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Firefox features will land out of cycle and Mozilla's cool with that

When is a release cycle not a release cycle? When it's a important enough to break

Mozilla's changing the way features land in future versions of its Firefox browser.

At present the project uses an orderly upgrade process: a new release lands every six to eight weeks. That schedule was set in February 2016, when Mozilla decided this was a better way to get stuff done than its previous every-six-weeks release cycle.

Now the organisation has changed its tune again, saying it has found a way to “ship some features in Firefox even faster.”

El Reg characterises this new method as “adding stuff we think is important when it is ready, by using plug-in modules.”

Mozilla puts it more gently, saying “Some features will now be shipped between release cycles … These modules are built into Firefox and delivered similarly to add-ons.”

The first feature to score an out-of-cycle release is the browser tab sharing code called “Firefox Hello.”

“This won’t interfere with our release cycle, which will still be used for most significant updates,” writes Mozilla's veep for Firefox Nick Nguyen, “and users will only notice that some features, like Hello, are updated more frequently.”

Might sysadmins notice? The Register thinks they may well, because Mozilla's wonderfully up-front about changes to Firefox. At the very least, those who tend the browser in carefully-managed environments now have something else to consider. ®

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