Mozilla to revamp development; Firefox 5 in June

The next version of Mozilla Firefox could be released in the last week of June, as the company moves to an accelerated release schedule.

According to a draft document, posted by Mozilla’s Rob Sayre and spotted by ConceivablyTech, a single Firefox release will take 16 weeks, a far cry from the twelve months it took the company to get Firefox 4 to release candidate stage. The final version of that browser is due for release March 22.

Mozilla could also take a leaf from Google's book and split Firefox development into four channels - nightly (also known as mozilla-central), experimental, beta and final. Development for the Chrome browser works in a similar way, with users able to choose which channel they will receive builds from.

Under the plan proposed by Mr Sayre, new features would start life in the nightly channel, before moving to the experimental and beta channels before either being disabled or included in a final release build. Features that take a long time to develop can stay in the nightly channel until ready or scrapped. New code would be moved from the nightly channel every six weeks during a development cycle.

As Wired's Scott Gilbertson pointed out, the accelerated development plan will also allow users to opt-out of automatic upgrades regardless of which development channel they subscribe to.

There's little doubt that radical change away from the tangled development process of Firefox 4 is needed if Mozilla is to meet an ambitious target of shipping four major browser versions this year, including Firefox 4.

Image Credit: cybernetnews.com

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Shadowzz said,
hope FX5 gets rid of that behind your back forced updating way like Chrome... otherwise i wont be installing it at all.

u can disable it

bogas04 said,

u can disable it

what?! i like it if Chrome updates like that, because everone uses the latest version.. imagine some people who dont undersand anything and use Chrome 4 or something.. and complain that its not fast

You'd be amazed at the variety of Chrome versions that visit the (big) site I'm involved in. How on earth anyone could be visiting with a version of Chrome less than, say, 5 is kinda beyond me. New versions do have very good takeup rates, but there's a long long tail.

Then again, some people also visit with Win98 and Firefox 1.0

I'm glad they're opting for an accelerated release schedule. I'd rather get a few features quickly than a bunch of new features slowly.

Honestly I like current way of releasing a new build every year. Because in my opinion I like firefox more than any other browser I have tried chrome but it's not what I need right now. If Mozilla can release a stable usable build annually who cares about numbers? Quality matters not quantity!

thnok said,
Honestly I like current way of releasing a new build every year. Because in my opinion I like firefox more than any other browser I have tried chrome but it's not what I need right now. If Mozilla can release a stable usable build annually who cares about numbers? Quality matters not quantity!

+1 ... exactly.

thnok said,
Honestly I like current way of releasing a new build every year. Because in my opinion I like firefox more than any other browser I have tried chrome but it's not what I need right now. If Mozilla can release a stable usable build annually who cares about numbers? Quality matters not quantity!


wheres the quantity in that? its just a number and if i have to explain to each one of you that firefox 5 will be different, well this is getting annoying, it will be something completely different, thats why they are naming it 5 and they decided to release it faster, to keep up with others, rather than waiting for the third world war, firefox 3.6 is old, the design is old as well and ugly too, the UI takes too much space, and all of this needs to change

allwynd said,


wheres the quantity in that? its just a number and if i have to explain to each one of you that firefox 5 will be different, well this is getting annoying, it will be something completely different, thats why they are naming it 5 and they decided to release it faster, to keep up with others, rather than waiting for the third world war, firefox 3.6 is old, the design is old as well and ugly too, the UI takes too much space, and all of this needs to change

Different doesn't always been better or top quality. Time will tell if it will be all of those.

srprimeaux said,

Different doesn't always been better or top quality. Time will tell if it will be all of those.

its not in their interest to make it worse, vista was quite bad as people say, but ive had it and it was fine... though i like windows 7 more... and what was wrong they fixed it with patches... there is a chance that a new version of firefox might be bad, but i dont see what would make them release something like that... from what i see they have addressed the issues of the slow startup and peformance, even in 3.6, while in 4.0 is lightning fast... just a bit more and its gonna be the same as chrome

allwynd said,

its not in their interest to make it worse, vista was quite bad as people say, but ive had it and it was fine... though i like windows 7 more... and what was wrong they fixed it with patches... there is a chance that a new version of firefox might be bad, but i dont see what would make them release something like that... from what i see they have addressed the issues of the slow startup and peformance, even in 3.6, while in 4.0 is lightning fast... just a bit more and its gonna be the same as chrome

I sure hope you're right. I'd really like to see Firefox up there again. I'm running the RC of FF4 and it's pretty snappy.

srprimeaux said,

I sure hope you're right. I'd really like to see Firefox up there again. I'm running the RC of FF4 and it's pretty snappy.

so am i (running RC2) i switched to Chrome when Firefox was 3.6 or 3.5, because it was horribly slow and now that its as fast as Chrome and almost every addon i need is working i can safely use it again and im satisfied with what it is, just needs a little more tuning and tab animations(for moving) and its done

srprimeaux said,

I sure hope you're right. I'd really like to see Firefox up there again. I'm running the RC of FF4 and it's pretty snappy.

so am i (running RC2) i switched to Chrome when Firefox was 3.6 or 3.5, because it was horribly slow and now that its as fast as Chrome and almost every addon i need is working i can safely use it again and im satisfied with what it is, just needs a little more tuning and tab animations(for moving) and its done

Firefox 4 is Windows Vista of the browser world. Its advertised hardware acceleration laggs the tab animations and its GIF performance is abysmal. Additionally, sites like arewefastyet advertise Chrome.

We need Firefox 5 ASAP.

It really makes no difference what they call it. They could fix 100 bugs and call it Firefox 4.0.1 or Firefox 5.0. Numbers mean nothing here, I don't understand why people make such a big deal as to what the number is. They'll still be fixing bugs at about the same rate, it'll just be called something different, which makes no difference or affects anyone.

Panda X said,
It really makes no difference what they call it. They could fix 100 bugs and call it Firefox 4.0.1 or Firefox 5.0. Numbers mean nothing here, I don't understand why people make such a big deal as to what the number is. They'll still be fixing bugs at about the same rate, it'll just be called something different, which makes no difference or affects anyone.

the info you have is irrelevant, because firefox 5 will be different from firefox 4, not just an update

allwynd said,

the info you have is irrelevant, because firefox 5 will be different from firefox 4, not just an update

It was an example. Whether it be called Firefox 4.0.1 or Firefox 5, all that matters is the bug fixes, additions, and removals. The numbering means nothing really. If they never decided to "quicken their release schedule" they would still be doing to same thing and calling it an update.

For example Chrome's now going on 11. But they could've called it Chrome 2 and every release in between be 1.x but it wouldn't matter because it would be exactly the same.

If Mozilla has the ability to speed up their release cycle, they should and better do it...considering the negative feedback that 12 betas of FF[F]orever beta 4 has had. But I don't understand why so many people think that Mozilla has to stick to any sort of schedule...it should be determined according to changes [which could come rather quickly], not periods of time.

Just don't break the extensions and I'm in. The move from 3.x to 4 was a bit of a pain waiting for workarounds and updates for my favorite extensions. To be honest, it's the ONLY reason I stay with FF, Chrome has a lot of appeal and now even IE9 seems usable, although I hate to become dependent on ANYTHING M$ again.

Hahaiah said,
The move from 3.x to 4 was a bit of a pain waiting for workarounds and updates for my favorite extensions. To be honest, it's the ONLY reason I stay with FF

Uhm since Fx4 is still a release candidate, what you are talking about is development versions of Fx4. Extensions do break! And some do not get updated. This is reality and if you can not accept it then find another browser(with "extensions" that are like greasemonkey scripts)
Having said that, I have been using nearly all of my extensions throughout the development cycle of Fx4.
Just don't expect miracles.

I don't know. I would like to think we will stay on 4 for a while. If they were to get it tested and out the door by June. I think it would feel rushed. If true I hope it doesn't effect security. Its nice to know that firefox survived the pwn to own.

warwagon said,
I don't know. I would like to think we will stay on 4 for a while. If they were to get it tested and out the door by June. I think it would feel rushed. If true I hope it doesn't effect security. Its nice to know that firefox survived the pwn to own.

dmt said,
I don't want and I can't understand why Mozilla does this. All these milestone based versioning systems began to annoy me since Chrome started to do this. While Opera or Safari, Internet Explorer does the meaningfull way of they versions, why should a real browser join google's position and begin milestoning?

its as if you are "feeling" the stupid software somehow.. you guys are messed up if you are QQing about so much useless things, the number doesnt mean a thing.

4.0 could easily be 3.7 or just 3.6.16
5.0 could easily be 3.8 or just 3.6.32

you guys are being ridiculous.... thats what i can say to you, look at the development and what are they achieving rather than looking at stupid numbers, you sound like you are like those people that think "the blue "e" is the internet ...

i dont care about versions or relase cycle, i easily get bored with what i see, so these news are good for me, if somehow they could make it even faster ;D

allwynd said,

its as if you are "feeling" the stupid software somehow.. you guys are messed up if you are QQing about so much useless things, the number doesnt mean a thing.

4.0 could easily be 3.7 or just 3.6.16
5.0 could easily be 3.8 or just 3.6.32

you guys are being ridiculous.... thats what i can say to you, look at the development and what are they achieving rather than looking at stupid numbers, you sound like you are like those people that think "the blue "e" is the internet ...

i dont care about versions or relase cycle, i easily get bored with what i see, so these news are good for me, if somehow they could make it even faster ;D

I sorta disagree with what you say. Where i see where your coming from with regards version numbers i really think the fact Fx4 includes the Gecko 2 engine, the JagerMonkey javascript engine and a complete new interface including the way add ons are handled warrants a change in version number.
The fact that they are now going to jump up to 5 (i know it`s only a number) imo doesn`t actually warrant it as there are probably going to be very few changes compared with 3 to 4.

Riggers said,

I sorta disagree with what you say. Where i see where your coming from with regards version numbers i really think the fact Fx4 includes the Gecko 2 engine, the JagerMonkey javascript engine and a complete new interface including the way add ons are handled warrants a change in version number.
The fact that they are now going to jump up to 5 (i know it`s only a number) imo doesn`t actually warrant it as there are probably going to be very few changes compared with 3 to 4.

dude, look at the UI concepts for Firefox 5, its something that changes the browsing experience dramatically, and from my point of view, thats good, because we need revolution, evolution can take way too long to prove some advancement, im just afraid that Google might steal the FX5 concept for Chrome, as they did with the FX4 concept ><

so dont be so reseverd about numbers, it will only bring good stuff, theres no way that a newer version can be worse than an older version, its just different

from what i know FX5 will be a complete revamp based on FX4 and that sounds promising... try imaginig the web in 5 years - all flashy animations and codes, the ability to rotate the text on the page, zoom certain things, not all of it, probably 3D browsing and who knows what else... so something as bulky as FX3.6 doesnt look like it can support this to me, not with this old, outdated interface, the interface of future browsers should be as small/minimalistic as possible (with the ability to be altered of course) so that the content of the page can be more visible... just like games run full screen, in some you can make them windowed, but its ugly at some point

Riggers said,

I sorta disagree with what you say. Where i see where your coming from with regards version numbers i really think the fact Fx4 includes the Gecko 2 engine, the JagerMonkey javascript engine and a complete new interface including the way add ons are handled warrants a change in version number.
The fact that they are now going to jump up to 5 (i know it`s only a number) imo doesn`t actually warrant it as there are probably going to be very few changes compared with 3 to 4.

dude, look at the UI concepts for Firefox 5, its something that changes the browsing experience dramatically, and from my point of view, thats good, because we need revolution, evolution can take way too long to prove some advancement, im just afraid that Google might steal the FX5 concept for Chrome, as they did with the FX4 concept ><

so dont be so reseverd about numbers, it will only bring good stuff, theres no way that a newer version can be worse than an older version, its just different

from what i know FX5 will be a complete revamp based on FX4 and that sounds promising... try imaginig the web in 5 years - all flashy animations and codes, the ability to rotate the text on the page, zoom certain things, not all of it, probably 3D browsing and who knows what else... so something as bulky as FX3.6 doesnt look like it can support this to me, not with this old, outdated interface, the interface of future browsers should be as small/minimalistic as possible (with the ability to be altered of course) so that the content of the page can be more visible... just like games run full screen, in some you can make them windowed, but its ugly at some point

I don't want and I can't understand why Mozilla does this. All these milestone based versioning systems began to annoy me since Chrome started to do this. While Opera or Safari, Internet Explorer does the meaningfull way of they versions, why should a real browser join google's position and begin milestoning?

Septimus said,
Extensions are going to stop working a hell of a lot more often as their devs won't keep up.
Extension breaking changes will also not occur as much.

Septimus said,
Extensions are going to stop working a hell of a lot more often as their devs won't keep up.

80% are already compatible

I'm a Firefox user since 0.9, but I don't believe will see more than maybe Firefox 5 until the end of the year.

Yes, I read dev.planning every day and follow their forums and blogs, but I still get the feeling that it's all good intentions but nothing else...

The development of Firefox has become very bloated, with all the branches, review decisions and the feeling of complete disorganization ever since 3.5.

If FF 5 really comes out in June, I'll.... well I don't know what I'd do, but I can safely bet they're all talk. LOL It just sounds like mozilla is saying stuff so folks hold off switching to chrome. ha

IntelliMoo said,
If FF 5 really comes out in June, I'll.... well I don't know what I'd do, but I can safely bet they're all talk. LOL It just sounds like mozilla is saying stuff so folks hold off switching to chrome. ha

mozilla didnt say anything , they just proposed the new development plan

IntelliMoo said,
If FF 5 really comes out in June, I'll.... well I don't know what I'd do, but I can safely bet they're all talk. LOL It just sounds like mozilla is saying stuff so folks hold off switching to chrome. ha

mozilla didnt say anything , they just proposed the new development plan

We just got 4 not long ago..I'm a bit skeptic there will be something good in 5 or it's just a ramped up number with a few bug fixes and all that

:: Lyon :: said,
We just got 4 not long ago..I'm a bit skeptic there will be something good in 5 or it's just a ramped up number with a few bug fixes and all that

TypeInference would be there , giving firefox major performance boost

regular users are already annoyed by the frequency of minor updates to firefox, and feel like they need to wait for updates every time they start the browser...

still after 12 betas and too many RC's for them to be called RC's I have my doubts.

I think more regular larger releases will probably reduce the number of smaller releases. (They can fix more issues at once in a bigger release, especially underlying causes for multiple issues).

HawkMan said,
regular users are already annoyed by the frequency of minor updates to Chrome, and feel like they need to wait for updates every time they start the browser...

Fixed it for you.

I really do have to wonder if it's a build numbers game? With IE being up to 9 and Chrome to 10 there will be a certain element of Joe Public who things that if FF is only v4 then the other two must be much better.

Sad, but probably true.

Nothing much is really changing. All that they're doing is making sure that users get improvements faster. Mozilla had the first publicly available hardware acceleration support over a year ago in their nightly builds but most people don't know that because they've taken so long to release FF4. FF4 is much faster and has the 2nd best JS performance (behind Chrome) and 2nd fastest hardware acceleration on win7/vista (behind IE9) while also supporting HW acceleration on every other supported OS. In FF5 there should be additional improvements to JS and HW acceleration performance that should put it tied for #1 HW acceleration performance on win7/vista but still number #2 for JS (albeit a faster 2nd place).

Well, Mozilla has some catching up to do... I guess with the new release cycle, they will be able to faster add/remove/fix features and thus pleasing the average Janes and Joes.
I've been using Chrome's dev channel for a long time and I really like that it takes weeks rather than months for user feedback to get into the builds. They also have the ability to experiment with features and get more users testing and providing feedback => less bugs.

Zlip792 said,
Not like bumping version numbers quickly like Chrome. Chrome guys are nuts. Don`t copy them.

Well they don't advertise with their version numbers. They just use it internally to track when features are added!

Ambroos said,
Well they don't advertise with their version numbers. They just use it internally to track when features are added!
Yeah, it's pretty much only on pretty technical sites like this that you hear a specific new release has occurred ... and that's now pretty much restricted to Back Page News. It's the specific features themselves that get announced more widely, not the version number (which is good).

If you're going to speed up the development, don't do it just to do it. Bring out a bigger and better browser in the process.

srprimeaux said,
If you're going to speed up the development, don't do it just to do it. Bring out a bigger and better browser in the process.
Well ... yeah. I don't think that's not planned or anything.

It's a shame they've only just done this - I've switched to Chrome dev and not looked back! But really I'm not _that_ bothered about release cycles.

painejake said,
It's a shame they've only just done this - I've switched to Chrome dev and not looked back! But really I'm not _that_ bothered about release cycles.

Chrome lacks so much stuff, smooth scrolling, decent privacy settings? Until they impliment these basic things I won't consider switching.

Phixion said,

Chrome lacks so much stuff, smooth scrolling, decent privacy settings? Until they impliment these basic things I won't consider switching.


I think Chrome also still doesn't even have the basic ability to print preview, which every other single browser supports. I find that pathetic.

I'm really eager for Firefox 22 by year's end! Mozilla got caught up with everyone's numbering. ieNINE, chromeTEN, operaELEVEN. Poor lonely Firefox have to stuck at 3 for so long and it decides to up its numbering. Why not do what winamp did and skip FF4 and just release it as FF5?

flexkeyboard said,
I'm really eager for Firefox 22 by year's end! Mozilla got caught up with everyone's numbering. ieNINE, chromeTEN, operaELEVEN. Poor lonely Firefox have to stuck at 3 for so long and it decides to up its numbering. Why not do what winamp did and skip FF4 and just release it as FF5?

what problem do you have with numbers? if you dont like the development cycle they have chosen, you can go on strike.. or you can just follow your miserable philosophy and stay with 3.6.15 and wait for Firefox 5.x or 6.x to update.... by that time you wont be able to load a single page, besides 192.168.1.1 .. and even that would be using html5 and the other stuff

flexkeyboard said,
I'm really eager for Firefox 22 by year's end! Mozilla got caught up with everyone's numbering. ieNINE, chromeTEN, operaELEVEN. Poor lonely Firefox have to stuck at 3 for so long and it decides to up its numbering. Why not do what winamp did and skip FF4 and just release it as FF5?

Or maybe they haven't had to release so many versions because they don't suck as bad? It's a makeover to make it new, refreshing and a little more up to date. I'm sure IE will be version 8343295 at some point because they feel that version numbers are SO important.

allwynd said,

what problem do you have with numbers? if you dont like the development cycle they have chosen, you can go on strike.. or you can just follow your miserable philosophy and stay with 3.6.15 and wait for Firefox 5.x or 6.x to update.... by that time you wont be able to load a single page, besides 192.168.1.1 .. and even that would be using html5 and the other stuff

The thing with Fx is that the 3.x versions had a lot of point updates, as did the 2.x series, etc. Fx devs don't haunt for version numbers, because I can right now release a software and add a new version number for each word I place in it.

What does that tell me about the software? Nothing. I really believe that in the near future development will be so fast we'll drop the versioning and just call them Firefox, Chrome, IE, etc. (okay, maybe not IE)

My advice - stop judging by how high the version number is. Fx 3.5 could have been called Fx4, it had a lot of improvements. Fx 3.6 could have been Fx 5.
And remember, the original plan was - release 3.6, update interface and release it as 3.7, optimize speed and other boulderdashes and call it 4.0.

Firefox is going through a terrible IDENTITY crysis.

They've seen Chrome take a lot of market share from them while only having delays to answer, a lot of people are saying now that even IE is faster and/or superior, that Firefox has no more place in the spotlight.

My POV: Release v4 and THEN make dramatic decisions. Copying Chrome's ridiculous versioning schedule ain't gonna fix anything but make them look more clueless.