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Firefox to switch to faster, Chrome-like update model

updated 02:15 pm EST, Mon February 28, 2011

Mozilla will update Firefox more frequently

Mozilla will change the way it handles updates of its Firefox browser, opting to take a Google Chrome-like approach. This means releasing relatively small updates as soon as they're available rather than waiting to release them as part of a larger update, Mozilla VP of product Jay Sullivan told PCPro. Firefox 4 is the last big release the company will issue, he added.

"What we want to do is get the power into users' hands more quickly," Sullivan said, with the video tag that was ready in June but still hasn't shipped listed as an example. It will be included in the Firefox 4 update.

Google has managed to gain significant market share for Chrome in more than a year through a schedule that has often put out a few key feature additions at a time in intervals as small as six weeks. It put out Chrome 9 a month ago and is already on to a Chrome 10 beta. Mozilla has focused mainly on monolithic updates and has been very slowly losing share.

Mozilla also changed the way it handles beta builds of the browser. Firefox 4, for example, is up to 12 betas, whereas older browsers used to have three or four larger ones. The Release Candidate of Firefox 4 is expected to arrive within a few weeks. The large numbers aren't meaningful, says Sullivan, as there are less features added per beta, but more of them.

Firefox 4 was delayed until this year, and the first beta candidate was launched on June 29, 2010.

by MacNN Staff



  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Just don't...

    ...follow Google's lead and call every little update a whole new version number.

  1. facebook_Orta

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2011


    comment title

    I'd rather that they do constant integrations, and permanent upgrades in a similar way to chrome. Simply because it means you know everyone is going to be at the latest version of the browser.

    As a web developer I don't have to worry about people still hanging on to chrome 4 or whatever version, I can safely presume that they are running the latest version. If this were the same as with chrome, its a massive boom. The part that shows you what a website looks like hasn't really changed in a long time, so the only new things are extra features ( think HTML5 video, geolocation, offline storage) and they really should be added to every client, as it's very unlikely to break backwards compatibility there's no reason to not upgrade.

  1. Kevin M. Dean

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Version craziness

    Too late. Mozilla already announced that they intent to release Firefox 5, 6 & 7 this year. Talk about version fragmentation.

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