Firefox's Development Cycle to Get Faster

By  |  Monday, February 7, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Likely in response to the fast-paced development of Google Chrome, Mozilla has announced it plans to accelerate the release cycle of its Firefox browser dramatically, with four major revisions of the browser expected by the end of the year. Chief among its goals are making the browser more nimble, as well as building social aspects into the platform and support for more hardware and platforms.

Seems like a solid plan considering the fragmentation of the hardware world as of late, and consumer’s increasing appetite for social networking. But I think the most important thing here is the focus on stability.

It’s no secret on some platforms Firefox is not so stable. I’ve had problems with crashing and sluggish behavior at times on Mac OS X, and have noticed others have had similar issues. Fixing these nagging issues should be a prority for Mozilla, as its competitors are more stable on Apple’s hardware.

Firefox 5 will likely be out within months, and would come with built-in Windows 7 64-bit support and include the social browsing  F1 and Account Manager add-ons as part of the browser. A few months after that comes Firefox 6, with JavaScript optimizations, support for Mac OS X 10.7, and support for its open web applications framework. Finally, towards the end of the year Firefox 7 will appear, with changes to the coding architecture to seperate processes — a move likely aimed at making the browser less pentreable to exploits — and XBL tweaks.

Now nothing is set in stone yet: the roadmap is labeled as a draft. Add to that Mozilla has traditionally not been able to hold itself to its schedule–Firefox 4, once due out in 2010, still isn’t final–and this plan may seem a little ambitious. Either way, once the darling of the anti-IE crowd, Mozilla needs to make a move amid an increasingly competitve landscape.

Everyone ready for the browser wars redux?

 
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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Bouke Timbermont Says:

    As a loyal Firefox fan I can only be glad with this news: I love Firefox (As mozilla said: it's the only browser of the big three -IE,Chrome and Firefox – that's built by people that just build a great browser), but Mozilla has become deadslow. Security issues luckily get fixed fast enough, but HOW LONG will Firefox still take to be finalized?

    I'm been using the beta since beta 8 and it's great, but srsly: It should have been released6 months ago.

  2. Rob Says:

    I dislike the notion of rapidly incrementing major version numbers, though the changes described might be enough to justify the numbers. Still, I'm concerned about how much they can really add in a quarter without sacrificing stability (which itself needs attention as you noted). I'm loath to abandon Firefox, even though Chrome is faster and leaner, because I really like the customizations I've brought to bear with extensions and I'd only use Chromium rather than Chrome to avoid Big Brother's Googly eyes on all that I do. Still, if Mozilla can't fix the real problems in Firefox, I'll find it increasingly hard to stay in their fold.

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