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Mozilla software finally reaches 2.0

By JASON BAILEY
Sun Advocate/Progress Webmaster

Fans of Mozilla software should be pleased to know that both Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird have finally reached version 2.0. The Mountain View, California based software maker is suggesting that all users promptly upgrade to the 2.0 versions.

Thunderbird 2.0 went gold just a few weeks ago, back on April 18. Firefox 2.0, in contrast, was released to the public some time ago, back on October 24, 2006. Both programs boast a number of new features that make the upgrade worth while.

Both 2.0 releases come with redesigned preferences windows, as well as several visual changes to improve usability and make better use of screen real estate. On Windows, both programs come with a new type of installer, as well as improved Windows Vista support. Like the 1.5 versions, both 2.0 versions also have built-in automatic update functionality, which automatically downloads any updates provided by the Mozilla Foundation.

Firefox 2.0 comes with a number of small enhancements to existing features, as well as some brand new features. A few of the enhancements include search term suggestions in the search box, improved tabbed browsing and an improved addon manager.

One of Firefox 2.0's biggest new additions is the built-in phishing protection feature, which warns users of potential website forgeries, so that users know if the sites they view are truly legitimate or not. Phishing protection is enabled by default.

Firefox 2.0 also sports an inline spell checker, improved RSS support (via "Live Bookmarks") and a browser session restoration feature that comes in handy when the computer is interrupted by software crashes or power outages.

Thunderbird 2.0 is no less innovative. One of the biggest talked about features is custom message tags. Users can now create and customize an unlimited number of message tags, which can be used for marking individual messages ("important", "personal", "to do", etc). The message view can also be adjusted to show only specific messages marked with a particular tag (view only messages marked as "important" for example).

The latest edition of the venerable email program also has built-in support for Gmail and .Mac email accounts and new advanced folder views, which are especially useful when dealing with many email accounts, or numerous email folders. Another highly anticipated feature found in Thunderbird 2.0 is a new message notification system, which displays non-obtrusive notices, like new email, in the lower right corner of the screen.

Performance changes are also part of the new Thunderbird. Saved searches perform far better in the latest edition than in previous versions. Results appear far more quickly.

Firefox 2.0 and Thunderbird 2.0 can be downloaded, free of charge, for Windows, Linux or Apple OS-X from Mozilla's website at www.mozilla.com.

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