Mozilla to End Support for Older (1.0.x) Firefox Versions
Mozilla is expected to release a bunch of security fixes and other updates to its Firefox Web browser next week, but it won't be issuing any updates for people still using older versions of Firefox from the 1.0 family (the current and final version is 1.0.8).
Dan Veditz, a member of Mozilla's security team, said one of the reasons Mozilla is sunsetting the older versions is to help make patching the browser easier for users. The older 1.0.x versions of Firefox have an update system that works some of the time, but is not quite in-your-face enough for some users. The Firefox 1.5 line (current version is 188.8.131.52) includes a feature that automatically downloads and installs the latest security updates.
Veditz said that about a quarter of all Firefox users are still using some version of Firefox 1.0.x, and about a quarter of those folks are not fully up-to-date on patches.
"People using 1.0.8 should stop, because it's not going to be maintained with security updates any longer," Veditz said.
If you're a diehard 1.0.x fan, you could wait until sometime in August, the general timeframe when the Mozilla folks are shooting to release Firefox 2.0. Among the new security features that will likely be included in Firefox 2.0 is one that automatically checks for updates to various Firefox browser plug-ins, like Macromedia Flash, Adobe, and Java.
Veditz said Mozilla is still undecided on what to do with plug-ins that are missing updates: One option on the table is to periodically alert the user that updates are available; other options include disabling the plug-ins until they are updated, or automatically updating the plug-ins for the user, Veditz said.
"It's rare that we hear of Firefox users getting hit with exploits when they visit a Web site, but if one of our users does get hit it's usually because of some Java exploit," Veditz said.
If you're using an older version of Firefox and would like to upgrade to Firefox 1.5, follow these instructions (especially the part about backing up your profile, which stores most of your Firefox settings.) Don't know what version you're running? Go to "Help" in the browser's top left tools area, then click "About Mozilla Firefox."
May 24, 2006; 3:33 PM ET
Categories: New Patches
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