Earlier this week, Mozilla released Firefox 6, the latest version of its popular web browser. This new refresh wasn't intended as a major update although it had lots of improvements and changes under the hood. But a possible small change in upcoming versions of the browser has a lot of its users in an uproar. Mozilla is considering to no longer show Firefox's version number when you bring up the About section in the web browser's client.
In explaining the move, Asa Dotzler of Mozilla wrote in a group discussion forum, " ... we concluded that most people don't need to know what version number they're using and what they actually want to know is whether or not they're running the latest version. For the few people who care whether it's version 7 or version 2011-08-16 or version 18.104.22.168.1.77, they can get this information from about:troubleshooting which is available in the Firefox Help menu." Dotzler added, "We have a goal to make version numbers irrelevant to our consumer audience."
That reasoning didn't make a lot of Firefox users very happy. The group discussion forum is now filled with message posts, most of them stating their disapproval of this change. One writer wrote, "Gmail is a webpage. Firefox is a program that I have to download and install on my computer. I have no control over Gmail's version even if I wanted it. I can't roll back, I can't update. It just is. Firefox, I can, and should be able to. It is installed on my computer, I want to know what version it is without having to type in "about"troubleshooting" or go to a non-standard location to find it."
Update: In an interview for The Inquirer, Dotzler states, "There's been some discussion around removing version numbers from the Firefox 'About' window. Our goal is to avoid confusion and make sure users always have the most current version of Firefox. While that's the long term goal, this change isn't happening overnight. Right now, the version number is available in the Help-Troubleshooting menu." A previous version of this story stated this change had already happened. We have clarified this in the article and regret any confusion.