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Mozilla Firefox 6 Released Ahead of Schedule

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 14, 2011 @12:47PM (#37086418)
    The index.html in each directory still says

    Thanks for your interest in Firefox 6 We aren't quite finished qualifying Firefox 6 yet. You should check out the latest Beta. When we're all done with Firefox 6 it will show up on Firefox.com.

    • by asto21 (1797450)
      I just downloaded and tried it out. The tab that auto loads when you first run a new version of Firefox is titled "Welcome to Firefox Beta" and the page itself says "You are now running Firefox Beta"
    • by BenoitRen (998927)

      They're still mirroring the release. It's not the first time that some idiot submits a story like this.

  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich @ a o l.com> on Sunday August 14, 2011 @12:51PM (#37086456) Journal

    After all, it'll be out Friday..

    • by Kanasta (70274) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @08:05PM (#37089934)

      So now I only have 2 plugins left not supported by FF4, should I upgrade to FF6? My bank also keeps saying FF4 is unsupported (only supports IE6+ and NS and FF3). Hmm, at this rate FF is going to lose users.

      • Maybe it's your bank that should be losing users. If they don't keep up with browser developments, they most likely will be lacking in their security developments as well? Myself I'd expect chrome, safari and the (almost) latest firefox on the list of supported browsers of any bank that I would take seriously.
        • by PybusJ (30549) on Monday August 15, 2011 @01:08PM (#37096284)

          Changing banks is quite a lot hard than changing browser. I know from experience several years ago of changing my bank for not supporting anything other than IE6.

          On the other hand, I do expect my bank to be fairly conservative in the rate at which it makes site changes (unless to patch a security issue); I understand that testing, validation and sign-off of new versions takes quite a while in a large organisation and I realise that operations people may want to schedule upgrade to a new version of the site for a particular time with some notice.

          I don't work in finance, but I do deliver web-based systems, and have been wondering what to do about the rise of Chrome and its frequent silent upgrades. My strategy on projects has been to promise support for the most important IEs (soon, I hope, that won't include IE6), the last couple of major Firefoxen, and current Safari. Chrome is on a best efforts, should work but no guarantees, basis which has worked while it had fairly small share.

          Now that Firefox moves its update regime in the same direction as Chrome (incidentally, as it's been doing in many choices for interface, multiprocess Electrolysis work, etc.), it's less clear what to do. I can deliver a version that works with the current Firefox, but I couldn't promise in a contract that it'll continue to work with as yet unreleased versions. If I deliver a site tested with Firefox 6 today (and tested, but not certified, with the FF7 branch) then it'll still sound out of date by the end of the year when we're all on FF9 or FF10.

          Mozilla's answer is that we should all just forget about version numbers and trust that the stream of updates probably won't break things (and if it does it'll be for good reasons -- honest). All well and good but doesn't fit with the way many organisations manage things. Since 4.0, I've stopped evangelizing about Firefox; Mozilla have become yet another software company who cause me grief rather than something to be proud of.

  • Plugins (Score:5, Informative)

    by Allicorn (175921) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @12:53PM (#37086476) Homepage

    Unfortunately six of the plugins I rely on (yes, those plugins that are supposedly the #1 reason to use Firefox over less customizable browsers) don't yet even support Firefox 5. Everytime that "update Firefox" box comes up, I check, find six plugins outstanding, and back out of it.

    Update too fast and you will leave users behind.

    • Re:Plugins (Score:5, Informative)

      by EMR (13768) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @12:59PM (#37086550)

      This is why they are encouraging extension developers to switch to the Mozilla addons SDK which provides API stability between firefox releases (and is built in in firefox 4.0+ ). the addon SDK also allows for installing plugins without restarting the browser!! YEAH!!!

      now, have you tried installing the addon compatibility reporter?

        https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/add-on-compatibility-reporter/

      with that enabled you can forcibly enable addons that claim to not be compatible and test to see if they work. Also it gives you a away to send feedback to the developer that "hey it works" or "no it doesn't". And of course if you haven't contacted the developers of those addons, then that could be why they haven't been updated.

      • Re:Plugins (Score:5, Insightful)

        by iggymanz (596061) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @01:06PM (#37086610)

        well isn't that special, the user is supposed to spend lots of time each quarter and hope they come up with the right tests to check everything? apparently, some of the add-on developers don't like that schedule either.

            that's the exciting new trend spreading across the major open source projects, disruptive but half-baked changes. Ubuntu with Unity, GNOME, KDE, Firefox. What other major project will have its developers flip the users the bird and fly off into the Land of Un-Usability? stay tuned, there really are a couple more in the pipe.....

    • by haruchai (17472)

      Do you mean plugins or add-ons? If you're referring to addons / extensions, do they work if you turn off version checking?
      http://kb.mozillazine.org/Extensions.checkCompatibility [mozillazine.org]

    • Re:Plugins (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp.Gmail@com> on Sunday August 14, 2011 @01:44PM (#37086954) Homepage Journal

      Unfortunately six of the plugins I rely on (yes, those plugins that are supposedly the #1 reason to use Firefox over less customizable browsers) don't yet even support Firefox 5. Everytime that "update Firefox" box comes up, I check, find six plugins outstanding, and back out of it.

      Update too fast and you will leave users behind.

      I used to encourage Firefox use in my shop... I gave my users the choice of IE and Firefox, and back when IE had that huge list of old unpatched holes, I told my users that I preferred FireFox if they were so inclined.

      I've taken FF off of the approved list. The upgrades are coming too fast, and breaking too many things (mostly plugins, as the parent poster noted).

      • After years of requiring IE6 for Web Apps, work finally officially encouraged Firefox 3.6 for Internet usage and pushed it through their central software manager. That was only a couple months ago and now its more hopelessly obsolete than IE6.
    • by Tharsman (1364603)

      Talking about that annoying message, is there a Firefox Addon for Firefox 4 that automatically closes that upgrade box? That spammy upgrade dialog box has been the reason for me to stop using Firefox unless I am in need of using one of those plugins.

    • Talking of extensions (I believe the above poster is actually referring to extensions rather than plugins, plugins generally don't break with new versions), is there any easy way to determine whether or not my current set of extensions are compatible with a given version? I'm on Debian so all of my updates come through my package manager, and the 'easiest' way at the moment seems to be cross-referencing each extension (all twenty-six of them) with Firefox Add-ons, which tedious in the extreme.

      Is there just

    • by arth1 (260657)

      Amen. Breaking plugins every six weeks isn't going to make your users stay, nor get the plugin developers to bother making plugins for Firefox anymore.
      One of the plugins I used to use, from a rather large company, is no more with FF 5 and newer. They decided to stop supporting Firefox, and I don't blame them at all - when your own product is on a yearly release schedule, there's simply no way to keep up with Firefox. To do so, even if they could allocate resources outside schedule, would mean dropping dec

  • by RoFLKOPTr (1294290) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @12:55PM (#37086488)

    I still don't understand why they elected to change to this system of releasing major versions every flippin month. The old system was working just fine, why can't this be Fx 5.5? And save v6 for when there are actually some major changes that deserve a major version.

    • No doubt. When I read the OP, all I could think of was that of was what an understatement it is to say they released version 6 early when you consider that 4.0 came out a few months ago. Given all the really bad decisions Mozilla has made lately, I have to wonder if they've ever heard of this little old browser called Netscape? History seems to be repeating itself.
    • Re:Major versions? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo (59147) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @01:05PM (#37086608)

      Because incrementing by full version numbers gives them an excuse to break things at every release.

    • by linebackn (131821)

      For those that may not remember, there used to be quite a bit of fanfare with Firefox community "parties", special downloading events, and such surrounding the major releases.

      I suspect the intent was to try and recapture this publicity at more frequent intervals.

      Unfortunately this has instead made major releases meaningless while destroying long term support and creating problems with many extensions.

  • by Zakabog (603757) <john@NOSpAm.jmaug.com> on Sunday August 14, 2011 @12:55PM (#37086498)

    Meanwhile most of the customers coming into my shop still run Firefox 3. Why are they releasing major versions so frequently, there's going to be a lot of people with very low Firefox version numbers that don't know they're 10 versions behind and wouldn't know how to fix that.

    • Re:Meanwhile... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @01:04PM (#37086600) Homepage Journal

      I would suggest mentally normalizing the version numbers into release dates. Keep a list in your head, or on a wall, and then you can judge outdatedness more cromulently:

      • Firefox 1.0: November 9, 2004
      • Firefox 1.5: November 29, 2005
      • Firefox 2: October 24, 2006
      • Firefox 3: June 17, 2008
      • Firefox 3.5: June 30, 2009
      • Firefox 3.6: January 21, 2010
      • Firefox 4: March 22, 2011
      • Firefox 5: June 21, 2011
      • Firefox 6: August 16, 2011

      Now, you can truthfully ask yourself "How outdated is this user?" rather than the bogus proxy question "How many versions behind is this user?"

      • by Zakabog (603757)

        That'd be easier to do if instead of Firefox 6 they called it FIrefox 11-8 (2011, Aug.) That way they can release multiple editions on their quick schedule and you'd know the year and month it was released just by knowing the version number.

  • by Ragondux (2034126) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @12:57PM (#37086526)

    They should really call it Firefox 1108, and release one per month. If that's too slow, they can just add the day too, Firefox 110816 sounds really advanced.

    • Or why not use unary numeral system for the version numbers? FireFox v111111 would confuse hell out of the competition. After all, Chrome, as of last morning is still at the measly v13.

  • by linebackn (131821) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @01:08PM (#37086630)

    I can understand companies not being in touch with their customers, but does Mozilla not even read tech sites like Slashdot? Every story about Firefox lately is filled with exactly how negatively people feel about this version number fiasco.

    Chrome was able to get away with bumping version numbers because it was a very new product and nobody was depending on it yet. Even though they removed the "beta" tag surprisingly early on (for a Google product), I think many people STILL consider Chome as "beta".

    On the other hand large corporate type applications were just beginning to support Firefox and depended on long term support of major versions. Well, that has just been stomped in the face. Sadly, from a corporate stand point the only browser that really seems stable, viable, and "corporate friendly" now is IE.

    • by Rich0 (548339) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @01:45PM (#37086962) Homepage

      The other issue is that Chrome doesn't tie compatibility to version numbers. When I update Chrome I don't get a box telling me it is disabling half my extensions/apps. For the most part, everything just works. So, the number is just a number.

      Mozilla's problem is that they assume extensions don't work after major version changes, which basically imposes arbitrary breakage. So, the number isn't just a number in their case.

    • Sadly, from a corporate stand point the only browser that really seems stable, viable, and "corporate friendly" now is IE.

      I can't speak for anyone else, but we just reviewed our browser support policy for one of our clients, and I'm afraid Firefox has now joined Chrome on the "not supported" list. We aren't developing a public web site, we're developing control software for equipment that clients pay very large sums of money for. If we say we support a particular browser, that comes with serious strings attached, and that in turn means there has to be a stable version with reasonably long-term support expected that we can test

    • by Tridus (79566)

      They do, in fact last time we had one of the devs basically apologizing for that idiot Asa.

      But most of Mozilla lives in an "I'm awesome!" echo chamber and they really don't understand why other people don't play along. I mean what other excuse is there for the abortion that is the Thunderbird 5 UI? No doubt to be fixed in Thunderbird 18. Maybe.

      This happens to projects sometimes. They just go off the pot and turn wacky. When that happens its time to go elsewhere.

    • by kripkenstein (913150) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @04:18PM (#37088396) Homepage

      I can understand companies not being in touch with their customers, but does Mozilla not even read tech sites like Slashdot? Every story about Firefox lately is filled with exactly how negatively people feel about this version number fiasco.

      Chrome was able to get away with bumping version numbers because it was a very new product and nobody was depending on it yet. Even though they removed the "beta" tag surprisingly early on (for a Google product), I think many people STILL consider Chome as "beta".

      On the other hand large corporate type applications were just beginning to support Firefox and depended on long term support of major versions. Well, that has just been stomped in the face. Sadly, from a corporate stand point the only browser that really seems stable, viable, and "corporate friendly" now is IE.

      Hi, I'm a Firefox dev. Yes, we read Slashdot :)

      There is a big tradeoff here, with downsides both ways. You correctly point out that some people are having problems with the new fast release schedule. That's a fact, and we are doing all we can, but the problems are hard (addons, enterprise users, etc.).

      On the other hand, the alternative is to continue with a slow release schedule, which we feel has bigger problems and would annoy more users. For example, FF8 will have much better memory usage than Firefox 4. Releasing new versions quickly lets users get that benefit quicker - fewer users will have memory problems because we ship the fixes faster. As another example, when IE9 and FF4 came out, at roughly the same time, they had comparable performance on some canvas benchmarks (in which they outperformed all other browsers due to their being the only browsers to use Direct2D). Meanwhile Firefox has released twice (counting FF6 on next Tuesday), and as a consequence, Firefox users have better performance than IE users, simply because IE users are still on IE9 while Firefox users can run FF5 and FF6 which include a lot more performance improvements that were committed after FF4.

      Another major issue is new web standards. For standards to evolve quickly, browsers need to ship new versions with new implementations of those standards. Firefox and Chrome are now leading that, by releasing every 6 weeks. As one example, both support the new (safe) version of web sockets. That pushes the web forward, letting developers use it quicker, and eventually let all of us benefit from those new features. Chrome began this push, and I think Google was right to do it, and Firefox is joining that.

      Is the new release schedule perfect? Of course not. It has problems for both browsers doing it, Chrome and Firefox. Both are probably not seen very favorably among enterprise users. And Firefox has some additional challenges, what with transitioning a previous release schedule to this one. But still, both Chrome and Firefox feel it is worthwhile. So again, I realize that there are problems. But overall I think the fast release schedule of Chrome and Firefox is a good thing.

      • by springbox (853816)
        I don't think anyone really minds if new versions are released often, but the issue of add-ons breaking because of the chosen versioning scheme is probably the largest annoyance. You can still release often without changing the major version number, at least until you can convince add-on developers to use the new SDK.
        • by kripkenstein (913150) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @05:30PM (#37088958) Homepage
          The problem is that Chrome and Firefox 6-week updates can and do change functionality and break internal APIs. Regardless of whether those browsers raise the major version number, addons can break.

          Chrome deals with this by having a limited addon API that does remain stable. This limits what addons you can write for Chrome, but it does make 80% of addons possible and with less upgrade hassle.

          Firefox is moving to allow that approach with the jetpack SDK. However addons that don't use that SDK are relying on internal Firefox APIs, and the power and flexibility that that gives does mean they are at risk for breaking. Note that Mozilla's addons website will automatically check the code of addons hosted on it for actual API incompatibilities, and auto-mark as compatible addons that are not at risk. So a lot of addons 'just work' because of that. But still, some addons do rely on changing APIs, and some addons are not hosted on addons.mozilla.org, so the authors need to manually update them.
      • by Culture20 (968837)

        On the other hand, the alternative is to continue with a slow release schedule, which we feel has bigger problems and would annoy more users. For example, FF8 will have much better memory usage than Firefox 4.

        Then name "FF8" FF4.5 and be done with it. Are we really to believe that the better mallocs are tied to the new UI features?

        • There are downsides to naming it FF8 and downsides to naming it FF4.5. For example, calling it FF4.5 might lead people to assume there are no API changes (point releases often mean just that). But Chrome and Firefox do change APIs and functionality with their 6-week updates. So it is technically more correct for both of those browsers to bump the major version number each time - even though it does feel odd, and I admit it annoys me personally (but I am slowly getting used to it).

          I am not sure what you m
      • by linebackn (131821)

        Thanks for your response. There certainly are plenty of people out there who demand the absolute latest and greatest, and demand it yesterday. You are certainly making these people very happy right now.

        But I believe you have seriously underestimated the impact of alienating the needs of your more technical, corporate, enterprise users and developers.

        As evidenced by the responses on Slashdot, many are finding it more difficult if not impossible to fully support a rapidly changing target. This means more inte

      • There is a big tradeoff here, with downsides both ways.

        No, you got it wrong : people hare are not arguing about the frequency of FireFox releases, just on their numbering.

  • by vlm (69642) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @01:16PM (#37086696)

    So... 40 posts about how much better the support experience would be if they incremented it by 0.1 instead of 1.0, as if the bugs somehow know which digit was incremented. But, no comments about the actual browser? For example, have they finally reverted "tabs on top"?

    • by Briareos (21163) * on Sunday August 14, 2011 @01:24PM (#37086776)

      For example, have they finally reverted "tabs on top"?

      So right-clicking somewhere in the toolbars to bring up the toolbar context menu and unchecking "Tabs on top" (which I actually like a lot, thankyouverymuch) is too much to ask?

      • Thanks for your comment, I wasn t aware that it is possible to disable this "feature"!!! (and never thought it would be possible this way!)

        • It's people like you that are making so much noise. For example, when FF4 was released, everyone bitched that the dropdown menu was gone from the back and forward buttons. They wailed that there was no way to go back in the history more than one page at a time.

          Of course, that was entirely false. All they had to do was one of two things. Right click on the button and the history dropdown appears, or click and hold and it appears. It's like people have forgotten that they can actually poke around and fig

  • Or how many releases have to go by before it is supported again?

  • Upon installing, it says "Welcome to Firefox Beta". In "About Firefox", it doesn't mention anything about beta though. So I'm not exactly sure if this is beta. If it is beta, it's weird it's available by a URL that has no mention of "beta", no?
  • Thanks for your interest in Firefox 6

    We aren't quite finished qualifying Firefox 6 yet. You should check out the latest Beta.

    When we're all done with Firefox 6 it will show up on Firefox.com.

  • by Neil Boekend (1854906) on Monday August 15, 2011 @02:51AM (#37091714)
    Did they fix the F6 behavior? In previous versions, when you pressed F6 it selected the address bar. In 5.0 it did something else (seems to do something useless with frames) and I could not find the about:config item to fix it.

It is clear that the individual who persecutes a man, his brother, because he is not of the same opinion, is a monster. - Voltaire

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