Firefox 4: Updated Beta Schedule

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Mike Beltzner

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Oct 27, 2010, 2:58:28 PM10/27/10
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Hey everyone,

As those who have been tracking our nightly builds know, great things are happening with Firefox 4. The user interface changes are converging, the graphics and layout features are wrapping up, and recently the JavaScript engine was dramatically improved. The result is a fast, capable Firefox that provides better speed and responsiveness for web applications and users. Completing this work is taking longer than initial estimates indicated as we track down regressions and sources of instability. As part of our commitment to beta users, we will not ship software before it is ready.

Development on Firefox 4 has not slowed down and strong progress is being made daily. However, based on the delays in completing the "feature complete" Beta 7 milestone against which our Add-on developers and third-party software developers can develop, as well as considering the amount of work remaining to prepare Firefox 4 for final release, we have revised our beta and release candidate schedule: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox/4/Beta

The frequent beta releases have been extremely helpful in identifying compatibility issues with existing web content, so we plan on continuing to release beta milestones through the end of December. Our estimate is now that release candidate builds will ship in early 2011, with a final release date close behind. Please note that, as always, this schedule is subject to change based on feedback from users and community members.

cheers,
mike

johnjbarton

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Oct 28, 2010, 11:27:41 AM10/28/10
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On 10/27/2010 11:58 AM, Mike Beltzner wrote:

>the "feature complete" Beta 7 milestone against which our Add-on developers and third-party software developers can develop,

I appreciate the understanding that beta 7 is the place where addon
developers come, but I want to again complain that 'b7' is not known to
users as the typical time when addons become usable. In bug reports,
newsgroups, blogs and twitter posts I had to explain over and over and
over again, no Firefox 4.0b is not really usable.

If you really must call it beta to get feedback, then please use your
unique position as a trend setter in software development: invent the
"complete" or "compatibility" release series starting with 4.0c1. That
would signal to users, addon devs and third parties that it is now time
to release compatible addons for testing. Next time we can say "wait for
4.1c1" and by 4.2 the users will know to wait.

jjb

Mike Beltzner

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Oct 28, 2010, 11:45:26 AM10/28/10
to johnjbarton, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
On 2010-10-28, at 11:27 AM, johnjbarton wrote:

> I appreciate the understanding that beta 7 is the place where addon developers come, but I want to again complain that 'b7' is not known to users as the typical time when addons become usable. In bug reports, newsgroups, blogs and twitter posts I had to explain over and over and over again, no Firefox 4.0b is not really usable.

I disagree. Firefox 4 Beta is really usable for users; they are beta builds, there are bugs, but nothing that prevents daily use on primary websites. Add-ons, on the other hand, are not expected to be compatible with the beta. We mention that explicitly in the release notes and announcements. I am pretty sad that you say the opposite in public places, and wish you would stop. We need coverage from a broad beta audience, testing the beta builds and giving us feedback.

> If you really must call it beta to get feedback, then please use your unique position as a trend setter in software development: invent the "complete" or "compatibility" release series starting with 4.0c1. That would signal to users, addon devs and third parties that it is now time to release compatible addons for testing. Next time we can say "wait for 4.1c1" and by 4.2 the users will know to wait.

I'm not sure that this distinction matters to users. It matters to third party developers, though, and we plan on increasing our outreach to that group once we have completed beta 7 builds to share with them.

cheers,
mike

johnjbarton

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Oct 28, 2010, 12:25:19 PM10/28/10
to
On 10/28/2010 8:45 AM, Mike Beltzner wrote:
> On 2010-10-28, at 11:27 AM, johnjbarton wrote:
>
>> I appreciate the understanding that beta 7 is the place where addon developers come, but I want to again complain that 'b7' is not known to users as the typical time when addons become usable. In bug reports, newsgroups, blogs and twitter posts I had to explain over and over and over again, no Firefox 4.0b is not really usable.
>
> I disagree. Firefox 4 Beta is really usable for users; they are beta builds, there are bugs, but nothing that prevents daily use on primary websites.

Firefox 4 beta is not usable for Firebug users, they can't use it for
daily use.

> Add-ons, on the other hand, are not expected to be compatible with the beta.

I guess you mean: not expected to be compatible with beta 1-6, but beta
7, now is the magic number. All I am suggesting is a way to make that
difference clearer.

> We mention that explicitly in the release notes and announcements.

I guess they missed these.

> I am pretty sad that you say the opposite in public places, and wish you would stop.

What would like me to say when users complain that Firebug fails on
Firefox 4? "Oh quite complaining, Firefox 4 is really usable"?

> We need coverage from a broad beta audience, testing the beta builds and giving us feedback.

Yes, I know, it's all about you.

>
>> If you really must call it beta to get feedback, then please use your unique position as a trend setter in software development: invent the "complete" or "compatibility" release series starting with 4.0c1. That would signal to users, addon devs and third parties that it is now time to release compatible addons for testing. Next time we can say "wait for 4.1c1" and by 4.2 the users will know to wait.
>
> I'm not sure that this distinction matters to users.

It matters to Firebug users!

> It matters to third party developers, though, and we plan on increasing our outreach to that group once we have completed beta 7 builds to share with them.

You already have reached out: that is exactly what I am talking about.

Labeling the release suitable for addons as 4.0c1 would help users
without in any way distracting from the beta phase. You would still have
beta users but you would encourage a new wave of testers to join.

jjb

>
> cheers,
> mike

Shawn Wilsher

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Oct 28, 2010, 12:36:45 PM10/28/10
to dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
On 10/28/2010 9:25 AM, johnjbarton wrote:
>> I disagree. Firefox 4 Beta is really usable for users; they are beta
>> builds, there are bugs, but nothing that prevents daily use on primary
>> websites.
>
> Firefox 4 beta is not usable for Firebug users, they can't use it for
> daily use.
Then perhaps you should say Firebug users and not just "users"? It
makes you look like a hypocrite when you say we don't communicate
clearly but then you do the same thing, John.

Quite frankly, the tone of your e-mails hasn't been constructively
lately, and that's really not welcome here.

Cheers,

Shawn


johnjbarton

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Oct 28, 2010, 12:46:34 PM10/28/10
to
On 10/28/2010 9:36 AM, Shawn Wilsher wrote:
> On 10/28/2010 9:25 AM, johnjbarton wrote:
>>> I disagree. Firefox 4 Beta is really usable for users; they are beta
>>> builds, there are bugs, but nothing that prevents daily use on primary
>>> websites.
>>
>> Firefox 4 beta is not usable for Firebug users, they can't use it for
>> daily use.
> Then perhaps you should say Firebug users and not just "users"? It makes
> you look like a hypocrite when you say we don't communicate clearly but
> then you do the same thing, John.

Yes, I should say Firebug users, which is why I said "Firefox 4 beta is
not usable for Firebug users".

>
> Quite frankly, the tone of your e-mails hasn't been constructively

Please read what I wrote. It was entirely a constructive suggestion and
expressed in a way that was intentionally complementary.

> lately, and that's really not welcome here.

Yes, well there we agree.

jjb

>
> Cheers,
>
> Shawn
>
>

Justin Wood (Callek)

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Oct 28, 2010, 1:04:33 PM10/28/10
to
On 10/28/2010 12:25 PM, johnjbarton wrote:
> On 10/28/2010 8:45 AM, Mike Beltzner wrote:
>> On 2010-10-28, at 11:27 AM, johnjbarton wrote:
>>
>>> I appreciate the understanding that beta 7 is the place where addon
>>> developers come, but I want to again complain that 'b7' is not known
>>> to users as the typical time when addons become usable. In bug
>>> reports, newsgroups, blogs and twitter posts I had to explain over
>>> and over and over again, no Firefox 4.0b is not really usable.
>>
>> I disagree. Firefox 4 Beta is really usable for users; they are beta
>> builds, there are bugs, but nothing that prevents daily use on primary
>> websites.
>
> Firefox 4 beta is not usable for Firebug users, they can't use it for
> daily use.
>
>> Add-ons, on the other hand, are not expected to be compatible with the
>> beta.

Yea, Firebug being an addon is "not expected to be compatible". And in
the grand scheme of things Firebug users are even less in number than
overall addon users. And the betas are perfectly usable without addons too.

> I guess you mean: not expected to be compatible with beta 1-6, but beta
> 7, now is the magic number. All I am suggesting is a way to make that
> difference clearer.
>

Addon authors are completely capable of keeping their addons working
with betas 1-6, incl 7. The idea though that any given addon will work
fine with Beta7 on b7's release is preposterous. You can however expect
that b7 will be remarkably feature-stable for addons. [Past history has
shown that *some* things may change, but they should all be relatively
minor]

>> We mention that explicitly in the release notes and announcements.
>
> I guess they missed these.

Perhaps they saw the part where it is perfectly acceptable as a test-bed
for users who want to be cutting-edge.

>> I am pretty sad that you say the opposite in public places, and wish
>> you would stop.
>
> What would like me to say when users complain that Firebug fails on
> Firefox 4? "Oh quite complaining, Firefox 4 is really usable"?

How about, "Firebug on Firefox 4 is not yet expected to work, we are
constantly trying to make it better though, Thank you for your
feedback." or some such.

If you wish/want to work around the bugs that are relatively
not-user-facing [when users don't have firebug] to make firebug usable,
that is fine. But claiming that bugs in an extension [or how an
extension is used] make Firefox unusable is another story. [imo]

>> We need coverage from a broad beta audience, testing the beta builds
>> and giving us feedback.
>
> Yes, I know, it's all about you.

And when you're ready to get feedback on Firebug for Firefox 4, by a
strong devotion to fixing any issues your addon's users come accross
then it will also be worth to advocate they use Firebug on whatever beta
is current with Firefox 4; and you can then workaround or fix [or get
someone to fix] any Core bugs that hamper your progress.

>>> If you really must call it beta to get feedback, then please use your
>>> unique position as a trend setter in software development: invent the
>>> "complete" or "compatibility" release series starting with 4.0c1.
>>> That would signal to users, addon devs and third parties that it is
>>> now time to release compatible addons for testing. Next time we can
>>> say "wait for 4.1c1" and by 4.2 the users will know to wait.
>>
>> I'm not sure that this distinction matters to users.
>
> It matters to Firebug users!

Firebug users are not everyday users, and the distinction is only about
Firefox declaring it api-freezing.

>> It matters to third party developers, though, and we plan on
>> increasing our outreach to that group once we have completed beta 7
>> builds to share with them.
>
> You already have reached out: that is exactly what I am talking about.
>
> Labeling the release suitable for addons as 4.0c1 would help users
> without in any way distracting from the beta phase. You would still have
> beta users but you would encourage a new wave of testers to join.

Addons *can* be coded to work/exist for any version they want to devote
the time to. The fact that *3'rd party* developers generally don't
want/care to devote the larger swaths of time to this period is quite
normal. Many don't devote any time until after Firefox is final anyway.
The idea that a new version hierarchy or the idea that Firefox is not
useable because Firebug is not usable, is just plain wrong.

If you want users to be able to use Firebug on Firefox 4 arbitrary beta,
lets code it to do that. If you want Firebug to work on Firefox 4 only
for specific API-Stable releases, then set the compatibility line to not
have it install in a beta prior to 7, or whatever.

--
~Justin Wood (Callek)

Alexandru Mateescu

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Oct 29, 2010, 7:31:19 AM10/29/10
to


The only thing needed is the proper use of alpha, beta and RC
monikers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_release_life_cycle#Beta

Steven Roussey

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Nov 3, 2010, 2:27:19 PM11/3/10
to
On Oct 28, 9:46 am, johnjbarton <johnjbar...@johnjbarton.com> wrote:
> Yes, I should say Firebug users, which is why I said "Firefox 4 beta is
> not usable for Firebug users".

Well, yes and no. Fx4beta6 has some bugs (previous releases were more
problematic, I agree), but is usable. JaegerMonkey, of course, hosed
everything in nightlies.

I don't think we should have held back Firebug 1.6 like we did, trying
to make things work with Fx4. We should release next week, and
disallow installation on Fx4. I don't think we should allow Firebug
1.7 releases on Fx4 either, at least until our tests pass (we can put
a notice on the getfirebug homepage).

Firebug developers don't have the support and QA staff to insulate
themselves from user ire, so the best bet for us is to more severely
limit what Firebug works on so we don't internalize their negativity.
Fx4 has its own dev tools for developers to fall back on, so I think
the pressure should be less at this point. Firefox platform devs here
are perfectly capable of installing from a checkout of the svn repo
for the purpose of testing issues on bugzilla. And they are perfectly
capable of bypassing the installation version checking if a checkout
is too burdensome.

>> I appreciate the understanding that beta 7 is the place where addon developers come

I think this is a communication to addon developers, not a
communication to end users. For them, a note that addons may not be
compatible between betas (perhaps until a RC version) would have been
appreciated. Not in the release notes that nobody reads, but in
"about:addons". Then again, it is a beta, so users should already know
better...

> The only thing needed is the proper use of alpha, beta and RC
> monikers:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_release_life_cycle#Beta

"Beta" is now marketing speak now. RC is now what beta used to mean.
As an example, Mozilla would not change JavaScript engines in Firefox
between RC releases, I would think. Blame Google if you don't like the
new reality. ;)

-steve--

dorust...@gmail.com

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Mar 23, 2017, 11:50:40 AM3/23/17
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