I don't usually write opinion posts much here on gHacks, but I thought I'd share my views with you about all major Firefox releases (and all open source major releases in general).
Since Firefox, WordPress and other big-big community oriented projects rely so much on the community that empowers them, it is often the case that new releases split that community.
If you've installed Firefox 3, chances are that half your addons didn't work anymore. While it was easy enough to tweak them so that they would work again, most users may have struggled with the technical process and either waited for the author to update the add-on or curse Mozilla for breaking it.
Especially since much of the data is now stored in database formats instead of simple text files, many of the extensions can't work. Also, for me even with the very last release candidate Firefox shut down from time to time for no apparent reason.
These are the reasons I'm not upgrading, I'll wait a month and then make the jump when all the extensions I can't live without are upgraded. The hassle of upgrading is a problem with all open source stuff, however I think this can hardly be broken down to "differences between commercial and open source".
If a commercial app gets an overhaul, no matter how great, you get maybe 20-30 new features but even that's pushing it.
With Firefox that many features are added daily with extensions, themes and so on. So in essence, when you have some problems after upgrading, it is a necessary evil most of the time.
You can hardly expect all authors to jump every time there's a new release, and anyway, many of them have developed their extensions prior to the final release, so you still have a lot to work with.
As a final note I want to say that despite the fact that this upgrading can be a hassle sometimes I have great respect for everyone involved with open source development and want to thank them for all the great extensions they've given us.
If you can't upgrade an extension, be sure to monitor its progress, even if you find a suitable alternative you can download the original when it gets its upgrade as a means of thanks to the author.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.