Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fedora 9 and the Firefox legacy

I am a Fedora user for quite a while now - roughly a decade. I have followed though the development of this nice operating system since RedHat Linux 5.2, I think. Let me tell you I am a fan! I have had the occasional flirts with other distributions (ZenWalk, Slackware, Ubuntu I am looking at you) but in the end I always returned to the venrable Fedora. I have been in the ups and downs, through the name change and the "realease" in the wild. I am not saying that I am an expert but a rather a user.

One thing annoyed me quite a lot back in the days of Fedora 6 and now it has come after me again in Fedora 9 - the installed by default version of Firefox. Fedora being bleeding edge and what not, amongst other things, should have the latest and greatest in all of the installed software? Wrong! Fedora 6 shipped on the 24th of October 2006 with Firefox 1.5 (refer to Distrowatch.org for the exact details) as the default browser. Firefox 2.0 was released on the very same day. This new second version of the very popular browser came to Fedora eventually after a month or two...

The next two versions of Fedora shipped with Firefox 2 by default as it took the Mozilla guys an eon in open source development time to roll out Firefox 3 today - 17th of June 2008. No offence Moziila guys, take your time.

Recently we witnessed the birth of Fedora 9, on the 13th of May 2008 to be exact (hip-hip hurrah!). This latest incarnation is close to being bleeding edge but not close enough. The default installed version of the popular browser is Beta 5. After more then a month post release date and more then 300Mb of downloaded updates no Firefox RC in sight...

I know that 3.0 final is in rawhide. I know I can go to http://getfirefox.com and get the latest linux precompiled binary and install it. I know I can compile the source...

Come on guys what's there in a browser (someone in the crowd shouting: "What's not in a browser?)? Other distributions are pushing out Firefox versions a day or two after the Mozilla guys tag a new version in the source tree.

I am all in for the Fedora magic going in all of the packages but are we really lacking so much in the web browser packinging department?

Anyone else being puzzled by this issue? I'd love to hear some opinions. If anyone of the Fedora guys handling the Firefox "issue" ever reads this I would love to hear from him/her/them.

Update: One day after the official release date of Firefox 3 Fedora has already got it in. I am actually writing this with FF3. Congratulations and happy surfing!