Firefox version announcements are inconsistent

RESOLVED INVALID

Status

Infrastructure & Operations
WebOps: Blogs
RESOLVED INVALID
4 years ago
a month ago

People

(Reporter: Jeff Rivett, Unassigned)

Tracking

Details

(Reporter)

Description

4 years ago
User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:27.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/27.0 (Beta/Release)
Build ID: 20140212131424

Steps to reproduce:

As an IT provider, I try to stay informed regarding new Firefox releases, and make sure client systems are up to date with the most recent versions of Firefox. To that end, I subscribe to the blog.mozilla.org RSS feed. I receive RSS updates when new content is posted to the blog.


Actual results:

a) Some new versions of Firefox are not announced at all on blog.mozilla.org. For instance, there were no posts for version 23.0.1 or 27.0.1.

b) New version announcements don't mention the new version number.


Expected results:

The Mozilla blog describes itself as "The main Mozilla blog for all official news, notes and ramblings from the Mozilla project. Expect to get updates on new Firefox releases..."

I expected all new versions of Firefox to be announced on blog.mozilla.org, and for those announcements to refer to the new version.
The Mozilla Blog is for general end-users, not for enterprise users. If you'd like to get updates on new releases, you can subscribe the Mozilla Enterprise mailing list:

https://www.mozilla.org/firefox/organizations/
Status: UNCONFIRMED → RESOLVED
Last Resolved: 4 years ago
Resolution: --- → INVALID
(Reporter)

Comment 2

4 years ago
Okay, let's say I'm a general end user and I want to know when there's a new version of Firefox, and I want to know what changes were made in the new version. The Mozilla blog describes itself as "The main Mozilla blog for all official news ... from the Mozilla project. Expect to get updates on new Firefox releases..."

That last part seems pretty clear. If it's not accurate, perhaps the description should be changed. But that still leaves me wondering what I can do to be alerted of (all) new versions.

It almost appears that general Firefox end users are being purposely kept in the dark about version information, with the emphasis instead being on automatic updates. But if that's the case, shouldn't the end user at least have a choice? Shouldn't they have access to timely, accurate and complete information if they want it?
(Reporter)

Comment 3

4 years ago
There's been no response to my last comment, and I still think my concern is valid. Should I re-open this bug? Is there somewhere else I should be looking for Firefox version announcements? I've subscribed to the Mozilla Enterprise mailing list, but there's very little of use in that list even for me as an IT person. And I'm not going to point regular users to that list. I'm seriously considering creating a new web site called "Firefox Versions" that provides Firefox version and update information for general users.

Comment 4

4 years ago
Hi Jeff - This information is in release notes that are updated with every dot release as well. 

http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/releases/
Yeah, there are many resources on Firefox releases:

General info:
http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/releases/
https://wiki.mozilla.org/Releases
https://twitter.com/MozillaReleases

Security:
http://www.mozilla.org/security/announce/
https://blog.mozilla.org/security/category/security-updates/

Developers:
https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Firefox/Releases
https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/tag/FxSiteCompat (I'm working on this)
https://blog.mozilla.org/addons/category/compatibility/

But Mozilla no longer announces dot releases, because Firefox goes silent updates.

https://blog.mozilla.org/futurereleases/2011/10/04/mozilla-firefox-and-silent-updates/

Firefox dot releases only contains stability and security fixes, so general end-users don't have to care about those releases. If you are really interested in every change, you can just search this Bugzilla :)
(Reporter)

Comment 6

4 years ago
Shannon: yes, information about each new release is available in the Firefox release notes. However: a) the release notes pages are not in the form of announcements (e.g. no RSS feed); and b) the release notes pages have their own problems (see Bug #973335).

Kohei: 

https://wiki.mozilla.org/Releases - seems to include information about major Firefox releases, but not actual Firefox version announcements. Not a destination for general users. What is Gecko?

https://twitter.com/MozillaReleases - this might work if there was a way to filter out all the noise about other products, betas, etc. It's also difficult to use any Twitter client for staying informed about software releases, because it's too easy to miss tweets.

http://www.mozilla.org/security/announce/ - a useful resource, but it contains no version information.

https://blog.mozilla.org/security/category/security-updates/ - getting closer: this blog is a proper mechanism for version announcements (i.e. it has an RSS feed), but while the 'Security Updates' category you referenced does include version information, it has not been updated since 2011.

The Mozilla blog's 'Firefox' category is potentially the best source for Firefox version announcements, except for the reasons I outlined in my original problem report: a) some new versions of Firefox are not announced at all; and b) new version announcements don't mention the new version number.

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Firefox/Releases
https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/tag/FxSiteCompat
https://blog.mozilla.org/addons/category/compatibility/
These all contain interesting information, but they not geared for general users, they don't include information about all versions (only major releases), and they don't have RSS feeds.

"Mozilla no longer announces dot releases, because Firefox goes silent updates."

I think we're getting to the heart of the matter here. I understand that Firefox is now set up by default to silently update itself when there are new 'dot releases'. However: not all users want their software to be updated automatically, many want to know what is changed in each new version, and they want to be informed of all new versions. I don't understand why this move towards automated, silent updates should also involve no longer announcing all new versions. Why not continue to provide the information?

"Firefox dot releases only contains stability and security fixes, so general end-users don't have to care about those releases."

I understand that dot releases only contain stability and security fixes, but in my opinion, those are the most important changes. Why do you assume that these are somehow of no interest to general users?

"If you are really interested in every change, you can just search this Bugzilla :)"

I can tell from the emoticon that you're joking. I'm sure you'll agree that searching Bugzilla for changes, as a substitute for version announcements, is impractical.

One final note: it seems clear that you folks at Mozilla moved to this new Firefox update model because that's what Google was doing with Chrome. And that's fine: I have no objection to the frequent releases and auto/silent updates. The difference is that Google still provides proper version announcements - for ALL new versions (http://googlechromereleases.blogspot.com/).
(Reporter)

Comment 7

4 years ago
Case in point: yesterday Firefox 28 was released. I discovered this because I subscribe to RSS feeds for CERT and SANS blogs that announced the new version:

https://isc.sans.edu/diary.html?date=2014-03-19

http://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/current-activity/2014/03/18/Mozilla-Releases-Updates-Firefox-Thunderbird-and-Seamonkey

And there's nothing at all about Firefox 28 (not a dot release) on the Mozilla blog. There were two posts that seem related to Firefox yesterday, but there's no reference to a new version being available.
(Reporter)

Comment 8

3 years ago
I realize that this bug has been flagged as Resolved/Invalid, but there's been no response to my most recent comments, and I'm still waiting for a satisfactory explanation as to why Firefox version announcements fail to meet the stated goal of the Mozilla blog ("The main Mozilla blog for all official news ... from the Mozilla project. Expect to get updates on new Firefox releases...")

What's the protocol for re-opening bugs?

If you tell me flat out that you all disagree with my argument, and this is never going to be fixed, then I'll stop posting here and just keep posting about this problem elsewhere on the web.

Comment 9

3 years ago
I'm just not clear on what your argument is. There are many resources for people to find info on the latest Firefox release and I'm not sure what problem you're trying to solve. 

Release notes are written for anyone to understand and cover dot releases- they include developer and user facing changes. Are you just asking for a RSS feed to be added there? 
http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/releases/

The Mozilla blog is a place to explain announcements and is labeled as a place for Mozilla news, which it is, as stated on the blog: "The Mozilla Blog is the official source for Mozilla-related news, opinions, events and more."

The Mozilla blog does not promise to offer detailed notes on every dot release, that is literally what release notes are for and we have different blogs for beta testers, developers, etc.
(Reporter)

Comment 10

3 years ago
(In reply to Erica Jostedt from comment #9)
> I'm just not clear on what your argument is.

Okay, let's review. Here's what I expect in a proper software version announcement resource:

[1] All new versions are announced.

[2] Announcements include the version number.

[3] New version announcements are in a form - or use a mechanism - that can provide some measure of assurance that they will not be missed. So that means an email list, or an RSS feed, but not Twitter, and not just a web page.

[4] The announcements are not buried amongst other information about unrelated products, corporate announcements, and so on (noise).

In other words, I want a mechanism whereby I will be informed of all new versions (including version numbers), in a timely fashion, without my having to go looking at certain web sites every day.

This is something that is done by basically every other software developer on the planet (except Mojang, and I'm leaning on them as well :)

> There are many resources for people to find info on the latest Firefox 
> release and I'm not sure what problem you're trying to solve. 

They key word there is 'find'. I don't want to have to find this information. It's important enough that I want to be informed as soon as possible without having to look for it. How often should I check the release notes for Firefox? Every day? Every other day? What if all software developers did this? I'd have an enormous list of web sites that I have to check every day to see if new versions have been released. As it stands, I receive new version announcements in the form of RSS feeds and email for all software in which I'm interested, except for Firefox.

> Release notes are written for anyone to understand and cover dot releases-
> they include developer and user facing changes. Are you just asking for a
> RSS feed to be added there?  http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/releases/

Leaving aside the issues I have with the Firefox release notes (#973335), an RSS feed on the Firefox release notes pages would indeed be extremely helpful in terms of staying up to date on Firefox changes. Without a feed they are not sufficient as an announcement mechanism.

> The Mozilla blog is a place to explain announcements and is labeled as a
> place for Mozilla news, which it is, as stated on the blog: "The Mozilla
> Blog is the official source for Mozilla-related news, opinions, events and
> more."

Yes, the Mozilla blog is the obvious place for Firefox version announcements. But I don't understand why you've decided not to post announcements for minor releases there. Also, of course, there's the very strange lack of references to version numbers in the Firefox announcements that do appear there. In some cases, it's not even clear that a post about Firefox is even related to a new version!

Take the most recent post for example: "Mozilla Introduces the Most Customizable Firefox Ever with an Elegant New Design". There's no mention of a new version. A reader could be excused for wondering whether the post is about a new downloadable version, or about an upcoming new version, or perhaps just Mozilla talking about how wonderful Firefox is. In practical terms, if a user visits this page, he could literally be left wondering whether he is already running the new version, because there's no way to check the announcement against the version he's running.

> The Mozilla blog does not promise to offer detailed notes on every dot
> release, that is literally what release notes are for and we have different
> blogs for beta testers, developers, etc.

If the Mozilla blog is the OFFICIAL source for Mozilla-related news, then it should not be necessary to look elsewhere for something as important as an announcement for a new version of Mozilla's flagship software. As it stands, I'm getting this information from more reliable sources, like SANS and CERT.

Here's a rundown of the available resources helpfully listed earlier in this bug, and how well they meet my requirements for a proper release announcement resource:

[1] https://wiki.mozilla.org/Releases
  x All versions? No
  - Version numbers referenced: Yes
  x Mechanism: wiki page; RSS feed includes ALL wiki changes
  x Noise: yes

[2] https://twitter.com/MozillaReleases
  ? All versions? presumably; difficult to know due to noise
  - Version numbers referenced: Yes
  x Mechanism: Twitter
  x Noise: extreme

[3] http://www.mozilla.org/security/announce/
  ? All versions? difficult to know for sure
  x Version numbers referenced: No
  x Mechanism: web page only
  x Noise: Yes

[4] https://blog.mozilla.org/security/category/security-updates/
  x All versions? No; hasn't been updated since 2011
  - Version numbers referenced: Yes
  - Mechanism: web page and feed
  x Noise: Yes

[5] https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/category/firefox/ - The Mozilla blog's 'Firefox' category is potentially the best source for Firefox version announcements.
  x All versions? No
  x Version numbers referenced: No
  - Mechanism: web page and feed
  x Noise: Yes

[6] https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Firefox/Releases
  x All versions? No
  - Version numbers referenced: Yes
  x Mechanism: web page only
  x Noise: Yes

[7] https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/tag/FxSiteCompat
  x All versions? No
  - Version numbers referenced: Yes
  - Mechanism: web page and feed
  - Noise: Minimal

[8] https://blog.mozilla.org/addons/category/compatibility/
  x All versions? No
  - Version numbers referenced: Yes
  - Mechanism: web page and feed
  x Noise: Yes

I hope this helps to clarify my argument.

Comment 11

3 years ago
Hi Jeff

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I have spoken to our release management team who have now incorporated this issue into their backlog of improvements to our overall release process. They will be looking at how they can implement a suitable system that addresses the issues you bring up such as adding a RSS feed to release notes so that users can keep informed of new releases.

They will be back in touch soon with updates.

Paul
Status: RESOLVED → REOPENED
Ever confirmed: true
Resolution: INVALID → ---
(Reporter)

Comment 12

3 years ago
You're welcome! I look forward to seeing the changes to release announcements, and hopefully to the release notes pages as well (#973335).
Bulk move to Websites::blogs component, per bug 1353528
Component: blog.mozilla.org → blogs
(Assignee)

Updated

2 months ago
Component: blogs → WebOps: Blogs
Product: Websites → Infrastructure & Operations

Updated

2 months ago
Status: REOPENED → RESOLVED
Last Resolved: 4 years ago2 months ago
Resolution: --- → INVALID
(Reporter)

Comment 14

2 months ago
Two days ago this bug was flagged RESOLVED/INVALID, with no explanation. As far as I'm concerned, the bug remains both valid and unresolved. If this decision is final, a few words of explanation would be appreciated.
Because we feel like the vast majority of our users are happy with the current set of information (no activity in this bug for years). 
We provide the version number in the release notes ( https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/54.0/releasenotes/ ) , this is used in blog post (ex: https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2017/06/13/faster-better-firefox/), communication, on MDN ( https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Firefox/Releases/54 ) etc
And last but not least, to me, this isn't a big deal. If you need to find what is in a specific version, you will find it easily.
(Reporter)

Comment 16

a month ago
To me, release notes are like a dusty little man, scribbling away on a sheet of paper only ever seen by academics and journalists, and only because they know where to look; a man doing important work, but work which is not heralded or rejoiced upon.

Whereas an announcement is trumpets blaring, banners flying, and general rejoicing, for a new version of the great browser Firefox has been presented to the world.

Failing to announce a new version belittles the effort that went into it, and even seems a bit like you're trying to slip something past us without anyone noticing, for reasons upon which we, as users, can only speculate (although none seem good).

All I'm asking for is: 
a) that *all* new versions are announced, on an existing blog; 
b) that each announcement at least mention the new version number, and point to the release notes.

I'm even willing to do the work myself, if that's what it takes.
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