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Mozilla has released a version of the Firefox 3 beta 1 for PortableApps. For those hardcore Firefox 3 fans, this means that you never have to leave home without it. If you're curious about the beta, though, and you don't want to risk your Firefox 2 settings, the Firefox 3 beta 1 portable gives us all an easy and safe way to play around with the browser as it's in development.

As with the other programs in the PortableApps suite, this FF3 beta contains most if not all the features of the full version of the program. Most noticeable to those who haven't played around with FF3 yet will be the page rendering time. Web sites load much faster than they do in FF2, and it's hard not to appreciate that.

Installation is identical to loading the program on a removable device, except that instead of installing the portable version onto a secondary drive you simply point it to any directory other than the one containing the EXE. From there, you have to make sure that your FF2 isn't running. Firefox 3 beta 1 should load, and using a program like MozBackup you can port your extensions and other settings into the upgrade. Of course, since this is a beta version, it won't work perfectly. Many extensions don't work yet in FF3, and there are a host of other problems that the developers are working on.

Unlike Microsoft's follow-up to IE7, the surprisingly-named Internet Explorer 8, public input could have a great deal of impact on Firefox 3 because it's open-source. Unusual for such a high-profile program to reveal its birthing pains to the public, this is probably as close to reality television as software development can or should get.