NOTE: This problem has been fixed, see update at bottom.
NOTE: Mozilla issued a statement on this on Sept. 13th. See update at bottom.
I was updating software on an XP SP3 computer today (Sept. 11th) when I ran Firefox version 3.6.6 and did a check for updates. Surprisingly, it wrongly reported that there were no available updates. Strange I thought, but no matter, I downloaded the latest version (3.6.9), un-installed the old version and installed the new one.
But, it didn't end there.
I was also working on another XP machine that hadn't been updated in a while. This one too, had an old version of Firefox, 3.6.8. Strangely, it also reported that there were no available updates.
Sensing a pattern, I tried a third XP machine, one with a normally installed copy of Firefox 3.5.11 and a handful of portable editions.
The normally installed Firefox reported that there were no updates, but I'm not sure at this stage if Firefox 3.5.x reports on the availability of Firefox 3.6. Version 3.5 may have been put out to pasture. But, a portable edition of Firefox 3.6.8 on this third machine also claimed that there were no available updates.
What do all three machines have in common? Time, for one thing, there might be a server side problem at Mozilla (these tests were run around 9PM ET on September 11th).
My router for another. Perhaps Mozilla has a firewall that's blocking the router's public IP address? The router was just assigned a new IP address yesterday by my ISP, perhaps it was blacklisted?
To test that the problem wasn't somehow related to the net connection, I remotely controlled an XP machine at a different location, one connected to the net via a different ISP. Same problem though. Firefox 3.6.8 thinks its the latest and greatest.
Still not content, I used different remote control software to gain access to a second remote computer. Yet again, Firefox 3.6.8 reported no available updates.
Five computers spread over two physical locations makes for a pattern.
I ran this by Mozilla and am waiting for a response.
If you have a copy of Firefox 3.6 prior to the current 3.6.9, does it find an available update?
Update: As of Sunday September 12, 2PM ET, Firefox 3.6.8 still reports that no updates are available.
Update: Sunday September 12, 7PM ET: Someone commented below that they got different results when logged on as a restricted user vs. an administrator. I could not duplicate these results. On still another instance of Windows XP, I was told by both a normally installed copy of Firefox 3.5.11 and a portable copy of 3.6.8 that there were no available updates - both when logged on as an administrator and when logged on as a restricted user. On still another machine, Firefox 3.5.2 reported that there were no updates.
Update: Monday September 13, 10AM ET: The problem continues. On a Windows 7 machine, I tested a normally installed copy of Firefox 3.6.8, a portable copy of 3.6.8 and a portable copy of 3.6. All reported no available updates.
Update: Monday September 13, 6PM ET: Mozilla turned off Firefox updates on purpose. Below is a statement from Mike Beltzner, Mozilla's director of Firefox.
"We've limited updates to Firefox 3.6.9 and Firefox 3.5.12 at this time as we evaluate some early feedback which indicates that a subset of our user base may be finding the releases unstable."
This is confirmed by a thread in the Mozilla support forum, "Check for Update" does NOT find 3.6.9. My thanks to whoever wrote the comments below that point out this thread.
Update: Tuesday September 14 3PM ET: The problem seems to be fixed. On one computer, a normally installed copy of Firefox 3.5.11 updated itself to 3.5.12 and a portable copy of 3.6.8 updated itself to 3.6.9. As before, nothing about this from Mozilla.