Mozilla Announces Firefox Extended Support Releaseby Andrew Cunningham on January 10, 2012 9:51 PM EST
Mozilla announced today that it would be offering a so-called Extended Support Release (or ESR) for Firefox to ease the pain of enterprises, universities, and other users put off by the company's earlier decision to switch to a rapid release cycle for Firefox. The ESR will be updated to a new major version about once a year, and then maintained with security patches until the next ESR, much as Firefox 3.6 has been maintained since Firefox 4's release. The first ESR should be Firefox 10, which is due on January 31 - six weeks after the stable release of Firefox 9.
The plan as currently proposed is to support each ESR for nine Firefox release cycles, which at the current rate of a new release every six weeks ends up being about 54 weeks. For each major release of Firefox, the ESR build will receive a batch of security updates and bugfixes (so, FIrefox 11 would bring Firefox 10.01, Firefox 14 would bring Firefox 10.04, and etc.) without making changes to the rendering engine or major features - extensions that break in major version updates should also continue working in the ESR when it is updated. As each new ESR is introduced, the previous ESR will receive 6-12 more weeks of official support before being discontinued.
The ESR proposal was created by Mozilla's Enterprise User Working Group, and will hopefully be the first step toward remedying Firefox's historically poor enterprise support - Internet Explorer and Chrome both offer MSI installers and Group Policy controls for use by Active Directory administrators who need to keep their users' browsers locked down and up-to-date.