The Mozilla Foundation has released a new version of its open source Web browser for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, with improvements to its download manager, extension and bookmark handling, along with a new name aimed at skirting trademark complaints from another open source project.

The Mozilla Foundation has released a new version of its open source Web browser for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, with improvements to its download manager, extension and bookmark handling, along with a new name aimed at skirting trademark complaints from another open source project.

The browser has lost its previous Firebird moniker and become the new "Firefox 0.8" software, a preview of the group's upcoming 1.0 release. The group dropped the Firebird name to avoid a scuffle with the Firebird relational database development project.

Firefox improves upon its predecessor with a new download manager aimed at tracking multiple downloads, easier bookmark handling, a new installer for Windows users and improved handling of extensions, Mozilla said. Mozilla community members have created over 200 extensions, or small software applications that can be downloaded to increase the browser's functionality, the group said, including an ad banner remover and a spell-checker.

The group also released a new preview of its Mozilla Thunderbird e-mail application. Thunderbird 5.0 offers the ability to synchronize address books with devices from Palm, secure password authentication for SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) and POP3 (Post Office Protocol version 3) mail clients, an upgraded spell-checker and dictionary as well as fixes to previous bugs.

Mozilla Firefox 0.8 and Thunderbird 5.0 are both preview releases in anticipation of the group's next stand-alone Web browser and e-mail application. Both are available for free from the group's Web site at http://www.mozilla.org. Mozilla did not say when the new stand-alone applications would be available

The group released a full Internet suite dubbed Mozilla 1.6, comprised of a Web browser, e-mail application, Web page editor and Internet chat software, last month. It claims to have had 100,000 downloads of Mozilla 1.6 within the first 20 days of its availability.