Oh No, Mozilla Plans To Accelerate Development Cycle

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 25, 2011
Updated • Mar 15, 2012

It took a very long time from Firefox 3 to Firefox 4. Guess how long it will take from Firefox 4 to Firefox 5! According to plans published in Mozilla's Weekly Engineering Newsletter not that long, or does months sound like a long time? Plans are to follow Google Chrome's footsteps at least in the development cycle.

"Cast a colder eye on your blockers. Some of them can wait for a dot release or Firefox 5 that I do believe will be only months after 4 comes out. We are going to a fast release cycle. It serves our users better. To do that we have to get this touch and go done with Firefox 4.

So, Firefox 5 will be ready only months after Firefox 4 has been released. The team will probably do away with x.y, e.g. Firefox 3.6, versions of the browser as they did previously.

The development team is currently fixing the remaining soft and hard blockers of the beta releases. Plans are to code freeze the development on Friday to release the next beta of Firefox 4.

Another beta may only be released if bugs are left that require beta testing. If not the team moves forward to the release candidate stage. To sum it up: If things go as planned Firefox 4 Beta 10 will be released in the next days, likely at the beginning of next week followed by the RC shortly thereafter and then a final release at the end of February.

What's your take on the accelerated development cycle? I personally think it is more of a reaction to the Chrome development cycle and how users perceive a higher version number than anything else. We could see a Firefox 7 release at the end of this year after all which probably is not that different from Firefox 4.


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  1. Fresno Dentist said on February 11, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Funny looking back on this we are up to Firefox 25 now haha.

  2. Leslie M said on January 26, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    I do not care what the version number is. What I care about is something that is fast to load/open web pages, secure and without bugs.

    End of story.

  3. Fresno Dentist said on January 26, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Developers of these leading browsers are really doing a great job

  4. Fresno Dentist said on January 26, 2011 at 12:26 am

    Love the two browsers

  5. Richard said on January 25, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Has anyone thought of how this is going to affect all the add-on developers. If major revisions are being released within a short time frame there is no way that developers can keep up.

    1. Anonymous said on June 12, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      wat a bunch of nonsens bla bla bla geheide pantoffeps

  6. Frank said on January 25, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Just a guess, but I’m sure Google has more money and staff working on chrome than firefox does working on 4.

  7. Big Dan said on January 25, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    While it feels like Firefox 4 is taking forever. I’d much rather see stable new features in a full version release and security patches / feature improvements in point releases.

    Chrome version numbers mean absolutely nothing to me other than checking to see if it’s up to date or not. Google mise well strip the version number completely and just have a never ending release cycle.

  8. Nebulus said on January 25, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    I fail to understand why everyone wants to compete with Chrome… I don’t want to have 4-5 Chrome clones, I’d like to have different browsers, that offer both facilities and quality.

  9. Girish Mony said on January 25, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    While Firefox users and bloggers celebrating Firefox 4. Google Chrome silently updates very fast. Yesterday I checked it showed 8. Today it shows version 9 beta. Its time for Firefox team to learn to develop faster from Chrome team. Hope Firefox 5 doesn’t take much time than Firefox 4.

    1. David said on January 25, 2011 at 5:46 pm

      I disagree quite strongly. I’d prefer Mozilla to release a mature product rather than arbitrarily increasing major version numbers like Google does with Chrome. Version numbers are supposed to be an indicator of (code and functionality) change, i.e., a major increase (4.x.x) should reflect significant changes in functionality, UI, architecture, etc. while minor increases (x.1.1) should reflect somewhat smaller enhancements to the existing feature set as well as bugfixes. This well-established, intuitive system is bereft of any meaning with Google Chrome’s versioning policy. IMO, one should prepend “0.” to any existing Chrome version, to get a more realistic picture of the browser’s development state. I also don’t like the “crank out major versions to fool the public, fix problems later” attitude insinuated in the above quote from Mozilla. Note that none of this makes an argument against rapid development cycles per se. If the codebase warrants a version bump according to the guidelines outlined above, do it — regardless of when the previous major version was released. If it doesn’t though, what’s the fucking point?

      1. James said on February 3, 2011 at 5:14 pm

        Kudos. I currently work in an agile atmosphere where short release cycles are the goal. And after 2 years, what are we looking at? A complete redesign from the ground up, because the code base has gotten so out of hand and unwieldy that its impossible to maintain. While I do believe in getting solutions to customers as fast as possible, I don’t believe it should be at there expense. And “silently” updating? How do I even know when something has changed? When I can’t find it? Or it doesn’t work like it used to? I much prefer to have concrete major versions that I know work as expected.

      2. Girish Mony said on January 26, 2011 at 4:49 am

        I agree with you. Thanks for making it clear

      3. Steve said on January 26, 2011 at 2:41 am

        You’re my hero.

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