Firefox drops Places feature; security patch coming

Mozilla plans to release a security update to its Firefox browser next week.

The open-source Mozilla project this week will release an update to its Firefox browser that will fix a publicly disclosed security issue in the software. News of the update came as developers also confirmed that they were dropping a highly anticipated bookmarking feature, called Places, from the next major Firefox release, due later this year.

The Firefox 1.5.0.3 update was scheduled to be delivered Friday, but it is now expected to be released "early next week," a Mozilla spokeswoman said.

Developers have reduced the number of features in the update so that the security patch can be released more quickly, Mozilla said in a statement on the Mozilla.org Web site.

Changes are also afoot with Firefox 2.0, the next major version of the browser which is currently in a very early "alpha" test release.

A second Firefox 2.0 alpha is scheduled for May 9, but earlier this week Mozilla Vice President of Engineering Mike Schroepfer said that Firefox 2.0 will not include a highly anticipated browsing feature, called Places, because of quality concerns.

"We do not have time to complete an implementation of Places that lives up to our standards of user experience and quality," Schroepfer wrote in a newsgroup posting. "Rather than rush it to market - we'd prefer to spend the time it takes to get it right.

Designed to make it easier for users to return to recently visited Web pages, Places will introduce a new way of using Firefox's bookmarking and history features.

Participants on the Mozilla discussion list were not happy with the announcement. "Without Places, Firefox 2.0 is somewhat disappointing," wrote one participant.

"This will be one of the most underwhelming 2.0 releases in recent software history from a consumer's point of view," wrote another.

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