Mozilla will change the way they update their browser after the release of Firefox 4 and will take on a more Chrome-like release model. Mozilla has been releasing only major updates over the last six years while Google’s Chrome has already hit version 9 after only two years. With this final major release, Mozilla plans to do smaller, quicker releases as soon as new features are available rather than holding them back for a larger update.
“What we want to do is get the power into users’ hands more quickly,” says Mozilla VP of product, Jay Sullivan. He gives the example of the video tag, which was ready since June but has yet to be released to users and will be part of the Firefox 4 update. “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.”
Google’s Chrome has taken up a large market share, pumping out a few key features almost every six weeks. They are already working now on Chrome 10 beta. Should Mozilla adapt this model, we’ll likely be seeing Firefox 5, 6, and 7 within the next year. Firefox 4 is currently on its 12th beta, with the Release Candidate version expected to arrive within a few weeks.