Is Mozilla artificially boosting Firefox's version number?

Is Mozilla artificially boosting Firefox's version number?

Summary: It seems that Mozilla are in a rush to push Firefox into higher version numbers as fast as possible. Mozilla's explanation for the increase in version number turnover is that it has moved to 'rapid development cycle' to get new features into the hands of users as quickly as possible, but looking at Mozilla's roadmap I'm not so sure.

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TOPICS: Mobility, Browser
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Following the release of Firefox 5.0 last week by Mozilla, it seems from my email and comment bag that even hardcore Firefox fans and perplexed and even angered by Mozilla's version numbers game with the browser. Is Mozilla just artificially boosting Firefox's version number?

It seems that Mozilla are in a rush to push Firefox into higher version numbers as fast as possible. Mozilla's explanation for the increase in version number turnover is that it has moved to 'rapid development cycle' to get new features into the hands of users as quickly as possible, but looking at Mozilla's roadmap I'm not so sure. Here's the current roadmap for Firefox 6 and 7:

[UPDATE: Looks like that roadmap is outdated. here's a link to the updated roadmap. That said, there doesn't seem to be anything in this updated roadmap to warrant bumping Firefox from version 4 to version 7 over the course of a few months.]

Now bear in mind that Firefox 6 is only some 6 weeks away ... does that roadmap really give you the impression that a new version number is required, or does is suggest that Mozilla is playing a version numbers game in order to catch up with Internet Explorer 9, Opera 11 and Chrome 12?

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What's wrong with Firefox chasing higher version numbers? Well, do begin with, it's a move that breaks some plugins, and annoys developers. It's also a move that annoys enterprise users.

So what's the only upside to Mozilla's race to boost version numbers? A higher Firefox version number ... that's all.

Topics: Mobility, Browser

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67 comments
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  • Unfortunately...

    This does look like a case of simple version number inflation. I find it difficult to believe that two legitimate major versions would be released a new months apart.
    John L. Ries
    • RE: Is Mozilla artificially boosting Firefox's version number?

      @John L. Ries The one mentioned above is outdated. This is the latest roadmap <a href="https://wiki.mozilla.org/Features/Release_Tracking" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">https://wiki.mozilla.org/Features/Release_Tracking</a>
      abhinavkmr
      • Still very cheap, tateless move from Mozilla

        @abhinavkmr
        DDERSSS
    • V5 has the same V4 problems

      This is definitely a # game. I noticed that once you have 30+ tabs open and run flash or JS-heavy web pages on them FF slows down and grows fatter in terms of memory consumption. V4 had this symptom, and now it's passed to V5 as well.<br><br>People may ask why having 30+ tabs. Well #1 customers are always right in what they do. #2 If you are supposed to be a "platform" then running 30+ tabs is not too much to ask, is it?<br><br>People may say it's not FF's fault it must be the flash plug-ins. That could be true were it not this "plugin-container" thing FF offers. You cannot blame it on Flash no more now you have a container. Either the container is bad or your FF is bad.<br><br>To make things worse it appears to be some architectural problem that needs major fix. Such fix simply does not fit in a 3-month major release cycle no matter how "agile" you are, so I expect the symptom to persist as long as FF follows this 3-month cycle madness. It's no longer serious software engineering but agenda driven bad coding reminiscent of Netscape age practice.
      LBiege
      • RE: Is Mozilla artificially boosting Firefox's version number?

        @LBiege
        When I drive my car against walls, the paint scrapes off. Why would someone do this? #1 customers are always right in what they do. Please fix your cars.

        No. Customers are not always right. Customers, for example, cannot go and make their own Whopper at BK. Customers cannot steal.
        Customers cannot strike the help.
        Heck, I'm a contractor. I write software. If my customer said "We need you to sweep the floors." I would say "I don't do that."
        dhmccoy
      • RE: Is Mozilla artificially boosting Firefox's version number?

        @LBiege
        The buggy "Back" button of version 4.0, along with the other bugs, are still there in 5.0. Regrettably, they will probably continue to 6.0 and beyond. Pity.
        TsarNikky
      • RE: Is Mozilla artificially boosting Firefox's version number?

        @dhmccoy - No, there's a difference between an actively destructive or impractical behaviour such as you described and a product failing / degrading under load, which is what we're seeing here.

        I do use Firefox in much the way @LBiege described, and it's a noticeable downside of FF4+ for me; older versions could handle more tabs being open in parallel, while 4+ degrades and soaks up a lot more memory far sooner.
        eftpotrm
      • RE: Is Mozilla artificially boosting Firefox's version number?

        @dhmccoy

        Not your pay grade huh? You're correct in that the customer isn't always right in IT, but you sir are a conceited prick. The moment you become too good to do something, you've lost sight of what's really important in life.
        Ternarybit
      • RE: Is Mozilla artificially boosting Firefox's version number?

        @LBiege

        I asked Apple support, and they say you don't need 30+ tabs open.
        bb_apptix
      • RE: Is Mozilla artificially boosting Firefox's version number?

        @LBiege
        I just pruned it and I still have 25 tabs open.
        lol
        rustek
    • RE: Is Mozilla artificially boosting Firefox's version number?

      @John L. Ries <br><br>You folks are simpleminded aren't you? Who really honestly cares about the damn version number? No one does. What matters is the software underneath it, and if they want to be rid of clunky decimal place version numbers, more power to Mozilla. :<<br><br>Honestly I've seen too much hay being made about it. This change is SUPPOSED to SPEED Firefox development up<br>so it isn't stuck in a rut for 3 months waiting on people to post code to advance to the next milestone when there are fixes or improvements that need pushing out sooner. <br><br>I for one, like this because it makes it a lot easier to differentiate GOOD versions from BAD versions where bugs make the browser useless. It also makes sure that every set of changes made through each 6 week cycle gets exposure enough to the public so that the team can act more quickly on customer wants, and make the browser better.<br><br><br>If I didn't know any better I'd accuse you all lot of being Chrome users who are just jaded enough to realize that Mozilla isn't so stupid to ignore a method that WORKS and that you're getting some real competition from them now. :3<br><br><br>Not to mention if Mozilla gets enough input to continue being enterprise friendly, they may release milestone version numbers which are supported for a longer term. (Every 5 version numbers sound fair?) 5,10, 15, 20...and so on?

      3 months isn't but 11-13 weeks anyway. So how could halving the time it takes to release a new version be any worse?
      ZazieLavender
      • RE: Is Mozilla artificially boosting Firefox's version number?

        @ZazieLavender As long as your plugins don't work, I am against major upgrades.
        I am Gorby
    • RE: Is Mozilla artificially boosting Firefox's version number?

      @John L. Ries
      The truth is that perception is everything. Firefox 4 compared with Opera 11 or Chrome 12 makes Firefox look like last years newspaper, so Yes, I think that is one reason they are doing this. The other is because Chrome does it. Why is it OK for Google and terrible for Mozilla?
      rphunter42
  • MCMLXP

    They can always go backwards. Windows has gone from 3 to 95 to 2000 and back to 7. There have been no disruptions in The Force.
    Robert Hahn
    • Ding Dong.

      @Robert Hahn
      Those are not Version Numbers, they are product names. Arguably Windows 7 is a product number, but even that is by particular calculation.
      Cayble
      • RE: Is Mozilla artificially boosting Firefox's version number?

        @Cayble actually 3.0 was. Technically, 95/98/ME was a different software line than 3.x (which branched into NT 3.0), 2000 (which was NT 4.0), XP (which was NT 5.0), Vista (which was NT 6.0), and Windows 7 (Have a guess) So technically two of them are version numbers. But they have been increasing, and in the quickest releases there was at least a year between them.
        pigsflew
  • RE: Is Mozilla artificially boosting Firefox's version number?

    Question:

    Is Google artificially boosting Chrome's version number?

    If not, why not? And why is Mozilla doing it if Google isn't?

    If yes, why are you only complaining about Mozilla?
    wuppez
    • Actually it is WORST

      @wuppez Google is publishing pre-beta code as full version numbers.

      This number games is stupid. All it does is create complete chaos with zero real benefits. Just because Google is following a stupid numbering scheme does not mean that others should follow the lemming off the cliffs.
      wackoae
      • RE: Is Mozilla artificially boosting Firefox's version number?

        @wackoae My point is the hypocrisy and double standards of criticizing Mozilla of just doing what Google is already doing.
        wuppez
    • RE: Is Mozilla artificially boosting Firefox's version number?

      @wuppez Cause we dont give a sh*t about google?
      Tommy S.