The first beta of Mozilla's Firefox 3.0 browser was originally supposed to debut at the end of July, with the second beta arriving in September and the final version before the end of the year. While Firefox 3.0 is several months behind schedule, users of the popular open source browser will be glad to know that the launch of Beta 1 is just around the corner.

In fact, the last of the Beta release candidate builds appeared today on Mozilla's public servers and was mistakenly reported on Digg as the official release of the first Firefox 3 Beta. Access to the build by HTTP has been restricted since, but you can still use an FTP client to get it.

In any case, those who would like to help the quality assurance team test the beta are encouraged to join the Firefox Beta Test Day on Friday. According a Mozilla status meeting report, only one bug within Places (a new element that brings together browsing and bookmarks) remained to be patched in the Beta 1 code, hinting that a roll-out is just days away.