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Mozilla Aims To Release Four Firefox Versions In 2011

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the what's-in-a-number dept.

Firefox 263

An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla is planning to release four new versions of its open source browser by the end of this year. That means Firefox 4, Firefox 5, Firefox 6, and Firefox 7 are all slated to ship in 2011. Mozilla was originally planning on having Firefox 4 out by the end of last year, but it had to delay the release. The last release was Beta 10 but there are still probably two more betas, at least one release candidate, and of course a final build. It's clear the company no longer thinks this model is a good one, and wants to accelerate its release cycle, much like Google did with Chrome." More detailed information on the accelerated development cycle and the major features intended for each new version are available on Mozilla's Firefox 2011 Roadmap.

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Oh Great (3, Interesting)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130088)

I always love when a browser company gives me more versions (and their individual idiosyncrasies) to test and support. At least Chrome back doors updates to their browser so anything out there should be the current version (like it or not).

Re:Oh Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35130458)

We users certainly love applications that update without asking us and end up breaking a vitally important addon. Yep, great feature, that.

Re:Oh Great (1, Insightful)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130822)

But I have to search for updates to get an updated Chrome.....oh wait....I run Chromium - which doesn't auto-update......

Re:Oh Great (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130698)

One of the side effects of smaller release cycles will be less major changes in a release. You'll have to test more often, but most the time it'll be just to confirm that yep, it acts just like last month's version. And Firefox4.0 also updates silently in the background (check the About tab right after opening)

Magic version numbers (3, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130094)

Like accelerating the version number major releases suddenly makes the release cycle better. More bugs?

Re:Magic version numbers (3, Informative)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130134)

Fewer features in each major release should mean more time spent fixing bugs. Would hope so, anyway. Firefox 4 beta 10 uses 100% of my CPU almost constantly (on Mac OS X 10.6) and I have no idea what new "feature" is responsible for this.

Re:Magic version numbers (2, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130228)

Fewer features in each major release should mean more time spent fixing bugs.

Which, one might argue, makes them point releases instead of major releases. If 5 is only adding a few features from 4, and fixing bugs, then why isn't it 4.1?

I'm shaking my head at the prospect of going through four major releases of Firefox this year, and sort of going "why?".

Re:Magic version numbers (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130300)

If they abolish "major releases" as we know them, and start doing point releases only, then you might as well call them major releases. They introduce so many bugs with each new version, that I think this is a step in the right direction.

Re:Magic version numbers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35130310)

Because Google says so with Chrome? They are simply copying that model. You are right; classically it would be a point release, but they all had to catch up to Opera (what 12.x) and IE (about to ship 9.x) on their "current release" so they are skipping those point releases and just changing the major version numbers.

Re:Magic version numbers (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130414)

You are right; classically it would be a point release, but they all had to catch up to Opera (what 12.x) and IE (about to ship 9.x) on their "current release" so they are skipping those point releases and just changing the major version numbers.

I learned a long time ago that when a vendor is playing hocus-pocus with major version numbers, they're either doing something shady or the marketing department has gotten out of control. In which case, you can bet they're doing something shady.

Yes, I know Firefox is free ... it doesn't mean I don't have 15 years of distrust at seeing people play with their version numbers. (You know, "oh, here's our new Steaming Heap of Innovative Technology v 1.0 .... oh, don't like that, well, now it's 6.2, is that better?" Same shit, different version number.)

Re:Magic version numbers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35130510)

The other browsers think they'll be as good as Opera if their version number is higher.

Re:Magic version numbers (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130786)

>>>they all had to catch up

If that's true, they should have kept Netscape's old version numbers. Mozilla App Suite would have been Communicator 5.0. The Navigator-only breakoff called "firefox" would be 6.0. And by the start of 2012 we'd be rounding-the-corner onto Firefox 10.0 (beta).

.

Re:Magic version numbers (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130866)

BTW my browser is Mozilla Seamonkey.
It's only at release 2.
:-(

Motto from a former company : - Safety Has Its Time. The contractor who submitted that was laid-off, and that was what he submitted to the company before leaving.

Re:Magic version numbers (1, Funny)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130704)

>>>Which, one might argue, makes them point releases instead of major releases. If 5 is only adding a few features from 4, and fixing bugs, then why isn't it 4.1?
>>>
I tried to make that same argument about Windows Seven, that it's really just Vista with bugfixes but nobody buys that argument, and instead insist Seven is a separate OS even though the number indicates otherwise (incremented from 6.0 to 6.1). They claim the numbering system is "completely arbitrary". And maybe they're right.

BTW it's a balmy 0 degrees today and my car was Not covered with snow. It was covered with rain - albeit frozen. And white. And war is peace. And I am not typing on Firefox 3.51, but Mozilla 10. Ooops I mean Netscape 11. Well anyway it's got a picture of a cute dragon/gecko/lizard thing.

(This is meant to be "funny" for those of ye who are humor-impaired. Ooops, I mean comic-challenged. Or is it vertically challenged? I get confused. Double+good.)

Re:Magic version numbers (4, Informative)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130354)

I'm running Firefox 4b10 on Snow Leopard also, and other than spiking when I refresh I'm 70%+ idle. With Parallels and X11 running, I might add.

Maybe it's one of your addons, try disabling them all and reenabling them one at a time until you find the culprit.

Re:Magic version numbers (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130474)

Didn't expect to find that. I switched to Chrome today because of this. Turns out that I had Greasemonkey installed for some unknown reason and I didn't even know it. On the other hand, just typing in this comment box spikes my CPU usage on Chrome to 75+%. That might just be the new design.

Re:Magic version numbers (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130838)

but how responsive is it? With an advanced threading model you'd hope it would max out the CPU(s) more often. So long as it's doing something useful with those cycles and doesn't slow down the user, surely it's a good thing?

Re:Magic version numbers (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130912)

Not very smart threading - maxes out one of my cores, leaves the others untouched.

Re:Magic version numbers (4, Informative)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130158)

Like accelerating the version number major releases suddenly makes the release cycle better. More bugs?

I don't think so, and I don't think they'll rush the features. To make that equation work, I assume each major release will be less major than before. Like with Google Chrome. Why do that? Marketing? No, I think it's to stay more current with the latest web standards. In today's web, waiting a year for each major release will lead you to hopelessly fall behind. This is the reasoning to why Google are now doing this anyway (and of course, I'm sure they don't mind catching up with IE's version numbers either).

Re:Magic version numbers (2)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130518)

Like accelerating the version number major releases suddenly makes the release cycle better. More bugs?

I don't think so, and I don't think they'll rush the features.

Really? Why not? They're already rushing new features. They're currently at Beta 10 and working on Beta 11. And they just added a new feature -- the Do Not Track thingee. Who the fuck adds a new feature in Beta 10? And by their own admission they didn't properly integrate it into the configuration UI because they wanted to hurry up and get this new feature out -- despite the fact that its benefit is highly questionable.

Re:Magic version numbers (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130952)

I have to agree with you there, if Firefoxsync was possible as an addon, I'm not really sure why they needed to push the Do Not Track feature into a beta release. Granted it could be simple, but it strikes me as poor practice given that it adds complexity which requires QA.

Re:Magic version numbers (2)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130194)

Do you use stairs or just jump to the next level of a building?

Focused, incremental improvements can reduce the number of bugs that have to be chased down with each version upgrade. The numbering system is arbitrary but does signal to users when they should upgrade. So yes, in the right circumstances, the release cycle will be better. And fewer bugs.

But no guarantees.

Re:Magic version numbers (4, Insightful)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130274)

Exactly. The change to calling each one of them "major" versions appears to be simply cosmetic - who cares what the number is, people will use the latest stable version, whichever that happens to be; if there is no stable version, they'll simply move to using Chrome or Safari.

Basically, all Mozilla has done is said, "Everything we would have released in a big chunk next November will be delivered in 4 smaller chunks, one each quarter."

In theory, the releases will be more tightly focused, with shorter durations, and fewer features to implement translating to more thorough bug testing and bug fixing. This is a good thing.

In practice, as you noted... no guarantees. I expect at least 2 of them will be significantly late and / or significantly reduced in scope from their current roadmap.

Re:Magic version numbers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35130238)

Of course it does. Don't you remember how Slackware got as good as SuSE/Red Hat [slackdown.co.uk] ?

It's interesting to see that Mozilla proposes almost the same thing: a jump from 4.0 to 7.0.

Versions (4, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130098)

It's clear the company no longer thinks this model is a good one, and wants to accelerate its release cycle

It sort of sounds more like they want to remove minor version numbers, and make every update a new major version.

Re:Versions (4, Funny)

crow (16139) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130170)

So users should respond by adding a "0." to the front of all the version numbers.

Re:Versions (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130428)

... in order to catch up with IE's version number, no doubt.

Yes, many end users really are that stupid, and unfortunately, too many developers think that those are the users you have to oblige.

Re:Versions (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130776)

Or Chrome for that matter. It's already at 10 within 3 years.

Planning ahead (2)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130104)

Nice to see that Mozilla has adopted my software development philosophy: Remember, the sooner you get behind, the more time you have to catch up! I can't be the only person that doesn't believe these will all ship this year?

That's just dumb (5, Insightful)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130106)

Stick with the point versions, and focus on getting 4.5 out by mid 2012.

Releasing 4 major versions in one year is immature, and Mozilla should no better. What motivation do they have other than competing with the other browsers that have higher version numbers? Stupid.

Hariyfeet, if you read this, I want to remind you once again that Firefox deciding not to make use of Windows Integrity Controls is not equivalent to running the browser as a root process. Sigh.

Re:That's just dumb (1)

frozentier (1542099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130148)

Releasing 4 major versions in one year is immature, and Mozilla should no better. What motivation do they have other than competing with the other browsers that have higher version numbers? Stupid.

In all fairness though, if they wanted to do that, they could just make the next version Firefox 10, and when people complain saying "where's the other versions?" simply say there are none. Doesn't sound any more ridiculous than having 3 or 4 full version releases in one year.

Re:That's just dumb (2)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130608)

Or they could just call them Firefox 2011-A, B, C, & D. That would give them a version number that makes sense, AND is the highest. :)

Re:That's just dumb (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130174)

What's a major version? Other than not having a decimal point in it nothing will change. Unless there's a dramatic change in work 4.1 = 5, 4.2 = 6, 4.3 ... etc. This isn't immature as much as it is completely immaterial. If the marketing gurus say we need to change major versions more quickly then let them, we end up with the same product regardless.

Re:That's just dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35130198)

What's especially weird about this is that the proposed "major versions," especially 6 and 7, don't really even have any major features aside from minor tweaks and UI improvements.What is the point of shitting out that many major releases when you have MAYBE enough to fill one? Nobody knows.

Re:That's just dumb (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130216)

Hariyfeet, if you read this, I want to remind you once again that Firefox deciding not to make use of Windows Integrity Controls is not equivalent to running the browser as a root process. Sigh.

That sounds like one of the stupidest statements I've ever heard someone have to make ... so I have to ask ... what exactly are you referring too? Is this in reference to a dev list thread or something I can find?

Just curious as to what the rest of that conversation looked like :)

Re:That's just dumb (1)

Cronock (1709244) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130296)

All software after a version 6 falls downhill, I can't think of a single piece of software that defies this rule. The only one that comes close is Mac OS 10, but essentially it's back to a version 1.0 and currently really at 1.6. 7, 8 9 were horrid, Apple was right to trash it.

Re:That's just dumb (1)

SirMasterboy (872152) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130654)

Photoshop?
CS5 is current at version 12.0.3. Plus, Photoshop only started to become amazing at version 7 or so.

Windows 7?
Though it's actually version 6.1.

Microsoft Word?
Currently at version 14.0. Word only started to become great with Word 95 which was version 7.0.

Google Chrome?
They are at version 9 in stable and 11 in development. Personally I think Chrome only started becoming great and a real competitor at version 5 or 6. and on.

Re:That's just dumb (1)

Cronock (1709244) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130814)

Photoshop 7 was the last version I actually had any joy in upgrading to.
Windows 7, speaks for itself. But you did have to be decent first, which Windows never has been.
Word? Haha.
Chrome, their versioning doesn't even count. Less than 2 years old and it's at what, version 8? You're joking, right?

Re:That's just dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35130508)

"Mozilla should no better"

No better than what?

Open Sores? (-1)

suso (153703) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130122)

Support modern operating systems and platforms: Windows 64-bit, OSX 10.7, Android 3.0, and ARM CPUs

Thanks Mozilla for biting the hands that serve you.

Re:Open Sores? (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130326)

Not sure why you find this upsetting or controversial. Is there some other platform variant that is not supported presently by Firefox that you expected to see listed there?

Re:Open Sores? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35130386)

Does this have any relation to, well, anything, or did you just feel oh-so-clever saying "Open Sores"?

Re:Open Sores? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35130548)

I hope it was just a typo -- the suso.com site he's linking in the sig says they support Open Source and are marketing host accounts on Linux servers. If it's not, someone might send them an email with a link to his comment and ask why someone affiliated with them is spouting off in this manner.

Re:Open Sores? (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130482)

As opposed to *not* supporting these OS's and platforms?

Of course Firefox will support them. This is good not bad.

This just in: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35130128)

Absolutely no reason to even try versions 4, 5, or 6.

WTF, Mozilla? A major version number used to actually mean something.

I'll stick with 3.6 until someone forks and releases a spiritual successor.

Re:This just in: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35130388)

Go back to Seamonkey, its current versions don't have any bigger foot print than 3.x Firefox and you get more features. Most add ins are compatible, all plugins are, and the interface is way less buggy than recent FF releases. If you are happy on FF3.x you should go to Seamonkey the interface is familiar and you will get new geko releases.

Re:This just in: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35130554)

hear, hear!

Re:This just in: (3, Insightful)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130412)

A version number increment is only as important as you want it to be. The difference between "3.6" and "4.0" is entirely subjective, as is the difference between "4.0" and "5.0".

By convention, a "major" release increment signals significant changes, but what constitutes "significant"? Is expanding Windows support to 32-bit AND 64-bit versions "major"? Could be. Is implementing a new feature to support "identity," as the roadmap suggests? Could be. So is adding Windows 64-bit support worthy of a major revision number? If it is, do they have to increment again when they release "identity" support? Is one "more major" than the other?

The answer is: who cares, really? The only thing that users really need to worry about:
1) What version am I using presently?
2) What is the latest stable version?
3) What's changed between #1 and #2, and is it worth upgrading?

Whether #1 and #2 are "3.6" and "3.9", respectively, or "4.0" and "7.0", it really doesn't matter. It's the delta, #3, that really matters - what's been added, removed, updated, fixed, and broken between the two?

Re:This just in: (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130812)

It still does. It just means 1/4 of what it used to for Firefox releases, and that's a good thing. Really.

I'm trying out 4.0 beta 10, and I'm struggling to figure out what HASN'T changed in this thing. I mean, it's still got a URL bar, and most things are kinda sorta where they used to be, but gawd has a lot changed. And it's on its tenth beta. Tenth. Clearly, they made too hugely sweeping of a change, and meanwhile the universe of web browsers whooshed on by them, and they still have to release backports of most bug fixes to 3.6. So now I'm running something that looks so little like 3.6 that I might as well go to IE or Chrome or Safari, for all the UI consistency and carryover I'm experiencing.

Google has the right idea here. Pick a limited and manageable number of features, add them to the browser, and concentrate on making small changes and getting them out to production frequently. You don't need to backport too many non-serious bug fixes, because you'll be coming out with a new release within a few months anyway, so non-critical bugs just get rolled up into the next version.

See any argument about waterfall (obsolete before it's done) versus agile (rapid changes without a clear vision or endgame). Mozilla is sliding the dial a little more to the agile side of the continuum. And given where they are and where their competition is going, this sounds like a good move.

It's a fair argument to say that they should call them "dot" releases or maybe adopt the Ubuntu numbering system of date/month for their releases, but "major release" means different things to different companies.

For Microsoft, it means years and millions of lines of code and broken legacy applications.

For Google, it means a month or so.

I think I'd rather have Mozzy following the Google model a little more, and the Microsoft model a little less. The release of 4.0 is too big, too different, and took too long. We should have had 2-3 interim versions with less aggressive feature sets by now.

Wait, I recognize that cough... (4, Funny)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130138)

Someone has caught the chromoenza!

Extensions (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35130212)

Changing the version number that fast would break a lot of extensions. Don't do it Mozilla!

I'll wait... (1)

Howard Beale (92386) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130214)

until it can go to 11.

I eagerly look forward to trying out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35130222)

..Firefox 4, 4.01, 4.02 and 4.03.

Version Number Wars? (1)

Cronock (1709244) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130232)

Are the marketers at the Mozilla Foundation focusing on getting Firefox up to version 10 before Internet Explorer just for marketing purposes? What could possibly be so important to warrant 4 major versions in a year? And if they were that large of enhancements, why not combine them for their customers sake?
Racking up version numbers isn't something that should be done on a whim. Jeez, how long did it take Firefox originally to hit 1.0?

Re:Version Number Wars? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130466)

Are the marketers at the Mozilla Foundation focusing on getting Firefox up to version 10 before Internet Explorer just for marketing purposes?

Quite likely, this is precisely why.

And why I'll likely start shopping around for a different browser Real Soon Now. The moment you aim for your competitor, and not the sky, you're destined to no longer be a winner.

Re:Version Number Wars? (1)

Cronock (1709244) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130678)

Does anyone seriously look at 2 competing products and see a version number as a bullet point? I think lower version numbers are generally a badge of honor. Spitting out many major versions so fast means you're having a hard time playing catch-up with your competition.

Re:Version Number Wars? (1)

by (1706743) (1706744) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130716)

Seems to me that a reasonable strategy would be to use a date-based version (I'm not an Ubuntu fanboy, but I think their numerical version system is fairly intelligent).

In this way, the version number could be an apples-apples comparison across browsers. It does make radical new features somewhat less obvious, I guess, as the "major version number" would likely just be the year.

Re:Version Number Wars? (1)

Cronock (1709244) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130884)

My only problem with year based versions that are date-stamped versions is that they tend to be stamping their own expiration date on their software. Which is ok if you're Intuit and rake in cash just because you throw out a slightly differently buggy version every year without ever fully fixing things (sigh). But most software is intended to be used for a few years, and seeing a 2009 next to a 2010 competitor will hurt more than seeing a v4 next to a v10.

Math, Mozilla-style (2)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130242)

3.6 --> 4.0 --> 5.0 --> 6.0 --> 7.0 = 3.6 --> 4.0 --> 4.1 --> 4.2 --> 4.3

It's "big version number envy". Nothing more. The Mozilla folks have given in to the idea that "3.6 is less than 8.0 and is less than 12, therefore FireFox 3.6 is less than MSIE 8.0 and Chrome 12". Is this a sign that marketing people are now running Mozilla? Will the budget go to engineers or Superbowl ads?

Re:Math, Mozilla-style (0)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130334)

Maybe they feel anything but a simple number scares the general populace. Eek! A decimal point!

Re:Math, Mozilla-style (0)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130336)

Looks like Microsoft math.

Re:Math, Mozilla-style (1)

by (1706743) (1706744) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130784)

Or Slackware math [wikimedia.org] (source page [wikipedia.org] .)

For the record, I'm not hating on Slack -- I used it on my ancient (even at the time) laptop all through college, and it never let me down.

Re:Math, Mozilla-style (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130400)

The Mozilla folks have given in to the idea that "3.6 is less than 8.0 and is less than 12, therefore FireFox 3.6 is less than MSIE 8.0 and Chrome 12".

Unfortunately you just described how 90% of end-users think. If Firefox is to take more of the market share they have to take more of these "regular Joes"... not that I'm particularly thrilled with this decision but I understand it.

Re:Math, Mozilla-style (1)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130528)

There is a tendency in the software industry to think that anyone not in the software industry is stupid. On any security-related topic you will see hordes of Slashdotters describing anyone who can't configure and compile their own Linux kernel and set their own iptables rules as "idiots". I, on the other hand, describe engineers incapable of writing inherently secure software with a decent user interface (or, at the least, acknowledging that the UI is as important as the core functionality) as "incompetent".

I think the marketing people at Mozilla are doing the general public a disservice. If they were right, Opera and Chrome would be WAY ahead of MSIE and FireFox already; Opera, at least, has been around for many years, but its big numbers haven't paved the way to dominance. Why, then, would that be true of FireFox?

A little respect and sympathy for end users will go a long way towards making a good product that is widely used. Revolutionary, I know...

Re:Math, Mozilla-style (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130868)

Don't forget to add a "GT", "FX" or "HD" in there to let them know that not only do they need to upgrade, but it will be more awesome when they do.

Spoiler! (1)

irrg (1858530) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130244)

Spoiler: First one to 10 wins. No one's told Apple.

Re:Spoiler! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35130436)

Spoiler: First one to 10 wins. No one's told Apple.

Apple won a decade ago, when System 7.7 became OS 8, which was quickly bumped to 9 and then 10.0. They've been dragging out the 10.x version numbers ever since.

Hopefully... (1)

A Big Gnu Thrush (12795) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130246)

...one of these releases won't suck. Not holding my breath.

tl;dr from the roadmap (4, Informative)

Warll (1211492) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130264)

This is a major reason why I use firefox, chrome may be open source but firefox extends that to open governance.

  1. Ship Firefox 4, 5, 6 and 7 in the 2011 calendar year
  2. Always respond to a user action within 50 ms
  3. Never lose user data or state
  4. Build Web Apps, Identity and Social into the Open Web Platform
  5. Support new operating systems and hardware
  6. Polish the user experience for common interaction tasks
  7. Plan and architect for a future of a common platform on which the desktop and mobile products will be built and run Web Apps

I would encourage everyone to read through the full roadmap: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox/Roadmap [mozilla.org] you shouldn't be disapointed.

Edit: Ugh, slashdot ol means ordered list, stop styling it like a ul.

Re:tl;dr from the roadmap (2)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130522)

Always respond to a user action within 50 ms

Do not want!

Explanation: If I do A/V recording or other timing sensitive work at the same time as browsing, I most certainly don't want a browser with any kind of RT guarantee, but a "best effort" one.

Re:tl;dr from the roadmap (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130808)

Always respond to a user action within 50 ms
Never lose user data or state

So it runs on faerie wings and pixie dust...

Build Web Apps, Identity and Social into the Open Web Platform

...and will be some Web 3.0 monstrosity.

Maybe they can pull it off but the roadmap isn't really worth anything, it sounds a lot like other products I know where the next version will fix all the slowness and data/state bugs. Combined with the buzzword bingo, I wouldn't put money on it.

Synchronization with HTMLX (3, Funny)

Syncerus (213609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130266)

Mozilla should move the other direction. They should follow the W3C lead and dispense with versions altogether and simply release "Firefox" that displays "HTML".

What could possibly go wrong?

Release Cycle Numbers... (1)

Super Dave Osbourne (688888) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130282)

For Moz el et the cycle number is about it being perceived as being better, however I seriously doubt they have invented or acquired any technology that is going to make the browser any better than really anything else out there. The browser wars are over, now its about making the device so browser dependent that they can't be separated at the head or hip. Too bad the devices are only able to handle dumbed down versions of the browser at this point. I'll wait another year or two and see what hardware/software offers then, release cycle acceleration numerology means nothing to me.

The new Version Number War (3, Interesting)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130284)

When Internet Explorer was at version 5, Netscape released version 6 of their browser. There never was a Netscape version 5. They jumped from v4 to v6 because they wanted to be newer than Microsoft. Apparently, Mozilla now feels they are "behind" Chrome which is currently at version 9, so instead of Firefox 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, etc., they will call them Firefox 5, 6, 11 and 23 so that they can be newer than Chrome.

It is sad how far off the rails the Firefox development process has gone.

Re:The new Version Number War (1)

Meddik (1849590) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130440)

Just skip it all and go to Of course, then you end up with .1, .2, +1

Re:The new Version Number War (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35130598)

Netscape v5 was developed, and eventually became the browser named Mozilla. But not after a big to-do about bloat, direction, speed, jwz leaving, etc. Netscape 6 is pretty much Mozilla with branding graphics. If they wanted to call it 5, they would probably would have had internal version number conflict and confusion.

But yes, the roadmap with version number inflation is silly.

Re:The new Version Number War (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130642)

reminds me of Solaris 2.7 -> SunOS 5.8 -> Solaris 9

(granted, Solaris 2.x and SunOS 5.x lived in parallel for a long while)

Hey, Mozilla Foundation, why don't you cater to the Far East market and skip version 4 altogether? You'll gain a whole digit by going straight to 5! /irony

Re:The new Version Number War (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35130662)

See, they shouldn't have released a version 4 at all:

1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21...

Speaking as a plugin developer... (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130286)

WTF? I hope this is just marketing. My plugin [mozilla.org] already needed two days of tinkering just getting it working in 4; and when I add MP3 tagging and iTunes/Zune support I'll need separate code from version 3 and 4.

Maybe they're just trying to get to 9 fast, so they can match Microsoft, kinda like how the Xbox 2 became the '360'...

Worried (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130316)

So they're going to go from 1 a year to 4? Or is it going to be 1 'normal' version chopped up into 4 bits. Each having a different version number to make development look like it isn't glacial.

Do Not Want (1, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130332)

I don't want four browser versions in a year. I want one that works right. I'm tired of their browser hanging, taking minutes of compute time to exit, and unable to close some obnoxious hostile pages.

When the Mozilla crowd gets a bug-free 4.x out the door, with all reported bugs fixed, then they can talk about later versions.

(I'm underwhelmed with the Mozilla crowd. They come across as a bunch of Javascript hackers. There was a problem with duplicate entries in the internal SQLite databases, and I suggested making the fields a unique key, so the database would reject bogus updates. But that would have caused broken code to abort. Instead, they bolted on a Javascript hack to try to clean up the mess.)

Re:Do Not Want (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130590)

I'm tired of the memory use. I've seen FF gobble up 1.5 GB of memory when doing nothing but staying on a standard web page for a week. And that's not even a memory leak, but considered "normal".

Don't dwell on the version #, read the roadmap (1)

hellfire (86129) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130690)

What's actually born out in many software companies is that having more frequent releases with fewer features in each release actually creates software that works! The difference is your focus on features is more narrow, and you are changing less code. Once you focus on making that code as stable as possible, you move on to the next project. This also has the added benefit of making a software company able to adapt to change more quickly.

The roadmap implies they may be moving to a scrum or agile development process or refining their process further. Firefox 4 seems like something that is taking forever, and after having spent over a year in a company that switched to scrum after having many major releases fall behind time and time again, I'm very glad they are going to a fewer features/faster release model.

The 4/5/6/7 might be a small marketing decision, but it's more likely simply a result of their development process simply using those the number procession they've always used and not spending time worrying precisely what the version number is, even though the cycle has changed.

The article inadvertently makes us focus on the version numbers themselves, when all of the techs and developers out there know the version number means nothing in terms of features, we should be dwelling on what it gives us.

Re:Don't dwell on the version #, read the roadmap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35130806)

It DOES matter, since it now means that each version change requires an entirely new 'verification' process in every business and institution. If they continue to release minor revision changes for 4, 5, 6, and 7 for the years to come, alright. That's pain for them, since they now support 5 simultaneous releases. If not, that's alot of pain-in-the-ass for everyone else and other browser alternatives will be considered.

FF4 is crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35130338)

Will one of these versions have a status bar? or minimal stability? or be let go of radical incompatibility (incompatibility not based on capability but based on idealistic -read fundamentalistic- API whitelists) with vital add-ons?

Re:FF4 is crap (3, Interesting)

supersloshy (1273442) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130578)

Actually, the latest nightlies have a statusbar-esque thing in the bottom left when you hover links or load a page, now. It's a bit like how Chrome does it.

How about Firefox 6.0 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35130350)

It might convince incompetent companies who are still on IE6 to change, as it is "just as good".

Hello Marketting! (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130364)

I'm pretty sure it won't make any difference technically. I'm sure they won't be moving any quicker, slower or whatever compared to usual.

Just when people go "WOW Chrome is better than Firefox because it updates so regularly!!!111one" - I guess mozilla marketting is pandering to those idiots now.

Let me tell you how much difference it makes to me whether its Firefox 4.1 or Firefox 5... none at all.

So what's all the fuss about?

Screw version numbers, fix the slow startup times! (1)

Joshua Fan (1733100) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130422)

If just one of these major releases features nothing but a blazing fast cold start, I'll be happy.

Just call the next release Firefox 9 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35130430)

Seriously. If they want to keep up the version number with the other browsers (IE 9, Chrome 9, Opera 11) then just change Firefox 4 (or FF5) to version 9 or 10 and be done with it.

Sheesh, trying to accelerate the number incrementing by making minor point releases have major version number changes is just stupid.

Seriously, just admit that it would look better to have a high version number and make it so. Admit that it's just an attempt to make stupid consumers feel good. Nothing wrong with that, it's psychology 101 and will most likely bring in more Firefox users (the whole Facebook, etc crowd would eat it up).

Re:Just call the next release Firefox 9 (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130646)

What is currently being called FF 4.0 actually started out as FF 3.7, but after a short time they changed the version number. Since FF 4 is still in beta they should do the same thing they did to the FF 3.7 beta -- just change the version number again. Call it FF 12 and be done with it.

Missing the Forest for the trees (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130454)

I read TFA. It has some interesting ideas about promoting a semantic web of sorts, and pretty much showing an amount of hate for propriety stuff which bypasses the web. Why not have an interesting story on that? This is news for nerds.

Instead no lets go for a DUUUUUUUUUR THEY HAS QWIKER VERZION NOS NOW! DUUUR! Story.

My browser goes to 11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35130480)

Most browsers go up to 10, but 11 is one more, isn't it?

It will still be a while before Friedfox catches up with Chrome, which is already at 9.

My browser goes to 11 (1)

ddd0004 (1984672) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130532)

This sounds very much like Spinal Tap. My browser goes to 11.

Re:My browser goes to 11 (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130770)

Even at this rate, that won't be until late 2012.

More bloat (1)

bananaquackmoo (1204116) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130572)

Blech. Just remove all of the bloat, make it stable and fast, and I might want to start using Firefox again.

Good Bye (1)

greymond (539980) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130622)

Ever since the last 3.6 update I've had a ridiculous amount of crashes with FF when viewing any site that has some flash ad or element on it. As a result I've almost completely stopped using it with exception to check browser compatibility issues. Now that I know it's going to be requesting updates every quarter this year I'm having a hard time trying to figure out why any user would really want to stick with this browser.

Hell, IE8 seems to run more stable, and chrome has become my default browser of choice. The only thing I don't like about chrome is it's lack of good RSS support, but these days I'm finding myself using that feature less and less in my browsers, instead I just use RSS on my phone for "quick reading" on the light rail to work.

Wake up, Mozilla (2)

degeneratemonkey (1405019) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130858)

Quite honestly, the stubborn insistence upon sticking with Gecko - and really, the sort of management that leads to decisions like that being made - will be the death of Firefox. At this point, Mozilla aren't solving any problems with their browser. What's the motivation behind Firefox? Why is it so bloated, and why are any of its developers okay with that fact?

Pride is a vicious thing.

That's all fine and good... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130942)

... but where's the love for Thunderbird? If they gave it even half this degree of attention perhaps they could finally fix the years-old showstopping bugs. It's frustrating to see software with such potential left to rot.

Awesome! (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 3 years ago | (#35130944)

... as long as at least one of those releases fixes some of the decade-old bugs [slashdot.org] discussed here just a couple weeks ago.

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