Glitches delay international Mozilla releases

Bugs in last week's releases of Firefox and Thunderbird have delayed the delivery of updates to non-English users.

International users waiting for a number of recent security fixes to appear in The Mozilla Foundation's browser and e-mail client will have to wait a bit longer, Foundation representatives said Monday. The delay is being caused by a number of software glitches that were introduced in last week's release of English-language versions of Mozilla's Firefox Browser and Thunderbird e-mail client, they said.

Because of a number of bugs in the Mozilla application programming interfaces (APIs), a small number of Web sites and Mozilla-based applications do not work properly with the latest versions of the software, according to Chris Hofmann, director of engineering with The Mozilla Foundation.

These bugs were introduced in English-language versions of Firefox 1.0.5 and Thunderbird 1.0.5, both of which were released last week. These releases contain important security fixes, and the API bugs have nothing to do with security, according to Hofmann.

"When we did those fixes, we adjusted some of the internal APIs within the applications," he said. "The changes that we made created some problems."

Late last week, Mozilla developers decided hold off on international releases so they could fix the API bugs first, Hofmann said.

Unfortunately, this means that international users are still waiting for the security fixes to appear in non-English versions of the browser, a process that normally takes just a few days.

"We've built up a huge expectation of the speed and pace in which we move, and so when we're unable to meet our own high expectations, there's a little frustration," Hofmann said.

"We gather very bad press, we're blamed by users," wrote one Mozilla developer, posting to a Firefox mailing list a few days after the Firefox 1.0.5 release. "Tens of millions of users are still using 1.0.4 while critical security bugs are already published after (the English) release."

The API bugs will be fixed in English 1.0.6 releases of Firefox and Thunderbird, both of which are expected in "the next couple of days," according to Hofmann. International versions in the 34 other supported languages will be out by week's end, he said.

Because the API problems affect such a small number of Web sites, most users who have already downloaded version 1.0.5 of the software will not need to bother with version 1.0.6, Hofmann said. However, users of version 1.0.4 or earlier should get the latest version, he added.

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Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
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