The new Firefox rapid release cycle is in full swing by now which means that new versions of the browser get released every six weeks.
The new release cycle has been a controversial topic ever since it was introduced.
The release cycle has raised new issues, like add-on compatibility issues or problematic enterprise support, or the fact that the two most recent stable releases Firefox 5 and Firefox 6 have not really added new features to the browser that would justify a version bump.
The core reason for changing to a faster release cycle is the ability to implement and release new capabilities faster to give web developers the chance to use those technologies in their web applications.
A browser is the delivery vehicle for the Internet. And the Internet moves very, very quickly. Philosophically, I do not believe a product that moves at the speed of traditional desktop software can be effective at enabling an Internet where things happen in real time. If we want the browser to be the interface for the Internet, we need to make it more like the Internet. That means delivering capabilities when they are ready. That means a rapid release process. If we don’t do something like this the browser becomes a limiting factor in what the Internet can do.
Note that Mitchell Baker, Chair of the Mozilla Foundation, is addressing web developers exclusively and not end users in this justification. And that's probably one of the issues that end users have with the change in development pace. That, and the fact that new web technologies do not appear out of nowhere from one second to the next. Establishing new technologies takes a long time, sometimes years.
Asa Dotzler recently posted the timeline for the next seven versions of Firefox on his blog.
According to his posting, we will see a new stable version of the browser every six weeks from August 16, the day of the latest stable release of Firefox on.
Firefox 9 Stable will be released on December 20, Firefox 13 on June 5, 2012. All Beta, Aurora and Nightly releases will also increase in version on those days, which means that we will see Firefox 14 Beta, Firefox 15 Aurora and Firefox 16 Nightly on June 5, 2012 as well.
There is some good news at least about add-on compatibility issues. The developers have announced plans to default add-ons to compatible from Firefox 9 on which means that users will face less issues with add-ons becoming incompatible because of version changes.
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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.