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[UPDATE: Looks like that roadmap is outdated.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?
So what's the only upside to Mozilla's race to boost version numbers? A higher Firefox version number ... that's all.