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Firefox 5 Scheduled For June 21 Release 266

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the don't-rest-on-them-laurels dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla has updated its Firefox 5 release schedule and is apparently upbeat that it can release the browser even earlier than previously anticipated. The release was pulled in by a week to June 21. Mozilla is now also using a Chrome-like versioning system for Firefox — where the final Firefox 5 may be called Firefox 5.6.44.144, for example."
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Firefox 5 Scheduled For June 21 Release

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  • by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Thursday April 07, 2011 @01:04PM (#35746890) Journal

    Of all the stupid features from Chrome to pick up, the version numbers is, by far, the dumbest. Has anyone considered how stupid a version number in the high double digits might be? Firefox 81 seems kind of clunky, doesn't it?

    • by dotancohen (1015143) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @01:07PM (#35746940) Homepage

      Of all the stupid features from Chrome to pick up, the version numbers is, by far, the dumbest. Has anyone considered how stupid a version number in the high double digits might be? Firefox 81 seems kind of clunky, doesn't it?

      I think that Windows went from 3.x to 90+something and even got up to the low thousands, before coming back down to single digits.

      • by N0Man74 (1620447)

        I think that Windows went from 3.x to 90+something and even got up to the low thousands, before coming back down to single digits.

        And just imagine how confusing it is going to be waiting for the next version of Windows when we get to Windows 94! Will they have to come up with a new naming system so they don't repeat 95 again? ;-)

        • by cjb658 (1235986)

          I was 11 at the time, and I would always ask my friends "Do you have Windows 95?" They'd often respond with, "No, I have Windows 94."

          • When you had Windows 98 and Windows 95, you had a amazing number of users who thought Windows had model years, like cars.

            "I have Windows 97"

    • by Bloodwine77 (913355) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @01:10PM (#35747002)
      Yeah, I personally don't like the major version number scheme used in this way, especially if there are going to be three or more versions of Firefox per year. I am old-fashioned and prefer the X.Y.Z approach. I could maybe see a YYYY.X approach, such as 2011.1, 2011.2, 2011.3, etc. that would track major versions per year. I never realized how close the new Firefox 4 was to Chrome with respect to the UI until I downloaded and installed Chrome the other day. Firefox seems to be hellbent on ripping off Chrome.
      • by slapout (93640) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @01:52PM (#35747820)

        Maybe they should just have seasons -- Firefox 4 Summer edition, Firefox 4 Winter edition, etc...

      • Chrome has done a LOT right. In the 3 years since it has been released, here are the major, user-noticeable changes chrome has had...

        • * Several (3-4) major JS engine revisions (newest version is several times faster than initial release, which was itself quite fast)
        • * Added extensions
        • * Seperated extensions to be per-process
        • * Added theming
        • * Added MSI packages and AD GPO templates
        • * Added Private browsing
        • * Baked in respectable native "flashblock" / "noscript" controls (though not as full featured)
        • * Added Clou
        • by Necroman (61604)

          But version numbers have nothing to do with features. Google threw a lot of money at Chrome to get it where it is today. Firefox moving to the Chrome version scheme is a marketing move only.

          • No, theyre moving to a "ship more major versions" model, since major version releases are where features are added.

            Theyre simply shipping new features more often.

        • by Lennie (16154)

          Actually, I would say Firefox copies the UI from Opera. Firefox Sync actually existed as a seperate Firefox extension from Mozilla before Chrome added cloud sync.

          The Firefox developers just want to release more often so they are changing the because there are many, many HTML5/CSS features which are now only implemented not at all or half (same for any other browser). These are just very large specs.

          So they need people to upgrade frequently to get that code out to users (thus webdevelopers) and to get attent

      • by rsborg (111459)

        Agreed. My favorite versioning schemes are Ubuntu and OSX. I prefer Ubuntu for it's dual-version system, and OSX for it's simplicity (though I think Snow Leopard was a horrible name considering Leopard was right before it).

        Android's versioning scheme was upended by their decision to compete with the iPad (since Honeycomb is such a departure in OS). If they acutally manage to do what Apple did, and merge the code bases, then it won't be so bad, but for right now, there is a tablet OS and a phone OS and a

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        And Chrome copied Opera's UI design.

    • What's the big deal? Frequent releases are good, it keeps crowd interest in your browser alive. It doesn't matter for me though, I use minefield which I presume will keep getting updated.

      pAnd I am sure you don't have to worry about version 81, they will switch to a different version naming scheme, or even just fork off with a different browser name, who knows.

      • What's the big deal? Frequent releases are good, it keeps crowd interest in your browser alive. It doesn't matter for me though, I use minefield which I presume will keep getting updated.

        Yeah, minefield will continue to update every night.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        The big deal, is that you're watering down the number system. Changing it to one that conveys no meaningful information at all. I get that the folks over at Google like to be disruptive, but this is retard stuff. You increment the major number when you break or modify backwards compatibility, make substantial changes to the way the program functions or if it's been a long time since the last upgrade. Making minor releases into major releases just confuses everybody and removes any hints about how much cauti

    • by AmigaHeretic (991368) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @01:17PM (#35747152) Journal
      What actual features and improvements could they possibly have added in "8 WEEKS" since the release that they have had time to actually put through an Alpha test, Beta test, and then full release that would warrant a VERSION 5!?!

      This seems crazy lame to me. The browser has slowly gotten bloated, now the number? Why?
      • by jav1231 (539129) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @01:29PM (#35747366)
        Maybe all the features they took out of it from 3.6 to 4 they're putting back and calling 5.
      • by Nimey (114278)

        You don't think it likely that they can work on more than one thing at once?

      • by kripkenstein (913150) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @01:59PM (#35747992) Homepage

        What actual features and improvements could they possibly have added in "8 WEEKS" since the release that they have had time to actually put through an Alpha test, Beta test, and then full release that would warrant a VERSION 5!?! This seems crazy lame to me. The browser has slowly gotten bloated, now the number? Why?

        Hi there, I work on Firefox. First thing, we didn't write the article linked to in the summary, and I don't think they gave a totally accurate description. In fact, I don't even think this was interesting enough for a blog post from them.

        We are basically going to switch to a development process that is very similar to Google's with Chrome. So everything you say here is valid about their development practices as well - rapidly rising version numbers for no reason, little features in 'major' releases, etc.

        Why are we doing it? There is just one reason, it helps get code shipped faster. Code does not get written faster though, in either Chrome or the new Firefox process :) It just gets shipped quicker. But that is important too, and that's why we (and Google) are doing this.

        Basically, Chrome and Firefox will release quickly, with small amounts of changes each time. I agree with you 100% that the major version number rising each time is silly! Personally I would either drop the version number entirely, or use something like Ubuntu's versioning scheme (10.10 for 10th month, 2010). But oh well.

        In any case, since you asked what will ship in Firefox 5, I can tell you about stuff I know about (which is platform/backend stuff, not frontend). We have several improvements to performance that should be very useful, in both JavaScript and graphics. In particular WebGL should be faster on some cool demos on Linux, which I am very happy about.

        • by dstyle5 (702493) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @03:02PM (#35749050)
          For those of us who work on browser-based products for large monolithic corporations this is going to be a gong show. Companies are always looking for guarantees of "Official Support" for browser X, version Y and now that you guys are going to be pumping out new major version numbers frequently that means browser QA/verification is going to have to occur far more often now. Not to mention having to test products against a quickly increasing number of versions.
      • by Jugalator (259273)

        What actual features and improvements could they possibly have added in "8 WEEKS" since the release that they have had time to actually put through an Alpha test, Beta test, and then full release that would warrant a VERSION 5!?!

        It's not about "warranting" stuff anymore. Forget all about what you learnt about that, like you did with Chrome. The releases are now time-based - period. Not feature-based. Read these version numbers more like "milestones". "Version number" has too many assumptions associated with them nowadays, so maybe we'd be better off to just call them milestones like I know many Chromium devs already do internally today.

        So what Firefox 5 will be released with simply depends on how many features Mozilla has finished

        • Hm. When thought about this way, the "escalating version numbers" bother me much less.

          When you think about it, I have tons of software on my machine that goes through version numbers without me noticing. I do my "apt-get upgrade" and all my software is just a little bit better. If Firefox really goes to this "milestone model" then it will be like that also. Rather than me getting excited about a new release, it will just appear in my normal updates and I won't pay it much heed.

          From a user perspective
      • by devent (1627873)

        Totally agree. Chromium is now with version 11 and I still can't use the browser, because I can't change the fonts. Finally I can change the minium font size (I think that was with version 11) but I still can't fix the font. I really don't like TimesNewRoman or Arial. For me Chrome is still like a 0.11

      • it's called (grabs the brown paper bag and barfs) marketting...

        or as a famous ex-intel design engineer puts it "Blue Crystals (R)"

        and... mozilla was *always* a bloaty program, it's just got more re-engineered (sic) in it's bloatiness...

        (used to build the first MPR as a machine burn in lolz)

        Maybe i'll not live to see Firefox XP or Vista if i'm lucky...

        After fixing stuff for a friend so he can have a familiar browser (he updated to 4.0) i'm becoming more and more a convert to chrome...

        Andy

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by robot_love (1089921)

        Maybe because at the end of the day your opinion about an arbitrary number doesn't really mean anything? I'm not trying to be rude, but what the hell does it matter what they call it? Will they offend the International Software Versioning Board? No. Is the planet going to spiral into the sun? No. You think numbers should go up in smaller increments. They think they should go up faster. Who gives a crap?

        And +5 Interesting to one man's opinion about an arbitrary number? Come on!

        • by hedwards (940851) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @03:33PM (#35749456)

          The issue is that up until relatively recently there was some degree of agreement about roughly what a numbering system should look like. It wasn't prefect and it wasn't universally accepted, but you could be relatively sure that if you were hitting the 1.0 release that it should be relatively stable and feature complete. That a 1.1 release shouldn't require retraining or make any significant changes to the way the program was used or operated. An Alpha release wouldn't be feature complete typically, but a beta release should and a release candidate had better be in the ball park.

          The reason for that is that if you're offering these things up to the public, then courtesy dictates that you give them some hint as to what state the code is in. Release notes are nice, but I don't think that it's a good idea to waste people's times looking at the release notes, if they know that using release code isn't OK in their environment.

          Google OTOH, is using a revision system that's in keeping with their asinine perma-betas that they like to have. For a situation like that it makes some sense, but for organizations that realize the impact that beta code has on people, it's a stupid version naming scheme to use.

      • That was my first thought. I use Firefox as my primary browser, and, at the moment, I am running version 4 absolutely nowhere, because it only released a couple of weeks ago! And now we're gonna get 5 in two months? 3 lasted us nearly three years--3.6 alone was the latest and greatest for over a year. C'mon, guys...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm trying to find an older version of Linux to use on a really old computer. Does anybody know where I can find Slackware 6? I can't seem to find it anywhere! It's like it doesn't even exist!

    • by dhammond (953711)

      I think what they're moving towards is a time when end users don't care about version numbers at all, just like they don't care about the version numbers of websites. I'm sure many websites attach version numbers to development milestones as a way of organizing development. I do this for some websites I work on, but when we launch new features, we never broadcast to the world, "Check out version 8.1 of mysite.com!" If there is an announcement at all, it is focused on the actual features that were added.

      C

    • by BagOBones (574735)

      What if we put a leading 0. on it so it is 0.81.0 then it would follow the naming standard of a bunch of open source projects that almost never seem to get to or past version 1.0

      • by McNihil (612243)

        I believe that version 1.0 in these kind of projects is equal to the perfect implementation... effectively unattainable by its very nature. This approach can be used for smaller closed problem sets that have very definite size of "impact."

        Larger stuff like a browser, paint program, music composing are more open ended and will thus require many different major versions but sooner or later it will end up being irrelevant what it is.

        So while the Chrome and Firefox version numbers (I argue the Fedora kernel ver

    • I wouldn't call the version number a feature.

      If you listen to the Chrome people, they will say the version number is interesting only from a engineering or technical point of view and don't expect their users to pay attention to it. I think it's working because you rarely hear talk about Chrome 10 whereas Firefox users often state a version number (like Firefox 4).

      If Firefox continues to release frequent updates, by the time version 81 rolls around, nobody will be quoting version numbers any more. It will j

    • by houghi (78078)

      OK, I'll bite:
      Windows 95

    • Of all the stupid features from Chrome to pick up, the version numbers is, by far, the dumbest. Has anyone considered how stupid a version number in the high double digits might be? Firefox 81 seems kind of clunky, doesn't it?

      Far less ridiculous than "0.12.6-12ubuntu3" (apachetop) or even just "0.48.1" (inkscape) - presumably because those packages aren't at "1.0" quality yet, whatever that means.

      If you're making user-facing tools, using decimal numbers is confusing at best. "Did you say install 2.3.1 or 2.1.3?" Simple, whole-number revisions make it much easier to manage.

    • by Jugalator (259273)

      Of all the stupid features from Chrome to pick up, the version numbers is, by far, the dumbest. Has anyone considered how stupid a version number in the high double digits might be? Firefox 81 seems kind of clunky, doesn't it?

      Only because you/we are not used to it. Who cares? By Chrome 26 and Firefox 12 we won't really look at version numbers like we've done in the past (or look at them at all...), and only see two web browsers that are releasing time-based releases as opposed to feature-based releases where the point won't be to market by features and version numbers, but by following the latest web standards and web browsing trends well.

      AFAIK, Firefox is also moving to silent updates, yet a move aimed to remove the old "launch

    • by ifrag (984323)

      Just look at NVidia. Their driver package is up to version 270.51.

      I've started to like 3 part version numbers lately, although only if proper change significance is applied. The standard GNU version numbering with major.minor.revision seems useful and appropriate.

    • Everyone remarking on the new firefox release system seems to think this has something to do with the numbers "catching up". Everything Ive read indicates that that has NOTHING to do with what theyre doing here.

      Major (x.0) releases tend to indicate "we added new features"-- this is what chrome does, this is what firefox (usually, not counting 1.5 and 3.5/6) does, this is what IE does. Point releases (3.6.11, 3.6.12) indicate fixes.

      This isnt changing. What IS changing is that rather than having a new "dot

    • More clunky than "Linux 2.6.31-5"?

      Is it possible the number will be less important as they ship more often, especially if they implement automatic update?

  • by elfguy (22889)

    It used to be versions were about feature sets. If you added a small feature to a program you'd increment the minor version, if you added big features you'd release a major update. The idea of having versions increase on specific dates seem weird.

    • It's actually always been pretty arbitrary. There's no committee that defines standard version number practices; and as such they're all over the board. From the countless 0-dot releases of open source projects, to Chrome's "major" release number. In the end, it doesn't really matter to anyone except developers. In reality each release contains changes from the prior release. Some releases introduce incompatibilities - but those are documented anyway, and don't gain much by using a special numbering to
    • by Jugalator (259273)

      It used to be versions were about feature sets. If you added a small feature to a program you'd increment the minor version, if you added big features you'd release a major update. The idea of having versions increase on specific dates seem weird.

      It's for many reasons - especially to cut down on the QA wind-down time that keep stalling the trunk (less features at a time means less time spent winding down and testing - a long time doing that means web standards will race ahead before you've even tested the version you were working on... the other extreme causes the "Internet Explorer effect" - often outdated before it's done, and not because the devs suck, but because the releases are too rare which causes a crapload of testing requirements for each

    • It's always been more about practicality than logic. Thanks to the wonders of positional notation we're able to increment arbitrarily until we decide it's time to go for a new number.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 07, 2011 @01:17PM (#35747154)
    This just reminds me of when Microsoft Word for Windows jumped from version 2.0 to 6.0 just to appear competitive with WordPerfect. This will make version numbers irrelevant and nigh pointless.
    • by Xtifr (1323)

      An even better example is the Watcom C/C++ compiler, where the initial release (in 1988) was v6.0, to suggest it was competitive with compilers from MS and Borland (which it was--more than). Version numbers have been irrelevant and nigh pointless for decades. For an interesting example of the opposite effect, where the version numbers are much lower than one might expect, consider the Linux kernel, which still hasn't reached v3.0 after nearly 20 years. How long ago was Win3.0 released? (And how long was

    • by IICV (652597)

      And it's not like Microsoft has stopped doing that. Why do you think it was the Xbox 360 that went up against the PS 3, and not the Xbox 2?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Firefox Red/Blue, Firefox Yellow, Firefox Gold/Silver!

    or maybe Gemstone based versioning like Firefox Ruby/Sapphire!

    • Firefox Black/White would cause a lot of racism complaints though, so I'm not sure it would work out in the long run... Oh, and you forgot Firefox Green, the codename for the Beta versions ;)

      • by AndrewNeo (979708)

        Huh? Red and Green were the versions that were released in Japan, Blue was the replacement for Green in the US.

        • Yes, red and green were the original versions. However, Blue was released later in japan as a bug-fixing special release. America didn't get any re-releases besides Yellow because the original versions in America had the bugs of the Japanese version fixed.

    • For the sake of the flying spaghetti monster i hope no marketting drone read what you just suggested

      Makes me glad i'm a semi retired developer - (please no more...(grins)

      Andy

  • I hope it's better than 4.
  • After many years of Firefox being a solid, well performing browser, it appears it's going to end in bloat just like Netscape did...

    And, history is set to repeat itself again with MSIE 9 having more to offer than Firefox just like MSIE did back years ago when people dumped Netscape in droves.

    I'm sticking with Firefox 3.6x for as long as I can, and then when push comes to shove, just like back in the Netscape days, will likely switch to MSIE 9 unless a decent fork of Firefox comes along before then - a decent

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      Run the open source build of chrome - chromium, need not worry about privacy issues then.

    • by Jugalator (259273)

      After many years of Firefox being a solid, well performing browser, it appears it's going to end in bloat just like Netscape did...

      Why do you think this? More frequent updates != more bloat. The updates are also spent on fixing bugs. You can't say this before you've seen what Firefox 5 will end up covering. Sure, if it'll become much slower and crashy, I don't question you, but we've so far seen no indication that this more frequent schedule of releasing bug fixes and now less features at a time will lead to that...

    • by edmicman (830206)

      What does IE9 offer that FF4 does not, and over Chrome for that matter? From what I've read it loses out in at least extensibility and speed compared to the others.

    • Seriously. The last thing FF needs is more features. They should be optimizing the features that are in there already, instead they're wasting time on useless crap like Twitter and Digg integration.

    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      There is even worse thing to come with this: add-on compatibility.

      As it stands now, for many like myself the only reason to use FF over chrome lies in vastly superior add-ons. But every time a major version upgrade comes, a good half of add-ons remain broken for .

      In this regard, it would be much better if major version revisions were more RARE rather then more common. While this change will not drive me to competing browsers, I will likely end up staying with 3.6.x for a long time in large part because of i

    • by Reapman (740286)

      Why on earth would you stay with 3.6? 4.0 is faster on both my Core 2 Duo Desktop and older Macbook - I've heard of no reason why 3.6 is better other then some people prefer the old interface, which as has been posted in countless /. comments is easily changed back if that's your thing.

      You obviously don't remember the days of Netscape - it died for several reasons, not least of which was it was slow and painful and crashed all the time. Hell FF4 Beta on my desktop rarely crashed, the Final release hasn't

  • Cake is even more yummy when it comes from Microsoft!
  • That's just horrible.

    Its easy nowadays - "You use Firefox 3.6 or 4.0" ?
    I'm NOT remembering a string of numbers.

    If they want large numbers, maybe they should take a tip from ubuntu.

    You could get "Firefox 11.6" out in 5 months. See? Big number.

    • That's kind of the point (at least as far as I'm concerned - not that I'm following the internals of this, just applying logic). Why should users have to worry about x.y at all? I'm on version 6. You're on version 8. End of story.
    • by Jugalator (259273)

      Why would you need to remember all numbers?

      I don't need to remember that I'm using Chrome 10.0.648.204 stable. Chrome 10 is often more than enough. Usually "Chrome since the last year" suffice to give a good idea of the web standards it's supporting, for someone who follows the latest standards developments like a webmaster.

  • As much as I dislike uselessly high version numbers, their release plan looks rather impressive. If you didn't bother to click the article link, the development for each new version of Firefox will occur in a rather "layered" fashion [conceivablytech.com]. After initial development on Firefox 5 is finished in mozilla-central, work begins on the initial development for Firefox 6, and after that, 7. At the same time as 6 and 7 are being worked on in mozilla-central, Firefox 5 and 6, respectively, are moved to mozilla-experimental

  • Take the time to fix bugs and release something even better.
  • by slackzilly (2033012) on Thursday April 07, 2011 @01:46PM (#35747708)
    Then the latest Firefox would be realeased when it's ready to be released. Come to think of it, he should run the world.
  • I just see the date June 21, but which year?
    Jun 21, 2014 perhaps?

  • All these versions and frequent updates are good for one thing: marketing. Frequent releases keep the application on the minds of the consumer.

    It keeps people engaged, like something's happening even if when it's not. It's not that dissimilar to the Twitter mindset. And with carefully metered feature implementations a company can ensure that there's something to offer in subsequent versions. And with others playing the same game they're probably thinking it's best to hold back on certain features until they

  • That address isn't even assigned... :P

  • I realize this is petty, but why the rush to bump up the numbers? I mean is the only way to give your product some eye appeal is to give it a bigger flashier new number? Of course I'm assuming there is some kind of defined (and designed) spec being worked on here. Every time you implement a feature in the spec, you tick up the MinorFeature number. You write a new spec with more Stuff in it, you tick up the MajorFeature number.

    But maybe not. Maybe there is no spec and no design. People just keep gluin

  • I think the really important aspect is if users actually remember/care about the version number of browser.
    Do they know it's Firefox 3 (16.6?) or Firefox 4?
    I don't think Google ever advertised the version number in any significant way.
    It's always "Download Google Chrome", not "Firefox 4, Free Download".
    If Firefox moves away from major version numbers completely then yeah, call it 5-6-17-293-whatever. It's "Firefox"

  • Currently my bank doesn't even support FF4. It does work, but I get a nastygram when I login. I suppose that's their way of protecting themselves if the browser should fsck something up on the site. They're quite picky about which browsers they support. They will eventually support almost anything, but they'll have to test them first, and with a new release every three months I think I'll always be out of compliance with this site. And some day I guess something WILL break.
    Not fun.

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