"Firefox for Enterprises" begins with Firefox 10 - Update
A "Firefox for Enterprises", with a near annual update and support cycle, is to be created and launched as Mozilla Firefox ESR. The Mozilla Enterprise Working Group (EWG) is moving forward with the proposals for the Mozilla Firefox ESR (Enterprise Support Release) and will begin the process with the release of Firefox 10.
The decision was made in a 5 January meeting. The Enterprise Working Group has been tackling the problem that a number of enterprises face in deploying Firefox; the new rapid release process means companies do not have time to certify releases of the browser before a new version comes out. The release of Firefox ESR will be a near annual release of the most recent rapid release Firefox, qualified and supported for nearly a year.
Firefox ESR development will follow the proposal, which will mean there will be 12 weeks of qualification of ESR 10.0 and 10.0.1. At the end of the 12 weeks, a qualified ESR 10.0.2 will be available as the first of a series of Firefox releases; these will not use the rapid release process but will have fixes to critical and high security bugs back-ported to them. At the time of the release of Firefox 17, the process of qualifying the current Firefox would begin again for an ESR 17 release.
Mozilla will be releasing binaries of the Firefox ESR, "signed, compiled and branded", along with source availability, but will not be presenting the release to general users. Although there will be no access control or other restrictions, enterprise users will find the release through blog postings, the Enterprise Working Group wiki or by searching. The EWG meeting also confirmed the end of life for Firefox 3.6 as of 24 April 2012; this is 12 weeks after the release of Firefox 10, so the first Firefox ESR release should be fully qualified by then.
How long Mozilla will maintain the ESR program is unclear. Although the release roadmap shows an ESR 24 at the end of 2013, the proposal only guarantees support for a minimum of two ESR releases (10 and 17). Mozilla says it will be collecting data on Firefox ESR usage to decide if and how it will maintain the programme.
Update - Mozilla have now officially announced the Firefox ESR release in a blog posting. Further resources for potential Firefox ESR users and contributors are detailed on the Mozilla Enterprise Wiki.