Enterprises Should Embrace Firefox


From the ‘Firefox is Enterprise-Ready’ files:

There has been a lot of FUD written in recent days about Firefox’s rapid release process and what that means to Enterprise IT.

The gist of the FUD is that Firefox 5 represents some kind of issue because it’s not called Firefox 4.

oooh Really?

So if I understand the argument correctly, a simple number change – Firefox 5 instead of say Firefox 4.0.2 is reason enough to cause concern for enterprise IT admins.

Grow up. It’s time to join the 21st century.

Time and again, I’ve heard Enterprise IT vendor CEOs talk about the ‘consumerization of IT’. In fact at this year’s Interop it was a key focus with top execs from Citrix, Avaya and others that explained to the enterprise IT crowd why they need to change or die.

That’s enterprise IT that needs to change (and not Mozilla to meet Enterprise IT).

The pace of innovation in the open web is extreme and consumers are driving the demand and the adoption. If 200 million consumers choose to use Firefox 5, how stupid does that make an IT admin look who tells his users they can’t use it, because it’s not ready for the enterprise.

In the modern world, the world where Sun, Nortel and DEC are historical footnotes, it is the consumer that drives IT forward, not the enterprise.

On top of that, Mozilla does this really great thing with its releases – it has a certain degree of backwards compatibility. That is, if your website works on Firefox 4, you can feel comfortable knowing that it’s going to work on Firefox 5, 6 and 7.

To be fair, Mozilla does have a real problem with backwards compatibility when it comes to add-ons and that’s a serious issue. Though they have their Jetpack program that is supposed to be a potential solution, the reality is that non-Jetpack add-ons struggle to get updated.

I know this from my own experience as I could not and would not update to Firefox 5 (during its dev cycle) until one of my key extensions was updated — which only happened a few days before it went final.

For community based add-ons the rapid release cycle is a challenge and one that IMHO hasn’t been fully addressed yet. That said, just like enterprises that need to evolve with the times, so too must the add-on developers.

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