From: Johnathan Nightingale <john...@mozilla.com>
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2011 12:25:12 -0400
Local: Thurs, Sep 22 2011 12:25 pm
Subject: Re: Proposal to Provide an Extended Support Release of Firefox for Managed Deployments
I don't want to go point for point on the various replies here, but I wanted to address some common threads so that Kev doesn't have to do ALL the typing.
1) Won't this proposal fragment our user base?
Compared to a world where there is nothing but our mainline releases: yes, trivially. But much less so than we have historically when we supported multiple past releases, often for a year or more. This proposal makes clear the maximum extent of the lag (42 weeks ~ 9 months), and the maximum amount of concurrent maintenance (3 branches, for 12 weeks of overlap, about a quarter of the time).
2) Why these times (30 weeks, 12 weeks, &c)? Will they be enough?
Kev's been working with all of us here, as well as EWG members, to find a good balance. 30 and 12 are multiples of 6 weeks, for perhaps obvious reasons. Some ESR consumers will want much more. As an engineering manager looking at the cost of backports, I would like as little code divergence as possible. These timelines feel like a good middle ground to me, though I think Kev is quite open to discussion of the particulars.
3) Won't our users flock to ESR?
Some might. We won't market it, and our experience with old versions (like 3.6 today) shows that the vast majority of people won't, but some might. This largely goes back to question 1.
4) Won't add-on authors choose to focus only on ESR?
I'm not the add-on expert, but as an add-on author on this thread, I know I like having users, and most of the users, by a significant margin, will be on mainline releases. As in all things, I'm sure there will be some grey area, but our add-on compatibility story (through a great deal of hard work from the add-ons team and add-on authors) is getting better, so I don't foresee a tidal wave.
5) I hate updates.
Duly noted, but not really on-topic (except as it pertains to question 1 above, I guess).
On 2011-09-21, at 5:13 PM, Kev Needham wrote:
> Since moving to a faster release process, Mozilla understands that some---
> organizations are facing challenges in deploying Mozilla products in a
> managed environment. The faster release cadence makes gives organizations a shorter period of time to certify and use new releases,
> and the lack of maintenance on older releases can expose organizations
> using them to security risks. Through the Enterprise Working Group (EWG)
> we're working with those organizations through to determine the best way
> Mozilla can help.
> To that end, representatives from the Product, Engagement, Engineering,
> The proposal can be viewed on the Mozilla Wiki at
> The proposed ESR will require effort to maintain, and we want to gather
> We realize that Thunderbird in particular is a significant downstream consumer of the Gecko platform, which is itself influenced by Firefox's plans with respect to security & maintenance policies in particular. While sharing technology, Thunderbird is a distinct product which is exposed to different distinct security and market environments, and we don't want to assume that the discussions which have focused on Firefox necessarily apply as-is to Thunderbird. We will be starting a Thunderbird-specific discussion informed by the Firefox processes, please join that discussion on the tb-enterprise mailing list (https://wiki.mozilla.org/Thunderbird/tb-enterprise).
> I'll be compiling, responding to, and evaluating the feedback received
> I thank you in advance for your thoughts and feedback, and look forward
> Kev Needham (also representing Stormy Peters and JP Rosevear)
Director of Firefox Engineering
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