Firefox dev claims "everybody hates Firefox updates" [Update]

Ex-Mozilla staffer Jono DiCarlo has posted a lengthy blog post that essentially slams Firefox's rapid release cycle, claiming not only that "everybody hates Firefox updates" but also that rapid releases have "ruined" Firefox and "killed [its] reputation". DiCarlo claims the main problems with the Firefox rapid release cycle are the number of dialog boxes and prompts that appear when an update is required, and that updates keep breaking extensions.

DiCarlo has been asking people about the release cycle and he says "not one person has had anything good to say about the rapid release process." He goes on to say that Mozilla has handled the rapid release process poorly, and that by pushing a "never-ending stream of updates on people who didn't want them" people have been driven to Chrome with its simpler, no-fuss update process.

Credit where it's due: the way Google handled Chrome updates was very, very smart. They recognized that updates are one of the hardest things to get right, so they solved that problem first, before releasing version 1. The first release of Chrome was little more than an empty box of a browser, but it was wrapped around an excellent updating system. This let them gradually transform that empty box into a full-featured browser, without the users ever realizing they were getting updates.

The importance of updates bringing security updates, bug fixes and critical features is acknowledged by DiCarlo, but he laments the use of frequent updates to change the interface for no reason. By changing the interface every update, "your productivity will be lower than usual until you've spent a bunch of time learning a new interface"; time better spent on other things.

Mozilla is working to address some of these issues - Firefox 15 will bring background, dialog-box-free updates like Chrome - but according to DiCarlo the damage has already been done: "People who got fed up and ditched Firefox are going to be hard to win back."

The post has created quite a stir across the internet as people who originally slammed the rapid release cycle now have another platform to argue their case. What do Neowin readers think? Is the rapid release cycle bad for Firefox?

Update: Mozilla reached out to us and wished to respond to the statements made by the former Firefox developer. We have included their statement below.

Jono's analysis is interesting, but outdated. Regular Firefox updates are good news for users and for the Web but only when they don't interrupt what you're doing. Today's Firefox updates are applied in the background with no interruptions; they even keep your Firefox Add-ons compatible between releases. The result is that our users always have a fast, beautiful and secure browsing experience. Regular releases also let us get new features to our users faster than ever before, and we can listen to their feedback to improve things, just as we did with updates in 2011.

Via: Neowin Forums | Thanks Mephistopheles for the tip!
Source: Evil Brain Jono's Natural Log

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I think this rapid release cycle isn't too bad... I just think its probematic in the terms of extensions because every extension maker has to change their page so it supports the latest version every couple of months or so...

And for those who use extensions that aren't being updated anymore... well, you're kind of stuck...

Oz. said,
Actually Firefox is doing better than ever.

Maybe, using a 32-bit OS, with no add-ons or extentions. However, when running under Windows-7 64-bit, with a minimal number of add-ons and extentions, reliability suffers.

ChrisJ1968 said,
I tip my hat to Google for Chrome and it's update system

Because the regular chrome user does not use add ins.

People need to factor in YOUR configuration + platform
when complaining about Firefox.
For example i use CCleaner to manage all my browsers (3x)
I generally don't don't delete cache'd pages, every couple months or so usualy
and i selected "Cookies I want to save" in CCleaner and checked clean cookies
for IE, Chrome and Firefox. Thats a pretty cool feature of CCleaner but that reminds me
the other day i did a clean install on a formatted HDD and i was pretty unimpressed
with CCleaner deciding that it could check online and download the Chrome installer
and then run it silently on my behalf, spreading shortcuts ALL over, and... making
it the default browser on my computer.. again ALL of this with OUT my permission.
And NO i did NOT get an option (checkbox) to enable this either, i WAS looking for it..
Thats pretty damn lame of CCleaner !!

Anyway my original point lol
Like i was saying about configuration.. its up to the user to HELP make the browser
a fast and stable platform, and being a dope head and installing a million random
stupid add-ons and extensions is not a smart plan.. stick to a couple you need and search for any add-ons + extensions you do not need and DISABLE them !
Pretty common with any thing popular a lot of people complain and most of it in my opinion is "user error" For example Microsoft is always crucified for a lot of things
when its the end users fault for doing a bad job managing their machine !

nice update to the topic too
Good for you Mozilla
You guys do a great job
BUT
Is there some reason why i get the whole browser locking up randomly ?
Seems to happen when system resources are used a lot, such as loading a web page
and extracting rar file (really big ones) and i have a 4ghz C2Duo
I see this a lot especialy when there is a lot of I/O activity (HDD transfers etc)
while loading a web page usualy.. not sure why this happens.

FF ESR edition is where it's at. The extended release version. It's stable, works with all my add-ons, and only gets updates about every 6 months, other than major security things that need to be patched, obviously. I've been quite happy with it.

Yeah they do... I'll tell you what does my head in. the speed Road Map. I'll be ddecorating for the next three weeks, by the time I come back Firefox will probably be on either 14 or 15 because my PC will be inactive for at least three weeks. :-)

Yes, finally they woke up. Once they fix the updates, then they fix the way the browser has been getting slower with each update, I'll switch back. There's little annoyances in Chrome that Firefox excels in. The FF AwesomeBar is wayyyyy better than the Chrome unified search bar - for one thing.

If it didn't run like muddy pond water on Linux I might give it another shot, but Chrome is way faster and smoother operating in Linux than Firefox.

The rapid update cycles has become so counter-productive. Most irritating, which Mozilla seems to ignore, is that basic add-ons and extensions no longer work with the new version. To add insult to the injury, Mozilla does not suggest alternatives to those add-ons and extensions that no longer work.
As one of many examples: LiveLink does not work in version 13. LUCKILY, I was able to install version 12 and have it work again. (Having been badly burned, I'm sticking with version 12 for a long time.)
Why does one have to "relearn or reconfigure" FireFox for each new version? I have much better things to do with my Life.

Agreed, but saying that people are switching to Chrome because of that is too much. I switched for one reason alone - Chrome was/is much snappier than any browser I used. It took a while to get to grips with its barebones UI at first, now I have the opposite problem :-)

Breach said,
Agreed, but saying that people are switching to Chrome because of that is too much. I switched for one reason alone - Chrome was/is much snappier than any browser I used. It took a while to get to grips with its barebones UI at first, now I have the opposite problem :-)

This is exactly why we dumped Firefox on all the computers in the house, and I don't use it for work. Seems the firefox ppl forgot it's used for work too. I like my production environments stable. Logging in some morning and discovering my day is going to be wasted fighting the browser is not acceptable.

That and Chrome *is* better, and crashes less often.

- Dan.

Never complained about the updates. Most of the time it won't update unless you click on About Firefox in which it would check for updates. They do updates now based on your version of Firefox. If you were using 13.0 it would increment up to 13.0.1 and so on. Changes would be very similar in terms of security fixes or whatnot. If you were looking for improvements on the software itself, then you would need to upgrade the version up with 14.0 and so on. All extensions have been made compatible as well unless reported by many users stating it non-working/broken will it then report as non-compatible. You can always submit a report to a dev for that particular extension to make it compatible if they still even support/work on it. Nothing is ever really broken with Firefox extensions unless there is some change to the core structure itself. Besides, most broken extensions are usually replaced with other variants that do the same job or better. Many alternatives out there so give it a shot imo. That and the fact it stopped memory hogging after Firefox 10 with its new way of opening numerous tabs/refresh.

Morisato said,
Never complained about the updates. Most of the time it won't update unless you click on About Firefox in which it would check for updates. They do updates now based on your version of Firefox. If you were using 13.0 it would increment up to 13.0.1 and so on. Changes would be very similar in terms of security fixes or whatnot. If you were looking for improvements on the software itself, then you would need to upgrade the version up with 14.0 and so on. All extensions have been made compatible as well unless reported by many users stating it non-working/broken will it then report as non-compatible. You can always submit a report to a dev for that particular extension to make it compatible if they still even support/work on it. Nothing is ever really broken with Firefox extensions unless there is some change to the core structure itself. Besides, most broken extensions are usually replaced with other variants that do the same job or better. Many alternatives out there so give it a shot imo. That and the fact it stopped memory hogging after Firefox 10 with its new way of opening numerous tabs/refresh.

Good luck in getting broken extensions and add-ons fixed. In the meantime, users have to "deal" with FireFox that no longer works for them. Maybe MS's IE is looking better and better. People don't like "gotchas."

People would complain if it silently updated. As I recall, people were complaining that Chrome was forcing new versions on them. Particularly IT admins, who typically want to control the update schedule.

I don't mind the updates because I'm a geek and I have nothing better to do but silent updates are the way forward for 95% of the users, so I am glad they're being implemented in Firefox 15.

Wooo! I wasnt aware that moving away from FF is becoming trend. I just moved from FF month ago. It did broke my some extensions when it moved to rapid release cycle. However I have not moved to Chrome. I'm fine with IE9 on windows and opera on Linux.

While the update process is annoying, what's pushing me away from Firefox is it's slow speed and high memory usage in comparison to Chrome.
It's so annoying to see firefox.exe using over 500MB of RAM after a browsing session with only one tab left open. Closing out and restoring my session returns it to it's true usage of ~150MB. I shouldn't have to worry about doing this every once in a while when I'm using the Internet, but it slows down when its usage gets high.

Also, the responsiveness of websites feels like a snail compared to Chrome. I've been hesitant to switch to Chrome because it's lacking some very basic features I expect from a browser (warn me if I'm about to close out of a 20 tab session, PLEASE!) but the speed alone might be enough to switch. Google Docs feels almost unusable in FF.

Open the task manager and check out Chrome while it's running. It has multiple instances open and they all add up to what FF is using. (On my machine).

Trueblue711 said,
While the update process is annoying, what's pushing me away from Firefox is it's slow speed and high memory usage in comparison to Chrome.
It's so annoying to see firefox.exe using over 500MB of RAM after a browsing session with only one tab left open. Closing out and restoring my session returns it to it's true usage of ~150MB. I shouldn't have to worry about doing this every once in a while when I'm using the Internet, but it slows down when its usage gets high.

Also, the responsiveness of websites feels like a snail compared to Chrome. I've been hesitant to switch to Chrome because it's lacking some very basic features I expect from a browser (warn me if I'm about to close out of a 20 tab session, PLEASE!) but the speed alone might be enough to switch. Google Docs feels almost unusable in FF.

Loving the Chrome updates... One of the main reasons why I switched to chrome. Overall Chrome is just so smooth in general , even right clicking/opening tabs/etc/etc/etc...

Still with Firefox and will always be with Firefox! But yeah if they truly wanted to copy Google's release schedules, they should really work on the addon version problem. That is truly annoying.

Lately I started turning off Firefox's updated cause I got tired of the constant updating with little change in new features.
I also hated when it would auto-update and break all my extensions.

I was with firefox since version 0.5, but lately firefox is so slow and its whole concept is screwed up. I dont know the exact moment but they started to depricate the idea of extensions and even took emphasis off of that. The extensions are what made firefox amazing. The second thing that i can point to is the lack of speed. Chrome is just a lot lot faster.

If you are moaning about updating firefox you obv don't remember during before the rapid releases do you? you still had to check for updates to get the security fixes which is basically what you get now except a little bit more so stop your complaining, thanks.

TBH the only thing that keeps me with FireFox is the extension InFormEnter. There is nothing comparable for Chrome, and if there was, FF would be gone from my system.

I don't mind the updating system at all, but I do mind how slow it gets after long usage sessions and the freezing up for a few seconds here and there.. drives me nuts.

don't really give a flying forck if they release version 100.0.0 by next month. so long as it is usable and stable.

They truly lost me with the crap font rendering fiasco that plagued FF till about version 7 or 8 I think if you used hardware acceleration. IE9 and 10 still suffer from the same thing because it's mostly an issue with the hardware accelerated text rendering implemented in Win7. It seems MS have done nothing to improve it in Win8.

I do use FF at work on OSX but the only reason is because Firebug is a slightly better tool than the Webkit dev tools.

The updates didn't bother me as much as the extension "breaking" did.

LaXu said,
They truly lost me with the crap font rendering fiasco that plagued FF till about version 7 or 8 I think if you used hardware acceleration. IE9 and 10 still suffer from the same thing because it's mostly an issue with the hardware accelerated text rendering implemented in Win7. It seems MS have done nothing to improve it in Win8.

I do use FF at work on OSX but the only reason is because Firebug is a slightly better tool than the Webkit dev tools.

The updates didn't bother me as much as the extension "breaking" did.


crap font in IE? i'll be damned, its exactly the same what im typing here, as what im typing in notepad right now just to be sure if it is the same ....
Its not the font rendering in Windows. Maybe your eyes or something?
Windows has a perfect history in rendering fonts on its OS. Especially compared to the crap rendering OSX and Linux used for years. (OSX seems fine nowdays, Linux is still a bit weird in its font rendering IMO, but its not worse or better, its just done differently from what i noticed.)

I feel much safer in Firefox when it comes to day to day business especially when it comes to online transactions. I use different browsers for different task as one browser never does everything best.

What ****es me off most with firefox aside from this? The classic 'tab move' bug. I didn't experiance this until FF 13, but now, every so often firefox will go to the 'drag tab' hand despite me not dragging a tab, and freeze. I don't just mean freeze as in, close and reopen, I mean, freeze the whole ****ing desktop manager, so I have to CTRL+ALT+F2 to terminal, login, ps ax | grep firefox and kill it's process ID, then go back to my WM to use it again.

So I looked on the web, how long has this bug existed? Since FF9. Has it been fixed? No. Are mozilla bothered about fixing? **** no. How many comments and 'same here' replies does the mozilla bug thread have? LOADS.

n_K said,
What ****es me off most with firefox aside from this? The classic 'tab move' bug. I didn't experiance this until FF 13, but now, every so often firefox will go to the 'drag tab' hand despite me not dragging a tab, and freeze. I don't just mean freeze as in, close and reopen, I mean, freeze the whole ****ing desktop manager, so I have to CTRL+ALT+F2 to terminal, login, ps ax | grep firefox and kill it's process ID, then go back to my WM to use it again.

So I looked on the web, how long has this bug existed? Since FF9. Has it been fixed? No. Are mozilla bothered about fixing? **** no. How many comments and 'same here' replies does the mozilla bug thread have? LOADS.


Similar issues here with Iceweasel on my linux box, it freezes the whole freaking desktop. But somehow I cannot even get to the terminal, i've spammed CTRL+ALT F1 to 12 to bes ure and CTRL+ALT+BACKSPACE didnt do anything either. It happends with flash in pages i think, one time it did that when it was only loading a list of images very strange. Ah well, added non-free repo's and aptituded Opera

I use Firefox at work because Chrome for some reason doesn't play nice with this old XP machine, which I am using right now as I type. Seems to work fine and I don't notice when the updates auto-apply. What's the problem? Seems fine with me.

sexypepperoni said,
Everybody hates Firefox anyways.

Yeah, like was said in one of the comments above i think the Chrome hype has gotten a lot of people to jump ship because everyone else is doing it more than Chrome really being that much better than Firefox.

i am willing to bet in terms of real world speed they are pretty damn close either way nowadays.

i just prefer the overall feel of Firefox more but Chrome is not bad as if it where not for Firefox (well Pale Moon x64 in my case) odds are i would be using Chrome as my primary browser.

ThaCrip said,

Yeah, like was said in one of the comments above i think the Chrome hype has gotten a lot of people to jump ship because everyone else is doing it more than Chrome really being that much better than Firefox.

i am willing to bet in terms of real world speed they are pretty damn close either way nowadays.

i just prefer the overall feel of Firefox more but Chrome is not bad as if it where not for Firefox (well Pale Moon x64 in my case) odds are i would be using Chrome as my primary browser.


its all hype to use Chrome, most Chrome users are unaware what browser they use as it came with other software, or their friends/wizzkids forced it apon them, (or dont give a damn) and you wont hear either people about 'im using chrome'. But the ones you do hear... its either fanboyism or to be cool and part of what they think is the 'elite' of the internet or something (thats how they appear )
They're using a browser, its sole purpose of creation was to gather information about the people using it. The Chrome project was started in a reply to IE7's tracking protection. Which would cripple allot of Google's tracking on users. Hence they just started making their own browser. With allot of hacks and tweaks, with barely any functionality (its like challenging an OS like micro-kernel like Unix to a massive kernel like NT and then compare its speed on how fast it calculates 1+1) The browser was lacking allot of functionality others had, and the unprofesional errors and messages through the browser kinda ticked me off too. FF jumped ship with the same things 'oops something went wrong' NOT OOPS! I just want the error message!
Now Chrome is slowly gaining the features other browsers had for years, and I for one do not notice the same speeds I once gotten with the old Chrome versions. Its slowing down. And the only reason it currently beats IE9 in loading pages, is because it starts loading the website if your still typing it in the adres bar....It cannot beat IE9's compilation to native coding and then excuting a website as it where an actual program using the GPU and the like.
It also hasnt beaten IE in security since IE8.

simplezz said,
I must be one of the few who actually likes the faster upgrade cycle then

Agreed. i would rather have a bunch of smaller upgrades say every couple of months or so vs waiting for one big one about once a year like it once was. so in this sense us Firefox users (well i am on 'Pale Moon x64, but close enough ) can thank Chrome for this as without Chrome coming along odds are Firefox would still be on it's slow update cycle.

I hate Chrome because it requires 2 update process to be running at all times and even during startup. I'd rather have Firefox update style then extra process running even when I'm not using Chrome.

swanlee said,
I hate Chrome because it requires 2 update process to be running at all times and even during startup. I'd rather have Firefox update style then extra process running even when I'm not using Chrome.
Those extra processes are one or two tabs or addons running in their own processes. It's a security feature (isolating tabs away from each other) and also a feature that means that if the process crashes, you don't get the entire browser taken down (like with Firefox currently).

testman said,
Those extra processes are one or two tabs or addons running in their own processes. It's a security feature (isolating tabs away from each other) and also a feature that means that if the process crashes, you don't get the entire browser taken down (like with Firefox currently).

There is literally an UPDATE service that runs on startup even when you do not launch your browser. F, that a browser should not have services running for it or processes running even when it is not in use.

Chrome is freaking bloatware at that point.

testman said,
Those extra processes are one or two tabs or addons running in their own processes. It's a security feature (isolating tabs away from each other) and also a feature that means that if the process crashes, you don't get the entire browser taken down (like with Firefox currently).

Theres GoogleUpdaterService and another one i cant exactly remember running CONSTANTLY. It does not only update chrome to, but any google product. Still there is NO reason for it to run constantly. And not sure now, but it used to send home information I completely didnt trust. Encrypted, couldnt read. but it was allot more then tracking updates thats for sure!

swanlee said,

There is literally an UPDATE service that runs on startup even when you do not launch your browser. F, that a browser should not have services running for it or processes running even when it is not in use.

Chrome is freaking bloatware at that point.

having a service running is the way to achieve these silent uac promptless updates on windows. Firefox is going to be doing the same thing.

ViperAFK said,

having a service running is the way to achieve these silent uac promptless updates on windows. Firefox is going to be doing the same thing.


Actually, the service Firefox uses does not run all of the time. It is only started when it is necessary...

rstrong said,

Actually, the service Firefox uses does not run all of the time. It is only started when it is necessary...

His point is that it WILL, like Chrome.

siah1214 said,
And this is why I use IE10.

are you having graphical glitches? i have to restart IE10 every now and then because my whole tab goes black, blinking or parts go black and wont reappear. havent tried turning of GPU rendering yet its not that much. plus restarting IE10 is al most instant.

This dev is an idiot.. disgruntled employee ?

I have used Chrome from the start and i think its waaay over hyped
which is why most people use it i think (because everyone else does)
and the same can be said about Firefox.. the herd of lemmings will do what they do,
follow each other off a bloody cliff lol

Rapid releases ? naw thats bull.
there really is not that many and its not that intrusive to me either.

The guy that said
"The damage has already been done mostly for the new version numbers breaking add-on compatibility"
got it right.. when Chrome has the same amount of addons
take while guess what its gonna be like then ?
I'll give ya a hint -> ITS GOING TO BE THE SAME AS FIREFOX
Who compares apples to oranges ?

I might dump Firefox for Chrome
when it can do a small fraction of what Firefox already can..

Mozilla keep doing what you do. Your doing just fine

If it wasn't for the Chrome's auto translation feature i would dump it in a heart beat..
And its funny cause i hate the retarded auto update garbage and killed the 2 chrome
Tasks that are added to the Task Manager and the start up entry (3 start up's for updates)
Plus i use it so rarely i wind up getting an update every single time i run it, BUT
i just click the about box and that triggers the update (when i want to do it)

..this story is dumb, but so are a lot of Chrome Lemmings

I am Not PCyr said,
This dev is an idiot.. disgruntled employee ?

I have used Chrome from the start and i think its waaay over hyped
which is why most people use it i think (because everyone else does)
and the same can be said about Firefox.. the herd of lemmings will do what they do,
follow each other off a bloody cliff lol

Rapid releases ? naw thats bull.
there really is not that many and its not that intrusive to me either.

The guy that said
"The damage has already been done mostly for the new version numbers breaking add-on compatibility"
got it right.. when Chrome has the same amount of addons
take while guess what its gonna be like then ?
I'll give ya a hint -> ITS GOING TO BE THE SAME AS FIREFOX
Who compares apples to oranges ?

I might dump Firefox for Chrome
when it can do a small fraction of what Firefox already can..

Mozilla keep doing what you do. Your doing just fine

If it wasn't for the Chrome's auto translation feature i would dump it in a heart beat..
And its funny cause i hate the retarded auto update garbage and killed the 2 chrome
Tasks that are added to the Task Manager and the start up entry (3 start up's for updates)
Plus i use it so rarely i wind up getting an update every single time i run it, BUT
i just click the about box and that triggers the update (when i want to do it)

..this story is dumb, but so are a lot of Chrome Lemmings


Add to the fact that the Google Updater service was suspected allot to phoning home information it should...doesnt need to.
I've checked it for a long time, and wiresharked my network, and the google updater service, sends info back to google way to much then whats needed, couldnt read the data (ofc, encrypted durr) but it was allot more then the usual check up on 'is there an update for product X or Y?'
Then i started checking more google products, i check what chrome send home, even when idling, data was being sent to google servers every now and then, and it wasnt a heartbeat/pingpong or anything. It was way to much data for such things.
Plus adding they read my freaking emails, i dropped this spyware giant entirely (except google search, stupid bing still lacking in europe but its getting better, thank god)
Its really just sheeple using Chrome. I had conversations with my friends a while ago, most of them use Chrome, ppl generally laugh at me for using IE9. But they just use it... because.. no reason.
Plus I know quite a bit about all 3 the major browsers, whats in there, how its in there, what it does. And some are now using IE9, as they didnt knew a sophisticated adblock was present by default for example
They, and I myself, kinda disliked having to configure adblock ourselfs (add lists, manually block ads etc) when IE9 does it all automatic 'oh this looks like an ad, ill remove it' and its smart enough to not block embedded video links or anything similar.

maybe its just me but i myself go to the about option and check for updates say 1 day after a new version is released on filehippo......im on the Beta channel BTW

regarding addons....i just use adblock, ghostery, speeddial and they never break....popular addons shouldnt break i guess...

I was actually excited about the rapid release cycle at first. Finally, Firefox can improve more rapidly.

After Firefox 8 or 9, when not much progress had been made on keeping Firefox's memory usage low and responsiveness high after a long period of uptime, I dumped it for Chrome. Maybe my add-ons in Firefox were part of the problem but I found alternatives for most of them in Chrome and it doesn't give me any trouble.

I think people are over re-acting. The updates are not disorientating or confusing, Firefox downloads the update, the next time you restart the browser it updates it... no big deal here.

Mainer82 said,
I think people are over re-acting. The updates are not disorientating or confusing, Firefox downloads the update, the next time you restart the browser it updates it... no big deal here.
And breaks your addons.

The problem here is that Mozilla decided to do what Google does with Chrome but didn't look at HOW Google updates Chrome.

Mozilla should have just dropped the version numbers the moment 4 came out, especially as the updates have made little visual impact (to the GUI). The version numbers should have been "for internal use only" from then on. They should have modified it so that major version number changes didn't cause any of the extensions to just "break" (although to be fair they have started to mitigate this, a bit late but...) - but that's mainly because of the way extension compatibility was originally set up - it really needed changing BEFORE the rapid updates.

In short, they didn't really think of the whole process before they decided to up the update release schedule.

testman said,
And breaks your addons.

The problem here is that Mozilla decided to do what Google does with Chrome but didn't look at HOW Google updates Chrome.

Mozilla should have just dropped the version numbers the moment 4 came out, especially as the updates have made little visual impact (to the GUI). The version numbers should have been "for internal use only" from then on. They should have modified it so that major version number changes didn't cause any of the extensions to just "break" (although to be fair they have started to mitigate this, a bit late but...) - but that's mainly because of the way extension compatibility was originally set up - it really needed changing BEFORE the rapid updates.

In short, they didn't really think of the whole process before they decided to up the update release schedule.


I must not be using enough addons as I have not yet had any problems and I switch between Aurora and Firefox and don't have problems with Xmarks, ABP and LastPass.

I do agree that they should have fixed the compatibility check as it just looks at the # in the config file of the addon. Kinda silly, but now most devs just put a higher number in the configuration so that it won't break so much.

Mainer82 said,

I must not be using enough addons as I have not yet had any problems and I switch between Aurora and Firefox and don't have problems with Xmarks, ABP and LastPass.

I do agree that they should have fixed the compatibility check as it just looks at the # in the config file of the addon. Kinda silly, but now most devs just put a higher number in the configuration so that it won't break so much.

I was using PropertyBee and it was breaking every time the major version number was changed. Yes, I suppose the developer could have put a silly-high number in but that mechanism (stating the version number compatibility in the addon config file) was silly to being with and was horribly exposed by the rapid updates. The reason why developers only tended to state the latest stable version number of Firefox in the addon config file was simply because in the past (before version 5) major changes to the version number indicated major changes to Firefox, hence may break addon compatibility. With the rapid releases, this is less likely.

Mainer82 said,
I think people are over re-acting. The updates are not disorientating or confusing, Firefox downloads the update, the next time you restart the browser it updates it... no big deal here.

*Firefox has been updated, oops sorry your plugins and extensions don't work with this version.*
Lovely.

testman said,
And breaks your addons.

The problem here is that Mozilla decided to do what Google does with Chrome but didn't look at HOW Google updates Chrome.

Mozilla should have just dropped the version numbers the moment 4 came out, especially as the updates have made little visual impact (to the GUI). The version numbers should have been "for internal use only" from then on. They should have modified it so that major version number changes didn't cause any of the extensions to just "break" (although to be fair they have started to mitigate this, a bit late but...) - but that's mainly because of the way extension compatibility was originally set up - it really needed changing BEFORE the rapid updates.

In short, they didn't really think of the whole process before they decided to up the update release schedule.

Not anymore. They fixed that back in Firefox 10 by defaulting most plugins to compatible unless they were a high-risk binary based one. That's very few plugins. My plugins (and I have a small list) never have an issue with Firefox updates.

Tha Bloo Monkee said,

*Firefox has been updated, oops sorry your plugins and extensions don't work with this version.*
Lovely.

How outdated is your information? geesh. the update and addons problem is fixed a few releases ago already. Yet you still flame the browser with your incomplete info? meh

also, you could download the addon with save as to your harddrive, open it in freaking notepad, edit version number yourself. save the file... open file with... firefox and whatdoyaknow... it was a miracle, it would work on 99% of the addons.
I just got 2 addons or something now, and last 2 version releases at least, the addons keep working like they should

Shadowzz said,

How outdated is your information?

Not outdated at all. Don't take my word for it, read the article.

Shadowzz said,

also, you could download the addon with save as to your harddrive, open it in freaking notepad, edit version number yourself. save the file... open file with... firefox and whatdoyaknow... it was a miracle, it would work on 99% of the addons.

lolz yeah cause Average Joe wants to learn how to do that to fix an update. I think you missed the entire point of this article...

Tha Bloo Monkee said,

lolz yeah cause Average Joe wants to learn how to do that to fix an update. I think you missed the entire point of this article...

I am not an average Joe, and still do not wish to play around with add-on files. If Google could do it from the get-go, so could Mozilla. Now they fixed it - who cares, I left them long time ago. From leading the market they turned into a catching-up product. How pathetic.

Maybe that explains why they still can't support retina on OSX It's pretty sad to watch the devs on FF's bugzilla try to figure out how to support it.

Rudy said,
Maybe that explains why they still can't support retina on OSX It's pretty sad to watch the devs on FF's bugzilla try to figure out how to support it.

They had the same problem with Windows 7 and Aero. It was a pain due to the legacy method they were using to render fonts and trying to find a new way that worked well on both wasn't easy. At the same time they were implementing GPU accelerated page rendering.

I have only good things to say about the Rapid Release Cycle. And all issues have been fixed, now, anyway. And thanks to the update cycle, the performance gap between Chrome and Firefox is closing more and more.

No one can say that Firefox would have been better off without faster updates.

Meph said,
No one can say that Firefox would have been better off without faster updates.

I think the article is saying more about how poorly Firefox handles those rapid updates compared to Chrome.

LightEco said,

I think the article is saying more about how poorly Firefox handles those rapid updates compared to Chrome.


Yes, but as I say, that's fixed now. I'm running Nightly, but I think background updates are in Aurora, now, so it should be released in about 8 weeks.

Cant say the updates and version numbers have effected me at all to be honest, its still great for the work i do, i absolutely love FireFox

I just came back to Firefox last week after a using chrome exclusively for over a year. While I'm glad to have all my extensions back and IMO better versions of the same if they even existed on Chrome, the speed is still not as good, both opening and browsing, BUT it is MUCH much better, enough so to stay.

At least it looks like Firefox finally "gets it", which is a good sign, that and Google IS evil. :-)

I used to use FF, switched to IE9 when it released. I agree with this so much, I find it disorientating on the rare occasion I now open FF to be told that two or three major versions have gone by with literally no visible or appreciable change in any respect - well, except when the UI's suddenly upside down and back to front. They've gone halfway to chrome with the update frequency, but they need to go the whole hog and ignore version numbers wholesale, and not make any noise when they increment the number the about box.

Firefox took a kick long ago out of my computer due to this.

Put atop it that my fav addons weren't always compatible with the new version. Also, one thing that has made me hate ffox is the fact that sometimes it freezes for a few seconds and that was driving me crazy.

Chrome all the way baby!

Yeah, I moved to Chrome several years back. I had used Firefox since it was called Phoenix but got fed up with the lack of updates, poor performance (particularly startup time) and incompatibility with add-ons.

I keep checking on Firefox, Opera and IE to see how they've improved but Chrome is still the best for my needs.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Yeah, I moved to Chrome several years back. I had used Firefox since it was called Phoenix but got fed up with the lack of updates, poor performance (particularly startup time) and incompatibility with add-ons.

I keep checking on Firefox, Opera and IE to see how they've improved but Chrome is still the best for my needs.

addon compatibility on older FF's? really, BTW phoenix was just a version name of 1.0. I've used FF from around those times (before mozilla/netscape) But addons always worked fine in updates to me unless it was a full version nr increase. But they where hackable, just save as the extention, edit the file, change version nr yourself... and open it with firefox.. it'll install and work. The addon back-end has always been backwards compatible, few minor things it wasnt. But it wouldnt surprise me if many FF1-3 addons, will still load and work after this minor tweak.
Plus considering you've been using Chrome for years, not untill long ago. The addon system was the worst of all major browsers, adblock plus was crap.. and the first ton of versions they released. addons werent addons, they where hacks.
So it seems it was a really weird reason to switch from FF to Chrome, as untill the version nr spam, FF was ahead with any addon related issue/item/thing on Chrome.

Shadowzz said,
Plus considering you've been using Chrome for years, not untill long ago. The addon system was the worst of all major browsers, adblock plus was crap.. and the first ton of versions they released. addons werent addons, they where hacks.
So it seems it was a really weird reason to switch from FF to Chrome, as untill the version nr spam, FF was ahead with any addon related issue/item/thing on Chrome.

I'm well aware of that. In fact I actually sacrificed using many of the extensions I'd been using with Firefox as a result. That's because every time I started up Firefox I'd have to wait for it to check extensions for updates and compatibility and I had numerous instances where my profile became corrupted. And I had to search for config files to manually get extensions to work. It just wasn't worth it.

Chrome was pretty basic when it started but it always performed well. I switched as soon as Google announced add-on support and it has gone from strength to strength. I always preferred the UI, the update system was excellent, I never had to worry about add-ons being out of date, it supported cloud bookmarks before Firefox, etc.

I love firefox and I still use it now but I have to admit that as time goes on, less and less is keeping me away from Chrome.

Firefox 15 will bring background, dialog-box-free updates like Chrome

I assume the updates won't be fully applied until the browser is restarted though? If that is the case there better be a way to enable the old "annoying update popup box" since applying updates is the sole reason I ever restart my browser.

Leonick said,

I assume the updates won't be fully applied until the browser is restarted though? If that is the case there better be a way to enable the old "annoying update popup box" since applying updates is the sole reason I ever restart my browser.

You bet it'll have a reminder if you hit a certain amount of browser up-time past update.

GS:mac

Leonick said,

I assume the updates won't be fully applied until the browser is restarted though? If that is the case there better be a way to enable the old "annoying update popup box" since applying updates is the sole reason I ever restart my browser.

Now it will apply the update prior to restart , and then when you restart there is no work left to do for Firefox , and opens up instantly. You can try Nightly builds and see how it feels as if you are using a stable version for you do not see the Applying Update dialog , daily , ever.

The damage has already been done mostly for the new version numbers breaking add-on compatibility out-of-the-box (sans tinkering with "activate anyway" I mean).

Firefox lives and dies by its addons.
Firefox install sans addons <<<<<<< Chrome install sans addons.

Safari + Chrome all the way here, Firefox got the boot long ago, it's installed purely for testing and tinkering and for the VERY VERY special purpose addons.
IMHO the plethora of addons will sooner or later come to Chrome, most add-on devs start playing with Chrome at least as a second choice.

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,
The damage has already been done mostly for the new version numbers breaking add-on compatibility out-of-the-box (sans tinkering with "activate anyway" I mean).

New updates hasn't been marking older addons as incompatible i.e breaking addons for many many updates now though, they fixed that quite a while back.

Leonick said,

New updates hasn't been marking older addons as incompatible i.e breaking addons for many many updates now though, they fixed that quite a while back.

If only you were right...

GS:mac

Leonick said,

New updates hasn't been marking older addons as incompatible i.e breaking addons for many many updates now though, they fixed that quite a while back.

Agreed. i don't use many extensions(4 total, NoScript/Download Helper/Download Statusbar/FireGestures), but the ones i do never have issues with browser updates for a while now. plus i figure people should not have a billion extensions installed anyways as i only install add-ons i really need/use as that should help keep general browser a bit quicker and more reliable.

before when a update would come along you would have to manually modify Firefox in the 'about:config' box to stop the browser from disabling extensions but i have not had to do that for quite a while now.

p.s. i been using Pale Moon x64 for a while now to but it's basically just a 64bit Firefox for the most part.

ThaCrip said,

p.s. i been using Pale Moon x64 for a while now to but it's basically just a 64bit Firefox for the most part.


Not basically, it is Firefox, just its linux/OSX stuff is removed from it and some minor Windows optimisations are put in the source.
Glassed Silver said,

Well recently I updated my Firefox to the latest release and it deactivated tons of add-ons...
Well, might should inspect that again, maybe restarting Firefox will help.

GS:mac


it deactivates addons it recognises as pre-install addons. This is a safety feature for malicious addons and other malware.
However, addons where never really broken, you could manually use any old addon on new releases even if it wasnt officially supported
If you'd like it and are a techie, it would take a mere minute or 2 of your time and you could use your addons on every upcomming release, no matter if the official updates broke it normally. it wouldnt as you could set the iirc 'max supported FF version' to 99 or something. The devs who wrote the addons, could've done this too. but it barely happened, if it happened at all.
But ah well, to each his own. Chrome's addon system took ages before it became actually usefull. Plus personally, I don't like the spyware that comes with, i'd suggest Ironware tho same source as chrome, but without Google's phoning home capabilities.

Glassed Silver said,
The damage has already been done mostly for the new version numbers breaking add-on compatibility out-of-the-box (sans tinkering with "activate anyway" I mean).

Firefox lives and dies by its addons.
Firefox install sans addons <<<<<<< Chrome install sans addons.

Safari + Chrome all the way here, Firefox got the boot long ago, it's installed purely for testing and tinkering and for the VERY VERY special purpose addons.
IMHO the plethora of addons will sooner or later come to Chrome, most add-on devs start playing with Chrome at least as a second choice.

GS:mac

Chromey is mah new homey!

Not me, I'm all for them, otherwise the product just stagnates.. if I hated change I'd still be back with Firefox v3, no thanks. (Obviously a corporate environment would be a different story though.) Not sure what he's going on about the UI always changing though.. I've only seen one major UI change when they hid the menu bar and such by default, had to re-adjust my layout to my own preferences once and it's carried over ever since. Same for addons, hasn't been a problem for quite some time. Some of mine have been carried over since version four, and now running 14.

Firefox has improved tremendously over the past year, no not the fastest of the bunch but by far the most flexible and usable.. can set it up exactly how I want it, no excuses. I have yet to find another browser that I'm happy working with.

Max Norris said,
Not me, I'm all for them, otherwise the product just stagnates.. if I hated change I'd still be back with Firefox v3, no thanks. (Obviously a corporate environment would be a different story though.) Not sure what he's going on about the UI always changing though.. I've only seen one major UI change when they hid the menu bar and such by default, had to re-adjust my layout to my own preferences once and it's carried over ever since. Same for addons, hasn't been a problem for quite some time. Some of mine have been carried over since version four, and now running 14.

Firefox has improved tremendously over the past year, no not the fastest of the bunch but by far the most flexible and usable.. can set it up exactly how I want it, no excuses. I have yet to find another browser that I'm happy working with.

His issue is not updates in general. His issue is that they are not seamless, they prompt the user all the time to accept the update. Chrome doesn't do this, it just updates in the background and the next time you launch the browser you're using the latest version.

Couldnt agree more, use to drive me nuts. Im sure there was probably a tickbox or dialogue box somewhere to make it stop popping up and asking but still an annoying default item.

Osiris said,
Couldnt agree more, use to drive me nuts. Im sure there was probably a tickbox or dialogue box somewhere to make it stop popping up and asking but still an annoying default item.

Agree too. I like FireFox but hated the updates. After going several times through the experience of broken plugins on my multiple machines I disabled the updates everywhere. I am still using 6.0.2, definitely not the freshest one, but without any update problems. I am fine with the features it has and value the stable experience much more than the new features.

Agreed. I use Firefox for when I'm doing more web related work, utilizing FireFTP with it. Sucks every time I launch it that it needs an update that I have to wait for.

I know it's a minor thing to bitch about, but given their release cycle and not having the seamless updating of Chrome (as far as I know), it's still a bit annoying.