Mozilla has a tough year ahead of it. The Firefox roadmap boasts of gamechanging updates and it will be a pleasure to see them come through. However, people are apprehensive about the roadmap, since it claims four major versions in a year which is so unlike Mozilla. Though, recent updates have outlined how Firefox will achieve this feat.
For those not familiar with the context, you can check this coverage for Mozilla’s plan of releasing version 4, 5, 6 and 7, all by the end of this year.
Following Google’s announcement of releasing new features as and when they are ready, Mozilla has decided to put Firefox through the same process. The addition of features will be made irrespective of versions and this eliminates the need for all the hoopla around major version releases. The new system will be put in place only after the release of Firefox 4. That makes Firefox 4 the last major release in its true essence.
Jay Sullivan, the VP of Productions at Mozilla responded to pcpro saying,
What we want to do is get the power into users’ hands more quickly. For example, the video tag was shippable in June – we should have shipped it. Meanwhile, we’re waiting for this whole package. Why wouldn’t we ship the video tag when it’s ready? We’re moving on web time now, and we’ve been shipping a little bit on desktop time. It’s not necessary, so we’re undergoing some process changes, and we’ll do smaller bundles more quickly.
The new system, in Sulllivan’s words, is all about “fewer features and more releases, like Chrome“. This can be seen in Firefox 4, which had 12 betas. Mozilla plans to release a new version every three weeks in this new process. What remains to be seen is how many actual features and fixes go into those releases or whether the system is just a faux pas. Firefox has seen extremely slow development over the last one year and the new system should at least bring some transparency into the development of Firefox, if not pace it up altogether.
If you would like to speculate further, catch some info on the Firefox 5 concept here.