Ever since Firefox switched to its rapid release process after the launch of Firefox 4, users in corporate environments have been complaining about how often Mozilla now updates the browser. To appease these users – and the administrators who keep their computers running – Mozilla has now proposed to add Extended Support Releases to its release cycle that will continue to see maintenance updates for about 42 weeks after their release.
For consumers, a rapid release schedule means earlier access to useful features without having to wait for month until a full x.0 release is ready to go out. Currently, Mozilla pushes out a new version every six week. For business users, however, these fast updates can be a major hassle, though. In an enterprise setting, after all, browsers have to be tested extensively before they can be released to users and apps have to be certified to work with those browsers.
As CNET’s Stephen Shankland points out, Mozilla current strategy risks “driving slower-moving organizations into the arms of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.”
For now, it’s important to note that this scheme is only a proposal and it remains to be seen if these slower updates will be enough appease enterprise admins. Even a 42-week cycle (including a 12-week overlap to give users time to upgrade), after all, is much faster than Microsoft’s current update schedule and the largest group of potential users here are the companies that have only now started to switch to Windows 7.