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Mozilla announces new “Aurora” rapid release for Firefox

Most tech-savvy PC users do not have a problem with testing out pre-release and development builds of popular software, especially if the 'popular software' in question happens to be the all-important application known as the 'web browser'. Of course, most users will also attempt to draw a line between getting the latest, most bleeding-edge software and having to deal with unstable applications that seemingly are engineered to break something, and leave it to Mozilla to attempt to bridge the gap with its new rapid release channel of Firefox known as Aurora.

Most tech-savvy PC users are usually adventurous enough enough to test out pre-release software that are made freely available for download, and for good reason. After all, it is always important to have the latest and the greatest version of any software one is currently using for a wide variety of reasons, such as increased stability, performance improvements and the introduction of new user-centric features.

That being said, most sane adventurous users will attempt to draw the line between highly experimental software applications that have gone through little to no quality testing by the program's developers, and pre-release software that are proclaimed to feature stability levels close to that of what will eventually be the final build. And because real-world statistics are so important to developers of any software application, Mozilla is attempting to reach out to a wider audience for its Firefox web browser by  reaching a compromise between its highly unstable testing branches and more stable beta channels, and it comes in the form of the new Aurora rapid-release channel.

As most people who are familiar with Mozilla's development schedules are fully aware, Firefox development can be broken down into three broad categories. The first category is known as Minefield, and as its name suggests, it is in this stage of development where developers introduce various experimental features into the web browser. However, the nightly builds generated daily by the Minefield channel are also considered off limits to all but the most adventurous PC user, as these builds are churned out by an automated build server with no quality tests performed on them. 

The second category is known as the Beta release channel, and this is the channel which most of the average adventurous PC users are familiar with. Unlike the nightly builds, beta builds have gone through substantial amounts of testing from the developers and are deemed stable enough for use by most PC users barring a few bugs every here and there. However, there is still a long gap between the time taken for suitable nightly build to be pushed up into the Beta channel, and this is where the new Aurora release comes in to fill that gap.

Unlike the Minefield nightly builds, the Aurora releases are aimed more towards software enthusiasts who crave an experimental browser that comes with some semblance of stability. Instead of daily releases, Aurora builds have a slightly longer release cycle of approximately six weeks, but will come with some degree of testing from the Mozilla developers. This helps to ensure that there is a minimum level of stability present in Aurora builds of the Firefox web browser.

The Aurora builds of Firefox are already available for users to download and install, but we would like to remind users that the Aurora channel is not meant for 'anybody' to download. This is due to the fact that the Aurora channel is still no where as stable as a beta build, which in turn pales to the final release where stability is concerned. Get it if you want, but keep in mind that there is a distinct possibility of having to deal with the browser breaking at the most unexpected moment due to its unstable nature. 

Source: Mozilla blog, Mozilla Developer Network

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