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Mozilla to pick up Firefox release pace, ship version 'soon' for Windows 10

Gregg Keizer | July 8, 2015
Mozilla will accelerate the release of new features for its Firefox browser, dumping its current 18-week development schedule for something nimbler, a company manager told contributors last week.

Another high priority, said Cook, was Electrolysis, or "e10s" for short, Mozilla's attempt to bring multiple processes to Firefox by separating page rendering from content to make the browser more secure and more stable. Rival browsers, including Apple's Safari, Google's Chrome and Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE), already operate with separate processes.

"One of the first things we need to get right is e10s," said Cook. "e10s is the only way to get the kind of snappy experience we need to make Firefox feel great. We're close, but it's going to take some effort to get over the line."

Mozilla recently beefed up the engineering staff working on e10s, a project that originated in 2009 but has long languished.

Mozilla's intent to speed up Firefox's release schedule was reminiscent of the accelerated tempo Microsoft has pledged for Windows 10 and its bundled Edge browser, which will ship later this month. It wasn't a complete surprise, then, that Mozilla teased a release of Firefox for Windows 10, saying that the browser, like the one it's been creating for Apple's iOS, would ship "soon."

In March 2014, Mozilla abruptly abandoned work on a touch-enabled Firefox for Windows 8, citing apathetic adoption of the previews and taking a swipe at Microsoft's bifurcated OS along the way. The cancellation put a match to two years of work by Mozilla's engineers and designers, although the company said it would not discard the code, but mothball it for possible use down the road.

That time has apparently come.

Mozilla did not provide any further information about Firefox for Windows 10 or iOS, other than to say that it planned to provide an "independent and high-performing alternative to the stock browser" on both platforms.

Mozilla's work on Firefox will be crucial to the company. The browser remains its most potent weapon -- efforts in mobile, particularly Firefox OS, have failed to capture the imagination of users -- because search deals cut with the likes of Yahoo are its primary money makers.

Firefox's user share has plummeted in the last two years, declining by 42 percent during the period. So far in 2015, however, its share has stabilized around 12 percent of all browsers worldwide, ending June with 12.1 percent, up slightly from the month prior. Firefox's losses have gone almost entirely to Chrome, which could reach the 30 percent milestone as early as November.


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