I have been using Mozilla’s FireFox and Thunderbird for many years and have always been a big fan; however, my patience with their rapid release program is wearing thin.
The rapid release program is a new methodology that drives constant updates to their software. According to a former Mozilla developer, the Rapid Release program has killed their reputation. I have to agree.
Since about FireFox 5 I have seen numerous new problems creep in, such as the memory leak problem that the Mozilla team blames on McAfee anti-virus. I have had the problem for quite some time, even though I use Norton.
They there is the fact that several very useful add-ons have ceased functioning. A few of the add-on developers have been trying to keep up with the changes and some are succeeding, but others have given up. It appears that the Mozilla team has responded to the claims of the former developer by stating their position, including, “Today’s Firefox updates are applied in the background with no interruptions; they even keep your Firefox Add-ons compatible between releases.” Based upon this response, someone must be living in ya-ya land.
The Thunderbird updates have been more reliable than FireFox, but have still broken numerous add-ons. Thunderbird 13 even broke a part of Thunderbird that displayed the list of e-mail accounts when you tried to move a message. The list was scrambled, but they did fix that problem with the recent Thunderbird 14 update.
Meanwhile, CNet reports that Firefox 14 may break your theme and computer guru Kim Komando has recommended against doing any FireFox updates. I don’t use a custom theme, but at least others are seeing some of the problems that I am seeing.
According to the W3 Schools browser statistics, FireFox has steadily lost market share to Chrome almost every month since at least the beginning of 2010. In January of 2010, the FireFox market share was estimated at 46.3% and as of June 2012 it is down to 34.4%. This is not because Chrome has been adding wonderful new features.
What I am seeing looks very similar to what we saw with the WordPress development team for a couple of years and until they apparently saw that foolishness in this methodology. WordPress users would cringe every few weeks when a new update would become available. On top of numerous bugs, most updates were loaded with useless bells and whistles. But for the last several WordPress updates since about version 3.3 we are seeing a distinctly different approach that is working wonderfully. Updates are now thoroughly tested and the update process is seamless.
We love your products, Mozilla team, but please slow it down.