There are still Firefox users out there that are using the Firefox 3.6 branch of the browser. Motivation to do so differs, from disliking the design and interface of newer versions of the browser to using add-ons that are not compatible with never versions of Firefox. And then there are users who have turned updates off, or not enough privileges to run the updates. With Firefox 3.6 reaching its end of life this month, Mozilla and Firefox 3.6 users are in a predicament.While there are currently no known security vulnerabilities for version 3.6 of the browser, Mozilla fears that criminals will exploit the end of support to attack Firefox 3.6 users on the Internet.
Hitslink sees the browser's 3.6 branch's market share at around 2.6% of all Internet users, with another 0.75% running previous versions of Firefox 3. While market share can differ depending on the company that is providing them, a share of more than 3% would put Firefox 3.6's market share over that of all versions of the Opera browser. It means that millions upon millions of Internet users are still working with Firefox 3.6.
Firefox 3.6 users will see an update notification when they open the browser the next time. It reads:
New Version available
Do you want to upgrade to Firefox 11. now?
Your version of Firefox will soon be vulnerable to online attacks.
Get the upgrade - is's fast & free!
- Stay safe online
- Experience faster performance
- Enjoy new features
You will be prompted once more before being automatically updated.
Firefox 3.6 users can block the upgrade to Firefox 11 at this point in time. The message informs them however that their browser will be automatically updated after one more update prompt. Mozilla plans to do that some time after the release of Firefox 12, which would update Firefox 3.6 users to that version of the browser. At this point in time, it is not really clear how this automatic update will look like, and if users will have a say after all. The terminology however suggests a forced update to Firefox 12. Disabling updates in Firefox 3.6 would likely block the update from being rolled out though.
It is also interesting to note that Mozilla plans to offer a second automatic update after the release of Firefox 13, to again update Firefox 3.6 users to Firefox 12.
The update is significant to part of the browser's user base for another reason. You may remember that Mozilla decided to stop supporting Windows 2000 come Firefox 13, and Mac OS X < 10.5 with the release of Firefox 4. As it stands now, Windows 2000 users of Firefox 3.6 will still be updated to Firefox 12. Mozilla plans to provide users on those operating systems with information about the support stop and alternatives. Updates to Firefox 13 will not be available for Windows 2000 users. End of support for these operating systems, Windows XP Pre SP-2 is another one, is the main support why the second update prompt will still update users to Firefox 12 and not the newer version.
Are you a Firefox 3.6 user? If so, how would you like Mozilla to handle the situation? Will you take the company up on the upgrade, block updates, or switch browsers?
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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.