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  1. #1
    iNET Interactive
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    Blink, and you'll miss the next Firefox




    IN THE WILD

    Blink, and you'll miss the next Firefox

    By Robert Vamosi

    Browser updates from the likes of Mozilla, Google, and to some extent Microsoft are coming ever more frequently. Its that a good thing?

    When PC users suffering from update burnout skip some new versions of browsers, they may lose out on important security enhancements. Perhaps Mozilla and Microsoft should take a lesson from Google's invisible Chrome updates and not brand every new release.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/in-the-wild/blink,-and-you'll-miss-the-next-firefox (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
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    Extension compatibility

    The problem I have with the accelerated Firefox release cycle is extension compatibility: I haven't upgraded from FF4 to FF5 because some of my extensions are not compatible with FF5; needless to say the list is even longer for FF6.

  3. #3
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    I am still using 3.6. In spite of security considerations, I will continue to do so until all my add-ons are updated to work with the newer versions. And at the rate FF is being updated, this will most likely never happen.
    Or perhaps I will have to abandon FF completely.

  4. #4
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    So long, Firefox....

    Apparently Google has already given up on Firefox: the Google Toolbar is no longer supported as of FF5.

    Ed Bott has an interesting blog post on this subject at ZDNet. He has links to several blog comments by a Mozilla employee who displays extreme arrogance regarding the rapid release cycle viz a viz the impact on Enterprise users. The opinion of at least this one employee is that Mozilla has no need for Enterprise users because of the number of individuals who are using the product. I don't think they he/realize that many of the individual users are going to get frustrated by this very quickly, especially when the add-on creators give up trying to keep up with the release cycle. The add-ons are a, possibly THE, major differentiator between FF and the competition.

    As for me, I'm stuck at FF4 because of add-on comparability and have stopped using it almost entirely since FF4 is EOL and there are no more security updates. Further, I no longer recommend FF as an alternative to IE - overall, Chrome is a much better choice, especially for non-tech savvy users.

  5. #5
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    Angry Firefox 5 and 6 BREAK critical Add-on compatibiltily (e.g. Adobe Acrobat X)

    Like the other users above, I am still stuck in Firefox 4 due to this add-on incompatibility issue and it is very frustrating. There seems to be little coordination between Adobe and Mozilla and apparently there is a need to recompile all binary add-on components when Firefox does a major version number increment. This is an UPGRADE DEAL BREAKER!

  6. #6
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    Newer versions of Firefox

    The last time I upgraded Firefox, I couldn't use Roboform with it.

    I reverted to the previous version (3.6.18) and Roboform works great.

    Got any ideas?

    Terry

  7. #7
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Terry, Welcome to the Lounge.

    See if the procedure document in this thread will work for you.
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  8. #8
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JerryE View Post
    The problem I have with the accelerated Firefox release cycle is extension compatibility: I haven't upgraded from FF4 to FF5 because some of my extensions are not compatible with FF5; needless to say the list is even longer for FF6.
    Quote Originally Posted by jtbrown3 View Post
    Like the other users above, I am still stuck in Firefox 4 due to this add-on incompatibility issue and it is very frustrating. There seems to be little coordination between Adobe and Mozilla and apparently there is a need to recompile all binary add-on components when Firefox does a major version number increment. This is an UPGRADE DEAL BREAKER!
    Unlike Chrome, which uses add-ons but in critically different ways from Firefox, Firefox does not demonstrate forward compatibility in the way Extensions are stored and used. This makes restoring from backups of one version of Firefox to the next nearly always a non-option. It was for this reason among others that I chose Chrome over Firefox when I bought my Windows 7 64-bit Toshiba Satellite laptop a year ago.

    Silent upgrades are great if they do not break anything. But Firefox does not enjoy a reputation for such seamless upgrades, in my experience (since Firefox 1.5). I still put up with Firefox on Windows XP, but I would not put up with its slow startups, extensions breakages, and total corruptions of profiles with full-version upgrades on any newer computer. It just isn't worth the hassles. And MozBackup or the FEBE Extension simply cannot repair the damages done in recent upgrades. It is not possible to restore add-ons when the add-ons directory and even its file-types have been drastically changed. Kinda reminds me of the Keystone Kops of the silent movies. Too many Chiefs at Mozilla Development, and not enough Indians.

    While it is beyond the scope of this article, Enterprise adoption of Firefox was never very great, and Extensions were part of the problem. But Version Control, which is critical to business users, is nearly impossible with a Rapid Release Cycle. On the other hand, Chrome has rapid releases and silent updates, and yet many businesses do use Chrome or Google cloud services. Again, the difference seems to be the lack of spectacular failures with Chrome's updates, as opposed to Firefox.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2011-07-29 at 03:27.
    -- Bob Primak --

  9. #9
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    Automatic updates, as suggested in the article, scare me. I would rather someone else tested the changes, and after a month or so, I would update. In the Windows Secrets newsletter, Susan Bradley generally adheres to this philosophy (unless there is something that she knows needs changing immediately).

  10. #10
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    HELLO? Firefox 4 was awful so I deinstalled it and put back Firefox 3.6.x. You aren't giving any evidence that users are having fewer problems with Firefox 5 or later, so WHY should anyone upgrade to get a few features and even MORE crashes and aggravation? That's not why anyone uses software (to add aggravation). Mozilla can make a million improvements to Firefox, but if it is not reliable software, who cares? I'm not upgrading until I find some forums of people who gloat over it.

  11. #11
    5 Star Lounger RussB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scratchbaker View Post
    HELLO? Firefox 4 was awful so I deinstalled it and put back Firefox 3.6.x. You aren't giving any evidence that users are having fewer problems with Firefox 5 or later, so WHY should anyone upgrade to get a few features and even MORE crashes and aggravation? That's not why anyone uses software (to add aggravation). Mozilla can make a million improvements to Firefox, but if it is not reliable software, who cares? I'm not upgrading until I find some forums of people who gloat over it.
    It is the followers who make the leaders so important, said the goat.
    Do you "Believe"? Do you vote? Please Read:
    LEARN something today so you can TEACH something tomorrow.
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  12. #12
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    Quote: "Perhaps Mozilla and Microsoft should take a lesson from Google's invisible Chrome updates and not brand every new release."

    Riiight, just totally remove all implied software quality thresholds, and software development external accountability, nothing to see here, move along, we didn't break anything, we didn't do anything, we're at version 59.0 but you dumb end-users just keep to yourself, direct developer-to-user-desktop nightly updates. Absurd. Asinine. That is NOT the way to ensure software quality. "Rapid release" and "nightly updates" are asinine concepts invented by google, a company with too much money, disrespect for traditional software engineering, and an utter disregard for the words CONSISTENCY and COMPATIBILITY.

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