The other day I caught this humorous image posted to Reddit, showing a Firefox update dialog popping up over a weather satellite image, live on TV:
I was amused, so I posted it to one of Mozilla’s internal mailing lists – which started a renewed flurry of discussion surrounding the update manager. To start with, a bug was filed on this specific issue: don’t prompt for software update unless firefox is the foreground application. Second, it was pointed out that a particular fix has already landed in Firefox 3, related to this issue: Software update dialog steals focus / wait for idle before prompting. Obviously, that’s a good thing, but only the first step. So in addition to not prompting when the dialog is in the background we now, additionally, have the following bugs which are desired to be resolved:
- to reduce “update fatigue” don’t prompt users at all unless they haven’t restarted in 48 hours
- silent mode for auto update
- by default, don’t prompt users when minor update is downloaded and ready to be installed, just apply on restart
- don’t show restart now or later dialog after automatic background download
- make upgrade process smoother and avoid confusing/modal dialogs
Needless to say, this particular issue, while haphazardly amusing, will no longer be a problem in Firefox 3.
One thing that I find to be particularly interesting about this whole situation: The easier, and less painful, it is for a user to upgrade minor releases of Firefox, the more secure the browser is. (If a fix is released for a security problem and the user opts to not upgrade, they choose to remain vulnerable – which is a very bad thing.) Thus, anything that can be done to improve the quality of upgrading is considered to be a security enhancement. Security through improved user experience! I like it.