I recently wrote that Mozilla was changing its support model for Firefox. They announced that, when they release a new browser version, they will discontinue support for earlier versions. I recommended that all of my readers using Firefox immediately upgrade to Firefox 5, as I had done.
Subscriber Richard Fuller wrote from New Zealand to ask about that support:
Interested to read your recommendation to update Firefox immediately a new version is released. The problem with that is the fact that one’s chosen add-on’s are not updated simultaneously and are therefore disabled for an unknown length of time. For that reason I did not update to v4 and am still running v3.6.18. The question I always ask myself is, "Do I really need this inconvenience?"
Does it really matter that Mozilla have withdrawn support? They don’t actually support their products in any meaningful way, only via forums and a knowledge base. Why dump a product that’s working well and put up with the loss of useful add-ons for the sake "support" that, if we’re honest with ourselves, is just an illusion?
I responded to Richart to tell him that, to me, support means bug fixes and security fixes.
He’s choosing to run an obsolete web browser with unpatched security holes. In my opinion, that’s not the right choice.
Richard responded with more thoughts on the subject…
Thanks — I had a feeling you might respond along those lines! Are these really such serious issues, though, if one is running adequate security software (VIPRE Premium, in my case), blocking rogue e–mails before they get to one’s computer (thanks to the invaluable MailWasher), using Roboform to generate meaningful passwords and circumvent key-loggers and phishing sites, avoiding dubious sites and using common sense?
It might be a different matter for networked computers with multiple users, but my perspective is that of the sole user of a stand-alone desktop.
Rightly or wrongly, I’m inherently cynical about the industry’s dire warnings of calamity should updates not be implemented immediately, especially since for most of its long life a large proportion of Windows updates have routinely failed to install on my computer, and consequently I haven’t bothered with them for years. The issue has baffled Microsoft’s best support people and I’ve got better things to do with my time than waste it on exercises in futility.
Surely, if the older versions were so desperately vulnerable we would all have suffered catastrophic problems when they were current?