Or perhaps IT could explore other ways of delivering internal apps; maybe the browser isn't the best medium for that function. Security, of course, is a terribly serious issue, but maybe it's time for IT to find ways to accommodate today's rapid cycle of technological change. The same conservative, cultural resistance to change that's keeping smartphones and tablets out of the hands of enterprise employees could have the effect of keeping the best browsers off their desks as well. IT is becoming consumerized, and rapid upgrades are part of that.
Then of course there's the add-on issue. With Firefox so dependent on add-ons, users hate it when they break after an upgrade and developers don't want to spend huge amounts of time tweaking existing products. There's been lots of yelling about this issue, but it's not as dire as you might think. According to Justin Scott, who manages the Firefox add-on program, 256 add-ons compatible with Firefox 4 broke when used with Firefox 5 -- annoying, yes, and frustrating (it happened to me, so I know), but not cataclysmic.
Mozilla may be getting the message
The add-on issue is real, and it's not clear everyone at Mozilla gives it proper due. Consider the comment by Asa Dotzler, community coordinator for Firefox marketing projects, on a Mozilla discussion thread was stunning: "If they're going to tell their users to enable their disabled corporate-supplied extension, they should instead just rev the extension version, push an extension update, and cross their fingers."
Cross their fingers? Wow. I suspect Dotzler got a good slap on the wrist for that clueless remark, but much more important are the signs that Mozilla heard the outrage and is giving it some real thought.
For example: "The Mozilla Community has focused our efforts on the needs of the individual user, and prioritized the product roadmap and features accordingly," wrote Jay Sullivan, Mozilla's vice president of products, in a post on the Mozilla blog. "However, as is the case with many technologies, loyal Firefox users and their IT departments have sought to bring Firefox into their places of work."
Open source software, Sullivan wrote, "is well-suited to these challenges, as interested parties can come together to build what is needed." He added, "We look forward to continuing the dialog, and will post updates as they become available."