Scientists at the University of Waterloo have released an intriguing case study about the "secret life" of Firefox patches.
Specifically, the paper sheds light on the submission and approval process prior to the introduction of the Firefox rapid release process and after. The lifespan findings are among the interesting data that was published and shows that the rapid release process has its advantages, despite the criticism.
The lifespan of a patch, which defines the time of submission to a status of landed, abandoned, or resubmitted has been 3.7 days or, according to Mozilla evangelist Paul Rouget, about the same as the lifespan of a common mosquito. For patches that actually landed in Firefox, the lifespan was 4.5 days before the rapid release process and 2.7 days after (for core developers). For cases of abandoned patches, the time span increased to 31.2 days (before) and 11.1 days (after), while resubmissions are listed with 3.8 (before) versus 2.5 days (after).
The review concluded that the review of patches has accelerated by about 34 percent following the introduction of the rapid release process.
The scientists said that their investigation was based on the review of the 1-year time frame prior to the rapid release process and one year after with 6,491 and 4,897 patches, respectively.