Mozilla’s poor handling of updates has driven users to try Chrome, developer laments.
Ex-Mozilla developer Jono DiCarlo has spoken out against the company’s decision to rapidfy Firefox’s development process.
In his lengthy blog post (which seems to have crashed), he argued that increasing Firefox updates has only caused frustration among users and developers due to the numerous UI changes and it breaking extensions on every small and major update.
“Ironically, by doing rapid releases poorly, we just made Firefox look like an inferior version of Chrome. And by pushing a never-ending stream of updates on people who didn’t want them, we drove a lot of those people to Chrome; exactly what we were trying to prevent,” he said.
Firefox has always been notorious for its updates. It demands user interaction, it must be restarted after every update, and if a extension developer has not future-proofed his software, the extension would break and the user would have to wait for the dev to update it. It was the number one reason why I, and many that I know, moved away from Firefox to try other browsers, Chrome being the most popular choice.
“Credit where it’s due: the way Google handled Chrome updates was very, very smart. They recognized that updates are one of the hardest things to get right, so they solved that problem first, before releasing version 1. The first release of Chrome was little more than an empty box of a browser, but it was wrapped around an excellent updating system. This let them gradually transform that empty box into a full-featured browser, without the users ever realizing they were getting updates,” DiCarlo added.
Mozilla has said it’s working on addressing some of these issues. Firefox 15 will bring background updating like Chrome, but will it be enough to bring back users who have ditched the browser? As DiCarlo says, “People who got fed up and ditched Firefox are going to be hard to win back.” Indeed.