Update System news

Firefox 1.1 should be getting some big improvements in its update system according to jedbrown.net and Inside Firefox. A hint at what is coming our way includes binary patching (no more 4 MB security updates) and background updates.

I hope they take the Trillian approach and tell the user when they open Firefox (before the browser is actually displayed) that there is an update and make it noticeable to the point where they would think they have to update the browser to use it.

One of my biggest issues with updates on 99% of programs (including Firefox 1.0.x) is that it is tough to find out if there is an update and it is even tougher for the normal internet user to find out about the updates, not to even start about installing them.

One reason why Internet Explorer is almost never up-to-date on my client’s computers is because the only ways you know if there is an update is to:

  1. Hear about it via the media or word-of-mouth.
  2. If their home page is redirected to Windows Update when launching IE, they actually bother to click the “Scan for Updates” link
  3. If you happen to notice the Updates are Available tray icon and bother to click it.
  4. The resident computer geek (i.e: me) bothers to check when he is trying to fix the computer after a virus/spyware takes advantages of an unpatched piece of software).

The test they should use? Have my mom or grandmother start an outdated version of Firefox and see if they can figure out the following without any help (i.e: no pointing out the little red blob in the upper right hand corner which is so poorly designed that I sometimes don’t even notice it and I have used Firefox since Phoenix 0.1) :

  1. That there is an update available for Firefox
  2. How to update Firefox
  3. That they actually updated Firefox

If they nail all 3 of those, Mozilla Firefox will clearly be thought of highly when it comes to security because it will also be by far the easiest browser to keep secure by not just geeks like me…but the normal everyday users.