People have justifiably criticized Firefox’s update system. It’s nowhere near what anyone wanted for 1.0, and it’s apparently a priority for 1.1. But for all its faults, at least they managed not to release a browser with publicly-known security vulnerabilities* to immense fanfare, then release a fixed version a day later—without any fanfare I could see—the way “Netscape” did.

Six days later, my copy of “Netscape” 8 still hasn’t noticed that there’s a critical security update available, even when I tell it to check. Fortunately I’m not using it for everyday browsing, since I just grabbed it out of curiosity. I finally gave up and downloaded 8.0.1, just in case I forgot about it later.

*Just as Netscape 6-7 were based on Mozilla, Netscape 8 is based on Firefox. Netscape 8.0 was based on Firefox 1.0.3, which contained a pair of security bugs that had already been fixed in Firefox 1.0.4. Given that the holes were widely publicized on May 7, Mozilla released a fix on May 12, and AOL released Netscape 8.0.1 on May 20, I don’t see why they couldn’t have incorporated the fix for the May 19 release.

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