Even As Firefox 4 Performance Problems Loom, Firefox 5 is Coming
As Mozilla continues to contend with claimed performance problems with its new Firefox 4 browser (although some reader responses to our post on the matter argue that there are none), it is nevertheless persisting in its effort to follow a rapid release cycle for new versions of Firefox. ConceivablyTech reports that new Aurora builds of Firefox 5 have already been posted online, but some are questioning whether Mozilla's new rapid release cycle--undoubtedly an answer to Google Chrome's rapid development cycle--makes sense at this point.
Conceivably Tech notes:
"The first Aurora release is still labeled as version 4.2a1pre and is not likely to change its version number to version 5.0 until it will go into beta on May 17. Mozilla said that it will also create the first Firefox 6.0 build today for mozilla-central, but has not done so yet. The Aurora builds for Linux, Mac and Windows were posted between 4 and 6 am PST this morning."
Meanwhile, PC World is arguing against Firefox's rapid release cycle, noting this:
"While the aggressive development schedule will help keep Firefox on the cutting edge, and allow it to adapt quickly to changes in Web technologies and usage patterns, it might also be confusing for end users to keep up with...Business PCs make up a significant portion of the global PC landscape. Releasing major browser versions faster than businesses can assess and implement them could be a serious handicap for Firefox going forward."
Indeed, problems with confusion and reluctance from businesses to do rapid-fire upgrades loom as problems for quickly released versions of Firefox, but currently the bigger problem is that users are reporting performance issues with Firefox 4. Firefox 5 does promise to include many new features, including improved syncing, the ability to pin icons for websites to the browser's taskbar and more, but users will demand basic performance and stability, and businesses definitely will.
Mozilla is doing an admirable job of helping users get the most out of Firefox 4, including posting lists of add-ons that can lead to performance problems. But its rapid release cycle is new, and it remains to be seen--especially since previous Firefox development proceeded much more slowly--if Mozilla is ready to follow the cycle that it has announced.