Mozilla Changes Development Process for Firefox, Drops Firefox 3.7 Plans
Article by George Norman
On 27 Jan 2010
The Mozilla Foundation has just recently released the final, stable version of Firefox 3.6. The browser comes with goodies such as built-in support for Personas, the user will be alerted when an update is available for a plugin, and a significant JavaScript engine performance boost. Mozilla says Firefox 3.6 is more than 20% faster than v. 3.5, but tests have shown that its actually 15% faster. Still, it is a significant growth. Even more significant if you compare 3.6 to 3.0 – the latter is 3 times slower.

Now that Firefox 3.6 is available for download in more than 70 languages for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux users alike, you might be tempted to think that Mozilla is working on the next iteration of the browser, on Firefox 3.7. After all, Mozilla’s initial plan was to release 3.6, then 3.7 and then move on to Firefox 4.0.

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Well, that was the initial plan. Things have changed quite a bit. What has Mozilla decided to do? The foundation behind the Firefox browser has decided to drop Firefox 3.7 from the schedule. Instead Mozilla plans to release “incremental updates throughout the year” for Firefox 3.6.

The process so far goes something like this: Mozilla releases security updates to fix any new problems or vulnerabilities that plague Firefox; once or twice a year it upgrades the browser to add new features. Mozilla keeps the security updates separate from the feature updates. In the future, instead of delivering new features, new functionality once or twice a year, Mozilla will include them in its regular security updates – which are released every 4 to 6 weeks.

To my mind, it sounds like a good idea; it will be interesting to see how Firefox evolves. But it also means that Firefox 3.7, which was initially scheduled to be released in the 2nd quarter, has been dropped from the development schedule. The next Firefox version change will occur at the end of 2010 or in early 2011.



Tags: Mozilla, Firefox, Browser
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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