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August 17, 2005

software update testing

Our developers have done a huge amount of work to design and implement an entirely new update system for the 1.5 releases. The new update system is designed and built from the ground up to provide a more scalable, cross-platform, more capable, and easier to use system for updating Firefox and Thunderbird.

We've got something we're really proud of but time is getting short for 1.5 and we've still got quite a bit of testing to do to ensure that this new system works across the huge variety of operating system versions and configurations.

If you're interested in being a part of this testing and helping to contribute to one of the most critical new features in the upcoming Firefox and Thunderbird releases, head over to the Mozilla Quality blog and join the team!

Posted by asa at August 17, 2005 02:23 PM | TrackBack

are we finally going to be able to test incremental updates? not like how it is now with on the trunk and branch with full updates but with the small patches.

Posted by: Kurt on August 17, 2005 02:40 PM

I know this isn't the best place for it, but it's a thought that's just popped into my head and I need to get it out before I forget!

Will the new auto update system gracefully handle people running with limited user rights? At the mo, my Windows box account doesn't have the right to install software - I use ‘Run As…’ to do it as Administrator. However, this causes the current update system to fail as it automatically runs the installer as the current user.

Will updates to Firefox be able to download and then be applied when the user shuts down - ala Windows XP's native updates - or some other system to ensure that the patches get applied without users needing to compromise their user permission based security?

Apologies if this is covered ok, I admit I haven't looked, but for sake of one comment in your blog, I figured it was worth voicing whilst on my mind!


Posted by: Ben Ward on August 17, 2005 03:14 PM

@Ben: I really doubt it, if you only have user rights, it's because the admin doesn't want to give you rights to modify/install anything.

If however, you can install Firefox 'locally' only on your user account, I would assume it should work. (I might be wrong).

Posted by: Jed on August 17, 2005 04:49 PM

But the update XML is not available yet. I got that annoying popup window (about missing XML file) when opening every new Deer Park Alpha 2 window. Can't it just give me a dummy XML file? :-(

Posted by: minghong on August 17, 2005 04:58 PM

Is there an ETA when auto-update is working again for Branch-Builds?
FYI: Auto-Update in Branch-Builds does currently update to Trunk-Builds (which at this time have a lot of Problems with Profile-Manager, general Startup and Extensions). So better do NOT auto-update with Branch-Builds (till this is solved).
Also still no .mar files are being build for Branch-Nightlies.

Posted by: Stebs on August 17, 2005 05:42 PM

Asa, if you're rolling out smaller .mar binaries for us to update to, so much the better. If not, well, I've been testing the system since it was first possible to do so and it seems fairly robust.

Posted by: Ben Basson on August 17, 2005 06:04 PM

Oh! So the .mar files are the updates? I didn't know that. :P I wondered what they were for. How will they work with Windows, Mac and Linux builds? Does each one include all three or will there be separate ones?

Also, trunk builds are having issues? Glad I switched over to mozilla1.8. :)

Posted by: Peng on August 17, 2005 10:01 PM

Seems like the update works by updating a 1.8 branch build to a trunk build. Will this be fixed in the nightlies or will it just get fixed once the release URL is being used?

Posted by: Kevin on August 17, 2005 10:10 PM

Bug#304608 "[branch] - automatic app update updates to trunk" may be fixed soon.

Posted by: James on August 17, 2005 11:10 PM

Asa, as others said, we need more info

Posted by: Ivan Icin on August 18, 2005 01:35 AM

*new feature* ???

Don't you mean existing service most people are not interested in, therefore isn't exactly a 'feature'? Or perhaps 'the bit we screwed up the first time so we're fixing it in lieue of more interesting stuff'?

How is the work on the frequent freezing, close window, process still runs problem going? That's a real doozy for the average user who has never heard of Task Manager.

I don't want to be such a bastard as the above comments may seem but really, software update - even doing it well - is hardly a feature and in this case, definitely not new.

Arguably for any browser that professes to be more secure, software update should have been a default element since day one. Especially a browser that has a plethora of security holes like Fx apparently has.

Posted by: pd on August 18, 2005 01:53 AM

This is probably the best way for windows. but what about *nix? The users normally don't have admin rights and they use a differen't update system (ie. debians apt-get). How is that handled?

Posted by: Joergen Ramskov on August 18, 2005 04:27 AM

i get a big grey block behind the status bar with the text:


Posted by: kwanbis on August 18, 2005 08:57 AM

menuitem key="addBookmarkAsKb"

Posted by: kwanbis on August 18, 2005 08:58 AM

"How is the work on the frequent freezing, close window, process still runs problem going? That's a real doozy for the average user who has never heard of Task Manager."

It's not entirely fixed, because apparently getting the process restarter to work the way we want it to in win32 is harder than expected, but it's partially fixed in that instead of automatically starting FFx with a new profile, we alert the user to the situation and suggest ways of fixing it. We're hoping to get the process restarter done before 1.5, but can't guarantee it.

Posted by: beltzner on August 18, 2005 10:21 AM

Branch is updating again to correct Branch-Build. Now we can get back at punching that Update Feature ;)

Posted by: Stebs on August 18, 2005 10:18 PM

hey asa,

putting this thread for your eyes.


Please don't let the quality go down !! :(

Posted by: RC on August 19, 2005 05:32 AM

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