Firefox & WordPress: Frequent Updates Are Too Frequent

I like Firefox, but I don't want to update it constantly.

I like Firefox, but I don't want to update it constantly.

Lately, it seems like every time I launch Firefox it tells me there's an update. I had updated to Firefox 4 fairly recently — version 4 had only been out for about 3 months, and I hadn't rushed to update because there were some plug-ins that I depend on that were not yet compatible with Firefox 4. So I waited until those were updated, or acceptable alternatives were available, before updating Firefox to version 4.

No sooner had I updated to v4 than v5 was out. Now v6 is out, and the alpha for 7 is already out, too! Criminy, they even have developers nightly builds of Firefox 8! The Firefox developers call this the "rapid release development cycle." I call it annoying.

As a general principle, I don't mind updating my browser, or other software. Usually the new version is better, faster, has more features that I'll like. But with Firefox it's different.

With Firefox's emphasis on adding just the functionality you want by installing plug-ins, my Firefox only works the way I want it to when all my plug-ins are working. And whenever there's a new release of Firefox, at least some of my mission-critical plug-ins won't work in the new version. Things like Firebug, Web Developers Toolbar, LiveHTTPHeaders — things that I just can't live without. These aren't simply eye candy or time-wasting plug-ins; these are mission-critical elements that I depend on in my web development work.

I've had to turn off the update notification in my Firefox preferences, because being asked constantly to update Firefox is just too annoying when I've already determined that I don't want to update yet.

<img class="size-medium wp-image-244" title="Firefox doesn't tell me what the update is; it only has a button offering to "Apply Update."" src="http://www.sustainedpanic.com/wp-content/uploadspanic/2011/07/FirefoxApplyUpdate1-640x382.png" alt="Firefox doesn't tell me what the update is; it only has a button offering to "Apply Update."" width="640" height="382" srcset="https://www.sustainedpanic team task management software.com/wp-content/uploadspanic/2011/07/FirefoxApplyUpdate1-640x382.png 640w, https://www.sustainedpanic.com/wp-content/uploadspanic/2011/07/FirefoxApplyUpdate1-250x149.png 250w, https://www.sustainedpanic.com/wp-content/uploadspanic/2011/07/FirefoxApplyUpdate1-418x250.png 418w, https://www.sustainedpanic.com/wp-content/uploadspanic/2011/07/FirefoxApplyUpdate1-120x71.png 120w, https://www.sustainedpanic.com/wp-content/uploadspanic/2011/07/FirefoxApplyUpdate1-80x47.png 80w, https://www.sustainedpanic.com/wp-content/uploadspanic/2011/07/FirefoxApplyUpdate1-202x120.png 202w, https://www.sustainedpanic.com/wp-content/uploadspanic/2011/07/FirefoxApplyUpdate1-75x44.png 75w, https://www.sustainedpanic.com/wp-content/uploadspanic/2011/07/FirefoxApplyUpdate1.png 735w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" />

Firefox doesn't tell me what the update is; it only has a button offering to "Apply Update."

The worst thing, though, is that when I have Firefox check for updates, it doesn't tell me what the update will be. This morning, I decided to run "Check for updates" — figuring it never hurts to see what I'm refusing to do. All Firefox told me was that an update is available, and there's a button to "Apply update." I know I'm on version 5.0, but would this update take me to 5.2? Or 6.0? Or 6.3? Or what? A little more information would be nice.

WordPress is great, but its updates are too frequent.

WordPress is great, but its updates are too frequent.

WordPress does the same thing, and has a similar byproduct problem. Every time I log into any WordPress site that I manage, I get notifications that WordPress needs to be updated, and that at least a half-dozen plug-ins need to be updated.

The good folks at WordPress have gone to some length to make it easy to update WP and plug-ins. But with their WordPress rapid release development cycle, they've made it very difficult to keep WordPress and all the plug-ins I use in sync. Like with Firefox, every time I update WordPress, at least some of the plug-ins that I use aren't compatible with the newer version of WordPress.

So I have to see if there's an update for the plug-ins, and install the plug-in updates at the same time. Then I have to check the site thoroughly to see what else may have been broken by all those updates. If any of the plug-ins in use are not yet updated to work with the newer version of WordPress, then I have to either postpone updating WordPress, or decide that I can live without that plug-in for a while.

If I updated Firefox, all my Firefox plug-ins, WordPress, and all my WordPress plug-ins, as often as the Firefox and WP folks want me to, I would be spending inordinate amounts of time updating. I wish they would recognize that every single update is a disruption in the lives of their users. We don't live to update. We don't like to update. We'll update once in a while, to keep current and take advantage of new features and more robust programs, but we don't want to spend our lives updating.

All this updating isn't something I panic over, but it's annoying nevertheless.

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