Didn’t we just get Firefox 4 a little bit ago?
Mozilla is borrowing a page from Google Chrome and speeding up the development cycle for Firefox releases, setting new iterations of the browser for fixed time periods and bulldozing over features that just aren’t ready to make it into a new browser release.
And if Mozilla sticks by its newly proposed plan, that means that we’ll be seeing Firefox 5 on June 21—following a shortened 13-week development cycle instead of the proposed 18-week cycle for all future Firefox builds.
Within this 18-week cycle comes a new development stage that adds on to Mozilla’s three previous update channels: Nightly, or builds created from the mozilla-central-repository that are highly unstable, but incorporate the latest texts and fixes; Beta, which ups the quality demands of features and tweaks added via the nightly builds; and Release, which becomes the version of Firefox that most consumers are used to using.
Mozilla’s new stage, Aurora, will be a nightly update that splits the difference between the chaos of the company’s Mozilla-central build (or Nightly build), and its Beta build.
That’s a lot of gobbledygook for non-developer types, so here’s a general walkthrough of how Mozilla development is going to be handled in the future. Developers will have a given window to write patches and improvements as part of Mozilla’s initial nightly Firefox builds. As this build switches over to the new channel, Aurora, features will be analyzed and dropped off if they’re deemed ineligible for the current release cycle—no new features will be added directly into the Aurora build.
However, Mozilla recognizes that some Firefox changes might take longer to develop than the six weeks they’re sitting in the Nightly channel.