To be clear, I mean browsers that have some level of change to them BESIDES JUST SECURITY FIXES. When it comes to security fixes, I’ve seen companies deploy those changes immediately.
Throughout the discussion on my previous post, the focus has been on web applications and web compatibility. I thought I’d take some time to bring up all the other issues that go around deploying browsers in an organization.
There was a statement in John Walicki’s comment that was missed by most:
Education programs, documentation updates, communications all are planned.
While these changes were between Firefox 3.6 and Firefox 4 which contained major visual updates, there is no promise that these “minor updates” won’t include these kind of changes as well. And these changes require all of the internal documentation to be updated as well.
IBM has hundreds of support documents, including walk throughs, screen captures, webcasts, etc. that all reference the user interface of the browser. Every single one of these had to be redone for Firefox 4 (and probably done twice because Mac and Windows Firefox are so different now). And with the new release process, changes like these could happen with as little as 7 weeks to remedy the situation.
There’s also the issue of training. As I said in my last post, many companies that use these browsers are NOT technology companies. So the assumption that users will figure out how to use the browser when it changes are simply wrong. When people see things they haven’t seen before, or things don’t work like they did before, they call support.
Repacking for deployment takes time as well. Most companies would not want an outside entity like Mozilla to deploy software to their machines. So they have to package and certify the application. A lot of changes are also staged, so just because the browser was released on a certain date doesn’t mean it will make it down to the user’s machine immediately.
There are probably lots of other issues that companies run into in trying to deploy software every six weeks. I’ll leave that to other folks to talk about in the comments.