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Which the real benefits of rapid release development cycle adopted by the Mozilla Foundation in comparison with the strategy adopted previously?

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migrated from Dec 28 '11 at 13:49

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Competing with Google Chrome in the minds of their target users. – Cody Gray Dec 28 '11 at 5:27
@CodyGray - unfortunately, this is the truth of the matter. – Fiasco Labs Dec 28 '11 at 17:05
up vote 4 down vote accepted

According to Mozilla, the rapid release schedule is to accommodate the "speed of the web", but there's no reason that same thing couldn't be accomplished releasing minor updates with minor update numbers. They were releasing minor updates about the same pace they are now releasing "major" updates, it's just that they increment a different segment of the build number now. So instead of going from 3.6.4 to 3.6.5 when they release some minor updates, they now go from 9.0.1 to 9.1.0 instead and anything bigger than a minor update gets a major build number increment now. It's basically just a numbers game so 'users' don't think Firefox is somehow less good than Chrome simply because Chrome is version 16 and Firefox is version 3.6.

If you take a look at the change log for going from version 8 to 9 and look at the changes, you'll see that it should really just be a minor version update, but it's not. The real shame is that Chrome tries (and succeeds) at hiding the version number so well that even tech people hardly pay attention to (or know) what version they are using. With Chrome, it's always just "Chrome, version latest", which is much easier. Then again, updates in Chrome don't require 3+ minutes to install on a Core i7. There is some talk about moving to a "current - days" version number instead, which would be far better. Where your version is either "current" or "current - x days" where x is the number of days ago your version was released compared to current.

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I would argue that Chrome does a much better job adding or changing major features and can in many ways justify the major version changes it goes through. One could argue say that Chrome is able to do this because it is a young browser compared to the teen Firefox and the 40'something Internet Explorer. Chrome displays the version number, its displayed in the about box, although often a version change for Chrome comes with cosmetic changes. – Ramhound Dec 29 '11 at 18:54

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