Mozilla currently has to release a new version of Firefox whenever the company is ready to ship an update.
But that also means lots of testing before the update becomes finally available. That's not ideal if hotfixes, time critical updates, need to be distributed to the Firefox user base.
Update quality tests and the distribution of the update takes time which can be significantly reduced with the integration of Hotfix add-ons.
Hotfix add-ons bypass the problem as they allow time critical patches to be issued as add-ons. This reduces the time needed to release an update to less than 24 hours.
When you look back at Firefox's update history, you will notice quite a few updates that would have benefited from this new hotfix updating mechanism. This includes updates that removed an insecure certificate provider from the browser and updates where add-ons have caused browser instabilities.
Hotfix add-ons can furthermore be distributed to a specific language version of the browser to resolve a particular issue. Instead of having to release an update for all browser versions, Mozilla can now release a hotfix for part of the Firefox user base which also opens the door for A-B tests.
Possibilities do not end here. Malicious add-ons, and add-ons with stability issues can be added to the global blocklist using hotfix add-ons to protect Firefox users from using those add-ons.
Equally interesting from a user perspective is the ability to undo recent browser changes that have received negative community feedback.
The developers integrate a hotfix add-on ID into the browser that is linked to the browser's add-on updater. It will look for hotfixes whenever add-on update checks are performed. The updates are then installed as Hotfix Add-ons which will be removed with the next major Firefox release.
The integration of hotfix add-ons into Firefox allows Mozilla to speed up the delivery of updates for the browser. Firefox users benefit from faster security and stability updates that resolve issues faster than before.
The Mozilla Firefox hotfix add-on is listed on Mozilla's Add-on repository but it does not need to be installed as this is done automatically whenever the need arises.
The implementation of the feature makes sense as it enables Mozilla to deliver specific updates to all or some Firefox installations automatically without having to release a time-consuming and all system affecting browser update instead.
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