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Thursday April 24th 2014

Mozilla’s Extended Support Releases Promise to Woo Businesses to Firefox





Back in October of last year, Mozilla began moving forward with plans for its Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR), designed to keep versions of Firefox maintained and patched with security fixes in order to cater to IT departments. This week, The Mozilla Blog announced that the ESR initiative is officially a plan of action. The move should go a long way toward helping the Firefox browser proliferate in business environments, where it has traditionally been viewed as untrusted.

According to The Mozilla Blog:

"We are pleased to announce that the proposal for an Extended Support Release (ESR) of Firefox is now a plan of action. The ESR version of Firefox is for use by enterprises, public institutions, universities and other organizations that centrally manage their Firefox deployments. Releases of the ESR will occur once a year, providing these organizations with a version of Firefox that receives security updates but does not make changes to the Web or Firefox Add-ons platform. We have worked with many organizations to ensure that the ESR balances their need for the latest security updates with the desire to have a lighter application certification burden."

As far as specifics go, each ESR will be updated with patches and maintained for 54 weeks–a period during which Mozilla delivers many full updates to versions of Firefox intended for general use. Mozilla moved to a rapid release cycle for Firefox in February of last year, and that decision resulted in backlash from many IT departments.

The Mozilla Blog adds:

"Implementation specifics will be posted within a week to the mozilla.dev.planning newsgroup and the EWG mailing list. If you’re interested in the ESR or discussions around deploying Firefox in a managed environment, we’d encourage you to join the Mozilla Enterprise Working Group and participate in its discussions and monthly conference calls. To join this group, please see the Enterprise wiki page for additional information."

This is yet another step in the direction of taking open source technologies that have flourished with consumers and individuals toward business scenarios, which we covered here. IT departments will have little choice but to bless popular open source technologies for business usage, and there are good opportunities ahead for secure solutions for popular open source platforms and applications.

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