Open Ballot: Is Firefox moving too quickly?

TuxRadar

Unless you've had your head stuck in a bucket of sand in a cave on Mars for the last few weeks (or you're running Chrome and don't care), you will have seen the furore surrounding Firefox 5. But it's nothing to do with features, the UI or anything like that - it's outrage that merely three months after Firefox 4, that older release is no longer supported. No bug fixes, no security fixes - nothing.

Now, Mozilla supporters say this is a good thing: the team can concentrate on new releases, accelerating the pace of development and bringing new features to home desktop users. But those deploying Firefox in the enterprise are fuming: they need to roll out updates carefully, checking for breakage with apps and extensions, and this break-neck pace is turning them to alternatives.

Let us know what you think for our next podcast: is Firefox moving too fast? Should the developers consider business users a bit more, or just focus on the home desktop?

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Your comments

2 updates in 1 day

this morning i turned on my computer, opened Firefox and it asked me to update to Firefox 9.. so i did... then after work i got home, went back on computer and it updated to Firefox 10.0

i mean i love Firefox. but all these updates are getting too much, i work in a computer shop and every time they make a update i have to go round 3 shops updating Firefox on all the computers, it takes me about 6 hours with all the computers.

Updates are insane

Ok, so saying you want to release software fast doesn't mean you have to do it in a haphazard way. We're now seeing Firefox's popularity give way to Chrome and this co-insides with fast version changes being introduced. Also, add-ons break every week now, because they are not updated by their authors fast enough to run on the new "versions" of Firefox. The corporation I work for is pushing Chrome now because of better memory management, multiprocessing, and the sane upgrade/version number schedule.

I completely agree that this fast version number cycling has to end and that the Firefox team should concentrate on real problems and not just 'geeking out' behind their desks.

Hey - Look What GOOGLE Is Doing...

There's a time-tested purpose for the established dependable major/minor release cycle and concept, where a major release occurs no more often than once every one to two years, it's called software-community approval, testing and conformance. In other words the importance of usability and end-user-environment testing OUTSIDE of the mozilla cubicle walls and the need for wide-scope compatibility not just the "we don't see that here" syndrome (at mozilla).

Google started this rapid-release software-candy direct developer-to-end-user-desktop nightly build/download tech-PR B.S. and mozilla's immature director(s) are following suit. There's a reason for self-restraint and a slow release cycle it's called DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME and reliability is more important than marketing or decoration. End-user community-based compatibility, familiarity and reliability are all more important than either "rapid release" or "major" version number. "Rapid Release" also just gives managers and developers at both google and mozilla the excuse to continually change the UI and other things for no reason. If some aspect of technology can't wait a year then it's failing to adhere to some important standard somewhere.

Nails in the coffin

a new version every 6 weeks now, each one a nail in the fox's coffin.

the only reason I still choose it over IE is because of the add-ons, without them firefox is useless to me, and what i once loved i now hate with a passion.

every release changes something that should have been left alone, why bury tools deeper into menus, tools that used to be at my fingertips, now breaks my workflow with the extra steps.

stupid stupid stupid, IE is looking better every damn day!

Too many major releases, looking at options

That Firefox has gone from v.3 to v.11 so quickly is quite ridiculous. Some features disappeared in v.4 so I stayed behind. So many major releases suggests developers and a feature set with ADHD.

Those of us who uses MS Office with any skill hated the Office 2007 release, which was completely alien, made it difficult to do anything, and required 2-3x the number of mouse clicks to do it. Customization options were disappointing. Backward compatibility was not available. More and more folks are fed up and buying Macs. Feels like the same here, which makes me wonder what the "open source" benefit is.

I'm looking at Opera and Chrome.

addons

Part of the Core of Firefox is that I can go to Tools | Addons

addons are a sore spot for users, always separate from the main firefox project which makes big changes which break the addons then the main firefox project just reflects our whining back to the addon author. From a user standpoint, It's like it's the last thing the firefox devel team cares about is addons. Here's the next version and tough cookie that 1/3 of your addons are borked. So we grovel through with our about:config tweaks and nightly tester tools to even be able to install anything at all sometimes.

Take the plugin ProxySel for example. There has never been a better proxy plugin for firefox. She worked great when she came out. Then Firefox changed, broke the addon. Yes I know you can get it to work in Firefox 11 manually, but it's glitchy cause extensions.ini get's overwritten. I tried getting a sqlite editor to find what is overwriting it, but at the end of the day I am clueless and must default to having to hand edit the damn thing when it breaks. (I just keep it open in notepad++ now) Of course the official word from firefox devs will be to talk to the author. Well god damn it the author is dead. maybe!?

Dear Firefox Devs, Please, quit reflecting the problem.

While it's great that firefox get's lots of security updates there's no damn reason to break plugins all the way back to v1.x when clearly the same plugin works on today's latest version. I am not suggesting the use of vulnerable addon's either, but a non updated plugin (for whatever reason, sometimes people just get sick) is not the same as a vulnerable plugin, In many cases when only the install.rdf has version number games. Can't we set the Version to say "777" and call it a day? No..

So the firefox power user of today, likely has sever versions installed, or perhaps only portable versions installed. Each with it's own 4.6 Gig Scrapbook. Oh God I feel sick, just thinking one day I'll have to re-merge those monsters again. Hours of copying fun for nobody.

Don't think I am ungrateful, I love firefox even with all the problems it's night and day between a modern firefox and panzered( or hex edited) netscape gold buttons - ya feeling me here?

A quick trip to my directories show the following

FirefoxPortable3.0
FirefoxPortable3.0.17
FirefoxPortable3.6
FirefoxPortable5Beta
FirefoxPortableBeta3.1
Palemoon-Portable-3.6
Palemoon-Portable-3.6.15a
Palemoon-Portable-4.0.1
Palemoon11.0.1

There's an SRWare and an Opera also..

That's quite a few installs to keep managed. I can probably kill off the 3.0 one. But the hassle is EACH ONE is so killer awesome I had to freeze it in time. I don't want to delete them or merge their scrapbook so there they sit with anywhere from 500 MB to 4.6 Gigs of data... With a 1 TB drive I think I'm good for the next 10 years. But still it's sloppy, messy. I understand new versions can break things, but this is insanity as if I STEP back I only really need 3 versions of a browser, one to browse dangerous cruft, one to browse blogs or research something I want to buy, and one for Banking.

I'm glad tuxradar finally pushed the question, it's healthy in my opinion to discuss things which are not normally discussed but instead "reflected back", which ultimately I predict is a BAD choice. Keep up with the security updates for sure, but don't make me have to flip a coin as to breaking my addons or having an up to date security patched firefox. If this isn't the number one bitch about firefox it ought to be.

If I didn't know any better and I had addons I depended on, I would likely skip the security patches and updates.
I don't suggest doing that unless you are going to freeze it like I show above-also run it on a VM, Anyway, running vulnerable browsers is not good for anyone, the ISP, the User, the Web nothing. But I hope you can see the position people get put in.

Bottom line: I think the addon ProxySel is one of the best addons ever created. When the current version of Firefox no longer can use it, I won't use that version Firefox. It's not a threat, it's reality. Maybe the CORE Firefox project should look into making it part of Firefox? Maybe someone up there doesn't want us to have proxies down here? With all the crazy stuff in the world I wouldn't put the plan off as nuts.

With that all said, things perhaps are less horrid as I describe, Okay I just wanted to make sure you get the point. Stuff can be bad, but it's not all that bad when you can actually make it keep working. But I would just hate to see it end up like QNX. My god, seen that lately? Want to talk about broken, holy cows!

For the record: the search term I used to find this thread?
"firefox stop moving s**t around"

FIREFOX 27: GET IT NOW!

FIREFOX 27: GET IT NOW! (Disclaimer: None of your add-ons will work with this version either. By the time they do, we will release a new version of Firefox. Thank you for your support.)

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