What happened to proper version numbers?
Although its official release date is not scheduled until this Tuesday, Firefox 13 is now available on the Mozilla website. Notable among the upgraded features in Firefox 13 are redesigned Home and New Tab pages. The Home page – accessible rather intuitively by entering about:home in the address field – allows easy access to …
"Mozilla... is now releasing updates and six-week cadence. Expect Firefox 14 on July 17, 15 on August 28, and so on."
This is actually one of the reason that I am not updating my FF3 - Mozilla's new versioning system just says "sleazebag trick" to me.
(Another reason, in the same vein, is here: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=678775. Having someone as dishonest as Asa Dotzler involved in a project kind of makes me not want to use the software...)
1) Did you know about the Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR) that runs on a less frequent release schedule?
2) Are you using the ESR updated version at home instead of the normal release?
Just wondering how many other people are running ESR instead of having quit Firefox for an alternate browser.
"Do you have a URL?"
Sure, here you go; http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/organizations/all.html
Just so you know, here's a quote from the FAQ:
"Releases will be maintained for approximately one year, with point releases containing security updates coinciding with regular Firefox releases. The ESR will also have a two cycle (12 week) overlap between the time of a new release and the end-of-life of the previous release to permit testing and certification prior to deploying a new version."
Translation: To us, one year is a long time so the current Expected Stable Release is 10.0.4 and 10.0.x is scheduled to die at 10.0.8 which should overlap the second ESR of the next series which should be 17.0.1.
>>No I didn't know about this! Whats the difference/advantage? How do I find it so I can try it out? Do you have a URL?
If you're deploying it across a corporate network the advantage is that it doesnt update. The disadvantage is you're running old code with its associated problems. It seems to me that alot of the complaining here comes from the "IE 6 is best because it never updates" mindset.
Yet these same people bitched and moaned endlessly about IE 6's security and usability problems.
Grow the fuck up. If you want a browser that never updates, never implements new features, and has security holes the size of the grand canyon, you can always find a way to Kludge IE 6 onto your PC. Chrome updates silently all the time, IE's getting to be the same way, and Opera is, well, Opera. Nothing wrong with it, but it not my cup of tea.
Really, if you want something that doesn't update often, there's always Seamonkey, but its bloated because its an Internet Application Suite, much like the old school Netscape applications were. Some people like that. I personally dont.
But hell, Im a Mozilla Firefox beta tester and Ive been on Firefox 13 since about March (IIRC) so don't take my word for it as obviously I have a bias, but don't knock the new version until you've tried it, I think a great many of you will like the improvements.
Have to agree here. I use Aurora, it updates at least once every two days and somehow life still goes on. I'm afraid I don't get people who say 'I left Firefox for Chrome because Firefox is at version 12 and that's silly' when standard Firefox gets far fewer updates than Chrome and ESB Firefox gets even fewer updates.
Frank, you really missed the point here.
Most of us who are on the ESR chose it because we were getting tired of pointless and annoying changes to the UI and we don't like having to install 200 plugins just to keep the useful features that kept being removed.
Note also that we are most definitely not the same crowd that is hanging on to IE6.
As for seamonkey being 'bloated' relative to firefox, this has not been the case for quite some time now - even just on the install packages, there's only 3 megs difference. Seamonkey works fine on my ancient laptop, whereas firefox makes it grind to a halt.
But swearing at us makes you big and clever, so obviously I must be completely wrong.
This is actually very good information.
Most people are just going to Google for "Firefox Download" and get here:
There don't seem to be any links from this page to the ESR download page.
Even if a casual user did stumble upon it, the ESR pages warn in big letters: "Firefox ESR is intended for groups who deploy and maintain the desktop environment in large organizations," which clearly rule out a single user.
I'd argue that the frequent updates aren't a problem for their frequency per se, but because the last several updates have been BFD affairs as far as the end user is concerned, reinforcing a "why even bother" attitude.
That might just have me going and having a look to use as a backup browser. The moz team lost me at 12 when on my Win7 laptop a bare install of FF would crash on start, every time, no plug-ins, no add-ons and java disabled. Same across all users, even a new account, so it wasn't a corrupt profile. Oh well, moved Iron to default but I'd rather use something other than IE as second string.
As you say, that was seen coming by most of us a year back. Still, the Mozilla Developers know better than their users. And they definitely know better than operations specialists, IT management and professional developers. After all, what do we know? ;)
An admittedly unscientific poll of my users some while back seemed to indicate that the prevalence of home Firefox users is going down like the Titanic.
For me its already too late; I bailed out a long time ago. Not towards Chrome but SeaMonkey. Still a Mozilla engine (which isn't bad at all IMO) but without the upgrade madness. However, I have been using MSIE9 more frequent as of late.
But onto ESR... I think its doomed to fail, and I'm not just saying because I'm not a believer. First of all; the ESR project is rather new. From what I can make of it (check the proposal on the Mozilla wiki) the base version is FF10 which was only released approx. 5 months ago. You can also clearly see the reasons behind it:
"The shift to a new release process has been difficult for organizations that deploy Firefox to their users in a managed environment. We've heard 2 primary concerns"
That new release process otoh has happened MUCH longer ago. Around FF5. So it took them 5 releases (which, I guess didn't take that long ;-) ) to finally realize that companies and more serious users actually got fed up with the speedy release dates and that this couldn't be maintained.
Something every regular user (myself included) could have told you up front. Heck, worse: most of us DID on fora such as El Reg. Guess this is the kind of attention we got: /none/.
Concluding from that I think its safe to say that this whole ESR contraption is nothing more than damage control. Too little too late? That I can't say, but I have very little faith in it. Why?
You see; it seems that the main thrive was to present a version ASAP which would be "Firefox" but without the "upgrade madness". Now I wonder: how much preparation went into this project ?
Because there is something Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Support) has clearly shown us... Maintaining such a project is relatively easy. Not saying its a piece of cake, DON'T get me wrong. But its doable.
But actually maintaining it in such ways where the user can easily upgrade (move) from one LTS version to the next has so far proven to be more than difficult. In fact, in my experience that upgrade has often been plain out impossible. You were better off with backing up your data, wiping your disk clean and re-install.
Sure; Firefox is a browser and not a whole OS, I see that. But I cannot help, considering the context I've pictured above, if it won't eventually fall right into the same trap as Ubuntu LTS has. What guarantees are there that upgrading ESR won't actually give even MORE headaches and issues than a regular browser ? Especially considering that the project is sort off brand new ?
Another aspect which would make me very weary on this... Didn't Mozilla state some months ago that they didn't really care for the Enterprise and wouldn't be targeting it ? In fact, I recall them saying this around FF5 when they started their new upgrade policy. Could it be that when they finally realized that it was actually seriously hurting their market share that they changed their course?
How could you not be skeptical about a long-termed project when the company behind it has already shown to produce very poor results when working out long term strategies ?
I know I'm a critic, but I don't see this working out.
The worst thing isn't actually all those snooty sites telling you to upgrade and "helpfully" pointing out a link to a download for the wrong platform (certain plugin using sites are guilty of this too), but the simple fact that the only way* to get the required security patches is "upgrades" in the "user experience". As in, that daily tool now requires another round of getting used to, as all the brain-, clicky- and fingermacros are now useless again.
This calls for a split between between the user interface and all the unspeakable crap that lies behind it, the cause for that incessant need to patch, update, and upgrade. Or you could try one of them alternatives, but some if not all pull the exact same crap.
* Barring ESM, as pointed out above, but the difficulty finding it and the big letters "not for individuals" hardly change the point.
It works. End of. I'm not playing their silly version number game whereby no one knows whether its a major or a minor release so until the day I can no longer use the websites I visit then I'm sticking with it. I don't update to a new major version of telnet or ssh every month so I'm not updating my browser. F*ck them.
Tried chrome - needed 2 libraries I didn't have (it must've required about 30 which is a bad sign of bloat and going way beyond whats required IMO) and I'm not downloading yet more cr@p onto my laptop just for a browser when I've already got one.
I've been using the 64-bit nightly builds for a while... since 11.0a1, I think. The unofficial builds stopped around 3.6 or 7. Anyway, the 64-bit version is quite nice, and I get to see some of the functionality ahead of schedule with the nightly builds. It technically doesn't work (isn't supported) for XP x64, but extracting the original installer and running it from there works perfectly, and the updates work the same.
Add-on compatibility is a concern, but I'm still running a LOT of add-ons from my 3.6 days. I got tired of modifying them to work with every release so I just turn compatibility checking off. So far only one out of twenty-some add-ons fails to work.
I'll have to see if the next update takes me from 15.0a1 to 16.0a1, which is usually the way it goes when a major release is done. Anyway, just babbling.
Paris, babbling, too.
Dunno how the hell we got to v13 so quickly, not to mention the plethora of tweaks to the UI that suggest updating means learning new things...sorry, I'll stick with what I know works instead of the "Your version of Firefox is no longer protected against online threats" warning, because I'm damned sure I'm running the likes of NoScript *because* the browser was never really "protected" in the first place.
Everything the author described as supposedly new has been in the Firefox I've been using for quite a while. I'm vaguely confused about the apparent cluelessness, but mostly I think it doesn't matter. Actually, the main point of the article to me is the increasing evidence of the desperation at Firefox as they realize that their economic model is failing.
Here's a clue: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Here's a suggestion: "Don't change it until someone actually wants to pay for the changes."
Random change for the sake of nothing is NOT helping. So in closing, here's a suggestion for an alternative funding model (of reverse auction charity shares):
It's kind of like Kickstarter, but with more focus on project management and software testing (though that particular description was actually tilted more towards Web publishing).
As regards Firefox, I'm still using it as my primary browser, but with less and less enthusiasm and mostly because of inertia and the lack of non-evil options. Microsoft (IE) and Apple (Safari) are already established leaders against freedom, and Google (Chrome) is becoming an increasingly strong challenger for the evil crown. Facebook (dying Opera?) will NOT be a solution, at least not in this universe...
It is on the Beta channel until the official RTM sometime today, for now you'd have to download the beta and then switch channels to the release channel. Nothing new is in the code as of Build ID: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:13.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/13.0 ID:20120531155942, which is Firefox 13 Beta's last release.
Check again around 1500 PDT. They usually have them up by then.
I've stuck with FF because of HTML Validator. I've tried looking for a similar tool for Chrome, but failed. All other validators just helpfully send your URL to the W3 on-line validator. Not much good when you're testing new pages/apps on localhost, or your pages are behind a login screen.
HTML Validator appears to be the only tool that has the validation engine built in.
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It never ceases to amuse me with every FF release, watching the proud 3.6 luddites write off a browser they haven't used in ten versions for reasons that have been long since fixed.
Add-ons break in every version, do they? Well, no. No, they don't. Jetpack and other changes fixed that back in what, FF6? But you wouldn't know, because you're on 3.6.
The browser's slow, is it? Well, no, not really. Firefox these days is a lot snappier for me, and compared to Chrome, I really can't bring myself to chuck out a load of functionality for the 0.01 second per page I'd gain in speed. But then, you wouldn't know if it was quicker, because you're on 3.6.
Oh, they forced a new UI on you in 4, did they? You know you can right click twice and put it back, right? I did that 30 seconds after installing 4, and I haven't seen the minimal UI since. Oh, the horror. Come on, it's not exactly the Office Ribbon.
Try the new one out, seriously, if for no other reason than the various Gecko upgrades. (Gecko being one of the main reasons I use FF so much. Excellent engine, and far less buggy than Webkit in my experience.) It's a lot better than you think.
If I could upvote this a million times I would. Its amazing to me that the people still sitting on a program 10 versions old hold opinions which are considered relevant. I know of no other program where this would be considered anything but laughable. Imagine a Fedora Core 6 user expressing opinions about Fedora 17 and having them be seriously considered relevant.
you mistake core/kernel updates w/ mostly fluff and patches. normally major updates can bring inconsistency, backward incompatibility, deprecated/unsupported APIs, etc.
There were pretty good reasons for the MAJOR.MINOR.PATCH.BUILD version numbering systems used by almost everyone (with various company variations on the BUILD bit).
Going away from that causes confusion and digs holes for both users and developers to fall into.
For example, if the devs crank up the PATCH when they make a fairly big change, users become nervous about any upgrade because "the last minor patch changed everything!"
Pretty soon it ends up in a situation like 1.20.50.xx because now there is nothing big enough to justify crank the MAJOR. That then confuses people and support even further - when somebody says "1.2.5", do they mean 1.2.5, 1.25.xx or 1.20.50?
Alternatively if you crank the MAJOR every single time, nobody has a clue whether a change is actually significant.
That means some users don't want to upgrade because they think something big must have changed every time and they don't want to learn it. (yet)
Once they realise most are not big changes, they get scared because they cannot easily tell whether anything "big" is there and thus put off every upgrade until they have a week of nothing much going on to test the new version.
So they end up behind, because this major version was really just a patch while that one was major, and the other was minor, and they all happened way before the user got the time (or courage) to try any of them.
For most of the above, for "user" read "Corporate IT Dept".
Most home users will just leave the auto-update at defaults, and then get very surprised if anything changes - my mum always phones me when her "internet" changes, and I doubt she's alone.
In between your "Corporate IT Dept" and your surprised mum, the other 99% of users simply want a browser that will render all web pages, is reasonably secure and stable. And for those slightly more capable, a browser that allows additional/custom behaviour through easy to use addons.
and it's still a slow, bloated, pain in the neck. It seems to suffer from a common free software flaw: the developers are more worried about a road map for wizzy new features over the next n years than actually getting the old stuff working.
Chrome/Chromium are superior in every way.
"Its amazing to me that the people still sitting on a program 10 versions old hold opinions which are considered relevant. "
Now here is an example of someone who has been completely fooled by Mozilla's moronic "new version number every six weeks" marketing ploy!
Well apparently some people *enjoy* being, uh, "socially engineered".
sure, its lovely to update regularly... problem is, the basics are not for those who do a lot of research, needing records of pages, easy checks of sources, and full recovery of many pages if something crashes!! ( I dont mean FF, but the PC!! )
tabmixplus does all that...
allinone sidebar takes the rather 'toybox like' list of addons, etc into something much more compact and manageable..
various status bars help me get info on how things are going, without having to open anything *just* to find out a downloads progress...
downloaders get me good music without having to load them every time - saves bandwidth, resources, time and money..
extra buttons, extra themes, etc adds a bit of color to the awfully restricted basic ones..
I have tried many of the new FFs, but it is the addon makers who have the problem!!! HOW are they supposed to keep up, when many things are changed, meaning that almost ALL of the above stop working???
Unless somebody at Mozilla pays attention to this, eg, just looking at the top downloads from its addons website, and talking to the addon developer, to help getting it working!!
most of us have given up, to support the old FF, that still works with needed addons - these are usually supplied by ONE guy, who does not have time or money to keep up with the latest 'musical chairs' at mozilla!!
And I bet you wont even bother to try out a few of these addons, just to let us know if it is safe to get the latest FF???
It is not easy making a full backup of your settings, down to individual button positions.. and due to where it puts all its files, it is simpler to just erase everything, and install again from scratch!!
Most of us are just simple guys, with a busy life, not able to spend hours just tweaking, unlike SOME people here....
I use a ton of extensions, given that I'm a professional developer. (In fact, I have actually developed Firefox add-ons!) But with the later mods to Firefox it isn't necessary for developers to update their extensions to have explicit compatibility with new versions, which makes things much, much easier.
The change in version numbering doesn't alter how rapidly changes in the browser code occur. There's now a smaller number of changes in each major revision, so as a developer I can make a minor change every so often, rather than having a set of major changes all dumped on me at once, which is part of what caused the old problems of "x plugin isn't ready yet".
"And I bet you wont even bother to try out a few of these addons, just to let us know if it is safe to get the latest FF???"
Aside from the fact that I've no idea what these add-ons are, how the heck is that my responsibility? Have you tried disabling version checking and seeing if they'd work anyway? Most still will, and it's just the max version number stored in the add-on that stops them from activating.
"It is not easy making a full backup of your settings, down to individual button positions"
Uhhhhh, yes it is. Just make a copy of your Firefox profile folder. Is that difficult?
"Most of us are just simple guys, with a busy life, not able to spend hours just tweaking, unlike SOME people here...."
Well pardon me, I apologise for having a hobby. You know, going on to a tech website and making sarcastic swipes at all those silly sad bastards who are actually interested in this stuff isn't going to encourage them to help you. Back in't day (ooh aye, old lad) on IRC or Usenet, you'd have lasted about ten seconds with that attitude.
Did it reject any?
"Chrome/Chromium are superior in every way."
Except that they're not. The address bar doesn't work as well, the rendering engine has more bugs, the developer tools are all swiped from superior Firefox extensions, etc, etc. You can call Chrome faster and I'll agree, but that's not why I use FF as my primary browser. Chrome is fast, and Opera is polished, but Firefox works.
I've been on the beta update channel for about a year now, so I've been using version 13 for a while now.
Haven't had any problems. Don't know what addons you guys are using but I've found that I don't have the addon update problems I used to have. Updates have been pretty seamless.
Why the fuss over a version number? It is just a number!
So basically it works for me, all my addons work (I stick to established addons), and I agree with Shannon Jacobs. It is the most non-evil option.
Adblock, NoScript, FlashGot, FireGestures, Flagfox, Globefish, WOT, etc. etc.
Not going to list every single one as it's is not relevant. Everyone will have their own list.
The important thing is to use tried and tested addons.
Anyway, my "radio" works :)
Chrome for surfing the web - and a small amount of dev work
Firefox for web dev - the dev tools in firefox are still generally better than Chrome and I really can't do without my shortcut keys with the Web Developer toolbar - a plugin I use a LOT at work.
The version numbers malarkey really is a pointless exercise, but finally, it seems, mozilla have stopped marketing the version numbers on the download page.
I have to say, it's also helped me convince the account managers at work that we *don't* have to test websites in every single version of a web browser, but rather concentrate on web standards and trust the browsers to render correctly. These days, unless you don't know your craft, all major browsers do render correctly.
I've been following Firefox, like many devs, since before it was firefox - firebird 0.6 - I tried phoenix prior to this, but wasn't impressed.
I used to proudly wear my Mozilla t-shit - that amazing design with the gecko and the star - as Mozilla had bought life back into the browser market - the early noughties were a very dull time for browsers, as netscape killed itself and internet explorer re-invented itself as a half decent browser.
I stopped using Firefox as a day to day browser and moved the chrome - the sandboxing of the tabs really appealed to me. With firefox, a crash would generally take the entire browser down, but with chrome, you'd usually only lose a tab. That, alone, was worth the switch.
I still think firefox has far better Add-Ons and to be honest, I'd trust mozilla far sooner than Google, perhaps it's time to have another look at firefox for everyday use?
Incrementing the version number for obvious minor revision releases, rather than the revision number, looks like an abuse of version numbering convention. The revision number will become pointless and redundant at this rate!
The complaints about the current version numbering trend on extensions/plugins are quite valid; it breaks the whole point of having a maximum version bound on extensions/plugins and makes life annoying for users of otherwise working but no longer updated extensions/plugins.
I have given up on maximum version bounding for valuable working, unsupported, extensions and plugins, so periodically update the upper bound to a much higher maximum version.
I wonder if this version numbering fad maybe designed as some form of sabotage, either now or in the future; why not just use build numbers, for yet more chaos!?
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All these angry people who insist they're going to stick with FF 3.5 are not better than old people that are too afraid to change anything on their computer and insist on sticking with IE6.
The version number shouldn't matter and it basically doesn't now. The internet is better when people keep their browsers up to date meaning they're secure and support the latest standards.
If you don't like that fine but you're in a minority which is going extinct.
Firefox runs better than it ever has before. So I'm happy the pressure was put on them by Chrome and they've reacted perfectly. I'd argue that actually Firefox is better than Chrome now.
It certainly handles broken HTML better than Chrome which chokes on busted html.
Oh, another clueless comment about us "luddites," being senile old fools afraid of upgrade.
Question about now-useless version numbers is the wrong one.
The real question is about development model. Change of the versioning model is the tip of the iceberg: FireFox as of version 4 is effectively a developer build channel. It's an alpha-quality software and not once FireFox (and Chrome too) had to suspend the auto-updates to fix problems. But some user did already got updated to the broken version. Do you want to be among them? I doubt it. In the end, all users are playing the Russian roulette: will it work for you tomorrow or not?
I rely on my browser as on a working tool, which I have customized for my tasks. Honestly I have little desire (and often no time) to play the roulette every 6 weeks. (I actually already have the experience with Chrome breakages. They magically disappeared few days later, still, had I relied on Chrome as a tool, my work would have been impaired.)
I did test FireFox 10 and it worked pretty well. I could find replacement for all important extensions and no obvious breakage popped up. But that was version 10. Who knows how it is now at version 12 or 13 or whatever.
And that's the whole point. With development model around major.minor versions I can plan updates and upgrades because I can tell major feature update from minor patch. With the current FireFox's development model I cannot. And I cannot allow some unsigned 3rd party to control how and when I do my work. For that I already have a whole matrix of management...
Just upgraded Firefox - was on version 10.something. Got the white screen of death on first attempt to run it.
Most plug-ins have disappeared with the upgrade, except for a couple of PHP debuggers. Any that were temporarily disabled to try and get the browser to run correctly are gone.
Bookmarks are all gone, along with Live Feeds and the Homer Simpson theme.
Quick YouTube test: uses around 50% of CPU (including plug-in container), whereas Opera (for example) is about 20% for the same video.
For the last 3 versions, this has been disastrously unstable, crashing a minimum of twice a day, including when I'm not actually doing anything, just have it open in the background.
Used to be great, but unreliable POS recently,
yup, tried all that, unpredictable results... do note that 'telling the browser it will work' is NOT the same as the addon not working with the browser properly!!!
as for 'full profile' I think there needs to be something else.. mostly, the new install wont recognize the old profile, and simply creates a new one... or other strange effects..
and as 'Daniel Johnson' and 'Reg Varney' say, V10 may have almost worked, but killed by the upgrade to 13...
I would rather have a slow, **reliable** browser, than a fast crashing one!!!
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