Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mozilla slows pace of Firefox 9 upgrades

Computerworld – Mozilla dramatically slowed the update pace of Firefox 9, the browser it shipped late last month.

The company also said it may repeat the slow-down in the future.

Firefox 9, which Mozilla released Dec. 20, has yet to be completely “unthrottled,” or offered as an update to all users, according to notes from a company meeting last week.

Like other software vendors, including Microsoft and Apple, Mozilla can offer upgrades to a fraction of its users rather than to everyone at once. The practice is designed to ensure that download servers aren’t overwhelmed, and to prevent bugs — if there are any in the update — from reaching all users.

Firefox 8, the edition that launched Nov. 8, 2011, accounted for 40% of all versions of Mozilla’s browser five days after its release, and broke the 50% mark 18 days after it shipped, according to usage statistics from Irish metrics firm StatCounter. Meanwhile, Firefox 9 accounted for just 7% of all editions of Firefox five days after its debut and required 24 days to reach 50%.

The slow-down was related to several bugs in Firefox 9 that Mozilla developers have investigated, including one mentioned last week in a status meeting that blocks some users running Mac OS X 10.6, aka Snow Leopard, from playing Netflix content.

While Mozilla issued Firefox 9.0.1 a day after shipping Firefox 9 — the former removed code that caused some Mac, Linux and Windows browsers to crash — it has not released a version 9.0.2 to patch any of the bugs that prompted it to throttle the upgrade process.                   More