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)
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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.