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Microsoft Exploits Firefox 4 Uproar, Beats IE Drum

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the trying-to-take-advantage dept.

Firefox 315

CWmike writes "A Microsoft executive late Thursday used the furor over Mozilla's decision to curtail support for Firefox 4 to plead the case for Internet Explorer in the enterprise. 'I think I speak for everyone on the IE team when I say we'd like the opportunity to win back your business,' Ari Bixhorn, director of IE at Microsoft, said in a post on his personal blog. 'We've got a great solution for corporate customers with both IE8 and IE9, and believe we could help you address the challenges you're currently facing.' Bixhorn addressed his open letter to the manager of workplace and mobility in the office of IBM's CIO, John Walicki, who, along with others, had voiced their displeasure with Mozilla's decision to retire Firefox 4 from security support. In a comment appended to a blog maintained by Michael Kaply, a consultant who specializes in customizing Firefox, Walicki called Mozilla's decision to end security support for Firefox 4 a 'kick in the stomach.'"

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Sure! (-1, Troll)

slashen (2305326) | more than 2 years ago | (#36560900)

Over 10% of corporations in the US according to this report [thoughts.com] , use Firefox,
and they aren't quick to update....

Re:Sure! (0, Troll)

citylivin (1250770) | more than 2 years ago | (#36560986)

Because you cant centrally manage or update firefox. Unlike chrome, which has MSI's available and GPO's for administration. Firefox has none of these things. They have been requested for years but mozilla seems to not care one bit about firefox in the enterprise.

That is why we rolled out chrome this year to replace IE. MUCH easier than hand configuring, or coming up with some hack-solution to get firefox onto every machine in an easy to update, easy to centrally manage/configure way.

As to the articles point, does IE support adblock? noscript? Then why would any modern person use it?

Re:Sure! (1)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561002)

Over 10% of corporations in the US according to this report [thoughts.com] , use Firefox, and they aren't quick to update....

Do not click link! It is to goatse, luckily I am using FF5 + NoScript and it was blocked

Re:Sure! (2)

eln (21727) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561038)

You're right, they aren't quick to update, and that's exactly why this move by Firefox could be such a boon for Microsoft. Corporations like to test the hell out of software and then deploy it, after which they'll keep that version for months or years, updating only for security reasons.

So, a company currently on Firefox 3 may have been testing Firefox 4 for the past couple of months, with an eye toward deploying at some point a quarter or two down the line. Suddenly they get news that they won't even be able to get security updates for it. This means whatever work they've done on Firefox 4 is wasted, and they're skittish about starting work on Firefox 5 because that might get de-supported in a matter of months as well.

Enter Microsoft, who tells them they can move to IE and whatever version they go with (8 or 9) will be supported for a predictable length of time, and that length of time is measured in years. Since Firefox has suddenly become schizophrenic about their support cycles, it's in the business's best interest to work on moving toward migrating to Microsoft as soon as possible.

Firefox already barely has a foothold in corporate America, as you pointed out, and shenanigans like this will effectively kill that market for them.

Re:Sure! (1)

eln (21727) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561102)

Bah, didn't even notice the troll link. Too late on a Friday, I guess.

Re:Sure! (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561246)

If Microsoft had made it easy to support multiple versions of IE on a single Windows install, they might never have lost any corporate market share.

Re:Sure! (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561892)

Can you install IE9 alongside IE6 yet? If not, that probably makes IE a no-go for a lot of companies that rely on IE6 for shitty internal apps.

Do they have an IT dept? (0)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#36560926)

It really makes me wonder whether these large companies have an IT department.

Surely they can replace FF4.0 by FF5.0 without exposing their net to Chinese hackers.

Re:Do they have an IT dept? (4, Informative)

nzac (1822298) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561178)

Firefox 5 is the security update to FF4. I don’t think anything was broken apart from the version number.

Its just really confusing to people not following this why they would do this way. I was a 5 mb update on windows for me.

The only change I have seen is maybe a new animation on the left of URL bar (and that might have been there anyway).

Re:Do they have an IT dept? (5, Insightful)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561528)

It really makes me wonder whether these large companies have an IT department.

Surely they can replace FF4.0 by FF5.0 without exposing their net to Chinese hackers.

Apparently you've never worked in big IT, where software must be thoroughly tested before being rolled out. Image you're the guy that convinced your company to roll out FF as a replacement for IE and them that it was fully compatible with all their corporate websites. Before you've even fully tested and started deploying it, Mozilla EOLs that version number. Kinda sets you back to square one and you look stupid for having suggested it in the first place.

Mozilla screwed themselves on this. FF5 is hardly different than FF4, yet yhey bumped the major rev number trying to convince people they are innovating and ended pissed off the corporate customers who want stability. Fedora still hasn't learned this lesson with their 6 month cycle and a hearty fuck you if you don't keep up because you can only safely upgrade from 1-2 versions behind. The corporate world wants stability and good manageability damn it. They don't want a constantly moving target with questionable long term support.

Re:Do they have an IT dept? (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561678)

It's only a number and an IT'er worth his salt should be able to confirm that much.

But yes, there are some basic novelties like 'about:memory' in FF5.0.

About Fedora's 6 months release cycle, maybe you missed Fedora is the cutting-edge development version of and for Red Hat?

Re:Do they have an IT dept? (2)

Sylak (1611137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561718)

It's because they want to do what Chrome does, as only release on major version numbers. It's not going to work, though, and the public reaction to the first upgrade shows it

Re:Do they have an IT dept? (1)

pmontra (738736) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561754)

How that's different from an update from the last version of FF 3.6 to FF 4.0? If they've been testing that one for 3 months they were ready to install it when FF 4.0.1 obsoleted it. What should they do? Install 4.0 and start testing 4.0.1. If the IT department guys know what they are doing, they know that the update from 4.0.1 to 5.0 is more like the update to 4.0.2. If they don't know what they're doing, they should be fired.

Anyway you can't test for 3 months every single update of a web browser. Even IE gets patched more often than that. Security patches should go in production as soon as possible.

Microsoft does have a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36560932)

Pretty retarded to stop supporting 4.0, yet continue supporting 3.6...

Re:Microsoft does have a point (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561512)

3.6 is a previous major release, that is used by many, and a part of 3.x releases.

4.0 and 5.0 are essentially 4.0 and 4.1 if mozilla went by the numbering scheme of 3.x releases. A minor update.

Therefore it's pretty SMART to continue to support 3.6.

You had me at... (1, Troll)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#36560960)

"We've got a great solution for corporate customers with both IE8 and IE9, and..."

...not.
That's where I broke into uncontrollable laughter. I mean come on, guys. Seriously? You expect anyone who actually works in corporate IT to buy this?

Re:You had me at... (3, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561018)

Why wouldn't they? I mean, IE isn't my cup of tea and standards support is still a little behind the curve (though improving) but IE8 and certainly IE9 are solid browsers for your average corporate user.

I often get the impression that some people are rather stuck in the IE6/XP era when it comes to any product that Microsoft puts out; they're not *all* shit you know :)

Re:You had me at... (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561818)

Notepad has been working flawlessly for me, I can say that much.

Re:You had me at... (2)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561332)

When the alternative is a browser that is EOL'ed after 4 months on the market? You bet your shiny metal ass it does. Maybe Chrome becomes the official IT alternative to IE.... I don't know. But I can guarantee you that this epically moronic decision just handed IE and Chrome the corporate market.

Actually... (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561456)

So there has been significant bitching and moaning among general audience web developers about Chrome and now Firefox going down the hole of throwing bugfixes and features and general overhauls all together and ensuring a very high risk for their web applications not working right after an update.

In large IT departments with internal web sites, this is magnified many times over. Generally internal web sites are constructed by people who are frequently not that good at it in the first place, and only part-time, and when done they move on. Companies don't want to see a lot of employee time pissed away churning on website code just because employees browsers are moving, so they usually mandate one browser (usually not to the exclusion of others). They want that browser to have fixes and maintenance, but they want the behaviour to stay absolutely still, for better or worse. IE6 is *still* alive in some places, though MS's actions have forced even most of those to move on. No one may give IE points for being an awesome browser experience for the user, but part of IT is doing what provides for minimal risk and best productivity even if the user hates it.

So we have Chrome which has always been fast and loose with overhauls, feature adds, etc, which gives IT people pause. Firefox and IE both had more 'traditional' models which suits that market perfectly. Now Firefox has declared they are chasing the tail of Chrome and suddenly, IE is the only major browser *explicitly* sticking to the model that many IT departments *really* need. It really pisses me off, because Firefox is threatening enterprise linux desktop by virtue of denying the last hope of mainstream experience with a measure of maintenance assurance.

All this uproar over a number (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36560964)

Seriously these companies can think of Firefox 5 as Firefox 4.1 if they want. I bet if they'd numbered it that way there would be no complaints. There's something about these whole number increments that have a magical significance to people.

Re:All this uproar over a number (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561616)

Then why version it like that in the first place?

Either there are big differences, or there aren't. Big differences means issues when upgrading, and suggest a new version number. Little differences mean easier upgrading, and suggest an incremental version number.

If it's just a small update, why did Mozilla version it like they did? If it was for marketing purposes, to make it look like a bigger jump that it really is, then they can't be surprised when people treat it like a bigger jump than it really is.

If, on the other hand, it *is* a major update, corporations will need to be more cautious. After all, look at how many are still using IE 6!

The enterprise market is overrated anyway. People aren't enterprises. If your goal is to change the world for the better, focus on the people. There would be little difference to the world in general whether the enterprise uses IE or Firefox or any other reasonably standards-compliant browser.

Re:All this uproar over a number (1)

Dracos (107777) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561764)

Then why version it like that in the first place?

Because when you're Mozilla and an increasing number of your design/policy decisions are based on whatever Google does with Chrome, you want to accelerate your version numbering for no logical reason.

Duh (5, Informative)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#36560978)

Hardly surprising; businesses like some stability in their apps. You don't want stagnation, but you don't want to have to test and deploy entirely new releases every 3 months just to maintain a supported environment either.

I'm not sure Microsoft need to be worried about that particular market anyway because, as much as I hate to say it, IE is really the only browser that's suitable for use in a large Windows environment. It has ludicrously granular control available via Group Policy and updates can be deployed via WSUS without needing any user interaction or elevated rights. Firefox doesn't even offer an MSI installer, let alone any practical way to manage settings or control updates across multiple machines (but then Chrome, Opera and Safari are similarly lacking so they're hardly alone in that regard).

Re:Duh (5, Informative)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561316)

Chrome, Opera and Safari are similarly lacking

http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/business/chromebrowser.html [google.com]

MSI installer with Group Policy support (in addition to the "Internet Properties" that Chrome already taps into for proxy configuration, etc)

Re:Duh (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561408)

I stand corrected.

Re:Duh (2)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561540)

That's not all.

http://www.frontmotion.com/FMFirefoxCE/ [frontmotion.com]

was found almost immediately. Note: AD friendly.

Re:Duh (2)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561696)

Not an official Mozilla build, though, and that's bad from a trust standpoint.

I've wished Mozilla would do FF and TB .MSI builds for ages now, and I just don't understand why they haven't gotten around to it after all these years.

Re:Duh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36561372)

IE is really the only browser that's suitable for use in a large Windows environment

Define "large". I'm guessing it's larger than most businesses, because I've worked on networks with ~8000 Windows desktops -- which is pretty large compared to most businesses' networks -- and their administrators were very happy to deploy Firefox and didn't seem to give a fuck about its lack of an MSI installer or the inability to micromanage employees through Group Policy.

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36561460)

...you don't want to have to test and deploy entirely new releases every 3 months just to maintain a supported environment either.

Too fucking bad. The nature of todays software is such that security vulnerabilities and their subsequent patches are released in rapid succession, sometimes there's no avoiding an upgrade *and* remaining secure. At least with firefox you have the option of contributing to the security of the product. You could even go as far as back-porting the patches yourself.

Re:Duh (0)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561504)

See, here's the problem with that:

Something like a browser can vary on a per-CPU basis. In fact, you can run several browsers on the same machine simultaneously. So it's bollocks to believe you need to test and deploy a browser. Just let people upgrade as necessary, and downgrade them when their stuff breaks. They all manage their own machinery at home, they can handle this much at work.

IT departments just don't get it.

You want people to user your browser? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36560984)

make Linux and Mac OS X versions so the appearance of lock-in is less obvious.

Re:You want people to user your browser? (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561034)

IE was actually the default browser for OS X for a while, people didn't care for it.

Re:You want people to user your browser? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36561420)

I thought the reason no one used it on OS X was MS almost never updated it. The updates were slower than IE on Windows. Then FF made MS care avout browsers again. By then Safari was good enough to replace IE.

Re:You want people to user your browser? (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561756)

IE was actually the default browser for OS X for a while, people didn't care for it.

Actually, when it was the default in Mac OS it was quite good. It was even better than IE on Windows (not that that was a terribly high bar).

The problem was Microsoft pretty much let it stagnate during the transition to OS X (like they did with IE 6 on Windows, except that there was no OS transition at the time to amplify the stagnation). This led to Firefox's rise (especially on Windows) and Apple's decision to fork khtml into WebKit. Had MS not let IE languish like they did, the rise of Firefox and WebKit may never have happened to such an extent.

Now MS wants its customers back. IE 9 is pretty good, and will most likely win a few people back, but the horse is out of the barn, and without even a Mac version, MS is going to have a hard time convincing quite a lot of people who use Firefox, Chrome, or Safari to switch back to IE.

Re:You want people to user your browser? (1)

belthize (990217) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561330)

Agreed. I might bitch at Firefox but just because they're mental doesn't make IE all the sudden attractive.

In terms of missing features, not working at all under Linux is a pretty important one. Besides Firefox + retardation still trumps IE under windows.

I had trouble parsing the subject line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36561028)

I kept parsing "Microsoft Exploits" as a compound noun, it's just such a natural combination. I had to re-read the sentence 5 times, and it still didn't make sense until I read TFS, at which point I realized that 'exploits' was being used as a verb.

Re:I had trouble parsing the subject line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36561138)

I read that as: "Hackers at Microsoft exploit a vulnerability in Firefox 4." Gave me a very long "lolwut?" moment.

Driven by vendor lock-in (4, Insightful)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561032)

Microsoft gives IE away for free. The only reason they want to "win back your business" is to take advantage of vendor lock-in. I'm not seeing where this is good for the business, especially considering that the security fix for Firefox 4 is well-known and free (upgrade to Firefox 5).

Re:Driven by vendor lock-in (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561388)

Like all other browsers, they want you to default to Bing Search.

Re:Driven by vendor lock-in (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561862)

Microsoft gives IE away for free. The only reason they want to "win back your business" is to take advantage of vendor lock-in.

Unlike, say, Chrome?

At least Firefox and Safari have less manipulative motivations.

I'm not seeing where this is good for the business, especially considering that the security fix for Firefox 4 is well-known and free (upgrade to Firefox 5).

Didn't you just put down MS for making IE free?

MS wants to steer you towards Bing and Windows Live. Google wants to steer you towards their ads.

Firefox wants you to use non-proprietary software (except for Flash, for some reason) and Apple wants WebKit in wide use so that OS X and iOS users don't get left out of the web.

FF4 is FF5 right? (0)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561040)

According to the auto-update inside FF4, it changed to FF5 upon relaunch auto-magically. It still works the same as it ever did. *shrug*

Support doesn't have to come from Mozilla. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561060)

In a comment appended to a blog maintained by Michael Kaply, a consultant who specializes in customizing Firefox..."

It's Free Software. Mr. Kaply has everything he needs to start supporting it himself. Think of it as a business opportunity.

Plugins needlessly broken by new version number (5, Insightful)

dreamt (14798) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561078)

Part of the reason that I'm pissed off by this version a week crap is that plugins that should work no longer do, simply because they expect a version number. Google Toolbar doesn't work because of that. That's a serious WTF moment.

Re:Plugins needlessly broken by new version number (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561126)

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/nightly-tester-tools/ [mozilla.org] will get around that problem.

It's pretty much an essential addon these days, which is sad, though in my case I run the latest Seamonkey nightlies so its use is at least justified there.

Re:Plugins needlessly broken by new version number (2)

Kyrra (612932) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561176)

That's just an ugly workaround. The Mozilla team really needs to fix their problem with plugin version checking to something more intelligent. Just completely bypassing the checks seems like a bad idea.

Re:Plugins needlessly broken by new version number (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561220)

Oh I agree entirely, but it's still an extremely useful tool to have until they do.

Re:Plugins needlessly broken by new version number (1)

madth3 (805935) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561574)

From the page you linked:

"The advanced extension compatibility fixing has been removed starting with Nightly Tester Tools 2.5, instead there is a checkbox to disable extension compatibility checking for all addons. Users are encouraged to install the Addon Compatibility Reporter which does the same thing but lets you also report feedback on compatibility to extension authors."

So, if I understand correctly, from now on the Compatibility Reporter is what non-beta-testers could use for dealing with broken extensions.

Re:Plugins needlessly broken by new version number (4, Informative)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561274)

Many addons reach into the internals of Firefox... which can change frequently and without warning between versions. Mozilla will automatically update addons now to be marked compatible if it detects they don't make use of changed APIs I believe.

Chrome has the exact opposite system: Extensions are tightly sandboxed and a limited API is exposed. As long as that API continues working the same way all extensions coded for any version will work. Of course extensions can't hook into the browser all the ways that Firefox ones can.

Re:Plugins needlessly broken by new version number (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561296)

poorly programmed extensions are not Mozilla's fault. The attitude that emulating browsers like Chrome's development cycle is a good idea is Mozilla's fault. They're working on features like having the tabs way up top rather than fixing trivial things like Java plugin incompatibility (which works fine in chrome but crashes firefox) or dealing with the massive memory leak problem that firefox has had for years and has yet to actually try to fix. they need to get their priorities straight or they're going to die.

Re:Plugins needlessly broken by new version number (1)

molo (94384) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561786)

I use five extensions, all quite mainstream. One was even produced by mozilla. ALL FIVE of them were incompatible with 5.0 and needed to be updated. What you're saying just isn't true about "poorly programmed extensions". The model is broken.

-molo

Re:Plugins needlessly broken by new version number (1)

AxemRed (755470) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561340)

I agree that the new version numbering scheme is silly, and I can see where it could make it harder for a plugin developer to know when their plugin may become incompatible. But I would still argue that the fault, in your example, lies with the plugin design as opposed to Firefox. It's not like Google didn't get notice that the version numbering scheme was changing.

Slashdot community's constant hating on Firefox 5 (0)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561084)

The Slashdot community's constant hating on Firefox 5 has profoundly disappointed me.

The vast majority of the comments I've read in the last series of articles have boiled down to "change is bad! I liked things the way they were!"

Really? As a community we've been reduced to that?

I thought we technologist folk were supposed to excited by technological progress. Where's the excitement over the addition of CSS3 animations? Where's the excitement over a fast release cycle leading to a more advanced rendering engine being delivered to users at a faster pace? Where's the excitement that the browser wars are back in full swing and that this competition can only lead to good things for developers and users alike?

I've never seen such a sad bunch of folks afraid of technological progress before in a community that is ostensibly supposed to be obsessed with technological progress.

Re:Slashdot community's constant hating on Firefox (4, Insightful)

belthize (990217) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561238)

It's not change is bad, it's needless change is bad.

If Firefox wants to be a cutting edge testing environment for whizbangs great, make that clear. If it wants to be used in production environments where long term stability and available time for internal test cycles trump access to whizbangs then this is bad.

We use firefox for everything, random websites with new versions of dancing cat videos, personnel apps like timecards, purchasing etc and monitor and control for instrumentation.

Don't really care if the new dancing cat video works, don't even really care if the craptastic PeopleSoft works, do care that monitor and control stuff works.

Re:Slashdot community's constant hating on Firefox (1)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561412)

I've never understood that mentality in the IT world. Speaking as a web developer, if your personnel and timecard webapps don't work in a newer version of your browser, then your developers aren't coding them right.

Mozilla isn't gutting gecko with every release. They're fixing bugs, adding new markup, CSS, and JS features, and tweaking the UI. Unless you define "needless" as "useful things that people like" then I wouldn't exactly call those needless changes.

Re:Slashdot community's constant hating on Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36561682)

Tweaking the UI!? I'm sorry to have to be so blunt but by any definition the difference between 3.6 and 4.0 was more than a tweak.

They have made all sorts of needless changes beyond that. But the stupidest most needless change ever was the "lets change the version number to 5 because they are meaningless, despite the fact that it will break addons for the less technically inclined. Yes I know there are workarounds but how many people really do that?

Re:Slashdot community's constant hating on Firefox (1)

BHearsum (325814) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561452)

If Firefox wants to be a cutting edge testing environment for whizbangs great, make that clear. If it wants to be used in production environments where long term stability and available time for internal test cycles trump access to whizbangs then this is bad.

Take a guess which one Mozilla cares about.

Re:Slashdot community's constant hating on Firefox (1)

Kyrra (612932) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561244)

The only reason I'm hating on it is because it broke my plugins. Firefox has been using a specific versioning scheme for years and years, which all users and developers were used to. Then they start jumping the "major" version number, which breaks plugins that aren't updated as often, which causes users like me to not update. I like Firefox a lot, but unless the plugin compatibility issues that popped up are resolved sometime soon I'll have to jump ship to using chrome full time.

Re:Slashdot community's constant hating on Firefox (1)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561602)

Sounds like the extensions you like were written poorly to me. All the ones I use still work fine.

Re:Slashdot community's constant hating on Firefox (3, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561278)

I think most people are just pissed that Mozilla appear to be rather pathetically trying to mimic Chrome of late rather than focusing on improving Firefox where it actually needs improving.

Re:Slashdot community's constant hating on Firefox (1, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561398)

Please tell me what "technological advances" Firefox 5 actually brought us. I am curious.

Re:Slashdot community's constant hating on Firefox (2)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561522)

Just to name a few...

- Almost 1000 bug fixes including fixes related to security and performance
- Improved performance of HTTP connection logic, canvas tag, JS engine, memory management, and networking
- More support for HTML5, XHR, MathML, SMIL, and canvas standards
- CSS animations
- Increased discoverability of Do-Not-Track header preference
- Better spell checking for some languages
- Better Linux desktop support

Re:Slashdot community's constant hating on Firefox (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561622)

that's a bug fix not a major version. in any case, right now I'm sitting here in firefox with the browser using 340 megs of ram with one tab open. that's an operating system worth of ram being used while just sitting here. the other day after the update was out, java crashed firefox and took the OS with it somehow. there are huge gaping problems that are not being dealt with.

Re:Slashdot community's constant hating on Firefox (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561572)

http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/5.0/releasenotes/ [mozilla.com]
What’s New in Firefox
The latest version of Firefox has the following changes:

        * Added support for CSS animations
        * The Do-Not-Track header preference has been moved to increase discoverability
        * Tuned HTTP idle connection logic for increased performance
        * Improved canvas, JavaScript, memory, and networking performance
        * Improved standards support for HTML5, XHR, MathML, SMIL, and canvas
        * Improved spell checking for some locales
        * Improved desktop environment integration for Linux users
        * WebGL content can no longer load cross-domain textures
        * Background tabs have setTimeout and setInterval clamped to 1000ms to improve performance
        * Fixed several stability issues
        * Fixed several security issues

Re:Slashdot community's constant hating on Firefox (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561836)

that is of absolutely no use to me when firefox is using 300 megs of ram with one tab open and still crashes whenever the Java plugin activates. those are big problems that are just being compeltely ignored.

Re:Slashdot community's constant hating on Firefox (1)

jimshatt (1002452) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561402)

I agree with you, on the whole. I thought the slashdot crowd consisted of individuals, not sheeple. Unfortunately this doesn't seem to be the case. Or there is a true reason for it, but I don't see that (not enough to suddenly start hating FF).

This decision, however, is a truly bad one. Linux distributions that offer long term support won't be able to have security issue fixed upstream, meaning they will all have to fix the same issues for themselves. Or share patches another way. A fork of each maintained version maybe?

Re:Slashdot community's constant hating on Firefox (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561652)

maybe maybe not. firefox's new release schedule basically renamed minor bug fixes as major releases. they are not working any faster, they just changed how they name things more or less.

Re:Slashdot community's constant hating on Firefox (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561560)

Nobody hates firefox 5 for changing anything other then the version number. The problem with it is, it was minor tweaks under the hood that are identified by ad-ons as such a huge change that they won't try to adapt, and the simple concept of the numbering systems going up at this rate is silly, and downright crazy in the world of open source, in the open source a change to about 10% of the features, is normally considered a .01 increase, not a full version number. In the past version numbers were intended just to let people know a few little details are added, now it's an amp that goes up to 11.

Win back my business... (1)

linuxwonder (1681928) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561086)

One way to win back my business is to make IEx behave EXACTLY like FF!. Then maybe I wont have to work extra hours when some little known "feature" in IEx decides not to work. One stop shopping for all your JavaScript and CSS needs!

Marketing and the human brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36561090)

So.. it was probably a bad decision by Mozilla to adopt Chrome's release intervals. Chrome is a fairly new browser, so big steps are expected. Firefox has been around however for a decade and users expect stability.

Interestingly enough though, the debate this inflamed is not a technical one. If Mozilla had called Firefox 5 Firefox 4.1 and forced (early adopting) users of Firefox 4.0 to switch to it, there would have been no outrage at all. The discussion seems to focus only on versioning numbers not on facts at all, what Microsoft exploits in their statement. So a translation by 1 version digit position makes people freak out? I wonder why I should care, this is just ridiculous. Surely Mozilla made a bad decision replacing minor with major version numbers. I just wish the discussion would be more technical not ideological.

If only... (-1)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561106)

the source code were available and these large companies could create a organization to continue to provide security fixes for Firefox 4. If only...

5 is just 4.1 (or maybe 4.0.2) (2)

CritterNYC (190163) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561108)

For the technologically confused, it's just a change in version numbering. That's all. 5.0 is essentially 4.1 (or maybe even 4.0.2). Nothing super-crazy going on. Sure, if someone *really* wanted, they can change the 5.0 to a 4.0.3 and feel all warm and fuzzy about 'stability'. The only real issue is the possibility that some extensions weren't properly updated to understand this. Any that aren't can be remotely updated by addons.mozilla.org, though, and anyone with the Addons Compatibility Tester extension can enable disabled extensions and report any issues directly to Mozilla.

Re:5 is just 4.1 (or maybe 4.0.2) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36561376)

Except for the super-craziness of extensions not working anymore, and my Google contacts not loading anymore either (only in Firefox 5). They didn't just change a number, they broke stuff.

Re:5 is just 4.1 (or maybe 4.0.2) (2)

Albanach (527650) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561472)

For the technologically confused, it's just a change in version numbering. That's all. 5.0 is essentially 4.1 (or maybe even 4.0.2). Nothing super-crazy going on.

So for a minor upgrade you probably only need minimal testing then you can deploy.

Now, how do you tell when a version upgrade contains some major change? Perhaps the could increase the version in increments of ten for big changes.

Version numbers are meaningless (4, Interesting)

BagOBones (574735) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561110)

Each company and such has a bizarre meaning to version numbers.
FF 5 IS the security update to FF4.
Much like Chrome goes up by major numbers.

Then you look at open source where things often start in the 0.01 range and every digit could be a new feature release.

A number of companies use major.minor.build however it really isn't as standard as you think.
Cisco ASA devices look like major.minor.build however new features regularly appear in the "Builds"

Juniper security gear has gone to a year.quarter. release numbering system

take your pick.

Re:Version numbers are meaningless (4, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561200)

At least Chrome has been consistent about it, Mozilla just seem to have lost it completely when it comes to Firefox, jumping all over the place chasing every new "feature" that one of the other browsers comes up with.

Seriously, stop trying to be Chrome, Chrome is already doing that pretty well.

Re:Version numbers are meaningless (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561458)

thank you! mozilla has been adding irrelevant features instead of fixing major problems. they're becomming rhe radioshack of internet browsers slowly widdling away the only reason for their existence just to be like chrome.

Re:Version numbers are meaningless (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561550)

"Juniper security gear has gone to a year.quarter. release numbering system"

Well at least even if the company stops improving the code we will still get updates, because apparently all that is required is that time has elapsed.

Re:Version numbers are meaningless (4, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561562)

Chrome uses an extension API to help ensure that extensions work from one version to the next. They also have an updating mechanism that ensures nearly all users have updated to the latest version of Chrome within a week of final release [getclicky.com] . Firefox has neither of these, so extensions can easily break from one version to the next, and it could be months until most Firefox users update to the latest version [getclicky.com] . Mozilla should have ensured their updating mechanism worked quickly and most popular extensions used Jetpack [mozillalabs.com] before they switched to a rapid release schedule like Chrome has.

Firefox 4 and 5 are garbage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36561122)

I'm not a fan of Microsoft's designs of obsolescence, but after the past two FF revisions I hope somebody actually steps up and makes the other browsers realize they can do wrong.

Good for Microsoft (4, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561166)

I hope FF loses some market share. Stupidity should be punished in the business world. I don't personally care if it's Microsoft with IE, Google with Chrome, or Apple with Safari, or any other browser. I don't care about rapid releases. I'm against them, actually. In a business environment, rapid releases only muck up the works and makes life harder for the IT staff.

Re:Good for Microsoft (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561450)

I hope FF loses some market share. Stupidity should be punished in the business world. I don't personally care if it's Microsoft with IE, Google with Chrome, or Apple with Safari, or any other browser. I don't care about rapid releases. I'm against them, actually. In a business environment, rapid releases only muck up the works and makes life harder for the IT staff.

use lynx then, it doesn't have rapid updates.

and it will be secure enough for you.

Re:Good for Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36561798)

While I think allot of this "must be slimmer" is crap. Some of it isn't. Ubuntu 10.04 for instance was great because of the time reduced to boot now being almost nothing. On the other hand Ubuntu 11.04 is crap because they made unnecessary drastic changes which only make things confusing and harder to use. While this wasn't a copy of Mac or Microsoft this time it was a radical unnecessary change which had not real benefits and will confuse the masses once they start adopting it (Ubuntu 10.04 was simple, Mac, Ubuntu 11.04, and MS Vista/7 are all complicating things without good results). Firefox should stop trying to copy Chrome in this case. There is no good reason to adopt the numbering system of Chrome and it just makes things confusing. The old system was better. If Mozilla made a clear explanation of what they were doing, why they were doing it, and how to deal with the change (for instance by announcing a means to identify major and minor releases) then things might be better. I'll accept that a v10 for FF could improve the uptake by users if Chrome is at 9 and IE at 9. That might be a legitimate reason to make this change. It is a dumb race though. Then you have the browser name in the top left corner change. Once again... Stupid. And you have Firefox adopting a Microsoft way of doing things which was stupid when done with Microsoft Office 2007/2010. There is no consistency. First it was the logo and now it is the name of the program?

Re:Good for Microsoft (1)

spacepimp (664856) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561866)

I would be very impressed if you could explain to me how exactly IE 6 saved time and money and made life easier for IT staffs and Enterprises as whole? Arguably it had one of the longest shelf lives of any browser. Please be certain to include the (time | money | man hours) spent cleaning the ravages of malware | trojans | rootkits and other exploits in your calculated response. Making money by offering a service to repair and clean the infected computers might have kept you fed, but it doesn't mean that it was good for or saved the enterprise money, nor did it make the life of IT Staff easier.

It's almost like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36561190)

*puts on foil hat* it's a Microsoft conspiracy, man.

Too late, Microsoft... (-1)

Freddybear (1805256) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561204)

I already upgraded to Firefox 5.

Pot meet kettle. (2)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561314)

MS cares so much about version numbering, that Windows 7 is actually Windows 6.1....

That being said, I find the decision by Mozilla to be equally stupid. 4 versions in seven years, and suddenly we jump to a new version every month? It's just odd.

Re:Pot meet kettle. (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561380)

Well Windows 7 is NT Kernel version 6.1.

If Mozilla hadn't randomly re-versioned Gecko to match the Firefox version with 5.0 then this would be more apt, but Firefox 4.0 was using Gecko 2.0 so it still kind of applies.

Re:Pot meet kettle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36561694)

That being said, I find the decision by Mozilla to be equally stupid. 4 versions in seven years, and suddenly we jump to a new version every month? It's just odd.

s/odd/asinine/

Let me guess ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36561336)

... the last client of this guys is Sony? XD

Yea, it's look like a flame bait, but, do you belive in "Security Expert" in this days?

LTS Release? (5, Insightful)

supremebob (574732) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561346)

Perhaps Firefox should take a page out of Ubuntu's playbook, and offer a special LTS (Long Term Support) release that will receive back-ported security fixes for the next two or three years. That will give the IT departments and embedded systems manufacturers the long term stability they want, while general users and browser enthusiasts can continue to update their browser every three months.

Or they can do nothing, and continue to lose marketshare to Internet Explorer and Google Chrome when IT departments start adding Firefox to their unapproved/unsupported software lists. Their call, I guess.

Re:LTS Release? (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561766)

That sounds like a pretty good idea, but then you bring Chrome in. Chrome doesn't have anything like "stability" WRT to version numbers, there's just the release version that gets a version increment every couple months or so.

Leave it to MS to seize the opportunity to get off (1)

spads (1095039) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561400)

in their ass.

Good for Microsoft (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36561468)

Problem with major number updates, is that usually means compatibility-breaking changes. This is not the case with FF5, but in the corporate world, stability is measured by major numbers. That's why exists versions of linux that have "Long Term Support", and that's why usually even in corporate software, they skip even releases. Maybe for FF is not a big deal, since they don't aim the "Corporate users", but the "Home users".

There's a world of diffeence between a mid-size and entreprise size bussiness and home users. Home users can move dinamically and faster between versions of software and functionality. Not the same in the Big bussiness, and that's why Microsoft, Red Hat, Oracle still makes big money in the enterprise world: They know the meaning of the word "STABLE" and is a rule in a bussiness.

I think Mozilla Foundation would do quite a better work if they stick to the usual habit of major number = big features and big changes, if they want to survive in the enterprise world. For home users, it doesn't matter anyway.

Well good on them (1)

matthewv789 (1803086) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561508)

I hope Mozilla gets hurt enough by this to re-think what they are doing. Among other things, their quality does not seem to be improving as a result of their new numbering. FF4 has some notable regressions from 3.6, which are for the most part NOT fixed in FF5 (which has its own additional regressions). So I don't see FF5 as FF 4.1, but more like FF 4.0 beta 2, compared to the FF 4.0 beta 1 they released as "Firefox 4".

And I'm with others - I don't care how they number things, or whether FF5 is just a minor security update to FF4. But a minor security update does NOT break existing plug-ins, as FF5 apparently does. So they want to have their cake and eat it too, which means they are getting lazy, which means that Google and MS will eat Mozilla's cake instead.

Fortunately, the combined market share of Chrome, Safari and various mobile browsers - all WebKit brethren - means webkit market share is getting competitive with Firefox market share (or IE8 market share), so I may feel comfortable making Chrome my primary dev/test browser going forward. And good riddance to Firefox's massive memory overusage.

Harsh Realities (5, Interesting)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561510)

The Mozilla foundation needs to understand that their recent bad decisions have consequences.

I use Firefox, and have for quite a while. I've gone from a strong supporter and proselytizer to... less enthusiastic. It's still my first choice of browser, but just barely.

It was the Awesomebar debacle, and their refusal to include an option to turn it off, that first made me suspect they were headed in the wrong direction. Removing the status bar was a bad idea, and then this ridiculous botchup with versioning... sigh.

They have positives. They have the best plug-in architecture, and they aren't including patented/copyrighted codecs in the browser, which is good (although they should allow a direct interface to the underlying OS codecs, not simply forbid them from playing). Still, I was contemplating shifting over to Opera. Now, today, we learn that Opera is probably going to go to hell in the next few months.

At this point, I'm hoping that somebody will fork Firefox back at the 3.6 version, and take it from there. It needs to go in a direction the users want, and stop trying to force the users into a direction the designers want. If you stop listening to your users, they will leave. It's beginning to happen with Firefox.

FUD ARTICLE = M$ TROLL (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561606)

the original /. article that this article is linking to is FUD. CWmike doesn't bother to explain what becomes obvious upon reading the article. that by itself is a dishonest act of FUD. it's one thing to note that microsoft is taking advantage of the "furor of Mozilla's decision" and another to explain that that furor is simply angry confusion by r-tards who can't figure out firefox is copying chrome by blurring distinctions between updates and versions.

without the explanation, the posting of the article becomes an endorsement for the microsoft perspective that is admittedly trolling the ignorant public. if it weren't an endorsement the writer wouldn't use such flattering language like "to plead the case for Internet Explorer in the enterprise" -- that's like saying timothy mcveigh made a plea for political reform. microsoft is just using dishonest tactics to further confuse the easily confused, so either it's an endorsement or the writer is one of these confused idiots. i'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.

now, cue the trolls who think that by calling out microsoft i am somehow pitching for apple... do your worst, morons. i eat applescripts for breakfast and shit kernels of panic on your zealotry before my 2:30 coffee.

Re:FUD ARTICLE = M$ TROLL (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561856)

This isn't about version numbers. This is about end-of-life for "old" versions.

What's relevant isn't that Firefox's version numbers are going up so fast per se, it's that no version gets more than six weeks worth of security updates. They're coupled, and I think that's a poor choice because it means you can only choose two of the following three options:

1. Secure
2. Stable
3. Firefox

But that's their choice to make.

Asa himself suggested IE to enterprises. This Asa: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asa_Dotzler [wikipedia.org] . It's sort of a backhanded compliment, but it's pretty clear:

IE9 is a fine browser and probably better suited to those who want long-term support. It’ll always be behind the consumer browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera) but it does offer enterprises a more conservative and slow-moving option.

cite: http://mike.kaply.com/2011/06/23/understanding-the-corporate-impact/#comment-10692 [kaply.com]

There's really nothing dishonest here. Firefox is making a choice, explicitly and consciously, and their employees are promoting that choice. Their choice is for enterprises to be low priority. Some enterprises who bet on Firefox are disappointed. Of course the competitor that chooses to make enterprises high priority will jump in with their offering. I mean, when even Mozilla employees suggest IE for a use scenario, there's really nothing dastardly about it.

Asa seems generally okay with ceding that part of the market to IE (at least as long as it's IE9 or higher), and seems to argue that it's kind of small beans anyway.

Firefox runs on Windows XP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36561746)

Heck, Firefox runs on Windows 2000. Can't say that about IE 9.

The lack of automatic updates from Firefox 4 to Firefox 5 may be a security liability, but it can't be as much of a liability as whatever causes IE 9 to require a version of Windows newer than 5.x.

FF Major releases every 3 months.. (1)

mr_stinky_britches (926212) | more than 2 years ago | (#36561822)

Seems like the singularity is closer than I thought.

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