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Firefox Mozilla Upgrades IT News

The Enterprise Is Wrong, Not Mozilla 599

There's been a lot of noise about Mozilla's new rapid release leading to conflict with Enterprise users. Kethinov found an Ars article that points out that "Now that Mozilla has released Firefox 5, version 4, just three months old, is no longer supported. Enterprise customers aren't very pleased with this decision, and are claiming it makes their testing burden impossible. We're not convinced: we think Mozilla's decision is the right one for the Web itself.'"
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The Enterprise Is Wrong, Not Mozilla

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  • by jonescb ( 1888008 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @11:43AM (#36598054)

    If the version number were 4.0.2 instead of 5.0 Enterprises wouldn't be getting their panties in a bunch over this.

    • by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @11:45AM (#36598084)

      Except it's not just enterprises. Tons of average users are getting headaches over this as well when suddenly an unjustified version jump is making it so their plugins get disabled.

      • True about the plugins. Mozilla should do something else with their version numbers so that fast, minor updates don't bump the major version and break plugins.

      • What plugins?
        • you actually don't use NoScript and AdBlock Plus? sucks to be you.
      • Funny, none of my addons broke going from 4.x to 5.x, and none of them updated automatically either. Same version as before.

        Saying addons break going from 4 to 5 is going to require some citations as one aspect of this update was a change in how addon compatibility is handled.

      • Unless there was actually some major functionality changes from 4 to 5 which would break plugins, and it's just the version number of the browser which disables the plugin, you could easily just go into the configuration files for the plugin and change the supported version numbers.
    • by ifrag ( 984323 )
      Pretty much. And without looking at release notes, I can't even really tell what changed from 4.x. Doesn't feel like anything more than a minor release. And at least my tree-tabs are still working.
    • by Lennie ( 16154 )

      I think it is more like Firefox 3.6.0 after Firefox 3.5.x and no security fixes for Firefox 3.5.x.

    • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @11:56AM (#36598278) Journal
      Right, as the article points out, the changelist for Firefox 5 [mozilla.com] is not much more expansive than the changelist for Firefox 3.6 [mozilla.com].

      Some enterprise users have internal apps that they need to test, and some of them are upset about such a 'big' change. In reality they shouldn't be looking at version numbers, they should be looking at a list of potential impacts, to make their testing easier.

      If Mozilla wants to handle this PR challenge well, it might help announce that from now on they are going to support they enterprise better (everyone likes to know they are being thought of), then from now on point people to the changelist, or add a 'potential impacts' section to the list. Simple enough, and lets people know they are considered.
      • by Fantom42 ( 174630 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:58PM (#36599492)

        Right, as the article points out, the changelist for Firefox 5 [mozilla.com] is not much more expansive than the changelist for Firefox 3.6 [mozilla.com].

        This may be true for this particular instance, but Firefox certainly isn't guaranteeing that going forward. What happens with Firefox 9 is released with a feature that breaks their enterprise, and Firefox 8 is suddenly no longer supported?

        This whole attitude I hear parroted that "release numbers are irrelevant because they are just numbers" ignores a whole bunch of realities regarding how new features are introduced and developed to different classes of users. And in the case of Firefox, this new strategy sends a disturbing message to enterprise customers that new and potentially disruptive features will be introduced "when they are ready" and support for previous versions will be immediately dropped.

      • by Bacon Bits ( 926911 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @02:00PM (#36600948)

        Some enterprise users have internal apps that they need to test, and some of them are upset about such a 'big' change. In reality they shouldn't be looking at version numbers, they should be looking at a list of potential impacts, to make their testing easier.

        The point is that most every enterprise IT department treats incrementing the major version number more seriously than minor version numbers, and much more seriously than revision numbers. The de facto standard [wikipedia.org] for version numbers is that major version increments mean major changes which require major testing. That's how everybody else -- short of Google Chrome -- operates. Corporate policies are built around these de facto standards. Abandoning them with no justifiable reason is obnoxious and frustrating.

        As far as Google Chrome, they've always operated like this. So it's nothing new. They've always had rolling releases with the major version number representing the stable/beta/dev branches more than anything. Additionally, the software is already corporate-unfriendly due to the fact that it allows non-admins to install so nobody in enterprise IT supports it. It's essentially already carrying a sign that says "NOT FOR BUSINESS". It's getting much better [eweek.com] (and appears to have better support than Firefox now) but there hasn't been much press around Chrome for the Enterprise. It's just not on anybody's radar like Firefox is (yet).

      • by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @05:07PM (#36604310)
        I can't understand how everyone here is completely missing the point, for the enterprise the version number change is minor. It really doesn't matter, it is the fact of the previous version becoming officially UNSUPPORTED. Firefox is effectively removing themselves from the list of enterprise products as with long testing and release cycles for many enteprises the concept of something being unsupported so fast is completely unacceptable for an enterprise piece of software.
    • by Normal Dan ( 1053064 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:03PM (#36598418)
      I say, to really mess with people, they should swap around their version numbers. So the first number is for minor update and the middle number is for major updates (but this number should go down instead of us). So, if you're at 1.4.0 and a small bug fix comes in, it'll be 2.4.0. Then a major release you're at 2.3.0.

      Surely this is a great way to avoid any confusion.
    • by Dunega ( 901960 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:08PM (#36598526)
      It's not about the version number, it's the "not-supported" part that's the issue.
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@w o r f . n et> on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:12PM (#36598622)

      The problem was the crap that is Firefox development.

      Going from 3.5 to 3.6 broke a number of plugins - sure there are replacements, but damn it was a pain for a supposed update.

      Going from 3.6 to 4 introduced a bunch of crappy UI mods (no status bar, really? Must Firefox emulate Chrome?), requiring more plugins to get a browser that at least resembles what I had before.

      Going from 4 to 5 broke what now? Oh, it broke the tab bar behavior to emulate Chrome again (great if you read tabs left-to-right, but if you go right-to-left, it's an annoying pain, and this time I can't find the option to disable it).

      Oh yeah, it also means Google Apps lose support very quickly. Google said they're supported the last 3 major versions. Until 5 came out, that was 3.5, 3.6 and 4. Now with 5, it'll be 3.6, 4 and 5, despite 4 being dead.

      Notice that 3.6 still receivs updates from Mozilla. Hell, even Ubuntu still keeps an LTS release every couple of years, good for 3 years since release.

      Perhaps it wouldn't be such a pain if Mozilla quits screwing around with the UI so much. 3.5 to 3.6? Well, 3.6 should be 4, really since it broke a bunch of stuff (a number of plugins broke and I had to find new ones that did equivalent). Then 4 could be called 5 and we'd be at 5.0.2 or something because of the new UI.

      Some of us like reasonable expectations of when plugins and such might break - going from 2 to 3 is obvious, as owuld 3 to 4 and the like. 3.5 to 3.6? I'd have expected all my plugins to work.

      Hell, it's enough to drive me to IE 9 with all the UI messing around. Saving an extra 16 pixels just means I see an extra half a line of text.

    • If the version number were 4.0.2 instead of 5.0 Enterprises wouldn't be getting their panties in a bunch over this.

      Not if 4.0.2 caused 4.0.0 to have support dropped for it three months after you installed it.

      Corporations typically end up deploying this kind of software on a much longer cycle ... I'm working on a project now which will be deploying software to the users in several months. There's extensive testing which needs to happen before it can be deployed.

      I've seen vendors who seem to release a new ve

    • by Kamiza Ikioi ( 893310 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:51PM (#36599308)

      And who's call was it to change version numbers? And who was the asshole who told Enterprise users (paraphrasing) "We don't give a shit about you."

      Mozilla went out of its way to pick a fight. And that one statement right there is all it takes. It's not what Mozilla changed. It's the fact that they dumped a codebase on its ass after 3 months. That's not credibility building. That's saying "We have no clue how to plan or beta test our products properly."

      Putting those two things together is, in no way, "the right [decision] for the Web itself." It's fanboy smoke blowing up CIO asses. If it's so right, why is it that Opera, Safari, and Chrome are not on the hot seat? Chrome undergoes changes at a super-rapid pace automatically, but I hear nobody really screaming about it. Two reasons, really. First, it just works, which can be said of FF, but it is not an aura they present especially when they have to drop support after only 3 months of a major release. Second, Google has never said, "F#$% you, CIOs!" Google has made it clear that they want to be the one stop shop for cloud for business.

      The question is, what the hell does Mozilla want? I don't see a vision. They're worse than UI devs who argue over who's system is better, forgetting what their goals actually are.

      At Mozilla, all I see is mismanagement. They can't control their code. They can't control their staff. And they are continually lagging behind all competition, which is especially sad given their rock star performance not too long ago, with social buzz propelling a large install base.

      They don't do anything news worthy anymore, except piss people off. MS learned how to change that, and most CIOs are excited about IE8/9 as a real evolution. Chrome continues to innovate and add support. Opera is continually pushing the mobile envelope.

      Not only were they assholes, but the question quickly flies back into Mozilla's face, "What have you done for me lately?" That mobile app? It's a joke. Slow, bulky, and not appealing. It is not even comparable to other mobile browsers like Opera or Dolphin.

      Nobody really cares about Mozilla anymore. And those that do are finding it harder to justify using it. This isn't about what's "right for the web", this is about a tech that's outlived its prime, by a team that's outlived its usefulness.

      • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @01:14PM (#36599910) Journal

        "And who was the asshole who told Enterprise users (paraphrasing) "We don't give a shit about you.""

        That would be Asa. A little FYI he is not part of the PR department, nor is he authorised to speak for Mozilla in any way. If Mozilla has any sense they would fire this guy ASAP. He even posted on slashdot and ... paraphrased "Please go back to IE 8. I beg you too! ..." to someone whining how he convinced management to side with him to upgrade to Firefox, and Asa just put his job on the line.

        Well F*** you too. To me the biggest blow is not the shoddy releases nor the promise to say corporate America you are shit out of the creek, but his attitude. It is one thing to question privately whether to support corporate users. It is another to bash them when many of its I.T. professionals are swinging their bat out of their way to get your product in.

        I no longer use Firefox as a result of all of this and they are turning into irrevelence. They can't change the web for open standards unless corporate users use something besides IE. Well, there solution is to say fuck them. There reply will say screw you too. The webmasters will notice an increase in IE usage and ignore html 5. ... not very bright Asa.

        Now if they fire Asa and apologize and offer an acitive directory tool and maybe an enteprise edition of Firefox that is updated every 6 months all would be forgiven. But, a lot of damage has been going on from this and Firefox itself is in trouble. Quality is very low and it is the bottom since Firefox 3.6.

      • The question is, what the hell does Mozilla want? I don't see a vision.

        How can it have a vision of its own?

        Mozilla remains, for all practical purposes, bound hand and foot to Google:

        The receivable from this search engine provider represented 71% and 80% of the December 32, 2009 and outstanding receivables respectively.

        Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements: Note 9 - Concentration of Risks [mozilla.org]

        There were two zingers in this month's news from Net Applications:

        The iPad has 0.92% share of all browsing. In other words, the iPad has 53 times the usage share of its nearest competitor.

        When Microsoft decided not to support XP for Internet Explorer 9, they narrowed the front for the browser wars to Windows 7. We've been tracking this strategy ever since, and in May, Internet Explorer 9 on Windows 7 reached 12.2% worldwide (including custom editions). In the U.S., Internet Explorer 9 on Windows 7 averaged 17% usage share during the last three days of May.

        Headlines [netmarketshare.com]

        Firefox, all versions, all platforms: 22%
        IE 6 10% IE 8: 31% IE 9: 4%
        Chrome 11 10%

        Firefox is the new legacy browser, the browser for platforms in decline.

      • by mbrinkm ( 699240 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @03:36PM (#36602812)

        At Mozilla, all I see is mismanagement. They can't control their code. They can't control their staff. And they are continually lagging behind all competition, which is especially sad given their rock star performance not too long ago, with social buzz propelling a large install base.

        I agree with your observations whole heartily and it feels like a giant fuck you to me and I would assume to a lot of people that have been praising and endorsing Firefox for years.

        Oh well; on to something else.

    • No the real problem is knowing when it is a major change and when it is a minor one. It is Mozilla who is wrong and the Enterprise is right.

      For example Solaris, It use to have a version numbers like 2.5.1 after realizing that every time they update the tens spot customers had to do a lot of work to check for compatibility so they changed version numbers to Solaris 6,7,8,9,10... Because they need to notify their customer base if there is architectural upgrade vs. a fix or a patch.

      Mozilla is not letting us

  • No, they aren't. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @11:44AM (#36598064)

    No, they aren't. EOLing something after 4 months and breaking tons of user plugins for no reason is not good for users or the Web itself. It's needlessly churn to rapidly inflate version numbers for no gain for anyone.

  • Plus, I know for a fact that many organizations have insanely long internal testing cycles, and 3 months ain't gonna cut it with them.

    • How do they handle Patch Tuesday then? Are they finally getting MS (read: IE) critical updates from March?

      • Depends on the organization.

        Some consider MS patches safe and just roll them out, it generally works, we're small enough that its not likely to be a problem for instance. They rarely break things without stating what things they are going to break in advance, for the most part, MS does a massive amount of testing before release. Even though its Microsoft, most people have very little worry about applying MS patches if they read the documentation on the patches.

        Many don't follow patch tuesday as in a sane

  • Mozillacide (Score:5, Insightful)

    by denis-The-menace ( 471988 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @11:47AM (#36598108)

    We are witnessing "Mozillacide"

    Damn "ordinary users", they don't need plugins that work.
    Damn the enterprise, they are not the target market.

    The version number is now Mozilla's priority.

    • by ifrag ( 984323 )

      The version number is now Mozilla's priority.

      Firefox should have just jumped to 11 and been done with it! That would be 2 louder than IE at least.

    • by Sylak ( 1611137 )
      Kind of like how they killed of Seamonkey with FireFox, only this time they're killing FireFox with FireFox?
    • Re:Mozillacide (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kangsterizer ( 1698322 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:30PM (#36598910)

      FF4 add ons are compatible with FF5 by default. Almost no plugin or addon could have been broken.
      They are compatible because Mozilla marked them all compatible by default (except a very few that they knew would need update)

      Consequently anyone arguing that Mozilla broke addons/plugins has no clue what he's talking about.

      Damn trolls, they don't do their homework.

      • Re:Mozillacide (Score:4, Informative)

        by IgnoramusMaximus ( 692000 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:56PM (#36599440)

        Except there are still piles of addons that did not make it from 3.6 to 4, never you mind 5. More so if you are on OS X.

        As to 4 to 5, there are about 256 or so addons that broke, according to Mozilla team themselves [mozilla.com].

        Damn trolls, they don't do their homework.

        You just outed yourself as a homework-avoiding troll. Well done, Sir.

    • Well, the version number and slavish adoration of everything Chrome, followed by desperate attempts to mimic every last feature of it, no matter how idiotic, cumbersome or buggy.

      Bonus points for their belligerent defense of their deeply emotional Chrome fetish which they then attempt to dress up as "innovation" and "serving ordinary users" (as if "ordinary users" clamored to have everything change on them every two weeks).

      What they missed, apparently, is that Google, with its few billion bucks to spare, c

  • If the business uses automated acceptance testing, this would is not a big deal. Just run your test suite on the new version and you will know in short order if there is a problem. I think this is really what Mozilla is trying to say: use better development practices and you won't have an issue.
    • How about they use better development practices such as not breaking plugins for people by bumping a version number for no reason?

      • Re:AAT is golden (Score:4, Insightful)

        by lostmongoose ( 1094523 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:06PM (#36598500)

        How about they use better development practices such as not breaking plugins for people by bumping a version number for no reason?

        Or how about plugin authors using the Beta or, better yet, the Aurora release to get their shit updated for the final release? God forbid the extension/plugin authors actually do anything to alleviate a problem with a simple solution. No, they'd rather bitch about having to update it instead.

        • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @03:04PM (#36602194)

          As a plugin author I'll tell you why.

          I have better shit to do than keep up with testing against each new flavor of the day from Mozilla. I like to spend my time working on MY products and MY software, not retesting against someone elses interface constantly because they can't manage to write software in a way that it can maintain compatibility.

          As of about 30 seconds ago, the decision was made by our company internally to drop support for Firefox until they pull their head out of their ass.

      • How about they fix their plugin system so that determining whether or not plugin will work is not dependent on version numbers. This is equivalent to checking user agent strings to determine if your javascript will run. We discovered a long time ago that that was a bad practice. What we really need is a way for the browser to check which functionality the plugins are trying to use to determine whether or not it will run correctly And then just give the option to the user to run the plugin anyway. It's
        • That's incorrect.
          Those plugins which aren't plugins but extensions in fact (or add ons) have complete access to Firefox and can modify anything. This is why they are so powerful on Firefox compared to Chrome, and why they require restart and version check.

          Firefox also supports Chrome-like extensions, which are as you describe, and guess what, do not require checks or restarts.

          Developers should however use them when their extension doesn't require extensive changes to Firefox.

      • they did not break them actually. how about you get informed before you post aggressively then?
        FF 4 addons (plugins do not need update ever btw) have been marked compatible with FF 5 by Mozilla before FF 5 was released, so, no, they could not break.

    • Mozilla may be on some kind of moral high ground, but in the end, what-we-would-like is trumped by reality. It's a bitch.

  • FF 5 on Linux with the latest version of Java works remarkably well, super fast, even in one of the worst Java applications known to man; Kronos Timekeeper. Usually the slowest application I have to use on a regular bases, FF 5 shows marked improvement for Linux.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @11:49AM (#36598154) Homepage

    It's a browser, Firefox people. It doesn't need many new features. One new release every year or two is enough.

    If so many new releases are needed for bug fixes, have longer betas. If the problem is security, beef up the sandbox design so that less of the code is security critical.

    • by the_raptor ( 652941 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:04PM (#36598442)

      This is exactly my thinking. I don't care about the version numbers, as version systems are entirely arbitrary, but just the drive by Mozilla to subject us to new "features" (like removing established UI elements) constantly.

      Browsers are old tech. Browsers are utilitarian. Non-technical people don't want a constantly evolving piece of basic software.

      Mainstream browsers are not the place for "cool and cutting edge" development. I want a browser that focuses on security and standards compliance. New features outside that should be addons/plugins until they are so widely adopted, or self-evidently useful, that they get moved into the core of the browser. I call this the Blizzard model because that is the method they follow for World of Warcraft.

      Mozilla seem to have adopted We-are-graphic-designers-and-so-know-better-than-you-plebs model that turned "Web 2.0" into a steaming pile of shit.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:16PM (#36598686) Homepage

      Yes and no. Releases are fine, as long as they add features in a backwards-compatible matter. This is 4.0, all plugin interfaces are stable for the 4.x series. The thing is that with major version numbers, you can't tell because there's nothing bigger. What's the interface for version 5-6-7 going to be like? They could break *everything*, so no plugin is guaranteed compatible. You have to either force them on and pray, or hope the maintainer is on top of the game every few months. Chrome doesn't care because they don't need to care, It also tends to bring a little responsibility to developers if they have to support their bloopers for a while, then you start making sure what you have is really what you want not just a WIP.

  • there is a lot of expensive software that requires a specific web browser version. Cognos springs to mind. if you have a later browser it may not work and you have to buy a later version of the software which is very expensive. and companies use a lot of this type of software. cognos, web logic and lots of others.

    • there is a lot of *poorly written yet expensive* software that requires a specific web browser version. Cognos springs to mind. if you have a later browser it may not work and you have to buy a later version of the software which is very expensive. and companies use a lot of this type of software. cognos, web logic and lots of others.

      There, fixed that for you. Given that the vast majority (ie. almost all of it) of web-based software, much of it quite sophisticated, does *not* require a specific browser, let alone a specific browser *version* and works just fine, this speaks volumes about the poor software engineering skills of the vendors in question. Not to mention the questionable judgment of the customers that pay for this expensive brittleware.

  • about when it said that the 3.0 Linux kernel release was "merely Linus' preference"; it wasn't. While the code didn't rev, the *kernel release practice did*, and it justified the new version number, even to me--and I'm the one who codified traditional version numbering practice in the Wikipedia article of the same name. It's stuck for 2 years now, so I assume I interpreted it properly. :-)

    That said, Ars is wrong here, and so's Mozilla: I *was* IT guy, and had 500 seats to deal with, and they'd be pissing

  • If you find that testing that it is cheaper if you all put some money together to found a small foundation which has the purpose of continuing another development branch, just do so.

    I imagine if it takes that 50% people *more* to test it, then just use 25% of these people and put them in this foundation to bug fix and security fix old versions.

    Nobody is stopping you from this (at least no the licenses).

  • Dear Mozilla (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JamesP ( 688957 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @11:53AM (#36598232)

    This is the reason IE continues to stay strong in enterprise.

    Yes, corporate users are small-minded, and you're incurring in the same error.

    Fix, stabilize, make a 'corporate version'. You don't need many resources for that.

    Basically, sell a way for them to use Mozilla.

    You're making IT people that root for you look bad. And making the dolts that only know IE look good.

    • This is the reason IE 6 continues to stay strong in enterprise.

      Don't think your argument has the intended effect you want it to...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ElVee ( 208723 )

      This move just crushed any chance of Firefox being approved as an 'alternate' browser at the large faceless corporation I toil for, and I'm one of those Firefox 'fanbois' that was pushing for this, and I'm going to look like an idiot now. I'm not real happy with Mozilla right now.

      I'm guessing somebody at Mozilla just doesn't understand the size of the testing effort that was underway to get Firefox 4 approved for enterprise distribution. Let me scale it for you: 40,000 workstations in several dozen count

      • Chrome updates regularly, and often transparently. IE gets patches every month usually.

        Do you let those sit in limbo until your testing?

  • by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @11:55AM (#36598264)

    When I used Firefox regularly, it bothered me that almost every update 'broke' a plugin that had specified a maximum version number that wasn't actually accurate. They would set the value thinking that they could update it later if it turned out to work.

    Just the other day I was just reading a message posted by Linux Torvalds where he said that version numbers should be used for kludges that hack issue in old kernels, instead of trying to predict the future. In that post, his point was that if the kernel version number can't be read, it should be assumed that the normal way of doing things will just work, and to try it instead of explicitly denying things when you aren't sure.

    I see this situation the same way. Until a plugin developer has tried the plugin and found it fails on a new version of the browser, the future should be wide-open.

    Every time Firefox released a new version, the first thing I would do is force all my plugins enabled. And they almost always worked.

    • by dzfoo ( 772245 )

      >> Until a plugin developer has tried the plugin and found it fails on a new version of the browser, the future should be wide-open.

      That assumes that any failures will be obvious and noticeable. This is not necessarily the case. What should a user do when his AdBlock program all of a sudden starts corrupting or removing elements, in a subtle way, from the output stream of, say, a banking application?

      Mozilla (and all browser makers, for that matter) cannot expect to turn the Web into a reliable platf

  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:01PM (#36598382) Journal

    Firefox's usage share has been slowly declining since quite some time. They introduced the rather universally hated moron-bar, and paid no attention to the feedback. Then they introduced the unwelcome changes in the UI with Firefox 4, and paid no attention to the feedback. Now they decided to piss off the plugin authors and enterprise customers. In the end, they may become a niche browser, and even Google could decide that their money is better spent elsewhere, than on a bunch of idiots.

  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:03PM (#36598430)

    "...claiming it makes their testing burden impossible. We're not convinced: we think Mozilla's decision is the right one for the Web itself.'"

    Really? You think it's the right decision, huh?

    Tell you what, how about I go around and change all unleaded gas over to leaded gas tomorrow, and YOU can work with your various manufacturers to figure out why YOUR make and model of car doesn't run right.

    This is EXACTLY what Mozilla has done with their upgrade path (i.e. leaded gas). They've basically chosen to not give a shit about the very developers and coders(i.e. the car manufacturers) that have written thousands of plugins that helped put Firefox on the map and establish Mozilla.

    Keep it up Mozilla. I don't care who you try and convince here, perception is reality, and right now the perception that your upgrade path WILL break the very features that make you rather unique in the browser world, will ultimately be your demise.

    I've dealt with enough FF upgrades to know to research plugin compatibility before I upgrade, but it's still a pain in the ass even when I have to do it once every six months. I'll quit using FF altogether if that nightmare becomes a monthly battle.

  • by softWare3ngineer ( 2007302 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:04PM (#36598446)
    If you have correctly followed commonly agreed upon standards how much of your application is really going to break? and like everyone else has said previous, they are small incremental changes not akin to the old paradigm of huge versions. you could also use a test suite and automate those tests. just some thoughts.
  • by faedle ( 114018 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:06PM (#36598488) Homepage Journal

    If a web-browser change causes a "mission-critical web app" to break, one of the words in "mission-critical web app" is a lie.

    • by toriver ( 11308 )

      No: If mission-critical web app works in browser X and breaks in browser Y, the users will switch to browser X so that they can use the app. Browser Y has then become a liability to those users. Firefox is not a girlfriend, it can be very easily dumped.

  • by gamrillen ( 1972402 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:11PM (#36598608) Homepage
    I worked for a large corporation on a team that deployed software to ~50,000 desktops and ~10,000 servers. Whenever we wanted to deploy a new software package (Via Microsoft SCCM or Group Policies) it was a huge undertaking, even for the simpler applications. At minimum, it takes at least a month to develop a plan for and deploy an application, and that was just on our end. If it was something that involved websites, and/or browser plugins (Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, etc) then it would take even longer because testing would have to be done on every internal web based application. That alone took several months and a dedicated project team. Once the software change was ready for deployment, it took a week to develop the scripting and deployment policies. After that, it was deployed to a pilot group for two weeks, and then a test group for a week. After that, it could be put into production. However, if there was the slightest hitch along the way, it could set us back several weeks. Enterprises move VERY slowly on their software deployments. If Mozilla is interested at all in keeping Firefox in the enterprise world, they're going to have to slow down, or at least release an "Enterprise" version so that deployment teams can keep up. Six week release cycles are just going to cause folks like me, who manage software deployments, to stop deploying it at all.
  • by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:13PM (#36598628) Homepage

    This is not good for the Enterprise. It's not good for Firefox or Mozilla, which is already losing marketshare and isn't going to benefit from pissing off very large users. It's not even good for "the web" despite their nebulous and poorly supported claim that it is.

    In reality this is some blowhards like Asa making poor decisions and then trying to defend them when people point out that it's a poor decision. Normal users don't particularly benefit from more big downloads that break things more often and will sometimes get a new gee-whiz HTML 5 feature out the door a bit sooner (which then won't be adopted by any websites until a couple of versions of FF later because of the lag time required to, you know, develop stuff). Enterprise users clearly suffer because keeping up with this requires throwing testing out the window and will effectively just reinforce the idea that you should stick with IE (where Microsoft actually wants your business and doesn't give you a middle finger).

    If driving people away from Firefox is "good for the web", then I guess this is good for the web. But here in reality it's good for IE and Chrome.

  • by MoldySpore ( 1280634 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:20PM (#36598742)
    Considering 5.0 is mostly just a newer revision of 4.0, how can testing be that hard? We have Firefox 4 deployed on all our computers (over 5000). We will test it in a lab environment and then push out the new version with our deployment software to all machines at once. What exactly is hard about that? I suppose it would be hard if you didn't have something like patchlink or an equivalent software to do mass deployments. But then again that isn't really a Firefox issue is it?
    • by ElVee ( 208723 ) <elvee61@g m a il.com> on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @02:29PM (#36601476)

      I could press a button right now and have FF5 on 40k desktops by midnight. I'd lose my job, but I could do it.

      Testing isn't hard, it just takes a lot of time and money. We have to CERTIFY exactly which of the several hundred internal and external webapps FireFox works with, and which it doesn't, and then create copious documentation in several languages for help desk and field personnel. We have to plan and manage GPO settings for dozens of different groups. If code changes have to be made on servers to support the new browser, that has to be coordinated across the enterprise.

      There's more to it than browsing to a few websites and then letting the code fly.

  • If my enterprise did not interact with other enterprises, then faster version numbers (be they major or minor changes) can be coped with. The problem is that we interact with other enterprises. My ADP timecard program still doesn't support Firefox 4. My Cisco Scan Safe proxy service *just* announced support for Firefox 4. My AT&T online trouble-ticket software is browser based, as is my internal Numara Track It trouble-ticket software. My customers (judges) are required by the state to use a browser based application for calculating child support rulings. All of these things have to work with my browser, and if one of my partners decides that Firefox 5 isn't supported while Mozilla isn't supporting Firefox 4, then I have a problem that drives me back to Internet Explorer.
  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @01:27PM (#36600258) Homepage
    ...pay someone (such as Mozilla...) for support? It's Free Software. They've got the source and the license.
  • by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @01:30PM (#36600318) Homepage
    Fuck catering to lazy corporations. That sort of thing has damaged the internet enough as it is. Maybe they'll quit buying into rubbish technologies if they can't rely on keeping the same awful browser around for over a decade.

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.