Update: Mozilla extends Firefox 1.5 support to mid-May

An auto-update to Version 2.0 is in the cards

Mozilla Corp. yesterday extended support for its 17-month-old Firefox 1.5.0.x browser until mid-May, citing the need to roll out a patch so users can automatically update to the newer Version 2.0.

The company had earlier said that yesterday would be the termination date for Firefox 1.5.x support -- meaning it would issue no new security updates after that. But when it released 1.5.11 last month, Mozilla hinted that the final security fix would not make that deadline.

This week, in fact, developers decided to delay freezing the code of that last update, Firefox, because of a higher-than-expected number of bugs awaiting attention.

Only after appears will Mozilla tackle what it's been calling Major Updates, an automated upgrade from 1.5.0.x to 2.0.0.x. Initial testing of the upgrade, which will update all Firefox 1.5.0.x users who have the browser's auto-updating tool turned on, has been completed. But Mozilla will wait until after is out before dealing with that upgrade.

"Major Updates will come out a couple of weeks after [] ships," said Basil Hashem, senior director of Firefox product development.

A fix to the browser's Major Update notification mechanism will be included in the update so that when Mozilla "triggers" the update from its end, users will see the correct messages. "They will be able to accept the update [to 2.0] or say no, or say they never want to see [the message] again," said Hashem.

Until then, Hashem urged Firefox 1.5 users to update to 2.0 manually by downloading the latter from the Mozilla site.

According to the most recent schedule on its Web site, Mozilla has pegged May 15 as the release date for (and a similar security update that brings the newest version to Even with the delayed code freeze, Hashem said that his team is still shooting for that date.

Mozilla has committed to supporting older software for only six months after the release of a major update. The policy affects not only Firefox, but also the Thunderbird e-mail client, which recently shifted to Version 2.0.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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