Kamis, 22 September 2011

Mozilla Debating a 5-Week Release Schedule for Firefox

Mozilla FirefoxI think it is safe to say that the new six week rapid release cycle for Mozilla Firefox internet browser has drawn a lot of controversy since it was announced and put into effect. However, it seems as if Mozilla likes the negative press because it seems as if there could be more to come from this rapid release cycle.

In a recent thread noticed on a developer mailing list, anybody and everybody involved in the effort has been debating the possibility of shortening the cycle even more. These developers are considering shortening the already short six week cycle to a five week cycle or even shorter than that.

According to Mozilla Software Companies Engineer Josh Aas, "Our transition to releasing every six weeks went really well. We're getting fixes to users much more quickly than we used to, but can we get fixes to users even faster? Moving to a five week cycle would mean a fix going into mozilla-central would get to users three weeks faster."

So shortening the short cycle that people are already complaining about sounds like a good idea? To Aas it does. "That's a big deal," Aas added. "It's an upgrade in responsiveness that we can't afford not to pass on if we can pull it off. I suspect the only way to know if we can do it is to try - we can always back off if it doesn't work out."

However, not everybody is objecting to the idea of shortening the cycle. Firefox Release Manager Christian Legnitto stated, "Yes, I absolutely think in the future we will shorten the cycle--but it won't be soon. We have some work to do to make six weeks smooth from a process, tool and product side. When we get six weeks down to a science, we can shorten as needed."

Source: PC World - Mozilla Mulls a 5-Week Firefox Release Cycle
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Rabu, 14 September 2011

Windows 8 Developer Preview

Windows 8, the highly anticipated followup to the hugely successful Windows 7 operating system from Microsoft, was displayed, albeit briefly, way back at D9. However, Anaheim is where the new OS is really going to kick off. Microsoft is starting its Build conference with a full-on developer preview of the new OS, code-named Windows 8 at the moment.

According to Microsoft's President of Windows and Windows Live Division Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft has been completely re-imagining the Windows operating system. In doing so the company has brought a lot of new capabilities that coders will be able to dive into sooner rather than later.

The new "Metro-styled" user interface is right up front and brings new graphical elements of the Windows Phone 7 to your desktop, laptop or tablet. In addition to that, Windows 8 will also come with Internet Explorer 10 pre-installed as well as a more intense focus on apps that have the ability to communicate with each other.

If you have been using Windows 7 for a while now and you are used to it, you should have no problem making the switch to Windows 8. Windows 8 is built primarily on the same foundation as Windows 7 though the retooled Task Manager and Windows Explorer should tease your interests a little more.

The new Windows Store will allow developers to present their apps to any country that has availability to Windows 8, and support for ARM-based chipsets is also proudly included along with x86 compatibility. What this basically means is that every device from a small tablet to a large custom PC will be able to easily handle everything Windows 8 has to offer.

Microsoft has also confirmed backwards compatibility with "devices and programs" that support Windows 7. In addition to that it has also been said that developers will be able to download the Windows Developer Preview from the new Windows Dev Center later on in this week, though no official date has been specified.

I don't know about you but I am thoroughly excited for Windows 8. I can't wait to get my hands on this new operating system and start exploring all the new features it has to offer!

Source: Engadget - Microsoft launches Windows 8 developer preview, downloads coming 'later this week'
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Sabtu, 10 September 2011

Microsoft Patch Tuesday Bringing 15 Patches

Microsoft PatchAccording to a recent report from Microsoft, the company is planning on releasing a total of five security updates next week in order to fix 15 vulnerabilities located in Windows, Excel, SharePoint Server and Groove. All five of the updates will be rated as "important" which is the second highest ranking in the four-step security system set up by Microsoft.

Typically, Microsoft ships a smaller number of updates in months labeled as an "odd number month" and is keeping to that plan. The volume of September is down compared to August when Microsoft patched 22 problems with 13 bulletins or individual security updates. According to Director of Security Operations at nCircle Security Andrew Storms, "Not a lot there, but we didn't expect much. It is the light month, the down month."

Microsoft laid out all the details about the coming patches in an advanced notice of next week's patch day which is Tuesday. Two of the updates affect Windows with one of them only impacting Server 2003, 2008 and 2008 R2. The second patch fixes a few more bugs found in all supported versions of the operating system which include XP and Windows 7.

"There are a number of server-only components that have been present through the whole lifecycle of Windows Server," Storms added about the server-only update. "SMB is an example. And they patched SMB often in the last several months."

SMB, or server message block, is a network and file-sharing protocol designed by Microsoft that has already been patched multiple times this year including an update that took place in April that stopped up a critical hole that some analysts believe could be used by criminals to construct a dangerous worm.

An additional two updates also coming out next week will patch up problems located in Excel 2010 and Excel 2011 for the Mac and in the Office software altogether. The fifth patch will fix a plethora of server-side software including SharePoint, Groove and Office Web Apps, which is the cloud-based version of Microsoft's suite.

Source: Computer World - Microsoft plans 15 patches for Windows, Office next week
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Kamis, 01 September 2011

Mozilla's Rapid Release Schedule for Firefox Comes Under Scrutiny

Mozilla FirefoxMozilla's new rapid release schedule for its Firefox internet browser, which was created as a positive thing for the company, has come under a lot of scrutiny in the past few weeks and even more fuel was added to the fire over the weekend to make things even worse.

The criticism this time came from a former volunteer for the project, Tyler Downer. Downer recently left the project after three years after becoming increasingly frustrated with what he describes as a "broken" triage process for finding and fixing bugs.

According to a blog post from Downer, "Triage as we know it today is NOT ready to handle the Rapid Release process." Under the old model, with which a new major version of the browser would be released once every year, "triage had a bit more time to go through a massive pile of bugs to find regressions and issues, and there was a pretty good chance that most bugs would get caught just because we had time on our side, and we could afford to miss a bug for six weeks, because we would most likely get around to it," Downer added.

However, Downer asserts that with the new, faster process, triage has been caught off guard. "We currently have 2,598 [unconfirmed] bugs in Firefox that haven't been touched in 150 days. That is almost 2,600 bugs that have not been touched since Firefox 4 was released. And how many more bugs have been touched but not really triaged or worked on? Every day this number grows."

Despite his comments, however, Downer did make a point to note that he wasn't criticizing the rapid release process itself. "I love the idea of rapid release. Rapid release is going to be awesome if done properly. I have always been so frustrated by the continual late releases that hold back awesome new features from the web."

In addition to that, Downer also added that he doesn't think the situation is hopeless. "I have been in talks over the past few days, and I see a good possibility that Mozilla means business in improving triage." However, when Downer decided to leave, it was due to a general lack of interest in doing anything substantial to improve the triage process.

Source: PC World - Firefox's Rapid Release Schedule Draws More Blame
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