Firefox users can now get their hands on Firefox 6.0, just two months after the arrival of version 5.0
Mozilla is ramping up its release cycle after offering users the chance to download Firefix 6.0, barely two months after the arrival of the previous version of the popular browser.
Low Key Affair
Mozilla is keeping this release a low-key affair, as befitting a browser update that’s mostly tweaks to compatibility and performance, including reduced startup times and some new highlighting in the address bar. Aside from the latter, noticeable changes to the user interface are pretty much non-existent.
This newest version arrives a mere two months after Firefox 5, which itself arrived some three months after Firefox 4 entered the marketplace. This could be a response to aggressive posturing by rivals such as Google Chrome.
For consumers, upgrading most likely won’t represent that much of a hassle: They click “download,” and a few minutes later (depending on your connection speed), they’re tooling around with a new browser. Larger enterprises, though, have expressed a bit more concern about this rapid cadence, with IT administrators claiming it snarls their ability to deploy the browser throughout their organisations in a timely and consistent way.
“I have 500,000 users on Firefox 3.6,” read a much-circulated comment by IBM’s John Walicki on a 21 June blog posting by Firefox developer and consultant Michael Kaply. “I’m now in the terrible position of choosing to deploy a Firefox 4 release with potentially unpatched vulnerabilities, reset the test cycle for thousands of internal apps to validate Firefox 5 or stay on a patched Firefox 3.6.x.”
A debate quickly erupted from there, with one Mozilla co-ordinator insisting in Kaply’s blog comments that, “Enterprise has never been (and I’ll argue, shouldn’t be) a focus of ours.” Mozilla’s rivals then leapt into the fray, with one Microsoft executive taking to the blogs to tout Internet Explorer’s commitment to corporate customers. It had all the markings of the sort of public-relations snafu that organisations pay lots of money to lots of people to avoid.
“Enterprises are built of people,” Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs tweeted 28 June, “and Mozilla is fundamentally about people. We support Firefox users wherever they are.”
Mozilla’s method for extinguishing the fire turned out to be very publicly re-establishing a Mozilla Enterprise User Working Group as a place, in the words of a 19 July post on The Mozilla Blog, “for enterprise developers, IT staff and Firefox developers to discuss the challenges, ideas and best practices for deploying Firefox in the enterprise.”
Whether that group proves effective for enterprise IT pros, the latter could certainly have its collective hands full with Firefox’s new release schedule.