Update: Mozilla moves forward with plan for enterprise version of Firefox

This new version of the browser would be upgraded much less frequently to give IT departments a chance to properly adopt new releases

Mozilla is advancing its plans to release a version of Firefox tailored for organizations whose IT departments manage it for their employees from a central console.

This version of Firefox, to be called ESR (Extended Support Release), will be updated at a much slower pace than the regular version of the browser, in order to give IT departments enough time to appropriately test, certify and adopt the new releases.

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The proposal to develop Firefox ESR has now been escalated from a "proposal" to what Mozilla calls "a plan of action," Mozilla official Jay Sullivan said in a blog post on Tuesday.

"Releases of the ESR will occur once a year, providing these organizations with a version of Firefox that receives security updates but does not make changes to the Web or Firefox Add-ons platform," Sullivan wrote.

Mozilla is working closely with its Enterprise User Working Group on this project. "Over the last few months we received great feedback on the initial proposal from the Mozilla community and strongly believe that the ESR meets that goal," he wrote.

Mozilla will publish more implementation details about Firefox ESR "within a week" in its Mozilla Dev Planning discussion forum and on the Enterprise User Working Group mailing list.

IDC analyst Al Hilwa said it's smart of Mozilla to develop Firefox ESR, because large companies are very particular about the pace of software change on employee machines.

"You can argue the pluses and minuses of such IT strategies or whether organizations should adapt to a faster pace," he said via email. "But you can't argue with their desire to exercise control. In this case, Mozilla is accommodating those needs and desires."

Juan Carlos Perez covers search, social media, online advertising, e-commerce, web application development, enterprise cloud collaboration suites and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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