Google is abandoning Gears in favour of HTML5, but will continue to offer limited support for the technology. Meanwhile, support for Gears in Safari, running on Mac OS X Snow Leopard and later versions, has been dropped altogether.

Mac users will need OS X 10.5 or above to run the next main release of Firefox. The next iteration of the Gecko rendering engine will not support Mac OS X 10.4 or below, Mozilla announced. The following Firefox 3.6 beta should be out by the end of March.

The Opera browser is getting faster with every update, thanks to its new Carakan JavaScript engine. This week Opera 10.5 second beta for Windows and first beta for Mac were released. In our SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark tests, the Windows beta scored better than Chrome.

By moving Dragonfly its equivalent of Mozilla’s Firebug over to BitBucket hosting service, Opera has unleashed its first real open-source project. Opera claims it has improved the performance of the code inspecting and debugging tool by implementing its STP-1 protocol. The plan is to also make it compatible with browsers other than Opera.

In other news, Facebook talked about its open-source initiatives at the Future of Web Apps event, Acer confirmed all the PCs behind the Winter Olympics are running Windows XP, and Microsoft released MultiPoint Server 2010.

In feature articles we looked at KDE 4.3.5, the Semantic Web standards and examples of real-world applications, and an example of XSL and C# code that can prevent an accounting snafu.

–Posted By Lana Kovacevic