Mozilla: Firefox 4 won't get security updates, just get Firefox 5

By on June 23, 2011, 6:00 AM

Mozilla isn't planning on releasing regular security updates for Firefox 4 (unless there's a really critical hole discovered). Instead, the non-profit organization wants its users to simply move to Firefox 5. This isn't a bad thing, but it is a bit confusing for Firefox users who are used to security-specific updates.

Firefox 4, the browser Mozilla shipped in March 2011, has reached End Of Life (EOL) status for vulnerability patches. Although the move may come as a surprise to Firefox users, Mozilla's developers have been toying with the idea to stop supporting Firefox 4 with security updates for weeks. Asa Dotzler, Mozilla's director of community development, recently summarized the situation in a post on the mozilla.dev.planning mailing list:

That being said, there already has been a 4.0.x release and there may be another if a critical security issue arises that requires a "chemspill" unplanned emergency fix. But that would be an *unplanned* emergency release and not a planned one. The planned security update for Firefox 4 is Firefox 5.

This means Firefox 4.0.1, released in April 2011 to fix eight flaws, will be the one and only security update for Firefox 4. Again, this could change if a very serious vulnerability is discovered, but right now it looks like Mozilla is going to simply working hard to push its users to the next major version of Firefox, even if all they want is a security patch.

This shift in security strategy stems from a bigger change as Mozilla switches to a rapid release development cycle that means new versions come more frequently. The company has promised to push out a new stable build every six weeks. Firefox 6 is thus slated for an August release. It remains to be seen if this new system can help Firefox regain its lost market share, but Mozilla hopes it helps its browser's security.




User Comments: 21

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Guest said:

With this new release schedule and method change we should just change what we call the FireFox version. Currently they call it 4.01 and now 5.00 is released. If we just call it 0.4.01 and 0.5.00 or if you'd prefer 1.4.01 and 1.5.00 that would make more sense. So let's give it a major release number so these minor updates follow a standard numbering scheme. Otherwise Mozilla could just randomly pick a version number.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I don't like this, Mozzilla, please slow down, this is stupid and is just going to confuse people and ultimately you will lose users, I love firefox but i don't like upgrading to a new release every month, I would prefer a new release each year as something to look forward to, not the same looking browser with a different number each month.

Guest said:

"Mozilla: Firefox 4 won't get security updates, just get Firefox 5"

I think this means they want another cake. Get that, Microsoft?

sMILEY4ever said:

burty117 said:

I don't like this, Mozzilla, please slow down, this is stupid and is just going to confuse people and ultimately you will lose users, I love firefox but i don't like upgrading to a new release every month, I would prefer a new release each year as something to look forward to, not the same looking browser with a different number each month.

I agree. This is stupid. It looks and feels the same as 4 but some addons stopped working.

Guest said:

So... a decentralized browser such as Firefox (extensions are developed everywhere after all and they make or break the FF experience) decides that it's smart to make it even more fractured by releasing faster not-that-relevant upgrades and simply break a porcentage of their browsers each version?

Extension developers are not that fast on the trigger, and from this update alone 2 out of my meager 6 extensions I use day-in day-out (I make a mandatory statement to use as few extensions as possible) are broken.

Really, what the hell are they thinking?! I am already probing alternatives looking at the gloom that lurks around every version upgrade due do this misinterpretation by the dev. team of how their browser works. I am a sad panda today :(

captainawesome captainawesome said:

I dont like this either. I cant upgrade to FF5 without my critical plugins breaking.

Chazz said:

You guys asked for this. People are slowly going towards google chrome, so firefox started doing things like google. Release an update every friggin week in order to give the appearance that you're nimble and current.

As for addons, I only use two. Adblock and Noscript, they're both updately frequently so I have no problem with this method.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

I don't use FF, but for those that do and are complaining about extensions breaking, can't you just get the Compatibility Reporter add on and use your extensions anyway?

I know that there will probably be some that won't work and it may not be a long term solution. But, everyone is saying there isn't much of a change in the version, so chances are good that your extension(s) will still work until the dev can release an updated one.

Guest said:

The primary security add-ons are being kept up to date (NoScript, Better Privacy, AdBlock Plus, and Ghostery are the main ones AFAIK) while the upcoming releases are in beta so there is no fear that they won't be compatible when a new release goes live. To me, these are the add-ons that keep me with Firefox. I use a few other add-ons (Awesome Screenshot, Thumbnail Zoom, and Firefox Sync) that do not have the same developmental support and have been slower to become compatible with new releases. I view these add-ons as additive, but not necessary to my browser.

My personal opinion, as long as the security add-ons are up to date, I encourage the faster release cycle. I think at some point with minor releases, users become lazy and don't care as much, even if it is a major security or performance update, it's not a big release. I've gotten on a lot of computers where they're running Firefox 3.5.x or <3.6.5 because they simply don't care enough to update to 3.6.18... it's still just Firefox 3.6 in their minds. With that thought in mind, I would also like to see Firefox utilize a better behind the scenes updating system like Chrome's, but I completely understand why some users do not want such a system because of the add-ons they use. To each their own.

Cheers!

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

People who use Firefox must have never used Chrome.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

spydercanopus said:

People who use Firefox must have never used Chrome.

Did you forget to log in as Guest before making that comment?

jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

Yea, nobody LIKES this - - but you need to understand code development issues.

The retraction of the WebGL requires a major change in the architecture of the inards of the browser.

Updates per se are never architecture changes, but restricted to much smaller changes.

I would guess that Mozilla too will want to get back to pure updates as has been their + our experiences in the past.

The BIG hit is not you and me but the corporate environments where the client/user systems all need to be controlled and changed.

Massive version updates are far more difficult to manage and roll-out and this kind of kaka will drive I.T. managers to drop Mozilla altogether - -

ergo, the highest motivation to return to pure upates.

Guest said:

I didn't like this at first but after using it I changed my mind. I quite like it.

Guest said:

Well I have had nothing but trouble with Firefox ever since they started using the Plugin Container. Try watching a video on a tab and then use the back button to go to you previous page ....Hang City.. you have to Ctrl, Alt, Delete, to shut down the Plugin Container.Exe. It has locked up my computer several times. So I un-installed v4.01 and re-installed 3.5 and and thats the one I will use forever no more updates from Mozilla for me. (If it ain't broke don't fix it) These people are just experimenting at the expense of the users time. I have better things to do then un-stick my browser. I have work to do, and I don't have time to fix my computer, in the middle of work time. I wish some one made a browser that really worked, Like Netscape Navigator did in the 80s and 90s. What happened Mozilla !!!!

Guest said:

@above Guest

Sorry if I sound blunt but I can't help it.

The ammount of ignorance on this post is almost unbearable. First you go around saying you don't want your computer to fix then go right ahead into asserting that negleting all the numerous bug fixes Mozilla implemented are irrelevant.

You also say "time is money" but once again neglect all the improvements made past version 3.5 .

It's even more aggravating your complete lack of knowledge on the crucial differences between 90's internet and browsers and the current stand on those technologies.

Sigh, their current method is still wrong WRONG (I am @7:47 AM Guest so my position on this is already expressed there) but going around trying to argue that all evolution is a bad evolution is just plainly ignorant. They should be more acute of the current meta state of affairs yes, but in no way they should stop rolling out features!

I just hope they don't go around the bush and release a "Mozilla App Store", I know they want to be Google real bad but even then, I will probably loose all faith in internet the day this happens

Tanstar said:

In other words, FireFox 5.0 IS FireFox 4.2. Don't make us say it, just act like we did.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I still use FF 3.6. All the multi-tab-row add-ons either don't work with newer versions or work badly (Tab Mix Plus). I tried Opera, which supports multi-row, but I'm now back to FF.

Guest said:

I'm sticking with Firefox 3.5.19. I've had it with FF hanging all the time, in later versions. Unless Mozilla fix it, I'm gone.....

Guest said:

i haven'tused Firefox for a long time for neither the security problem nor the frequently update .Just because i find a better one which is called Avant browser .the auto fills are very useful .use less memory. that's why i use Avant browser not ff

Guest said:

They could just have called it 4.x and there would be no need to say 4 isn't supported anymore...

Guest said:

Guys, I installed the latest Firefox 4.0 and the auto-updates kicked in and now I have Firefox 7.0 and all add-ons are broke. Now I want to go back to an older version of Firefox 3.5 which I have and what I want to know is, if I uninstall FF 7.0 and install FF 3.5 , can I have access to all the bookmarks I made in FF 7.0

Thanks,

Harish.

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