Mozilla may extend Firefox on Windows 7 and 8.1 support
With Windows 7 and 8.1 ending official support by Microsoft in January 2023, software companies face a tough decision: should they support the operating systems for longer, or drop support at the official end of support date.
Google announced that it will end support for Google Chrome on Windows 7 and Windows 8 in February 2023. The company told Chrome users who run the browser on devices powered by these operating systems that they could continue running Chrome 109, the last version to be released for Windows 7 and 8.1, but that the browser would not receive any more updates. Google did not reveal how large the browser's user base is on these two Windows operating systems.
Mozilla faces an equally tough decision. About 15% of Firefox users use the browser on Windows 7 and 8.1 machines. The percentage dropped significantly in the past couple of years, but is still almost as much as the percentage of all other operating systems that Firefox runs on, with the exception of the dominating Windows 10 platform. Firefox on all Linux distributions, on Mac, and all other versions of Windows, including Windows 8.1, also have a user base of about 15%.
Mozilla started to discuss the end of support for Windows 7 and 8.1 almost three years ago, but the thread on Bugzilla got traction only recently. A decision has not been made yet in regards to a potential support extension for these operating systems.
Mozilla considers two main options right now:
- End support in January 2023.
- Extend support until at least June 2023.
Ending support in January 2023 would alienate about 15% of the browser's user base. These users could continue to run the then-unsupported browser, similarly to how Chrome users can do so starting in February 2023. Some might move to a different browser, depending on whether it continues to be supported on their platform.
This option would remove a lot of headaches regarding testing, development tools and other tasks related to engineering. The downside would be that Firefox would lose a percentage of its user base over night.
The second option that Mozilla considers extends support until the release of the next Firefox ESR version. Firefox users on Windows 7 and 8.1 would be moved to Firefox 102 ESR, the current Extended Support Release branch, and would receive updates until Firefox 102 ESR is moved to Firefox 114 ESR; this happens in August 2023.
What appears to be clear is that Mozilla's support for Windows 7 and 8.1 will end in 2023. Firefox users who run the browser on Windows 7 or 8.1 devices have a number of options:
- Upgrade to Windows 10. A sizeable number of devices will be upgraded to Windows 10 once support runs out. Microsoft's dominating operating system is supported until 2025.
- Keep using the unsupported Firefox on the unsupported version of Windows.
- Switch to a web browser that continues to be supported and continue to run the unsupported version of Windows.
- Migrate to Linux and run Firefox on Linux.
All of these options either have a lengthy upgrade or migration process, or put the browser and/or system at risk because of the unsupported state.
Now You: do you use Windows 7 or 8.1? What will you do in January 2023? (via security.nl)Advertisement