For Firefox Development, Mozilla Finally Embraces Multitasking

by Sam Dean - Mar. 21, 2011Comments (0)

Back in February, we took note of a huge change at Mozilla, which is that the company has moved to a rapid release cycle for its Firefox browser, similar to the one Google Chrome has. In fact, Mozilla has announced that a whopping four new releases of Firefox will arrive this year, with the new version 4--a major upgrade--now out in a second Release Candidate version, and due in final version this week. Now, there is a draft document available from Mozilla that lays out the kind of multitasking the company will do on various versions of its browser as it seeks to meet the goal of a rapid release cycle. Firefox users should welcome all of this.

In this post, you can find both graphical and text-based plans (in draft) covering how Mozilla intends to deliver Firefox versions at a rate that promises to be more competitive with Google Chrome's release cycle. The post notes:

"Firefox uses a schedule-driven process, where releases take place at regular intervals. That means each release happens regardless of whether a given feature is ready, and releases are not delayed to wait for a feature to stabilize. The goal of the process is to provide regular improvements to users without disrupting longer term work."

It also adds:

"New code migrates from one repository to another on a fixed schedule...A single release takes about 16 weeks of time."

Sixteen weeks! Make no mistake, Mozilla has never delivered plans for such rapid development before. After all, Firefox is only in version 4 and has been around for many years. This latest post from Mozilla shows that the company means business in competing with Chrome, and it also illustrates how the really meaningful innovation going on in the browser space is going on for open source browsers. 

Many of us live in these open source browsers for much of the day (this post is being written using Firefox), and Mozilla's more competitive stance is very welcome. The truth is, the company should have adopted a rapid release cycle years ago. More than ever, it's looking like this will be the year that open source browsers really begin to topple Microsoft's market share with Internet Explorer.

John Mark Walker uses OStatic to support Open Source, ask and answer questions and stay informed. What about you?


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