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Mozilla Ships Firefox 5, Meets Rapid-Release Plan 282

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the stay-on-target dept.
CWmike writes "Mozilla delivered on Tuesday the final version of Firefox 5, the first edition under the new faster-release regime it kicked off earlier this year. The company also patched 10 bugs in Firefox 5, including one in the browser's handling of the WebGL 3-D rendering standard that rival Microsoft has called unsafe. Firefox 5 looks identical to its predecessor, Firefox 4, but Mozilla's made changes under the hood. Mozilla has denied copying Google Chrome's upbeat schedule but analysts have noted the similarities and pointed out the need of all browser makers to step up the pace. Because of the shorter development cycle, Mozilla called out relatively few new features in Firefox 5."
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Mozilla Ships Firefox 5, Meets Rapid-Release Plan

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  • by tom17 (659054) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @02:09PM (#36516488) Homepage

    It seems this new schedule will create more work for plugin developers. My FF upgraded itself today to FF5 and I have plugins that don't work. FireGestures and VMware are two to start with.

    Will this now happen every few months?

    • by SilverHatHacker (1381259) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @02:20PM (#36516642)
      +1. I didn't even notice I had been upgraded to FF5 until I found a plugin that wouldn't install. Back in the day, a major version number increase would have come with a couple noticeable new features, but all we get here is a speed increase and a DNT checkbox.
    • > My FF upgraded itself today to FF5 and I have plugins that don't work, tom17

      Why did you change the "Ask me what to I want to do" setting in Update. The option third down from "Automatically check for updates to:". And just under that is an option "Warn me if this will disable any of my add-ons"

      Tools->Options->Advanced->Update ..

    • by JordanL (886154)
      Yeah, I saw the prompt and my immediate reaction was "The only reason I open FireFox at all instead of Opera is if i need to use FireBug. Why should I break FireBug every two months?"

      If Mozilla keeps to this schedule, I may just learn to like Opera's built-in inspector tool instead. I don't have time to be pestered by my browser as if it were a four year old child wanting a cookie.
      • You do realize you can turn off all prompts and happily keep using whatever version you currently have installed, right? Know what is annoying as a four year old wanting a cookie? Having features available to make your browser behave exactly how you want it to, and instead of using said features, choosing to complain about it on Slashdot as if there is no way to change the settings.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by JordanL (886154)
          This is singularly unhelpful advice because it misses the point. The point is not that it FORCES you to upgrade or that you CAN'T turn off the notices, it's that their philosophy fundamentally conflicts with what browsers are used for.

          Web developers can't and won't use new features in browsers released every 2-3 months. And without the devs, all it is, is a broken marketing philosophy dictating product development.
          • This is singularly unhelpful advice because it misses the point. The point is not that it FORCES you to upgrade or that you CAN'T turn off the notices, it's that their philosophy fundamentally conflicts with what browsers are used for.

            Web developers can't and won't use new features in browsers released every 2-3 months. And without the devs, all it is, is a broken marketing philosophy dictating product development.

            Bullshit. As a web developer, you already know that we do all our coding for the lowest common denominator, which is currently IE 8 for most devs. Firefox can implement all the fancy features it wants, and neither of us can really use it. So your point is moot.

            Web browsers are normally used for browsing the web. What you use it for is Firebug. You're making up arguments for the sake of arguing. The normal user isn't going to care, and you shouldn't care because you can just not update and keep using i

          • Hmm. You said

            I don't have time to be pestered by my browser as if it were a four year old child wanting a cookie.

            I responded by telling you how to stop it from pestering you.
            Which apparently is "singularly unhelpful advice".

            If you stick with the version you currently have and all the add-ons that work with that version, why do you care how often they are releasing new versions, if you are not planning on updating anyway? Just turn off the prompt to update and pretend like they only release a version every year or two. You state you only use FF for Firebug so if FF and Firebug will keep working if you

      • Yeah, I saw the prompt and my immediate reaction was "The only reason I open FireFox at all instead of Opera is if i need to use FireBug. Why should I break FireBug every two months?"

        If Mozilla keeps to this schedule, I may just learn to like Opera's built-in inspector tool instead. I don't have time to be pestered by my browser as if it were a four year old child wanting a cookie.

        If you're only using it for Firebug / development work, than why do you need to upgrade it so often? Turn off autoupdating, turn off the update prompt, and only update when it is affecting your development.

      • firebug works here. FF5 on debian sid. Blue cats theme and noscript work too, and all my lolcat links are correctly preserved, for the record.

    • by Pretzalzz (577309)

      There is a configuration option to disable version checking for add-ons. Set extensions.checkCompatibility.<version> to false in about:config. The add-ons generally work. It might also work as just extensions.checkCompatibility set to false for all versions, but I'm not sure.

    • This is why I haven't upgraded SM2.0.14 to v2.1 because of extensions/addons. I am fine with v2.0.14. I will wait for v2.0 to be unsupported and v2.1.x to be stable and ready. I hate upgrading and breaking things. :(

    • Huh, mine all work - Lucky I guess. It would be nice to have a way to check beforehand, though... or an "Auto-update-only-if-all-plugins-are-compatible" option.

      • Huh, just checked the options dialog, and it looks like there already is an option to warn when add-ons won't work any more... and it's enabled by default. So no problem?

    • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

      All of my plugins worked with no problems. And I'm pretty plugin-heavy. :)

    • Forget plugins... the logon page to our whole freakin corporate website no longer works thanks to the CSS changes they made in the 5.0 release.

      At least Internet Explorer has a compatibility mode to get around stuff like this when they do new releases.

  • by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @02:15PM (#36516556) Homepage Journal

    That's an admirable and sensible approach. What would be nice, too, is not to ship a product with all the new stuff defaulted to Enabled, a fault I continue to find with Microsoft and Google - "Hey, we like this new hack, let's foist it on our unsuspecting users and turn a deaf ear to them when they howl."

    hey, that's dangerous talk there! We need thousands of new features, right now, and damn the bugs!

    • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @02:25PM (#36516750)

      On the other hand, this release includes essentially zero new features. Calling it a major release and incrementing the primary version number for what is essentially a security update is confusing to the point of making version numbers useless. This release doesn't even deserve a 4.1 IMO.

      • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @02:32PM (#36516836) Homepage Journal

        >>Calling it a major release and incrementing the primary version number for what is essentially a security update is confusing to the point of making version numbers useless. This release doesn't even deserve a 4.1 IMO

        Agreed.

        I think the FF devs are just trying to be like Google, and use major version numbers for every minor update they conduct. Terrible, terrible.

        • by ackthpt (218170)

          >>Calling it a major release and incrementing the primary version number for what is essentially a security update is confusing to the point of making version numbers useless. This release doesn't even deserve a 4.1 IMO

          Agreed.

          I think the FF devs are just trying to be like Google, and use major version numbers for every minor update they conduct. Terrible, terrible.

          There is such a thing as modifying the product in ways which improve efficient user interaction and use of system resources. Why shouldn't such an approach be considered a valid Full Release, rather than cramming in more "New" and unwanted/unnecessary "features"?

          • Because from a user perspective nothing had changed. A new version number is a new product, calling a minor update a new product is confusing and fragments the user base, and 10 security bug fixes is an important, but functionally minor update. If nothing else, imagine a year or two from now and Firefox is ready to put out a new release that actually is something new and exciting and they're stuck assigning it the same importance that the assigned to this security patch, because they already assigned the

            • Because from a user perspective nothing had changed. A new version number is a new product, calling a minor update a new product is confusing and fragments the user base, and 10 security bug fixes is an important, but functionally minor update. If nothing else, imagine a year or two from now and Firefox is ready to put out a new release that actually is something new and exciting and they're stuck assigning it the same importance that the assigned to this security patch, because they already assigned the hi

          • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @03:39PM (#36518130) Homepage Journal

            >>There is such a thing as modifying the product in ways which improve efficient user interaction and use of system resources. Why shouldn't such an approach be considered a valid Full Release, rather than cramming in more "New" and unwanted/unnecessary "features"?

            It's the difference between how Google has been versioning Chrome, and, well, how everyone else does it. Remember how excited people were for Firefox 4? Nationwide rollout? Interactive map showing you where all the downloads were coming from? Now try to imagine this excitement over a product whose changelog is: "We sped up javascript and 3D stuff 10% and broke some of your addons."

      • by volkerdi (9854)

        On the other hand, this release includes essentially zero new features. Calling it a major release and incrementing the primary version number for what is essentially a security update is confusing to the point of making version numbers useless. This release doesn't even deserve a 4.1 IMO.

        Call me crazy, but I thought they should have jumped right to Firefox 7.0.

    • by gnapster (1401889)
      B-but, if we don't enable our marvelous new features, how will anyone realize they are there?
  • by Rising Ape (1620461) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @02:16PM (#36516582)

    We're at Firefox 5 already? Doesn't seem like five minutes since Firefox 4. Used to be that an entirely new version number meant it was definitely worth taking the time to upgrade, but at this frequency how do we know which are the important ones?

    • by cortana (588495)

      They are all important, because they all fix critical security vulnerabilities [mozilla.org].

      • That's a valid point, but is it necessary to mix the bug and security fixes in with other changes? I don't mind it automatically patching vulnerabilities, it's gratuitous interface changes or breaking extensions that's annoying. Fortunately, version 5 has done neither of these so far, at least for me.

    • by rossdee (243626)

      All change !
      Don't you know that when you
      play at this level
      its no ordinary version numbering scheme

      (Apologies to Tim Rice, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson (Chess)

      Anyway I am finding problems with Add-Ons too, even though the only one that was listed as incompatible was Foxytunes

      FoxTabs doesnt work at all, instead of top sites, CTRL-T opens a new tab (blank) but doesn't move the current tab to that one.

    • by sdnoob (917382)

      ya no kidding. wtf. we're still working on upgrading to firefox 4 here.. so basically we get to start the whole process over again (of internally validating a major version change) so soon simply because of this asinine artificial ramp-up of major version numbers. just call the bloody thing what it is.. firefox 4.1

  • They still haven't fixed a glaring bug in how tabs work in the OS X version. Tabs aren't drawn correctly in the title bar in OS X, as Chrome does, but are on their own bar right below it. This results in wasted vertical space and just looks ugly.

  • "but analysts have noted the similarities and pointed out the need of all browser makers to step up the pace." Uh, why, exactly? Be quicker about fixing bugs, sure, but why do we need whole version number replacements every couple of months?
    • by jo42 (227475)

      Do note that the first four letters of analysts is anal. Explains everything, no?

    • by iteyoidar (972700) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @02:34PM (#36516892)
      Because we need more UI changes for the sake of UI changes. In Firefox 6/Chrome 14 tabs on the side will be the new "thing". Firefox 7 will move the URL window onto the scroll bar to gain another 12 pixels of vertical space, since nobody actually uses the URL bar. By January 2012 Firefox 14 will have moved the Firefox button on top of the minimize/maximize/close buttons since Steve Jobs says nobody runs programs in windows anyway. By March 2014, we will have come in a full circle and both Firefox 65536 and Chrome infinity will both have tabs back below the address bar and old school square IE6 navigation buttons.
    • 100% Agree - screw the analysts (not literally). I'll take Opera's sane point releases anyday.
  • Why not 4.1? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Retron (577778) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @02:21PM (#36516654)
    Yes, a few tweaks but it looks largely the same. Beats me why they didn't just call it 4.1!
    • Re:Why not 4.1? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Teun (17872) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @02:44PM (#36517026) Homepage
      1. When you buy a new computer Windows is on most pre-installed.
      2. When a European, there are some 500 million, starts up a new Windows computer he needs to select a browser from a list.
      3. The ~90% of Europeans that don't understand computers will like to get the best and select the browser with the highest number.

      4. Conclusion, Mozilla needs to get to a higher release version.

    • by Bengie (1121981)

      The idea of a "version" doesn't really fit with fast semi-major changes, just the idea of a "release number", which is only used to distinguish which "release" you're using. Allows for better evolutionary changes to the browser instead of huge changes all at once and several months of debugging. Add a new feature, run it through basic testing, release it on the public, fix bugs as the crop up, move on to the next group of features on the to-do list. Kind of "fine grain" versioning instead of "course grain".

  • The WebGL news is pretty depressing. Found this recently [contextis.co.uk] (explained here [mozilla.org])

    I'm still very excited about having a real drawing API in the browser to work with that's not tied to MS or Adobe. Guess it'll still be a while until this tech is ready for prime time (sigh, been waiting YEARS already).

    It's not helping that MS is slinging as much FUD as possible. Claiming that IE is "more secure than Chrome or Firefox" is laughable, but crap like this is not helping our case to the casual observer.

    • There is a reason why IE was so "underdeveloped" for all those years and that Apple recently discontinued development of their web editor and that Safari development is also pretty stagnant. The "web applications" are not the answer, native networks connected apps are.
      • I could see many games and tools for making games running in a web browser. Having done both - native apps and web dev, I have to disagree.

        The text handling capabilities alone put the browser WAY ahead of the alternatives. Not to mention you can make the flat parts of your UI in HTML, SVG, whatever. It's a handy environment with a lot of facilities that make app dev simpler.

  • Frankly, I don't care what numbers they use for each release, I just make them to make it simple to keep up-to-date. What's good about Chrome is not the frequent releases, but the fact that I don't have to worry about upgrades in spite of the frequent releases.

    One thing that is quite annoying is the calls I get from users who are being prompted to upgrade Flash, Adobe Reader, or Java. It makes it harder to train users not to install stuff and to take any system prompts seriously when they are frequently p

  • 5 FINAL??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pla (258480) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @02:23PM (#36516700) Journal
    Damnit, we need to get rid of this "rapid release" BS.

    I've finally gotten 4 configured the way I like; and prior to that, I completely skipped over v3.

    People don't want cutting edge web browsers. They want them to work, and they want them to look and feel the same for years at a time. Add support for new media types, tweak the rendering engine, but leave everything else alone!.

    And that doesn't even consider how this crap breaks plugins... Literally half the plugins I currently run, I had to edit the install.rdf just to get around the damned version check (after which, they all work just fine of course).
    • And that doesn't even consider how this crap breaks plugins... Literally half the plugins I currently run, I had to edit the install.rdf just to get around the damned version check (after which, they all work just fine of course).

      And that's because Mozilla requires a max version in the addon .rdf file, and they also say this:

      This number needs to be less than or equal to an announced version of Firefox [mozilla.org].

      At the moment, the highest on that page is Firefox 7.

      • by psyclone (187154)

        I used to edit the .rdf too, but this comment (above) shows a better way:
        http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2257134&cid=36517372 [slashdot.org]

        There is a configuration option to disable version checking for add-ons. Set extensions.checkCompatibility. to false in about:config. The add-ons generally work. It might also work as just extensions.checkCompatibility set to false for all versions, but I'm not sure.

    • by Skuto (171945)

      Did you actually try FF5?

      Most of the changes are under the hood. GUI looks almost identical. I'd say it fits what you're asking for almost perfectly.

    • by Verunks (1000826)

      And that doesn't even consider how this crap breaks plugins... Literally half the plugins I currently run, I had to edit the install.rdf just to get around the damned version check (after which, they all work just fine of course).

      or you could have set extensions.checkCompatibility.5.0 (replace the number with your version or nightly for nightly build) to false

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dbcad7 (771464)
      The problem is that IE9, and now Firefox, have copied too much of the Chrome interface.. Now there is nothing wrong with the Chrome interface except that it is hard for many people to figure out how to do things they are used to doing... People who upgrade from IE8 to IE9 are often lost.. It is also a pain in the ass for support people, that most of the new browsers seem to search instead of go to a URL that is typed in an address bar.. From a support point of view, I would much rather that it just error ou
  • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @02:23PM (#36516708) Homepage

    Preliminary for june 2010-2011 here [statcounter.com]. Changes from May:

    Chrome: +1.08%
    IE: -0.25%
    Firefox: -0.79%

    After six months in the lead in Europe, Firefox is now again behind IE. They're backing on every continent except Africa (+0.2%). I don't think rapid-fire will work any better if you don't have the bullets.

  • WTF slashdot? We get a link to a computerworld writeup about the new release, instead of the release notes and download link?
  • I can't believe this rubbish. All this is doing is confusing users, causing more work for admins and developers - and for what? To keep up with the Jones' release schedule?

    Software is made better by working hard, testing, bugfixing, testing, bugfixing, testing... not by artificially increasing version numbers because time has passed.

    Debian, please, please, please, don't *ever* adopt this type of release schedule. I feel like you're the last honest software development team out there I can depend on to *know

  • Firefox 4 hasn't been out long and if Google keeps with the browser support schedule [blogspot.com]. Starting August 1st they won't support Firefox 3.6 anymore. I am all for getting people to upgrade but it seems like they'll be dropping support for Firefox versions pretty fast if Mozilla can keep up with their rapid release schedule.

    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      It will be a sad day on august 1st then, but in the end, I suspect that many will stick to 3.6 anyway.

  • by Tridus (79566) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @02:38PM (#36516946) Homepage

    Since the version numbering scheme is total nonsense anyway (this is hardly a major change over 4, it's more like 4.1) why not just leapfrog over everyone and call it Firefox 14? Then Chrome will have to play catchup!

  • If they break adblock and noscript- I'm moving to another browser.

    I'm sure there are critical addons for other people.

    I also must have a portable app version.

    I went to FF4 on one browser at home and it BROKE my F5 plugin required for work.
    No update yet.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      I'd suggest using palemoon [palemoon.org] it's a FF3/4 spinoff, but sadly it's windows only. But since that's all I use it works for me.

  • I mean, are they just changing their numbering scheme, or actually doing more work ?

    'coz if numbers magically become features, windows 2000 becomes much better than WIndows 7 ?

    • They changed their numbering scheme.

      Firefox 5 is basically just Firefox 4.1

      I believe they plan to have Firefox 6 out by the end of the year as well. Three "major" versions per year.

      • Thanks for the clraification

        That's sadly demagogic then. I guess in a couple of years they'll increment version numbers by ten at a time, and declare victory ....

  • Where is the promised x64 version for Windows?

  • I like the fast release stuff. What I don't like are the version numbers, but they will get bored of it eventually.
    Other than addon concerns (which, lucky me, no one broke this release) and the senselessness of removing non-major releases, we get updates more often. I like that.

  • I was considering an update to Firefox 4 but I was expecting the major bugs and issues to be ironed out before upgrading. I guess I'll just stick to Firefox 3.6 while I can and nothing is too broken and then move to Chrome when Firefox 3.6 is considered too old and Firefox 42 continues to be a piece of crap trying to (badly) mimic Chrome. I wish the Mozilla Foundation I knew back then, which released Firefox 1.5 and made a revolution, would come back.
  • FF5 release notes (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nerzhul (1969786) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @04:00PM (#36518550)

    In case you're wondering what's actually new:

    - Added support for CSS animations
    - The Do-Not-Track header preference has been moved to increase discoverability
    - Tuned HTTP idle connection logic for increased performance
    - Improved canvas, JavaScript, memory, and networking performance
    - Improved standards support for HTML5, XHR, MathML, SMIL, and canvas
    - Improved spell checking for some locales
    - Improved desktop environment integration for Linux users
    - WebGL content can no longer load cross-domain textures
    - Background tabs have setTimeout and setInterval clamped to 1000ms to improve performance
    - Fixed several stability issues
    - Fixed several security issues

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