Mozilla Firefox Embraces Agile With Lorentz Plan
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Agile software development has taken off over the past decade, and now its approach -- quicker, iterative release cycles -- will come into play in one of the most popular pieces of software today: Mozilla Firefox. As this story on Developer.com indicates, the potential benefits are substantial -- though Mozilla's not entirely abandoning the traditional "waterfall" approach just yet.
Mozilla is now embarking on a new development and release model for its flagship Firefox open source Web browser. The model will meld both fast-moving Agile and more traditional "waterfall" development methodologies in an attempt to more quickly iterate new features while maintaining backward compatibility, security and overall code quality.
With the new model, the Firefox 3.6.x Web browser, which was released yesterday, will become Mozilla's stable branch and will receive both bug and feature updates. Prior to Firefox 3.6, Mozilla provided stability and security updates only on the released branch (i.e., Firefox 3.5.7), while it provided new features only on new major releases (such as Firefox 3.5).
"What I don't think is controversial is the fact that we need to get quicker at delivering features to our users," Mozilla's director of Firefox, Mike Beltzner, told InternetNews.com. "The only way we know how to release a new feature now is through a major release like a Firefox 3.7 or 3.8. There are costs to releasing things that way in terms of time and add-on compatibility, and it gives us a natural limit to the speed we can do things."