Mozilla cautious about Firefox 11 release

Summary:Mozilla has cautiously released Firefox 11 after security concerns initially resulted in the organisation planning to delay the release.

Mozilla has cautiously released Firefox 11 after security concerns initially resulted in the organisation planning to delay the release.

Earlier this week, Mozilla announced that it was going to delay the release of Firefox 11 due to two concerns relating to vulnerabilities discovered at the Pwn2Own competition held at CanSecWest, and also due to Microsoft's Patch Tuesday.

At the time, Mozilla wanted to wait to see whether it could include a fix for the vulnerability found by Pwn2Own. After it was revealed that this vulnerability was one that Mozilla actually already knew about, the new version was given the green light, but only for users who had chosen to update manually.

In an update on its blog, Mozilla said that the reason for not going ahead with automatic updates was because Microsoft's Patch Tuesday had interacted badly with its updates in the past.

"We don't have reason to expect specific problems with this month's updates, but we'd rather take a day or two to understand the impact before we update all of our users," the company wrote.

"Once those impacts are understood, we'll push automatic updates out to all of our users."

On the developer side, contributors are debating whether to modify the open-source browser engine behind Firefox — Gecko — to use decoders that might already exist on the platform that Gecko is being used on. Andreas Gal, who is a director of research for Mozilla, but who sees himself on the same level as any random contributor, made the suggestion. He stated that there is really no justification to stop users from using system decoders already on their devices.

Such benefits would include better battery life and performance, as Gecko can make use of devices' hardware acceleration if it is present.

However, the counter argument is that web developers could run into the problem of not knowing what codecs they can count on to be present when creating content. There is also the issue that supporting system decoders would result in supporting closed codecs, which goes against Mozilla's position on only supporting open video formats like WebM.

Topics: Open Source, Enterprise Software, Security


A Sydney, Australia-based journalist, Michael Lee covers a gamut of news in the technology space including information security, state Government initiatives, and local startups.

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