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No Additional Firefox 4 Security Updates

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the you're-cut-off dept.

Firefox 445

CWmike writes "Unnoticed in the Tuesday release of Firefox 5 was Mozilla's decision to retire Firefox 4, shipped just three months ago. Mozilla spelled out vulnerabilities it had patched in that edition and in 2010's Firefox 3.6, but it made no mention of any bugs fixed in Firefox 4 on Tuesday, because Firefox 4 has reached what Mozilla calls EOL, for 'end of life,' for patches. Although the move may have caught users by surprise, the decision to stop supporting Firefox 4 has been discussed within Mozilla for weeks. In a mozilla.dev.planning mailing list thread, Christian Legnitto, the Firefox release manager, put it most succinctly on May 25: 'Firefox 5 will be the security update for Firefox 4.' Problem is, users are being prompted to upgrade now but are hesitant because the new rapid release of updates means many add-ons are not compatible. And without security updates in between, many could be left exposed with unpatched browsers."

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This is gonna suck... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531140)

...for anyone running a Linux distro :-(

Re:This is gonna suck... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531190)

Backports are your friend.

Re:This is gonna suck... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531338)

I usually use mozillateam PPAs but I can't find any for Firefox 5 final.

Still, having to mess with repos AGAIN is why it sucks.

Re:This is gonna suck... (2)

yelvington (8169) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531206)

Ubuntu upgraded to FF 5 this morning. I was surprised, given that Ubuntu has not been too swift with previous FF upgrades. I suppose the EOL is the reason.

Re:This is gonna suck... (1)

kikito (971480) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531282)

Let me check...

Yup, I'm also in FF5. I didn't know! xD

Re:This is gonna suck... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531216)

No, it will not, I have been on 5.0 beta for at least two weeks (Gentoo). Unfortunately it's still beta5 for us.

Re:This is gonna suck... (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531220)

3 words: Rolling release distro.

Like Arch or Gentoo, or Debian unstable if you want.

Re:This is gonna suck... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531362)

Just because I wanted to look it up:

Gentoo: Latest stable is 3.6.17, unstable is 4.0.1
http://packages.gentoo.org/package/www-client/firefox [gentoo.org]

Arch: Latest is 5.0
http://www.archlinux.org/packages/extra/i686/firefox/ [archlinux.org]

Debian: Sid has Iceweasle at 3.5.19
http://packages.debian.org/sid/iceweasel [debian.org]

Re:This is gonna suck... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531580)

You failed to notice that Gentoo has mozilla overlay which has 5.0 beta5. And you all bleeding edge haters like your browser stale anyhow so 4.0 will not hurt you anyway. Also I really hate how distros mark software deemed stable by upstream as totally experimental and dangerous (applies to pretty much everyone).

Re:This is gonna suck... (2)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531860)

Also I really hate how distros mark software deemed stable by upstream as totally experimental and dangerous (applies to pretty much everyone).

Stable doesn't just relate to the software, but how the software works on a specific platform (that is, whether it plays nice with other libraries and such, whether the dependancies have been specified properly in the ebuild (or whatever your distro of choice uses), etc..).

Re:This is gonna suck... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531270)

whats a linux dildo

Re:This is gonna suck... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531566)

Like a Windows dildo, but more affordable, customizable, powerful and efficient. Ask your mom ;)

Re:This is gonna suck... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531602)

Plus, you can Alt-F up to 10 people at the same time

Re:This is gonna suck... (2)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531628)

I thought the windows one was made of broken glass, and the linux one had a point out to the side (front if standing up) like a little beak.

BSD has two points at the end and a pitch fork.

MacOSs can only be used on one part of the body, and only in one room of the house, only at the time Mr. Jobs lets you use it, and only with Apple approved partners...

Re:This is gonna suck... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531382)

Just unpack the tarball somewhere convenient and be happy. If you had FF4 working, 5 will just drop in.

Re:This is gonna suck... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531504)

Yeah and then have to keep doing that to get updates...

I've heard Ubuntu has FF5 in their main repos now, so users will get updates, but Mozilla needs to have repos ready for the final versions of their browsers at the same time the final version is released as a .deb package/tarball. Typically I end up sticking to the old browser or running a beta from a repo, then I have to wait weeks after the final release for a PPA for the final version.

Re:This is gonna suck... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531670)

How does that suck any more than waiting for the security update to be packaged?

It's the same decision it always was. Wait for your distro to update the package or grab the tarball direct and forgo management on that package.

Had FF5 introduced a serious bug thjat could impact productionm, I might be more upset, but for all practical purposes, it IS the security update to 4.1 and should be treated as such. If you like, rename it to FF4.2

Guess I'll just wait a few months (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531180)

For Firefox 6.0

BS Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531202)

All addons working with 4 also work with 5 because 5 is actually 4.1

Re:BS Article (1)

Tukz (664339) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531248)

Then why do I have 2 addons that doesn't?

Re:BS Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531412)

Probably because they're hardcoded for version 4, the superficiality of this version bloat is breaking shit.

Re:BS Article (5, Interesting)

andymadigan (792996) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531444)

As I remember, the Mozilla Add-ons site does not allow plugins to be posted if they have a maxVersion that hasn't been released yet (that's the gist of it anyway).

You might be able to post an add-on with a maxVersion of 4.1alpha or something, but it would break on 4.1 final. Of course, there's no way to quickly re-enable the add-on, because Mozilla thinks you can't be trusted to run your own browser, an interesting concept coming from open source software.

Re:BS Article (2)

DarkTempes (822722) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531902)

I believe you can install the Mozilla Add-on Compatibility Reporter (made by Mozilla) to manually turn on any outdated/incompatible/whatever add-ons.

I can't blame them for making such functionality take a couple of extra steps because I imagine the support nightmare from your average user is hell otherwise.
I'm not a big fan of this new rapid release thing with major version numbers just to look better, though.

What the h. . . ? (1)

Ezel (249772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531228)

It feels like I just updated to Firefox 4 yesterday.
Is it already time for Firefox 5?
What is the big news that brings us a whole new version-number?

Re:What the h. . . ? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531304)

Slashdot story [slashdot.org]

No big news, except that the Mozilla Foundation has gone out of its mind. I think I'll stick with Firefox 3 until it reaches end of life, and then upgrade to Firefox 25.

FF5 is out? (0)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531240)

Really? I thought it was still in beta. Well, I never.. who'd have thought it. Who'd have F****** told me, I didn't expect a release for ages.

In fact, this version number is pants, I've just decided. I have been indoctrinated to expect 4.1 release sometime soon, but now it's jumping to 5, I'm left thinking something's missing.

I understand FF5 is FF4.1, but still... it don't feel right.

Re:FF5 is out? (4, Informative)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531494)

If it helps you sleep at night, the nightly builds are currently 7.0a1, and planning for FF8 is underway. And prior to FF4, Gecko was still in the 1.9 numbering series. (They bumped it up to match the FF version release.)

Ironically, SeaMonkey is still at version 2, when it comes from a branch of the Netscape tree that should make it six or seven.

And furthermore, all of these web browsers are identified as Mozilla/5.0 in their user agents.

Re:FF5 is out? (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532016)

If it helps you sleep at night...

No, that's just given me even more to contemplate while staring at the ceiling. I'm surprised to hear FF8 is planned already....care to share any spoilers for what goodies I can expect in FF6 and 7 in the meantime? Actually never mind, I'll just wait till next week when they release both within 24 hours...

If they hadn't broken addons... (5, Informative)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531244)

...they would be fine.

However, it looks like Mozilla failed to communicate it well enough, thinking their own notice was enough. The result is that Mozilla seems to take Microsoft's path for once - refusing to patch security issues on a relatively new release, and washing their hands clean with an EOL.

Re:If they hadn't broken addons... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531308)

It is an Open Source project, fix it your self.

Re:If they hadn't broken addons... (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531644)

Kind of hard to fix a security issue if you only know that it exists, but not where.

Re:If they hadn't broken addons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531744)

> It is an Open Source project, fix it your self.

Unsuccessful troll is unsuccessful.

Re:If they hadn't broken addons... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531368)

What? Microsoft are still supporting Windows XP. It's a bit more than three months old.

Re:If they hadn't broken addons... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531728)

MS provides only security patches at this point and will do so until 2014 IIRC, which means well over a decade of security patches.

But, Firefox doesn't really need to do that as it's open source and upgrading to a newer version is free.

Re:If they hadn't broken addons... (0)

drhowarddrfine (1048436) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531492)

Failed to communicate? I knew this was coming many, many months ago and it's been talked about all over the web so why is this news to anyone?

Re:If they hadn't broken addons... (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531730)

However, it looks like Mozilla failed to communicate it well enough, thinking their own notice was enough.

Um, how much more notice should they provide? An ad in the Times?

The new release cycle is going to hurt Firefox (4, Insightful)

Bloodwine77 (913355) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531256)

I would not be surprised if their new release cycle causes their marketshare to start shrinking in a significant fashion.

I have been a long-time Firefox user (ever since it was Phoenix) and their current release philosophy is really turning me off. They just seem so misguided and detached from reality.

Re:The new release cycle is going to hurt Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531614)

If Firefox does not make it easy to disable automatic updates they will break add-ons left and right. If Firefox breaks add-ons left and right, add-on developers will stop supporting it. Add-on developers are not going to want to waste time constantly fixing support for each new version of Firefox. They need to know that a majority of people are going to be on a fixed version of Firefox, and so they will want automatic updates to be uncommon. Otherwise they'll just say, "Screw it. I'm moving to Chrome."

If Firefox makes it easy to disable automatic updates and continues the rapid release cycle they will leave a long string of old releases on the internet. If Firefox leaves a long string of old releases on the internet, I anticipate web developers will stop supporting it. Why? Testing each version is time and cost prohibitive. However if you do not test each version you will get endless complaints from users using old versions that do not work. The easiest solution in this case is to say, "We do not support Firefox. You use it at your own risk."

They can either have automatic updates and piss off add-on developers, or they can not have automatic updates and piss off web developers.

In short, they've backed themselves into a corner.

Re:The new release cycle is going to hurt Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531630)

FWIW I agree. I switched to Chrome. Just like with Microsoft arrogance fosters stupidity. Once you start to believe your own BS you're doomed.

Re:The new release cycle is going to hurt Firefox (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531772)

FWIW I agree. I switched to Chrome.

Thanks for the laugh. Seriously, I chuckled. When Firefox implements forced, rapid-iteration upgrades your response is to... erm... switch to a browser that has a policy of forced, rapid-iteration upgrades?

Re:The new release cycle is going to hurt Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531892)

Agree. I've seen the quality drop recently with unprecedented amounts of FF crashes, so much so that I've switched to using Chrome for the past week. So far the single thing I have missed is adblock, which is available (I believe) in Chrome but I just have not gotten around to looking yet.

Re:The new release cycle is going to hurt Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531896)

I have been a long-time Firefox user (ever since it was Phoenix) and their current release philosophy is really turning me off. They just seem so misguided and detached from reality.

That and so many other stupidities, like removing the status bar at the bottom of the browser window. Turning it off by default is fine, but removing it entirely is just dumb.

I don't get that (5, Insightful)

godrik (1287354) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531260)

Are they trying to kill their user base ?

Anybody serious deploying system WILL NOT ship a mozilla product. Obsoleting a software 3 month after its release is ridiculous. You can't try to get market share and killa release in 3 month. If you don't plan to give any support, call that a development version!

I am SO disappointed in them!

Re:I don't get that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531384)

I am using 5.0 right now. Noticeable differences. Just about 0. It really is just a 4.1...

They want to bump major versions for some reason. That will last about 2-3 years then we will be back to the old way...

Re:I don't get that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531422)

I agree with you but how does Google Chrome succeed? "You can't try to get market share and killa release in 3 month"

Re:I don't get that (1)

Bloodwine77 (913355) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531546)

Chrome is different. It automatically updates Chrome on startup if there is a new version. I don't believe there is a way to opt-out and stay with an older version. I generally use Firefox and not Chrome, so I am not as adept at Chrome and I could have missed an update toggle setting in Chrome.

I don't know how Chrome handles plugins with regards to compatibility when Chrome is updated.

Re:I don't get that (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531548)

I agree with you but how does Google Chrome succeed? "You can't try to get market share and killa release in 3 month"

Lack of plugins - or at least being much less common and quite possibly with a more stable API/ABI. A "security update" that breaks plugins is a sure-fire way to catch Firefox users between a rock and a hard place. It's a typical case of developers coding for developers - who are all on a very recent version and can fix what's broken for them - instead of regular users. Keep going like this and they'll be the #3 browser by Christmas...

Re:I don't get that (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531468)

Anybody serious deploying system WILL NOT ship a mozilla product. Obsoleting a software 3 month after its release is ridiculous. You can't try to get market share and killa release in 3 month. If you don't plan to give any support, call that a development version!

Indeed. For my users, I'm tempted to say "Sorry, I can't support Firefox because Firefox doesn't support Firefox", and switch them all over to Opera.

This frantic update thing is getting annoying (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531294)

Google seems to be updating Chrome at a high rate because they want to control both the server side (all Google properties) and the client side. Google properties now use features that only work in Chrome. It's Microsoft's old "Embrace, extend, devour" applied to the Web. Microsoft tried this with Silverlight, with less success.

Whether Firefox should cooperate in this effort needs to be questioned. Whether Firefox users should go along is very questionable.

Re:This frantic update thing is getting annoying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531378)

Google properties now use features that only work in Chrome.

Google uses web standards that have been implemented in Chrome. The only thing keeping other browsers from implementing the same standards is their slow release cycle. Nobody is calling into proprietary Chrome APIs.

Re:This frantic update thing is getting annoying (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531510)

Google properties now use features that only work in Chrome.

Google uses web standards that have been implemented in Chrome. The only thing keeping other browsers from implementing the same standards is their slow release cycle. Nobody is calling into proprietary Chrome APIs.

...including web "standards" that they wrote, such as SPDY.

Oh, and did I mention those were massive sarcasm quotes?

Re:This frantic update thing is getting annoying (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531816)

Google uses web standards that have been implemented in Chrome.

Ummm..... partially true. Google does use web standards, but also adapts chrome-specific extensions based on web standards that will probably (but not definitely) be approved. If you write CSS for Chrome, it will not work for other browsers unless you include each browser's own customized version of the same thing.

Re:This frantic update thing is getting annoying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531490)

[citation needed]

Give us examples of features that only work in Chrome.

Re:This frantic update thing is getting annoying (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531560)

WebRTC.

Re:This frantic update thing is getting annoying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531732)

WebRTC.

How about an example that DOESN'T depend on the fact that it was just released recently? Like, features that only work in Chrome due to Google not releasing the specs for free, not because nobody's had a chance to implement it yet?

Or, to put it another way, write me a free browser that implements WebRTC and SPDY. Now, write me a free browser that implements ActiveX and MS Javascript. Then, present your findings to the rest of the class. Which was easier? Which was possible?

Re:This frantic update thing is getting annoying (1)

drhowarddrfine (1048436) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531582)

That's "embrace, extend, extinguish" and, as anonymous said, Firefox and Chrome are implementing standards, nothing proprietary.

Re:This frantic update thing is getting annoying (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531838)

Define 'standard' - because in this case you seem to be referring to HTML5 "maybe will be standard one day" components. Many of which are implemented using different browser-specific keywords, especially in the CSS space.

Great idea Mozilla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531296)

just keep trying to catch up with Chrome version numbering and emulating their release strategy, soon you'll fall in the oblivion.

Sucks for corporate use (4, Insightful)

acoustix (123925) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531352)

I really don't want to have to push out a brand new version of FF every few months and risk breaking my users' plugins that they use.

Broken by design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531392)

Why am I the only one being shocked and revolted by stuff breaking because of a different version string?! That's like Linux 3.0 breaking scripts that are arguably broken by design.

Re:Broken by design (4, Informative)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531704)

Because that's not the way the addon versioning system works?

Look, it's really pretty simple. An addon needs to say what versions of Firefox it supports, as the API is known to change with each version.

The old rule was that you were pretty safe in assuming that the "patch level" number (the third/fourth number depending on release) could change without breaking any addons. Changing the minor number might break existing addons and could add new APIs. (For example, the change from Firefox 3.5 to 3.6.)

Changing the major number indicated a major change in functionality that could, potentially, require addons to be rewritten. (For example, Firefox 2 to Firefox 3.)

How the hell do you work that into the new versioning system?! The only way would be for the browser itself to "know" that Firefox 5 is basically Firefox 4 and not flag addons written for "4.0+".

Am I supposed to assume that an addon I write against Firefox 4 will work in Firefox 5 and Firefox 6, when the same was certainly not true for Firefox 1 to 2 - and 2 to 3, and 3 to 4? When will they be changing the API again? Am I supposed to be psychic when setting the maxVersion number?

Keep in mind that it's the browser itself that enforces these version checks. It's not something that addon developers really have any control over.

Maneuvering (1)

RackNine (1955398) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531366)

This could be a maneuver to confuse the IE team, giving them some time to reverse engineer FF4 and then come out with the real one. Just a crazy thought ...

Re:Maneuvering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531458)

Reverse engineer.... an open source product?

Re:Maneuvering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36532030)

Oh yes I do something similar when I create a new account somewhere. I type a random password, get the hash and every time I need to use the password, I just brute-force the hash. Yeah it's harder, but the easy way is for pussies.

Forget the Version Numbers (3, Insightful)

PineHall (206441) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531388)

Version numbers don't matter any more. This is really not a major release. It is an incremental upgrade, just like Chrome and just like the Linux kernel. It is a new way of developing software that has been happening for a while now.

Re:Forget the Version Numbers (4, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531610)

Except that the version numbers do matter when it comes to plugins and the maxVersion string. They are going to be breaking add-ons left and right with this shit.

Version Numbers and Add-on Compatibility (4, Insightful)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531880)

They are going to be breaking add-ons left and right with this shit.

But that is merely a symptom, not the cause.

If nothing else, the new release philosophy causes the incredibly stupid approach to add-on compatibility to be highlighted.

People have complained about add-ons 'breaking' for years with other (point) releases, usually stating that after updating the maxVersion string manually, or using Nightly Tester Tools to override, the add-on continues to work perfectly fine.

Perhaps it's wishful thinking.. but part of me is hoping that the new release schedule forces Mozilla, and the community, to re-think add-on compatibility reporting; flagging add-ons as 'broken' not by default, but after testing.

Re:Forget the Version Numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531918)

*

Then you won't have to worry ever again. I'm not joking. Firefox as a rule should never break old plugins with new releases anyways. If they do, they have a fundamentally flawed design. Plugins designed for Chrome 1.0 still work with Chrome 13.0 today.

In fact there are plugin developers discussing doing what I suggest here already in the wild:

http://groups.google.com/group/mozilla-labs-jetpack/browse_thread/thread/1c5dec9052de2499/ddc13c51e91dc36e

Food for thought.

Re:Forget the Version Numbers (1)

Lawand (1345185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531710)

I almost fully agree with you. Except that Firefox 5 breaks compatibility with some (or maybe most) add-ons. That's what makes it 5.0 instead of 4.x in the eyes of most people. What's wrong with it is that it's released so quickly, severely shortening the previous version's life.

Beginning of the end (3, Insightful)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531400)

This is the exact behavior that will drive users away. It's more disruptive than the KDE 4.0 debacle.

I've been a committed Firefox user for many years, using daily many plugins that I find irreplaceable (zotero, noscript). I'm now seriously considering alternatives. I find it irresponsible that Mozilla would not stand behind the major release of one of their products for more than three months.

Time to fork! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36532002)

I think we need a fork. Mozilla's behavior is getting worse with each release; the community needs to take control of the project before they kill it with their incompetence.

Thats because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531406)

Firefox 5.0 is actually 4.2

Time to pester plug-in writers to support Chrome (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531414)

This really sucks. A copy of Firefox that I leave running 24/7 on an older notebook near my bed is already nearly worthless after having switched from Firefox 3.x to Firefox 4 because of the absurd memory demands of Firefox 4 (had dozens of sites open under 3.x, now opening 2 sites in 2 tabs is a challenge). One of the key things that I do with this systems depends on using a plug-in. Can't run Firefox 5 until the plug-in is ready and even then fear that the memory issue may get even worse. Now I'm told that security vulnerabilities will be left open if I stay on 4, which I am currently forced to do.

Chrome has a rapid development too, but I'm not sure that plug-ins for Chrome would be as version sensitive as Firefox plugins seem to be. Hard to imagine that things could be any worse. And there is even the chance that Google might fix major security vulnerabilities discovered in their three month old code without telling users that they have to upgrade and break everything else.

Re:Time to pester plug-in writers to support Chrom (1)

drhowarddrfine (1048436) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531666)

This really sucks. A copy of Firefox that I leave running 24/7 on an older notebook near my bed is already nearly worthless after having switched from Firefox 3.x to Firefox 4 because of the absurd memory demands of Firefox 4[/quote]And THAT comment shows the issue is with you and not Firefox. FF4 has *reduced* memory requirements, not more. (Not to mention how absurd the rest of your post is.)

It is just a number (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531450)

Does it really matter what the version is? I have worked for software companies for years and the people designing and building the code are not usually the ones who pick the version numbers - that is the marketing department. Version numbers ceased to make sense as soon as marketing realized they could manipulate them for their own worthless purposes.

Re:It is just a number (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531634)

It matters for add-ons. If they bump to a version past what is an allowable maxVersion string they will break many plugins and it will cause plugin writers to have to go through constant churn of bumping version numbers to keep up so their plugins don't run into issues.

Re:It is just a number (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531636)

It's just a number that prevents users of my add-ons (extensions) from installing them once the number changes. I released those pieces just for the hell of it, since I already wrote them for myself, they use minimum features, so there is really nothing to do for me between releases, the add-ons just continue working. But there is a long lag between the release of the 'new' FF 'version' and the time the automated tests show that there is nothing in the add-ons that needs to be changed, in the meanwhile I start getting all these complains from people, who want me to 'support' the new FF version.

There is nothing to support, it doesn't need to be modified, it works as is and these constant version bumps only create more traffic in my inbox for no reason and frustration for those, who move up to the new FF version but can't have the add ons work there right away. I don't bump up the versions of the add-ons by hand because I have nothing to modify and I have better things to do, so this is just pure nonsense from FF.

On my dev box I now have Opera and use it half of the time because FF crashes too often on my GNU/Linux machine and Opera is much more stable and uses less memory and is faster.

Instead of bumping up versions uselessly, how about working out the bugs in at least one of them and make it a really stable browser? Oh, and while at it, how about changing the way FF treats self-signed certs, so that instead of scaring the users away with nonsense that wouldn't pass for HTTP but for some reason is acceptable in way that HTTPS with self signed certs is treated, instead come up with a useful way to display that this is a self signed cert and still allow the connection without displaying the 'safe' visual cues? But what am I saying? I bet that SSL CAs provide enough kickbacks to the browser company that this issue won't be addressed.

But you'll get your version to match and overshadow the competition. Why not just jump right to version 100 right now and be done with it for at least 6 more months?

Jumping the shark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531500)

I suspected something like this was coming when Mozilla first announced their new rapid-upgrade policy but I dismissed my concerns because it seemed so unbelievable. Surely nobody would push users on such an unforgiving upgrade track (especially if they wanted to tap into the corporate market where frequent upgrades are an impossibility).

Well, I guess Mozilla is serious about it after all. But - thanks largely to Mozilla's own efforts - our options for web-browsers are no longer quite so constrained as when they first started and I have a lot more choices in browsers. In fact, thanks to Firefox even Microsoft has had to get back into the game and Internet Explorer is actually a contender again. I may just switch back to that. At least that way I know I'll get security updates once a month ;-)

Put a fork in it (1)

Emetophobe (878584) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531506)

Mozilla just keeps making more and more retarded decisions. The last good branch was 2.x. It's been all downhill since then. I'm still using 3.6.x since I refuse to upgrade to version 4 or 5.

The only real options left:
1) Put up with their decisions
2) Fork it
3) Jump ship

I'm choosing option 3.

Re:Put a fork in it (2)

0racle (667029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531624)

Jump to where? Ad Block, noscript, firebug, flash block and the like have become pretty much required for my browsing needs. Who else has something like this?

Re:Put a fork in it (1)

instagib (879544) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531698)

Lynx

Re:Put a fork in it (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531660)

4 and 5 are basically identical, and 4 is basically just a faster 3.6 with a few interface changes (the Chrome-like toolbar is optional...and I've switched to it).

Why aren't you upgrading? Some plugin that doesn't work on newer versions?

Re:Put a fork in it (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531914)

4 and 5 are basically identical

So, uh, why do we need FF5?

This is the same kind of developer Retardovision which has become endemic over the last few months with Gnome and Ubuntu also pushing crap on users that don't want it.

Should have just skipped version numbers (4, Insightful)

linebackn (131821) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531526)

This whole version number thing is insane and pissing off anyone who needs a singe stable version that is supported for a reasonable length of time.

If they wanted to up the version number they should have just skipped 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 to 11 or 12. Or since everyone skips 13 anyway just go directly to 14 and be done with it. Then keep it there for at least a year.

Re:Should have just skipped version numbers (2)

jovius (974690) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531854)

I think version numbering should be dropped completely from public view.

Software improves over time (hopefully) but the name (brand) remains the same. When updates are around it could be indicated to the user by telling that you are lagging so many days or being so many percent from complete. Being 100% complete would mean you'd have the latest 'version'. This would make the whole process feel like a game where you catch up with the others.

So they kill support for an old version... (1)

NervousWreck (1399445) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531530)

before the new one is even fully ready for release. IOW, they deliberately break their own software. Can someone please explain what kind of sense this makes?

Google Funds Most of Firefox Development... (5, Interesting)

Ron Bennett (14590) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531562)

Mozilla Corporation gets most of its funds from Google. Something to keep in mind in regards to the future of Firefox...

My gut says, barring some significant change in funding / lead developers, that Firefox's future is bleak - what's happening now feels to me so much like what happened back when Netscape jumped the shark with their bloated Communicator suite. People bailed in droves.

The ideal situation would be for a group of developers to fork Firefox 3.6.x, throw in some of the improvements from 4, and run with it. Many would be greatly appreciative, and likely support it in both time and donations; don't make the same mistake as Mozilla Foundation has in regards to relying too much on any one major donor.

Re:Google Funds Most of Firefox Development... (1)

Ron Bennett (14590) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531668)

Correction: In the last sentence, I meant to write Mozilla Corporation.

Re:Google Funds Most of Firefox Development... (2)

Bloodwine77 (913355) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531722)

What is holding Opera back from the mainstream? They have been around for eons and have innovated a lot of features (or at the very least implemented said features well before their competitors). Still, Opera seems to remain a niche web browser.

Granted, I don't use Opera myself and I can't quite put my finger on why I don't use it. The first time I tried many years ago I didn't like ad banner in the interface of the free version (I think they got rid of the paid version of Opera and the ad banners in free Opera around 2005).

We need a major browser that is independent of major corporations. Microsoft controls IE, Google controls Chrome. Opera is ran by a smaller outfit that doesn't seem likely to be hellbent on spying on you or trying to tightly integrate with certain proprietary technologies and services. Firefox is the open-source darling and should be independent, but it does seem to be copycatting the hell out of Chrome as of late.

The major problem is (1)

sir lox elroy (735636) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531674)

The average home user is not going to readily know about it unless Firefox itself pops up a window to tell them. Since what I would guess, and from my personal experience working on peoples computers, would be a large portion set their home pages to something other than the "Version Check" page they will never know there is a new version. If they could do it as a auto-downloaded incremental upgrade that would be the best.

DOH SHoulda read the full story!!! (1)

sir lox elroy (735636) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531800)

Although we have never gotten that pop-up here. Hmmmm.

Who is This Helping? (5, Insightful)

swsuehr (612400) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531686)

Who, exactly, is the rapid release schedule helping? It's certainly not helping web developers and organizations who try to list their supported browser versions and actually try to code towards those versions. The quickest path to get the corporate PHBs to stop supporting your browser is to have the IT staff say "Guess what, the next version of Firefox is already out so we need to make updates." At some places, support for browsers other than IE is tenuous at best, so making it more difficult to support these browsers only hurts the browser manufacturers.

Want to gain more support? Release a stable product, with wide support for standards and add-ons, and do so on a sane, well-publicized schedule. People don't care about version numbers; updating software isn't something people want or like to do. Why are you making it more difficult and cumbersome for users to use your product?

I'm done with FireFox for now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36531718)

I was an early adopter and have convinced may people to make the switch from IE to Firefox, but frankly, the updates and add-on loss caused by incompatibilities between add-ons and the current version du jour have frustrated me to the point of simply uninstalling. Hello Chrome. Sadly, it's been a while since I used my chrome install and I bet I end up with a big update there, too.

Screwed extension support means good-bye (1)

behindthewall (231520) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531726)

Here's the thing, Mozilla. If/As you screw over extension support, I have no reason to stay with you.

You'd better rethink the implications of your "rapid release"... nomenclature. And really, it's just nomenclature. So, you are willing to toss your competitive advantage for the sake of bumping version numbers like Chrome?

Dear Mozilla (5, Insightful)

m0s3m8n (1335861) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531748)

Dear Mozilla: Pull your head out of Chrome's ass.

Get a handle on extensions, or else. (1)

sehlat (180760) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531786)

Some extensions (*cough*Selenium) are REQUIRED for my work. I've had to drop several extensions as the 3->4->5 steamroller moves on. Until Mozilla either takes over extension compatibility maintenance or sets up a compatibility API that will be stable from release to release, Firefox will definitely start losing market share.

Who cares? (2)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531884)

I am still using Firefox 3.6 and will stay that way until either Mozilla lay down the crack pipe or I find another browser whose UI designers aren't similarly crack addled (sorry Chrome).

browsers too complex (0)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531886)

Web browsers are getting too damn complex. Why are we not using a simpler architecture?

Such as:

1. browser receives byte-code instead of HTML
2. security checks are performed on the byte-code
3. byte-code is translated (compiled) to machine code (LLVM engine)
4. checks are performed on the machine code (like NaCl's project)
5. machine code interfaces with OpenGL like layer for basic graphics and video
6. on top of that, a renderer is implemented in byte-code

Advantages:

1. Very secure, because of multiple layers of isolation.
2. Very secure, because code complexity is reduced at all levels (number of byte codes is small, javascript+html are much more complex)
3. Much easier to reach compliance between browsers (byte codes are much simpler).
4. Developers could use different languages than HTML and Javascript.
5. Heck, developers could even implement their own rendering engine.
6. Open-source developers could independently implement more interesting (and more efficient) applications/libraries.
7. Developers not wishing to dive into binary development could still use pre-made rendering engines.

Why not?

--
Moving to Madrid in 93 days! Place your bid on my old IP address!

Re:browsers too complex (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36531984)

Congrats, you just (loosely) described Java Applets, Silverlight, Flex, etc

Now figure out the problem. (Unless that was your point, and it went woosh over my head)

It's Official: Version Numbers Are Meaningless (1)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532042)

With Linux 3.0, Firefox 5, and the weekly Chrome version bump, "version numbers" are essentially meaningless.

Version numbers are really a relic of the boxed software, major release days anyway. Rolling updates seem to be the future, so build numbers may be more appropriate.

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