For now, Mozilla is retaining a cautious approach to major new releases—Neowin reports that the organization has put out its 11th beta of Firefox 4, with beta 12 to follow soon. (You can grab beta 11 here.) According to TechSpot, however, the Firefox team plans to put the pedal to the metal shortly thereafter and get Firefox 5, 6, and 7 out this year alone.
Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich already alluded to a faster release pace last month, but the new Firefox 2011 roadmap makes the full extent of that change clear. From what I can tell, the plan is to ship smaller releases more often but label them less conservatively, much like what Google is doing with Chrome these days. Check out what Mozilla has in store for Firefox 5:
- Account Manager
- Simple Sharing UI
- UI Animation
- 64 Bit on Windows
- ...anything that improves responsiveness and is ready
- ...anything that improves stability and is ready
- ...anything that polishes the user interface and is ready
- ...anything else serving product priorities and is ready
In other words, throw in a handful of new features and any other improvements that are ready in time, tag it, bag it, and move on to the next release. The bullet points with ellipses are repeated under the Firefox 6 and Firefox 7 headings.
Mozilla's 2011 roadmap also establishes a number of ambitious goals, like planning for "a future where Desktop, Mobile and Web Apps run on a common platform." I, for one, hope Mozilla will also introduce a seamless update system that mirrors Chrome's. Receiving prompts to apply upgrades on such a regular basis might get old after a while.