Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Quickest Firefox update ever

In less than 60 seconds, I was able to:

  1. Check for an updated version of Firefox (I had beta 2)
  2. Download it
  3. Install it
  4. Restart Firefox
  5. Check for updates to broken extensions
  6. Install an updated extension
  7. Get back to browsing again in Firefox 1.5 RC1

The new software update system is awesome – the download size of updates between minor releases of Firefox is a fraction of the full download, taking a mere 3 seconds on my 2MB connection. Normally it takes up to a minute to download the package and another couple to install.
Update: Alas, it would appear that some are not having quite so much luck and Bug 314684 is tracking the issue. There appears to be rogue folder that is making the process slip up. Still, I was able to update Firefox on both Windows and Mac OS X with no problems.
Update II: Just encountered this problem in Thunderbird on the Mac, which is also now up to 1.5 RC1. If you had installed either a Firefox or Thunderbird 1.5 beta over a 1.0.x version, then the update will fail. The bug has now been fixed for RC2, but you can work around it by removing the application folder and then installing the full RC1 version. You won’t lose your settings and messages.
incidentally, most extensions are 1.5-compatible – the only one I’ve had problems with is undoclosetab which worked in the betas but not this release candidate. Some older, less-up-to-date extensions may not work but the big ones should.
Oh yeah, and I made a couple of changes to the site. The first is pretty much invisible on the front end – the PHP-TypeKey stuff is now being handled by a plugin, which I’ll be releasing once I’m fully happy with it. The second is a rich text area for entering comments. Hopefully you’ll find it reasonably intuitive to use – it should work in IE, Mozilla, Firefox and Safari, with any other browser users getting the normal text box. The code’s from here if you want to deploy it yourself, and it should work with any blogging tool, not just Movable Type.


  1. Unfortunately that isn’t working for me. I hit check for updates, it finds the RC1 update and downloads it, prompts me to restart Ffx which I let it. On reloading Ffx, the update process kicks in again but says found new update "Firefox (null)." After letting it download that (and a restart later) I’m still on Beta 2! 🙁

  2. Are most of the extensions working on 1.5 now?

  3. I’m getting a similar kind of experience to Arvind – it tells me an update "Firefox 1.5" is available, downloads it, supposedly installs it, restarts and I’m back in Beta 2 again. At which point it promptly begins the download/update procedure again. Still, it shows promise.

    BTW Love the new HTML comments editor – only snag is that you hit preview and it lands you back into a plaintext textarea & you lose the option to be emailed comments

  4. I,ve got the same problem, Arvind. I’m on Beta 2 too :'(

  5. John, Arvind, Sven, you’re likely hitting bug 314684 (sorry, no link due to funny editor DHTML thingie).

  6. Oh, did I say "yay, yeah, nice, I dig it" yet? No. Yay, yeah, nice, I dig it.

  7. Personally I was using a trunk build – manually updated.

  8. They finally got the update system right. I agree, great job on it.

  9. I got hit with the endless loop bug too. I got fed up with it after 4 or 5 attempts so I downloaded the RC1 installer and ran that.

    It would’ve been nice if I could’ve done an in-place minor upgrade instead of a full one. Let’s hope they squeeze that bug out before it goes gold

  10. Firefox is a feed reader. It supports auto-discovery of RSS and Atom, with features to integrate feeds into bookmarks. Firefox is a way of life.

  11. Firefox update to 1.5 RC1 keeps failing

    I tried to update Firefox using the built-in updater function, and it keeps failing.
    I click through the initial wizard – some extensions won’t work after install, fine – it downloads a small file and asks you to restart Firefox to install the …