Firefox for Mobile: Rapid Release Process

By now you are probably aware that desktop Firefox has moved to a rapid release system, utilizing several new code repositories and a focused strategy for creating releases in a timely manner.

Like desktop Firefox and Thunderbird, mobile Firefox has decided to adopt the same schedule-driven release plan. Currently, mobile is building “Fennec 6.0a1” nightly builds from mozilla-central. We plan to create an Aurora branding and start creating “Fennec Aurora 5.0a2” nightly builds from mozilla-aurora. While desktop Firefox is looking to create a significant user base on Aurora, Mobile is not actively promoting Aurora, since our user base is smaller and we’d like to focus user testing on the nightly release. We will re-evaluate this position as our user base grows.

Since we are sticking to the same release schedule as desktop Firefox, we will be releasing a mobile “Firefox 5 Beta 1” on or around May 17th. Normally, we would be building the beta from mozilla-beta, but we hit a snag for this cycle and will be using a one-time only fallback repository. In order to make sure things go smoothly, we’ll do a pre-beta build sometime next week, ahead of the official beta.

The plan is to put the beta releases in the Android Market. The beta releases will install alongside the final releases, but will have beta-specific branding, to minimize confusion with the final releases. Desktop Firefox has a channel-switcher, allowing users to easily move between Aurora and Beta channels. Mobile has no plans to create a switcher. Each release has it’s own profile and run separate from any other installed releases.

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