Firefox – Dear Mozilla…

When did you start smoking the crack?

Mozilla, apparently under the bright light of Google Chrome 14 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 9, decided to throw caution to the wind and after years of slow measured releases is now in full on party mode. As a business user it’s a party I wasn’t invited to and don’t necessarily want to attend. I’d like to attend the improvements with support and stability party.

Firefox release History
Between 09/2002 and 01/2011 Firefox went from 0.1 to 3.6.0. Between 01/2011 and 9/2011 Firefox went from 3.6.0 to 6.0.2 with 7.0 beta in the oven. Mozilla is EOL’ing version 4. before most of us in the corporate world ever get a chance to use it. If we move to 5 will Mozilla move to 6, 7 to 8…? Oh my Head.

Where I spend my days we support Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. Firefox was primarily a backup/test browser on Windows and a sometimes primary browser on OSX. Then an internal group began pushing Firefox 3.6.x as the browser for their critical app as it processed JavaScript faster than Internet Explorer 7. I documented that while Firefox may be slightly quicker on large scale queries the team was running it also utilized almost twice the system memory as IE while running the queries and only released about 50% of the used memory opposed to IE’s 100% – making for fast queries that permanently impacted all future performance system wide, which over time… That didn’t get much traction, no shiny Web 2.0 was involved. So I mentioned that IE is perhaps fat and slow but it’s developers have to respect the enterprise and they do with gracious lead times on their beta’s, backward compatibility and compatibility mode for legacy code. Mozilla on the other hand has no such ties or responsibilities and our developers would need to stay ahead of the curve as Firefox is much harder to manage in an enterprise and releases major and minor updates whenever they please. We hit that curve pretty quick when a 3 dot release broke their custom JavaScript and we were rolling back people who had updated themselves. We’re currently experiencing a new issue with 3.6.2. So I asked how we were for Firefox 4, 5 and 6 all of which have released in a six month time period…. Oh my head.

Some interesting reading from Browser Developer Mike Kaply
“As person involved in the corporate deployment of Firefox, I think it’s a really bad idea. Companies simply can’t turn around major browser updates in six weeks (and each one of these is a major update).” http://mike.kaply.com/2011/06/21/firefox-rapid-release-process/

“This comment on my previous blog post from John Walicki is so important, everyone needs to see it.” http://mike.kaply.com/2011/06/23/understanding-the-corporate-impact

Firefox 8

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