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Author Topic: Firefox fixes the version number problem  (Read 10311 times)
justice
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« on: August 16, 2011, 07:51:48 AM »

Firefox is working hard to just have one version, the current one. Firefox 9 or 10 will move the version number from the about window to Help > Troubleshoot.
Quote
When a user opens the About window for Firefox, the window should say something like "Firefox checked for updates 20 minutes ago, you are running the latest release."

It is important to say when the last check happened and ideally to do the check when the dialog is launched so that time is very near and to drop the version and simply tell them they're on the latest or not.


from mozilla.dev.usability

You will probably not agree but I think this is a good change. It will help supporting Firefox because there will just be two versions that matter: the up to date version, and the old version (which is any older version).
This simplifies any solution and troubleshooting, it either works in the current version, or Firefox will update - if it's connected to the internet. Which means eventually, Firefox is always up to date and there will no old versions and therefore no issues.

Probably the biggest obstacle to getting everyone to keep autoupdate on is the bundling of crap with installers, as we discussed before.
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vlastimil
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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2011, 08:38:19 AM »

It is the right way to go. While it means that the users are less in control of the software they run on their computers, it simplifies the development and maintenance by a great deal.

From the developer perspective, automatic updates are a blessing. If a bug is found, it can be fixed and the fix is distributed to all users within few days without bothering them. It is a tremendous help.

I am planning automatic updates for new versions of my software, but implementing a 100% working transparent automatic updates is pretty tough. Kudos to Firefox devs.
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rssapphire
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« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2011, 10:25:22 AM »

The last thing I want is updates that download and install whenever they want unless the publisher can guarantee (with his life and gene pool forfeit if he is incorrect) that the update will never interfere with any other software/hardware on my machine and will never download if I need the bandwidth for something else or if I am near my bandwidth limit if any.  As I doubt many developers will be able (let alone willing) to do this, auto-download/update should always default to off -- if the user wants it, the user can turn it on. Note that an (unchecked) option to turn it on during the install is fine.
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cyberdiva
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« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2011, 10:33:30 AM »

Perhaps I'm not understanding this correctly, but I think Firefox updating itself automatically is not a good idea for a couple of reasons.  One is that at times the add-on developers don't come out with new versions of their add-ons as soon as a new Firefox version appears.  I have often waited to update because add-ons for some software I depended on weren't yet compatible.  (And on at least one occasion, I had to stay with an older version of Firefox because I couldn't update the software and the add-on for the old software wouldn't work in the new Firefox.)

In addition to the above issue, there's also the fact that many people (I among them) prefer to wait a bit before updating Firefox to be sure no serious bugs are reported in the new version.  I would NOT want to be forced to update before I felt confident that the new version was OK.

(When I was about to post the above I was told that another post had been added.  I see that rssapphire has misgivings somewhat similar to mine.  Thmbsup )
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40hz
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« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2011, 10:35:01 AM »


It is the right way to go. While it means that the users are less in control of the software they run on their computers, it simplifies the development and maintenance by a great deal.


I must be stoned while I'm reading this.  huh

How, in the name of all that is decent, can giving users less control over what gets installed on their machines ever be viewed as "the right way to go"? tongue

« Last Edit: August 16, 2011, 10:38:49 AM by 40hz » Logged

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AndyM
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« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2011, 11:14:11 AM »

I always want the opportunity to backup just before any updates, so I would never want anything automatically updated.
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vlastimil
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« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2011, 11:30:12 AM »

I must be stoned while I'm reading this.  huh

How, in the name of all that is decent, can giving users less control over what gets installed on their machines ever be viewed as "the right way to go"? tongue

I know that it seems weird, but let's face the facts. An installer that is given admin permissions can do really evil things to your computer. The risk is here already. Control over your own computer is an illusion unless you run linux and review every bit of source code you install. Automatic updates can at least compensate this downside.

Do you think that you know better than the developers that this patch is good or bad for you? Do you want to invest the time to find out? Do you want your data lost or your computer hacked because of a stupid bug that has been fixed years ago, but you were too lazy to install the update? Sum this all up and you'll end up with a huge positive value. That's why I am saying, automatic updates are the way to go even if there is some loss of control over your computer. I know that few power users would be annoyed by this, but the silent majority will benefit greatly.

Look at the state of Internet Explorer. There are still people using IE6. How much easier it would be to develop a style for a web site if everyone had the latest version of their favorite browser?

As a user, I'd much rather use a portable application that auto-updates itself and runs with limited permissions than install anything that requires admin permissions.
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mwb1100
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« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2011, 12:14:40 PM »

The last thing I want is updates that download and install whenever they want unless the publisher can guarantee (with his life and gene pool forfeit if he is incorrect) that the update will never interfere with any other software/hardware on my machine and will never download if I need the bandwidth for something else or if I am near my bandwidth limit if any.

Another reason updates shouldn't be automatic is that they often change the functionality or UI of the program. 

As a cranky old man, I hate it when things change.
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nudone
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« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2011, 12:19:37 PM »

That reminds me...

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hamradio
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« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2011, 12:42:00 PM »

Just gives me another reason to add to my list of when to look elsewhere for my browser needs. Mozilla has almost made the list full...and when it becomes full...bad things will happen to the Firefox on my computer...(as in removal and never looking back). I for one don't think browser updates should be forced down your throat with automatic updates and having a version number in the about box is standard procedure...if they are going to remove it then they should just rename the stupid about box name to Check for Update as that will be all it is going to mainly be in the box afterwards.

Bottom line: If my firefox automatically updated today I would not be able to use Stylish at the time of this writing cause the version number is not set to go with the newly released 6. It is one of the many reasons I don't like it to update automatically.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2011, 01:02:15 PM by hamradio; Reason: Added bottom line. » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2011, 01:16:10 PM »

Control over your own computer is an illusion unless you run linux and review every bit of source code you install. Automatic updates can at least compensate this downside.
Well, all I want is control over those aspects that I understand.  I understand that some of my add-ons will often fail to work if I update Firefox too soon.  I understand that when people who upgrade Firefox as soon as possible report all kinds of problems, I want to be able to hold off on updating.  I have no desire to be the canary in the coalmine.

My approach to Firefox updates is much the same as my approach to Windows Updates.  I have set Windows Updates to let me know when new ones are available, but let me decide whether and when to download and install them.
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vlastimil
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« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2011, 01:28:39 PM »

I understand that some of my add-ons will often fail to work if I update Firefox too soon.  I understand that when people who upgrade Firefox as soon as possible report all kinds of problems, I want to be able to hold off on updating.  I have no desire to be the canary in the coalmine.

A properly implemented automatic updates should be able to cover this typical scenario. The Firefox devs would be stupid if they implemented automatic updates in a way that breaks their users' browsers. It is not that hard to compare version numbers of your extensions and determine whether a patch should be applied now or next week together with an extension update. Why do people always assume that developers cannot see the simplest things? Do programmers really deserve this?  cheesy
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nosh
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« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2011, 03:31:30 PM »

A lot of extensions marked incompatible work fine even after FF has moved up several versions. If someone were to rely solely on automatic updates FF would never update. And perhaps throw a nag box about incompatible extensions everytime it checked for an update. There are too many ifs and buts to implement an intelligent auto update for FF.
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JavaJones
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« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2011, 04:21:07 PM »

I tend to agree with vlastimil. While I, as a power user, don't necessarily prefer automatic updates, it is a good thing for the vast majority of users *if* it can be implemented properly. By proper implementation I mean that it will never restart the browser or computer without the user's consent, it will never break extensions or if it does it will ask the user if that's ok *and* allow them to delay update for some time, and finally that the test cycle prior to pushing new updates is comprehensive enough that the vast majority do not have any "weird problems" and need to wait to see if it's a "good update". Really we have learned to compensate for the bad habits of our software publishers and hopefully that does not have to last forever.

Regarding extension compatibility, I believe Mozilla has at least a partial solution with the Add-on SDK and changes in how Firefox handles plugin version compatibility:
http://blog.mozilla.com/a...atibility-rapid-releases/
and more on that:
http://www.oxymoronical.c...fox-updates-break-add-ons

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f0dder
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« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2011, 05:56:26 PM »

The version number bumping Mozilla has been doing lately is silly - and now they want to hide the version number? That's outright stupid. Yes, you should be running "version latest", but as long as stuff breaks (and not always just in a "fix the version number in the .xpi" way) with updates, people aren't going to do that.

I'm all for a more agile release cycle, and making updates painless is a very good idea - heck, 100% automatic update to bugfix versions is a decent idea. But as soon as something changes - no way. At least there needs to be a way to turn it off. It might work just fine for all your regular joes, but for power users and enterprise situations? No. No, no, no and no.
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« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2011, 06:07:08 PM »

I tend to agree with vlastimil. While I, as a power user, don't necessarily prefer automatic updates, it is a good thing for the vast majority of users *if* it can be implemented properly. By proper implementation I mean that it will never restart the browser or computer without the user's consent, it will never break extensions or if it does it will ask the user if that's ok *and* allow them to delay update for some time....

What you're describing is not so different from what Firefox has been doing for some time.  When a new version (or sub-version) is issued, I'm told when I use FF that a new version is out and I'm asked whether I want to update now.  I'm given the choice of updating now or having FF ask me again later.   I think that's quite different from the automatic updating that seemed to be described earlier in this thread, updating that gives the user little or no say.
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nosh
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« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2011, 02:03:04 AM »

FF users need to stop giving IE a bad rap. We need the "vast majority" to stay there so the Mozilla devs can take care of stuff that matters and put an end to the weirdness that's creeping up over there.


« Last Edit: August 17, 2011, 02:07:18 AM by nosh » Logged
Daleus
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« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2011, 08:52:43 AM »

I agree with all of the stated reasons Automatic, uncontrollable updates are unsavory.

For myself, I wish they'd fix the problem with getting rid of add-ons that don't work after an update.  Never been able to get the things uninstalled. Instead they are rendered "disabled" but lag around in the list until the next version release.

Of course, that problem would be resolved if there was some proper notification during updates/upgrades that plugins won't work, and I mean a specific notification of *which* add-on doesn't work, with the option to rollback the current installation.

And no I won't stop bashing IE.

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mahesh2k
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« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2011, 03:17:14 AM »

By the way what is "release update channel". I dont get automatic updates dialog on firefox but it only updates when i go to about firefox dialog.

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cyberdiva
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« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2011, 09:07:07 AM »

Of course, that problem would be resolved if there was some proper notification during updates/upgrades that plugins won't work, and I mean a specific notification of *which* add-on doesn't work, with the option to rollback the current installation.

Hmmm...that's strange.  When I got the notification of FF6 being available, I had the choice of Upgrade or Ask me later.  After a while, I chose Upgrade, and that produced a box telling me which of my add-ons wouldn't work with FF6, and it also gave me a chance to go back to the original box and click on Ask me later.  I did that a couple of times, and each time the number of add-ons diminished (e.g., Linkman issued a new version that works with FF6, so Linkman was no longer listed in the won't-work box).  Now there's just one left.  I'd try to force it to be compatible, but I see no reason to rush to update to FF6, so I'll just stay with 5 and be patient.
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Renegade
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« Reply #20 on: August 19, 2011, 09:34:42 AM »


It is the right way to go. While it means that the users are less in control of the software they run on their computers, it simplifies the development and maintenance by a great deal.


I must be stoned while I'm reading this.  huh

How, in the name of all that is decent, can giving users less control over what gets installed on their machines ever be viewed as "the right way to go"? tongue


+1

FORCING updates is a bad idea.

If Microsoft did this, there would be no end to the ever rising volume and levels of obscenity and profanity, which even I could not hope to aspire to. tongue

If I did this, people would scream at me.

If Adobe did this, people would cry bloody murder.

This already happens in the gaming world, and it's annoying as Hell.


Forcing updates in Firefox, for me, will make it only useful for testing. I would never use it again. After I went to try to use it, and it told me to wait for 5 minutes (or whatever) while it updates? Sorry. I have 3 other browsers open already, and I don't need the hassle.


However, I think it is a good thing for most people. Having it update by default would be good (for most people), but an opt out would be necessary. I would be happy with the option to not update.
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« Reply #21 on: August 19, 2011, 09:38:34 AM »

Look at the state of Internet Explorer. There are still people using IE6. How much easier it would be to develop a style for a web site if everyone had the latest version of their favorite browser?

As a user, I'd much rather use a portable application that auto-updates itself and runs with limited permissions than install anything that requires admin permissions.

IE6... sigh... such a dreadful thing...

I like the idea of a portable auto-updater with limited permissions. That makes sense. (Can you manage that for the registry to make it the default browser then under limited permissions?)
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Stephen66515
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« Reply #22 on: August 19, 2011, 06:22:52 PM »

And not one bad remark about Opera...need I say more?
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« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2011, 08:56:35 AM »

And not one bad remark about Opera...need I say more?
Probably because most of us stopped caring about that years ago? smiley
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40hz
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« Reply #24 on: August 21, 2011, 09:31:20 AM »

And not one bad remark about Opera...need I say more?
Probably because most of us stopped caring about that years ago? smiley

I think many rather than most would be more correct.

Lately, I find myself using Opera more and more.  Especially when frequenting forums.  Thmbsup

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