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22 September 2011, 11:36

Extended Support proposal for Firefox enterprise users

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ESR cycle diagram
Zoom An example of how the ESR cycle could operate
Source: Mozilla Enterprise Working Group
The Mozilla Foundation's reactivated Enterprise User Working Group has made a proposal on how "Extended Support Releases" (ESR) could be offered to enterprises and other large organisations deploying Firefox. Issues arose when Mozilla moved to a rapid rolling release schedule for Firefox which saw a new version of the browser published every six weeks. Enterprise users pointed out that this meant they would not have time to test and certify any given version before the next one was released.

The working group's ESR proposal would see a version of Firefox maintained for seven Firefox release cycles (forty-two weeks). For example, if the process began with Firefox 8, then an ESR 8.0 release would be created at the same time. Over the next two release cycles (12 weeks), testing work would be done to qualify the new release as suitable; in the meantime another release of Firefox would have appeared. At the end of the twelve weeks, a qualified ESR release would be made available and maintained for the next 30 weeks. Mozilla would backport high and critical bugs to the ESR release, and other bugs at its discretion.

Around week 30, when, in this example, Firefox 13 is being released, the cycle would start again to create ESR 13. The twelve week overlap would allow a new version to be qualified while there was still a current supported ESR available.

The proposers hope that Firefox 8 or 9 will be the base for the initial ESR cycle and that twelve weeks after the initial ESR is available, Firefox 3.6 will be end-of-lifed. The ESR would only be offered through the Enterprise wiki page to avoid confusing non-enterprise users. The proposal itself though has yet to be accepted by Mozilla and will be debated over the future weeks.


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