Mozilla on Rapid Release of New Firefox Versions: “There Is No Free Lunch”

firefox-4If you’re a Firefox user, you probably noticed that the browser, once painfully slow to reach a major new version, has grown from version 4 to 6in less than half a year.

This is due to the “rapid release process” that Firefox maker Mozilla has recently implemented, meaning a new version of Firefox is out every 6 weeks. This has raised concerns about add-on compatibility, and frequent interface changes which confuse many users.

Enterprise use is an even bigger issue, as businesses have to make sure browser upgrades don’t break other crucial applications. Furthermore, upgrading software on one computer is one thing – upgrading it on several thousand or more is another.

Now, Mozilla’s chairman Mitchell Baker responds to the criticism in a blog post. He starts by acknowledging the problem: “There is work to be done to make the rapid release process smoother and hopefully more useful to more of our userbase”, he writes.

However, due to the rapidly changing nature of the Internet, Baker thinks it’s necessary for the browser to follow this breakneck pace. “If we want the browser to be the interface for the Internet, we need to make it more like the Internet. That means delivering capabilities when they are ready. That means a rapid release process. If we don’t do something like this the browser becomes a limiting factor in what the Internet can do”, he writes.

Baker’s end thoughts don’t leave much hope that the rapid release process will change in the near future. “There is no free lunch (…) I know that’s not a perfect answer, and it’s not a promise that we can meet everyone’s needs perfectly. Despite this, I believe the rapid release process is the right direction”, Baker writes.


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