Practical Technology

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Firefox 5: New, but improved?

I’ve liked Firefox since it first showed up. But, this new Firefox 5 concerns me. Oh, it’s a fine browser. But, it’s not a major new release. At most, I’d call it Firefox 4.1, but really it’s little more than Firefox 4.02.

The Mozilla Foundation, following in the footsteps of Google’s Chrome Web browser, seems to believe that if they keep popping out new “major” releases every six weeks, they’ll convince people they’re better than the competition. That seemed like a dumb idea to me when Microsoft went from Word for Windows 2.0 to Word for Windows 6.0 back in 1993. The idea hasn’t improved any with age.

At least, in the case of Google Chrome, though, there usually have been significant updates. Chrome 12, didn’t deserve its new major release number either though. In upcoming versions of Chrome that may change. For example, We can look forward to Google building Skype-like video and Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) right into the browser. Firefox? Not so much.

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