Mozilla To Integrate Hotfix Add-Ons Into Firefox

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 18, 2011
Updated • Mar 11, 2015
Firefox, Firefox add-ons

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.

firefox hotfix addon

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.

Mozilla plans to integrate Hotfix add-ons into Firefox 11. (via, more information here)

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.

Mozilla To Integrate Hotfix Add-Ons Into Firefox
Article Name
Mozilla To Integrate Hotfix Add-Ons Into Firefox
Mozilla's Firefox Hotfix add-on is used by the organization to fix issues in Firefox without releasing a full browser update to all users.

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  1. Fox said on January 31, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Thanks for reply!

  2. Fox said on January 31, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    I’m on Firefox 10 final, and I still have Mozilla Firefox Hotfix 1.0 addon, do I need it or can I remove it please?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 31, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      The add-on has been pulled. It was only released for testing purposes.

  3. Matt said on December 19, 2011 at 1:17 am

    This is the first I’ve read about hotfix add-ons. Seems like an all-around good move to me.

  4. Karl Gephart said on December 18, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    I’m glad to see Mozilla’s responsiveness improving. I’m all for their customization and open-source philosophy. Want to see them back in the lead for browsers! Just want to tell you guys at that you absolutely rock as my favorite tech source! Your articles on Mozilla, Windows, etc., are so what I’m looking for, it’s like you’re reading and feeding my tech mind! Keep up the awesomely beneficial and interesting posts!

  5. paul(us) said on December 18, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Looks like a great step forward.

  6. Anonymous said on December 18, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Thanks infinity

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