MozillaZine

Plea to continue FX 3.6 security updates for Mac PPC

Discussion about official Mozilla Firefox builds
diderot
 
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Post Posted October 2nd, 2011, 2:17 pm

Hello, Firefox Developers,

I recently read that Mozilla will stop providing security updates for Firefox 3.6 in the next couple of months. That will mean that PowerPC Mac users will no longer have a secure FX build to use.

Many of you might regard PowerPC's as "legacy" machines, but consider the following:

1) Apple still provides security updates for 10.5 Leopard for PPC--it is still a stable and secure operating system.

2) The last PPC machine was released in 2005. That was a while ago, but people use much older Windows machines than that! Of course, if we had the $$$, we'd buy the latest thing--obviously, we don't. Plus, working computers should be put to use in some way--junking them is wasteful. Without a secure browser, they are only minimally useful.

3) No one is asking for the latest technology--just one version with the occasional security update so we don't have to worry about various nasty exploits.

Someone is going to direct me to TenFourFox. Admirable as that project is, it relies on the dedication of one or two people. As one Mozilla support person pointed out recently: (http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/questions/801196)

"I am not familiar enough with TenFourFox to speak to the quality of their code. Most of the code is the same code as official Firefox 4 releases, and it should benefit from the many improvements that have gone into Firefox 4. Their team is working together with Mozilla, and we are happy to see their work. But if you want the highest guarantee of support and security from Mozilla, you should stick with the official Firefox 3.6 release. "

So, how about it? Take pity on us!

James
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Post Posted October 2nd, 2011, 2:23 pm

Up til Firefox 3.6 the .dmg had both 32-bit and PPC versions and then for 4.0 and on the PPC was dropped and 64-bit was put in its place.

Nothing here states we are run by Mozilla.
http://www.mozillazine.org/about/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/mozillaZine

mbrubeck (Matt Brubeck) is actually somebody who works on the mobile Firefox project.

diderot
 
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Post Posted October 2nd, 2011, 2:28 pm

James wrote:Nothing here states we are run by Mozilla.
http://www.mozillazine.org/about/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/mozillaZine


I understand--I am assuming that some Mozilla developers read this forum, though? I recognize some of the posting names from Mozilla's user support site. I'd post a question there, but I was hoping to start an actual discussion. If you think this thread is in the wrong spot, move it to "General Discussion"--or I'll repost, if you like.

It is related specifically to FX 3.6, though. Right now, 3.6 still receives security updates whenever there is a critical problem. We are being warned to drop it--except we can't.

No disrespect to Matt Brubeck, by the way, who was very helpful. I meant "support person" in the sense that he responded on Mozilla's support site.
Last edited by diderot on October 2nd, 2011, 4:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

RyanVM
 
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Post Posted October 2nd, 2011, 4:44 pm

TenFourFox is your best bet going forward, sorry.

diderot
 
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Post Posted October 3rd, 2011, 9:27 am

Honestly, I have tried using TenFourFox. It has many admirable aspects, and I certainly don't want to disparage it. However, it has bugs and memory usage problems (on a memory-maxed 1.5 ghz powerbook). On the other hand Firefox 3.6 still works fine.

Since security updates are currently being provided, I don't understand why they couldn't continue for another year or so. Everyone running a PowerPC mac understands that they will be left behind in terms of new web features, flash, and so on...can someone explain why Mozilla can't provide a tiny lifeline?

michaell
 
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Post Posted October 3rd, 2011, 9:57 am

diderot wrote:Since security updates are currently being provided, I don't understand why they couldn't continue for another year or so. Everyone running a PowerPC mac understands that they will be left behind in terms of new web features, flash, and so on...can someone explain why Mozilla can't provide a tiny lifeline?

I can't find the post to link to, but there was a newsgroup post where one of the Mozilla developers made some comments on maintaining 3.6. I can try and paraphrase what was said...

Although they have made critical security fixes in 3.6, already 3.6 is not as secure as current versions. Some of the fixes they have made are much less comprehensive than the fixes made for current versions - for example, rather than fixing a whole class of potential security flaws, they have fixed only the one case that was previously found to be exploitable. As the gap between 3.6 and current versions gets wider and wider, it becomes harder to port the security fixes back, so it becomes more and more work to provide something which is less and less secure. They don't want to provide half-baked releases which continue to deteriorate.

Additionally, key plugins are no longer getting security updates for Mac PPC, and Apple themselves have apparently stopped providing security fixes for the OS. So it's going to be pretty much impossible to stay secure anyway. And Mozilla have not yet dropped support for 3.6, so they've already gone further than others...

diderot
 
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Post Posted October 3rd, 2011, 10:26 am

michaell wrote: As the gap between 3.6 and current versions gets wider and wider, it becomes harder to port the security fixes back, so it becomes more and more work to provide something which is less and less secure. They don't want to provide half-baked releases which continue to deteriorate.

Additionally, key plugins are no longer getting security updates for Mac PPC, and Apple themselves have apparently stopped providing security fixes for the OS. So it's going to be pretty much impossible to stay secure anyway. And Mozilla have not yet dropped support for 3.6, so they've already gone further than others...


That does make some sense, thanks. However: I don't believe Apple has stopped providing security updates for 10.5--or, at least, I installed one relatively recently. It is probably as secure as Windows XP, which is still supported by Mozilla. Obviously, 10.4 users are on their own. People who use PPC Macs are of course aware that they don't have the latest capabilities, and would probably understand a disclaimer that their old version of Flash is to be used at their peril. l would still argue that an occasional critical security fix is far preferable to no security fixes, since many PowerPC computers are going to remain in use.

You are right that Mozilla has been much better than others--I am hoping they might to decide to be better for a little while longer!

michaell
 
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Post Posted October 3rd, 2011, 10:43 am

diderot wrote:However: I don't believe Apple has stopped providing security updates for 10.5--or, at least, I installed one relatively recently.

As far as I understand things, Apple doesn't confirm when they are stopping, so it's hard to know. But the security updates that came out a couple of weeks ago were apparently only issued for 10.6 and 10.7, which made people think they had stopped. Although I don't claim to know much about Macs...

People who use PPC Macs are of course aware that they don't have the latest capabilities, and would probably understand a disclaimer that their old version of Flash is to be used at their peril. l would still argue that an occasional critical security fix is far preferable to no security fixes, since many PowerPC computers are going to remain in use.

If people are going to use PPC computers anyway, then some fixes would clearly be better than no fixes. The questions are whether everyone would understand such a disclaimer, and whether it's worth putting some resources into providing limited support to those people instead of putting the same resources into something else...

diderot
 
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Post Posted October 3rd, 2011, 11:05 am

michaell wrote:But the security updates that came out a couple of weeks ago were apparently only issued for 10.6 and 10.7


I hadn't seen that article...if it's correct, boo to Apple, but there have been updates as recently as August. I will point out: there are many comments on that CNet article from active PPC users, and the article suggests that (if true) the best remedy is using FIrefox with NoScript.

I understand the resource issue, but it is frustrating. People who are still using Windows XP can run the _latest_ version of Firefox.

mat--
 
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Post Posted October 3rd, 2011, 12:34 pm

diderot wrote:People who are still using Windows XP can run the _latest_ version of Firefox.

But Windows XP is supported by Microsoft until 2014, not to mention its the second most used OS in the world.

GTK66
 
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Post Posted October 3rd, 2011, 12:44 pm

It is supported but there will be NO further updates to it.

JayhawksRock

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Post Posted October 3rd, 2011, 2:54 pm

GTK66 wrote:It is supported but there will be NO further updates to it.

maybe for 64 bit but I still get security updates for XP and IE6 on Black Tuesday every month.. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/secu ... n/ms11-sep :-" [-(
"Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please."
~ Mark Twain

diderot
 
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Post Posted October 3rd, 2011, 6:40 pm

Of course, more people use Windows XP than PowerPC Macs, since more people use Windows computers in general. I would say that this discussion demonstrates that people still use older computers with older operating systems--for some reason, people using older Mac OS' are regarded with amusement, while people using older Windows computers are, well, everywhere.

If you are using an older system, you are operating at a lower level of support. The question is: Are you going to be abandoned completely and forced to junk your perfectly good computer? I, for one, am not naive enough to ask for a similar level of support as for XP--just critical security updates for 3.6, the last working version for PPC.

RyanVM
 
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Post Posted October 3rd, 2011, 7:13 pm

FWIW, it looks like the aim for the first ESR release is the end of the year or early next year. Out of curiosity, have you tried TenFourFox 7.0? I would assume it benefited as much from the memory usage improvements as Firefox 7.0 did. If you used an older version, it might be worth trying again.

diderot
 
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Post Posted October 3rd, 2011, 10:08 pm

RyanVM wrote:have you tried TenFourFox 7.0? I would assume it benefited as much from the memory usage improvements as Firefox 7.0 did. If you used an older version, it might be worth trying again.


I tried it briefly--have you used it? It exhibited some strange behavior: Long hang-ups with the spinny wheel, then some admittedly fast page-rendering. Because of this, I reverted to 3.6 immediately. I admit I haven't used it extensively. If anyone who has experience actually using it wants to plug for it or help me change a setting, I'm open to it.

I've tried each version of TenFourFox. I'm very impressed with the commitment to it, but I've found that there are bugs and funny problems with each version and, you know, their server was out for a while because their cable went out. All of that is to be expected from a third-party browser with a small number of people maintaining it, so I mean no disrespect.
Last edited by diderot on October 4th, 2011, 5:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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