Mozilla hopes to classify the upcoming Firefox 3.6 as a minor update, a move that may sound inconsequential but that in fact might have significant repercussions with Firefox users and the speed the open-source browser is developed.

Mike Beltzner, Mozilla's director of Firefox, in a mailing list discussion that he'd like to call the new version a minor release "to quickly migrate our user base to Firefox 3.6." Minor releases in the past typically have been steps from, for example, 3.5.3 to 3.5.4, but Mozilla is trying to speed up more significant changes and not just fixes for bugs and security holes.

"Firefox 3.6 will be primarily a release with security, stability, speed and capability enhancements, with no visible user interface changes over Firefox 3.5. As such, I think we should consider it as a candidate for a minor update, stretching our definition of what types of updates we can provide using that mechanism," Beltzner said.

Be default, Mozilla automatically distributes minor Firefox updates to be installed after a user prompt. Major updates initially require the user to actively retrieve the new version, though Mozilla gets more active as time passes and older versions reach the end of their support lifespans--January 2010 in the case of Firefox 3.0.

Full story: c|net