Last year, in an apparent display of one-upmanship, Mozilla decided to speed up Firefox's release cycle dramatically. The result? We went from Firefox 4 to Firefox 11 in just under a year.
Trouble is, Firefox's update mechanism still involves an old-fashioned installer, and being confronted with an update every six weeks can get a little tiresome. That is, happily, all about to change. Mozilla has announced that "silent updates" will be introduced in Firefox 13 later this year:
To cater to update fatigue, updates will now be downloaded and installed silently in the background. It means that startup and shutdown of the web browser won’t be affected by installation routines. Additionally, the What’s New page displayed after an update can now be displayed depending if there is important information needed to be displayed to the end user. Silent updates are currently planned to land in Firefox 13.
Chrome's silent updating is one of the reasons I switched from Firefox a couple of years back. The convenience factor is pretty huge, so I'm happy to see Firefox heading down the same path.
Silent updates are a big deal for non-tech-savvy users, too—and not just from a security standpoint. In a perfect world, everybody would be running the latest version of their browser of choice, and web developers would be able to use the latest and greatest web technologies without worrying about backward-compatibility.