Accueil > Mozilla > Yet another update? Well, yes…

Yet another update? Well, yes…

I just read Gerv’s article about people complaining that they get update notifications from Firefox every week or so. I agree there are moments when the updates come at a pretty high rate:

  • Fx 3.6.12: Oct 27 (8 days after Fx 3.6.11)
  • Fx 3.6.11: Oct 19 (1 month after Fx 3.6.10)
  • Fx 3.6.10: Sep 15 (8 days after Fx 3.6.9)
  • Fx 3.6.9: Sep 7 (1.5 month after Fx 3.6.8)
  • Fx 3.6.8: Jul 23 (3 days after Fx 3.6.7)
  • Fx 3.6.7: Jul 20 (3 weeks after Fx3.6.6)
  • Fx 3.6.6: Jun 26 (4 days after Fx 3.6.4)
  • Fx 3.6.5: (not released)
  • Fx 3.6.4: Jun 22 (2.5 months after Fx 3.6.3)
  • Fx 3.6.3: Apr 1 (10 days after Fx 3.6.2)
  • Fx 3.6.2: Mar 22 (2.5 months after Fx 3.6)
  • Fx 3.6.1: (not released)
  • Fx 3.6: Jan 21

5 times this year, an update notification came less than 10 days after the previous one: 3.6.3, 3.6.6, 3.6.8, 3.6.10 and 3.6.12. It looks like Firefox is following the odd/even numbering schema, where odd numbers mean "unstable" (3.6.7, 3.6.9, 3.6.11) and even numbers mean "stable" (3.6, 3.6.6, 3.6.8, 3.6.10). :) More seriously, I can understand user complaints: once per week or twice per month is too much, I agree. Having Firefox automatically and silently download updates in the background and automatically and silently apply them on the next restart (to avoid notifications which irritate users so much) would be a big win. Users wouldn’t even notice that they got an updated version, and most users don’t care. For silent updates, don’t even display the release notes page on restart. These users really don’t care, believe me! (I can see how my family and my coworkers behave when they see such pages: WTF!? That’s not my usual home page. I don’t even know what they are talking about!). When Microsoft Windows installs some updates in the background, you don’t get a whole page telling you it did. 99% of us wouldn’t understand what they are talking about anyway if they are too technical, and 99% of us wouldn’t care if they are too generic.

Now, users must also understand why they get updates: because their system or application is vulnerable to some threat!They don’t get an update notification simply because someone found a typo in the preferences panel!! People like complaining about frequent updates, but they also like complaining that something goes wrong with their application or OS, despite an update with this problem fixed was available for weeks if not months. I think that comments such as "if i need an update i can look for it" or "If you can’t get it right the first time, give it up" are ridiculous. If the user pretends to be able to look for updates himself, then go edit your preferences and disable automatic updates, and stop complaining! If you don’t know how to configure this, then notifying you is the right way to go. Personally, I want Firefox to notify me for new updates, so I don’t remember whether the default configuration ("automatically download and install updates") notifies the user at all or not. If it doesn’t and doesn’t ask the user to restart his browser, then I don’t see what the problem is with frequent updates. If it does, then I agree this should be a really quiet mode, where the update is only installed on restart (or be able to apply the update immediately without requiring the browser to restart). If a user changed his preferences to get notifications and he gets notifications every week or so, then just change your preferences back to their default, and stop complaining. So the ball is in both the Firefox and the user camp.

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