Mozilla abandons plan to hide Firefox version numbers

Mozilla abandons plan to hide Firefox version numbers

Summary: Mozilla decides to leave the placement of Firefox version numbers alone.

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TOPICS: Browser
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Mozilla has abandoned plans remove the Firefox version number from the 'About Firefox' window.

You might remember that a little over a week ago the news that Mozilla wanted to remove the Firefox from the 'About Firefox' window and bury it on the about:support page. This didn't go down well with members of Mozilla's Bugzilla forum. Well, following this outcry it seems that Mozilla has seen sense and abandoned plans to hide the version number.

This by Alex Faaborg, Principal Designer on Firefox:

Just in case this got lost amongst the many threads in progress: there are no plans to adjust the version number. It will remain in its current place in the about window, and we are going to continue with the current numbering scheme.

An attribute of working entirely in the open is that we sometimes create significant confusion as we discuss design work that is in progress. However the bright side is that there is never a shortage of feedback :)

Good news. Hiding the version number made no sense whatsoever.

Topic: Browser

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  • RE: Mozilla abandons plan to hide Firefox version numbers

    Good. Now how about they quit breaking addons? Stylish finally works in v6, but breaks again with v7.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Mozilla abandons plan to hide Firefox version numbers

      @Cylon Centurion It might be the version change entirely. Firefox addons have tags that say "Works with this range of Firefox", and if it's outside that range, it doesn't even attempt to work.
      Aerowind
    • RE: Mozilla abandons plan to hide Firefox version numbers

      @Cylon Centurion

      You don't use Stylish so who cares.
      ScorpioBlue
      • RE: Mozilla abandons plan to hide Firefox version numbers

        @ScorpioBlue <br><br>Wanna bet? I can prove it. I'm a heavy user of Firefox and it's many addons. Having addons that constantly break is a huge turn-off. And, I have been very vocal about it online. So, hopefully, Mozilla has been listening.

        Now, go find someone else to pick on.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Mozilla abandons plan to hide Firefox version numbers

        @Cylon Centurion<br><br>How can you prove it. <br><br>You can't, so stop fooling everybody. K?<br><br>Stylish is something you shouldn't have to fool with all the time and if you are fooling with it, then it's you that's breaking the compatibility with it. Not Mozilla.
        ScorpioBlue
      • RE: Mozilla abandons plan to hide Firefox version numbers

        @ScorpioBlue

        Your comments about stylish lead me to believe you haven't used it, or you wouldn't be making foolish statements about it.

        Stylish is something you can play with endlessly, that's really it's purpose.

        @Cylon Centurion. Don't let it get to you, it's a well known troll.
        rtk
    • RE: Mozilla abandons plan to hide Firefox version numbers

      Amen !
      TsarNikky
  • What

    were they <strike>smoking</strike> thinking!
    Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
  • RE: Mozilla abandons plan to hide Firefox version numbers

    A good start. Now return to the earlier model for development. Or, at least, give users the option of an LTS version and a bleeding edge version.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • RE: Mozilla abandons plan to hide Firefox version numbers

      @Rabid Howler Monkey Seriously this has to stop. Everyone COMPLAINED about them shipping releases every half-century and kept saying "Firefox is behind Chrome... Chrome is better... Chrome, Chrome, Chrome!" Mozilla moves to an agile software development strategy (which isn't something exotic or unused in the software development world) and now it's "We don't want updates every six weeks! We want it every fifty years like before! Chrome, chrome, chrome!"

      The Firefox releases coming out now aren't "bleeding edge" at all. They go through three separate development channels that equate to development, alpha and beta. You can see a draft of the structure here:
      http://mozilla.github.com/process-releases/draft/development_overview/

      Unless you're pulling from the "nightly build" channel, you're not running bleeding edge. If you download the regular releases, you're getting stable, tested versions that contain all of the bug fixes and new features that are finished by that stage of development. In addition, the 3.6.x version is still being maintained and no end-of-life date has been set for it yet.

      Is there any mainstream browser in existence that has an "LTS" version? I don't know if you'd consider Internet Explorer in that category or not.


      My favorite article in the world on this subject was on another shall-remain-nameless tech site that made "Chrome does it too." almost every other sentence of the article. :-)

      Now, regarding Mr. Kingsley-Hughes and Mr. Schmitz and their contention that this never made any sense... I explained it all before and no one ever addressed it (other than a post that got deleted which read in its entirety "You're an idiot."). Firefox has gotten lots of complaints and general OCPD freak-outs from people because they've gone to a simple incremental number system (repeat after me: Chrome does it too). But, since Chrome is newer and hence more cool, it's ok for them but not Firefox. These are the users who have a scale in their minds regarding exactly how many feature upgrades and of what type merit each 0.1 of version number increase. :-( They feel cheated somehow, like they've been promised X new features that aren't there if the version number doesn't meet their internal feature-to-number scheme. This proposal was just to get the version number out of the way so the obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) folks wouldn't have attention drawn to the numbering scheme and they'd stop heckling Mozilla. The version number was always going to be there for those support folks who really needed to know. That's it. It's no great mystery, and given that this site was one of many that ran articles about the numbering change like it was earth-shattering news, I can't believe the reason wasn't transparently obvious. You have met the reason, and it is you... bloggers who needed something to write about. As I mentioned before also, openSUSE went through this kind of situation too. Their version numbers NEVER meant anything. Releases would always be numbered X.0, X.1, X.2, X.3, X+1. Unfortunately, end users were treating the X.0 as if were a major release and avoiding it for imaginary stability reasons while on the flip side the press considered the X.1 release to be nothing but a bug fix release rather than the new version it was and gave those little or no coverage. It was for that reason that the new numbering scheme omits any .0 releases among other changes.

      Fedora just uses integers, Chrome just uses integers, Ubuntu's scheme reflects the date of release, Linus Torvalds incremented the kernel number to 3.0 for no other reason than it just felt right... no one cares or complains. Why Mozilla has been piled on by the tech press and end users is the real insanity that makes no sense, not the proposal to deflect the hostility by making the version number less obvious. Heck, if it were me calling the shots, I'd make a version labeled "4.3.2.4" which would be nothing but the current version with a different version number, but I'd have Mozilla charge people who wanted it. ;-) That might make them happy, and let the rest remember that they're getting the software for free and should be a little more appreciative rather than complaining about things that don't affect their experience with the program at all (unlike legitimate bugs).
      jgm@...
      • RE: Mozilla abandons plan to hide Firefox version numbers

        @jgm@...

        1. I never complained about the old development model used by Mozilla.

        2. I am not a fan of Google's Chrome browser (I've tried it on both Windows and Linux)

        3. I have contributed $ to Mozilla in the past.

        If what you say is true about the new (agile) development model being used by Mozilla, then why are the posters at the top complaining about broken add-ons?

        Signed, Still on 3.6.x
        Rabid Howler Monkey
      • RE: Mozilla abandons plan to hide Firefox version numbers

        1) Good for you, I suppose they should tailor it to what you want.
        2) See point 1
        3) Would you like a medal?

        Also, if you had been paying attention to the development ideas... the idea of version numbers having anything to do with compatibility is going to phased out before the end of the year.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Mozilla abandons plan to hide Firefox version numbers

        @RHM I'm sorry if you thought my criticism was aimed at you personally rather than the comments being made in general over the past few weeks on this topic.

        Regarding your point #3, according to Mozilla 94% of plug-ins are functioning with the newest version of Firefox and 95% of the most popular add-ons. If a plug-in is working with version 4 it should almost certainly be working with versions 5 and 6; the maintainer of the plug-in will simply need to mark it as being compatible. The problem isn't with Firefox's update schedule now so much as it is with old and unmaintained plug-ins.

        Forefox has released a plug-in that goes so far as to allow the user to install and test "incompatible" plug-ins to see if they work correctly and send a message to the developer letting them know their results.

        From Mozilla:

        "After installing the Add-on Compatibility Reporter, your incompatible extensions will become enabled for you to test whether they still work with the version of Firefox or Thunderbird that you're using. If you notice that one of your add-ons doesn't seem to be working the same way it did in previous versions of the application, just open the Add-ons Manager and click Compatibility next to that add-on to send a report to Mozilla.

        Even if your add-ons all work fine, if they're marked incompatible, please let us know that they work fine by submitting a success report so we can encourage the add-on developer to update their compatibility information.

        We'll collect all of the reports and let add-on developers know what users are having problems with, or if their add-ons seem to work just fine in future versions of the product.

        If you encounter problems and want to disable your incompatible add-ons again, uninstalling the Add-on Compatibility Reporter should revert to your previous compatibility checking settings."

        How simple and easy is that? Plus, as Goff256 reported, the compatibility system itself will be changed shortly so this won't even be necessary any more.

        There's a lot of folks (again, not referring to you) making noise out there despite the fact that their concerns have already been well-addressed and it's somewhat frustrating to watch for me.
        jgm@...
      • RE: Mozilla abandons plan to hide Firefox version numbers

        @jgm@... Thanks for the additional explanation. It is appreciated. When support for Firefox 3.6.x ends, I will upgrade and see how it goes. :)

        P.S. I had no idea that there were so many unmaintained Firefox add-ons (as I use only 2 and they are both actively maintained).
        Rabid Howler Monkey
    • RE: Mozilla abandons plan to hide Firefox version numbers

      @Rabid Howler Monkey I am most concerned about add-ons! I want "belt and braces" security. I use ZoneAlarm Internet Security product. It works with both Firefox and IE. It has an add-on for both IE and Firefox which hugely adds to security of both browsers. The latest version DOES NOT WORK with FF6.

      I have been a long time happy user of Firefox, but this frequent breaking of my extra security irks me. I seriously have been thinking of going back to IE.

      Firefox has gone beyond its nerdy beginnings. People may resent that, but now as a mainstream browser it needs to take responsibility for mainstream users.
      I am Gorby
  • RE: Mozilla abandons plan to hide Firefox version numbers

    A very good start. Lets hope that was a transitory aberration in Mozilla's thinking. Version numbers ARE important, period.
    TsarNikky
    • RE: Mozilla abandons plan to hide Firefox version numbers

      I know what ya mean.

      IE 9 is way better than Firefox 4. I mean, the number is bigger. >_>
      Michael Alan Goff
  • Stop And Build a Better Mouse Trap!

    At one time I really thought FireFox browser was the best but now I am not so sure. The designers of FireFox need to slow down and stop coming out with new versions every few months. Who cares about keeping up with Chrome, Internet Explorer, Apple or even the Jone's. The Addons or Plugins are what really make FireFox so appealing to use. Break the Addon and FireFox is not that great. Slow Down with the versions - and really put some thinking into the next version instead of just Willy - Nilly versions.
    marlorcomp
    • RE: Mozilla abandons plan to hide Firefox version numbers

      @marlorcomp

      "At one time I really thought FireFox browser was the best but now I am not so sure. The designers of FireFox need to slow down and stop coming out with new versions every few months. "

      Do you see the paradox in what you just wrote? You can't both want things to be improved and not want things updated at the same time! This is the kind of thinking that's driving me crazy. It's just like in the same breath other people are complaining that A) the version number is incremented while nothing's changed, yet B) everything is so changed that their plug-ins don't work anymore! Huh???

      "Who cares about keeping up with Chrome, Internet Explorer, Apple or even the Jone's."

      Everyone. People are going to use your browser if it's the best, not if it's the worst. That's the goal of every developer working on the project - to make the browser the best available on every platform. What other kind of goal could they have?

      Firefox isn't breaking plug-ins; old, unmaintained plug-ins are not being marked as compatible with the new version by their maintainers. Mozilla has a Compatibility Reporter plug-in now to help deal with this.

      Firefox absolutely should not "slow down"... they're not speeding up. There are multiple pipelines of parallel development: experimental, alpha, beta... that the code travels through. There is much "in the pipeline", so that's why we're seeing releases every six weeks now. Those changes have been worked on for much longer than six weeks however. A feature may have spent 3-5 6 week cycles in the experimental stage before spending another 6 in alpha and another 6 in beta. We're simply getting much more timely releases of what's been thoroughly completed and tested so far. I don't see that as anything to complain about.
      jgm@...