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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags open sourcebrowserssoftwareapplicationsmozilla

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?