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Mozilla Hints That Firefox's 6-Week Release Cycle May Change

By - Source: Mozilla | B 20 comments
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Mozilla said that it may be slightly deviating from its 6-week release cycle in the future.

Firefox director of engineering Jonathan Nightingale posted a few thoughts that appear to be a preparation for "some adjustments" that are seemingly published to avoid Mozilla being accused of delaying Firefox releases. There is no clear information if and when such "delays" may happen, but Nightingale noted that 40 days or 44 days for release cycles make just as much sense as 42 days.

Of course, it was Mozilla that published release dates for Firefox more than one year in advance, following exactly the 6-week release cycle process for the Nightly, Aurora, Beta and Stable release versions. While this strategy almost certainly will cause media reports of a delayed release date should Mozilla miss one of its own given dates, it is unlikely that anyone would care if Firefox would be released two days earlier or later. Google, for example, has transitioned to a 6-week release cycle in fall of 2010, but never published release dates in advance. Nightingale now says that Firefox will be released when it is ready, which is much more reasonable than sticking painstakingly close to the 42-day release goal.

It may be more important to note that Mozilla recently announced that Firefox 3.6 will finally reach the end of support on April 24, with Firefox 3.6.28 being the last release for the browser. The minimum requirement for running a supported version of Firefox will be Windows XP SP2 following the discontinuance of Firefox 3.6.

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Top Comments
  • 10 Hide
    A Bad Day , March 29, 2012 9:47 PM
    syndDude, nowadays the people that use Win XP are reducing faster, what to talk about win 2k? There's no reason to support a very old and slow OS.


    Tell that to schools, hospitals, and other businesses who are still rocking with Windows 2000 or even older OSes.
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    captaincharisma , March 29, 2012 7:29 PM
    with windows XP SP2 being the minimum version of windows now supported i wonder what other web browsers windows 2000 users are going to have to choose from now?
  • 4 Hide
    Northwestern , March 29, 2012 7:51 PM
    captaincharismawith windows XP SP2 being the minimum version of windows now supported i wonder what other web browsers windows 2000 users are going to have to choose from now?

    I never truly relied on Firefox because Opera is far superior on Win2000.

    Once Opera loses support, I'll probably go back to Netscape.
  • Display all 20 comments.
  • -3 Hide
    JasonAkkerman , March 29, 2012 7:56 PM
    Of course it's going to change. Their V number is now bigger then IE's V number.
  • 6 Hide
    synd , March 29, 2012 8:36 PM
    captaincharismawith windows XP SP2 being the minimum version of windows now supported i wonder what other web browsers windows 2000 users are going to have to choose from now?

    Dude, nowadays the people that use Win XP are reducing faster, what to talk about win 2k? There's no reason to support a very old and slow OS.
  • 0 Hide
    cliffro , March 29, 2012 9:00 PM
    At my workplace, the bosses(everyone above the supervisors) use Win7 on "their" computers(only they use it)but out on the floor in the Distribution Center the supervisors use a locked down version of XP Pro. And they spend most of their time in some program that looks like DOS for inventory control.
  • -4 Hide
    zhihao50 , March 29, 2012 9:00 PM
    In a similar but non related news, Google just updated Chrome to V18 :p 
  • 4 Hide
    cookoy , March 29, 2012 9:12 PM
    To paraphrase Gandalf, the wizard from Lord of the Rings, Firefox releases are never late. They come out at precisely the time the developers say we are ready.
  • -3 Hide
    freggo , March 29, 2012 9:42 PM
    syndDude, nowadays the people that use Win XP are reducing faster, what to talk about win 2k? There's no reason to support a very old and slow OS.


    Actually there is !
    Home users and Gamers can affor to get the latest OS, businesses can not as the cost of switching -especially in these times- is way to high.
    Any no, it is not about a few bucks for the software, but a LOT of money for re-training of employees !

    Win2k, like it or not, can do pretty much anything you need in a 9-5 office environment and it is pretty stable by now. And no IT department head cares if you can or can not play 'Crysis' on it :-)



  • 10 Hide
    A Bad Day , March 29, 2012 9:47 PM
    syndDude, nowadays the people that use Win XP are reducing faster, what to talk about win 2k? There's no reason to support a very old and slow OS.


    Tell that to schools, hospitals, and other businesses who are still rocking with Windows 2000 or even older OSes.
  • 3 Hide
    in_the_loop , March 29, 2012 10:12 PM
    Let's do some version math.
    Firefox 1.0 was officially launched in November 9, 2004.
    That was about 7 years and 5 months ago.
    Let's fast forward 7 years and 5 months from now.
    That is roughly 52*7 or 364 weeks (rounded to 52 weeks per year, no scotyears and so on, the release cycle won't be strict anyway). 364 weeks/6= 60,66667, lets say 60 to make it easy.

    This means that 60 newer versions of Firefox will be released in the next 7 years and 5 months.
    The same time it took them to get from Firefox 1 to Firefox 11 (and that is including the rapid upgrades starting with FF 5).
    Big numbers obviously counts....
  • 0 Hide
    livebriand , March 29, 2012 11:26 PM
    A little mistake there - Windows 2000 IS officially supported by Firefox 11. I'm running it like that right now.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , March 29, 2012 11:45 PM
    Their still losing market share to Chrome. So they must now try something else. Go figure.
  • 2 Hide
    shiftmx112 , March 30, 2012 3:27 AM
    Quote:
    will be released when it is ready


    I'm sure I'm not the only GW2 fan who cringes at that.
  • 0 Hide
    captaincharisma , March 30, 2012 5:25 AM
    Quote:
    Dude, nowadays the people that use Win XP are reducing faster, what to talk about win 2k? There's no reason to support a very old and slow OS.


    yea true. its just that i used to work for a company that refubished old computers and they were so slow we had to install win2k on them
  • 2 Hide
    happymissle1 , March 30, 2012 8:33 AM
    in_the_loopLet's do some version math.Firefox 1.0 was officially launched in November 9, 2004.That was about 7 years and 5 months ago.Let's fast forward 7 years and 5 months from now.That is roughly 52*7 or 364 weeks (rounded to 52 weeks per year, no scotyears and so on, the release cycle won't be strict anyway). 364 weeks/6= 60,66667, lets say 60 to make it easy.This means that 60 newer versions of Firefox will be released in the next 7 years and 5 months.The same time it took them to get from Firefox 1 to Firefox 11 (and that is including the rapid upgrades starting with FF 5).Big numbers obviously counts....


    @ in_the_loop

    actually ff developers would be happier if users didnt worry about versions numbers and just had an up to date, secure firefox. They are not trying to "haz big numbers lol!"

    FF now increments version numbers because they include new non-backwards compatable apis in each version. Those new apis used to have to wait a year or more as only security updates were released. Now the now goodness is released as soon as its done and tested.

    Nobody cares what version of youtube you are running, soon what version of ff or chrome wont matter so much either. Modern web browsers need to move at the speed of the web and I am personally glad the mozilla is up for the challenge. At least they put privacy first!
  • 1 Hide
    gm0n3y , March 30, 2012 4:54 PM
    I'd honestly prefer if they just stick to a 'when it's ready' release cycle. I don't mind waiting 6 months for a new browser update if it is rock solid and fast, as long as there are periodic security updates.
  • 0 Hide
    in_the_loop , March 31, 2012 9:41 AM
    happymissle1@ in_the_loop actually ff developers would be happier if users didnt worry about versions numbers and just had an up to date, secure firefox. They are not trying to "haz big numbers lol!"FF now increments version numbers because they include new non-backwards compatible apis in each version. Those new apis used to have to wait a year or more as only security updates were released. Now the now goodness is released as soon as its done and tested.Nobody cares what version of youtube you are running, soon what version of ff or chrome wont matter so much either. Modern web browsers need to move at the speed of the web and I am personally glad the mozilla is up for the challenge. At least they put privacy first!


    I agree with you that it is good that Mozilla is up for the challenge with Chrome.
    I prefer using FF over Chrome (but use both).
    And I konw that numbers shouldn't matter. You could just as well call it A, B, C (or the different codenames that each new version have).
    Or any kind of symbol, like ¤.
    I can see that, BUT, it used to be that an increment by one meant some big exciting changes.
    As it is now with the almost rolling updates almost nothing seems to change.
    I guess they could do it at 10, 20 and so on, but it didn't seem to happen.
    It was something that marked something to really look forward to, sometimes a complete change.
    There were even much bigger changes in the point releases (like from 3.1 to 3.5) than what has happened from FF5 to FF11.
    And another strange thing is that they still call the minor bug fixes .0x (10.01, 10.02 and so on).
    Since the release cycle is so short, shouldn't they have called them 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 and so on, since they seem to have in some way increased the version "significance" (for lack of better words) by 10?

    Anyway, the focus seems to be on making FF faster, less memory hungry and more stable.
    I think it always has been secure, but that is also very much up to the users to install different add-ons that enhance security, like no-script, ad-block, WOT and so on (and avoid the ones that could mean trouble).
    As it is now, FF is checking off every point that Chrome was doing better and improves on it.
    The big update will be when we don't have to restart the browser if installing add-ons.
    And I wonder if they will let each tab run in its own process (like Chrome), so one tab won't crash the whole browser.
    But that maybe would force them rebuild too much from the ground?
    And that is also probably also a reason why chrome use so much memory with many tabs open,since the processes are running in isolation.
  • 0 Hide
    happymissle1 , April 1, 2012 10:27 AM
    @in_the_loop

    I do love NoScript, WOT, Adblock, ghostery and the like. I just don’t feel safe not running without them and I can’t understand how people just use stock browsers and feel safe.

    I do agree that the exact method of numbering the releases is just a bit awkward. And I would say the version number confusion was probably mozilla's single biggest failing in 2011. But if they are going to have a major issue at least it was a PR failure and not a technical failure of their product.

    I believe mozilla was just assuming that the public wouldn’t care about the numbers. And that might be true in a few months, when the update process finally becomes completely silent for everyone who just has the default automatic updates. But firefox just wasn’t there a year ago and it was confusing to everybody.

    In the end it might be for the best though since the message coming out of mozilla these days is more measured and polished. So I think a bit of pain in this case was good for them.


    I think the project to make firefox run in separate process on desktops was put temporally on hold as mozilla realized they could deliver many more stability, speed and memory improvements much more quickly by focusing on what they already have. Like the memshrink project that started mid last year focusing solely on reducing memory usage. It seems that incremental improvement is going to be their modus operandi for the foreseeable future. And when mozilla starts getting to the limit of returns on those projects, then I am sure their engineering teams will start picking up the big projects one at a time. I think that the project to separate FF into multiple processes involves a significant rewrite of much of its code base.
  • 0 Hide
    justchuck69 , November 15, 2012 2:29 AM
    i wish they would go with a 120 days or so release cycle because after every update i have update flash then java and sometimes add ons will not work for a while . ( sometimes skip an update for about a week just to see what is happening ie crashes or bugs as in the last one they pushed out a new one right away as there was a security issue ) .

    or have the flash and java auto install right after an update ....... wishful thinking i guess !
  • 0 Hide
    justchuck69 , November 15, 2012 2:30 AM
    justchuck69i wish they would go with a 120 days or so release cycle because after every update i have update flash then java and sometimes add ons will not work for a while . ( sometimes skip an update for about a week just to see what is happening ie crashes or bugs as in the last one they pushed out a new one right away as there was a security issue ) .or have the flash and java auto install right after an update ....... wishful thinking i guess !



    and yes i would even give up some of the speed to have a stable and secure browser