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Now that browsers support the majority of CSS2, certain portions of its feature set remain unimplemented. Taking a page from the HTML 3.2 recommendation, CSS 2.1 aims to accomplish a similar goal: to capture the current common browser behavior with regards to CSS. As such, it attempts to capture the common subset of CSS2 that most browsers implement (perhaps it might be better to call it CSS 1.9? ;-}) Features like font descriptors are gone entirely from this CSS version, as are many properties that have never really been implemented (like 'text-shadow', and 'font-stretch'.)
Interesting to note, that the properties and features from CSS2 that are not in CSS 2.1 are still planned for inclusion in CSS3.