back to article Mozilla to shift 12m surfers off 2-year-old Firefox 3.5

Mozilla is planning to shunt 12 million users, who are still surfing the web on its aged Firefox 3.5 browser, over to a more recent version. "We need a plan to obsolete [sic] Firefox 3.5 as we can't support it into perpetuity," said Mozilla. "We have been frustrated with our efforts to move users off of old releases and are …

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Anonymous Coward

3.5 is still default on a lot of linux distros (most up to date ones)

dpkg --status iceweasel | grep -i version

Version: 3.5.16-7

aivanov@falkor:~$ cat /etc/debian_version

6.0.1

Same for Ubuntu LTS, RHEL, etc

Yeah, forced update, right... Some other time...

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Silver badge

Yep

As you say. Ubuntu 10.04 LTS here. The package manager gices a choice of 3.0 and 3.5.

I'm running Nomoroka 3.6.18 here, somehow. But not from the official depositories.

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Grenade

title

Should use Windows then shouldn't you..

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Troll

If this isn't.

If this isn't the most troll-baiting on el-reg, I will delete system32.

:D

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Fx 4 on ubuntu 10.04 and 10.10

There is a Firefox 4, PPA for 10.04 and 10.10

Open the terminal and type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/firefox-stable

followed by;

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

Done.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yep

This was one of the things that put me off using the major linux distros.

You seem to have to jump through all sorts of unofficial hoops to keep your applications current because the repositories are woefully out of date. Of course, when you do this, things like GUI integration often start to break down.

Linux on the desktop, like nuclear fusion, still ain't quite there yet! ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Hoops

Hoops like going to a 3rd party site to download and install software? Uh, horrible, no wonder people stick to Windows.

Oh wait a minute.

You're right that there's an issue of old software versions. However, as long as the distribution is supported, they should continue to support the software they use with security updates. One of the great things about open source is that it enables back-porting as an alternative to upgrades. If back-porting doesn't cut it, then they can upgrade the software.

However, people using Linux distributions really should be prepared to do distribution upgrades rather than expect constant upgrades of individual pieces of software in the distribution.

I heart repositories.

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Happy

Re: <user />

"Should use Windows then shouldn't you.."

Has Windows started shipping Firefox out of the box? No? So to get FF4 on Windows or Linux you have to download it yourself.

So umm, where's the advantage?

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Linux

Seriously??

Can I have some of what you are on?

"Open the terminal and type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/firefox-stable

followed by;

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

Done."

The "average joe" will want to type firefox in google and go and install from there. The "un-average joe" will spend a lot of time finding an few obscure commands to do it for his Linux distro.

Reality check please!!

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Yes Seriously.

I was just trying to be helpful. But to address your point....

The "average Joe", typing firefox into google will get a tar bzipped package for Linux (firefox-4.0.1.tar.bz2) not a nice friendly .deb or .rpm. Typing those two simple lines into the terminal will save you a lot of time and fiddling on an ubuntu 10.04 / 10.10 system.

However if you are incapable of following simple commands then you should probably go back to Windows. I don't care.

Your reality check is now complete.

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Reasons for not updating.

It's not necessarily inertia and idleness that stop people updating. I am running 3.5 because its the last one that the -- now unsupported -- Google Notebook plugin will work on. And the plugin wasn't available for any other browser, to the best of my knowledge.

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Jobs Horns

Or having a PPC G4/G5

Having a pre-2006 Mac, therefore not being allowed to go to FF4.

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Unhappy

Fix the plug-ins FIRST

I have a half dozen plug-ins that I need. None of them work on the new version of FF.

Force me to upgrade and I will go elsewhere.

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@NoneSuch

Have you asked the devs of the plug-ins to make them compatible?

Have you offered to sponsor the work?

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@None such

Do the half dozen plugins you need actually run 'elsewhere'?

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Flame

@NoneSuch - Right, imagine the outcry if Windows needed new programs every time it was upgraded?

Yet even with *POINT* releases of Firefox many of my plugins go belly-up. Moreover, these are not isolated cases, Mozilla has been screwing up plugins/add-ons almost since day one.

We don't let Microsoft get away with such crap so why should we let Mozilla get away with it?

In its war with Microsoft, seems we've given the underdog too much of an even break by not criticizing it more, yet all it's done is to bite the user. Some damn reward!

Mozilla's got a fucking hide to try and force 12 million users to upgrade or do anything for that matter. What the hell does it think it is--Gestapo Mark-II perhaps?

---

P.S.: I'm also getting very pissed off with Mozilla over the 'forced' upgrades. Automatic updates are switched on by default and just one false move or inattentive moment and one's been upgraded before even realising it. Seconds later, none of one's plugins are working, which is a fucking pain in the arse if one's in a hurry or on the move.

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@The BigYin

Actually it's the "platform's" responsibility to keep some level of backwards compatibility. If you think about it what would happen if every time you change your windows version ALL your applications stopped working, like it happens in firefox? Lets be honest here, Microsoft has done a very good job keeping Windows backwards compatible. There are incredibly few applications that don't work (even windows 3.1 apps), and those that truly don't are the coders fault, for using undocumented features, that were subject to change.

I can't say the same about Firefox. I upgraded to FF 4.0 and I'm pissed that some essential plugins for my work no longer function!!! They are essential to me. I have to downgrade, or else.....

I don't see other options then downgrading, other then perhaps looking for a Chrome plugin that would do the same job I need....

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@pitagora

If the platform changes its model too much and breaks plugins too often then users will leave as its unstable and developers will quit it as there is too much re-work. If that happens, then the platform will die. Simple.

If what people are saying here is true, then Mozilla and Firefox should be dying. It does not seem like they are.

If one is using a piece of software that *IS* essential, then one should be paying for support. And if not then, to be blunt, one is also part of the problem.

From my experience, the only add-on to not work is TinyURL Creator. Hardly essential. But that is just my experience.

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Happy

None, such, which plugins (addons ?) are they that work on FF 3.5.x,

but not on 3.6.x ? Myself, I've postponed upgrading to FF 4.0.1 from my current default version, viz, 3.6.10pre, as the Delicious-Bookmarks addon, which I consider indispensable, hadn't been updated since August last year, and was incompatible with FF 4.0. Now, however, the kind folks at AVOS, who have taken over the service from Yahoo, have performed an update (http://blog.delicious.com/) and the addon seems to work well with FF 4.0,despite still being in beta. I'm now considering making FF 4.0.1 my default browser....

Henri

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Thumb Down

Stop me if I'm missing anything here, but...

...am I the only one out here still using FF3.5(.7) because it doesn't suck? I took a crack at 3.5.8 when it came out, and you wouldn't believe how long it took me to pick all the metaphorical shards out of my metaphorical ass.

Oh, and I like how they brandish that threat of "online attack", too. Looks like Mozilla's been taking lessons from Microsoft. Way to sling that FUD, guys.

Goddamn' plankers.

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Firefox 4.0.1

Unfortunately 4.0.1 crashes a lot, even without any plugins. 3.5/3.6 is much more stable....

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FAIL

bollocks.

I have been running 4.01 since it came out and I have yet to see anything close to a crash on it.

Methinks your machine has plague

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Megaphone

Really?

That's funny, it's just as likely Adobe's fault but I can't run a single page containing flash without a script timeout, the trult mortifying thing is that IE9 is now FASTER by comparison.

And don't talk to me about FlashBlock, got it, using it, still need Flash somestimes, can't have it on Firefox :(

I find myself distinctly repeating myself like an angry old man: fix the fekkin product before shoving down people's throats!!

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FAIL

Yep...

...Flash is totally unusable for me too since the upgrade.

Ah well, back to IE I go, and this time I won't be returning.

FF has been digging its own grave for a long time but it looks like they've now lowered the coffin in and are starting to shovel back in.

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Boffin

you have a problem somewhere...

... and it isn't in FF as released by Moz... what OS are you running?

1. it is possible that you have an infestation that is as yet unknown... i've seen it more than once in my 30+ years in the industry...

2. there may be some sort of hardware or driver problem... this is another item that has been seen for many many many years... i know of several folk who cannot run the latest ubuntu on their gear due to some weird hardware problem (likely video related)... in the same breath, my father has a new x64 box with Vista and all updates and patches that reboots all the time... near as we can figure, there's some problem with the video driver mess...

there are many places where the problem may be that are not related to the application having the problems... especially in this day in time with shared libraries and services...

FWIW: FF4 runs peachy on W2K which isn't touted very much ;)

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Black Helicopters

flash is the problem?

if this is correct, what makes you think that it will work properly in IE??? this is a serious question...

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WTF?

Err...

Because this morning pre-upgrade Flash worked fine on FF, then imediately post-upgrade it runs like a dog. Not difficult to work out where the fault lies is it?!

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Flame

File Bug Reports

Go to about:crashes in your url bar.

Click on each crash.

Then if a bug report is not already filed, file one.

That will get the Devs attention.

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Anonymous Coward

memory consumption

I still see quite a lot of computers with 1 gig (or even less) of memory, and with firefox 4 regularly consuming that amount and more I can see why some people don't feel the need to upgrade.

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Agree 100%

We tried FF 4 here but several of our machines just sat at 100% and we couldn't do anything so we rolled back to 3.5.19.

Ok I know we need new PC's and I am in the process of specing some Core i5, 6Gb Ram, SSD monsters but this is going to be a slow rollout and there are plenty of other browsers in the sea.

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Happy

re: memory consumption

I see the same thing - FF4 is a memory hog. I maintain two older computers each with 1G memory. FF4 gobbles up memory like a greedy goldfish. FF 3.5 was the last memory-miser release.

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AC:In re Memory consumption

I have 4 gigabytes on this machine; 4 gigabytes.

What kind of Godzilla class memory leak (not releasing resources on a timely basis) does it require to run through 4 gigabytes?

Which, by the way, is why I am back on 3.6 for now (and I guess I will be spammed for a while by Mozilla about redoing that -upgrade-).

Life is just too short to have to kill -9 Firefox three or four times a day.

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Also profile consumption

Also the places.sqlite file in 4.x is now 10mb...

For anyone in a corporate environment with massively locked-down profiles, that means annoying "exceeded profile allocation" messages, and an inability to log-off until places.sqlite is deleted.

Annoyingly, FF4x also recreates places.sqlite, even if you try to move it elsewhere, and drop a profile-friendly shortcut in it's place.

WTF is places.sqlite anyway, and why is it now 10mb???

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Bronze badge
WTF?

re: memory consumption

My daily work laptop has 4GBytes of RAM. FF4 will gobble up to 500MBytes of RAM before I decide to restart it.

As I understand it, FOR EACH OPEN TAB Firefox 4 keeps in RAM the last eight pages of history - in RAM. This doesn't account for all of it's memory hogging, but it does take a lot of it.

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Linux

I would if I could....

I would immediatly move over, but the biggest problem that I have, is the fact, that I cannot use the VMWare console plugin in Firefox 3.6+

The only alternative, that I have is using Internet Exploder, which under Linux poses a bit of a problem....

Anyone any experience with FF4 and CMWare Server 2.x Console Plugin?

I know it's not officially supported, but does anyone know of a hack?

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VMWare Server 2?

I used VMWare GSX -> Server 1.0 for years. It was fantastic. Never got to grips with v2 though. Big bits of it just seemed awfully clunky. Perhaps you should look at "free" ESXi? Of course, I don't know your circumstances, but I'm pretty sure ESXi will do everything Server2 will without having to pay for a license.

The only real sticking point is hardware support, but so long as you're using mainstream server hardware you're unlikely to hit any real issues there. The biggest thing I had to do was upgrade the firmware on my iSCSI storage. Yes - it exercised my sphincter nicely, thanks for asking...

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Anonymous Coward

Well this sucks

If they still have 12 Million users why are they being asshats forcing people out of it?

I'm using it myself on several machines, it's actually better and ligher than 4.X for many things.

I just hope the $57 million a year Google pays Mozilla to use them as the default search engine doesn't have anything to do with this.

That agreement would end this year year and there's not been any news of a renewal yet.

http://techcrunch.com/2008/08/28/mozilla-extends-lucrative-deal-with-google-for-3-years/

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No it doesn't

Maintaining many forks of a program costs money, time and focus.

Firefox is supporting 2 versions, 3.6.x and 4.0.x, and plans to release version 5 due in a few weeks.

Many people now are using 64 bit. Development should be directed there instead of supporting an outdated version.

With regard to the add-ons - get in contact with the addon programmers, see if they are going to update your must have extensions.

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better and ligher...

.....exactly!

Upgrade... it'll be better..... but never is..... whatever the program is, instead of being slicker and faster with all the bugs fixed it's just more bloated and slower, for example: [insert ANY prog here]

For this reason I have stopped upgrading everything, Firefox included. To be forced to upgrade would be rather (very) annoying!

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FAIL

Status Bar Gone

The removal of the status bar irritates me in 4.0.x versus 3.6.x as many plugins I use put stuff there and no longer have a place to put their stuff - apparently.

Also, there are still a shitload of plugins that simply do not work on 4.0.x, some of them I find particularly useful.

Removing something that worked and was widely used and relied upon and replacing it with nothing is not a way to endear oneself to one's users. I do not buy this "we gotta look like chrome" bullshit.

Dweeb

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Stop

use the add on bar

Or you could go to the view menu and turn on the add-on bar. Which is the replacement for the status bar.

And if you want it to act like the old style status bar, install status 4 evar [sic].

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Silver badge

No status bar.. ?

Right click toolbar > Add-on bar

It's not exactly the same, granted, but it gives somewhere for plugins to spew their icons just like before

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Anonymous Coward

Yes, sort of

The 'Add-on bar' (and poss.. Status-4-Evar extension) mostly recovers the status bar - though it is still a bit of a pita. What finally pigged me off most is the Add-Ons bar reorganisation like the way checking for updates is now clear as mud, but most of all by far no longer being able to change xpinstall.enabled to false to stop plug-ins being added with no user consultation whatsoever. I had FF4 installed on one or two systems for testing but have uninstalled it and will not be trying it again.

Similarly no longer even being able to use a registry hack to put the menu bar top in IE9, even though in Windows 7 I 'uninstall' Internet Explorer, I did have it updated to 9, but have now reverted to 8 and will not be going back.

No, I don't like the Chrome look at all. But even if I did I wouldn't use Google for browsing, ffs! Meanwhile I've been trying Opera for years but have never once liked it.

I suppose the way Mozilla looks now is it's true colours and the way so many of us have thought of them as being on 'our' side for so long is a consequence of a misapprehension along the lines of thinking of Bill Gates as some kind of hippy, presumably just 'cos he went to college.

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Unhappy

Re: Status Bar Gone

Completely agree - v4 is not much of an upgrade. Removing the status bar is crap, and it took a while to remove the bookmarks button that came turned on by default and was occupying most of my bookmarks toolbar IIRC.

I was running 3.6.17 on Windows and Mac and since the Mac isn't my main machine I decided it would be the FF 4.x testing ground. It spends more time on the spinning beach ball than 3.6.x ever did. Its got an i7 proc so its not short of resources. Funnily enough the Win machines will stay on 3.6.x for now!

Exactly what did Mozilla do between 3.6 and 4 that took them so long?

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Bronze badge
WTF?

It's called the add-on bar...

....and ctrl+/ brings it up.

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IT Angle

There's an Add-on Bar in Nightly 6.0a1 - guess it'll be back

I'm using Minefield Nightly 6.0a1 64bit now and there's an Add-on bar where the Status bar should be.

It seems the Mozilla people realized the dumb thing they done and they're somehow getting back a crippled version of it.

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Coat

Why I'm (mostly) on Firefox 3.5 even today...

First of all...to those who are crashing out of Fx 4...you have a bad extension, corrupted profile or faulty operating system/underlying computer hardware. You can downvote the comment, but I'll guarantee to you that one of those things is the problem and not the browser itself. And no, I'm not a Firefox "fanboi" or any sort of apologist. I have no affilation whatsoever with the Mozilla organization.

The good news is that Firefox 4 does in fact run on Windows 2000, and it runs quite well. So if you "have" to upgrade a computer running an older (Windows family, at least) operating system, you can, as long as that computer has enough RAM and processor capability to run the newer browser. A reasonably fast Pentium 3 (866MHz+) will still pull it off.

Otherwise...I'm less than totally impressed with Fx4. Call me cranky, say I need to take my pills...but I want my status bar back. (Yes, I've got a status bar extension installed, but something so close to the core of the browser's UI should be a selectable option.) I'm not thrilled about the relocation of the stop/load button to the address bar and don't care for the fact that the Add Ons manager is no longer in a small window of its own. In fact, the only thing I've really liked so far about Fx4 is the ability to highlight a URL in text and have contextually appropriate options (open in new window/tab) appear when I right click said text.

Beyond that...I'm probably going to stay on Firefox 3.6 (or 3.5) with the majority of my systems. (And for those who are wondering why I might be sticking with Fx3.5, I'll tell you. There was this really, really useful little "Image Properties" window available in the contextual menu when right-clicking any image on a web page. It bought the farm in Fx3.6, only to be replaced by a window that seemingly has to process every image on a page before it'll do anything.)

Yes, I could probably figure out how to develop an extension that restores these capabilities.

@ZimboKraut -- it's been a while since I've had anything to do with the inner workings of a Firefox extension, so this is worth what you paid to hear it. (Hopefully not much.) Furthermore, it may well send your browser down in flames, throw all your furniture in the trash, tell the world your darkest secrets, insult your mother or worse--so consider yourself warned. If you look at the package that makes up your VMware extension, there is a declaration within one of the files making up the extension that tells Firefox which versions may safely use it. You may try bumping this value out to something that is greater than whatever it is currently set to. I can't recall exactly where this lives, but some quick Giggling ought to turn it up.

I'll get my coat.

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Happy

Firefox 4

I like it.

Everything I want it to do, it does. I'm a happy non paying customer.

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Linux

At least they're not binning 3.6.x yet

While our main family machine (an 'experienced' Pentium D 3.4GHz) is happily running Firefox 4.01 on Lucid Puppy 5.25, the same machine running XP SP3 is still stuck on Firefox 3.6.17 as ZoneAlarm apparently isn't compatible with Firefox 4 at the moment.

Meanwhile, the main browser I use on my reconditioned AMD K6 2 500 is Opera 11 on Lucid Puppy 5.11 - it's a considerable improvement over IE6 on Win98 which is the other main OS on that machine.

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Go

@Dweeb

Does the add-on bar not cater for you?

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