Mozilla is now offering Firefox 6.0, a mere two months after Firefox 5.0 made its debut. Mozilla's sped-up release cycle could give the enterprise some headaches.
Mozilla has released Firefox 6.0, barely two months after
the previous version of the popular browser hit the Web.
is available via Mozilla's Website. The organization also
moved Firefox 7 to beta, according to a posting on the MozillaWiki
. Mozilla is
keeping this release a low-key affair, as befitting a browser update that's
mostly tweaks to compatibility and performance, including reduced startup times
and some new highlighting in the address bar. Aside from the latter, noticeable
changes to the user interface are pretty much
This newest version arrives a mere two months after Firefox
5, which itself debuted some three months after Firefox 4 entered the
marketplace. This could be a response to aggressive posturing by rivals such as
For consumers, upgrading most likely won't represent that
much of a hassle: They click "download," and
a few minutes later (depending on your connection speed), they're tooling around with a new browser. Larger
enterprises, though, have expressed a bit more concern about this rapid
cadence, with IT administrators claiming it snarls their ability to deploy the
browser throughout their organizations in a timely and consistent way.
"I have 500,000 users on Firefox 3.6," read a
much-circulated comment by IBM's John Walicki on a June 21
by Firefox developer and consultant Michael Kaply. "I'm now in
the terrible position of choosing to deploy a Firefox 4 release with
potentially unpatched vulnerabilities, reset the test cycle for thousands of
internal apps to validate Firefox 5 or stay on a patched Firefox 3.6.x."
A debate quickly erupted from there, with one Mozilla
coordinator insisting in Kaply's blog comments that, "Enterprise has never been
(and I'll argue, shouldn't be) a focus of ours." Mozilla's rivals then leapt
into the fray, with one Microsoft executive taking to the blogs to tout
Internet Explorer's commitment to corporate customers. It had all the markings
of the sort of public-relations snafu that organizations pay lots of money to
lots of people to avoid.
"Enterprises are built of people," Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs tweeted
June 28, "and Mozilla is fundamentally about people. We support Firefox users
wherever they are."
Mozilla's method for extinguishing the fire turned out to be
very publicly re-establishing a Mozilla Enterprise User Working Group as a
place, in the words of a July 19 post on The
, "for enterprise developers, IT staff and Firefox developers
to discuss the challenges, ideas and best practices for deploying Firefox in
Whether that group proves effective for enterprise IT
pros, the latter could certainly have its collective hands full with Firefox's
new release schedule.
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter