I saw today that Firefox released a new version (5). I tried reading about what was added and ran into this link.

It states that:

Mozilla has launched Firefox 5, a new version of the popular open source Web browser. This is the first update that Mozilla has issued since adopting a new release management strategy that has drastically shortened the Firefox development cycle.

I find this very intriguing - any idea what this new strategy is?

  • 1
    There is an IRC channel called #introduction and #firefox on irc.mozilla.org. Mozilla developers visit them. This could be asked there. They should be best equipped to answer this question.
    – vpit3833
    Jun 23, 2011 at 3:06

3 Answers 3


Mozilla's new release strategy is the way the repositories and code base are managed.

The major difference in the release strategy is the addition of a new channel and giving each channel a separate repository. In the past all channels were built out of the same code repository. This required a freeze anytime updates were made. With the new strategy work can continue while updates are pushed out.

The new channels are:

  • Nightly – builds created out of the mozilla-central repository every night. These are not qualified by QA
  • Aurora – builds created out of the mozilla-aurora repository, which is synced from mozilla-central every 6 weeks1. There is a small amount of QA at the start of the 6 week1 period before the updates are offered
  • Beta – builds created out of the mozilla-beta repository, qualified by QA as being of sufficient quality to release to beta users
  • Release – builds created out of the mozilla-release repository, qualified by QA as being of sufficient quality to release to hundreds of millions of people

The basic gist of the new strategy and what shortens the cycle time is the way the channels each have there own repository.

Because we are using a repo-per-channel model, mozilla-central development (and thus the updates on the Nightly channel) never have to freeze…quality convergence takes place on other repositories while Firefox development continues on mozilla-central unaffected by the release process

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  • I don't understand this model? Can someone please explain it? Are there different developers working on each channel? If yes, do they backwards merge their code modifications to the previous channel? If not, how can they release a stable version, while the nightly builds are always highly unstable? When a release happens, does that mean that all these channels are in sync?
    – siamii
    Aug 13, 2011 at 5:23
  • found a good explanation docs.google.com/present/view?id=dg63dpc6_4d7vkk6ch
    – siamii
    Aug 13, 2011 at 5:46


Google Chrome is the main inspiration to the faster, more frequent release cycle.

Even IE is speeding up their cycle.

It shall be interesting to see where it takes these browsers.

EDIT: Thanks to the other answer on this question, here is a quote from the page. Virtually mirroring Chrome Dev

Ship our new technology to users in smaller bundles, more frequently Four technology shipment vehicles in 2011, including Firefox 4 Achieve a regular cadence for shipping https://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox/Roadmap


Release early, release often.

"Ship Firefox 4, 5, 6 and 7 in the 2011 calendar year"


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