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Mozilla’s Director of Platform Engineering Damon Sicore has posted to Usenet group saying that there are only 160 significant bugs to be fixed before the Firefox development team has a release candidate of Firefox 4.0.

He wrote: “Over the past several days, component leads have again reduced their blockers by identifying hard blockers and those we can live without. We’ve around 160 hard blockers remaining, and historically it has taken us six weeks to reach RC once we have 100 blockers left.”

He also said there could be one or two more beta versions.

And why does this matter?

Reason # 1: cool new features

Reason # 2: elimination of the security vulnerabilities in the current version 3.6.

Update Jan. 14:

In the interest of fairness (and to satisfy my curiosity) I looked around to see if there was a release date for the next version of Internet Explorer (which will be v. 9).

At least one source — Softpedia — is conjecturing that IE 9 will be released at the end of this month.

You can download the Internet Explorer 9 beta here.

A description of the new features is available here.

Tom Kelchner