Mozilla yesterday started shipping Firefox Beta 9, and hopefully it will be the final beta release before Mozilla will launch its final version of Mozilla Firefox 4. Firefox beta 9 includes fewer major changes than its predecessor, Beta 8 that was released on Dec 22. According to Mozilla, Beta 9 has 662 bug fixes or changes, less than half of the 1,400, which it made in Beta 8.

Firefox 4 Beta 9

Johnathan Nightingale, the director of Firefox development said that as of Thursday, 143 hard blocker bugs remained, and detailed which flaws fit into the category. “A hard blocker is a failure of a core part of our release criteria, e.g. a crash, a memory leak, a performance hit, a security issue, a [user interface] breakage that can’t be recovered from, an incompatibility we can’t stomach,” he said.

Earlier this week, Mozilla’s head of platform engineering said there were still too many “hard blocker” bugs- flaws that would prevent Firefox 4 from final release.

Nightingale also said that he wanted to see a release candidate soon. “Firefox 4 is good for the Web, good for our users, and puts the heat on other vendors to up their own game,” he said in his blog post yesterday. “We need to ship it ASAP – we want release candidates in weeks, not months.”

Mozilla‘s biggest rival is also nearing release candidate on its next browser. According to various online sources, Microsoft will be delivering the release candidate of IE9 later this month, perhaps it is expected on January 28.

The Mozilla Firefox 4 Beta 9, can be downloaded for Windows, Mac OS and Linux from Mozilla Firefox Website.