Mozilla to kill Firefox 3.6 by auto-upgrading old browser

Mozilla Firefox logoMozilla will give Firefox 3.6 the coup de grace next month by automatically upgrading users of that 2010 browser to Firefox 12.

The move isn't a first for the open-source developer: A year ago, it gave Firefox 3.5 the same auto-upgrade death blow.

According to Alex Keybl, Firefox's release manager, the automatic upgrade of Firefox 3.6 to Firefox 12 will take place in early May, although a date has not yet been set.

The decision to push Firefox 3.6 users to a newer edition has been under discussion for several weeks. In late March, Keybl brought it up on a Mozilla planning discussion thread, saying that the proposal was needed to keep users safe while they browsed.

Mozilla issued its final security update for Firefox 3.6 on Jan. 31, and officially retired the browser from support last Tuesday, April 24.

Mozilla has given Firefox 3.6 users plenty of warning, telling them several times over the last months that they need to upgrade because of the impending retirement. The newest such message told Firefox 3.6 users that it was their last warning before Mozilla switched on automatic upgrading.

Besides Firefox 12, which launched Tuesday, users can also turn to Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR), the build that Mozilla crafted to soothe customers, including IT administrators who manage Firefox for their workers, who were unhappy with the every-six-week upgrade cadence of the standard browser.

The current version of Firefox ESR is based on Firefox 10, which shipped in December 2011. ESR receives only security updates during its 54-week lifespan. Except for the patches, Firefox ESR won't change until November 2012, and will be supported with updates until early February 2013.

If users want to keep Firefox 3.6, they must disable updates before the May auto-upgrade. On Windows, that setting is reached by selecting "Options" from the Tools menu, clicking the "Advanced" tab, and then clearinng the box marked "Firefox" under the heading "Automatically check for updates." On the Mac, the same dialog can be brought up by selecting "Preferences" from the Firefox menu.

"Users will be automatically updated unless they have specifically disabled updates," said Keybl in an email reply to questions. "However, we strongly advise our users to upgrade from Firefox 3.6, as they will no longer receive critical security updates."

In May 2011, Mozilla automatically upgraded Firefox 3.5 to Firefox 3.6 after the former was retired from support, the first time it had used the tactic to rub out an aged browser. It worked: Firefox 3.5's share fell dramatically.

But Mozilla isn't the only browser maker to now use automatic upgrading: Last December, Microsoft announced it would automatically upgrade Internet Explorer (IE) to the newest browser suitable for each version of Windows without asking users for approval. Conceivably, the IE auto-upgrade could put an end to IE6, the nearly-11-year-old browser that Microsoft has been trying to bury for years.

IE's automatic upgrading has kicked off in Brazil and Australia; Microsoft will expand it worldwide this year.

Firefox 3.6 accounted for a significant chunk of Mozilla's usage share last month. By metrics company Net Applications' estimates, 13% of all copies of Firefox, or about one-in-eight, were version 3.6.

Tags: browsers, Firefox, Mozilla

Add comment

Your name:
Sign in with:
Your comment:

Enter code:

E-mail (not required)
E-mail will not be disclosed to the third party

Last news

Galaxy Note10 really is built around a 6.7-inch display
You may still be able to download your content
Facebook, Messenger and Instagram are all going away
Minimize apps to a floating, always-on-top bubble
Japan Display has been providing LCDs for the iPhone XR, the only LCD model in Apple’s 2018 line-up
The 2001 operating system has reached its lowest share level
The entire TSMC 5nm design infrastructure is available now from TSMC
The smartphone uses a Snapdragon 660 processor running Android 9 Pie
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) Review
The evolution of the successful smartphone, now with a waterproof body and USB Type-C
February 7, 2017 / 2
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S - a tablet with the Windows-keyboard
The first Windows-tablet with the 12-inch display Super AMOLED
June 7, 2016 /
Keyboards for iOS
Ten iOS keyboards review
July 18, 2015 /
Samsung E1200 Mobile Phone Review
A cheap phone with a good screen
March 8, 2015 / 4
Creative Sound Blaster Z sound card review
Good sound for those who are not satisfied with the onboard solution
September 25, 2014 / 2
Samsung Galaxy Gear: Smartwatch at High Price
The first smartwatch from Samsung - almost a smartphone with a small body
December 19, 2013 /

News Archive



Do you use microSD card with your phone?
or leave your own version in comments (16)