Mozilla Firefox 4, HTML 5, and Rolling Releases

Yesterday, there was news that Mozilla Firefox would be releasing version 4 probably by the end of this month and early next month, and along with this, versions 5-7 would also be released this year (2011); do note that version 4 was scheduled for release in 2010 November. While some people were outraged by this announcement given how long it has taken Mozilla to release Firefox 4, it has since become clear that this is supposed to be the biggest new release of Mozilla Firefox we'll ever see, and all future whole-number releases will follow the model of Google Chrome/Chromium of releasing new versions often (and now it's nearly every month) that are more incremental improvements rather than revolutions.
I'm glad that this is happening, for it means that applications and not just whole OSs are starting to follow a rolling-release-esque model of releasing snapshots periodically but sending packages of updates thereafter. Then again, I wonder if fixed-release distributions will provide these newer versions of Mozilla Firefox when they come out; I'd certainly like to be using Mozilla Firefox 7 on Linux Mint 9 "Isadora". I'd at least like to see them added to a PPA available for users of Ubuntu LTS releases.
Plus, this comes a few weeks after an announcement by the HTML developers that version 5 will be the last explicitly-numbered version; from here on out, HTML will just be called "HTML" and will follow a similar rolling-release-esque system.
But I don't think the reason for Mozilla doing this is only to make up for the long delay of the release of Firefox 4; I think they're also concerned that Mozilla Firefox, having a lower version number, isn't perceived to be as "advanced" as its rivals, like Google Chrome 9. I've read that in the open-source community, quickly advancing version numbers when such quick advances didn't happen before in the project is frowned upon (i.e. 1...2...3......4-5-6-7), but I've seen that even developers of free software that cater to more experienced users fall prey to this as well. The best example of this is Slackware: lead developer Patrick Volkerding, concerned that users were leaving Slackware for other distributions because Slackware's lower version number (4) was lower than competing distributions and hence gave the impression of Slackware being less "advanced" or "mature", decided to skip a couple versions and released version 7 right after version 4.
Well, at the very least, I hope Mozilla Firefox 4 gets released soon. Even better, I hope I can use it!

No comments:

Post a Comment