Mozilla outlines 16-week Firefox release cycle

— 2:35 PM on March 18, 2011

Remember that quicker Firefox release cycle Cyril wrote about a couple of months ago? An Ars Technica article brought to our attention this Mozilla draft, which outlines in detail a 16-week development process for future versions of the web browser.

The document, which Ars says should be taken as a proposal, details four tiers through which new features would proceed: mozilla-central, a nightly repository that will include features as soon as they're ready; experimental, which gets new features at regular intervals; beta, which receives new features slated for the next major release; and a final Firefox step that releases a new version of the browser. Fresh features would spend five weeks in each tier, although they could move more slowly depending on their complexity.

In addition to the new development cycle, the draft has some interesting things to say about silent updates and extension compatibility. Mozilla's proposal provides hope that a seamless update system similar to Chrome—which incremented to version 10 last week without my noticing—is coming to Firefox. Maintaining extension compatibility with a quicker release cycle seems to be an messier issue. Mozilla isn't sure how to handle the problem at this point, but it'll need a solution before long. We'll likely find out more about Mozilla's future plans after Firefox 4 hits, which should be on March 22.

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