Mozilla defends "rapid release" of Firefox versions

Some enterprises find rapid browser change disconcerting, said Mozilla chair

The release of a version of the Firefox browser every six weeks is found to be disconcerting, and at times potentially unmanageable by enterprises, the chair of Mozilla Foundation, which maintains the browser, said in a blog post on Thursday.

The compatibility of add-ons with new versions is also another issue, said Mitchell Baker, chair of the nonprofit organization.

But quicker releases of new versions ensure that new capabilities are not delayed for nearly a year before they can be delivered to people, Baker said.

Mozilla recently adopted a "rapid release process" that it said would allow a new release of Firefox every six weeks.

"Before Mozilla instituted the rapid release process, we would sometimes have new capabilities ready for nearly a year before we could deliver them to people," Baker said. Web developers would have to wait that year to be able to make their applications better, she added.

A browser is the delivery vehicle for the Internet, and the Internet moves very quickly, Baker said. But if the browser is to be the interface for the Internet, it has to be more like the Internet. That means delivering capabilities when they are ready, through a rapid release process, she said.

There is however work to be done to make the rapid release process smoother and hopefully more useful to more of the user base, Baker said.

Users have however been asking for a middle ground between frequent releases of versions, and the delay in addition of new capabilities by almost a year. Kees Grinwis, commenting on Baker's blog post, for example, suggested a long time support (LTS) version of Firefox.

Mozilla could release an LTS version as a major release, say Firefox 7, and then release the versions between the LTS versions as 7.x versions, said Aashish Arora in his comment. "Make consumer installations silently auto update in the background while disabling auto update for enterprises," Arora added.

Others are dismissive. Users are finding that broken add-ons, and UI (user interface) changes are making Firefox difficult to use, commented Dan. "All of these people are turning their attention to alternatives," he added.

Mozilla acknowledged in June that a key challenge for enterprises is that they need to certify their websites, apps and add-ons each time Firefox is updated. "This can take weeks or months. Security is also paramount, enterprises need access to a version that includes all known security fixes," it said in a blog post.

Mozilla said it was exploring solutions that balance these needs, with active discussion in the community. The foundation however made clear that its focus was on consumers. "The Mozilla Community has focused our efforts on the needs of the individual user, and prioritized the product roadmap and features accordingly. However, as is the case with many technologies, loyal Firefox users and their IT departments have sought to bring Firefox into their places of work," it said.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags open sourceapplicationsbrowserssoftwaremozilla

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?