Software Programs, Technology Security

Firefox Silently Releases Version 6, May Remove Versions Altogether

Around eight weeks ago, Mozilla Foundation released Firefox 5. Today, the foundation released Firefox 6. While the release of Firefox 5 back then was carried out a bit louder, Mozilla did not went into too much PR talk about the today’s release. This is due to the rapid release model we talked about earlier.

Due to the short time span between the releases, the list of changes in between is quite short; minor tweaks to the UI such as highlighting the domain of the website you are visiting. The Add-on manager is now able to check whether the plugins (like Flash or Java) are current or not. Web Developers will be happy about the Scratchpad, where you can interactively test and debug JavaScript snippets. The rest can be described as general performance, stability and security improvements. Of course there has been added support for a variety of APIs. In case you are interested, check the release notes.

Firefox market share has been almost flat since June
Firefox market share has been almost flat since June

Going forward, in about six weeks we are going to see the next release. Keep your fingers crossed for an early October release of Firefox 7, which brings significant UI performance advancements and massively improved memory management. Firefox 7 should move to the beta channel in the coming days. Meanwhile Firefox 8 is pushed to the Aurora channel and Firefox 9 is the new nightly build.

Firefox 6.0 About Page

About Firefox 6.0 window clearly shows the version number. According to Mozilla, this won’t last for long.

Speaking of insanely inflated version numbers, a bit farther down the road, they are probably entirely going away. Mozilla developers plan to remove the version number from almost every place of their website and the UI.

The plan states that there will be a way to retrieve the current version of the browser, but only for troubleshooting. The About dialog should only display whether you are running the most recent version and when this was checked the last time. Updates should be provided as silent as possible, so users should no longer really notice, when their version is incremented. The change is met with some controversy, but some of the most influential developers are determined to make this change happen. To give a rough estimate, it shouldn’t happen before Firefox 9/10.