Mozilla Readies Silent Updater with New Versions of Firefox

Mozilla announced this week that it plans to integrate a silent updater in the next build of its flagship browser, Firefox, allowing future patches for Firefox 12 to be downloaded and installed in the background while the browser is running, according to a blog post by Robert Nyman, Mozilla’s Technical Evangelist on hacks.mozilla.org on Wednesday.

Firefox patchMozilla announced this week that it plans to integrate a silent updater in the next build of its flagship browser, Firefox, allowing future patches for Firefox 12 to be downloaded and installed in the background while the browser is running, according to a blog post by Robert Nyman, Mozilla’s Technical Evangelist on hacks.mozilla.org on Wednesday.

In a statement,  Mozilla said that its recent shift to an agile “Rapid Release development” model forced the company to interrupt users and apply patches more often, leading to complaints that the udpate warnings were becoming a nuisance.

“With goals to offer a secure, feature-rich, and fun browsing experience, we want to ensure everyone is on the latest version of Firefox,” reads one section of a MozillaWiki entry on the project.

Silent updates should be implemented in Firefox 12. However, the full background update won’t be until later, perhaps Firefox 13. 

 Firefox 12 is slated for an April 24 release and Firefox 13 should see a BETA release inside of Mozilla’s release channel Aurora on the same date with an official release slated for June 5.

Johnathan Nightingale, Director of Firefox Engineering, announced plans to release a new version of the browser every six weeks last summer. The company pushed out Firefox 11 just this week, fixing a Pwn2Own vulnerability disclosed the week prior.

Mozilla’s nearest competitor, Google’s Chrome browser, has a silent update mechanism that provides patches to its users in a similar fashion. In addition to Google, Adobe shipped an automatic updater in 2010 in hopes of keeping users’ Reader, Acrobat and Flash programs up-to-date “in a much more streamlined and automated way.”

For those interested in following along with the project, headed up by Mozilla’s Chris Lee and Lawrence Mandel, it’s being tracked on MozillaWiki.

For more on what to expect in the next release of Firefox, head to hacks.mozilla.org.

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