Mozilla Won't Jettison Firefox Version Numbers
A widely reported debate recently arose after a discussion on a Mozilla forum about how upcoming versions of the Firefox browser should not carry a version number in the familiar "About" box. In the online discussion, Mozilla officials wrote: "We're moving to a more Web-like convention where it's simply not important what version you're using as long as it's the latest version. We have a goal to make version numbers irrelevant to our consumer audience." Many analysts objected to the idea, as did OStatic. Now, Mozilla has announced that it has no plans to do away with Firefox version numbers--the right decision for the company to make.
On Mozilla's dev.usability forum, Alex Faaborg writes:
"Just in case this got lost amongst the many threads in progress: there are
no plans to adjust the version number. It will remain in its current place in the about window, and we are going to continue with the current numbering scheme. An attribute of working entirely in the open is that we sometimes create significant confusion as we discuss design work that is in progress. However the bright side is that there is never a shortage of feedback."
Faaborg attributed the flare-up over version numbers to "miscommunication" among team members. Mozilla has made the right decision here. The world of technology is littered with attempts to come up with new names for things people already understand, and these ideas never seem to work out any better than New Coke did. Especially with Firefox on a brand new rapid release cycle, it's good to be able to check what version you have and do so in a familiar place.