An explosion of public beta releases of our favourite web browsers, operating systems, and webapps recently have made brave testers and curious early adopters very happy. Many of these betas appear fit for full-time use, but they all come with that obligatory disclaimer that things may break. Whether or not you're willing to test unstable software, here's a quick roundup of what's hot on the beta beat.
- Firefox 3 Beta 4 (direct link)
Leaner, meaner, and much more polished than Firefox 2, Firefox 3 may be in beta, but its significantly reduced memory consumption and snappy performance makes it worth the risk of running it full-time. Remember, you can test the Firefox 3 beta safely using the portable version, and make your old extensions compatible with a few about:config tweaks.
- Mozilla Add-ons preview
Along with Firefox 3, Mozilla's cooking up a new add-ons site that's cleaner, prettier and easier to use.
- Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 (direct link)
Microsoft is still playing catch-up with Firefox in the features department, and Internet Explorer 8 is a step in that direction, with an interesting non-Firefox-like feature called "Web Slices," which monitors sections of web pages that change often, similar to Mac OS X Leopard's Dashboard's Web Clips.
- Ubuntu Linux 8.04 "Hardy Heron" Beta (direct link)
The next version of Ubuntu Linux, named "Hardy Heron," is the basis for Ubuntu's next long term supported release. Check out our exclusive interview with Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth about Hardy Heron and how he gets things done.
- Bloglines Beta (direct link)
Available at least since August of last year, the Bloglines Beta offers a drag and drop interface plus more customisable features. Question is, when does it become official?
What's your current favourite beta? Anything here ready for primetime yet? Let us know in the comments.