Release Candidate != Beta

Well, Firefox 1.5 is officially out, as covered by just about everyone.

I noticed quite a bit of discussion in the early hours (back when the build was on the FTP site but not yet officially announced) as to whether or not this was really the final 1.5 release or just the 1.5RC3 in a directory called 1.5. Several people mentioned that the build date was the same as that for RC3, and one person (on Slashdot) actually did an MD5 hash on 1.5RC3 and 1.5 and found them to be the same. This made several people cry “hoax” and say that 1.5 wasn’t really out yet, and that everyone who was downloaded it was just getting the “old” RC3 build.

So which is it, 1.5 final or 1.5RC3? Well, both actually. That’s the point of a release candidate. Unlike a Beta build, which means “it isn’t quite ready but you can use it and test it if you want,” a release candidate build means “this might be the final release, but we want to make sure that there aren’t any bugs in it before we ship it.” Every RC build is a candidate, or possibility, for the final release, dependant on whether or not any major bugs are found in it. The final release will always be identical to the last RC build, which is why RC3 says “Firefox 1.5” on it and not “Firefox 1.5 RC3,” since changing the AppName could possibly introduce some bug or other in the code at the last minute (which we want to avoid at all costs).

In other words, if you’re already running RC3 (which you should be if you upgraded to any of the RC builds, since autoupdate is enabled by default now) you already have 1.5 final (you’ve had it for almost two weeks now, it just wasn’t officially called 1.5 final until today), so you don’t need to upgrade.

Just thought I’d clear that up in case anybody was still confused. (Not that any of those people read this blog, but still…).


  1. Will there be an update for the PrefBar for Firefox 1.5, or will the maxversion workaround work? My wife is visually impaired and depends on the PrefBar to easily switch her custom colors and fonts off and on when needed, so if she can’t get the PrefBar for 1.5 she’s not switching!

    Comment by Charlie Luce — December 3, 2005 @ 9:20 pm

  2. I don’t know if the maxversion workaround works or not (try it and let me know), but I’m really hoping to get an official PrefBar for Firefox1.5 release out soon (as in, before Christmas). I have a "Making an Extension for Firefox 1.5" tutorial that I need to get finished up (should be done by next week), and then I’m starting on a big PrefBar update.

    Comment by Aaron Andersen — December 15, 2005 @ 11:13 pm

  3. Aaron, that’s good to read! :-)

    And thank you for your work (in the past, present and future) on the PrefBar extension. It’s one of my favorites.

    Comment by Scorzonera — December 17, 2005 @ 10:45 am

  4. Aaron; Prefbar has been the most useful extension I have ever kept in Firefox… and
    imagine my surprise when 1.5 was not compatible. Re-installed prior FF build just to
    keep your extension. Great job on it, BTW. Instant control over java and javascript,
    cookies, font sizes, and, yes, I installed flash… but you allowed me to control it
    with ease! I hope your work on update is going well… IMHO, the best extension ever
    made for Firefox and Mozilla… I use them both.
    Thank you.

    Comment by Stephen Schwarze — December 26, 2005 @ 6:04 am

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