An example of how NOT to do software updates

I upgraded Firefox only a few days ago (I didn’t get a choice – it was set to autoupdate, and updated when I was halfway through doing an install on my new computer; it broke most of the plugins I was halfway through installing because the new version wasn’t backwards compatible) and now a new upgrade just appeared. I wondered what could necessitate such a sudden new upgrade, so I clicked on the “View more information about this update” link in the dialog box.

This took me to a page which said nothing other than:

“Stability Update:
This release corrects a problem that was found in the previous release, Firefox”

WTF? How did that even seem to them to be a reasonable explanation? So, I sent them some feedback. Which will no doubt get filed in /dev/nul

Someone at firefox needs to reconsider the messages they’re sending out. It’s as bad as Microsoft in the bad old days of System Updates that had no reason beyond “critical”, or “this update is necessary to ensure your copy of windows continues to function correctly”.

Considering how dangerous updates are for the user (c.f. the fact that the last one nuked most of my plugins :(, and there’s no way to downgrade – for some reason, they don’t support that, and they don’t allow you to download old, working, versions, only the latest, even-if-its-broken, version), this approach to forcing them on users without explanation is both antagonistic and irresponsible.

/me is now forcing firefox to “never” upgrade, and will refuse to run any more upgrades of it.

I’m sure this is the complete opposite of what they intended, as my machines will now theoretically be vulnerable to every security flaw that comes along, but I think I’ll use MSIE 7 as my main browser, despite it’s many flaws, and stop using FF for everything except testing, rather than suffer more of this stupidity from the Mozilla Foundation. I never thought they’d manage to force me into the hands of Microsoft :).

4 replies on “An example of how NOT to do software updates”

Dominic – cool, thanks! Now, if only they would link that page from the non-existent release notes :)

Sulka – thanks, I might check that out. The last time I had a mac, back around Tiger time, Safari just consistently came across as a more buggy less usable version of FF.

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