Mozilla extends Firefox support to mid-May

Editor’s Note: This story is reprinted from Computerworld. For more Mac coverage, visit Computerworld’s Macintosh Knowledge Center.

Mozilla extended support for its 17-month-old Firefox 1.5.0.x browser until mid-May, citing the need to roll out a patch that will automatically update users to the newer Version 2.0 before it pulls the support plug.

Even that date looks iffy, however, according to information posted to Mozilla development wikis.

The company had earlier said that April 24 would be the termination date for Firefox 1.5.x support —meaning it would issue no new security updates after that. But when it released Version 1.5.11 last month, Mozilla hinted that the final security fix would not make that deadline.

This week, in fact, developers decided to delay that last update, Firefox 1.5.0.12, because of a higher-than-expected number of bugs awaiting attention.

Only after 1.5.0.12 appears will Mozilla tackle what it’s been calling Major Updates, an automated upgrade from 1.5.0.x to 2.0.0.x. Initial testing of the upgrade, which will update all Firefox 1.5.0.x users who have the browser’s auto-updating tool turned on, has been completed. But Mozilla will wait until after 1.5.0.12 is out before dealing with that upgrade.

“Major Updates will [not] likely be pushed out after [1.5.0.12] ships,” according to notes of a Mozilla meeting held last week. “We’ll gather to discuss why and how we will get there.”

According to the most recent schedule on its Web site, Mozilla had pegged May 15 as the release date for 1.5.0.12 (and a similar security update that brings the newest version to 2.0.0.4). With the delay announced this week, however, that deadline is at risk. A note on Mozilla’s schedule stated, “Will likely be pushed out, at least by a week.”

Mozilla has committed to supporting older software for only six months after the release of a major update. The policy affects not only Firefox, but also the Thunderbird e-mail client, which recently shifted to Version 2.0.

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