Opera.Firefox.With the Firefox 3 release imminent, Opera Software has just announced a release candidate for Opera 9.5, “arriving very soon.”

Neither browser has announced a definite release date (though Mozilla has stated Firefox 3 will launch in “late June”), but both are in the final stages. Update: Mozilla has announced a release date of June 17.

Update 2: Opera wins with a June 12 release.

Firefox Download Day 2008For the upcoming release of Firefox 3, the Spread Firefox campaign is launching Download Day 2008: a campaign to set a world record for the most software downloaded in 24 hours. Participants are asked to pledge to download Firefox 3 on the day that it’s launched. The exact date hasn’t been scheduled yet, but everything seems on track for June. (via The Mozilla Blog)

Update: The release date is June 17.

Opera.Firefox.Avenicus compares Firefox 3 beta 5 to Opera 9.50 beta 2 on performance and memory usage. The surprise: Firefox 3 uses less memory than Opera 9.50. Clearly all the work Mozilla has done on cleaning up memory usage has paid off.

Codedread comments on Apple’s Web Inventions.

Asa Dotzler counteracts FUD about the safety of Firefox, Safari, and other alternative browsers. His main point: the key measure of security is not the number of vulnerabilities, but the window of vulnerability: the time between a hole being discovered and the patch getting onto users’ systems. (In addition to a responsive security team, automatic updates really help here.)

In just over a week, Opera’s new developer toolset, code-named Opera Dragonfly, will be ready for an alpha release. This will be a welcome addition, not just for developers, but ultimately for Opera users as well. Obviously, it’ll make it easier for web developers to debug compatibility issues, leading to fewer sites breaking in Opera. But it could also bring more people in. Firefox’s growth got started with recommendations by techies. If Dragonfly proves to be as good or better than Firebug, developers will spend more time with Opera, which could lead to recommendations.

Lisa the Barbarian: A woman poses with a viking helmet and a sword…and an Opera Browser T-shirt. (via Espenao’s Opera the Barbarian)

CNET UK presents The 30 dumbest videogame titles ever, including “Spanky’s Quest,” “Ninjabread Man,” “How to Be a Complete Bastard,” “Touch Dic” and “Attack of the Mutant Camels.” (via Slashdot).

Cowboy Bebop at His Computer — examples of media articles (especially about pop culture) in which the reporters (and editors) clearly didn’t do their research. The title comes from a caption on a still from Cowboy Bebop. That’s not the character’s name, and the character in question is female. It probably is her computer, though.

Archeophone Records: Actionable Offenses: Indecent Phonograph Recordings from the 1890s. Comedians telling bawdy stories, recorded on wax cylinders. The write-up is PG, though the track list looks to be at least PG-13. Looked up after reading NY Times’ article on voice recordings from 1860 (recorded with ink on paper), which is also worth a read. (via Slashdot)

Edit: Forgot to list the (temporary?) resurrection of 1994-era home.mcom.com, the website of what was then Mosaic Communications Corporation and would soon be renamed Netscape. Subsequently picked up by Boing Boing and Slashdot. For more old web browsers, check out the Browser Archive at evolt.org. (via Justin Mason)

FirefoxOne of the biggest complaints about Firefox since 1.5 was released has been its high memory usage. Go to a forum anywhere and you’ll get people griping about “have they fixed the leak yet?”

It is, of course, much more complicated than that. There are caches, fragmentation, places where memory is used inefficiently, bunches of small leaks, leaks that only happen under specific circumstances, leaks in extensions, leaks triggered by combination of extensions, etc.—not one single leak that can be fixed. And then there was the unfortunate post in which one Mozilla developer (I’m too lazy to look up who) pointed out that 1.5 stored more information in memory, and that probably had a bigger impact on total memory size than actual leaks, which many people on the Internet jumped on as “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.” (Why should they bother to read what was actually stated, when they can just read a misleading but sensational summary?)

A lot of the small leaks were patched in bugfix releases for 1.5 and 2.0, but really big changes are coming in Firefox 3. Mozilla’s Pavlov has written a detailed post on Firefox 3 Memory Usage, describing the different categories of memory improvements that have been made in the Firefox 3 development cycle.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find that this is one of the big reasons Firefox 3 has taken so much longer than previous releases. I suspect it’s time well spent, though, and users will be happier with a later, lighter Firefox than with one that shipped earlier, but used just as much memory.

(via Asa Dotzler)