Linked by _txf_ on Tue 28th Jun 2011 06:18 UTC
Mozilla & Gecko clones A remarkably well reasoned editorial by Peter Bright at Ars discusses the implications of the new Firefox release schedule. The Crux of the argument is that by complaining about the "new" Firefox release, corporate customers are fundamentally misunderstanding the web and their place in it. He also reflects on historical reasons for their attitude and what they should do in the future to maintain parity with the evolution of the web.
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Working out what the actual problem is
by spudley99 on Tue 28th Jun 2011 13:16 UTC
spudley99
Member since:
2009-03-25

The trouble here is that no-one seems to get what the actual problem is here. The linked article touches on it, but doesn't really deal with it.

The problem is not just that the version number has jumped, but that it is an abrupt change in how Firefox's versioning has worked up until now.

Enterprises are okay with version numbers that go up by major numbers each time. They've already got apps that do that. They're also okay with apps that have rolling releases. Again, there are precedents which sit quite happily in the enterprise.

What is a problem is that Firefox moved to this new model without adequately explaining the change, and without any kind of transition period to allow their users to adjust.

Enterprises started testing with FF4 in the way they were used to for Firefox, and then found themselves still testing it when FF5 came along.

The article claims that now that FF is into a short release cycle, people should realise that new releases don't need so much testing, but - and this is important - FF4 *was* a big change. It *does* need to be tested thoroughly when upgrading from 3.6. That's what enterprises were doing when FF5 was thrust upon them.

If Mozilla had said "we don't want to support old releases any more, but okay we'll do it for a bit for FF4 to give everyone a chance to adjust", then this storm wouldn't have erupted at all. The fact that they didn't do that, and then started lecturing the world about it not being a big deal just comes across as arrogant, and that's the one thing that an open source organization can't afford to be.

Reply Score: 5

pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

The problem is not just that the version number has jumped, but that it is an abrupt change in how Firefox's versioning has worked up until now.


The problem is the abrupt EOL schedule of suddenly deciding 3 months after they released a major revision of their browser, that it's no longer supported and won't even receive security patches anymore. That's really the basic issue. It forces business customer's into an update upgrade schedule that is simply too aggressive for them to deal with.

If Mozilla wants to survive in the enterprise, they need to do something like Ubuntu does, and have a long term support version. Firefox LTS or something. Otherwise business users are going to drop Firefox like a hot potato.

Edited 2011-06-28 13:25 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

The trouble here is that no-one seems to get what the actual problem is here. The linked article touches on it, but doesn't really deal with it.


Not quite "no-one" - there are quite a few Mozilla folks who do get it, and are saying much the same thing as you. Unfortunately, there are also a lot who either don't get it, or who just don't care.

What is a problem is that Firefox moved to this new model without adequately explaining the change, and without any kind of transition period to allow their users to adjust.

Enterprises started testing with FF4 in the way they were used to for Firefox, and then found themselves still testing it when FF5 came along.


Exactly. I mentioned this on one of the developer's blogs, and was told that the changes weren't a secret, and that I should have been paying closer attention. Which is funny, because I *do* pay close attention to Firefox development, and while it was clear that there wasn't going to be such a gap between 4 and 5, it certainly wasn't clear that we were talking months.

Reply Parent Score: 2