Mozilla re-releases Firefox 9, backs out fix causing crashes

Macs crash most, says Mozilla, but problem also affected Linux and Windows editions

A day after it shipped Firefox 9, Mozilla quickly released an update after backing out a bug fix that was causing some Mac, Linux and Windows browsers to crash.

Mozilla issued Firefox 9.0.1 Wednesday, making one user wondering if it was bogus because it appeared hard on the heels of version 9.

"Seeing links for [Firefox 9.0.1], why is it being released? Or is it a hoax?" asked a user identified as "hclarkjr" on a Mozilla support forum.

Other support discussion threads also included messages from users asking why Mozilla updated Firefox.

Although Mozilla did not specify in 9.0.1's release notes why it needed to re-release the browser, developers said that the update was prompted by crash reports, primarily from Mac users, although the Linux and Windows versions were also affected.

"We built Firefox 9.0.1 with bug 708572 backed out," said Alex Keybl, an engineering project manager on Mozilla's release team, on Bugzilla yesterday, "We've pushed Firefox 9.0.1 for all platforms. Although we think Windows is mostly unaffected, we still decided to move forward with Windows->9.0.1."

Bugzilla is Mozilla's change- and bug-tracking database.

To fix the problem -- which caused crashes when users ran certain add-on toolbars, including one distributed by the Dallas Cowboys NFL team -- Mozilla's developers removed a patch that had been applied earlier.

Wednesday's rush update was the second by Mozilla in the last 30 days: On Nov. 21, the company shipped Firefox 8.0.1 to deal with a high number of crashes on Mac OS X. The crashes were traced to an Apple update of Java earlier that month.

Users who upgraded to Firefox 9 in the time between its release and 9.0.1's can update to the latter by choosing "About Firefox" from the Firefox menu (Mac) or "About Firefox" from the Help menu under the Firefox button (Windows), then approving the new version's installation after it downloads.

Mozilla Firefox 9 update box
Mozilla rushed out a follow-up to Firefox 9, backing out a patch that was causing some machines to crash.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@ix.netcom.com.

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