Mozilla will release a new Firefox version every 4 weeks from 2020 on - gHacks Tech News

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Mozilla will release a new Firefox version every 4 weeks from 2020 on

Mozilla announced on September 17, 2019 that it will speed up the Firefox release cycle from 2020 onward for all Firefox channels.

New Firefox versions get released every six to eight weeks currently after Mozilla switched to a variable release schedule in 2016. The browser maker started to ship new versions of the browser every six weeks in 2011 when it switched to a rapid release cycle.

Mozilla uses a phased released system that moves new code from cutting edge Nightly versions of the browser through Beta and Developer editions before they reach the stable version and the majority of users. So-called Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release) versions are maintained for Enterprises and organizations that follow the same release cycle but with less frequent feature changes.

firefox 4 week release schedule

Starting in the first quarter of 2020, Mozilla will release a new version of the Firefox web browser every four weeks.

The organization wants to introduce new features including new Web APIs into Firefox more quickly.

We’re adjusting our cadence to increase our agility, and bring you new features more quickly. In recent quarters, we’ve had many requests to take features to market sooner. Feature teams are increasingly working in sprints that align better with shorter release cycles. Considering these factors, it is time we changed our release cadence.

Mozilla won't change the release cadence of Extended Support Releases. New ESR releases will be released every 12 months with a three month support overlap between soon-to-be-retired versions and the new ESR version. New ESR releases will be released every four weeks however instead of every six to eight weeks; the decision increases the number of ESR releases of a particular version of the browser, e.g. Firefox 68.x, however.

A shortened release cycle has risks associated with it and Mozilla wants to maintain release quality and reduce these risks through careful planning, testing, quality management and staged rollouts.

One of the planned changes increases the number of beta builds that Mozilla produces in a week up from two similarly to how Firefox Nightly updates are handled by the organization.

Staged rollouts play an important role in the new strategy to help "minimize unexpected (quality, stability or performance) disruptions to our release end-users".

The release cycle is moved slowly from the 6-8 week cycle that is currently used down to five and then four weeks over the next quarter and the first quarter of 2020.

We have updated our Firefox release schedule overview to reflect today's announced changes.

Closing words

A four week release cycle is a massive undertaking for Mozilla; if the organization manages to keep up the quality of releases while introducing new features more quickly to the Firefox audience, it could be a win-win situation for everyone.

ESR administrators will have to adjust to a faster release cycle as well but since the move to new major ESR versions remains the same, it should not be too problematic.

Now You: what is your take on the decision?

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Mozilla will release a new Firefox version every 4 weeks from 2020 on
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Mozilla will release a new Firefox version every 4 weeks from 2020 on
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Mozilla announced on September 17, 2019 that it will speed up the Firefox release cycle from 2020 onward for all Firefox channels.
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Comments

  1. Martin P. said on September 17, 2019 at 7:19 pm
    Reply

    What’s the rush with this Firefox rapid release schedule? I certainly am no fan!

    1. Anonymous said on September 18, 2019 at 5:33 am
      Reply

      They realized they can’t surpass Chrome(version number) with the current pace. Gotta go fast!

  2. david b said on September 17, 2019 at 7:23 pm
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    Ick what a waste of resources and aggravating to many users that just want a working browser that they are familiar with. This constant shifting ground just makes it so people aren’t n a firm foundation at any time. Also I feel it reduces loyalty as people know that whatever they have now may not exist in th next update anyway, may as well move on to the next new shiny thing.

    I was pretty diehard in my use of firefox, but no longer. Not because of this.. but collectively they just don’t have anything worth being loyal to.

    1. Anonymous said on October 18, 2019 at 2:28 pm
      Reply

      so, you went and are using a more limited chromium based browser. correct?!!!

  3. Tom Hawack said on September 17, 2019 at 7:27 pm
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    Quoting Mzilla, “[…]Feature teams are increasingly working in sprints that align better with shorter release cycles.[…]”

    Looks like they’ve read in some of many minds, anticipating doubts. Better and faster, a challenge of its own.
    I must say that I’ve heard such a alliance between what has always been admitted as contradictory.

    I just cannot imagine doing anything better in less time, unless winning a race. Well, the Firefox version digits are likely to catch up with those of Google’s Chrome, even if unintentionally.

    Doubts.

  4. John Fenderson said on September 17, 2019 at 7:27 pm
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    I am very disappointed with this move, but not terribly surprised by it.

    In my opinion, this rapid release trend is nothing but bad for everyone. It reduces software quality, it reduces stability, and it increases stress for both users and developers alike.

    But it’s the current fad.

    1. Greg said on September 18, 2019 at 6:12 am
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      it will reduce stability not just the browser, also Extensions

  5. Win10LaptopUser said on September 17, 2019 at 7:50 pm
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    As always, Agile/Scrum is a cancer that further brings down this browser.

    1. ShintoPlasm said on September 17, 2019 at 8:28 pm
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      Agile is a cancer in every area of business. It leads to shoddy quality control, stress, lack of attention to detail, and prevents thoughtful development of new ideas. A total disaster in all it touches.

      1. John Fenderson said on September 18, 2019 at 5:14 pm
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        @ShintoPlasm:

        I (largely) agree. I’ve seen the agile approach work in a couple of places, but I’ve seen it fail completely in an order of magnitude more.

        Even when it works, the results aren’t fantastic.

  6. Aegis said on September 17, 2019 at 7:59 pm
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    Good thing I already switched to ESR channel. I think this rapid release circle will only increase the risk of bugs. I don’t want to play beta tester with the stable builds of Firefox like Microsoft already does with Windows 10 Home and Pro users.

  7. Ray said on September 17, 2019 at 8:01 pm
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    Coming in the future, Firefox 100!

  8. SocialMediaGrandpa said on September 17, 2019 at 8:01 pm
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    “if the organization manages to keep up the quality of releases while introducing new features more quickly to the Firefox audience, it could be a win-win situation for everyone.”
    Counterpoint: Mozilla is already messing things up and the downhill spiral started with the rapid release cycle. It could be lose-lose for everyone as everything gets worse as it inevitably must.
    Not to be pessimistic or anything…
    I dread the day I have to go back to Firefox as my main browser. Eugh.

  9. Lord Almighty said on September 17, 2019 at 8:10 pm
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    FaaS – Firefox as a Service

    You won’t be able to stop the updates…

    1. DuMuT6p said on September 18, 2019 at 9:04 am
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      Well you already can’t stop the update checks.

  10. dmacleo said on September 17, 2019 at 8:12 pm
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    stupid f*ing idea.

  11. ULBoom said on September 17, 2019 at 8:31 pm
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    >We’re adjusting our cadence to increase our agility, and bring you new features more quickly.<

    Wow, if this double redundant statement is an indication, the release version of FF is doomed already!

    Thank the Stars ESR isn't changing!

    What outside forces are driving this insanity? Hasn't Windows' fail after fail after fail taught anyone a single thing?

    The only hints of excitement I see around new releases of mainstream software are from industry shills and trolls; users (meaning humans with a body temperature) tend to dread updates.

    Pop the bubble already!

  12. Alan said on September 17, 2019 at 8:32 pm
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    Why?

  13. Stan said on September 17, 2019 at 9:37 pm
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    A Cult control tactic plain and simple, probably be every week soon, the ‘Charismatic Leader’ and her gang are stark raving bonkers.

  14. Darren said on September 17, 2019 at 9:40 pm
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    So they concentrate on 4 major new things in one month rather than 8 things in 2 months. Lets them fix and release things like Ryzen acceleration bug faster. What I think is dumb is their numbering scheme. Why not 2020.1 – 12. This kind of schedule is fine with a browser. Now Windows 10 on the other hand is like rushing out Tesla updates. No good slow down.

  15. Cassette said on September 17, 2019 at 10:03 pm
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    I thought the rapid release cycle was a bad idea in the first place. Now they want to make it worse. I’ll stick with the ESR branch and I suspect this move will influence more people switch to ESR.

  16. Ascrod said on September 17, 2019 at 10:57 pm
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    As if the rabid release cycle needed to be even more rabid. As noted above, they’re already messing stuff up pretty badly, and trying to make it move at an even more breakneck speed will only make things worse.

    Fast, good, cheap. Pick two.

  17. allen said on September 17, 2019 at 11:08 pm
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    Mozilla wants to increase the pace of its race for irrelevance.

  18. Anonymous said on September 17, 2019 at 11:45 pm
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    Will it make life harder for low resources forks ?

    1. Iron Heart said on September 18, 2019 at 10:34 pm
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      Unlikely, Pale Moon follows its own release scheme and Waterfox has switched to the ESR channel already.

      1. Rex said on September 23, 2019 at 5:13 pm
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        Palemoon has been hard forked long ago and following its own independent saner release schedule and versioning system. Of course, idiots here will still go on about it being ‘outdated’ or ‘obsolete’ because they chose to retain functionality that Mozilla decided to throw out in their quest to copycat Chrome.

  19. Diana said on September 18, 2019 at 12:23 am
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    Autoupdate and Ready !!

    Be happy!

    1. david b said on September 18, 2019 at 4:40 pm
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      yup.. be ready for your familiar UI to chance unexpectedly.

      be ready for your extensions to break periodically and have to wait for them to update to fix a new bug every few monthes.

  20. Anonymous said on September 18, 2019 at 12:46 am
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    Taken and update lesson from Microsoft? Do it fast, reduce you pre-release checks, catch the problems next update. Errr, aim to catch the problems next update.

  21. Dilly Dilly said on September 18, 2019 at 12:53 am
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    It appears mozilla is taking the m$ approach and turning its user base into unwitting beta testers. Now they can roll out new features/spying then fix/remove them when users complain. Dumpsterfirefox!

  22. Stan said on September 18, 2019 at 1:29 am
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    ..and every update’s an opportunity to pop up a tab to nag users to register for one thing or another with the impeccably honest MozCo.
    Come into my parlor said the spider to the fly.

  23. Mothy said on September 18, 2019 at 1:32 am
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    Don’t like the sound of it. I moved to the ESR channel a while back to get away from the rapid release stuff (and maintain control over updates). I just want a stable browser with security fixes, not interested in these so called “new features”!

  24. Richard said on September 18, 2019 at 2:01 am
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    Faster creation of bugs, following the trend founded by Microsoft with his terrible win10 versions, amirite?

  25. Caper said on September 18, 2019 at 2:19 am
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    I wonder if this might have a negative impact on addons.

    Microsoft has already proven that speed releasing isn’t the best idea at all. Is Mozilla going the same way? Probably!

    1. LaptopWithWin10 said on September 18, 2019 at 10:35 am
      Reply

      They should completely switch from time-based releases to feature-based releases. There’s nothing wrong with staying on whatever large number firefox is at currently and releasing .X.Y with new features. The idea that a software has to deliver “value” as Agile calls it every X weeks is really outlandish and leads to important bugs getting sidelined for easy changes.

  26. VioletMoon said on September 18, 2019 at 4:12 am
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    If Windows worked like Linux, I would welcome a “rapid release.” Linux users know that when there are updates for the system, the entire Linux distro is updated with any and all programs installed from repositories. That’s not a problem. A couple of commands in the terminal and all is well.

    The problem with Windows is when a user may have 20 different programs [or more] all updating at different, mostly irregular times, and Windows throwing out alpha updates once a month [six times a week if we include the fixes for the updates that break the system]. Even when using programs such as “Patch My PC,” the significant time updating individual programs without a common repository is nothing but time wasted.

    A quarterly schedule may be more practical, or bi-annual, unless there is a severe, critical security flaw.

  27. Marc said on September 18, 2019 at 5:12 am
    Reply

    Just away to get telemetry, AKA user data.
    Trying to keep one step ahead of ad-blockers and the likes.
    Thank you Waterfox and Palemoon.

  28. Ken said on September 18, 2019 at 5:35 am
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    Didn’t they try this back in 2011 to disastrous results?

  29. svim said on September 18, 2019 at 5:42 am
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    Wow, so much hate and moral outrage in the comments over something most people aren’t even aware of or even care about.
    It’s not like anyone is being forced to use Firefox, all of you who are freaking out over this so badly need to just switch to using a different browser — you’re just frustrating yourself over something you have complete control over.

    1. AnorKnee Merce said on September 18, 2019 at 8:20 am
      Reply

      Wow, so much hate and moral outrage in your comment over something most people aren’t even aware of or even care about.
      It’s not like anyone is being forced to read the above comment thread, you who are freaking out over this so badly need to just switch to reading a different comment thread — you’re just frustrating yourself over something you have complete control over.

    2. LaptopWithWin10 said on September 18, 2019 at 10:31 am
      Reply

      I’m already using Vivaldi on my home PC, but at work it’s either Firefox or Edge. I imagine you do not work in a corporate environment and never had in the past, otherwise you wouldn’t say something so ill informed.

    3. Anonymous said on September 18, 2019 at 3:32 pm
      Reply

      > something most people aren’t even aware of or even care about

      What you don’t understand can’t hurt you ?

      > It’s not like anyone is being forced to use Firefox

      It’s like saying ok, this browser is shit, but you can use another one. Nice defense. So what do you advise using, Google Chrome ?

      > you’re just frustrating yourself over something you have complete control over.

      We have no control when browser vendors cooperate to be dicks against the users. Making sure a really independent browser can’t exist without pouring hundreds of millions in it is a good example of a market mechanism that eliminates potentially ethical competition.

    4. TC said on September 18, 2019 at 4:00 pm
      Reply

      God forbid people complain when a bunch of idiot hacks ruin a project they helped popularize. Firefox wouldn’t exist today without the support of the same community Mozilla is pissing on right now.

    5. John Fenderson said on September 18, 2019 at 5:17 pm
      Reply

      @svim:

      I already switched to Waterfox. I really, really want Firefox to be successful, though, because it would be good for the web in general, so this sort of thing does worry me a great deal.

  30. Dave said on September 18, 2019 at 7:16 am
    Reply
  31. Shiro said on September 18, 2019 at 8:41 am
    Reply

    Time to switch to ESR if you’re Firefox user. What a load of … Hasn’t the Microsoft debacle taught these morons anything?

    I feel for Pants. How is he going to keep up his user.js project? And every user who cares about security and privacy is going to have to keep up every month with whatever new changes Mozilla throws out there.

    Really bad idea. Doesn’t everyone get the feeling everything in IT is spiraling out of control these days, with idiots at the helm of every major IT company?

    1. LaptopWithWin10 said on September 18, 2019 at 10:32 am
      Reply

      It’s due to HR departments insisting on hiring Agile managers.

  32. Cinikal said on September 18, 2019 at 10:33 am
    Reply

    Call your sponsors, people! :P

    I often make pancakes for 3 but this last sunday it was for 2, can anyone tell me what I did with the batter so no extra was left?

  33. Jeff Sessions said on September 18, 2019 at 11:03 am
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    Why is every FF news article always followed by negative comments ? Very idiotic.

    1. Anonymous said on September 18, 2019 at 11:49 am
      Reply

      Maybe simply because most of FF news is bad news for users ?

      You know, we don’t want the rest of the free software community to follow Mozilla in their race to the bottom with the worst proprietary software on the market. Consider the legitimate criticism they receive as dissuasion for the other developers that might be tempted: breach our trust too, and you will be exposed for what you are.

    2. SpywareFan said on September 18, 2019 at 12:06 pm
      Reply

      Maybe because moz-managers are doing their best to kill Firefox?

    3. TC said on September 18, 2019 at 3:58 pm
      Reply

      If Mozilla would stop doing things that most people who pay attention hate, they’d stop getting negative comments.

  34. Derek Clements said on September 18, 2019 at 12:52 pm
    Reply

    Anyone here been running the following three extensions on Firefox-ESR for a while?
    * NoScript;
    * HTTPS Everywhere;
    * uMatrix.

    Debian are currently on 60.9.0esr and I’m assuming and hoping that they’ll switch over to 68.*esr soon.

    1. TC said on September 18, 2019 at 3:57 pm
      Reply

      NoScript is redundant if you have uMatrix. You can easily set up uMatrix to block third party scripts globally and then whitelist individual domains, which is exactly what NoScript does by default.

  35. Anonymous said on September 18, 2019 at 2:49 pm
    Reply

    Watching few bugs on bugzilla many comments I see are:

    – this will not fit in this release cycle
    – this is too huge for this release cycle
    – move this to next release cycle (and then forgot about this particular bug for months)
    – “wontfix” and “tracking” labels increment

  36. Paul(us) said on September 18, 2019 at 3:08 pm
    Reply

    Hopefully, Mozilla is not releasing a horror scenario like Microsoft 10 where te end-users are more or release becoming a guinea pig( or a lab rat.)

    1. Anonymous said on September 18, 2019 at 3:39 pm
      Reply

      Search about Firefox opt-out Studies. It’s hard to believe at first when you don’t see it for yourself, but users are even more guinea pigs when using Firefox than when using Microsoft products.

      BTW Microsoft employees now release linux kernels and Stallman was evicted from the FSF. Everything’s going well in the world of user freedom.

  37. Sunny said on September 18, 2019 at 3:27 pm
    Reply

    A faster release cycle means less efficiency.
    Each release event comes with a overhead of a set of actions that must be done.
    Examples are updating webpages, writting blog posts, adding download links to files, etc.
    This same overhead work will now need to be done once evrey 4 weeks instead of once every 6 weeks.

    Coding big features in a project means doing research, having meetings between teams, writing code and testing. It can take months before the new feature is done and tested.
    You can do this in a separate code branch than the main code and then merge it just before release. But developers working on the big feature still need to keep a eye on some of the rest of the many smaller code changes to prevent problems when merging. This interupts their work and reduces efficiency.
    And with a faster release cycle there is less time to test the merged new feature before release.

    So I think a faster release cycle will cause problems as has been shown in other software projects (Windows 10, security bugs in many mobile apps, etc).

    Firefox looks likely to die from Mozilla bad managment, but I hope it can rise again like it did when Netscape died.

  38. TC said on September 18, 2019 at 3:55 pm
    Reply

    “In recent quarters, we’ve had many requests to take features to market sooner.”
    By who? Your own employees? That’s not your audience!

    I can’t imagine the reality distortion field that exists around Mozilla. Nobody wanted this; rather, people wanted and have been very vocal about wanting the opposite of this.

    It’s irritating that the two biggest browser options are evil (Chrome) and stupid (Firefox). There are a few other options out there, but it’s hard to standardize on a real third option because all of those are flawed in their own way, too.

  39. Stan said on September 18, 2019 at 4:57 pm
    Reply

    Insert Mozocchio smiley here…

    Nothing to see here..If Martin hadn’t exposed them, It would ‘never have happened’.

    https://www.computerworld.com/article/3439139/mozilla-first-reveals-then-conceals-paid-support-plan-for-firefox.html

    1. Anonymous said on September 30, 2019 at 4:26 pm
      Reply

      I just have to ask…
      Who needs paid support for a freaking browser?
      I’m incredulous.

  40. Anonymous said on September 18, 2019 at 6:00 pm
    Reply

    I think Firefox is pretty good, and gives me an alternative to Chrome based browsers.

    I haven’t had any problems with Firefox, but if the faster release cycle introduces problems, I’ll switch to the ESR version.

    When I first switched to LibreOffice, I used the Still stable branch. I later switched to the Fresh branch, and haven’t had any problems so far.

  41. Derek Clements said on September 19, 2019 at 7:32 am
    Reply

    @TC: I disagree, uMatrix does not completely overlap NoScript. I know this as I’ve been running all three of the following extenstions together for a few years now on Release branch:
    * NoScript;
    * HTTPS Everywhere;
    * uMatrix.
    (Sorry about re-posting my extensions list; but I’m submitting this via the Lynx browser which does not allow me to reply to a comment locally)
    NoScript and uMatrix complement each other. NoScript offers protections that uMatrix do not, which I won’t list here right now.

    Anyhow, my original question asked if anyone here has been running all of the three extensions listed above, together, on 60.*esr and 68.*esr?

    Given Mozilla’s plans, I feel that I now have to follow the ESR branch.

  42. Jozsef said on September 21, 2019 at 8:01 pm
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    I’m with the majority here in condemning this latest own goal from the rudderless Mozilla.

    I look back with great fondness to the days when Firefox versions had codenames taken from nature reserves and were a significant event, eagerly awaited by so many. They took whatever time was required to get things right and I have to wonder how that became a bad idea. A few days ago I found the charming Gran Paradiso wallpaper on my hard drive and remembered how very much in tune with our wishes this project used to be.

    1. Yuliyas_Wifes_Boyfriend said on September 23, 2019 at 5:09 pm
      Reply

      > They took whatever time was required to get things right and I have to wonder how that became a bad idea.

      It was unprofitable. The heads at the Mozilla Corp gotta so Mozilla Organization got cannibalized by Mozilla Corp. The hardcore engineering nerds were replaced with gender-less summer camp script kiddies with green and purple hair.

  43. Bela said on November 2, 2019 at 4:54 am
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    Mozilla is OUT OF CONTROL. Plain and simple. They have no concept of and apparently no care about the needs of end-users. The way they’re constantly stripping away our safety/security mechanisms also suggests they don’t care about our security online and are control freaks!

    We do NOT want to have to update our browser constantly and relearn it just to satisfy the ego or money-grubbing urges of developers. We want to keep the add-ons we’ve used for decades and Mozilla keeps ripping them away from us.

    Go make yourself useful with something else and leave our browsers alone! GRRR!!

  44. user said on November 3, 2019 at 12:28 pm
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    its a funeral race(going to the necropolis). better provide two-three different branches like ubuntu. only cats and rabbits can breed very fast.

  45. Muhammad Firza said on December 1, 2019 at 9:32 am
    Reply

    In the 2020s, firefox & chrome soon to be irrelevant due to new version will release rapidly (released by 1 day).

    And also switch to https soon to be overrated & over-costs, due to new version of browsers

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