Jack

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Was reading an article regarding the Firefox updates: http://evilbrainjono.net/blog?showcomments=true&permalink=1094

Here are some highlights from this post:

I've had this conversation with dozens of people across three continents. Not one person has had anything good to say about the rapid release process. Nearly 100% of my highly unscientific survey volunteered the information -- unasked, unprompted -- that the rapid release process had ruined Firefox for them.
After years of aspiring to improve software usability, I've come to the extremely humbling realization athat the single best thing most companies could do to improve usability is to stop changing the UI so often! Let it remain stable long enough for us to learn it and get good at it. There's no UI better than one you already know, and no UI worse than one you thought you knew but now have to relearn.


Your users do not "love" your software. Your users are temporarily tolerating your software because it's the least horrible option they have -- for now -- to meet some need. Developers have an emotional connection to the project; users don't.

To summarize: we did the updates in a very intrusive way, requiring lots of user attention, which made people annoyed because it happened so often. When people restarted after an update to find no visible difference, they wondered what was so important about that update. (Remember the rule that the benefit of the update needs to outweigh the pain? We broke that rule.) Worse yet, we didn't do enough to preserve add-on compatibility, making the updates extremely disruptive to people who depended on certain add-ons; and we kept going with our old version-numbering scheme even though the meaning of the numbers had changed completely, leading to mass confusion.
So what's your opinion about Firefox and the rapid release process?
 

Spawn

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RE: Everybody Hates Firefox Updates

Mozilla's decision for the rapid release process on Firefox was the wrong decision.

If there was no RR, we'd be running on Firefox 4.6 or 5.0, and I think I may be still using Firefox today.
 

HeffeD

New Member
RE: Everybody Hates Firefox Updates

Earth said:
Mozilla's decision for the rapid release process on Firefox was the wrong decision.
I agree.

I find the whole concept idiotic. Firefox is still my browser of choice, but switching to a rapid release schedule and pushing major version number changes when the actual differences between the major release and the previous release were completely imperceptible to the end user is just a stupid idea.

Especially because they didn't address the add-on compatibility issue at the start. They left a lot of add-ons in the dust because Firefox had determined them to be incompatible with the new version simply by looking at the supported version number reported by the add-on... :rolleyes:

Major release versions should always be a major change as far as I'm concerned.

Of course, Chrome is just as guilty at this as Mozilla. In fact, if it weren't for Chrome skyrocketing their version numbers for no apparent reason, Mozilla wouldn't have done the same with Firefox.
 

Spawn

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Except for the fact that Firefox has been known for it's version numbers, whereas Chrome is just known as Chrome (Google), plus with Silent Updates it's mostly unnoticeable.
 

HeffeD

New Member
Yes, Firefox has been known for its version numbers because they used to mean something. Chrome on the other hand proved right away that its version numbers meant nothing, so users didn't start differentiating Chrome using the version numbers because they would only be around for a few weeks.

I'm sure if Mozilla decides to stay with the rapid release nonsense, version numbers will drop by the wayside like has happened with Chrome.

I'm really not sure what they feel this rapid release schedule is accomplishing... If they want to make rapid releases, by all means, do so, (nobody minds rapid bug fixes...) but stick with the previous major/minor numbering scheme. Adding a new "New Tab" window to the UI and calling it a new major release does not impress...
 

Spirit

New Member
mozilla response:
Mozilla reacted to Xia's and Varma's criticisms both officially and unofficially.

"Jono's analysis is interesting, but outdated," the company said in a statement issued to The Verge last week. "Today's Firefox updates are applied in the background with no interruptions; they even keep your Firefox add-ons compatible between releases."

In that statement, Mozilla also repeated the argument it's used since it began considering a shorter release cycle -- that more frequent updates provide new features faster, as they're added upon completion rather than held until the next major upgrade. In the past, major upgrades were shipped about once a year.

Johnathan Nightingale, director of Firefox engineering, used his personal blog to also respond, denying that Mozilla takes its users for granted, as Xia claimed.

"Nonsense. I don't know how else to say it," said Nightingale about the charge. "In a very literal way, it just doesn't make sense for a non-profit organization devoted to user choice and empowerment on the Web to take users for granted. The impact of these changes on our users was a topic of daily conversation, and indeed, clearly, remains one."

Nightingale did acknowledge that the shift to a faster cadence would have gone down better with users if Mozilla had streamlined the process from the start. Instead, Mozilla built a silent update mechanism piecemeal, starting in January 2012 -- more than half a year after the rapid release began -- and putting the last major component into place in April. (The final bits of silent updating are now slated to ship with Firefox 15 and Firefox 17, the editions that will debut in August and November.)

Xia did not retract his comments, but in a follow-up blog he issued a blanket apology to former colleagues. "I'm deeply sorry if the result of my careless speech has been to make their jobs harder," he wrote on Friday.

He also said he is still a Firefox user, and noted -- as he had in the initial July 5 post -- that he thought the browser's updates "have been much less obtrusive" of late.

But he stuck to this primary point: Software developers don't understand how much users detest updates, even good ones.

"The whole software industry needs to learn some humility," Xia said in his e-mail to Computerworld. "It's full of people who think their next Internet widget is going to be the salvation of humanity. It's not; it's just a tool we're offering to people in the hopes they find it useful. And a tool isn't very useful if the way you used it yesterday suddenly doesn't work tomorrow."
source
 

McLovin

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Malware Hunter
I still use Firefox now and have to say it's a good thing that they are bringing new updates out but also a bad thing like HeffeD said about the addons. You get so many that have been incompatible and can't run with the latest. Get's annoying as well. My theory is that if the addon is not compatible with the latest Firefox I will say on the version that the addon is compatible. Like for instance a friend of mine was on Firefox 9 because the Yahoo toolbar didn't work. Told her that she had to upgrade sometime before something bad happens.
 
P

Plexx

I am not really so sure about their approach like most said. I remember running 3.x then updated to 4.x then gave chrome a try and shortly after saw the numbers skyrocketing form 5 to nearly 10 or so...

I understand that the short term releases are and could be crucial, but couldnt they name it like it was before. There are still Memory usages that needs to be addressed, Addons that technically speaking should work but wont be accepted, and addons being left out of development simply because every now and again we got a new version. Perhaps stick with a number and give decimal builds.

Chrome on the other hand, although numbers also went fast, no one really noticed much changes. perhaps one was the dns server option which even I lost track from what version it stopped having that feature.

Take Maxthon and Opera for example, you dont have so many releases and they are still stable. One browser in particular did fly through some numbers but wasnt in such short period of time: Avant Browser

Could you imagine an AV or another solution (that is not AV) updating versions like theres no tomorrow? the user would stop using it!