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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?