An attribute of working entirely in the open is that we sometimes create
significant confusion as we discuss design work that is in progress.
However the bright side is that there is never a shortage of feedback :)
> Just in case this got lost amongst the many threads in progress: there are
> no plans to adjust the version number. It will remain in its current place
> in the about window, and we are going to continue with the current numbering
Thanks, Alex. It's really helpful to have your voice here.
> An attribute of working entirely in the open is that we sometimes create
> significant confusion as we discuss design work that is in progress.
> However the bright side is that there is never a shortage of feedback :)
I think this puts it quite well, if somewhat charitably. Threatening and insulting people is a kind of feedback I would be happy to see in short supply. There were more intelligent commenters here too, though, and I know it can be frustrating for them to see a discussion seeming to trend towards decision without due consideration of their concerns. That sucks. And I appreciate their (measured, grown up) attempts to be heard when they felt like we were making a mistake. We need that.
Having said that, and I hope you'll all forgive me for being engineering-centric in my viewpoint here: if it hasn't landed, it isn't decided. If it hasn't shipped, it isn't decided. If it has landed and shipped and you have new information, we want to hear it. We are not mindless nor careless in our views, and we want what's best for the web. All of us. It would help us to remember that more often, particularly when disagreeing with each other.
Director of Firefox Engineering
Thanks for the clarification. Asa seemed to have been referring
unequivocally to a decision that had been made and finalized, rather
than a "design work in progress", when he posted on the original
"I don't think, and I believe the Firefox UX lead agrees with me, that
users need that information in the About dialog. That's why we're
The trouble with open development is that something proposed, as an
issue for discussion, can be seized upon and blown way out of
proportion. I am somewhat surprised that some of the comments made a
while back about 'forced updates' weren't jumped on. Or maybe they
were, and the people who saw them just fled like scared jackrabbits. We
can't know. Probably, in view of recent press, developers should
consider how users, who lurk around here, might react to a proposal, and
make sure everyone understands it is a proposal, not an established
fact, or 'direction'.
yeah, there was a miscommunication inside of the UX team, and Asa to his
credit, adamantly defended us. Someone on the UX team requested this
change, which is why Asa filed it. I really appreciate Asa giving us the
authority and deferring to our decision, but in this case we didn't have the
design sorted out enough ahead of time and we basically set him up. Had
this actually been a practical joke that the UX team was trying to play on
Asa, it would have been perfectly executed.
That's what I mean when I say significant confusion.
...now can we maybe discuss getting the full UA string back too?
Could you please elaborate on the decision to preserve the current
numbering scheme? The idea to incorporate year in the version number was
an interesting proposal that seemed to enjoy a lot of support in the
community, as it could potentially alleviate some of the tension and
misunderstandings around the new release process.
Perhaps decision to preserve is a bit too strong, basically we aren't
changing the scheme right now (like, this week).
The idea to incorporate year in the version number was an interesting
Yeah, I really like a time based version number as well (since it contains
meaning) and I think we should eventually switch over to using one.
> dev-usability mailing list
> dev-us...@lists.mozilla.**org <dev-us...@lists.mozilla.org>
I'm open to date-based versioning and I know a lot of other Firefox
developers/designers/contributors also think it might be a good idea.
But personally I don't think we should do it yet, because:
1) If users keep noticing Firefox versions and updates at all, then we
have much bigger problems. For rapid release to serve our users well,
we must get to the point Chrome is at where only very attentive
developer-types even notice when the version changes, and 95-99% of
users don't even notice when an update is installed. This is why almost
no one is complaining about Chrome's versioning system.
Firefox is not there yet; we still have tons of work to do on add-on
compatibility and silent (by default) updates. When it gets there, then
the numbering scheme won't matter any more. Or if we can't get it
there, we'll have to change our process in much bigger ways than just
2) While there are also real practical causes of user pain associated
with rapid release, another cause of user pain is just the fact that
change is always confusing. Adding more change this early in the
process will make this part worse rather than better. I think we should
consider changing the version scheme, but not right away.
Since Firefox 12 is scheduled for mid-2012, that could be an ideal time
to switch from milestone- to date-based versions, if we decide to do so. :)
As long as whatever method used stays in the About dialog....
That's because Chrome updates silently, so users don't know that an
update has happened, unless they happen upon a new feature. I consider
this a negative factor as it doesn't make a user aware of the efforts
that have gone into the new features, nor does it highlight their
usefulness to the user. Most of the Firefox users I have heard from
consider Google's method a bit 'underhanded'. But then I deal with
power users, who are going to want control of updates, and want to know
but new features. I am sure that most users just really don't care.
I sincerely hope that Firefox doesn't become the browser of choice for
those who don't care...
Oh, I dunno... Perhaps because it's the quickest, easiest way to get a
bunch of information from a drone that wanders onto the support group
with an issue.
Although there are some who would rather flaunt their expertise sending
drone to places they never knew existed or cared to visit, just to dig
up the same info.
Personally, I think it just looks cool.
Not so sure about that :) but since we are talking about the UA I was
wondering if there are any plans to remove the version number from it?
What makes you think it's the quickest easiest way?
Right now, I use this snippet to get more info from a user:
We'll need some more info about your Firefox setup. Go to
Help-->Troubleshooting_Information, then click [Copy all to Clipboard].
Open a reply to this post, and go to Edit-->Paste to paste the info from
your Troubleshooting Information page.
The 'copy to clipboard' function means you don't have to teach the user
how to select/copy text, plus you get more info than what the UA
provides. That's why the about:support page was created!
The only case where I think it would easier to get version/OS info is if
the user inadvertently provides it, like looking at their newsgroup
posting headers. But in that case, you're not getting it from the About
What about people who think the UA is version number?
And of those people,
What about those you think "Mozilla 5.0" is the version number?
What about when an extension adds its own version info to the UA?
What about extensions that completely change the UA to something else?
That's good news about the "about" window. Almost everyone expects to see
their version number appear there, because most software uses that method
That's bad news about the version number scheme and flies in the face of
long tradition. Version numbers should be proportional to the significance
and extent of changes, so Firefox should probably be somewhere in the
3.7-4.2 range at present. The rapidfire 4-5-6-7-8... sequence is unpopular,
creates false expectations, and causes various problems.
Plus, it just causes Fx lovers to go to SeaMonkey where this insanity with
rapid versions is not happening. I hadn't used SeaMonkey since 2009 and I
just dusted it off and upgraded it to the latest version ( a nice 2.3.1). I
like it but I am missing a couple of Fx extensions that are not compatible
with this latest version. I realize SeaMonkey will be keeping pace with the
6 week Fx updates but the version numbers will be traditional ones. I did
have to disable SeaMonkey from identifying itself in UA as Firefox as it is
not Fx and should not identify as such.
As for Fx, I remain on 4.01 and have no intention of upgrading until Fx
reaches major, significant change. Then and only then will I upgrade...no
more than once or twice a year. Upcoming 7.0 (or is it 8?) where the memory
problems in 4 appear corrected, if true, will get me to upgrade but not for
any other reason as I haven't had 4 that long. SeaMonkey may issue minor
upgrades every six weeks to match Fx but I will ignore those also and wait
for a major upgrade which should only take place about once a year.
To base your decision on web browser on the version number scheme seems
pretty crazy to me -- especially if you are a "Firefox lover" :)
Kudos to Mozilla too. I suspect that no will actually say thanks, they'll just pick a new or existing thing to bitch about.
I tried Fx3 on another virtual machine and TBE, which Piro had finally
gotten rewritten for Fx3, worked only so-so and tree style tabs really had
problems. So, the reason I got Fx4 was because Piro said that the rewritten
TBE, in particular, Tree Style Tabs, worked well on Fx4. I was quite
disappointed to find that TBE for SeaMonkey was disabled on this latest
version. Plus, the second most important extension, IMO, for both Fx and
SeaMonkey was also disabled on this latest SeaMonkey version. I was able to
get Mel's MR Tech to work good enough on Fx4 but it appears on SeaMonkey the
only way to get a disabled extension to work is to manually bump the maximum
version number which I have not done yet. Without MR Tech, I can't easily
force Tree Style Tabs to work on the latest SeaMonkey.
Remember I got Mozilla browser originally many years ago and made it default
purely because I fell in love with TBE. To me, it's a crime to have
SeaMonkey not work now with the greatest extension ever written and that was
originally written for Mozilla browser. I don't care about security issues,
or new stuff in a browser, unless I decide I need that new stuff and much of
it is of little interest to me. I have never had a virus in all these years.
I have excellent security programs. I run XP Pro SP2 by choice and even with
no Microsoft security patches in over a year, I don't worry. I use a local
proxy called the Proxomitron, a classic HIPS, and I run as Admin but I
follow strict rules for security and never violate them. So, upgrading for
security reasons is not a huge issue for me. Other issues have priority.
I recommend you instead try the officially supported https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/seamonkey/addon/add-on-compatibility-reporter/
> > The idea to incorporate year in the version number was an interesting
> > proposal
> Yeah, I really like a time based version number as well (since it contains
> meaning) and I think we should eventually switch over to using one.
I wonder whether it might be prudent to ask the Ubuntu team how they have fared with time based version numbers and whether there are any glaring positives or negatives arising from it. Even if the change isn't in contention yet, it might be sensible to seek the information now so that it has time to soak and you're informed when people ask questions in relation to time based versions.
Personally, I think Ubuntu's version numbers make a lot of sense and are straightforward; their current is 11.04, where 11 indicates 2011 and 04 indicates April. Simple and effective if you ask me.
I thought that only worked on Fx. I don't think much of it. Mel's extension
is FAR SUPERIOR.
What I need is not to try and use the version of TBE that was disabled. It
is very old and I can't imagine that it would work. It is now called Tree
Style Tabs and Multiple Tab Handler. I need to be able to install Tree Style
Tabs and see if it will work. I need to be able to disable SeaMonkey's
blocking of installation of extensions that supposedly won't work on
SeaMonkey. I need MR Tech for this as it would disable blocking and would
handle the installation and then I could see if it works at all, partially,
or should work fully.
The addons (bad word ...it is an extension ...not an addon... Mozilla thinks
its users are so illiterate that they don't know the word extension)
reporter will not make it so I can download and install Tree Style Tabs. It
just enables extensions you ALREADY HAVE that have been disabled. It is
nothing compared to MR Tech and it is a grave loss to no longer have MR Tech
except sort of working on Fx4. Another reason I will not upgrade Fx 4 as
then MR Tech might not work at all.
I'm going to uninstall SeaMonkey. I can't stand it not having Tree Style
Tabs and Multiple Tab Handler. Otherwise, I like SeaMonkey but it was a
better browser before it decided to imitate Fx and even identify as Fx which
is really sick. SeaMonkey should have remained SeaMonkey and remained true
to itself. I wish I had not installed it on top of itself so I could go
back to the version from 2009 where TBE still worked.
Well, I use the browser and browser version that works with my beloved
extensions. I could care less about anything else about said browser unless
it did something truly outrageous like forcing updating or forcing
acceptance of third party cookies, etc. Otherwise, I don't care about having
the "latest" version. I want the version that works with my extensions. Fx
is its extensions. That is the only reason it exists and is as successful as
it is today. It is nothing as a browser without all the extensions. It's
Chrome which is the most horrible browser out there except for Safari.
Stripped and watered down browsers are for computer ignorant users. Fx was
to be first for power users but it has gotten badly off track since many of
us started out with it way, way back.
Yes, I know most computer users have no idea what an extension is. I have
always felt that a Fx for Dummies should exist and users who know nothing
about computers and don't want to learn anything could use it. Those of us
who have taken the time and effort to educate ourselves about computers and
software (I am old enough to have not grown up with computers and knew
nothing when I got my first one) could use the full Fx.
Put simply, this change to the version number and where it is located
seems to me to be more for the benefit of the developers rather than the
average or slightly above average end user. I can understand what the
developers are doing, I just don't agree with their rationale for doing
it. As a former marketing man (retired) I can recall the simple mantra
the vendor/product manager who thought they knew their customers better
than the customer themselves invariably suffered the consequences!
Furthermore, retaining the hitherto information in the 'about firefox'
location should not prevent the developers from providing more
information in the new location Help>Troubleshooting Information.
Please note, I'm still a big Firefox fan!
That's only the fault of the extension developer.
Note that any statements of mine - no matter how passionate - are never
meant to be offensive but very often as food for thought or possible
arguments that we as a community should think about. And most of the
time, I even appreciate irony and fun! :)
Possibly. But I doubt it. Mozilla forced the extension to "Experimental" for
Fx if you get it at the official Addons site. It is all political...long,
stormy history here.