers' - those bugs that must be fixed before the browser can ship, as opposed to non-critical bugs that can be patched out in later version - Sicore told the team: "We've around 160 hard blockers remaining, and historically it has taken us six weeks to reach RC once we have 100 blockers left. We must press hard now."

Sicore explains that the team's immediate aim is to reach Release Candidate status 'as soon as possible,' planning to resolve all the major bugs by the beginning of next month and shipping the full release to users by the end of February. However, he warns: "Bug counts demand another beta. 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."

Aware of the difficult task facing the team, Sicore finishes his message with a pep-talk: "I know you're all tired and stressed. You all do incredible work every day, and you've built an amazing product. Stay focused. Be nice to each other. Firefox 4 is gonna kick ass, and you should be fiercely proud of it."

With Firefox 4 due to bring some major improvements to the platform, including enhanced GPU acceleration for smoother scrolling and improved performance, February could be a bumper month for fans of the browser.