Jul 23, 2012

Has the rapid release cycle of Firefox turned it into a bad browser?

Since Firefox moved to its rapid update/release cycle, I have gone from being a fan of Firefox to a user of Chrome. It finally got to be too much of a headache, one update would work fine, then a new one would come out that removed features I used. Another week or two would pass, then another update would break software compatibility. I've been mostly using Chrome, and it updates all the time too, but it is usually painless, doesn't have any noticeable negative affects that I notice. Why is Mozilla making updates so frequently have a negative impact on users' experience, and in my opinion is causing users to look elsewhere for their browser?


The recent market share of the various browsers indicates that your concerns are shared by many users.  Firefox's share of the browser market has been slipping while Chrome, whose rapid update model Mozilla tried to replicate, has been increasing.  One problem is that while Chrome updates are mostly invisible, Firefox is constantly telling you and/or breaking plug-ins.  Also Chrome updates don't make Chrome crash prone.  


I think instability is the biggest issue.  I used to think of Firefox as the stable browser, but not anymore.  A few years ago I never would have thought I would say this, but when I'm on someone's desktop and they have IE and Firefox, I'll often go with IE just because it doesn't crash as often as Firefox.  Until just now I didn't realize it, but Firefox may actually be my #3 browser choice, although other than stability issues (which is a big deal), I prefer it to IE.  Three years ago Firefox would have been my #1 choice.  


I love open source projects, and I want Firefox/Mozilla to succeed.  For many years I was a devoted user.  But if the stability, and to a lesser degree, speed issues that I have seen recently don't get ironed out Firefox is going to lose more and more market share.   

Same goes here, I'm mostly using Chrome now. The rapid release stuff has really backfired on Firefox. It seems to have degraded the quality of the releases, and this seems to have affected people's choice in browsers.

I am hoping that the Firefox developers go back to their former release schedule. Constantly putting out updates seems to have lessened the number of Firefox users. People don't want to deal with unstable updates frequently.

It's sad to see because Firefox used to have such a devoted following, but they are now playing second fiddle to Chrome.
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