With Firefox 4 released a few weeks ago it’s time for me to look into what comes next.
The first to follow are maintenance updates for Firefox 4 which are now codenamed Macaw. 4.0.1 is in upstream beta testing for a few days now. At some point in future we will have a SeaMonkey 2.1 release which willÂ be (most likely) based on the same Gecko version as Firefox 4 and you can get 2.1b3 snapshots for that from mozilla:beta. From the same repository you can also install a new Thunderbird 3.3a4 (codename Miramar). Please note that this early package has no Enigmail support yet.
Now to some interesting changes which are coming up with Firefox development and releases. Mozilla switched to a “rapid release cycle” after the release of FF4. This means that we will see new Firefox major releases around every 6 weeks. Firefox 5 is currently planned for end of June 2011. Firefox now is developed through different stages before the final release where Aurora is branched already for FF5 and will enter the beta stage in a few weeks. A current Firefox Aurora build is available in mozilla:alpha.
This changed release process also means that there won’t be long maintained branches anymore which has an impact on how we deal with updates during a distribution lifetime. Nothing has been discussed on that topic yet though. Another fallout is that our Firefox packages will be standalone packages again after several years of being based on XULRunner. What will happen to XULRunner in the distribution is yet another thing we need to figure out.