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Mozilla To Remove User-Facing Firefox Version Numbers

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the numbers-are-a-distraction dept.

Firefox 683

MrSeb writes "A great collective gasp issued from tuned-in Firefox fans when Mozilla announced that it was switching to a Chrome-like release schedule for its browser. Now Mozilla wants to take things one step further and remove Firefox version numbers entirely — from the user-facing parts of the browser, anyway." You can see the Bugzilla entry for this change, and keep up on Mozilla's reasoning and discussion through a thread on the mozilla.dev.usability newsgroup. Mozilla's Asa Dotzler explained, "We're moving to a more Web-like convention where it's simply not important what version you're using as long as it's the latest version. ... The most important thing is confidence that they're on the latest release. That's what the About dialog will give them."

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So What? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37096796)

Sounds like a new area for an extension....good area for a beginner.

Re:So What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37096960)

Try "about:support" in the URL bar.

Re:So What? (3, Funny)

logjon (1411219) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097100)

With what versions is this extension compatible?

Are they -trying- to kill Firefox? (5, Insightful)

cstec (521534) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096802)

Someone needs to let them know that they have a huge base of very useful, non-trivial plug-ins that people actually use, and they tend to break at least some of them with every update. We're still stuck on 3.6 waiting for the plug-ins to catch up because frankly they're more important to us than FF itself. And now the new hotness is your addons will just start being continuously breakable at any time?

This isn't a Mozilla problem... (1, Informative)

trunicated (1272370) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096916)

...it's an addon write problem. Someone needs to let you and the other people around here know that a properly written addon that does not require changes (SPI calls it uses that are not changed between versions), that is hosted on addons.mozilla.org, are AUTOMATICALLY updated by MOZILLA to work with new version of Firefox. Do not blame Mozilla because addon creators are too lazy or don't care enough to update their addons properly, or take advantage of a service Mozilla offers them. Do not blame Mozilla because you are too lazy or don't care enough to unzip the addon, open the config file, and change the max version number yourself. This addon thing would be a *non-issue* if addon makers would either host their code on addons.mozilla.org, or take the time to run the compatibility software that Mozilla offers them that does exactly what Mozilla does to every addon they host.

Re:This isn't a Mozilla problem... (3, Informative)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097002)

Sure, it's the responsibility of the developers of the addons to fix the problems created by Mozilla.

Re:This isn't a Mozilla problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37097102)

Are you suggesting that Mozilla not give you the best features possible in their browser due to the a handful of developers that can't be bothered simply incrementing their "supported" / "tested" version numbers?

Re:This isn't a Mozilla problem... (4, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097220)

are you missing that the 'best feature' firefox brought so far, is the idea of extensions ?

Re:This isn't a Mozilla problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37097108)

Did you even read what trunicated wrote?

Expect the version # to change, run the compatibility software against your addon and voila - fixed.

Don't hardcode settings... simple..

Re:This isn't a Mozilla problem... (4, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097200)

Isn't that what add-on authors are doing in the first place? (sarcasm.)

Re:This isn't a Mozilla problem... (0, Flamebait)

logjon (1411219) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097028)

Do not blame Mozilla because addon creators are too lazy or don't care enough to update their addons properly, or take advantage of a service Mozilla offers them. Do not blame Mozilla because you are too lazy or don't care enough to unzip the addon, open the config file, and change the max version number yourself.

We're blaming Mozilla for fixing something that isn't broken and breaking things that previously worked fine in the process. I'll be sure to send instructions to my grandmother so she can keep her .xpi files up-to-date because Mozilla decided to arbitrarily change silly shit for no other reason than "because we can."

Re:This isn't a Mozilla problem... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37097234)

because Mozilla decided to arbitrarily change silly shit for no other reason than "because we can."

I guess you would know the reasons why since you're such an upstanding active contributor to the Firefox project.

Oh wait, you don't contribute to anything, so you wouldn't know actually know why they're doing this. You're just blowing random emotional ignorant smoke out of your ass like everyone else on Slashdot. I can't believe Mozilla isn't paying attention to you.

Re:This isn't a Mozilla problem... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37097124)

> ... because addon creators are too lazy or don't care enough ...

So let's see, we are both talking about developers who spend their own free time writing FF add-ons and give them away for free? Because "lazy" and "don't care enough" isn't exactly the first thing that comes to my mind about them.

Re:This isn't a Mozilla problem... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37097144)

The problem is that Firefox changes its plugin apis. So all that service would give is "Your plugin is not working"

The author of the plugin still have to update the add-on.

Lets look at The gwt plugin as an example:

To quote the Google developers (From 28 Jun 01:21) (Which is 7 days AFTER the release of Firefox 5).
"I'll note that Mozilla didn't have an OSX 64 bit SDK released until this morning, and that was a blocker for our ability to release. Once the process for their new release schedule settles down, we'll hopefully be able to have quicker turnaround. That may take a couple of releases, however."

So the needed SDK vas not released until 7 days after firefox 5. Add to the 7 days the time it take Google to update and test their plugin, and you have a case where gwt users have a month where they can get either security updates, or use their gwt plugin. But not both.

Re:This isn't a Mozilla problem... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37097250)

Do not blame Mozilla because you are too lazy or don't care enough to unzip the addon, open the config file, and change the max version number yourself.

Do you have any idea how profoundly stupid you sound? I would place the blame PRECISELY on Mozilla if I had to go through all of that rigmarole.

Do you have trouble remembering to breathe?

Re:Are they -trying- to kill Firefox? (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096950)

Not to mention other web "apps" like learning management systems, etc officially supporting specific versions or a range of versions.

Seems like this decision will kill FF as a "supported browser" for this type of thing on non-windows platforms... Which I guess is OK since most can support Safari for the Mac users... but what about us Linux users?

Re:Are they -trying- to kill Firefox? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097026)

Not to mention other web "apps" like learning management systems, etc officially supporting specific versions or a range of versions.

That is a huge management mistake by the LMS programmers, its simply not the browsers problem.

Insert standard /. car analogy: Imagine if my local gas station pumps were so stupid as to only support certain named car brands, going to great effort to ensure I can't buy gas unless my vehicle is on the approved list, instead of just supporting some mostly common sense federal and state EPA standards for all machines.

Re:Are they -trying- to kill Firefox? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097132)

If only the interfaces in question weren't so trivial, your lame analogy might actually mean something.

As things really are, the best thing you could call such an argument demagogy.

Re:Are they -trying- to kill Firefox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37097148)

Uh, if you want a valid car analogy, there's one that exists in the real world. Every gas pump in the US says "Unleaded Gasoline" and just about every car says somewhere on the dashboard and on the gas cap "Unleaded gasoline only". Now, once upon a time it was very important to know whether your car used leaded or unleaded. These days, it's not nearly as important, but we've left the text. Why? Because it doesn't hurt anyone by leaving it there, and it can definitely help some people in a few edge cases. Since car makers aren't stupid assholes like the folks who've taken over the Mozilla Foundation, they've decided not to take away potentially helpful information from their consumers for no fucking reason.

Re:Are they -trying- to kill Firefox? (5, Insightful)

dynamo52 (890601) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096952)

Exactly. Add-ons are the only reason I use Firefox. If they simply start breaking at random I might as well just use Chrome.

Re:Are they -trying- to kill Firefox? (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096968)

Slimsearch. Granted some of the functionality already exists in current FF releases, but it's not the whole thing.
But, yes, there are a good number of add-ons that just haven't been updated to work in FF4, let alone 5.

Re:Are they -trying- to kill Firefox? (0)

kaoshin (110328) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096984)

Ever changing API's and frequently breaking add-ons hasn't killed World of Warcraft.

Re:Are they -trying- to kill Firefox? (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097070)

Outside of Blizzard and Goldfarmers, and maybe a handful of others, how many businesses make use of World of Warcraft.

Now... Compare that to Firefox.

Re:Are they -trying- to kill Firefox? (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096992)

We're still stuck on 3.6 waiting for the plug-ins to catch up

There is no justifiable excuse for this. First, because the add-on developer should maintain the add-on and update its max-version (currently, the Mozilla add-on website permits max-version all the way up to 8.0a1). Secondly, because you can always override it anyway. It's not likely that the add-on will actually break.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/add-on-compatibility-reporter/ [mozilla.org]

After installing the Add-on Compatibility Reporter, your incompatible extensions will become enabled for you to test whether they still work with the version of Firefox or Thunderbird that you're using. If you notice that one of your add-ons doesn't seem to be working the same way it did in previous versions of the application, just open the Add-ons Manager and click Compatibility next to that add-on to send a report to Mozilla.

Even if your add-ons all work fine, if they're marked incompatible, please let us know that they work fine by submitting a success report so we can encourage the add-on developer to update their compatibility information.

Re:Are they -trying- to kill Firefox? (2)

hymie! (95907) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097236)

the add-on developer should maintain the add-on and update its max-version

You're saying that any person who writes software is automatically required to provide lifetime support of said software?

Re:Are they -trying- to kill Firefox? (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097240)

The web page for the Add-on Compatibility Reporter says:

Not available for Firefox 2.2

This is funny because I'm using Seamonkey 2.2, not Firefox.

Re:Are they -trying- to kill Firefox? (1)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097030)

As Linus Torvalds recently said, if you're checking for a specific version, you're doing it wrong. Just assume that you're on the most recent one and do the most modern thing unless you're specifically told otherwise. Basically, an addon should work on version X and anything higher, not specifically versions X.A, X.B, and X.C.

Re:Are they -trying- to kill Firefox? (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097112)

But that assumes that Firefox doesn't break the API the extension uses. With the Linux kernel it works exactly because great care is applied to keeping the kernel calls stable. Note that the kernel's driver API isn't stable, and therefore you have the same problems there (guess why distributions tend to backport bug fixes instead of simply using a new kernel version).

No kidding (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097038)

I am getting real, real close to pulling Firefox from all the lab images. I am not interested in playing the support game with the "Major version numbers all the time," thing and I am far less interested in playing around with having to dig in to shit to find out if a copy is up to date or not.

Re:Are they -trying- to kill Firefox? (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097184)

Apparently they don't understand they aren't a web app...

Re:Are they -trying- to kill Firefox? (1)

Reservoir Penguin (611789) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097276)

This and the whole rationale for removing version numbers is pure insanity. "Firefox checked 20 minutes ago and you are running the latest version" ?? WTF?? Say good-bye to business, government, educational deployments. I'm out of words, this must be sabotage.

Well, that's one way to reesolve the problem... (3)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096804)

... of users not liking the inane rapid development cycle --- try to hide the rapid release of versions from the customers.

This is a horrible idea (2)

Yaur (1069446) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096812)

Sure it works in a world where no change ever causes a regression its fine. In the real world not so much.

Re:This is a horrible idea (1)

mickwd (196449) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097192)

Agreed. Was it really that difficult for them to hold their hands up and say "sorry guys, we goofed with that last idea about version numbers. Now we've listened to what people have been saying, and their reasons for saying it, and we're going back to the previous way".

Re:This is a horrible idea (1)

mcavic (2007672) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097260)

Well, they've already gone apeshit with the version numbers anyway. I favor removing the number before it gets to 100.0.

This add-on only works with version.... (5, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096814)

That's the problem here. Firefox's ever changing APIs which are always breaking add-ons. The Chrome add-on API is much more limited and as such doesn't need to change as frequently or as drastically. How Firefox thinks they're going to succeed by becoming a crappier version of Chrome is beyond me.

Did the Gnome guys take over Mozilla or something? (4, Insightful)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096816)

This is a really stupid idea.

If the user wants to hide the version number, someone will write an extension to do that. Quit dumbing down Firefox.

Re:Did the Gnome guys take over Mozilla or somethi (5, Funny)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096866)

Moz devs: "No, no. We need an add-on that shows the version number. Someone will write it."

User: "What version of FF is that add-on compatible with?"

Moz devs: "Yeah about that....fuck you."

Re:Did the Gnome guys take over Mozilla or somethi (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097032)

Did the Gnome guys take over Mozilla or something?

In case you haven't noticed, those making decisions these days, be it government (politics), big business, or software development, have all gotten serious cases of dumbtarditis.

Re:Did the Gnome guys take over Mozilla or somethi (1)

dslbrian (318993) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097170)

Exactly. Hide the status bar, hide the full URL, hide the version number. Obscuring things is apparently their new development model.

Wait... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096820)

First the version number is important so we bump it up a few notches. Now it's not?

I hope they don't write code while smoking whatever it is they are smoking before coming up with such ideas.

Re:Wait... (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097084)

First the version number is important so we bump it up a few notches. Now it's not?

That's what I'm trying to understand.

I guess it's their way of trying to get us to stop being so angry by their versioning scheme.

The thing that is really getting on my nerves, though, is that they seem to be out-of-touch with the way big web developer groups work, which is to write to version numbers, kind of like how older developers wrote to RFC. There are some fairly big software packages like OnBase that probably will break with this, or will run right back to IE-only.

I've been a faithful Mozilla user since the old days, when the Mozilla project spun off from the Netscape browser. This is giving me serious pause.

Re:Wait... (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097278)

"to write to version numbers" is another problem, though pretty much orthogonal to this one. Won't solve it, won't make it worse. That you want to "write to version numbers" (when you should be "writing to features") is possibly THE single worst argument against this change.

Ladies and gentlemen..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37096828)

.....Let's get ready to ruuuummmbleeeee the flameeeee!!!

This is what Slashdot's users want and Slashdot just delivers!

The version scheming are the new holy grail of flames.

That's silly (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096832)

How do you know if the machine is up to date? And how do you avoid the dot zero releases? I've always said i'd wait for the dot one release of eternal life.

Re:That's silly (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096938)

You know if your machine is up to date when you go to the about page and it says "this copy of Firefox is up to date".

Presumably they just accidentally forgot to mention the part where they're changing the fundamental nature of plugins so that they never break when the version is updated, so nobody would ever have a reason not to update immediately.

Re:That's silly (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097110)

You know if your machine is up to date when you go to the about page and it says "this copy of Firefox is up to date".

How does it fight "web proxy gone wild"? https connection, I suppose?

Re:That's silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37096964)

I've already released my 1.1 release of eternal life. There was no 1.0 release, because I knew no one would try it. This one should be safe, though. It's all Hydrogen Carbon and Nitrogen.

Re:That's silly (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097156)

Your eternal life seems to be incompatible with oxygen.

Re:That's silly (2)

SpooForBrains (771537) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097010)

about:support

Re:That's silly (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097096)

I've always said i'd wait for the dot one release of eternal life.

Yeah we'll good luck picking the right one, there's about ten thousand forked versions of life 1.1 all of which are literally in a holy war with each other, conflicting featuresets, etc. No wonder I opt out of that entire flamefest, just don't need the aggravation.

Addon breakage (3, Insightful)

Bloodwine77 (913355) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096834)

Now people will think their addons break at random. I doubt the typical user will ever look at about:troubleshooting

Mozilla needs to rethink a lot of things about addon support before pushing their new release and version philosophy any further.

Re:Addon breakage (1)

aardwolf64 (160070) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096944)

What is this about:troubleshooting you're talking about? My copy of Firefox (technically it's Aurora) doesn't recognize that...

Re:Addon breakage (2)

Bloodwine77 (913355) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097016)

They were referring to about:troubleshooting in the mozilla.dev.usability discussion linked in the article summary. I think it is the "Help > Troubleshooting Information" page (about:support in Firefox 5). Either they have plans to rename about:support to about:troubleshooting or add a new about:troubleshooting in the future ... or they misspoke in the conversation.

Re:Addon breakage (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096972)

Mozilla needs to rethink a lot of things about addon support before pushing their new release and version philosophy any further.

One of the things I'd like them to provide is the ability to remove extensions and add-ons, instead of just disabling them. I have been accumulating unwanted extensions that I have disabled but I see no button to uninstall them.

Re:Addon breakage (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097152)

One of the things I'd like them to provide is the ability to remove extensions and add-ons, instead of just disabling them. I have been accumulating unwanted extensions that I have disabled but I see no button to uninstall them.

You sure about that? "Tools" "Add-ons" look at the right column for the "remove" buttons. Maybe its a version thing, I'm running 5.0, you can click "help" "about firefox" to see what version you're ... Oh, very smooth move there sir, I must applaud you...

Version information can be important (4, Insightful)

waterbear (190559) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096846)

Maybe the developers want me to have the latest version, but it's not always what I want, and above all, whether latest version or not, I want to know what I've actually got.

From my pov, this will ensure that I never go back to Firefox (after abandoning it a while back because of the memory leaks and denials that there was a problem.)

-wb-

Re:Version information can be important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37096882)

I always want the latest version - better chance of having security holes filled.

Re:Version information can be important (4, Informative)

bored (40072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096912)

From my pov, this will ensure that I never go back to Firefox (after abandoning it a while back because of the memory leaks and denials that there was a problem.)

Don't worry the memory leaks are still there, a couple times I week I kill it and restart it just to lower its memory usage.

After the lawyers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37096858)

After we've killed all the lawyers, I say we line up all the UI designers next. I feel they're not important.

Oh hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37096868)

Sounds like someone's idea of how they can make my life harder. Latest version of a browser? This will be a nightmare with QA & Test, let alone customers. I've got customers still wedded to IE6, and doubtless some still on FF 3.6.x. What about sites that rely on a lone IT tech to install on every workstation? How they hell can "the most recent" be handled then?

A Firefox article! Quick! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37096876)

Cue the peanut gallery to bitch up 500 comments about how Firefox isn't using their idea of what version numbers should be!

edit: The captcha for my post is "bawling". Fucking perfect for a Firefox article.

Re:A Firefox article! Quick! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37097088)

Cue the peanut gallery to bitch up 500 comments about how Firefox isn't using the rest of the industry's idea of what version numbers should be!

ftfy

Too bad (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096880)

If I have to certify my product x, works with y browser then how can my clients truly know what version of Firefox they use?

Unlike IE updates the api changes every 6 weeks and so does the html rendering and everything else. It looks like IE is the only game in town.

I am beginning to like the browser more day in and day out. Even if your job is just a help desk job it is going to be a pain to figure out which verison of the browser the client is using. If I owned a tech support company I would be strongly in favor of telling the clients to only use IE or I wont support you. Just too much variation and this is an alpha/beta quality product as far as I am concerned. Truly stable products do not update every few weeks.

Re:Too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37097018)

Throw in Opera so you have some cross-platform support.

Re:Too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37097098)

If I owned a tech support company I would be strongly in favor of telling the clients to only use IE or I wont support you.

That would make you about as useful as the new version system that Firefox will use.

Re:Too bad (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097174)

"That would make you about as useful as the new version system that Firefox will use."

How would it? I know all of my clients would use either IE 8 or IE 9. I would know the issues with each and memorize the error messages and event logs for both so I could learn how to solve problems for each. With 5 versions of Firefox it is too much. Also how do I know some stupid update will not come in rendering their website useless or their suppliers inventory internet site will mysteriously stop working? My calls would go up through the roof and customer annoyances will blame me rather than Firefox. No thank you.

If something doesn't work for the upcoming IE 10 I can fix it. But that update is only once every 1.5 years not every 6 weeks.

then it looks like I'm never upgrading from 3.6... (2)

PJ6 (1151747) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096884)

and I'll also be dumping Firefox from the list of "supported browsers" on the sites I release

Re:then it looks like I'm never upgrading from 3.6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37097058)

I'm going to be in the same boat.

FF4 looked ugly. FF5? Never bothered with it. Now? Even less reason to care.

Well, have fun with bug reports ... (5, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096886)

"I've found this bug in Firefox ..."
"Do you run the latest version?"
"I don't know. I'm running the version my distro gives me."
"So which one is it?"
"I don't know. It won't tell me."
"Please update to the latest version."
"Well, I already have the latest version my distro gives me. If this is actually the latest version, I have no idea."

Re:Well, have fun with bug reports ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37097078)

This reminds me of how Cisco does support sometimes.

Re:Well, have fun with bug reports ... (1)

Reapman (740286) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097080)

Yeah, too bad Mozilla doesn't include a bug reporting feature that automatically would submit data like a version number to the developers.

Ah well there goes FF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37096896)

This sounds pretty bad. Mozilla must be way out of touch with serious FF users.

Many of us have found that it is necessary to stay at least one level behind what they've just introduced. And sometime it pays to stay way behind. We don't need an "out there" browser. But rather want a secure stable browser. Most of the "new features" seem to be promoting features that often end up leaving the user more vulnerable.

Would like Mzilla to get their feet back on the ground and stop this type of nonsense. Makes one wonder where MZilla's interests really are and/or who is paying them for this trend.

grumble grumble grumble

Be Firefox, not Chrome (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096902)

Why does Mozilla keep treating Firefox like it's something they need to apologize for? Firefox has the best add-ons out there, hands down. And it's been around for years. Why are they acting like Chrome and others are setting the standards now? Why do they act like they're in some kind of pissing contest with Google? Google is the one with something to prove here, not Mozilla.

Just knock it off and stick to your strengths.

Re:Be Firefox, not Chrome (5, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097052)

I used to be a fan of Alex St John in MaximumPC.

Basically, he used to work for Microsoft and helped write a bad clone of postscript for Windows 95 and was influential engineering DirectX1 & 2 when it was called WinG for Windows 3.11.

He had an article detailing how Microsoft wins over its rivals. How? The rivals see the big bad scary Microsoft and end up doing something stupid and killing themselves out of fear. MS had nothing to do with it. I look at Mozilla and you know what I see? Someone freaking out trying to be something they are not in a market they are not.

I believe in 2 years Firefox will start to become irrelevant. Grandmas might use it and of course some geeks will have it on their computers even if they do nto use it but the marketshare will drastically go down and that is a shame. What Firefox had that Chrome didn't was a stable release cycle and some limited enterprise use for clients who had to stick with IE 6, but needed a secure more up to date browser for the internet. But Mozilla wanted to be cool like Chrome and follow all of its disadvantages and be something that they are not.

Chrome was well planned to be gradually updated with stable api's and a similiar rendering engines with all versions with slight additions rather than complete changes. Firefox was in such a hurry it didn't implement it right. May they rest in peace.

Asa Dotzler as a verb (5, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096904)

I'm going to start using his name for boneheaded changes done for "me too" reasons and decision by committee.

"Man, T-Mobile really Dotzler'd their unlimited plan."

Hmmm .... (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096906)

I'm not so sure I'm entirely keen on this.

From an IT perspective, it's helpful to know what versions people are running. And, from a practical perspective, who the heck updates every single day?

This is like agile development and continuously running the steaming build from last night ... it seems to completely violate any notion of a tested, supportable version of software, and turns it into a thing that is completely difficult to nail down. It's just a constantly evolving piece of software. So if something was broken for a day or so, you'll never really know WTF it was.

Hell, having done QA and the like ... the version of the browser you're running is part of the stuff you need to know so you know what you support. You can't even begin to say your software supports Firefox if you can't say anything more than "well, whatever Firefox looked like in January, we know it works on that".

I've dealt with a vendor who pretty much does constant releases of their software (several times/week), and their idiot support people mostly won't listen to you until you're running the latest version. It takes me several weeks to promote a version through my environments to do testing and get approvals, and you think my production instance is running the steaming turd you released on Friday?? How do you expect I've managed to do that? By having no control whatsoever as to what is deployed?

I'm pretty sure that for some organizations, this is going to make it really difficult to use Firefox. I'm pretty sure that in at least one or two places I've worked, this would be a complete non-starter.

Standards... (4, Insightful)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096914)

From one of the posts in the group...

Microsoft Guidelines show version number in their About Box example.

----------

Excerpt from Mac OS X Human Interface Guidelines:

About ApplicationName
Opens the About window, which contains the app's copyright information
and version number.

----------

Excerpt from GNOME Human Interface Guidelines 2.2.2:
Help About ...contains the name and version number of the application, a short
description of the application's functionality, author contact
details, copyright message and a pointer to the licence under which
the application is made available.

----------

Could someone please post references to the relevant standards Firefox
will comply with after implementation of bug 678775?

I've got it right here (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37097248)

Could someone please post references to the relevant standards Firefox will comply with

RFC 9.402.001: Dicking around with vesion numbers and GUI behavior in lieu of performing actual work

Re:Standards... (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097266)

Well, the unnumbered version of Firefox will partially conform to some unnumbered version of HTML5.
I feel I must have missed a zombie attack, or why does it seem as if brains are vanishing everywhere?

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37096920)

Who cares? The chocolate ration has gone up to 25g this month. I know because Firefox tells me I have the latest figures.

I've been using FF for exclusively for years (1)

rbpOne (2184720) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096926)

But thats now coming to an end.

Firefox devs, you done goofed.

Turn browser itself into a web software service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37096930)

The only problem remaining would be getting the user to your website the first time. Possibly use of some sort of egg might be a solution.

WTF are they doing? (1)

hymie! (95907) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096932)

it's simply not important what version you're using as long as it's the latest version.

It's vitally important what version I'm using. I want/need to be using the latest version that supports the plugins that I need to use and the services I need to connect to.

Vendor support for version... latest? (1)

Dakiraun (1633747) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096958)

In the IT Network administration and engineering world, this move to rapid release has been nightmarish. Vendors were already months behind in rolling out support for prior versions of the browser, but since going to rapid release, vendor support has gotten far worse. Granted... most vendors seem to believe that no one uses anything but IE and Windows 2000/XP, but still. I've also found that the last version, 5.0, was horribly buggy - worse than any Firefox I've ever used. This rapid release move may well kill off the product.

It seems like the Firefox devs have missed it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37096974)

It seems like the Firefox developers have missed the problem with their way of doing releases.

The problem is not how often they release/change version number. The problem is that they 4 times a year, make security updates which break existing add-ons. And they do this with only a few days for the add-on developers to add support for the newest version of Firefox.

So the moment they released Firefox 5 they said: You have to choose between running your existing plugins, or getting no security updates. (Yes that is the official release policy). And the same thing will happend when Firefox 6 is released.

I like it (2, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096982)

No responses so far in favor of the idea... I'll toss one out:

1) No more coding some bizarre non-standard garbage code to a specific version of the software anymore. I'm looking at you, JAVA coders. And those guys still stuck in Internet Explorer 6 or whatever from 1999. You want it to work? Don't write to a browser version, write to a standard. I LIKE IT that it will be impossible to write for a browser version. I want a standards compliant browser, not version 12.345.2-19 of a browser and memorization of which sites require -20 and with can't work on anything newer than -18.

2) No more write it and forget it, never to be updated again. Updates will have to be a process not a project. You literally can't be bothered to test if your "xyz extension" is compatible with the latest version? Well, then we can't be bothered to use it anymore. That sound you're hearing is thousands of pure cruft addons getting flushed. Bye bye. Don't let the door hit you on your post-processor.

This is a business model change, and a wise one. Not a technical code change. I am no FF fanboy, they've done some really stupid things lately like "tabs on top". But this is actually a good idea.

Re:I like it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37097062)

Just that nothing will change, the version number is only hidden from the user, it will be used internally just the way it is now.

Hell No! (1)

Pepebuho (167300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096986)

Hell! No!!!!

What are they thinking about?

If they remove that, then they should have a display with a list and version of all components of Firefox available.

How am I going to figure out what kind of version I have when I arrive at a system I haven't touched before?

This is incredible dumb!

I'll have to switch to IE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37096988)

FF4 and FF5 already don't work with most of the web application in the company I work for (a little 'ol 300,000+ employee mega-corporation). Until future versions of FF guarantee backwards compatibility, (like, ability to toggle user_agent), I'm stuck using IE. Thanks Mozilla. See?

Retardoverse (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37096994)

Did a large fraction of the FOSS developer community recently get hit with a Retardo Ray or something?

Re:Retardoverse (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097280)

Clearly they didn't have enough to do. They got bored to the point of stupidity and it went all downhill from there.

Microsoft Support Center (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37097024)

Caller: "My computer will not boot into Windows"
Support: "What version of Windows are you running?"
Caller: "Windows"
Support: "But what version of Windows are you running?"
Caller: "Windows"
Support: "..."

I like this idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37097056)

Why do users care about the version number? It is totally meaningless to the vast majority.

Welp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37097076)

Looks like Mozilla has officially lost touch with their user base and will continue to hemmorage users to Chrome.

Looks like I'm going to be switching Opera/Chrome pretty soon.
Getting a little tired of the memory issues anyways.

And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37097150)

I just decided to switch to another browser... Not worth the fight anymore.

Morons (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097172)

And how about the many extensions/plugins people use ? a lot of extensions didnt even make the transition from 4.x to 5.x yet. and you not only went berserk about releasing half baked crap one after another WHILE changing major version numbers, but now want to hide the version number from the users. so much for 'usability' -> more confusion.

Weird (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097222)

Version numbers have always worked for years. And now suddenly they collapse. What's happening?

Plugins (1)

kikito (971480) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097228)

What about plugins?

Oboi (1)

Anomalyst (742352) | more than 2 years ago | (#37097274)

Lets hear it for Firefox Vista ME
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