Firefox 6 will be released in six seven weeks

Firefox’s new rapid release cycle has received a lot of attention since Firefox 5 was released.  I won’t add to the discussion of its pros and cons.

But I will note that we’re now on a 6-week release cycle.  That means Firefox 6 should be released in early August, and Firefox 9 should be released before the end of the year.  I point this out because an awful lot of people think we’re on a 3-month release cycle.  I can think of two reasons for this misconception: (a) early discussion of the rapid release cycle said it would be 3 months long, if I remember correctly, and (b) the gap between Firefox 4 and Firefox 5 was 3 months.

This 6-week cycle is something that we need to publicize well, to avoid further charges of poor communication.  I don’t want to read 1000 comments saying “3 months between FF4 and FF5, 6 weeks between FF5 and FF6, is FF7 coming in 3 weeks!?!! ZOMG hasn’t Mozilla heard of Zeno’s Paradox? LOLWUT”.

Update: Mike Hommey has kindly corrected me;  there will be 8 weeks between FF5 and FF6.  There will then be 6 weeks between all subsequent releases.  The 12 week gap between FF4 and FF5 and the 8-week gap between FF5 and FF6 were artifacts of the timeline used to get the rapid release process up to speed.

13 Responses to Firefox 6 will be released in six seven weeks

  1. Note that Firefox 6 will be released 6 weeks from July 5th, which makes it in 7 weeks, making it 8 weeks after Firefox 5. This is because the first cycles for Firefox 5 (aurora and beta) were actually 5 weeks instead of 6. That was an exception made while bootstrapping the rapid release process. Firefox 7 will be 6 weeks after Firefox 6.

    That being said, I think another reason for this misconception is that even Mozilla hasn’t been communicating consistently on the subject. I heard Tristan Nitot say 3 months several times, not quite so long ago.

    • Nicholas Nethercote

      Glandium: thanks for the correction. https://wiki.mozilla.org/RapidRelease doesn’t have much detail beyond FF5, but I just found https://wiki.mozilla.org/RapidRelease/Calendar which has this:

      2011-07-05: Firefox 7 -> mozilla-aurora; Firefox 6 -> mozilla-beta
      2011-08-16: Firefox 8 -> mozilla-aurora; Firefox 7 -> mozilla-beta; Firefox 6 -> mozilla-release
      2011-09-27: Firefox 9 -> mozilla-aurora; Firefox 8 -> mozilla-beta; Firefox 7 -> mozilla-release
      2011-11-08: Firefox 10 -> mozilla-aurora; Firefox 9 -> mozilla-beta; Firefox 8 -> mozilla-release
      2011-12-20: Firefox 11 -> mozilla-aurora; Firefox 10 -> mozilla-beta; Firefox 9 -> mozilla-release

  2. You’re right. And it is also important to tell the people that the beta will be available July 5th and that extension authors should use it to make their extensions compatible with the release.

    By extensions author, I think especially of commercial editors or of company-internal authors that must not wait for the release to start testing and adapting if needed.

    All the API changes are already known (and documented by sheppy, btw).

    AMO-hosted extension already got checked by Mozilla and their authors got notified of the result.

  3. s/early August/mid August/
    The 6 week countdown begins when Firefox 6 moves to beta, which hasn’t happened yet.

  4. Firefox has always been my favorite browser.
    It still beats any update Internet Explorer can put out IMHO. However; my only critique is like so many who have updated to Firef0x 5.0. is the lag time between the Google Toolbar updates.

    OK my pants aren’t itchy and I do have patience though somewhat lacking angelic. If your prognostication above for Firefox updates is correct its going to be frustrating by the time December, 2011 rolls along and having to wait for Google Toolbar updates to sync.

  5. We need to publicize to our add-ons community and to Web developers. The rest of the world doesn’t need to know anything about what version happens or when — except for our attempts to recruit more users to the Beta and Aurora channels. That’s version independent though, because you don’t follow versions there, you follow channels which move through various versions.

    • Nicholas Nethercote

      Asa, until we have silent updates that’s not true. We’ll have tons of people saying, as they did with FF5, “WTF, another FF release so soon?”

  6. Nicholas, these updates are just as silent as the security and stability updates we’ve been shipping every 5-6 weeks for the last 7 years. There’s nothing our _users_ should care about any more than when it was a security and stability update.

  7. I could have said that more clearly. Let me try again. Our 450 million or so users have been getting unprompted updates every month or two for a very long time. These unprompted updates now come with a some changes beyond just security and stability (truth be told, so did many of our previous unprompted “security and stability” updates) and a slightly higher potential of add-on incompatibility, but that’s really the only difference and it’s not a difference that I think (or our communications team thinks) requires specially messaging our users.

    • Nicholas Nethercote

      Asa: but it’s not *completely* silent. So all those people who think FF6 comes out 3 months after FF5 will think “WTF? It hasn’t been 3 months yet. Mozilla said they’d do releases every 3 months.”

      To summarize: most people who are following this story think we’re on a 3-month release cycle. We’re not. We should tell them as loudly as possible.

      • Nicholas Nethercote

        Asa: alternatively, for all the people who are just following the process story, it’ll be good if they know it’s not 3 months, just to avoid any “Mozilla is rushing releases?” speculation, or any other confusion. A single post about this to blog.mozilla.org would go a long way.

        • Nicholas Nethercote

          Asa: finally (I’ll stop now, I promise!), I know we’re headed for a post-version-number nirvana, but it’s going to take others a while to get used to it. Clear dates and communication will ease the transition 🙂

  8. I don’t think any significant number of people have any expectations of anything. I think you overestimate the audience who tracks all this version wanking in the press.

    We have 450 million users who are used to seeing an update every 6 weeks or so. They’re going to continue to get an update every 6 weeks. The update will just come with a bit more than it used to. The update won’t say anything about version numbers and will look pretty much exactly like every other 6 weeks security and stability update they’ve gotten over the last 7 years. Everything will appear to be perfectly normal for the overwhelming majority of our users.

    Finally, we’re going to do blog posts when we uplift mozilla-central to aurora and aurora to beta next week and there it’ll be quite clear that six weeks after that beta will ship as final and aurora will become beta. That should well cover the handful of people who track all this stuff as if it mattered 🙂