Mozilla scrambles to patch Firefox for second time this week

Regression bug in 2.0.0.10 breaks some sites, extensions; update may show on Friday

Mozilla will probably release a Firefox update Friday to patch a bug in the just-released 2.0.0.10 version, according to the company's bug database.

If so, it would mark the first time that Mozilla has released two versions of the open-source browser in the same week.

A bug in rendering "canvas" HTML elements worked its way into Firefox 2.0.0.10, the edition Mozilla released Monday to fix six other vulnerabilities. Canvas elements, which were first used by Apple in its Safari browser, let Web site designers dynamically render bitmap images in HTML. Firefox, Safari and Opera support Canvas natively; Microsoft's Internet Explorer does so with a plug-in.

All editions of Firefox 2.0.0.10 -- for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux -- break pages that include the Canvas element, and cripple at least two Firefox extensions, FoxSaver and Fotofox.

Developer Kevin Han reported the regression bug late Monday, within hours of 2.0.0.10's release. By Tuesday morning, confirmations began pouring into Bugzilla, Mozilla's bug and patch database.

"I can confirm this problem," said Klaus Reimer in a message posted to Bugzilla. "Customers are complaining because their Firefox automatically updated to 2.0.0.10 and now they can no longer order photo prints in our shop. I think this is a very serious problem, and I hope it will be fixed immediately in a 2.0.0.11 update."

By midday Tuesday, developers had come up with a fix for the flaw. A day later, Nick Thomas, one of the developers working on the bug, answered questions about an update schedule. "The release of 2.0.0.11 is tentatively scheduled for Friday, November 30," he said on Bugzilla. "If that comes off, it'll be the fastest turnaround between Firefox releases to date; i.e., it relies on everything in the release process going without a hitch."

In an e-mailed statement, Mike Schroepfer, vice president of engineering for Mozilla, downplayed the extent of the problem. "The bug affects a specific use case of the Canvas tag, which is not yet in wide use," he said.

As for how the flaw slipped through Mozilla's testing process, Schroepfer said: "We used our standard process of releasing a beta to tens of thousands of users and had no reports of this issue prior to the full release of 2.0.0.10. Most importantly, once we became aware of the issue, we worked overtime to address it."

He did not say whether Mozilla would, in fact, deliver Firefox 2.0.0.11 on Friday.

But even if Mozilla meets the rush deadline, the snafu will leave some users very unhappy. "We develop process management Web applications on Oracle that use AJAX [and] Ruby on Rails, and we have gone out of our way to tell our customers that we 'strongly' recommend they use Firefox," said someone identified only as Jonathan on Bugzilla. "This little episode really has egg on our face.

"For a couple of days, we have had an unbearable number of support calls. I would hope this reinforces the need for someone to put in some serious effort on developing a solid and extensive suite of regression tests. This should have NEVER gotten into a public release."

Firefox 3.0 Beta 1, which launched last week, is not affected by the Canvas regression.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?