The Ubuntu developers are now tracking Mozilla's rapid release cycle, releasing the updated version 8.0 of Mozilla's Firefox and Thunderbird. Previously, Ubuntu distributions would have stuck with the major version they were released with, say 3.0, and only updated to the minor versions as they arrived, 3.0.1, 3.0.2 and so on. But Mozilla's switch to a rapid release schedule for Firefox and Thunderbird, which sees a new major version every six weeks, has placed Canonical and other distribution makers with a decision: whether to stick with their old policy and support a version of a browser that would no longer be supported upstream within months, or follow the rapid-release cycle, even if it means updating major versions.
With Ubuntu 11.10, Canonical has now made the decision to track the Mozilla major version updates; a couple of weeks after the release of Firefox 8.0, Ubuntu released its Firefox 8.0 to the Ubuntu main repositories.
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