Why the Firefox 38.0.6 update won't hit most users

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 11, 2015
Updated • Aug 10, 2015

Numerous download portals, Softpedia, Major Geeks or Freeware Files as well as news sites such as Neowin reported earlier this week that Firefox 38.0.6 was out. Most download sites offer the new version of the web browser as a download but fail to list release notes or any other information about the update.

Users who did their due diligence and checked the official Mozilla website for the update found out that the release was not listed yet on the site, and that there were not beta or final release notes available for it either.

In fact, the only location where the release was listed was on the official Mozilla FTP website.

You are probably wondering why Firefox 38.0.6 has not been released yet by Mozilla. The answer is rather simple if you know where to look for it.

If you check Mozilla Releases, you will find that Firefox 38.0.6 addresses a single bug in Funnelcake builds of the browser.

Mike Connor - Bug 1171730 - Funnelcake builds should use geo-specific defaults.

There you find listed a bug and the confirmation that the update won't be released to the majority of systems running stable Firefox.

FYI, we won't be doing a 38.0.6 releases, we will just publish 38.0.6 for some repacks.

So-called Funnelcake builds of the browser are distributed for a short period of time on Mozilla's website. The core difference to regular versions of Firefox is that they allow the organization to collect additional download and installation metrics.

This means that the update to Firefox 38.0.6 is only for systems running Funnelcake versions of the browser and not the majority of Firefox installations which run the regular version of it.

The easiest way to detect whether you are running a Funnelcake version of Firefox or a regular version is to open the about page of the browser. If you see Funnelcake mentioned on the page, you are running this special browser build.

Funnelcake builds are not something new, Mozilla has been using them for years (since 2007 to be precise) to better understand the download and installation process by distributing these special builds over a short period of time.

Note: If you have downloaded and installed Firefox 38.0.6 over your existing installation, you will end up with a regular version of Firefox and not a Funnelcake version.

Since nothing has been improved for the regular build, it is not advised to update to Firefox 38.0.6 as it will waste bandwidth and time without being beneficial in any shape or form.

One of the core issues here is the listing of the add-on by download portals and news sites, as some Firefox users might expect the update to hit their system (if they have not downloaded it already) which it never will. This can reflect badly on Mozilla.

This could have been easily avoided if writers would have done some research prior to posting about the update right away to be the first or among the first to report about it. (Thanks Sören)

Why the Firefox 38.0.6 update won't hit most users
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Why the Firefox 38.0.6 update won't hit most users
Find out why the update to Firefox 38.0.6 won't be released by Mozilla for the main build of the browser.

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  1. sqaeng said on July 20, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    My Windows (XP) PC has the Funnelcake version of Firefox, although I wasn’t aware of it until after I viewed this website. The biggest headache was, during an update of Firefox, having Norton Security Suite identify one of the update files, xul.dll, as a virus and quarantine it so it wasn’t installed with the rest of the Firefox update files. Thereafter, whenever opening Firefox was attempted, it would complain about the missing file and abort. For each update, it was necessary to uninstall Firefox, navigate to the Mozilla website and reinstall Firefox.

    Finally circumvented this by disabling Security Suite before installing an update, then re-enabling Security Suite.

    Oddly, this quarantine action does not occur when updating the standard version of Firefox installed on my other Windows PCs.

  2. DSU said on June 20, 2015 at 3:30 am

    A.J. North

    All of the bugs listed in your post that I checked are listed as “status-firefox38.0.5: fixed ” except the Funnelcake one. It looks like they didn’t bother to do a specific change log for that release.

    Softpedia, Major Geeks and their ilk are notorious for this sort of nonsense. Before rapid release, such sites would “beat” Mozilla on a release by posting a release candidate as the actual release. This had some interesting side effects. Sometimes folks using the release channel would find themselves on the beta channel with hilarious results when the new, early beta was released. Other times they would find themselves stuck with RC1, and its problems, when Mozilla pulled it and released RCx.

  3. AJ North said on June 11, 2015 at 7:20 pm


    Softpedia posted version 38.0.6 on 8 June, but only provide the changelog for RC1, which appears to involve additional issues (http://www.softpedia.com/get/Internet/Browsers/Mozilla-Firefox-Final.shtml):

    New in version 38.0.6 RC1 (June 6th, 2015)

    Bug fixes:
    Bug 1171730 – Funnelcake builds should use geo-specific defaults.
    Bug 1133747 – Fix intermittent test_WebCrypto_Reject_Generating_Keys_Without_Usages.html failures by requesting a longer timeout.
    Bug 1074139 – Bump test timeout to fix intermittent test_WebCrypto_RSA_OAEP.html timeouts.
    Bug 1155349 – Set packageFilename in mach properties.
    Bug 1121773 – Conditionally include SiteSpecificUserAgent files on mobile/android.
    Bug 1166183: bustage/mis-merge fix for newstream vs newStream.
    Bug 1166183 – Reset PipelineListener’s flag after ReplaceTrack().
    Bug 1166183 – Work around bug 934512 in track_peerConnection_replaceTrack.html.
    Bug 1166183 – Back out the direct listener removal landed by mistake in bug 1141781.
    Bug 1159973 – Abort parsing when TokenStream::SourceCoords hits OOM.

  4. Maelish said on June 11, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    How interesting. I’ve never heard of Funnelcake versions before.

  5. michaelpaul said on June 11, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Thanks for this ,Couldn’t find info anywhere else on this update that doesn’t effect me
    Thanks Martin.

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